Relevant Content Drives Business Value

Relevant Content Drives Business Value

I am not the kind of guy that can predict future shifts in organizational business models or trends in social media like my two colleagues Steve Rubel and David Armano.  And, I am clearly not as smart as some of the other awesome people I work with at Edelman. 

One thing I am pretty good at though is building community.  I have been doing it for many years and for many different brands.  And, I can only share insights about what is working today.  And what works today may or may not necessarily work tomorrow, so please take this with a grain of salt.

Now, I hate to say “content is king” for the sake of saying “content is king” because it’s been said almost as many times as “it’s time for brands to join the conversation.”  But at the end of the day, content is what pays my bills. Content is everything on the social web — tweets, status updates, ad units, search, billboards, press releases, copy on corporate websites and blogs, etc.  But it’s more than just content! 

It’s about the right content, at the right time, to the right person in the right channel.

When a brand can achieve this, they will not only deepen community engagement, but they will create customer advocacy.  That’s why I love the social web and the tools available today. Through real time analytics, it’s very easy to identify what content (messages) clearly resonate with the community. This is one reason why Social CRM is such a hot topic right now. From an elementary point of view, Social CRM is just that – using back end, traditional CRM data coupled with external data (Twitter, Facebok) and social listening data so that brands and marketers can provide a more relevant customer experience.

When I think about content, I can’t help but think that it needs to relevant and that timing is critical. For example, when my wife and I wanted to refinance our house several years ago, I began to notice content about mortgage rates everywhere (online, print, billboard, tweets, TV). It was actually kind of scary and overwhelming at the same time. Fast forward to today and I can’t even tell you the last time I’ve seen a piece of content discussing mortgage rates. The sad reality is that it’s probably all around me, it’s just not relevant anymore. That being said, relevant content:

  1. adds value to the conversation
  2. positions your brand as a trusted source of information
  3. is authentic and believable
  4. build trust with the community
  5. happens as a result of listening and acting
  6. increases the reach of your messages
  7. increases your “organic” search rankings
  8. drives purchase intent

In a nutshell, if you add all this together — relevant content drives business value.

In my mind, there are two types of content, proactive and reactive.  Both are equally as important. Proactive content is all about outbound engagement (i.e. blogs, tweets, videos, wall posts, contests, coupons, etc.) This is content that is meant to excite and inform the community.  Reactive content deals with crisis communications, dealing with angry customers or simply saying “thank you” publicly to a fan.  

Now, most consumers are inundated with content. They live their lives in the stream and are bombarded with irrelevant content. Brian Solis refers to it as the attention dashboard.  The following diagram is an example of a customer journey and all the content that they are subjected to on a daily basis.

Consumers live their lives in the stream

Key takeaway is this. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer, consumers need to hear/read/see a piece of content up to five times before they actually beleive it. And, because every customer journey is different, a brand needs to have multiple channels of relevant content for the consumer to interact with.


About Michael Brito

Michael Brito has been making things happen online since 1996 with a legit hustle. He gets mad when the 49ers lose, really mad. Feel free to follow him on Twitter.

  • Garious

    I think that it's all about “What's in it for me?” when readers browse and read your post and if you're not giving value, they'll hit the back button faster than how I'm typing right now. I guess, content is still king these days and brevity is queen.

  • Puma Smith

    I think if you use a 3 to 1 ratio, every third post you give something away that's of value to the readers success or a tutorial that will help them succeed.

  • Raj – SEO Australia

    You know there are still some people who asks me : Should my business require to be on Facebook and/or Twitter?” That's a different topic though. And to your point, yes content always have an impact. Because it is all text media we are presently running online activities so definitely content should be optimized.

  • Sammie Clemmons

    It definitely is crucial that you give your readers value– otherwise, what is their incentive to read what you write? Of course, that value can be in many forms– and with online marketing, it often is information. You are completely on target about relevant content and business value. For instance, our forum is geared toward webmasters and online marketing– would it help me to grow it if I wrote about the latest Corvette engines? No! Internet marketing, social media, and email marketing are topics that my readers want– so that is what they get!

  • Joshua Corbelli

    I couldn't agree more. I am personally excited to see such an influx of people claiming themselves to be social media optimization experts, or whatever their titles. It shows interest and perseverance in an emerging and morphing field.

    However, I think this post reflects the divide between those who do what they say they can, and those who say without doing. The right content directed to an audience who doesn't consider it relevant is, I hate to say it, wasted. Or, in the least, it is not a benefit to the sender or receiver. Understanding the right message, the right audience and the right channel of relaying relevant information might be the most complicated task of a seemingly simple concept.

  • Don Platon

    Thanks, Michael! “It’s about the right content, at the right time, to the right person in the right channel.” This says it all. We have to engage users where they are without the expectation that they will search endlessly to find our message, by then it is too late. It is more likely users interest will have been hijacked along the way.

  • paigegersten

    You are absolutely right on this. People will only read stuffs that are related to what they are looking for or to their needs. It is a waste of time reading a content outside the box.So, if you're tackling about Cherokee Uniforms then stick with it.

  • Templecoombe Limited

    I absolutely agree, if you can produce interesting and engaging content you will be successful. Question – How long on average do you spend researching for a blog post?

  • s4socialmedia

    Very true…content is really the king of social media communications. For me, social media is all about communications, and you have to be very precise, accurate in your communications to reap maximum benefits from it. And it is only possible if you have right content with you. Right content not only pays you in terms of building your own community, but also gives you a chance to be an authority on your topic. Therefore, GOOD content is inevitable…