The FOUR P’s of #Content Marketing

If you produce amazing/awesome/great content – focused on user needs. enlightening, and entertaining… then…………………… They will come.

In my recent posts I have questioned how social media marketing and content marketing will need to change now that Facebook has decided that businesses should pay to talk to customers. I call it post-Like SMM. A prominent social media writer, Mark Schaefer has been talking about Content Shock from so much stuff being published and publicized on social media. Post-Like is driven by monetization; Content Shock is a result of so much content marketing; but the effects of both are complimentary and problematic for traditional content marketing.

A number of fervent believers in content marketing have responded to the post-Like articles by citing an argument that seems borrowed from the movie, The Natural – just produce amazing content and people will consume it. Mark Schaefer has obviously had the same experience as he lead off a discussion a followup post “Six Arguments Against Content Shock” with “Great Content will always rise to the top.”

Content Marketers who argue for the “better mousetrap” are not following marketing theory or real world evidence. Was Windows 3.1 better coded or better to use than the Macintosh language? By what possible standard – other than success – would one judge “Keeping up with the Kardashians” (9 years on TV), better than “Firefly” (less than a season)? A recent Ad Age article discusses pervasive myth of the better product winning.

I think it is useful to think of content marketing in a traditional marketing framework. Some marketing people have fit social media marketing into the 4 P’s framework by suggesting that Product is brand and Promotion is Content. But if content is key to customer relationships it may be best to view it as the “product” in the 4 P’s framework.

There are FOUR P’s in Marketing!

How would the 4 P’s of Marketing – Product, Price, Promotion, and Place – apply to content marketing?

Product: Content should be high quality and matched to user needs. Content had better be excellent. Especially in a world with Content Shock where so much content being created! It is proper for marketers to product great content, focused on the target audience. However, excellence is necessary, but not sufficient. That’s why there are 3 other “P’s.”

Price: If attention is a scarce resource, even “free” content may be expensive! Price in this context includes ease of discovery: reputation and search positioning matter. This may be a real barrier for new entrants in content marketing, as already established content providers turn out more and more stuff. Making content easy to consume – summaries or ease of  skimming – may be an advantage.

Promotion: There is a reason why companies are including web addresses and social media names on products and in paid ads. Now that FB has revised its algorithm to encourage businesses to use ads and paid posts, smart content marketers will need to experiment with a mix of paid ads and posts and content.

Place: Place is more than which searches one’s stuff shows up in, or in which social networks it is shared. Further focus must be on the communities where the content is consumed, discussed and shared. In a world of abundant content, WOM will have a huge role in what consumes precious attention.

Content production will be evaluating as a product – benefits vs. costs. Some businesses may find other marketing strategies to be more useful.

What are YOUR thoughts about Content Marketing in a “post-Like” world afflicted with “Content Shock”???

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5 Responses to The FOUR P’s of #Content Marketing

  1. DWesterberg says:

    I would add the following P’s – Persistence, Patience and Re-Purposing. (This come from my perspective of working with Small to Midsized businesses).

    Persistence and Patience – The same time famine that plagues consuming content, plagues creating content. Much like gym memberships, without a commitment to the long game, daily appearances fall off to weekly appearances and then fall off altogether. Doggedly producing content week after week (regardless of short term results) will favor those who keep at it. The question is, can you as a business owner stay at it longer than your competitor? Can you be patient enough to keep creating meaningful content (in the face of not having it noticed beyond a trickle of visitors) day in and day out?

    One of the stats that I keep for my clients is the life-to-date metrics of evergreen blog articles. The dividends over time are solid and encouraging.

    Re-Purposing – Strategy before tactics. If you work by a content calendar (which I recommend) you can plan things so that Jan and Feb blog posts on the same topic can be reformatted into an eBook (another marketing asset that can be used as a CTA). Following the same strategy for a year produces 6 assets that can be placed behind a landing page. The most common discovery item I find when working with new clients is that they have no (or horribly dated) marketing assets for CTAs.

    Another re-purposing benefit I point out to business owners is that carefully planned and created content is a boon for organization in terms of educating new employees and continuing education for existing employees. So much crucial information about the market, product and services, pain points of the ideal customer, benefits of methodology, etc. are not documented and confined to the owner’s brain.

    Obviously there are other re-purposing strategies, but the two above are among the most compelling.

    • Gary Schirr says:

      Thanks Dawn!

      Great advice on how to fight on in content marketing!

      Social media will continue to change marketing but it doesn’t eliminate the proven practices and principles.

      Content will need to be assessed more carefully, repurposing and better promotion of content will help CM make the cut.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

  2. Great Post! There are very long-studied, long-researched, and long-practiced media strategies that Brands have used that they are borrowing in the social media space….and that includes the use of PAID media.
    It is very rare for any marketing to gain mass traction or even targeted traction without a very thought-out distribution plan…this usually means paid media. Every social network is trying to grow revenue. They simply cannot exist as a “free” business. Paid media is their objective for growing revenue. All these adjusted algorithms. I imagine, are to help entice the “need” for paid media.
    In our media plans for Brands, are approach is highly integrated media….owned, earned, and paid. Content marketing is not “marketing” unless there is some push strategy to encourage the “engagement” strategy. This is especially true for large national brands who have aggressive sales and velocity goals and require large numbers of customers….read scale.
    I predict a continued use of paid strategies….social networks need it to survive and brands need it to grow large enough audiences.

    • Gary Schirr says:

      Thanks Patricia!

      Your thoughts make perfect sense. Marketing has always involved a “mix.” Maybe with social media more of the mix can be “non-paid.”

      There is plenty to dislike about Facebook, but it is worth noting that the TV networks don’t offer free Superbowl ads – why should FB allow businesses to reach their prospects and customers for free.

      SMM may change marketing but all the old rules and practices are NOT revoked. Thanks again for sharing.

  3. Pingback: What I’m reading: Creatively Canceling School; The Future of Organic on Social Media | Social Media Syllabus

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