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Sometimes moving to a conversational medium can be hard. Transitioning style — blogs, videos, social networks updates, etc. — to serve stakeholder groups can be extremely challenging. This is a legitimate challenge of moving from traditional to conversational marketing. But some marketers ignore the relational value of social content, and abuse these media to posture, positioning for influence and popularity rather than serving. Posturing wastes corporate content.
Fellow blogger Rich Becker recently discussed the Fifth Estate, and how the PR blogosphere doesn’t act responsibly. That’s because many PR 2.0/social media influencers, just like their predecessors, believe that PR and marketing is about posturing. They are more concerned about looking good and maintaining influence than building real relationships or discussing industry ethics (see Becker post). God forbid if they took time to talk about anything other than themselves.
Let’s be clear. Blogging and creating content for popularity can make you “influential” by certain algorithms. And influence is the paper tiger that PR 2.0 social media types trot into the boardroom to close the deal. But that won’t build customer loyalty.
Content needs to serve stakeholders. For all intents and purposes, it’s a product you are creating for them. The correct use of content is to serve people, make their lives better. That’s the whole gist of positioning content marketing as the Serve strategy in Welcome to The Fifth Estate. Applied, if PR 2.0 bloggers had guts they would take up serious ethics issues like Weiner/Twitter use & Motrin, rather than getting flabbergasted by the latest Apple iOS announcement. It would better serve their clients.
Yes, there are other benefits, including thought leadership, SEO and customer loyalty (for nonprofits; donor, volunteer or beneficiary). This is the gravy received for doing the job right. That means make your readers’ lives better and easier through the content you are creating for them.
Today on Gaping Void, Kathy Sierra had a stirring post, “Pixie Dust & the Mountain of Mediocrity” to this effect: “If people love what a product, book, service let’s them *do*, they will not shut up about it. The answer has always been there: to make the product, book, service that enables, empowers, MAKES USERS AWESOME. The rest nearly always takes care of itself.”
When Media Professor Stephen D. Cooper came up with the concept of the Fifth Estate, he meant bloggers could become as meaningful to communities as the traditional media, becoming their watchdog. The pen is a powerful, powerful tool. When it is used in service to help our families, friends, countrymen, and, yes, our customers, it becomes a great thing. However, content that supports personal branding and false influence falls into that bottomless chasm of marketing BS.
Avoid posturing, and start helping people out. In the end, this is the answer you’ve been looking for anyway.