What Is Content Marketing Really About These Days?

Superbowl mass marketingWhile the rest of the content marketing industry (myself included) was writing posts about the Super Bowl last week, Seth Godin had something truly interesting and original on his mind. Typical, right?

I’m referring to his Super Bowl Sunday post, Why do we care about football?. Please do yourself a favor, and read it now.

Seriously.

Now.

Unlike most blog posts from February 3, its message is just as relevant today as it was on the third.

Mass TV: A Mentality of the Past

The main point from Godin’s post that really struck a chord with me was his point about “Mass TV.” Football, his example though there are many, is a part of a Mass TV culture. It’s a medium that can reach incredibly large groups of people and connect them together.

This doesn’t happen anymore. As Godin pointed out, the Super Bowl is pretty much the last television event that still does this. The Oscars have had pretty dismal rankings overall for the last ten years, despite 2012’s minor uptick, but even Hollywood’s award show doesn’t have the power it did before the dawn of social media.

I see the death of the ‘mass’ mentality occurring for two reasons:

  • Everybody already knows everything.
  • Specialized/niche content is in great abundance.

Let’s dig into these two phenomena some more…

 Content & Social Media Marketing Obliterate the Need for Mass Media

You’re interested in news with a conservative agenda? Then you probably check The Blaze or The Drudge Report. Consider yourself a member of the literati? Then you know about Arts & Letters Daily. Celebrity gossip more your thing? Head on over to Perez Hilton or TMZ.

Even better, you can create your own feeds, pulling content from these sites that are even more specific to your taste.

The point is we don’t need mass media outlets any more because we have the outlets that interest us bookmarked and ready to go. What could World News With Diane Sawyer possibly cover that would interest you and not show up in your Facebook News stream? Nothing.

Content Marketing: “Many to Many”

As Godin points out, media in the past has connected the many to the mass. Content marketing (and social media marketing) on the other hand, connects the many to the many. We can read terrific reports on the “state of content marketing,” but if we forget to connect with the many in a way where we don’t act like the “mass,” then we’ll fail every time.

4 Rules for Acting Like The ‘Many’ – Not the ‘Mass’

  • Create content that is truly share-worthy. The mass doesn’t have to have share-worthy content. People will see it no matter what. We do have to create stuff that’s share-worthy.
  • You are an expert in a topic that someone’s interested in. Whether you offer marketing services or a necessary product, you possess a talent or knowledge that not everyone has. The mass regurgitates; exceptional members of the many provide leadership.
  • When your audience reaches back to you, acknowledge and respect them. Responding to every comment or tweet might seem excessive, but it’s not to the person on the other end. The mass can’t do this; you can.
  • Do things your own way. I’m not saying you shouldn’t read blog posts about social media marketing or about interesting marketing campaigns, but don’t let it consume you. And don’t fall for the lie that there’s no other way to do things.

I’d like to leave you with the words of Godin’s call to action: “Our job as marketers and leaders is to create vibrant pockets, not to hunt for mass.” So find your niche, be one with them, and help foster those vibrant communities!

 

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Ben Richardson is a writer based in Nashville, TN. While he loves writing on a variety of subjects, he's our go-to on all things related to branding and the creative aspects of content marketing. Follow him on Twitter!

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