Why the Long Tail of Social Media is Wagging Tomorrow’s Content

By Paul Patzloff  |  October 2, 2013

Social Meda Wagging the tail

Why are so many content marketing pros in a panic thinking they need to compete with established publishers? Probably because many of us remain under the influence of the push attitude ingrained in our marketing psyches.

“I first ran across Paul Patzloff doing columns for Forbes magazine. Like many blogs on Forbes.com, it was smart, relevant and practical. The fortunate part of my discovery was that Paul lived in Minneapolis, meaning lunch was in our future.

“We got together, talked some s**t, and I knew he was destined to become a contributor to Content Kings. Paul is a marketer, a lead gen specialist and a digital swami. He helps companies leverage compelling content like ours into social venues and has created solutions for corporations ranging from Snapple and AT&T, to Rosetta Stone and Thomson Reuters.”
MSPC President Gary Johnson

Why are so many content marketing pros in a panic thinking they need to compete with established publishers?

Probably because many of us remain under the influence of the push attitude ingrained in our marketing psyches. It goes something like this:

  1. Define your persona(s) 
  2. Create & publish high quality content you are certain they will love
  3. Target the best web venues for exposure and subscriptions
  4. Nurture further to prompt engagement and eventually a sale

Why mess with that? After all, the surprisingly colorful history of content marketing is full of high quality publishing examples:

  • The Furrow is a farming magazine established by John Deere in 1895. It’s still thriving today as a monthly publication with a circulation of more than 1.5 million farmers across 40 countries and 12 different language versions.
  • In 1987, Brick Kicks was started and has since transformed into LEGO Club Magazine. My kids and millions of others devour every issue!
  • Local Hanley Wood has created STIR magazine for Sherwin-Williams aimed at design professionals. It enjoys a larger readership than Architectural Digest. Wow, that’s powerful content.

Can’t afford the gloss? Consider a grassroots approach

High-quality, top production value content is not for everyone, or even within most of our budgets. So think about user-generated content. Here’s where you seek out content opportunities from your customers or prospects. Much like SEO keyword research, the way people talk about your product, services or brand can be an amazing source of authentic content.

Want a recent example?

Software mega-giant Oracle just bought blog and content publishing platform Compendium. Yes, blogging is content marketing. The secret here is that Compendium is more than a technology platform; it’s an innovative tool that can help you harvest content from most anywhere: Facebook, email, blog posts, YouTube, Twitter and the like. So you can count on all sorts of interesting interpretations of your brand—be it favorable or critical. And that’s true, real-time content sourced from the long tail of social media, and beyond!

Start Today

One of the most effective ways to kick-start your user-generated content marketing efforts is to leverage video. Go out and ask your customers a provocative question, like, “what was your biggest concern buying our product?” User-generated video provides an intimate feel that people trust. You can use responses as content or to develop new content ideas. A tool like Bravo Video can help you simplify the process.

Your Takeaway

Don’t treat content or its codependent sibling social media as shiny objects, hobbies or nice-to-haves. Build them into your communications plan as KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to validate their roles. Metrics matter.

Finally, ad legend David Ogilvy said it best: “You can’t bore people into buying.” I’ll take that a step further by saying, “You can’t bore people into believing.” And user-generated content can add that believability to your brand by tapping into the desires, fears, offhanded remarks and passions your prospects are sharing.

Read next: Content Marketing vs. Advertising: What’s the Difference, Again?

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