Content Marketing, Social Media Strategy, Blogging and Content Creation, Social Media Infographics

Is Content Marketing a Necessity For Your Brand?

Content Marketing – Give Them Something to Talk About

If customers and prospects are already chattering about your brand on the social Web, your social media initiative can focus primarily on becoming an authentic part of those existing conversations. If someone throws you a surprise party, you just need to show up – you don’t have to go plan a bunch of other parties too.

However, for many small, B2B or less inherently interesting brands, the current level of social media chatter is essentially zero. It’s difficult to make listening and opportunistic engagement the nucleus of your approach when there’s nothing to listen or respond to in the first place.

That’s why content marketing becomes steadily more important for brands that don’t have existing social chatter.

If they’re not talking about you, it’s up to YOU to create content that gets them talking.

A lack of chatter isn’t a reason for your company to remain on the sidelines. Rather, it’s a signal that you need to make the first move.

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  1. David Siteman Garland says

    Exactly, Jay and the interesting thing is many brands, entrepreneurs, etc. wait to look for the chatter. Nothing wrong with that. Listening is a great skill. But, hey why not START the conversation? Otherwise it can be like two people at a bar scared to talk to one another. Someone needs to break the ice.

  2. says

    Jay, nice comment. I’ve often thought the discussion about social media use felt too “one-size fits all.” This post is one of many I’ve seen you write helping tease out the increasingly different approaches to social media based on the type and size of a company. I think at the core, you either have to create content, or take part in content, as you say. The Teeter-totter analogy hits it just right.

    I’m currently developing a flow chart to help companies decipher the correct social media strategy/content creation approach to walk down. It’s much like those old “choose your own adventure books,” based on the composition of your company.

    Are you Business to Business, or Business to Consumer? How big is your organization? Is anyone talking about your brand already? Based on just those questions you can quickly decide if the approach is primarily one of listening. Or one of content creation.

    I’d argue for most decently sized non-chain restaurants for example, the focus would be 80 percent listening and chatting on various platforms, and 20 percent creating good additional content: Tossing out good recipes, occasional videos on how to cook good lasagna if the restaurant is Italian, for example. Cooking tips.

    But for a company with 100 FT employees that sells industrial cleaning products and is completely B 2 B, the approach then most likely would be a blog with outposts and a steady stream of videos and posts on the very detailed world of cleaning buildings or special equipment etc. Meant to appeal to a very niche audience.

  3. says

    I agree, this is an excellent primer to get ideas formulated. Often times, as is true of me, when I don’t immediately perceive the payoff, I usually don’t engage. Which is probably a common struggle. This proves that if you look, there are usually avenues of efficacy wanting to be discovered.

  4. says

    So true. I’d say that the most effective content marketers talk about the customer, not themselves. So while you’re trying to generate that chatter about your brand, the best way to do so is to not talk about yourself. Nobody wants to read content that’s all “me me me.” They want content that offers them real value.

    Shameless plug: I write content marketing pieces (white papers, case studies, etc.) for B2B companies to help them accomplish this.

  5. Tony Karrer says

    I think there’s also an audience challenge in these cases. Creating the content is part of the issue, but chances are that it’s equally tough to reach the audience through traditional or social media.

    In Patrick’s example – industrial cleaning products – chances are that the conversation is spread far and wide. So the effort is as much about focusing the conversation as it is about creating content.

    • says

      Tony, completely agree, but my argument with industrial cleaning products, is that the conversations would mainly be through e-mail, or so sparse online that Google Alerts would often come up dry. It’s a dull topic in a niche industry. Hence the need to focus the discussion.

  6. says

    Hey Jay, great post, short and too the point. I completely agree, the struggle with SMBs is to get the level of chatter about them up. I strongly suggest to my clients to take the first step and engage their followers to start the conversation.

  7. says


    Excellent post that small biz owners need to read and absorb. The constant challenge is that they do not know what to say. They become reactionary to what is being said instead of proactive in starting the conversation. I absolutely agree that you have to give them reason to as if you there is nothing for them to focus on. Make them focus on you but not in a self promotional overkill way. Ask questions that elicit longer responses to get people talking. People love to talk about their experiences and as a small biz owner who has been talking to customers for years, bring that online. It seems so simple but yet SMB’s become fearful of what they are putting out there online. They focus on the negative and not the positive and for some if they are not promoting the brand in a way that they are used to then they are throwing their arms up saying that SM does not work. Erm… do you only talk about your brand to customers f2f? No so why do this online?

    Love the post and the blog as it is consistently has the best and most useful information. Looking forward to reading the book as I am sure it is jam packed with some incredible info.


  8. Sean McVey says

    Hey thanks for the short but insightful post. I often try to convey this concept to clients but have had difficulty. You just gave me a concise way to say it!

    The more I read your blog the smarter I feel, haha.

  9. Sean McVey says

    Hey thanks for the short but insightful post. I often try to convey this concept to clients but have had difficulty. You just gave me a concise way to say it!

    The more I read your blog the smarter I feel, haha.

  10. Anonymous says

    Agree with your post about SMB’s – the US is probably about 1-2 years ahead of the UK. For many SMB’s it is still a case of educating/informing them about social media. Even after that though there are many that do not understand how to use the knowledge that they have to add value to their clients. I asked somebody today to choose between two companies today company a: it has a blog or website given you some top tips/ guidelines and best practice information and has openly got conversation and discussion with customers that is visible OR company b: no openess no conversation – everybody says company a. I think if I can get a local and very traditional local law firm into social media it will be a sign of change for me.


  11. says

    Is it fair to elaborate and say that as a precursor, and certainly in tandem, to building “talkable” content is some research (consumer trends, competition, market advancements) to get the lay of the land? Knowing what’s relevant and potentially most valued by your targets will amp up the propensity to talk while building a foundation of brand credibility.

    I really like that you’re bringing up a common pain point for small and more esoteric businesses. One of the businesses I help support via social media is a radiant barrier (attic insulation) company. It’s more challenging than you might think, even with the eco-movement. Thanks, Jay.

  12. says

    Awesome article Jay. Many companies do not take advantage of the numerous content marketing opportunities that are “low-hanging fruit” like social media and blogging. It’s just as important to keep your website content fresh and dynamic yet many businesses are not sure where to get their content from.

    To help, we published regarding 6 common unknown sources of website content:

    We’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject! Keep up the great work.

  13. says

    I think this post is great (so great, in fact, that I quoted you in my own – Working in social media marketing, I’m guilty of telling my clients they need to get into social media, join the conversation, monitor their brand; but we often skip over the fact that the conversation may not have started yet.

    I think this is just another exmaple of how social media is part of the overall marketing puzzle. You can’t expect success at a trade show if you don’t set up a booth, pass out brochures and /or run a promotion, right? Social media is the same way. You have to get out there, get an account, start talking, to get a response.

    -Danielle, Atomicdust
    Saint Louis, Mo.

  14. letstalkandchat says

    I just found a great company that builds websites for info products. To keep your costs low, they’ll mentor you on how to create your site, design a marketing funnel (one of the guys works in Hollywood and makes really slick videos), and the other guy programmed Myspace. If you’re looking to have professional web design for your small business and not waste any time or money then check their site out. Check them out:

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