Confession time? I hate the term “social media marketing.” It’s one of those phrases that could mean nearly anything. Depending on the context, it might mean spamming Digg or creating a blog or building up a Facebook fan page or a hundred other things. By contrast, if I say “social media monitoring” or “traffic generation” or “conversation marketing,” you have a much firmer fix on what we’re actually trying to accomplish.
Right now, I find myself talking a lot about content marketing, because content marketing is the most natural fit for an advertising agency’s existing abilities. Content marketing requires creative talent, good process and organization skills, and strategic thinking.
So with that said, and bearing in mind I get sucked into watching a lot of Charleton Heston movies this time of year, I’d like to offer you the Ten Commandments of Content Marketing.
1. Thou shalt make thy content portable. The beauty of the social web is that if you make good content easy to share, real live people will be your “channels.” If your content is really good, the persistent will figure out a way to share it even if you don’t make it easy. But why make them work that hard?
2. Thou shalt remember that “content” is not just text. Photos, audio content/podcasts, and video should be included in any content strategy.
3. Thou shalt not use the word “viral.” It makes you sound like the middle-aged dad trying to use his teens’ slang, and is generally running about 2 years behind. Good, portable online content can become popular. A virus on your computer is generally a bad thing, remember?
4. Thou shalt not refer to your program as a “campaign.” Content marketing is a long-haul proposition, and really part of your overall communications plan. Are you going to stop any other parts of your communications plan when their “campaign” runs it’s course? No. And as long as there’s a web, you’re going to need to provide content.
5. Thou shalt not begin without an editorial calendar. Unless you like beating your head pointlessly against a brick wall. Then by all means, go right ahead.
6. Thou shalt delegate clear roles and responsibilities. Or thou shalt be cursed to play “ownership hot potato” while your stale content just sits there on the web.
7. Thou shalt honor thy legal department. Nuff said.
8. Thou shalt match thy content to the environment. Content strategy is no longer limited to the bounds of your primary URL. Develop Facebook-y content for Facebook, etc.
9. Thou shalt not allow thy website content to get as stale as week-old bread. Or thou art not allowed to whine when visitors go away to spend time elsewhere.
10. Thou shalt reward thy enthusiasts appropriately for sharing thine content. That may mean sponsoring a blogger. It may mean sharing some high-PR link love to someone who is talking you up. How you reward them is something to determine on a case-by-case basis, but don’t forget to do it.
Okay folks, what do you think? Do I need to drop any? Or expand from the ”Ten Commandments” to rip off “America’s Top 40? rather than the Bible?