July 3, 2014 | Kayla Hollatz


It’s the week after the first MNSearch Summit, but we are still buzzing about all that we learned from the speakers. Among these speakers was Rand Fishkin of Moz who gave a keynote presentation on Why Content Marketing Fails.

During Rand’s presentation on content marketing, what struck a chord with me was the increasing influence of communities.

Communities look different today than they did even a few years ago. With 77% of brands active on social media today, it’s safe to say online communities are not to be ignored.


So what do communities have to do with content?

I could say “Well, everything of course,” but let’s take a deeper look. Businesses create and share relevant content because they want to educate, inform, and connect with their audience.

Because businesses are focused on growth, the more people that connect with the content, the better. So who is going to help the content reach a bigger audience, an audience that cares?


You got it. It’s all about your community.

Rand said, “’Good enough’ content often performs well when a community is behind it.” It is very noble to spend many hours in researching and writing content that is useful for your audience, but if there is no community behind it, it won’t reach as many people.

Also, no matter how brilliantly crafted the content is, it doesn’t mean it will automatically go viral. In fact, Rand said, “Only the best .1% of content can go viral without a pre-existing community.” That’s like shooting in the dark after being spun around five times.

There has to be an easier way and luckily there is with communities.


If content is king and community is queen, what else plays a key role in content shares?

It’s no surprise that your audience needs to be motivated in order to share content, but how do you motivate them?

Rand said content will spread if:

  • it reinforces a belief
  • refutes an opposing argument
  • starts or renews a passionate discussion
  • is in someone’s financial or promotional interests
  • leverages group inclusion dynamics
  • makes the sharer looks smart, important, or worldly

Is your content satisfying any of these motivations? If so, it’s well on its way to being shared by your community.


Remember, it takes time to build a loyal community.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a dynamite following. Have realistic expectations for your business and never stop trying to optimize your content for your community. They are your bread and butter so nourish them in return with genuine interactions AND useful content worth sharing.

Because, as Rand so eloquently pointed out, you can’t just make content, expect people to click, and then you make money! It’s a tad more involved than that!


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