Setting Down a Manifesto for Web Content

Go to any advertising conference and if you don’t hear the word “social” at least 15 times in the first 10 minutes, you’re probably in the wrong place.

This year’s Conversational Marketing Summit was no different, but the host, Federated Media, took the concept one step further earler this week at the New York gathering. Not only did they make “social” the topic du jour, they dubbed it the official definition of successful content.

On Monday, SVP of marketing at Federated Media Joseph Frydl presented an overarching manifesto for content on the web.

What principle could explain how artists and musicians get famous through YouTube and other social platforms? How is content on the web fundamentally different from its offline counterparts?

Frydl presented a theory by John Battelle, founder of Federated Media: “The value of content on the web is directly proportional to the number of connections it starts or sustains.”

This is a shift from the law of content in other mediums such as TV and print, where “The value of content is directly proportional to the efficiency with which it aggregates ‘eyeballs,’” Frydl said, naming it the “Les Moonves’ Law,” after the CEO of CBS.

Valuable content is no long about eyeballs; it’s about connections.

Sustained connections strengthen a receptive audience and thus the brand, and “It’s the content that enables me to connect to people,” Frydl said.

So how can marketers play to this law, attract connections, and keep them? There are three steps.

Focus on content with social energy

What does a brand’s audience care about? This is always the question to answer, especially in content marketing.

Frydl suggested creating content that’s rooted in real life. Employ authentic voices, whether you get a college athlete to make up protein-rich Chipotle dishes or find a mother of triplets to share her frank opinion on baby food.

When content resonates with its intended audience, “they share it,” Frydl said. “They share it to an enormous degree.”

Put that content to work

Gather socially energized voices to create a branded experience worth sharing. Frydl cited Federated Media’s work for Intel, where they engaged their audience through a fashion show with a twist.

Each model was in fact a fashion blogger, normally relegated to behind-the-scenes duties, and each carried an Intel Ultrabook on the runway. This capitalized on the fashionistas’ readership following who consequently shared the action online.

Capitalize on context

Perhaps even better, “respect the context,” Frydl said.

Most consumers are banner blind and have come to expect the right side of a web page to be a wasteland. Instead of perpetuating contextually weak strategies, be aware of the space in which you work. An ad loses power if those who land on its page have no interest in it and ignore it.

Frydl pointed to a Federated Media-produced example in which Levi’s Curve ID blog also played host to videos featuring fashion bloggers. These videos appeared behind each post, then expanded to fill more of the screen when clicked as opposed to navigating to a new page. Federated Media saw a resulting 53 percent lift in purchase intent. Their content was adaptable to its context, and presented users with a related, creative add-on to their initial experience.

Where traditional modes of marketing passively expected attention, content today should reach out and grab the audience. But just as in real life, this backfires if brands are perceived as overly aggressive or annoying.

By creating content with social energy, applying it to a specific brand, and placing it creatively, businesses can start and sustain valuable connections.

Cultivate reciprocal online relationships, and you might become one of the phenomena defined by The Law of Content on the Web.

Image courtesy of ULKASTUDIO/shutterstockEskemar/shutterstock


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