Content Shock Becomes Community Shock
Content Shock: Why Content Marketing Is Not A Sustainable Strategy is a highly influential post by Mark Schaefer. Mark outlines what every content marketer knows. We can’t ALL create an infinite amount of content and win. Attention is one of the few things that we can’t easily create more of.
We may improve our ability to process more information, but the number of minutes in a day is a constant. That number doesn’t change no matter how gifted our technology. Content shock’s too much content chasing too little attention graph says it all:
Mark is right and wrong about content. Right because it is going to be harder to create content that gets the social shares and attention needed to generate Return On Investment (ROI). Wrong because content is one of the pillars of online community.
You can’t build community without content. Content is not an end to itself. Content exists to create community. Community is where the magic of User Generated Content (UGC) and social shares happen. Community transforms their content into OUR content. Community is where engagement lives.
And engagement is where the positive heuristics you need come from. You need time on your site, pages viewed and the number of returning customers to increase. When your website’s heuristic measures go up, some like bounce rate need to go down, your site is more efficient. Google loves nothing quite as much as a site helping to improve their efficiency.
We are all in the community creation business now whether we realize it or not. Only a few websites are going to WIN the most important Internet marketing battle – the one for visitor/customer hearts and minds. When all Internet marketers are doing the same thing at the same time “shock” in inevitable. Extending Mark Schaefer’s content shock logic to community says more websites asking for community means fewer get to win, fewer get to build sustainable community.
This post is about 3 ways to avoid the coming community shock and build sustainable online communities.
Avoid Community Shock Tip #1: Be Social
Couple of week ago I created a Haiku Deck. Social Media: It’s the Conversation Stupid discusses something that only seems obvious – social media marketing is about being social.
Being social means little things like following more than half of the people that follow you. Being social means big things like listening, curating THEIR content into OUR content and working on ways to ask for, use and reward User Generated Content (UGC).
Avoid Community Shock Tip #2: Be Mobile
What does mobile have to do with the rising demand of community? Lots as it turns out. Ever observed what people are doing in the Starbucks line – playing with their smartphones.
Community is something that gets BETTER and BIGGER the more customers interact with it. This means your community, the one people will leave other communities to join, must be mobile. Mobile First means using smartphones as a game console and content as one of the pillars of a constantly engaged mobile community.
Avoid Community Shock Tip #3: Gamify
Gamification is the fourth “pillar” of community. For your community to WIN then your community must be self-reinforcing (i.e. using your community creates benefits & rewards). Members are also advocates. You want and need to know your 1% Contributors, 9% Supporters and 90% Readers groups.
This 1:9:90 Rule says 1% of your site’s visitors contribute something of value called User Generated Content (UGC), 9% will support your site’s content especially content contributed by the 1%ers and 90% will read in quiet importance. Quiet importance because those readers are what keeps this all important triptych balanced.
If readers go away site rankings drop. The best way to create increasing engagement with content turned into community is add simple competitive games. Games that reinforce your community’s value, reward top members, successfully segment visitors into personas, empowers sharing and gives community leaders jobs (advocacy) are some ways community grows stronger over time.
Every piece of content marketing rests on a foundation of community and exists to create community. Websites can’t create or sustain ROI from content marketing without community. Community is the key that opens the locked door of tomorrow’s Internet marketing and being social, mobile and creating games are three ways your community can avoid “community shock”.