Or how about “The Way,” which is AOL’s much-maligned, leaked-to-the-interweb editorial bible. It sounds rather like an unappealing diet that depends heavily on herbal colonic cleansing.
But they’re only human. And the pull of havng a magic formula is such the marketer M.O. So while Demand Media and AOL’s content models draw snark, they do raise two important questions:
1) Quality or quantity?
2) How should brands respond to real-time conversations?
This Panda Wants to See the Dessert Menu.
How much content is enough? Based on Google’s Panda update, it’s no longer a question of quantity, but quality.
Just to backtrack. Last May, Google decided to throw its weight around and at the so-called “content farms.” Called the “Panda update” after one of Google’s engineers, it changed Google’s ranking algorythm to penalise sites that publish low quality content--simply for higher search rankings.
In the words of Google’s Official Blog, “At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.” Looks like Google’s making a strong case for better original content.
Yahoo. It’s no longer about eyeballs. It’s about originality.
Even Yahoo is jumping on the quality bandwagon as it announced on 4 October 2011 that it’s looking for more original content.
As mentioned in the NYTimes article, “Despite a huge audience of 686 million users and resources like high-tech film studios and talent-filled newsrooms, Yahoo’s future is in doubt.”
What’s the solution? Original reporting. Quality content. Strong editorial voice.
As the NYTimes reports, “So how does Yahoo get people to stick around longer? It thinks Yahoo Sports is the model. Over the last few years, sports, more than any other Yahoo media site, bet big on original coverage by hiring reporters and writing original articles. Yahoo Sports also produces a number of online video shows, including game highlights and Fantasy Football Live.”
So let’s get back to my original #2 question. How should brands responds to real-time conversations?
Ok duh. I already answered part of my question. Yes. They should respond.
How they respond depends on the conversations taking place. And to respond in a meanfully way, brands should first sit back and listen for a bit. Time for a Social Media Listening Audit.
Yes, just like using, "interface with" rather than "speak to, the term "Social Media Listening Audit" has some wanky connotations. Despite the title, a SM Listening Audit is an incredibly helpful input to content strategy.
Social Media listening is a process of combining listening parameters e.g. topics with analysis. More than just plugging some keywords into tools like Radian Six or Sysomos, it takes thoughtful review and knowledge of the SM space to produce valuable data for editorial calendars and content strategies.
For example, while working on a FMCG site, our social media teams listened and then discovered data on consumer product preferences, flavour preferences, and consumer concerns over CSR issues. All this data helped us pin down which specific topics and tools would appeal to a community of ready brand advocates.
- Great that we all agree quality is job 1. Goals are nice, achieving goals is better.
- Let's stop talking and start doing. Content Strategy practioners need to pick up the ball and make recommendations that go beyond "should" to "how."