There’s a guest post on the Spredfast company blog that takes the position we in the content marketing industry need to focus less on cadence and more on campaigns. Rachel Datz, the guest author, is of the opinion that emphasizing a certain number of posts on each social channel per day means content is being posted for its own sake, not as part of a bigger strategic objective. Instead, she argues, the mindset needs to be around “storytelling” but that we can only get there if we drop the daily/weekly minimum post count.
There are parts of Datz’s argument I agree with. All social strategy needs to be driven by business objectives. That might be pure engagement or audience acquisition, it might be a conversion of some kind. And she’s right that only be selecting the right channels to meet those objectives will a program succeed.
I don’t disagree that there’s much more importance now placed on making sure posts are seen than just the sheer volume of content produced. Her solution to post less frequently and pay for exposure is pretty much exactly what Facebook and Instagram want content marketers to do. It’s why those platforms have put restrictor plates on organic reach. It’s also how many social CMS platforms have been reconfigured, to lump everything into a campaign.
Campaigns are great, but my question is this: For programs that don’t have the dollars to pay for audience attention, what foundation are those campaigns meant to be built on?
The kinds of campaign Datz talks about are what I and my colleagues used to refer to as “premium content.” Those are the big spikes that come along once every two months or so that promote big events or major efforts. Those are the moments to pull out infographics, white papers and other content that is meant to draw people’s attention out of the everyday.
Without a bed of core content – the everyday small news that’s posted – those premium moments are left on their own, though. The core content, the 3x daily posting on Twitter, the daily post on Facebook etc, is what builds up that audience. That’s what makes the account a valuable one to follow.
Put it this way: If I’m not already engaging with and interested in what the company is posting every day, why am I going to be interested in those campaign stories?
Also, how does audience acquisition happen in the periods between those campaigns? While I don’t question that lots of people will find the account during the campaign periods, discounting the fallow periods and not continuing to pursue a strategy of consistent core content is shortsighted. You’re leaving people on the table, so to speak.
I’ve been responsible for a number of content programs over the last 10+ years and in every case I’ve counseled my clients to adopt a strategy of consistent daily publishing. Here’s why:
If you’re not putting messages out there you’re not giving the audience any opportunities to see your name.
If you’re not letting people see your name regularly, you’re ceding mindspace to the competition.
If you’re not putting messages out there regularly you’re not giving the audience any opportunities to amplify those messages.
If you’re not giving the audience opportunities to amplify your message, you’re not taking advantage of a significant source of organic growth.
And if you’re not publishing regularly, during different parts of the day every day, you’re ignoring big chunks of the audience.
It’s the equivalent of saying a local business should pull in the sign hanging over its storefront and only focus on TV commercials. Those are fine, but they’re not everything. It’s a mix of all many different content types, both big and small, that add up to success. Abandoning a consistent publishing cadence may be fine for brands with deep pockets who can afford to buy their way to the attention of hundreds of thousands of people, but that’s not everyone. Even for those who can afford it, the ROI is *much* different.
I’m not discounting a focus on a “storytelling” approach to content marketing, though that term gets thrown around a lot by many people who don’t understand what it really means. It’s just that needs to be one tactic in a bigger program that also includes the kind of core content that creates everyday connections and opportunities. Yes, the social marketing world is shifting, but there are ways to take advantage and reap the benefits of both approaches.