The blurring line between UGC and branded content

“Gen Z kids have never known a world where their private browsing data wasn’t commodified. They’ve grown up surrounded by brands tweeting memes, partnering with influencers, and angling to profit off their attention. That’s probably why they’re no less likely to share content if it was produced by a corporation, or if it has a promotional or advertisement bent. The line between UGC and branded content has gotten blurry.

The Latest Insights on Gen Z (Contently)

When marketers talk about UGC and working with micro-influencers, are we talking about the online equivalent of street teams? From the Wikipedia entry:

“The now ubiquitous “street team” model was originally developed by urban record labels […] labels found it affordable and highly effective bridge to their target audience that did not require the traditional outlets found in print, radio, television mediums and elusive large scale record distribution deals.”

Rally a bunch of fans together and give them an incentive to promote a product they already like or use. It’s like a refer-a-friend program with kickbacks.

Of course Gen Z is going to be all over that. Heck, I’d be all over that if I was a teen looking to make some money on the side.

The value of local biz websites for SEO

“Far from it being the case that websites have become obsolete, they are the firmest bedrock for maintaining free local SERP visibility amidst an increasing scarcity of opportunities.”

Why Local Businesses Will Need Websites More than Ever in 2019 (Moz)

Small businesses need websites. The website is a single “source of truth” that they control. Everything else they do online — Facebook, Instagram, Google My Business — should point back to it.

I’m biased of course — I work at GoDaddy, we sell a website builder, and we sell WordPress hosting — but I was an advocate of getting local businesses online long before I joined GoDaddy. It’s why got into web development as a career.

Facebook isn’t a community

There’s no such thing as a 2.2BN+ “community” — as the company prefers to refer to its globe-spanning user-base. So quite how the massive diversity of Facebook users can be meaningfully represented by the views of a last resort case review body with as few as 11 members has not yet been made clear.”

Meet Facebook’s latest fake (TechCrunch)

Facebook talks about community but they outsource moderation. In turn, there’s no room for nuance or subjectivity in their content policies, but that’s exactly how a community governs itself.

Facebook — sorry, FACEBOOK — isn’t a community. It’s a database marketing platform. It’s a behemoth repository of personal information with a handful of apps running on top of it to gather more information for the database.

Are FB’s apps useful? Absolutely. But the app users aren’t customers and they sure aren’t a community. FACEBOOK’s advertisers are their customers and, arguably, more of a “community” than the users.

Post-publish: Reshare, repost, remix

“The idea behind this is simple: Once you press publish on a piece of content there are three things you can do with it to drive optimal results: reshare it, repost it or remix it. Each of these techniques should make up a portion of your distribution engine for every asset you create.”

Content distribution processes (Ross Simmonds)

Emphasis mine. And I agree.

We spend so much time creating the original “thing” — the blog post, the video, the newsletter, the book, the podcast, the presentation, the workshop — and we just let it languish.

So, what if, instead of creating another thing, we do more with what we have?

I’ve talked about this before. I even did a talk on it at PodCamp Toronto this year. Pulling from that, the idea was to get five unique pieces of content out of a single blog post:

  • A written post
  • Visuals
  • Presentation
  • Video
  • Podcast 

Yet, despite riffing on this idea way back in February, I haven’t really put it into practice this year. I’m still chasing new content and new topics.

Guess that’s something else to add to my goals for 2020. 🙂

The context of search queries

“Knowing that a term is informational only gets you so far. If you miss that the content desired by that query demands a list you could be creating long-form content that won’t satisfy intent and, therefore, is unlikely to rank well.”

Query Syntax (AJ Kohn)

Understand what people want when they enter a search query, lest you waste time on creating things that don’t solve for what they need.

Good marketing is…

“Good Marketing is showing, not telling. Good marketing is delivering stories and experiences that incite emotions. Good marketing focuses on solutions to your problems. Bad marketing pushes. Bad Marketing compares oneself to the competition. Bad marketing focuses on features.”

The Drift Marketing Manifesto (Drift)

I like these group manifestos. Lock ’em down early. They give everyone in the organization something to anchor on.

Content loops & demand gen

“Too many teams wait until there’s big search volume to go after a keyword. By then it’s harder to rank, more competitive, and you’ve already missed a lot of the benefits of ranking. Go for it early, when it’s easier to rank, and you can enjoy the ride to the top.”

Building content loops for word-of-mouth growth (Blake Thorne)

A good read on prioritizing sharing & word-of-mouth referrals over straight search traffic. The idea being that search will eventually follow.

This is basically what I think of whenever someone mentions “demand gen”: You’re creating interest and intent around a nascent topic.

HubSpot did it with inbound marketing. Drift did it with conversational marketing (and now their competitors are going after the term) and Gather Content is doing it with content operations.

Reach Teach Sell for community growth

Earlier this year I published a blog post about Reach Teach Sell, my practical marketing framework. I was mainly thinking about content at the time, but as of late, I’m thinking about community a whole lot more.

What does “community” mean, anyway?

Here’s how I define it:

  • A community is a network of people with something in common
  • A community group is a structured organization, consisting of members from the community

When we talk about building a community, in the context of a business, we’re often talking about organizing a community group.

Communities are organic. They don’t get built. They grow.

That said, I’ll often use the word “community” when referring to a “community group” — e.g. “join the community”, “stories from the community”, “welcome to the community”, etc…

Keep reading…Reach Teach Sell for community growth