A Scenic Tour of the Online World

The Essence of Content Marketing

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

The “essence” of just about anything deserves more than a blog post’s worth of attention. Entire books can and have been written. But an article I read this morning summed up so completely the fine line we dance not only with content marketing but with business networking and other forms of business communication in this age of information overload.

Andrew Ross Sorkin’s Dealbook column in the New York Times this morning focused on a startup that he quipped was like a “Rolodex for the 1%.” Relationship Science has built a database of two million dealmakers with profiles for each. More important than the “Rolodex” aspect, though, is the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” aspect. Type in a name and, much like LinkedIn, you can see how you might be connected to a person through your own network of contact.

It’s a pretty cool idea – one of those, “why didn’t someone think of this before” ideas – but what really struck me was this factoid buried at the end of the piece:

One of the most vexing and perhaps unusual choices Mr. Goldman seems to have made with Relationship Science is to omit what would be truly valuable information: phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

Mr. Goldman explained the decision. “This isn’t about spamming people.” He said supplying phone numbers wouldn’t offer any value because people don’t like being cold-called, which he said was the antithesis of the purpose of his database.

Ultimately, he said, as valuable as the technology can be in discovering the path to a relationship, an artful introduction is what really counts.

“We bring the science,” he said. “You bring the art.”

 No phone numbers, no email addresses. So, Relationship Science will help you figure out how you might be able to pitch a prospect, but they won’t give you the tools to spam them.

That’s worth thinking about as you plan your content marketing work – all your marketing work. People don’t like to be cold-called. People don’t like being come on to too strongly. People want to develop a relationship and the trust that goes with it. Don’t overstep the invitation your audience gives you. Work hard to get them to expand the invitation further.

That’s a great guiding principle for developing content for each stage of your audience’s buying process.



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