Social Media Week: The Building Blocks of Content

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Noah Brier, the co-founder of Percolate, took to the stage this morning at Social Media Week NYC to give a broader perspective on the process that goes into content marketing process and tap into the ideal mindset of a brand content creator.

The “building blocks of content” can be defined as the set of goals, objectives, ideas and strategies that every brand keeps in mind when creating content. These blocks stem from challenges that content marketers face, including efficiency and staying on-brand, and factors like new target customers, new markets, and new platforms which make these challenges more difficult.

Building block 1: Audience

“All marketing content needs to take into account the audience it’s trying to reach.” Essentially, it’s impossible to go into the content creation process blind. A brand’s audience is the set of people that they want to engage through content and potentially turn into customers and community members. Many tools, including LinkedIn and Facebook, are available to marketers to target their content at audiences as specific as “middle-aged women in the Midwest who have bought a frozen pizza in the last two months.”

Building block 2: Trigger

Trigger is the “flash, event, idea, or moment” that helps guide the content being produced. This idea is partly inspired by Rebecca Lieb of Altimeter group, who laid out the four buckets of content (planned, unplanned, proactive, reactive). Each of these categories of content has a set of triggers. For example, planned content can come from a future product release or event, and unplanned content can come from random inspiration found in an article or a clever realtime reaction to a Super Bowl power outage.

Building Block 3: Brand

While the “pretty” aspect of marketing content is important, it’s still crucial to include and highlight brand elements like voice, logo, fonts, and colors. Ultimately, the purpose of marketing content is to convert an audience into leads and sales, and in order to achieve this, the presence of the brand must be not only evident but impacting.

Building block 4: Topic/Category

Defining a topic for marketing content helps stay on-brand and relevant in the industry in which your brand aims to become a thought leader. Identifying a few pillars that represent the goals and vision of your brand as well as subjects of interest of your audience will help stay on topic and focus marketing content appropriately.

Bulding Block 5: Campaign/Event

“Events help brands plan into the future.” Whether the event be a conference, product release, or special promotion, events help structure content marketing efforts and provide ways for content teams to collaborate around a certain objective and create specific, relevant content.

Building Block 6: Business Objective

*Engagement is not a business objective.* While social and community engagement are great ways to gauge the relevance and success of marketing content, they aren’t ways to measure the success of a business. These metrics can be used as a proxy to meet business objectives by providing insights into what makes audiences react and what doesn’t. With this information, marketers can work with brand teams to define business objectives and equate them to engagement metrics to evaluate the performance of content.

Building Block 7: Platform

“Platforms are like fingerprints: each one is unique.” Ultimately, platforms are where your content lives. However, because they are all unique, it’s important to evaluate which ones are the best roads to your audience and create content unique to each of them. Whether the best platform for your brand is Facebook, Twitter, digital banner ads, or even Snapchat, keep in mind that a TV ad wouldn’t be placed into a print newspaper, and this principle should be applied to web platforms as well.

Ultimately, “Great marketing content is aimed at an audience, fits a topic focus area, is associated with an event, pushed to a platform, triggered by an internal or external force, meets a business objective, and represents the brand.”

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About the Author

Ally Greer
Ally is's Director of Content & Community. She loves to geek out over anything social, Internet, or tech related. When she isn't working, you'll probably find her running the streets of San Francisco. Follow Ally on Twitter @allygreer.
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