Something Is King.
I’m not sure what, but every day it seems to change.
One day Content is King. The next, it’s engagement. Then it’s disruption. A few days ago, my nemesis (and good friend) David Deutsch of SynergiSocial wrote an article proclaiming that “contact”, not “content” is king.
Every time David says something I basically foam at the mouth to prove him wrong, but this time it was extra special because he’s actually wrong.
King Is Subjective
Is content king? It is to a content creator.
Is engagement king? It is to a social media guru/ninja/shaman/rockstar.
Is contact king? Well, to someone whose formal business title is “Chief Lead Generator” it certainly is.
Looking at you, David.
Ok, so what is King?
The answer is simple. There is no king.
The Queen Of Marketing
Anyone that tells you that their particular side of the marketing bubble is the most important part is being short sighted. That’s not to say that they are wrong. If fact, I’ll take back something I said before; David is not wrong. Actually he’s right. He’s right about contact being the natural progression of content. But the thing he’s right about is only a fragment of marketing.
Content, contact, engagement as well as all forms of web, search and social marketing go hand in hand. They rely on one another. They inform one another. They are neither better nor more important than any other.
In this sense there are many kings. Content. Contact. Engagement and so on.
All of them are ruled over by one over arching queen.
Who is that Queen?
Basic marketing principles.
These principles mandate that all of the pieces must fit together. Good content isn’t effective without contact. Exceptional contact – or what we call networking – can’t survive without good content. And then there are other branches to this tree of marketing such as visual identity, branding and so on.
So what I want you, and by extension David, to reflect on is that no one branch off of this marketing tree is more important than the other. No one rules over the other. In this metaphor, the trunk is the overall marketing. All of the branches reach out to the sky, grow leaves and provide nutrition to the trunk. But unlike in real life, one bad branch can have a corrosive effect on the overall tree.
The Fruit Of The Tree Of Knowledge
For you, dear reader, this tree may grow fruit that looks delicious. You may want to pick this fruit and decide that the branch that produced the fruit is the best of all. But you know that you’d be wrong. All of your branches can produce fruit if those branches are cultivated properly.
This means that you treat them all like “the king”. Make your content the best it can be, but also create your content so that it supports and enhances your networking and social and engagement activities.
Then and only then will your marketing tree become stronger and stronger.
Conversely, if you focus too much on a single branch, all of the others will wither away and die. And what you’ll be left with is one good branch that will bring down your entire tree under its crushing weight.
Ok. That metaphor is beginning to creep me out a bit, so let’s tone it down and get back to the real world.
David is right that contact is important. He’s also right that content should lead to contact. But he’s misidentifying their relative importance. They are, and will always be, equally important.
Create Your Non Metaphorical Tree
Now that you know better you should take a few moments to grow your own tree. Get some paper and a pen or pencil and start writing out all of the marketing branches that your tree has and all the marketing branches you think you should have.
Give yourself an indication of which branches are strong and which branches are weak. Then ask yourself what you could do to make those branches stronger. Understand that as you strengthen each individual branch, all the others will become stronger and your marketing tree as a whole will become stronger.
This is a fundamental principle of marketing: don’t focus on just one thing.
There are a lot of people out there that focus on one thing. David’s not one of them, but there are a lot of anti-Davids out there. They want you to put all of your marketing eggs into one basket so that…
Sorry. I’ll stay away from yet another metaphor.
Let’s put it in terms we can both understand. Some marketers want to sell you whatever service they are offering by presenting it as the most essential, bar none. Stay away from that thinking. Marketing requires a balance of many different disciplines and creative skills to get right. One avenue simply isn’t going to work.
So to you, dear David, I understand your point. You’re trying to get businesses to think differently about their approach, but I think a better lesson would be “contact is king, but so is everything else.”
Please read David’s article and let him and me know what you think. If there’s enough discussion, maybe we’ll have him on our podcast to discuss it further.
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