“Tell me, I forget. Show me, I remember. Involve me, I understand.”
– Ancient Chinese Proverb
Who would have thought that one of the earlier content marketing and social media pundits was actually an ancient Chinese scribe?
I came across the above proverb several weeks ago, after our Langley Center for New Media’s Content Marketing Retreat: How to Use Content for Marketing Success event wrapped up. Until then, I’d been procrastinating how to summarize the content from that very informative day!
The proverb made me think that the sum of presentations given by Joe Pulizzi, myself, Terri Nopp, Jack Penland, Hanson Hosein, Eleanor Fye, Kevin Lund, T.A. McCann, Bill Flitter, Andrew Davis and Matt Heinz was about how the “tell me” days of marketing and PR are declining, and the “show me” and “involve me” days of marketing and PR are here to stay.
For example, the “show me” aspects of content marketing that were touched upon during the retreat were about being relevant and informative, about being authentic, and about realizing that compelling visual storytelling engages people in ways that traditional advertising and marketing don’t.
The “involve me” aspects of content marketing, it’s pretty clear, are the social media aspects, i.e. the engagement and conversations that come from listening to each other and sharing.
Other aspects of the retreat’s presentations touched more upon the mechanics of content marketing, including content strategy, content distribution, measurement and analytics, and where content marketing fits into the sales funnel.
This latter aspect of the dialog helped me recognize that, at the end of the day, the content marketing dialog isn’t asking marketers and PR practitioners to depart greatly from the ways of the past.
Like traditional marketing and PR, good content marketing requires research, planning, customer insight, creative brainstorming, product positioning, campaign evaluation, and so on, in order to be successful.
What’s different, as our ancient Chinese seer has implied, is that greater emphasis needs to be on “showing” your audience relevant, compelling, entertaining or educational content so that they remember you, and talk about you. And even greater emphasis needs to be placed on “involving” your audiences, so that they understand that you or your product are the best available.
I’d like to thank everyone who participated in the Content Marketing Retreat in January. It was a great learning experience coupled with great networking opportunities, dinners and parties.
I look forward to the next time we can all get together!