While driving to work this morning, a radio
program was discussing the
six degrees of
separation theory. This theory proposes
that anyone in the world is only six steps (or less) away from anyone else.
This means that you could be connected to U2’s Bono, the Denver Broncos’ Peyton
Manning, or Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo through a maximum of these six
This is hard to believe considering that
world’s population is over seven
billion people. In 2008, researchers at Microsoft announced that the
theory is right – or very close. They studied 30 billion email messages
between 180 million people (in various countries) and discovered that any two
strangers are on average 6.6 degrees away from each other. With the exponential
growth of social networks, you have to wonder whether the distance between two
people has shortened.
Content Marketing and the Six Degrees of Separation Theory
According to the
Content Marketing Institute, content
marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable,
relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined
audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
The Definition of Content Marketing from 5 Leading Experts
By Israel Martinez
But wait, we’re missing something. Do you
remember the philosophical thought that says: “if a tree falls in the forest
and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” A successful content
marketing strategy is not just about creating relevant content; it’s also about
getting people to consume it. And according to the six degrees of separation
theory, your content is only six steps away from reaching every single (connected)
person in the world. The technologies to facilitate this global distribution (e.g.
social networks, email, etc.) are already available and widely used. Isn’t that
Content Marketing is not about likes, it’s about love.
Many marketers quantify their Facebook Likes
and their Twitter followers religiously. Likes are great: they mean you’re
accepted. But don’t you think a “Share” is more valuable than a “Like”? You
need people (preferably customers) to love your brand and share your content
with their friends and families. There is no better salesperson for your
products or services than a happy customer.
A customer who promotes your products or
services is called an advocate, and they can help you increase your reach and
your credibility substantially.
art of identifying happy customers and motivating them to share your content
and their positive experiences with your company is called Advocacy Marketing.
Advocacy marketing is based on the principle that you are far more
likely to be influenced by someone you trust than someone you don’t. What
resources do you have to start your advocacy marketing strategy? Here are the three
types of advocacy that your organization can turn to:
Paid advocates are those that companies
handsomely pay for, like actors or actresses, athletes, and any other
industry influencer that receives compensation for supporting your brand or
cause. While this sounds like traditional advertisement, it is significantly more subtle
when using social media. That being said, U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations state that if your
tweets is sponsored, it must be disclosed.
Turn your employees into advocates for your
organization. You can also include business partners or suppliers, who would
also benefit from increased credibility. They can share your content, but they
could also add their own stories and opinions to make the message more
powerful. You can attract not only more views of your content, but also the
added credibility needed to convert prospects who are considering your products and
These advocates are the most valuable and
scalable, and they also have the highest level of credibility. They are
customers of your product or admirers your brand. The way of earning these
advocates is by creating great content, telling thought provoking stories, and
showing leadership in your field.
Starting Your Advocacy Marketing Strategy
The easiest way to start an advocacy marketing program is by using your owned
advocacy: you have control over it and you can implement policies and
procedures. Employee advocacy can give your marketing team a great way of
amplifying the reach of their message and increase the effectiveness of your
overall marketing efforts.
Will it really make a difference if your
employees share the content your marketing department is sharing? Absolutely.
Organic reach of branded pages has been affected significantly by the amount of
In 2012, Facebook curbed organic reach of
content published by brand pages to 16%, and in 2013, they did it again. By
February this year, according to
organic reached decreased to nearly 6% for pages with over 500,000 likes, and
2% for smaller organizations. This means that your employees may have a much
greater reach than your branded page even though your page may have many more
Managing Your Employee Advocacy Program
Consider giving responsibility for your employee advocacy program to your content marketing managers. They can plan,
execute, and measure both strategies, making the process more cost effective.
A key principle of content marketing is
that you want to create content that is valuable to your potential market. If your audience feels like you’re advertising or selling to them, then your
advocacy strategy will have the opposite effect you’re expecting. To avoid
this, the content marketing manager can curate the posts to be shared, along with recommended messaging.
Aligning Content Marketing and Advocacy Marketing With
To successfully introduce an advocacy marketing program, it is important that
it motivates users to participate. For
this, it is important that you align your strategy with the goals of your
organization, such as: increased views, increase leads, etc. Just helping
you do your job may not provide the right motivation to participate.
Another advantage of aligning your strategy
with your organization’s goals is that your content and advocacy efforts will
be measurable, which will provide your colleagues with feedback, and more
motivation to keep helping.
As always, follow the
nail it before you scale it principle.
Start with small experiments: plan, execute, measure, learn and try again. And
if you have already started please share your experiences in the comments area below.