Content Marketing and The Tipping Point
Last weekend I was
organizing my bookshelf and found a book I read some time ago. Because I
enjoyed reading it so much, I made a cup of coffee and sat down for a couple of
hours to browse through the book. The title of the book is “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference,” by Malcom Gladwell.
In the book,
Gladwell describes the tipping point as a magic moment when an idea, trend, or
crosses a threshold and spreads like wildfire. Just like a
single person can start an epidemic, a small but precise push can cause a trend
or a product to become the next big thing.
Reaching a Tipping Point
But, how does this
happen? Can tipping points be planned?
Gladwell proposes that
three factors contribute significantly to the creation of social
epidemics and reaching a tipping point:
- The Law of the Few: social
epidemics are created by a small group of people with strong connections.
- The Stickiness Factor: the
product, idea, or trend needs to be memorable to spread quickly and
- The Power of Context: small
changes in the environment can make a big difference in how people act.
While the three
factors are important for a product or service to reach a tipping point it’s
“The Law of the Few” that gets my attention, especially in the context of content
A Few Can Lead to Many
Photo source: Bernard Goldbach on
The book proposes
that a small group of influential people play a large role in creating social
epidemics, and the group includes what he calls
Connectors, Mavens, and
Salespeople. Connectors are defined as the people with a large number
of social connections, people who can bring people together. Mavens are
experts, the people we trust about specific topics. And Salespeople are people
who can persuade others when in doubt.
While these people
may not be end customers, they can all help ignite a cause, whether it’s
introducing a new product, enrolling others into a program, or getting the word
out about a specific situation.
Content Marketing and the Law of the Few
Let’s consider how
apply “The Tipping Point” to your content marketing.
your target audience
is a key component of your strategy; you need to know whom
you’re creating content for. That way, your message will be more effective.
Most articles speak about the different personas involved during the purchase
process and the sales cycle. In short, most organizations are trying to
“infect” the potential buyer directly.
The “Law of the
Few” tells us that there is a small group of people who hold the key to
influencing the entire group. It’s good to identify the personas involved
during the purchase process but you could get better results by identifying
your Connectors, Mavens, and Salespeople.
This is called
Image source: Sean MacEntee on flickr.
marketing and content marketing go well together, like peanut butter and jelly.
They’re both good on their own but they’re even better when you put them
together. If you want to supercharge your content marketing efforts, you can
turn to the influencers. They can give credibility to a piece of content, and
at the same time that they can amplify your reach and awareness.
If you want to get
into influencer marketing, you first need to identify your key influencers and
engage them in conversations with the goal of getting them on board to
co-create and share content. But to make it really work, you need to create a
content marketing plan that will build influencer relationships. You can
nurture influencers just like you nurture leads.
In the buyers
journey there are typically three stages: the awareness stage, the consideration
stage, and the decision stage. And you can use the same idea to understand your
influencers and their journey. Let’s see what this could look like:
This is the
starting point. You first need to make the influencer aware of who you are and
what problems your products or services solve. Getting influencers’ attention
can require some effort but there are a few things you can try, like:
- Follow them on Twitter and
other social networks
- Reach out to them through a
social channel or comment on their blog
- Share their content and
This is where your
relationship starts to shape up. Your influencer is
aware of you and
understands your organization, and you can build interest by discussing potential
win-win situations, like:
- Share stories
- Ask them for feedback before
important presentations or before publishing a piece of content
- Share thoughts about topics in
- Look for common ground, things
that you both like (or dislike). Even if they’re not completely related to the
content you want to create, this helps you generate trust
This is all about
delivering mutual value. Some of the tactics you can use in this stage include
- Having them as speakers at your
company’s events and conferences
- Invite them to participate in
- Co-create content in the
form of eBooks, whitepapers, blogs, or videos
- Share each other’s content with
a comment that supports each other ideas
This is a simple
framework for you to try to create a social epidemic by implementing the “Law
of the Few” principle from Gladwell's book. Work with your influencers and with some luck you will
infect them with your message and they’ll take care of spreading it to the rest
of your market.
Use the Comments section below to share your experience in applying related principles to your content marketing. Thanks!