Andy Wiedlin (@acwiedlin) is the chief revenue offer for Buzzfeed. While you might not expect a finance guy to offer great insight on what makes content work in social networks, in fact, Andy did just that, underlying anecdote with facts and providing tips on creating spreadable content.
The common theme of Andy’s presentation was earned media, and the credibility it generates. The element of personal recommendation that reTweets, Likes and Shares carry makes sharing palatable. But he noted that brands need to really think about what people want to share, and why people share content on an individual level.
With the drivers of audience behavior firmly in mind, Andy went on to discuss developing content that works. He noted that social media isn’t free. Creating the kind of visibility and awareness that delivers top line business impact requires discipline and resources, especially around content creation and audience cultivation.
While the struggle to connect social media to top line returns is well documented, content marketing (which is largely powered by social sharing) is a different story. Content plays a specific role in the decision process and provides potent support to prospects who are different stages of the decision journey.
In terms of connecting qualified (and interested) audience with related messaging, the value of social media is not in dispute. In fact, for Buzzfeed, social traffic rivals that referred from search engines.
The discussion reminded me of a session from Content Marketing World last month, on what Google calls the “zero moment of truth,” which is the time that elapses between a consumer’s first exposure to your brand, and their subsequent action. The content that is available to consumers during the ZMOT ultimately has a primary role in influencing their next action.
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Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.