In 2016 we sure did hear a LOT about content. It was the year of ‘Content Marketing.’ As well all know, marketing is and always has been about information. Or rather, informing. So it should come as no surprise that another #SMXChat discussion about content will challenge us to think differently about how we, as marketers, do and will do things.

A recent tweet stated (paraphrased): “Just create content that your audience will love!”

There are a couple of things that can be critiqued in this exclamation:

  • First, although concern for an audience is noble, defining a MARKET accurately is paramount to broadcasting to an ‘audience.’
  • Second, ‘content creation’ stems from the soul of business culture and organization’s strategy. It comes from the story, the ‘Why’ behind what we are in business for. It is not cookie-cutter fluff that gets ‘eyeballs on the page.’ It is aligned with the strategic direction in every way, because, if it tells as story, that narrative has to be about ‘who we are.’

Re-thinking our approach to content and strategy reopens the age-old conflict of quantity vs. quality. And it awakens a new argument for organizational narrative (i.e., content) that meets specific criteria for quality, namely:

  • Context – Information that precisely matches the contextual need of a requestor.
  • Timeliness – Delivery of information IN THE MOMENT where the information need is critical.
  • Value – Inciting action that benefits the requestor and the provider.

For sure, there are authors and organizations that approach their content creation in this manner today. And interestingly, there is at least one content platform that is taking this philosophy seriously. Medium CEO Ev Williams announced last week that @Medium was ‘renewing Medium’s focus.‘ The problem:

“…incentives driving the creation and spread of content were not serving the people consuming it or creating it — or society as a whole.”


“The current system causes increasing amounts of misinformation…and pressure to put out more content more cheaply — depth, originality, or quality be damned. It’s unsustainable and unsatisfying for producers and consumers alike….We need a new model.” -Ev Williams, writing on the creation of new content model for Medium.

Williams reflects further that ad-based revenue incentives for content perpetuate just the kind of content trickery that serves no one except the corporations behind it all, which are, obviously, furthering their own agenda(s).

So, what’s the alternative? Again, Williams says:

“We believe there are millions of thinking people who want to deepen their understanding of the world and are dissatisfied with what they get from traditional news and their social feeds. We believe that a better system — one that serves people — is possible.”

And such possibility is opened up by inventing processes that create incentives and rewards based on the VALUE that we create for PEOPLE.  Admittedly and unfortunately, it is impossible to describe exactly what such a system looks like. Why? Because it is a completely inverted approach to the mechanism of rewards that relies on sharing value from the bottom up, from the creators’ perspective. Think of it an an inverted pyramid scheme. Value (and profit) that reaches the upper point is what remains AFTER the creators get their rightful share. Sound revolutionary? Perhaps. Or maybe its simply a concept whose time has arrived.

Q1) How does business strategy influence content marketing goals? #SMXChat

Q2) Does content marketing create value directly? How? Should it? #SMXChat

Q3) Where should value manifest in content marketing? With consumers? With creators? With businesses? #SMXChat

Q4) When the primary incentive is money, you get what you get. Agree or disagree? #SMXChat

Q5) How do you see value being a consistent driver of content strategy? #SMXChat