King of Content – insights from marketing strategist David Meerman Scott

Post by Andrew Thorp

The other day I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the world’s leading experts on marketing strategy, Massachusetts-based David Meerman Scott. Describing himself as a “recovering marketing VP”, he set up on his own in 2002 to champion a different way of marketing – more pull than push.

His ideas were encapsulated in his renowned best-selling book The New Rules of PR & Marketing, one of 8 he has so far published and a plea for companies to start communicating in a different way and embrace the possibilities of the new (free) digital channels. He advocates the creation and dissemination of original, authentic content and ‘real-time’ audience engagement as a way of standing out from the crowd and conveying who you are. All of which helps you attract the right audience for you!

David’s work has influenced me greatly, and I’m pleased to share a few insights(summarised in my own words) from our recent conversation.

David Meerman Scott on the topic of…

Most corporate presentations are pretty dull affairs, little more than data dumps. You definitely need to inject some passion into your talk, but presentations should also do THREE key things:

  • Entertain
  • Deliver information
  • Motivate people to ACT.

Content generation
Content matters and will help set you apart. “You are what you publish.” But it’s time consuming and companies often outsource their social media – but to the wrong types of people. They employ marketing people and copywriters who tend to promote the company’s product & service too overtly and one-dimensionally in their campaigns. Instead, they should employ journalists, people who’ve developed a ‘nose for a good story’ and can make an apparently dull topic interesting.

The same applies to the elite few who are given blogging responsibilities within an organisation – it’s often too sales-focused and should ideally involve the broader workforce.

Marketing ‘in the moment’
We’re too obsessed with the past and the future, when we should be focusing on what’s happening in the here and now. You can do great marketing now by being less pre-planned and more spontaneous. Social media has opened up the possibility of instant communication – it’s in real-time. Check out David’s newsjacking concept.

Letting employees blog
Companies are often worried about losing control when it comes to giving their staff a voice through social media. They might, after all, post inappropriate things which damage the company’s brand. But if you extended that argument you wouldn’t let them use the phone or talk to people about their work! Social media is just a different technology and this concern is actually a trust issue.

(Andrew: I recently heard some wise words about social media – “It doesn’t make you better or worse; it just amplifies what you really are.”).

About giving valuable content away
Some consultants worry that they’re giving all their knowledge away for free when they blog or produce white papers and videos. But it’s an extremely powerful way of raising your profile and authority, and it comes across as generous too.

Interview and talk about others
Bring other people into the frame by interviewing them about their successes, experiences and views. They add a kind of third-party validation (proof) for your ideas AND they’ll circulate your footage amongst their own networks.

(David wrote about the Grateful Dead’s decision to allow their fans to record their performances and encourage them to share the footage. And for a number of years they were the most successful touring band in the world. He also interviewed “True Colours” pop star Cindi Lauper on stage about her in-bound marketing strategy).

Stock photos of people for company websites
(We didn’t cover this in our interview but there’s a video clip on David’s website where he wonders “who the hell are these people?” They’re not actually employed by the company so why fake it?).

I strongly recommend you check out David’s website and study his work. He’s really generous in giving away free content and it’s powerful and practical material. Enjoy!

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Mojo Your Business is an innovative training & consultancy company based in Manchester, UK. We're passionate about helping businesses and individuals perform better through effective communication. We specialise in corporate storytelling and how it applies to internal and external communication (employee relations, employability skills, leadership, relationship building, sales, marketing and public relations). More at
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