If Content is King, You Must be the Court Jester

Written on May 13, 2008 – 2:30 pm | by Brian Wallace |

Social Media Court Jester
(image credit: iPhotograph)

When it comes to hearing about success in social media, we’ve all heard the mantra everyone uses: “content is king.” And yes, there is truth in that statement. How can anything be expected to virally spread like wildfire with crappy content?

Imagine, if you will…the content court jester. How many times have you been surfing around through StumbleUpon and come across a patently obvious sponsored stumble? Yes, StumbleUpon says that these things will happen for 1 in 20 stumbles. Does that mean that a paid stumble has to be a content court jester? Of course not. It was just poor planning on the marketer that spent more time on the campaign than the actual content.

Face it. Nobody likes to be sold. Let people see what you have to offer and have them make their own decisions. The best marketing out there is so subtle or enjoyable, you don’t even realize (or mind) that you are being marketed to.

Now, this isn’t to say that content court jesters do not have their place in the world. It could just be that a company is doing a landing page test to see how well they are converting. Such companies should be warned: social media users are well armed with thumbs down, snarky comments, and adblock, so they had best do their business in the most attractive way possible.

Remember boys and girls..”content is king.” Just because the page was promoted through social media doesn’t mean it it doesn’t convert. Conversions happen. Conversations at the least will happen, and you’ll hear what people really think of you.

(Image credit: wwwigz)

And now, for something entirely different…

Back to our StumbleUpon point. The whole idea of this article came about after I saw what appeared to be a sponsored stumble from Nokia. Then, I looked at its Stumble record:

Nokia on StumbleUpon

If you’ve been around StumbleUpon enough, you’ve probably seen this page by the likes of Nokia and others. Nokia isn’t stupid. So why such a sales page on StumbleUpon? Conversions. Sure, people thumbed it down. At the end of the day, if they are a high enough conversion rate, it may be well worth it for them. Even if conversion is poor, people are talking about them and they have some valuable analysis on their hands.
Social media marketing eventually comes down to ROI, like any other marketing.

Granted, a more subtle page may return a higher ROI, of course the only way to know would be to test both side by side.

The king may rise and fall from power. Perhaps the court jester makes sense: he pays his bills ­čÖé

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  1. 12 Responses to “If Content is King, You Must be the Court Jester”

  2. By Barbara Ling on May 13, 2008 | Reply

    I think that comes under the old adage, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

  3. By Trisha on May 13, 2008 | Reply

    Do you read Copyblogger? Because I distinctly remember something like this on Copyblogger about a month ago…

  4. By Mark on May 14, 2008 | Reply

    Sure, being a content jester works – but is this a sustainable practice? How many times can you get away with it?

  5. By Brian Wallace on May 14, 2008 | Reply

    @Barbara Ling: publicity can be a tricky thing. Sometimes it really has bite if it is bad publicity. Well put.

    @Trisha: sure, I check out Copyblogger sometimes, yet don’t recall which post you’re talking about.

    @Mark: Getting away with it makes it sound so dirty ­čÖé
    The point I was trying to get across is to try to make was to make the content the as social friendly as possible. Good marketing is when people don’t notice and/or care that they are being marketed to anymore. They are uplifted, entertained, and may even start to think about things differently.

  6. By Mark Dykeman on May 14, 2008 | Reply

    I haven’t seen the Nokia ad before, so I’ll be watching.

  7. By Gab Goldenberg on May 15, 2008 | Reply

    One frequent commenter here at C-T constantly sends me his posts on SU. At first I thought it was cuz I’m a free user so those were paid stumbles. THen I realized that’s the “send” function. IMHO, that spammy behaviour is far worse and more annoying than ads that aim – shock! horror! – to make a buck. I agreed in the TOS to see ads. I didn’t agree to get sent the same page repeatedly by some egomaniacal jerk. Not to mention that his posts are court-jesterish for the most part.

    So? So the court spammer lost me as a friend.

  8. By Malte Landwehr on May 20, 2008 | Reply

    With social media efforts you should never focus on short term ROI but on brand and reputation building as well. No Nokia is marked as a callow participant in the social media circus and will have a hard time getting people to manually bookmark, stumble, digg, etc. their content. Because even if they publish cool content, some people will remember what the did at SU at think “no, this is just another marketing/pr crap”.

  9. By Bill Sebald on May 25, 2008 | Reply

    You know, I did see this – I’m glad you’re bringing out this topic, Brian. Nice.

  10. By Charles on May 29, 2008 | Reply

    In their case, it was worth it either way. They can take that information and use it when planning their next campaign. Did it damage their reputation? Maybe a little, but I think they’ll survive it.

  11. By Dhany on Jan 13, 2010 | Reply

    Hehe… well said. I believe content is king and SEO is the queen. While quality is for human, SEO is for the search engines.

  1. 2 Trackback(s)

  2. Jul 7, 2008: 17 Social Sites To Spam For Backlinks | Caroline Middlebrook
  3. Jul 31, 2008: Quality; the ultimate marketing tool | Collective Thoughts

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