Long ago Google began saying “atomize and distribute” content on the web to gain influence among engaged audiences (or consumers). So, instead of putting all your marketing effort behind a large-scale destination website and spending an enormous amount of money, time and human capital driving traffic to it, you’d generate content modules and spread them throughout social networks and community sites for people to discover and share them at will.
Back in the old days (of a few years ago) when destination websites ruled the web, usability ruled the roost. Giving people a clear, unambiguous path from the home page into the parcels of content they want was the ultimate goal.
Now that content is both aggregated at a brand site (remember, we live in an “and” world now) and distributed through social networks widely across the web, findability is singularly most important. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the foundation for making content findable. And social media optimization (SMO) is ever more important in this context.
Discovering a relevant, useful chunk of branded content online gives consumers a reason to go deep with a brand. Whether they do depends on persuasion — good old-fashioned advertising salesmanship will never become irrelevant. Never.
As the debate between brand “story” vs. brand “utility” gets more and more blurry thanks to digital convergence, the only answer is to stop debating in the first place. Story “and” utility must complement each other in order to persuade consumers to take one or more steps that lean into the brand — the only way to go deep is to choose (or click) for oneself.
Rohit Bhargava’s blog post about Social Media Optimization hits the relevance and importance of this new practice in the sweet spot.