Content Marketing is dead… unless its used in Context

Are you tired of seeing low ROI on your businesses social channels? you have great content right, so what’s wrong? Context. Ask yourself are you presenting your great content in the right way across those different channels?  

Content is definitely a buzz word in marketing, but it can be easy to forget the other elements and content alone will not get you the eyes and ears of your precious time-poor customers. 

Content (that adds value) is most effective when used in context. Context is the key here. I realised this after watching a great video Stop Storytelling Like it’s 2007 from Gary Vaynerchuk from  or you can follow him on twitter  (

By using context, we will be able to capture the eyes and ears of our audience. The power is in your consumers hands, they have banner blindness and are employing ad blockers at a phenomenal rate. The aim is to use content in context whilst providing value to consumers to get their attention.

So how do we know what context? We naturally change our content to suit the context in our daily lives. This could be speaking differently to our other half compared to speaking to our boss: or behaving differently in a boardroom compared to on a night out with friends.

But we don’t tend to do this online or specifically social media. I know I have been guilty of sharing the exact same photo across Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. As we are all consuming at an unprecedented rate and now have shorter time spans than ever. This survey done by Microsoft shows our attention has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds(a goldfish has a 9-second attention span). We need to respect the “why” of that channel and why people are there. By packaging the content  in the right context for that particular platform, you are immediately in a better position to capture the eyes & ears of your audience. 

Facebook: all-encompassing awareness of social circle
Twitter: news, links, #hashtags
Instagram: lifestyle imagery & #hashtags
Pinterest: intent to buy or aspiration to buy
Tumblr: animated GIFs

But make sure you are providing value to them, as Gary mentions in his talk there are social principles at play namely the

reciprocity principle. It is one of the basic laws of social psychology: It says that in many social situations we pay back what we received from others. In other words, if John does you a favour, you’re likely to return it to him.
Tweet Quote

If you provide value, value, value to your prospective customer then you can ask for them to buy your book/subscription etc. But in the marketing around us, its the other way around, ads shouting at customers buy x, y, z. We have to remember to think in terms of their needs and that will bring the eyes, ears and eventually loyalty.

What is Content Marketing? quoted from Dave Chaffey in Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice 

It’s the management of text, rich media, audio and video content aimed at at engaging customers and prospects to meet business goals published through print and digital media including web and mobile platforms which is repurposed and syndicated to different forms of web presence such as publisher sites, blogs, social media and comparison sites.

Context is making sure anything shared is relevant to the page/app content