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According to a recent talk at Outbrain NY, one of the most powerful voices of online news discovery, Gabe Rivera, believes algorithms will never be able to curate as effectively as humans.

This is why your content marketing initiatives should never underestimate human action.

I love my role here at Econsultancy as Content Marketing Executive because it’s a huge opportunity as well as a nine to five. My job is to study best practices from the rapidly evolving field of Content Marketing and apply the principles to some of the most desirable information on the internet: Econsultancy’s reports.

Recently I gave a talk here in London at Daniel McLaren’s Sports Tech Meetup on 'How to Content Market for Human Interaction'. Across the Atlantic on the same day, Gabe Rivera (founder of Techmeme/MediaGazer) was speaking at Outbrain NY on my same principle: algorithms will never be able to curate as effectively as humans. Win!!! 

If one of the most powerful voices of online news discovery is thinking along the same lines – then you are onto something. So what does content marketing for human action mean?

Entering the age of ‘Machined Media’

At the last Content Marketing Show, a valuable forum for ideas that Kelvin Newman (Brighton SEO) has put together, more than a couple of speakers touched on the phrase and concept of “machined media”.

This blanket terminology will probably resonate and linger when it comes to conveying how algorithms (think Facebook’s Open Graph, LinkedIn Today’s network, Reddit...etc) are now in place at the beginning of the news cycle to auto-surface the news/content most shared before editorial review.

For more info on how this is changing the way we think about content marketing at Econsultancy, check out my post on optimising content for LinkedIn Today.

Machined Media, while an unfortunately grim sounding word choice, is an important starting place for understanding today’s media consumption habits, especially as Facebook ramps up mobile offerings, and more and more of us are reading/consuming on tablets and smartphones.

It doesn’t mean, however, that all online content moving forward will be sourced, presented and published by machines for humans – we aren’t at SkyNet stage just yet!!

PR is the new SEO – PR is human-to-human

Today’s content marketer enjoys a multi-faceted role, and day-to-day activities can include engagement with media and stakeholders around messaging; sitting in on meetings across varying departments (for me it’s mainly Marketing, Editorial, Training and Client Services); content creation (anything from blog posts and quick informal surveys to video); web research and tracking around our brand and topics; writing press releases or brainstorming larger topical trends around our verticals.

But the most important thing to remember as a content marketer (after you come in to work and look at your overwhelming to do list) is that you cannot just sit back and automate a human relationship, and a human-to-human relationship will always be between you and a successful initiative.

Old school tools

There are many great SaaS offerings and startups out there which aid in the finding/pitching/tracking aspects of content marketing. We’ve even covered a few here on our blog, and will continue to do so.

It's important to remember though that the most important tool of your trade as a content marketer is being an approachable human being, and I’d advise that you also revisit an invention called the telephone as well.

Your approachability factors into how you source content from the individuals that are a part of your organisation. Are you meeting/speaking with them regularly? Do you know what they think the best upcoming content you can market will be?

Alternatively when pitching, picking up the phone and making a quick call to a journalist to introduce yourself and ask what they are currently writing on is probably the most potent weapon in your arsenal. Yes, you are making that call now because they have the ability to generate a reaction that moves content (Likes/Shares/Tweets) online, and yes, today’s journalists are extremely busy.  Nine times out of ten you will have to call back, but keep calling!!

50% is proactive and 50% is reactive

In my talk on how to content market for human action, I break down my suggested tools and best practices into proactive and reactive areas of an old marketing trick: the AIDA funnel.

AIDA stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. Note that I am making a slight tweak to the first category “Awareness” wherein what I mean here from a Content Marketing perspective is building your own awareness in the topic area you are about to market.

The other categories remain the same, and the end goal for us…the “Action” is to get more members signed up, or downloads of the report. Your end goal might be user acquisition for a web service, or simply to drive traffic and eyeballs to a website.

The AIDA funnel gets reinterpreted all the time, so feel free to tweak the areas for your own content marketing needs, and pull tools where you might find them useful.

Another reason why an AIDA funnel is an apt conveyor of this information is that it was originally envisioned around the most basic of human instincts. When it comes to the “Desire” and “Action” categories Daniel Kahneman, author of 'Thinking Fast and Slow,' correctly points out, “We are feeling machines that think, not thinking machines that feel.” Thanks to Tom Ewing - Digital Culture Officer, BrainJuicer, who presented at the Content Marketing Show for that!!

As I post more here in the future on tools, I’ll align them within these categories. Stay tuned!

Check out the SlideShare 'Content marketing for human action' now:

Content marketing for human action from Econsultancy .com
Ryan Sommer

Published 30 November, 2012 by Ryan Sommer

Ryan Sommer is web veteran and recovering expat who contributes to Econsultancy on startups, content marketing and new media. You can connect with him on LinkedIn, follow him on Twitter, or add him to your circles on Google+

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