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Way back in 1996 Bill Gates said that “Content is King.” His message: If you want to reach people on the Internet you don’t need to use banner ads, rich media, or annoying animated gifs you just need to provide content on websites, blogs, publications and other digital media outlets that will get you noticed and give visitors something to read.
Fast forward 18 years. The Internet has matured or maybe it’s become immature. The popularity of smartphones, tablets, and our diminishing attention span has changed the way we consume and perceive content. Emails and blogs posts gave way to Facebook posts and 140 character text messages called tweets. Of course you can’t share much in 140 characters but you can embed links and photos to all sorts of drivel, commercial posts, and innocuous photos of celebrities, cats, cars, freaky items and other images you would have trouble imagining unless you are Stephen King. If you really have Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.) and tweets are taking too long to read you have Instagram and Vine.
I believe that content is no longer king, and that “The New King is Engagement.” With all the noise online and short attention spans you need to provide not just content but content that works to engage visitors, customers, prospect and peers. As Ben Franklin said, “Speak not but what may benefit others . . .”
Take a look at your blog articles, posts and tweets. Are they providing good information or something of value to the reader? If not, why not? If you are going to push content to the web, work a bit harder to find something that will benefit others and indirectly benefit you. Let people see you as an entity that provides value to its audience.
Car dealers have access to an incredible amount of engaging content that almost everyone would find of interest. When highlighting new vehicles don’t focus on features; talk about the benefits to the consumer. Share how this new technology makes their lives easier or safer. Dealers are always involved with community activities so share that information. Highlight the local blood drive or charity 5K run. Highlight your people. Share how one of the dealer employees was working with Habitat for Humanity and used his vacation time to build a home for a flood victim in New Jersey. Manufacturers are always sponsoring events and local dealers can highlight those activities through their local posts and tweets. Highlight and provide proof of great customer experiences in the dealership. Don’t just post a photo or video of Mom and Dad in front of their new truck, tell a story that engages the reader and makes them appreciate how you helped these folks.
Mass media eblasts, shotgun tweets, silly photos, and content that’s more at home on Bravo TV will not make you stand out in a good way.
Everyone wants to feel special. Speak to them, address their concerns, solve their problems, and help them improve their lives in some way. That will engage them, and build respect for your organization.