I attended the Social CRM Summit earlier this year, and the presenter – Paul Greenberg, who is generally credited with inventing the category – said (basically): People can argue all they want about the definition of social CRM, but I am through discussing it.  I am happy with the definition.

It was great.  This social media era is all about a faux “conversation.”  The notion that anyone is actually conversing on Twitter, for example, is laughable.  It’s dueling monologues.

Anyway, I’m channeling Paul’s unapologetic comment now.  You see, one of the more debated topics in marketing is content marketing.  People define it in all sorts of ways.  Some say it’s synonymous with “inbound marketing” (though I am sure the godfathers of that category, HubSpot wunderkinds Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, would object to the conflation).  The Wikipedia definition initially struck me as excessively broad … that is, until I read that content marketing firm Junta42 said content marketing is tantamount to “custom publishing, custom media, customer media, customer publishing, member media, private media, branded content, corporate media, corporate publishing, corporate journalism and branded media.”  (In the firm’s defense, they supply a succinct definition after that exhaustive list.)

So what is content marketing?  For those, like me, who are partial to visual learning, I say it’s this infographic, dubbed The Content Grid:



… and I am happy with this definition.

There is something both thrilling and humbling about taking your best work, undressing it of all commercial value, and giving it away for free.  But I am beginning to think the thrill outweighs the humility, because for the second time this week, I am giving away a major resource to anyone who wants to repurpose it for his own gain. 

Today’s offer is the “Eloqua Social Media Playbook,” a 10-platform, 42-page guide to conducting business (and conducting yourself) on the social Web. Major credit goes out to two companies.  JESS3 for all of their help in creating the Playbook (along with their vital role in Monday’s announcement: The Content Grid) and Eloqua, for having the guts and foresight to pay me to develop materials, and then give them away on faith.

Here’s a one-page sample:


Self-assigned authority runs rampant on the social Web.  False prophets driving no profits.  It reminds me of a comment my former boss/mentor Malinda Banash once made about PR: “It’s easy to do; it’s hard to do well.” 

The point of this post is to pull back the curtains and shine a light on questions I have about social media marketing.  Hopefully a reader will have an insight to share, especially because the stuff that gives me fits seems so unbelievably simple. 

Question One: Facebook Like Button.  How can you see everyone who “Liked” your content?  Below is a link to a recent post I contributed to the Eloqua “It’s All About Revenue” blog.  Who are the “4 others”?  Where does complete list of everyone who clicked the Facebook Like button for a particular item reside?  Digital factotum Steve Woods (who shares related thoughts on this topic in a recent post on his Digital Body Language blog) seems to think the information is simply not made available.  But that can’t be true, can it?  Why wouldn’t the creator of a piece of content be able to view all of those who liked/Liked it?


Question Two: Slogs.  While I only recently learned this term (spam + blog = slog) from Valeria Maltoni (the Rene Russo of social media – a mega star that manages to fly just under the radar), the notion of deceptive blogs isn’t entirely new.  But something’s changed that makes the first wave of fake blogs (then called “flogs,” a term coined by my man Tom Siebert) – misleading sites created by companies to appear as if they were user-generated – seem naive to the point of being innocent.  Today’s “slogs” are systematic, automated and often associate a company’s name with something undesirable.  Below is a Google News Alert I recently received about a competitor.  "Irritable Bowel Syndrome" is not exactly on-message terms for a b-to-b SaaS company (Note: “young naughty girls sexy” in a subsequent slog was even more disturbing).  Of course, if you click the link, the corresponding article has nothing to do with the company.  Eloqua has, thankfully, been slogged relatively few times.  So my question is: How do you avoid getting slogged the way our competitor has?


Question Three: Google News Alerts.  Despite containing the same tags or keywords, some content (tweets, articles, blogs trigger Alerts), whereas comparable – if not identical – content doesn’t.  The Wikipedia entry for Google Alerts explains that content must appear in Google’s top ten results for a Blog or News Alert to be triggered, but look no further than Question Two above for evidence that popularity doesn’t appear to be a material trigger to a Google Alert.  (In other words, there’s no way those blog posts were in the top ten results.)  There is a perceived randomness to Google’s content monitoring service (even archived posts periodically trigger an Alert) that runs counter to the company’s hyper-analytical reputation.  What really triggers an alert has me and everyone I’ve asked baffled.  So … does anyone know anything about the Google News algorithm?