Content Versus Conversation


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Chicken and the egg?

Tom Martin blew the lid off of this topic and I’m going to add my 2 cents. But let me ask 2 questions. Does content drive conversation? Does good content drive good conversation? The answer is yes and yes. Tom pissed off a bunch or people when he said that social media isn’t all about conversation and you know what? He’s right. Conversations are a derivative of social media. Conversations are not social media.

Some people think engagement for a brand has to revolve around the conversation-No… Conversations are derivatives of engagement. Conversations are the bi-product. If I had to choose how I was going to engage it would be built on great content across multiple platforms-that’s what’s going to create conversations.

Let me quote Tom:

The simple fact is that long-term success in the social space is about more than just being a great conversationalist. Especially when you’re looking at this from a brand perspective. According to numerous research studies, consumers choose to follow, fan and like brands in the social space primarily to get insider deals and to be exposed to cool content. If engagement or conversation is even mentioned, it’s very far down the list.

Why is this so shocking?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Marc Meyer
As a Digital and Social Media strategist and CEO for Digital Response Marketing Group, Marc Meyer has been able to take technology, marketing and the world of all things digital and simplify it in a way that makes sense not only for the SMB owner, but also the discerning C-suite executive of a Fortune 500 company.


  1. “Does content drive conversation? Does good content drive good conversation? The answer is yes and yes.”

    I think you’re right on this point. Good content drives good conversations.

    But I’ve come to believe two things related to this point over the past 5 years. The first is that the definition of “good content” is entirely subjective and relative. And the second is that good conversations have as much to do with the marketing of good content as the other qualities of that content. These two observations are interwoven (as so much is in the social sciences, and in the world of media).

    On the first point, that good content is entirely subjective and relative, consider the content on this page. My opinion is that your response to the post is more interesting than the article you’re referencing. Why? Personal reasons. I know that’s not much of an answer, but consider this: the vast majority of people won’t communicate any reason for their preferences to content authors. Perhaps I have a piqued interest in the difference between content and conversation driven by recently visiting other, unrelated content that came through my Google Reader from HackerNews. Perhaps I just like reading content on pages with a white background, like here on CustomerThink. There’s endless subjectivity toward what “good content” is for readers. Even more from authors… is content that generates lots of visits/reads “good content” or is content that generates few visits/reads, but a stunning average time on page metric considered “good content”?

    My second observation is that good conversations have as much to do with the marketing of good content as the other qualities of that content. If I have 10 followers on Twitter, 20 friends on Facebook, and keep a blog with a PR of 0, let’s face it… Even if I write the most breathtaking manifesto on the association between cultural heritage and high quality wine production, it’s extremely unlikely that content will ever generate “good conversation.” Whereas something an intern of Guy Kawasaki posts through his Twitter profile can reach almost every corner of the world — generating lots of “good conversation” from a diverse pool of viewpoints. I refer here to the wonderfully concise line item by Chris Smith, Rand Fishkin, and Eric Enge on SearchEngineLand ( ).

    36. Great Content = Great Rankings. Just like great policies equals successful politicians, right?

    Here’s another thing about good conversations… They are the “most good” when the opinions about them are housed on the same page, where different people who want to converse can read existing comments, right? Well, what about the conversation here on this post? How many of the visitors to the original post on your site would ever be aware of the observations I’m making now?

    Even with all this, I believe at a philosophical level that “Good content drives good conversations.” But I just think there’s more to the equation than writing “good content”. A person needs a lot more than just that!

    Well, hey, here’s one thing I’d like to reiterate: this page is “Great Content”. Extremely thought-provoking and engaging. All the best!

    Glenn Friesen

    (btw, these are Glenn’s views, and not that of his employer.)


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