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Content Marketing: The Dinner Party Approach

3 September 2018
People at a dinner party | Content Marketing: The Dinner Party Approach | Neon

The growth in popularity and focus of content marketing creates a problem for those operating within it.

Every day, the modern Internet user (pretty much everybody in the developed world) is bombarded with ‘content’ on an ever-increasing scale.

Whether it’s news stories, Facebook posts, tweets, snaps, grams or the humble SMS, the demand for their attention has never been greater. And with every piece of content that marketers produce, we’re just adding to the noise and making it even more difficult to stand out.

So what can be done? Introducing…

The Dinner Party Approach to Content Marketing & Social

Think back to the last party you attended. Whether it was a house party, a birthday party, a dinner party or one of the frequent awards ceremonies we enjoy as part of the digital and marketing industry, the essential nature of the event is always the same: it’s a room filled with a mixture of friends, acquaintances and strangers.

But can you put a face and a name to those people? Can you remember who was in the room? If so, who do you remember and why?

Some people will have been very loud, very brash, talking to everybody. Others will have kept themselves to themselves, observing, talking to a small few, but generally only when they were approached.

Of the conversations you had, the next day you won’t remember half of them, but a handful will stick in your mind. Have you ever considered why?

It’ll come down to one core thing or a combination of a few things:

  • Relevance – this person said something that was relevant to you. They talked in a language you could associate with.
  • Interest – this person said something that was interesting. It may have been unique or new in some way, or just a topic you engaged with.
  • Interactive – this person shared a dialogue with you. They asked you questions, so you didn’t just feel like you were being talked at.
  • Delivery – this person told a story, used an analogy, or were just very animated and passionate about what they said. Whatever they said, they delivered it well.
  • Usefulness – this person, or what they said, could be useful to you. You can take that away and use it to make yourself, your life, your work or some other aspect of your day-to-day better.

The Digital Dinner Party

We can take the dinner party analogy and apply it to our content marketing. To do this, we need to consider the people as the brands and the conversation as the content.

The loud, brash, extrovert often gets remembered, but not always for the right reasons. The conversation centres around them, and they like to be the centre of attention. Whilst I’m not saying this never works as an approach, it can turn people off.

Likewise the meek, shy introvert is not a way to position yourself either. If you’re waiting for somebody to come and talk to you to find out about your product, you could be waiting a while.

The key is to strike up a persona which is a balance of both: not afraid to profess the benefits of your product or service, but understanding that conversation is a two-way process. Listening as well as speaking, creating a dialogue, posing questions.

And then there’s the topics, or in this case the content itself. Make it relevant, make it interesting, make it useful, and be sure to deliver it with passion and intelligence. After all, why would anybody listen to something that’s boring and irrelevant?

In a nutshell

Whether you’re attending a dinner party or marketing your business, the rules of engagement remain the same. Strike the right balance of persona and message and come the end of the soiree, you’ll be the one everybody remembers.

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