A simple solution to the biggest debate in content marketing


There’s a conflict emerging. One that has the potential to tear the digital community limb from tattooed limb. Hitherto happy colleagues are now gobbing in one another’s frappuccinos, pretending their co-workers are on mute during the monthly content meeting and even leaving their Adobe cloud logged in, just to prevent anyone else from gaining access.

Of course not. We’re not monsters. But it is an interesting conflict nonetheless.

And it’s this – whether a brand should focus on building its audience where that audience is most active – i.e. social media – or whether it should focus on building the channels it actually owns – which usually means an email list but could extend to any kind of subscription.

The argument for those advocating the former goes – this is where my audience is, look at how much engagement I’m getting, check out how many direct sales it led to over the last 12 months. Compelling stuff.

The retort goes – No, you’re giving over control of you most valuable asset to a 3rd party platform, you massive wally. You conversion rate though to sale is nothing compared to that which I achieve on my owned list, and I’m in control of my future, whereas soon o late you’e gonna get stung as that social platform kills off organic reach, changes the rules around targeting or restricts your you account because you said something naughty in the comments.

Guess what, they’e both right.

They’e also, in my opinion, portraying an entirely false dichotomy.

Why is this an either/or?

The answer, I think, is really very simple.

  • In the short term, we need to go to where our audience is active – after all, who the hell cares whether you own an asset if it consists of 3 email addresses.
  • In the long term, however, we need to be funnelling that audience though to our own channel. It would be lunacy to invest all our digital eggs in one big basket that we’e merely renting off some bastard billionaire in silicon valley.

It’s all just a question of sequence. Doing the right thing at the night time.

And then hopefully we can all be friends again.

Just not with Catherine. I cannot believe she spat in my latte.

See you next time,