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Conversation Is Your Content Marketing

Marketing expert Kenyatta Cheese says that active participation is critical in brand interaction with customers



The fact that if we once operated in a network of broadcasts, a network of publishing, a network where the producer sat at the center, maybe now the network that we're on, which is the Internet, is a lot different.

The Internet has no center at all. Show me the middle of the Internet. It doesn't exist. This is my checkerboard. This is where I look at the work that we were doing and realized that we were making a lot of assumptions about who was the most important person in a relationship, what people did when they got the things that we made, and what was important to measure from there.


We started to realize, we started to look at all of that, and we started to think about what it means to create content, to have experiences in a place that has no center. The first place we look at is memes. There's a point of origin. Someone creates one. Lots of people make different versions of it, but there's no center.

There's no producer consumer. It's an act of participation. With this, we realized that if we want to understand what are the things that we're going to see as obvious in the future? We have to pay attention to the ways that we're not seeing things through bias now. I want to walk through a few of them.

First one is that media as is different from social media as egg is from eggplant. They use the same word, but they're completely different. One is content, the other is conversation. When we put together our social media campaigns, oftentimes we work with clients that say, “Oh, make sure you're looking at the content.” We're actually trying to figure out, “What is the conversation that actually results from it?”

The next one is that audiences aren't simply masses of consumers. They are actually networks of participation. Now, we work in fandom for the most part.

We see across industries that there aren't just people who consume your things. There are people who are creators. There are people who do nothing but curate, people who love to have conversation.

If we start to actually understand that that's actually what they're doing, we can maybe serve them better. Similarly, we can't just measure audiences by their size. How reliable are those networks?

When you own an audience, it's not just about getting them to show up every time. Can you get them to do things? How do you actually measure call? Actually switch it, so that you really go to think about call to action as your primary measurement of how reliable the network is.

Don't measure content by its reach. Measure the quality of conversation that it inspires. We're actually starting to look at social media conversation more like gaming. How many turns do you see in a conversation? Is it a positive interaction as opposed to seeing it as mere numbers?

Filmed at PSFK’s CXI 2018 conference:

Everybody at Once: