Bryan Kramer

Posted on November 27, 2012 by Bryan Kramer 9

2013: Adding Context to Content

Anything successful has context. Remember this. You’re going to need it as we move in to 2013 because, let me tell you now, stuff’s about to get real.

We’ve spent the past few years as marketers wrapping our brains around the changing landscape. Social media has given consumers a voice, and finally many of us are starting to listen (though they’ve been listening to each other for quite some time now).

It’s also given brands and businesses a platform from which to speak. Communication between brands and consumers has become a 2-way street, and content marketing has taken center stage. We share information, post (hopefully) valuable content, and engage with our social networks. This is great—we have learned so much more about our target audiences as well as how to listen to what they’re saying and glean valuable data.

The next step—it’s time to use what we’ve learned. It’s not enough to just be social. Now it’s time to be smart and focus our content into the right context.

Here’s where content marketing moves into context marketing. This is what I believe we’ll see happen in 2013: Context will matter more than ever before. We’re listening better, we’re learning more, and we’re developing the technology and skills to better target, personalize, and deliver messaging at just the right time, in just the right space, to just the right person. That is cool.

High traffic and social engagement don’t amount to much and provide very little ROI if it’s not done in the proper context.

Here’s where to watch for in 2013:

1)   Personalized mobile commerce. I can’t believe that I can pay for my coffee with my phone. With my Starbucks app, I can purchase my coffee, earn points and share my order on my social networks. Along the way, I’ve earned points, and with points come rewards—and as I drive by my favorite locations, it tells me that. 2013 will bring more apps that customize your mobile experience. Watch for it.

2)   Reporting for marketers by marketers. Good news! Gone are the days when you have to interpret your own data built by IT people. Nothing against IT, but to have a marketer build what matters most to the person reading the reports (in real time) will enable marketers to engage quickly and more accurately.

3)   Location-based marketing. There’s a reason that Facebook and Google bought Instagram and Nik Software. Photo-sharing networks allow you to not only capture your moment, but to share your location. We live in a visual economy, and people love sharing images. When they share where they’re at, as well, we get better data/information and can provide a richer experience.

4)   “Promoted” content. At the end of the day the most desirable information isn’t that which is sold—it’s what’s shared. Facebook and Twitter (eventually Google & LinkedIn) will allow for promoted content to take a stand amidst our regular statuses and messages. And look at the billion-plus blog sites out there driving more clicks than ever before. Content may be king, but context shares the throne, and contextual messaging is becoming a major player in the social spectrum.

5)   Corporate social training. It’s not a matter of if, but when. Finally, companies will get serious about making social media training a company priority, and the most progressively trained corporate teams will surpass those without formal training. In order for content marketing to become contextual, people need to be schooled in the basics of social marketing. Too many companies have lagged behind in this for too long now.

Key Takeaway: In 2013, watch for content marketers to focus on context—targeting their message to the right person, at the right time, in the right space. Marketers will need to learn how to place the most appropriate non-intrusive messages right where consumers are best positioned to respond. If you do it right, you’ll engage your audience, they’ll share your content with their networks, and that will create more valuable context. It’s a win/win, for both marketers and consumers.


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  • PamMktgNut

    Great article. I agree 100%! Without context it’s impossible to connect as human beings. Organizations must focus on teaching their teams not only the tools and tech but the art of engagement and how they can contextually relate to their partners, stakeholders, clients and one another as human beings. 

    • Bryan Kramer

      YES! Thank you Pam. Means a lot to have you stop by and share your thoughts. :-)

  • James W. Hunt

    One of the issues I have with a lot of ‘social media’ accounts is that they are content spammers. You know what I am talking about… Day in and day out they relentlessly post article after article with no context behind their posts. I haven’t figured out if these people are just lazy and don’t want to take the time to put some thought behind their social accounts, or if they actually think these types of postings are attracting followers. 

    It always makes me laugh when I see accounts that use this content posting “strategy” yet have no follower interaction. Like, hellooooo… If the 4,000 articles you posted in the last ten days got no response, don’t you think it’s time to change up what you’re doing?

    /rant off

    On the flip side, great article Bryan. We could really use more context in our lives. 

    • Bryan Kramer

      James, I agree with you. It is more about connecting than it is the numbers. Thanks for the great thoughts, love it!

  • Christina Trapolino

    For the most part, I agree with this and I definitely like the point you make about marketer-created tools.

    That said, I take issue with your speculation regarding Facebook and promoted content.  With many of the recent changes, it appears that Facebook is determined NOT to disrupt the “social experience” with brand messaging.  Penetration is becoming more difficult, especially with the advent of the two-stream experience (of course, all Facebook users are able to create multiple reading lists to improve their experience, but few take advantage of the tools because they are simply not easy enough to use).  Are you perhaps suggesting that Facebook will pivot on this and continue feeding ads/brand content into the social feed?

    • Bryan Kramer

      Thanks Christina. Yes, social brands will find a way to build promoted content into the feed. FB is already doing it on personal ‘promoted’ posts for $7. It ‘might’ not stop there when you think about content through the blogging community as a way to drive blogger revenue. I am not saying I agree with it. Only that it is a monetization approach that is already ramping up. Thanks for commenting, I enjoy your honesty and candor. :-)

  • Douglass Davidoff

    I appreciate the idea here, but I think you should expand it more. What other kinds of contexts do you see developing for content? What broad categories of contexts are there? For example, I think of commuter travel as a context. I live in a metro region (Boston) and previous lived in metro regions (New York, Chicago) blessed with highly-developed transit systems. For years, display advertising has gotten the context message, with ads targeted to commuter ridership. Ads on train and subway cars, ads on platforms, ads in stations — often they all had common messages. To go in a whole other direction, sporting events are a context, no matter whether the stadium, the television set, whatever. How does this idea of groups of contexts become translated into social media contextual content? Could you elaborate on this, Bryan? — Doug

    Douglass Taft Davidoff, Principal Consultant
    Straight Talk Public Relations / The Content Wordshop
    Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
    doug@StraightTalkPR:disqus .com / /
    @DougSTPR / @ContentWordshop / (617) 955-7520

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