LinkedIn boss: Viral content and content marketing don't mix

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 29 September 2014

Viral content is actually dragging content marketing back, Matt Tindale, director, marketing solutions AU & NZ, LinkedIn has claimed.

Speaking at Social Media Week, Tindale said that the number of briefs LinkedIn receives that centre around content going viral is incredible.

“I can't tell you how many briefs we see where we get asked for content that will go viral - and to have that on a brief is just amazing and bizarre, it's a fact of life,” he said.

Tindale said the key to successful content marketing was not 'make it viral', but a combination of consistency and time.

“These days we know so much information is ubiquitous and assessable [so that] people are 60-70% of the way through the purchase decision cycle before they make contact with a brand. So the notion of building relationships over time is absolutely critical and you're not going to do it with one viral piece of content,” Tindale said.

He was part of a panel session at Social Media Week in Sydney last week, where each speaker deconstructed a piece of content that resonated with them.

Tindale explained that good content on LinkedIn must be inspirational, informative, insightful and entertaining.

It's a point he made recently at the ADMA Global Forum in July.

Stories had to be entertaining as well as valuable, he said then, “because nobody wants to read anything boring any more, even on LinkedIn”. So content has to be “valuable and snackable... insightful, informative and inspirational”.

Tindale reiterated that stance.

“With all the content regardless of whether it's B2B, whether its professional, whether it's creative or more consumer brand-focused, you have to have that entertaining point to it." That didn't necessarily mean "being funny or out there, but just easy to read and digestible... and most importantly not boring,” he said.

Todd Wheatland, head of strategy, King Content added, “The content creation utopia is coming up with something useful that can also be entertaining, so it ticks both of those boxes,” he said.

When it comes to distributing content Jonathan Crossfield, freelance content marketing consultant, said that too many marketers were still just blasting content across social media in place of a strategy.

“It's still pretty common for people to broadcast to social media in general, particularly with the understanding that 'it's free so I'll just shove it out there',” he said.

“I'll put the same thing into all the channels and hopefully I’ll get the audience, but that's not targeting and marketing is supposed to be targeted.”

Tindale agreed sighting that it's no longer the case of build it and they will come, brands need to have those content hubs but it's more about focusing on using the best distribution channels.

“You need to understand where your audiences are, what mindset they're in."

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