New media is built upon old media. Ironic isn’t it? The Pew Institute issued a report stating despite the huge amount of new media, more than 99% of the stories cited in blogs and social media are linked to web sites of traditional news outlets. Without traditional media, new media doesn’t have much original content. There are plenty of sites that aggregate content, but very few who really produce quality, original content. (with stress on quality). I realize there are many bloggers and sites that do create great, original content, but the vast, vast majority do not. They completely rely on old reliable sources such as the NY Times or CNBC. Though the world of traditional media is being forced to change or die, the activities of fact finding, being great at what you do, and being credible are still the most important things brands can do. These are not the turf of new media. It is the foundation that all trustworthy content is based on. This brings me to my main point.
Content is not king. Trust is king. Brands that understand this engage their customers on a personal level. Regardless if a brand uses print ads or Facebook, the core idea is still the same. Trust. Brands must build that into everything they do and in every media channel they participate in. Brands must also view the media landscape, not in vertical silos, but in horizontal “communities of interest”. Don’t look at demographics like it used to be (age, income, region, etc.), but more in centered around common interests and what qualities make up these communities. For example, Harley Davidson fanatics range from the 18 year old college freshman to the 40 year old manager to the 67 year old military veteran. No typical demographics are going to be able to create the right picture of Harley’s customer. It’s going to take a horizontal community approach.
By creating trust in your brand, you are able to cut down the sales cycle because there is less “convincing” you’ll have to do. Brand trust also brings instant acceptance among the fringe customers who may find your brand appealing to them. Don’t let the new media toys and technology take your focus on what’s really important. It’s not about social media, new media, or even old media. It’s really about being trustworthy by delivering on what you said you were going to do. Isn’t that what we all want in a brand?
It’s not about all the tonnage of content. It’s ultimately about being able to trust that content whether it’s a blog or a brand promise.