This week’s post will introduce a concept I believe is of vital importance for those making use of social media or content marketing as part of their marketing mix
Chambers dictionary offers the following definition of context
context noun 1 the pieces of writing in a passage which surround a particular word, phrase, etc. and which contribute to the full meaning of the word, phrase, etc. in question. 2 circumstances, background or setting. contextual(Source: Chambers.co.uk)
To simplify the concept context applies to the where, who and how of communication, where one is communication, who one is communicating with and how one is communicating, pictures of kittens etc. would be perfectly in context on a social media channel but would be woefully out of context on LinkedIn, when communication is out of context it jars and grates on people. Risqué jokes might be fine at the pub but they’d be badly out of place at a family gathering/christening, this toying with context is frequent source of humour in Best Man Jokes where risqué humour is concealed in ways which wont offend the easily shocked members of the wedding party
As Marketers why is this important to us?
In her whitepaper ‘Why Context is essential to Digital Marketing’ Rebecca Lieb argues that
The more marketing can be targeted in context, the better – and more relevant – the customer experience. Context means the right person receives the right message at the right time, but also in the right place, on the right platform and in the right language.(Source: Lieb 2014)
So context even plays a role in Search, for example I do a quick search for pizza I don’t want results in New York, Exeter or Chicago, I want the results for Morecambe and perhaps Lancaster in a format which is readily understood on my computer of choice (desktop or smartphone)
Context is what takes Content Marketing to the next level, as Rebecca Lieb notes it is growing in importance so its worth taking the time to understand this concept and to apply it to your own marketing, I hope I’ve explained the basics of context well with this post, Context complements content to ensure that customers & visitors to your site have the best possible experience when using your website, I’m inclined to agree with Kevin Jorgensen’s emphasis on the importance of personas here, the value of which is already well understood by professional content marketers, context uses a thorough if not complete understanding of your customers to provide an excellent service, if a website can be said to serve people. If context could be mapped to the position of customers within the sales funnel then it would completely transcend standard content marketing, the question has to be can smaller businesses leverage this technology & way of thinking, based on what I’ve researched this week, I’m starting to reappraise context in how people and companies utilize social media, think of it as another dimension of communication if content marketing is 2d communication, Context adds the 3rd dimension. Failing to appreciate this will lead to less effective communication.