“There’s a place for shallow, and a place for deep. Twitter is shallow; blogs are deeper. Articles are deeper yet. Or books—books are real deep.” Charles H Green
I want to introduce you to a really important metaphor. The concept of stock and flow originates from the world of economics but Robin Sloan on the Snarkmarket blog has insightfully linked this to the production of content. For me it’s a simple, smart idea that’s as relevant to marketing today as it ever was to the money markets.
Consider this from Robin:
“Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind people that you exist.
Stock is the durable stuff. It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today.
I feel like flow is ascendant these days, for obvious reasons—but we neglect stock at our own peril. I mean that both in terms of the health of an audience and, like, the health of a soul.
(…) I feel like we all got really good at flow, really fast. But flow is ephemeral. Stock sticks around. Stock is capital. Stock is protein.
And the real magic trick is to put them both together. To keep the ball bouncing with your flow—to maintain that open channel of communication—while you work on some kick-ass stock in the back ground. Sacrifice neither. It’s the hybrid strategy.”
I think Robin has hit the nail on the head: to market our businesses effectively today we need to commit to both stock and flow content and get the balance right:
- We need to be consistently producing good flow content – well written blog articles, Tweets, LinkedIn or Facebook status updates and newsletters to keep us in the conversation and keep our marketing fresh. Your PR, your advertising – that’s flow too: once in time messages to get your point across. It’s how you tell people about what you do and keep in touch.
- But we also need a commitment to the production of high quality stock content with a shelf life – the really strong, valuable stuff – useful informative guides, ebooks, whitepapers, research or king of them all – the published book.
We need to be doing both.
Stock and flow in action at Hinge Marketing
Here’s a company that balances the two types of content perfectly. Hinge Marketing www.hingemarketing.com is a US firm that helps professional services companies to get their branding and marketing right.
- Flow: On the Hinge website you will see that they have an award-winning blog. They also produce excellent monthly newsletters and use Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, consistently drip feeding a flow of quality content that proves their knowledge and their expertise and keeps them in our mind’s eye.
- Stock: Have a look at their library too. Here you’ll find research reports, whitepapers and podcasts and they’ve written the most fantastic book on their subject too – see the Spiraling Up book (I’ll review this here soon – it’s good).
Hinge gets the mix right.
In the early days here at Valuable Content we focused on the flow – with regular blogs, tweets and then a newsletter. With the metaphor in mind, Sharon and I committed to producing some really valuable stock content in the form of a book on our approach – Valuable Content Marketing and e-books too. We know we need a mix of stock and flow to get the most from our content. We help our clients do the same. This balance brings us amazing results in terms of warm inbound leads and sales.
I think the stock and flow metaphor is a really powerful one in relation to content marketing. How about you? Do you produce stock or flow content for your business? Have you got the mix right?