Content is King, but Context is God

What does Burger King and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have in common? They both know the importance of context!

In this noisy social world marketers need to post content regularly. This doesn’t mean that all content being pushed out is good. Actually, a lot of it is trash. Marketers need to provide a high amount of excellent quality media. Posting content just for the sake of it takes up space and is useless to the bottom line. Only relevant and authentic content will stand out against our busy world.

New York Times best-selling author, Gary Vaynerchuck is well known for his phrase, “content is king, but context is God”. In Vaynerchuck’s book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World he says, “You can put out good content, but if it ignores the context of the platform on which it appears, it can still fall flat”. You can have amazing content to offer, but if it’s not on the most optimal platform, you might not be getting your return on investment.

You wouldn’t see a Burger King television commercial shared on their Twitter account. That just wouldn’t make sense with the platform. Your content has to feel native to the platform it lives on, and the marketing team at Burger King does just that. A tweet from November 1 says, “there’s no such thing as ‘too soon’ for holiday music”. They’re not selling you on burgers, but they’re getting you to pay attention to them in a way that seamlessly blends into the platform. Vaynerchuck says that if your content “provides the same value and emotional benefits people are seeking when they come to the platform in the first place, they will feel it’s native content”. When to start playing holiday music is a topic that I’m sure many people feel divided about. Before Thanksgiving? After Thanksgiving? (Personally, I start the day after Thanksgiving). A tweet like this causes people share their content in a retweet or comment with their opinions. The next time they drive by a Burger King, they might stop by the drive-through; there’s the sale!

The phrase, “content is king, but context is God” doesn’t have to directly involve digital marketing. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined Twitch, a live-streaming platform for gaming, and played a few rounds of the popular online game, Among Us. The 31-year-old congresswoman played the game while chatting with viewers and encouraging young people to vote on November 3rd. During her two hours of gameplay, more than 430,000 people tuned in, making it one of the most-watched events in the platform’s nine-year history. Over 5 million people have viewed her Twitch premiere in total. Representative AOC encouraged young people to vote in such an innovative way, by meeting them where they are. Speaking to young people about voting in this way will encourage them more than a structured debate or town hall would. By joining a popular platform used by the younger generation, she effectively found a way to speak with them about voting while keeping their attention. 

AOC Twitch Stream Becomes One of the Highest-Watched Ever | NowThis

Both Burger King and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez know the importance of context. If Burger King didn’t bother to join social media, they would be losing a big audience of consumers. They constantly drip micro-content, sharing moments with their followers. AOC integrated her message right into the streams of her target audiences. Although her message about voting was more of a hard sell, her approach felt native. She successfully and seamlessly melded her selling points on voting right into the entertainment experience. This is the essence of context over content.