Lee Odden

The Gift of “Give to Get” in Social Media and Content Marketing

Give to Get

Me, Nazli & Konnie from Dell & Mark Schaefer at Dell World

“Pay it forward”, “Good karma”, “Give to get”.

There are many ways to express the notion of creating value for others before expecting something in return, but in the marketing world, such a perspective is contrary to the norm.

Many marketers still gravitate towards another expression, “What’s in it for me?”, that guides much of their approach to marketing with social networks. The image of a child stomping their feet in an entitled fit of frustration about not getting what they want for Christmas comes to mind.

Whether it’s pressure to revive falling sales or simply viewing social networks as another channel for pushing the brand agenda, the drive to monetize without creating mutual or long term value on social networks is an empty chase.

Starting out, most companies using social media for marketing purposes start out this way. It’s not unique.

But there’s an evolution that occurs from an egocentric view of social media towards “give to get” that I’ve observed in the roughly 10 years or so of being active on the social web.  In our transition from focusing on pushing out brand information to creating value and a “give to get” approach to social media and content marketing, the return has been incredible.

Doing our best to walk the talk. Take this blog and the connected social networks for example. We have over 300,000 connections across our community, well over a million visitors a year to read the thousands of articles we’ve published and a steady stream of new consulting, employee and partnership inquiries.

The value creation across those social media, network and content marketing efforts has attracted an amazing portfolio of clients including LinkedIn, Dell and FamilySearch, enabled us to double our staff in 2014 (outgrowing our current offices), paved the way to some remarkable partnerships and set the stage for explosive growth in 2015.

We’re not alone. I’ve seen the same investments in creating value result in amazing returns for others too, including my pal Mark Schaefer in the photo above.  Mark’s selflessness in his contributions are a standard that many of us can learn form and be inspired by. The result? His business has exploded over the past few years with no sign of slowing down.

This is the gift of “give to get”.

And the best part? The more success we have, the more we have to give.




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About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.