Relationship Capital Blog: The CMO Perspective

By Josh Mait
Don’t let them fool you. Although so-called thought leaders in the field act as if it’s a major innovation of our time, content marketing has its roots way back in the 19th century. Still, we were wary of jumping into the ring. We didn’t want to be just one more publisher who added noise and not much else to the conversation. We wanted to offer more than what could easily become a reformatted sales call. But we also knew that, done right, content marketing could make more people aware we exist and grow our business. And who doesn’t want that? 

What we have learned so far
Relationship Science started our content marketing effort, of which this blog is the centerpiece, early in 2014. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about what we want to say and to whom, even as we continue to realize what more we need to figure out. To be honest, we continue to feel our way towards understanding what works—and what doesn’t—contentwise. And, in the end, only readers will be able to tell us if we are hitting the target we have set. But here are a couple of our initial observations, big and small:

On the macro front

We wrestled a lot with the question of authenticity: On what domains does a brand like ours have the “right” to comment and claim a POV? We’ve narrowed it to these:

Relationship Capital/Connectivity. Who more than RelSci understands the ties that bind individuals and organizations? Ergo, who better than RelSci to produce content on those ties?

Influential Elite. By any name—you may also know them as The Decision Elite or The Action Elite—they are the core constituency of our data set. If we can’t talk about and to these folks, who can?

Business Development. We help people find experts, advisors, partners, etc. So we better be able to produce content relating to this topic.

Revenue Development. We help organizations find clients, customers, donors, sponsors, etc. So here too we better be able to deliver.

Organizational Chemistry. We understand the kinds of cultures that can best leverage our platform. That means we understand healthy and functional organizations.  

This framework has served us well so far, keeping us for the most part on the road (with, admittedly, the occasional swerve into traffic). It has definitely helped us to not overreach, particularly toward trending though not aligned subjects.

• Content producers at B2B companies can learn a lot from their colleagues at consumer and media companies. Those sectors have the right idea (most of the time, anyway), contributing work that is compelling, readable, uniquely positioned and, not least, written in a format that fits the user’s world.

• There are many underserved communities that are looking for good content. Two immediately come to mind: nonprofits, because they’re always hungry for new technologies and perspectives that can help with fundraising and development; and law firms, which, though generally labeled as laggards in the innovation/technology space, are actually, and unsurprisingly, quite invested in the pursuit of progress.

• Content is important for reaching new audiences, but it also deepens relationships with current clients and partners. With technology, there is often both a learning curve and a routine curve. People can love a product but never feel comfortable enough with it to incorporate it into their day-to-day. We see our content as a valuable, non-noisy way to keep our early-adopters engaged.   

On the micro front
It’s early, but we are beginning to see what resonates with our readers:

• Data dives that show aggregate, often surprising, profiles of particular populations, like our piece on the secret lives of MLB team owners.

• How-to pieces on networking and building strong and useful relationships—offline. Despite what all those “expert” social media users want you to think, our focus, and our readers’ interests, remains in real-world situations.

• Expert takes on how relationship capital keeps organizations fresh and strategically adept. Our founder and CEO Neal Goldman likes to say,
“Relationship capital is the last frontier for organizations. Everything else is just a commodity.” We’re happy our perspective on this asset continues to resonate with business leaders.

What we hope to accomplish
For better (and sometimes worse) we work in a results-driven time in which being able to show discernable, real, measurable growth matters above all. Nothing, these days, trumps business development and revenue development. 

That makes relationship capital (our fancy term for networking at an institutional level) more important than ever. Problem is, in our fast-moving world, the simple process of collecting contacts is disrupted anew almost daily. Worse, things likely won’t be settling down and shaking out for a while. It’s a simple fact that if some of my social networks continue to grow at the pace they have over the past couple of years, they will be utterly useless to me in a couple of more. Smart businesses—and I count mine among them—will not allow that to happen. 

All I want is for RelSci to play a meaningful role in this space now and in the future, helping leaders in the financial, corporate and nonprofit sectors continue to climb the ladder of growth. If we can do that our mission will be a success. And that success, we strongly believe, depends on our producing content that people can learn from and enjoy.   

Josh Mait is the Chief Marketing Officer of Relationship Science.

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