By Ann Gynn published July 28, 2022 Est Read Time: 13 min

Is It Time for Content Marketers To Care About Web3? 20+ Experts Weigh In

Every year, the CMI editorial team asks six to eight questions of the experts speaking at Content Marketing World for this blog series.

Some are easier to answer than others (jargon, anyone?). But this question didn’t fall into the easy category: What should content marketers do about Web3?

Web3 describes a new and unfamiliar world. Is content marketing ready for it? The range of replies offered is as vast as Web3 itself.

Here’s what they suggest.

Don’t get too distracted

Learn, observe, and don’t get too distracted by that yet. Too many marketers get obsessed with the next big thing trying to get on wave early on while neglecting their current focus on the business and marketing strategy they are responsible for today. My advice is: Stay on strategy, focus on execution, and learn about the trends. This knowledge may come in handy in the future. – Igor Bielobradek, digital marketing senior manager, Deloitte

When it comes to #Web3 for #ContentMarketing, stay on strategy, focus on execution, and learn about the trends, says @igorbielo via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Don’t buy the hype, but learn all you can

Learn everything you can about it, including how it fits into the broader context of Web 1 and Web 2, where the potential opportunities lie, and what its pitfalls could be. Don’t get caught up in the hype, but don’t discount it, either. – Michael Bordieri, senior content solutions consultant, LinkedIn

Don't get caught up in the #Web3 hype, but don't discount it, either, says Michael Bordieri via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Get ahead of the learning curve

At a minimum, content marketers should be learning about Web3. What is it? How can it be harnessed? Where does it make sense to engage or experiment? It’s still the early days for Web3, but just like the internet in the 1990s, those curious enough to learn about it profited as it matured. The same principle applies to Web3. – Bernie Borges, vice president global content marketing, iQor

At a minimum, content marketers should be learning about Web3. What is it? How can it be harnessed? @bernieborges via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Keep standing out

Don’t get caught up in the hype. Everything evolves. Technology happens. As always, stay informed and vigilant. When it comes to content marketing, there’s only one thing that’s always paramount – stand out. Set the bar higher, make them lean in, zag where others zig. Remember: Communications is an emotional game. If you want to win, you have to move the brand aside and start putting a human out front – not the clip-art version but the warts-and-all version. Warning … some cojones are required. – Kate Bradley Chernis, co-founder and CEO, Lately

When it comes to #ContentMarketing and Web3, only one thing is always paramount – stand out. Set the bar higher, says @LatelyAIKately via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Be optimistic and cautious

I think they should be looking for shiny objects and committing tons of budget to them blindly. Oh, no. Maybe that’s the exact opposite of what they should do. I’ve been speaking about blockchain for years to audiences across Europe and the USA. I genuinely think the mindset we all need as content marketers is one of optimistic observation and careful action.

As it’s tempting to go all in with NFTs and creator coins, and we can show you great examples like my friend Mark Schaefer’s RISE coin, the industry is still in early adopter mode. So, brands with big budgets should dip their toes in and have someone on their team watching it weekly and reporting back to the team about what the next course of action is. – Jon Burkhart, founder, TBC Global Limited

As it's tempting to go all, #ContentMarketing is still in early adopter mode when it comes to #Web3, says @jonburkhart via @CMIContent #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Appreciate the win-win opportunities

For marketers, Web3 should be an opportunity to learn and experiment. Web3 marketing is all about building relationships and partnering up so everyone wins. Businesses need to stop thinking of customers as metrics but rather about how to build shared outcomes with customers. It is going to be a shift in mindset as well as technology.

Build a community around your purpose, then align your growth strategy and community incentives for that go-to-market community. I love the way this has been explained in several marketing blogs: Web 1.0 marketing helped customers find something better. Web 2.0 marketing helped customers experience something better. The promise of Web 3.0 marketing is to help customers create something better. As marketers, we need to learn more about the tools to help us get there together. – Jacquie Chakirelis, chief digital strategy officer, Quest Digital/ Great Lakes Publishing

The #Web3 promise is to help customers create something better. Content marketers need to learn more about tools to help us get there, says @jacquiechak via @CMIContent #CMWorld Click To Tweet
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Just don’t

Nothing.

Meg Coffey, managing director, Coffey & Tea

What should content marketers do about #Web3? Nothing, says @TexanMeg via @CMIContent #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Do nothing now

Most content marketers should do nothing for now. Until Web3 is better defined and taking shape, it is a distraction. – Wendy Covey, CEO and co-founder, TREW Marketing

Until #Web3 is better defined and taking shape, it is a distraction for #content marketers, says @wendycovey via @CMIContent #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Evaluate the impact

Content leaders should understand if your business is directly impacted and begin thought leadership campaigns. If the business is not directly impacted, you should aim to understand possible future scenarios that may and begin a content strategy to support it. One example could be how a decline in advertising revenue via traditional ads through all channels would impact your organization. – Jeff Coyle, co-founder, CSO, MarketMuse 

If your business isn’t directly impacted by #Web3, aim to understand future scenarios and begin a #ContentStrategy to support it, says @jeffrey_coyle via @CMIContent #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Take a breath

Number one: Don’t panic about Web3. You’re not missing out on anything yet. Web3, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and NFTs are all in their gestation phase. That means we know the technology might provide value in the future; we’re just unsure exactly how it will reliably provide value to us as marketers. And that’s OK. Right now, most marketers shouldn’t spend more than 5% of their time, energy, and budget on all the stuff in the Web3 world. It’s good to keep your eye on it but let go of your FOMO. – Andrew Davis, author and keynote speaker, Monumental Shift

Most marketers shouldn't spend more than 5% of their time and budget on #Web3. Keep an eye on it, but let go of FOMO, says @DrewDavisHere via @CMIContent #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Slow your roll

Learning as much as they can from credible sources but not steamrolling into the arena straightaway. There’s enough noise already. You want to become somebody’s favorite. – Chris Ducker, founder, Youpreneur.com

Learn as much as you can from credible #Web3 sources but don’t steamroll into the arena, says @ChrisDucker via @CMIContent #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Reward engaged content consumption

[Pay attention to] currency exchanges based on Ethereum smart contracts, where qualified buyers are paid to engage with matched contact. – Justin Ethington, partner, TrendCandy

Pay attention to currency exchanges based on Ethereum smart contracts, where qualified buyers are paid to engage with matched contact, says Justin Ethington via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Think community and privacy compliance

Learn about it. Consider how a more community-based, privacy-compliant web experience will enable them to engage with, build trust, and develop ongoing relationships online. – Mark Emond, president, Demand Spring

Consider how a more community-based, privacy-compliant web experience will enable them to engage with, build trust, and develop ongoing relationships online, says @Mark_DSpring via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Recognize frivolity and proceed with caution

I’m not sold on Web3, crypto, NFTs, or the metaverse. None of them is producing a lasting positive impact on consumers. They don’t significantly change the way consumers buy, think, or act. While I do enjoy 360-degree video experiences on YouTube with my VR headset, the rest of it doesn’t seem to have a significant change in consumer behavior.

Until it does, Web3 is frivolous and reserved for the risk takers and those with disposable time and income. If that’s your audience, then, by all means, pay attention and explore. But for most of us, success there is nothing more than a PR stunt.

The barrier to entry is expensive and prohibitive for consumers. So only wealthier people are even able to participate. My best advice is to pay attention, don’t ignore, but proceed with caution. I just don’t see most of it having lasting meaning until the socio-economic gap is closed. – Jason Falls, senior influence strategist, Cornett

#Web3 is for risk takers and those with disposable time and income. For most #content marketers, Web3 success is just a PR stunt, says @JasonFalls via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

See the similarities

Web3 will have three similarities to Web 1 and 2: brand, trust, and community. Just like the previous iterations, content marketers will need to build a brand following, create trust around the brand, and engage a community of followers. Whether you’re experimenting with NFTs or thinking bigger, some of the basics of traditional marketing still apply.

Now is the time for marketers to start applying artificial intelligence to today’s marketing programs so that you’re ready for tomorrow’s Web3 projects. Also, watch the mistakes and challenges of the brands already in the Web3 world – learn from what the bigger players are doing. – Penny Gralewski, senior director, product and portfolio marketing, DataRobot

Start applying artificial intelligence to #ContentMarketing programs so you're ready for Web3 projects, says @virtualpenny via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Immerse in knowledge-building

Start by reading everything you can about Web3 and join a community like the one Joe Pulizzi is building with his Tilt community. Then, pick one new area you want to explore and start there. Just as you can’t try to be amazing across every new social media platform, you shouldn’t try to do all the Web3 things at once, either. – Erika Heald, founder, lead consultant, Erika Heald Marketing Consulting

You can’t try to be amazing across every new social media platform. Don’t try to do all the #Web3 things at once, either, says @SFErika via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Start a conversation

Exploratory. Talk about how it could affect your customers. Your company. Employees. So much of it is new. – Kathy Klotz-Guest, founder, Keeping it Human

Explore how #Web3 could affect your customers, company, and employees, says @kathyklotzguest via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Study the blockchain

At the minimum, content marketers need to learn about Web3. Even if you don’t understand NFTs and are disillusioned by the idea of overpriced JPGs, the blockchain technology that powers Web3 is going to change the way we connect with audiences, build communities, and use our content. The opportunities in Web3 are just beginning to be discovered. Start learning about different blockchain applications and pay attention to the implementations that work. Web3 will revolutionize content marketing. – Brian Piper, director of content strategy and assessment, University of Rochester

The blockchain tech that powers #Web3 is going to change the way we connect with audiences, build communities, and use #Content, says @brianwpiper via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Gain first-hand experience

Content marketers should be experimenting with Web3. Get involved in some token communities. Create a digital wallet. Buy an inexpensive NFT or two. Web3 is about community ownership. That comes with a lot of responsibility, but it’s difficult to see what’s possible if you don’t know how the basics work. – Joe Pulizzi, founder, The Tilt

#Web3 is about community ownership. It's difficult to see what's possible if you don't know how the basics work, says @JoePulizzi via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Consider B2C and B2B possibilities

In the near term, I think Web3 is more applicable to B2C businesses than B2B. The loyalty programs that are a hallmark of B2C businesses have interesting analogies in the Web3 world. For both B2C and B2B, it’s important to understand what Web3 is. Observe the use cases that exist and understand the business results. For B2C, it might be time to experiment with a small initiative. For B2B, it’s best to sit back and continue watching but be ready to take action when the time is right. – Dennis Shiao, founder, Attention Retention

B2B #ContentMarketers can sit back and continue watching #Web3 use cases, but they need to be ready to take action when the time is right, says @dshiao via @CMIContent #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Remember the humanity

I understand the power and intrigue of Web3. I was there when Web 2.0 was launched, and the whole idea of web interactivity was a cool new thing. And now, the idea of decentralization, token-based economy, the division of power, etc., is fascinating.

But as far as content marketing? I think we should continue to focus on the human, especially with the crazy developments in AI and AR. I hope H2H – human-to-human interaction – will never be considered old school. As our world becomes more and more technology-centric, the human connection is going to be even more important. – Viveka von Rosen, chief visibility officer, Vengreso

I understand the power and intrigue of #Web3. But for #ContentMarketing, focus on the human, says @LinkedInExpert via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Research before you speak of it

Learn more about it before talking/writing about it. Web3, while not complicated, is somewhat new, and the uses are not yet defined clearly, at least as far as my mind space goes. I have kept quiet so I do not sound … umm … dumb. – Michael Weiss, vice president of consulting services and solutions, Creative Circle

Learn more about #Web3 before talking or writing about it. The #ContentMarketing uses are not yet defined clearly, says @mikepweiss via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Sit back and learn

Just like the transition from Web 1 to Web 2, this next phase will be years in the making, and it’s still too early to really know where this is all going. Like most new technology, there’s a process and a period of adjustment. We are still really early in it for Web3. So, for now, I’d say don’t panic. Sit back, listen, and learn. – Inbar Yagur, vice president of marketing, GrowthSpace

Don't panic about #Web3. Sit back, listen, and learn, says @content_fairy via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Let the audience lead

Stay focused on your audience and your potential customer. Understanding their needs and actions will tell you if you should be involved in Web3, TikTok, or anything else. – Andy Crestodina, co-founder and chief marketing officer, Orbit Media Studios

Understand your audience's needs and actions. That will tell you if you should be involved in #Web3, TikTok, or anything else, says @Crestodina via @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Andy makes a great point about Web3 strategy. No matter how technology and channels evolve, content marketers should always keep their eye on the audience.

What are you planning to do about Web3 (if anything)? Let us know in the comments.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Ann Gynn

Ann Gynn edits the CMI blog. Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. Former college adjunct faculty, Ann also helps train professionals in content so they can do it themselves. Follow Ann on Twitter @anngynn or connect on LinkedIn.

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