Marketing to a Tribe

This podcast audio served as the source for the blog post “What is Tribal Content?”

The transcript was rewritten to produce the blog post, which is the cornerstone of the Shortcut Content system.

Shayla: Welcome to the Shortcut Content podcast. I’m talking with Dave Young. Dave, I’ve heard you say “tribal content” before. What exactly do you mean by that?

Dave: There’s been a lot of talk about millennials and a lot of people think that marketing to millennials, you can take broad strokes and just market to a group of people that were born between this year and that year it simply isn’t the case. What you have to do is identify a tribe that maybe they’re all millennials, but maybe they’re not. And the thing is, a lot of us, even in our fifties, will identify with some of the issues, and the angst, and the preferences of millennials, because we’ve been around them long enough that those become our issues and our preferences.
And so it’s more powerful if you identify a tribe and then engage with that tribe. And I’ll give you one example. Here at Shortcut Content, one of the things that I’ve been thinking about a lot and I haven’t, honestly, I’ll confess this a marketer, I haven’t really made great headway with it, but I really want to engage and help the science, technology, engineering, and medical field, STEM science. I believe that we can help a lot of STEM scientists with their content. If you look at them as a tribe, in fact, probably need not just to address them as the STEM science crowd, but their are sub tribes inside of that crowd that don’t readily identify with the others. If we’re talking about engineers, they’re going to respond differently than if we’re talking about medical researchers.


And so identifying that tribe and engaging with it in a way that they’re going to respond is key. And it doesn’t matter their age, if they’re part of the tribe. So you can look at the tribe and then you can look for the influencers. And so with STEM, another good example of those influencers is maybe I should be marketing to universities. Maybe I should be looking at organizations that some of these scientists might be involved with. There are organizations for just about everything. All the geologists go to to the same convention every year. The question is, who are the influencers? If we we’re going to get them to create content that’s accessible to more than just their fellow geologists, who’s going to pay for that? How’s that going to happen?

All of these things help you focus your marketing and that’s the work that I’m doing right now is to try to look at this as tribes, and I think even just talking about this makes more sense to me that I’m going to have a lot more influence if I narrow it down, and don’t just look at scientists as the tribe. I need to look at specific types of scientists. And I’ve talked before about the fact that the only famous scientist that anybody can name are the scientists that have created content. And that’s really what we’re trying to do is help a scientist at least become a little bit more famous than they might be sitting in their office in the ivory tower. So those are my goals and that’s how I want reach some of those tribes, but first I’ve got to identify them, I’ve to figure out who their influencers are, and not market in such broad strokes.
Shayla: So whether you’re trying to figure out how to market to a certain tribe, or whether you’re completely new to the concept, maybe you need help coming up with content to reach a certain tribe, you can reach out to Dave at Thanks, Dave.
Dave: Thanks, Dave.