Content marketing is no longer just a buzz phrase; it has become a cornerstone of marketing in our digital world. It's tricky because not only is it an ongoing commitment and investment, but it's also a craft that needs to be done right and shared with the right audience. The two biggest keys to successful content marketing are content creation and content promotion -- and the two are not mutually exclusive.
Content can take many forms. Whether it's blog posts, articles, ebooks, slideshows, infographics, or videos, having a diversity of multimedia is ideal as it keeps things fresh. It goes without saying that it's important to produce share-worthy pieces that are relevant to core audiences. There is an art to being informative, intelligent, and interesting while positioning your company effectively. Building a relationship between your brand and its customers without pushing overt marketing messages. But what's the key? Provide value.
Putting a content marketing plan in place that specifies the who, what, where, when, and how lays a solid foundation for success. Identifying who's responsible for specific functions, which channels to focus on, the desired frequency, and a roadmap for relevant topics are all key.
Relevant and cool content that people care about in a real voice rules over corporate speak and marketing jargon. Just as important as creating fresh weekly content, it's critical to find ways to distribute it as widely as possible every week.
Promotion is done through two primary channels -- email and social media. Opt-in newsletters and list servers have been a primary way for companies to keep in touch with existing and potential customers and constituents. But there is a fine line marketers must walk, in terms of quality content versus what may appear as spam. While this reaches individual inboxes and can have a high open-rate, typically theses messages are not often shared with others. To rely on email promotion alone is one-dimensional, dated, and limited, as one person is responsible for creating the voice of many within an organization.
Social media on the other hand has inherent viral potential. When you want your message to reach as many people as you can, leveraging these channels may be an even stronger bet. In comparison to email, it's far less intrusive and gives you the opportunity to share with greater frequency through social channels. The more you can amplify your message, the better. Here's where quality content is of utmost importance given the limited lifespan of Facebook posts and tweets. They are quickly buried in the barrage of competing messages that stream into people's news feeds every hour.
Let's say you've got a solid content creation team and content marketing plan in place. You've got your email newsletters running, your blog established, plus Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets. How do you expand your following? How can you significantly increase your traffic, clicks, and ultimately your business? It's not as easy as we'd all like it to be. Of course, creative copy, viral videos, and intelligent content certainly increase share-ability and visibility, but there's more.
There is another valuable asset that many companies have not truly tapped into: employees. More and more employees want to participate, but the current company environment may not be encouraging or providing incentives for them to share, and in fact, may even be dissuading them. Most employees like talking about what they do, and this authentic person-to-person communication creates more trust than buying impressions through media purchases. In order for employee engagement in social media to be successful, companies need to have a content marketing plan in place.
Companies need to have employee social evangelism policies in a marketing plan to provide some rules of engagement. And this is not as daunting as it may seem.
Success in action
For example, Citrix is one of the companies trailblazing the way, engaging its workforce in employee social evangelism efforts, with phenomenal early results. It launched a program bringing its employees on board and making it easy to share interesting, informational, or entertaining content via its existing social media outlets. Here's the traction Citrix has experienced so far:
In the first 30 days, starting with 43 employees, it saw:
- 200 social content shares
- 615 clicks on shared content
- 419 site visits
- Four leads collected for webinars
Now, how can an individual or small social media team compete with that? Being able to measure these results provides marketers with a solid indication of what's working.
So in summary, start with a solid content marketing plan, build quality content creation teams, and leverage channels including email and social media. Then expand your voice beyond the social media team, making it easy for your employees to socialize all the great content you're producing.
People are naturally social, and your employees are already active across multiple social networks. Make sharing content you care about easy for them, and you'll see a dramatic increase in your brand awareness, while providing value to customers and prospects.
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