There are two previous parts to this series (Part I, Part II). They both explain my thoughts on content marketing as a concept, its history and the relationship between B2B content marketing and social media.
Recently, I sat on Cognito’s Breakfast Byte panel which focused on social media in B2B financial services. A straightforward, simple question generated a lot of interesting conversation:
A few hands went up and I got the feeling people were interested in hearing more.
Want to get started in social media marketing? Think about your content marketing strategy…or lack thereof
I then explained that to me, the basis for social media as a method of execution was having a good content marketing program in the first place.
Social media is just another method of content delivery. If you don’t have the content in the first place, then your focus on execution may go forward in a way that is not focused and not easily measured.
My advice to the audience was pretty simple. I told them that the key to success in executing successfully via social media was to create a content marketing plan that was mapped to supporting the early stages of the sales cycle in a company and to consider an editorial schedule to generate a constant stream of new content. I mention “early stages” simply because later stages might involve custom content directed at specific targets.
An example of content marketing and social media working hand in hand
Next, it’s really a matter of mapping content to social media delivery method. For example, you might produce a quarterly white paper.
You could post a form on your website to collect people’s details in exchange for the whitepaper download. You could tweet, blog and post on LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook about the white paper, directing people to the details collection form. Eventually you might decide to simply post the white paper on your site, at which point you could use the same channels to direct people to the site.
It’s funny: Social media is really only a twist on the Internet as a medium, or simply a method of delivery. But somehow the introduction of social media has sparked a B2B content marketing revolution.
I can’t tell you exactly why it’s happening – perhaps it’s down to the increased accessibility social media introduces, or the way it encourages interaction and conversation, but one thing that is that is for sure is that without content (and in this case, a good content marketing program), social media is of limited use. Only when used to deliver messages about highly relevant content will social media deliver value to your B2B marketing plan.