When it comes to marketing, content is and always will be the king.
Everything marketers deliver to their audience qualifies as content, starting with the advertising banners and up to the printed brochures and flyers. However, you need content that is valuable and at the same time targeted to your audience. You also need to set up the proper content distribution channels.
With this article, I will try to explain why social media and content marketing should work together and why is important as a marketer, to make sure they do.
First, however, let’s define some of the concepts that are important to this topic.
What qualifies as content marketing?
If you want a successful marketing campaign, and I am sure you do, you need to deliver to your audience not only your message but also something of value.
You can always create vouchers, reduce prices or give away products through contests and organized events. All these things cost and when you need a continuous campaign, these costs add one on top of another and drain out your budget.
Content is cheaper and sometimes even free of costs.
Whether you are paying editors to write the content or, you are writing it by yourself, if the information provided is valuable to your audience, it will also add value to your website, blog or social media account.
At the same time, the costs are at a fraction of what you would have paid for a banner, a TV spot or a printed page in a magazine.
What qualifies as content?
Articles and blog posts
The Digital marketing agency Boston Interactive created an infographic with 41 content type that can drive you more sell:
Click on the image bellow to open a high-resolution version!
What about social media content?
Social media makes an important part of your content marketing strategy.
Everything you post on social channels as a marketer can help you with your ongoing projects. You can use social media along with other content marketing strategies but at the same time, you can create strategies specifically designed to undergo only on social media channels. On the other hand, content marketing without social media may not be as effective as you would like it to be.
Social presence and social media activity are essential for a marketer, a brand or a business.
Why do we need content marketing?
Let’s say it from the start: traditional marketing costs a lot.
For a startup business, traditional marketing costs, even more, providing that you need to build a brand, create awareness and make your first steps on an already filled-up market.
Content marketing helps you grow awareness on your brand and build a reputation as an influencer in your field.
As a marketer, the first things you need to think about prior to starting your campaigns are:
Set up a website and/or a blog
Set up social accounts and social pages for the brand
Create a strategy for content distribution on both, the website and the social media
Brainstorm for relevant topics
Study your audience
Content will help you, as I have said before, to grow awareness on your brand and build an audience. This means that first and foremost, you need to think about the topics that will add valuable content to your target audience. Learn from your competitors or from the market’s statistics what your customers or readers search for. Then, create your plan. You need the content marketing strategy to be in line with what your customers search online, with everything they are interested in.
As an expert, you will at one point become an influencer in your industry if the content you provide is good enough.
Before advancing further, let’s answer our main question here. Why do we need content marketing?
Build trust with your customers: Through communication and content distribution, you can help build trust between the brand and its audience. Social media is here the king as it facilitates communication and distribution of valuable information the audience seeks.
Expand the audience: It will not happen overnight. However, the better your content will be, the more people you will attract to your website or social media account. Valuable and informative content attracts readers because people will always need information. This is a fact that no marketer should neglect. Take into account that nobody knows everything and as long as you can provide valuable information to your audience you will keep them entertained and close to your brand. Moreover, more people will come to you, either through organic search or via the word of mouth or social media shares.
Create an influencer image: People rely on advice given by professionals and experts. If you are able to create the image of a trusted professional in your industry, you will soon become an influencer among your peers. How will it help you? People will come from time to time to read your content and they will also recommend you to their friends, colleagues and family members.
Present your new products: When a company launches new products, they need to be marketed, so that the targeted audience will be aware of their presence on the market and also, know what they are good for. Through content marketing, you can make this thing not only possible but also easily shareable with your customers whether you do it on your website or through social media.
Communicate with your clients and/or fans: This is the part where social media gives us the best examples. Communications are very important to the brand and its audience not only in cases of issues but also for delivering fresh information about the products and services.
Brand awareness: Your online presence will make your brand more visible. However, if you know what to publish and how to publish it, you can also work on your brand awareness and build a strong brand. How? The valuable content you publish will attract more readers to your blog or to your social media account, readers that will associate the information you provide with your brand. The better the content, the more your brand will gain in awareness and trust.
Types of social media channels suitable for content marketing and why you need them
Depending on your niche and your audience, you have to choose one social platform or another and maybe, even all of them.
However, the best platforms that aid content marketing is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Why do you need them? Organic search is a great way to attract more readers should you choose wisely your titles and your content. However, people are spending more time on social platforms these days and as a consequence, your content is more likely to reach a higher audience should you make it shareable.
Through social media, you can reach not only your friends or fans but also their friends, friends of their friends and so on.
Great content marketing examples
As a marketer, you are always searching for inspiration when it comes to finding new and great ideas for your campaigns. Content marketing may be your choice of such a campaign but at the same time, writing the words may not suffice.
Let’s see some great content marketing examples that we can learn from:
Come up with something unique.
Website offline. Maybe you didn’t hear about Chris Bolin until now. There is no problem, I am sure you will remember his name from now on. He had a great idea for content publishing and he put it to work. What was it?
Chris Bolin created a page on his website that cannot be accessed unless you go offline. You would think that this was a bad idea in a world where everybody is constantly online? Well, it was not. And, thanks to social media, it went viral and for a short while, made him a star.
According to Buzzsumo, he got over 34.3k social media shares and 51k external links.
Why is this a great idea?
We are living great times. There is a lot of content, information and data everywhere we look and as a consequence, our attention span is lower than of a toddler’s. Whatever you publish, you have just a few seconds to convince your audience that they have to read your story. Most of the times, they will jump to the next web page and forget about you. Making them log off, you capture their attention and of course, you gain time.
People are curious and there is a good chance they will act on the disconnect advice.
And, since they’ve already done it, they might as well read the content before reconnecting.
Answer some questions, get a lot of traffic
Content is not valuable by itself. The audience makes it valuable or not, based on the quality of information. However, a good web page should also be informative and if you are able to answer some questions people ask a lot, you are already a successful marketer.
What am I talking about? I will get to the point right away.
This is another great example that when it comes to content marketing, you don’t need to write a thousand articles a year.
Why did I choose this example?
While in the past content was mostly written, now, we all have access to high-speed Internet through broadband connections and 3G/4G data. Since humans are mostly visual creatures, video content became almost if not more important than written information. Thus, bloggers turned to vloggers and younger generations gave away their TVs for YouTube.
It’s obvious then, that video related content is a great choice for a marketing campaign. This is where my chosen example prevails. While there are many people looking to start a blog, they need information about how to create and distribute their content, the hardware they need or the costs of this kind of project. The aforementioned website sheds some light upon on the most asked question: “How much it will cost?”
According to Detailed, “the mini-site picked up over 700 links from 56 different websites, making the footer link back to Veed.me much more valuable in terms of search engine rankings”.
It wouldn’t be possible however without social media and the way it propagates a message and turns it into a viral.
In conclusion, here’s what we’ve learned from this example:
Create searchable content.
Create content that answers specific questions and therefore, becomes of great value to a specific audience.
Create content that is shareable. Social media helps your propagate your message.
Create shareable headlines even if they present a negative angle
This example comes from a real estate website. However, even their niche is a high-income industry, they need content marketing in order to survive among other similar businesses that are also active online.
Content keeps the audience entertained and closer to your website and builds a solid brand among your clients and readers.
Why did I choose this example?
The most important aid of a content marketer comes from social media. If your article is good enough, it will be shared, again and again, thus exposing your website and/or brand to millions of people who might at some point become your clients.
What do you need?
You need great headlines. This means that they should be shareable on social media and at the same time, to trigger people’s curiosity and interest without being a linkbait.
Areavibes gives us such an example. Their article on the worst places to live in America has everything it needs to capture the attention of a worldwide audience: a great and shareable title, a negative approach (people share negative news and stories more than good news) and of course, great content. The negative approach also helps them build trust. How? While the website is in the real estate business, they show they are not afraid to present facts accurately.
Truth sets us free. The article has over 40k shares. The numbers speak for themselves.
Encourage and attract user-generated content
Users are 28% more likely to engage with your brand if they see user-generated content on your web page or on your social media channel. How to attract user-generated content?
Well, let’s take a look at Muji Pen, a Japanese company, my next example of a successful content marketing campaign.
They created a drawing contest for all their clients and fans, an event that helped them harness engagement and user-generated content. They allowed customers to use their pens to design pieces of art and then, to upload them to Instagram through the #mujipenart hashtag.
This is a great example of visual content marketing and there are also a few things to learn from Muji’s campaign such as:
Give your audience the proper motivation to create content. A contest might prove to be a great idea. Create a dedicated web page for your contest.
Choose the proper social media channels for content distribution. In this case, it was Instagram but you can choose any platform as long as it is suitable for your campaign.
Encourage people to post on that specific social media channel their pieces of content under a specific brand hashtag.
Content marketing is probably the best choice for a marketing campaign since it adds value to your brand or business and entertains your audience. Valuable information, however, needs to reach out to your target audience either through organic search or through social media.
While organic search can help you a lot, social media is your greatest aid. You need social media to help propagate your message and this is why it should work hand in hand with content marketing.
We’ve seen a few great examples of content marketing and how social media helped them become successful.
What do you think about these examples? Do you know other less known successful content marketing campaigns? Please share your thoughts and inputs with us.