Saturday, July 13, 2013

How to Tell Your Story through Content Marketing and Still Have a Life

Content Marketing Makes Social Media make Sense

At my talk at Kishwaukee College yesterday I reiterated my theme from a prior blog post on content marketing that content marketing makes social media make sense.  I defined content marketing and content creation, explained the role of strategy in the process and then went on to give some examples of how to re-purpose content to get the kind of growth that we need.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a series of steps and processes as related to the media owned by a company, whereby that media is used to attract and retain customers.  We often speak of content 'curation,' which indicates that content is developed and managed 'by hand,' instead of spun by machines or just regurgitated in another format.  Content should be carefully prepared to reinforce the company 'story' or brand image.

Steps for Content Marketing

The process for good content marketing is as follows:
1) Start with a brand story.
2) Figure out meaningful message and associated content related to that story.
3) Dissseminate that content where your audience is likely to be so they can consume the content, react to it and co-create content.

Self-Knowledge is the Key

Understanding your company strategy and why you are creating the content is a useful exercise in content creation marketing, and, as I explained in a prior blog post, the first step in content marketing.  The company strategy can be translated into the story for the brand using the simple format for a positioning statement that I use in class.

The format is to the Target Customer, the Product Name is the Product Category that Point of Difference.  For example, Colgate's WISP product for brushing your teeth on the go might have used this format for the positioning statement.

"To the on-the-go college student or urban professional, ages 18 to 25, both male and female, WISP is the mini-disposable toothbrush that makes you Be More Kissable."  The company target is Generation Y and the idea is that if your teeth are fresh, no matter how busy you are,  you will be more attractive to the opposite sex.  This simple positioning statement then provided the brand story, which lead to an active social media campaign.  The company chose various forms of social media, including some clever YouTube videos, to convey its message because that is where its audience resides.

My Story as an Example

I gave the example that as a marketing professor I wanted to reach marketers who would view our program as a thought leader and potentially hire our students.  With that in mind, my social media journey really began with LinkedIn, since that is a social media site devoted to business leaders.  I now have over 2,000 connections on LinkedIn and am in the top 1% of those on the system.

At the same time I posted on LinkedIn, I also worked to increase my Twitter following, within a targeted group.  However, things did not really take off for me in terms of social media until I started posting meaningful content on a daily basis.  Like many professionals, I have a job other than creating content for social media (teaching, research, service), so I rely on disseminating the content of others as well.

I try to blog weekly and invariably the most comments I get are on the content I create myself.  So one strategy is to add value to re-posted content, not just send it out again in a different form, but really provide another aspect of the content and insight from what is written.  I pose a question or interpretation or comment when I re-post the comments of others, thereby making the content part of the stream of content people see on a regular basis.

I also make the most of my own content by thoughtful re-purposing.  For example, I recently gave a talk at Conversion Conference with Brian Massey on how direct marketing lessons can be used in website conversion.  We took that material and made a Slideshare with audio and then I referred to that material on my own blog, giving a recap of direct marketing principles as used for paid search.  I am also a guest blogger for Exact Target and I was able to create a blog post for them on the psychological background behind our talk, still linking back to that original blog post.

So now with the same talk as a basis, I created three different perspectives on the material, all of which contributed to a spike in pageviews for my blog.  When I started posting meaningful content five times a week, I went from 400 pageviews per month to almost 5,000.

Remember, your customer will respond to a good story and good content to tell that story.  If you want to see the slides from my talk on this subject, you can access the Slideshare above.  Let me know if you have any questions.

By Debra Zahay-Blatz.
You can find Debra on  and Twitter as well as LinkedIn.
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