From the Trenches

Why Companies That Say They Want Social Media Really Want Content Marketing

Will Davis | March 17, 2011

Recently, I’ve had two different speaking engagements with two very different groups.  The first was a group of a half dozen CEOs and a few of the folks on their marketing teams on the topic of social media and what businesses can do to use social media or use it better. The second was a group of students from the e-Business group at a local university about using blogging for business (slides below).  Each was a great event, and representative of the topics we are passionate about.

While vastly different audiences, each of the groups had some strikingly similar views:

1.  Nobody really knows what you are talking about when you say “content marketing.”

OK maybe that is a bit overstating it, but not much.  Phrases like “content marketing” are still a bit too “inside baseball” for CEOs and students alike. So, put the remote down and step away from the jargon, because…

2. When “content marketing” is explained, people understand what you are talking about and most everyone sees the value.

Let’s face it, the ideas behind content marketing are not new. But, the value now is higher than ever as both B2B and B2C buyers are armed with the tools to research your industry, products and services before they ever even think of engaging a sales representative. Buyers want to educate themselves and be in control of the process.  Companies need to shift their thinking and educate buyers with content, in the form of white papers, videos, presentations, webinars, blog posts, eBooks, case studies…the list goes on and on.  Educating your prospects, providing content that overcomes objections, and being there before the sale is critical.  Smart marketers have always done some form of content marketing, it’s just recently that the name has been applied and more tactics and channels are available.

3. When many companies say they want to “do social media” they really mean content marketing  — they just don’t know it yet.

Reinforcing the first 2 points – when companies learn more about what content marketing is – and that you can leverage your own content in the social media space – they almost always realize that’s what they really wanted to do, and that social media is just one piece of their content marketing puzzle.  Mike described this well recently in Don’t Let the Social Media Tail Wag the Content Marketing Dog.  And that doesn’t even cover the bulging eyes when I showed the stat that companies with blogs generate 67% more leads.

So take a look, learn more about content marketing, and you may find that when you say you want social media you really want content marketing.

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