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Put The Horse Before The Cart: Why A Content Marketing Strategy Precedes Social Media Marketing

Author's avatar By Danyl Bosomworth 11 Nov, 2010
Essential Essential topic

5 Reasons You Need a Content Marketing Strategy

So, social media is the current big thing taking a lot of our time, attention and emotional effort. But is it working for you, is your social media cart cart stuck in the mud regarding results? Are you struggling to figure out how to make it work for you?

If yes, why is that the case "€“ after all you have a Facebook Page, you"€™re probably tweeting and running a company blog, of sorts.

Have you considered that the social media cart is missing the content strategy horse?

Here are five reasons why a content strategy needs to be considered before figuring out how social media integrates into your marketing plans.

Reason 1. Little content = little conversation

Developing a content marketing strategy is about understanding your audience"€™s unmet needs. Whether customers, potential customers or influencers. Only then are you able to create content that solves those challenges, or at least is valuable in helping to. If you cannot contribute to the conversation there is little chance of becoming a trusted source of information, let alone leverage tools or social networks like Facebook.

Reason 2. Marketers are now publishers

It"€™s well documented. If we've learned anything over the past few years, even from a search optimisation perspective, it's that the majority of new marketing efforts rely on an understanding of publishing information to you audiences. So, us marketers need to think more like a publisher / PR hybrid, and less like sales and marketing folk. We need to give people content that they want to read, not what we want to say. More with the "€œinspiring me"€ and less with the features and benefits. There"€™s another pay-off here too "€“ you differentiate in the process, your competitors are most likely banging the sales drum.

Reason 3. You need clear goals for social media activity

Being "€œactive"€ in social media is not a marketing goal

That's where a considered and integrated (to your wider planning) content strategy comes in. What is the purpose of your content (and social media marketing)? What are your key messages vs what do I (the customer) want to hear? What content assets do you have and what do you need to originate or gather from third parties?

All the social media participation in the world won't address these questions. When you understand this you can consider something like our digital radar to figure out where best to market and share your content.

Reason 4. Content is currency.

For marketers who"€™ve dived in to social media his is where the pain can really bite. Fascinating, useful, educational and entertaining content is shared through social media. It"€™s the currency, the firewood "€“ whatever you want to call it. So many us have rushed into social media only to wonder why our Facebook Pages have no comments, there"€™s no Likes, no blog interactions, we don"€™t have the right kind of Twitter followers (just the random, attractive Russian females keen to chat, or is that just my account!?). Understanding that it's the currency and plan to spend it, the content plan, that drives the spreading of your ideas is the first step. Seth Godin talks a lot about this.

Reason 5. Social media = I hear you + I'm listening to you + I understand

Replace "social media" with "publishing" or "content strategy". Works, right? Getting clear about the fact that you are producing this content, not only to be shared by your customers and prospects, but to accomplish tangible objectives that can be measured.

The social media interactions have to be fuelled by something, it's about creating valuable, relevant and compelling content on a consistent basis in order that your brand is not only well placed to be trusted (or simply just Liked) but even just to be visible, on a customers Facebook News Feed or an influencer"€™s blog, for example.

Social media is the cart, the functional tool(s) we use to do our work and our interaction. Consider content as the horse, doing all upfront work, in order that we get to enjoy the ride.

Thanks to Jay Baer, Brian Solis and Joe Pulizzi for informing my thinking for this post - over several months! Let me know what you think?

Author's avatar

By Danyl Bosomworth

Dan helped to co-found Smart Insights in 2010 and acted as Marketing Director until leaving in November 2014 to focus on his other role as Managing Director of First 10 Digital. His experience spans brand development and digital marketing, with roles both agency and client side for nearly 20 years. Creative, passionate and focussed, his goal is on commercial success whilst increasing brand equity through effective integration and remembering that marketing is about real people. Dan's interests and recent experience span digital strategy, social media, and eCRM. You can learn more about Dan's background here Linked In.

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