Enjoyed quite the whirlwind day yesterday when I paid a visit to Gothenburg on Sweden’s “left coast” and had a busy program together with my good friends and hospitable local hosts Pia and Thomas of KNTNT. Under the heading Social Content Marketing, I spoke to a full house of 180 attendees for a breakfast talk and then taught a full-day Content Marketing Master Class to a high-caliber group of marketing communications managers, consultants, and executives.
Digital Success Principles with Frida Boisen
I was also very pleased that we were able to bring in two intriguing guest appearances. Leading Swedish social media expert Frida Boisen shared perspectives on how content can catch fire on social media and she particularly stressed the importance of bringing in the emotional element of communication for people to care. This and more can be found in her best-selling book Digital Succé, check it out 🙂
Content Marketing Success with Mark W Schaefer
In the afternoon Swedish time, international content marketing thought leader Mark W. Schaefer joined us for a virtual session from Knoxville, Tennessee, during which he shared the thesis he presents in his groundbreaking book The Content Code. He stressed the importance of nurturing your so-called Alpha Audience, the relatively few followers you have who are regularly sharing your content. In fact, Mark Schaefer suggests that may be doomed if you do not start worrying more about taking good care of these ambassadors as their trust and ambassadorship may be the most valuable asset you have as competition for attention will only get worse. He cited an estimate that by year 2020, the amount of content will go up another five times from today's already crowded web.
Social Media Marketing vs. Content Marketing
It is not surprising that it is challenging to discuss the interrelationship between social media marketing and content marketing as both terms are relatively undefined and are also undergoing changes in terms of how they are understood over time. That being said, social media marketing encompasses communications across a wide variety of social networks and stresses the interactive nature of communications amongst a group of people whereas content marketing takes as its point of departure a piece of content that should fulfill a number of criteria such as adding value and driving profitable customer action, albeit indirectly. This is the definition of content marketing that I used in my presentation:
“Content marketing is the strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
– Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute
Content Marketers becoming Professors
One aspect of content marketing that many struggle with is the extent to which they can talk about their own products and solutions in their content. While I am not going so far as saying that you are not allowed to mention your own product in your content marketing, the most effective content marketers seem to stay away from it to the largest extent possible. As a marketing professor, I have noted how content marketers are communicating and behaving more and more as professors these days as they are adding value to prospective and existing customers by teaching them ways to solve their problems irrespective of specific product purchases. It is best illustrated by the quote by Jon Ferrara of Nimble when he said:
If you teach people to fish, they’ll figure out you sell fishing poles.
– Jon Ferrara
During the day, I covered four areas in which social media marketing and content marketing are interdependent and discussed how each can benefit from the other:
Listening on Social Media for Content Marketing Ideas. What are the questions they ask on social media? On what platforms do they search for information? What are their frustrations?
- Connecting to an audience suitable to your business using relevant content. By offering content that is particularly valuable to your target market, you can both attract the right type of audience to connect with you and identify themselves such as giving you their email address at the same time as you may even repel the wrong type of audience that sees little interest in the content that you offer.
Engaging. How can you get your followers to not only consume but also share your content on their social media platforms?
- Creating. How can you motivate your followers to contribute their content for you to use on your platforms?
So, have you wondered about the relationship between social media marketing and content marketing? I am curious to learn about your thoughts and experiences so please let me know in the comments below!