I started at Pace about a month ago, and to say that I’ve learned a lot about content marketing would be a gross understatement. A community manager by trade, I have quite a bit of experience managing social media marketing campaigns, covering live events and engaging with members of online communities on behalf of a brand, company or public figure. “Content marketing?” I thought to myself on my first day on the job, “Sure! I know all about that. I publish content every day on the social media channels I manage.”
Looking back, it’s clear to me that “publishing content on social media” doesn’t constitute content marketing (not even close!), and that I had so, so much to learn. Thankfully, being surrounded by a group of incredibly talented content marketers for the past four weeks has taught me quite a bit about content marketing and how social media comes into play. To sum it up, here are the top eight best practices for integrating social media and content marketing I’ve learned so far:
When Creating a Content Marketing Strategy, Put the Audience First
Before you do anything else, determine who your target audience is. What are their needs? How will you capture their attention and provide them with valuable content? Answers to these questions will establish the foundation of your content marketing strategy and help guide you when planning your social media strategy.
The American Express Open Forum is an excellent example (albeit one that is frequently referenced) of a brand that does this effectively. The site is geared towards business owners and entrepreneurial-minded individuals and features free ideas, valuable information, high-quality content and expert answers to questions from “real people” – all without constant sales pitches.
What Story Will You Tell? Make It a Good One!
Unlike traditional marketing practices – which I equate to standing on a street corner with a megaphone and shouting about how awesome your brand is– content marketing is all about telling your brand story. It’s not about meeting your own self-interest, selling products or publishing content for its own sake.
All things considered, it’s no wonder why content marketing and social media go hand in hand. People use social networks to socialize, catch up with friends and engage with other users who have similar interests. They don’t want to be sold to or shouted at by faceless brands invading their space and clogging up their social feeds. Instead, focus on creating high-quality, sharable content that is devoid of sales pitches and product pushes.
“Dumb Ways to Die,” one of Australia’s most successful public service campaigns aimed at promoting rail safety, is a prime example of this. They took an otherwise boring topic and turned it into a humorous, shockingly morbid three minute video and catchy song that tells a story about the silly ways you could die. Since the PSA was uploaded to YouTube, the three-minute video has garnered over 93 million views. Not to mention that the ad has been credited with reducing rail-related accidents by 21%. #GoTeam!