Without the evolution of social media and all the channels that have developed, content marketing would be a concept left undiscovered. Content marketing is a marketing tactic that uses content tailored toward specific individuals. Content tailored for a specific audience has more potential to influence the reader, since its content that is useful, shareable and of interest to the reader. Without channels to distribute tailored content created for specific targets content marketing would not exist.
Social media has allowed for content to be distributed, shared and discovered on levels never seen before. It has brought on the mentality of instant information. Anything unknown is immediately discoverable and anything that you want to stay in the past is quickly accessible. To be cliché, social media is a game-changer and opened up infinite possibilities, and marketers paved the way to new target reaching options.
Creating content for target audiences and personas is the main goal in content marketing. Content that is created has an objective. This objective is to reach your target audience and engage with them. By developing content it’s easier to mold that content from the beginning stages of creation to engage specific targets. Knowing who you want to target before you create content is a starting point, that way you can decide how you want to engage them and how you want them to engage with you.
The End Result
Drive your target audience to act, whether it be simply sharing the content, starting a conversation or socially reacting by “liking,” “favoriting” or “commenting” on the content. Great content should advise, offer an opinion, explain or be topical to related industry trends. Interesting content can’t be great without visual aids such as; videos, image quotes or photos. An example of created content would be blogs; they are one of the most common ways to create content, and are a great way to share experiences and to tell a story. Blogs can be targeted, they are shareable and can include any form of multi-media.
This is a term coined to describe distributing content that has not been originated by your brand, but shared because of the relativity to industry content, the likeliness that the content will resonate with targets and the possibility of interaction from the target audience. This strategy allows for content to be shared that wasn’t created, but curated to engage others on topics that are industry related, but not necessarily on topics that you would create and distribute as branded content.
There are some great tools available to curate content for your target audiences and in-line with industry topics. Paper.li is a great site that allows you to create custom digital newspapers. These branded digital papers pull news articles on subjects that you designate when setting up your personal digital newspaper, and are a great way to compile industry related news features. These digital papers compile industry related features that you can pick and choose which you’d like to distribute to your targeted audiences. Industry related blogs and RSS feeds like Tumblr are always a good go-to when searching for topics to share with targets. Swayy is a platform that offers personalized content to share from your own social networks and influences. They simply provide you with an email daily updating you on news regarding your social following. Google Alerts are a personal favorite of mine. I have a Gmail account created to just host my Google Alerts. These alerts are emailed daily and pulled by Google depending on your set search terms designated when you sign-up. These alerts include every mention of your keyword online. You can also curate content from your social networks by sharing posts by your social following or by social media leaders like Mashable.
Social Media Channels
In order to distribute your content to where your audience is, you should evaluate social channels and determine where your audience is engaged the most. You wouldn’t want to waste your time on social channels that don’t host your target audience. It boils down to knowing your targets demographics and knowing the demographics of each social channels majority audience. Delving into current social media channels analytics will help measure engagement of each platform. Content testing can help conclude which social media channel will work best. See which platform gets more traction from the same content posted, and the platforms that perform the best are ones that should be focused on. You don’t need to be everywhere just where you can reach your target audience.
According to PewResearch 74% of all internet users, use social networking sites:
- 71% of online adults use Facebook.
- 22% of online adults use LinkedIn.
- 21% of online adults use Pinterest.
- 19% of online adults use Twitter.
- 19% of online adults use Instagram.
Building your Audience
Building a social media audience organically can take time, because you are starting from nothing. It took some time to develop my very own following through evangelists for my personal brand, but once I identified those that were interested, I engaged them with content that piqued their interest. Once my evangelists saw that my content was useful they shared it, leading to their following gaining interest and leading to more followers in my network. The task is to share content that gains traction with those following and their following. You want to be able to grow your following organically through people who are truly interested, so you can engage them and they can engage with you.
Don’t Buy Frenemies
Fans that are bought will only hurt your potential engagement, since they’re not part of your target audience it’s not a guarantee they will be engaged. You want an audience that is engaged with your content, because to win at social media you measure your engagement not your following. You can have thousands of followers, but if none of them are engaged, your content isn’t reaching your intended target. It’s being muffled by an audience who could care less what you’re trying to say to them. Build your audience organically by identifying your true evangelist and get them content they’re interested in sharing, and watch your following increase.
Social Media Distribution Strategy Checklist
Leverage Content Marketing through Earned Media
Earned media is important endorsements, 3rd party reviews and award wins, and they leverage what is being said about your brand. Other earned media include social sharing by others, traditional/trade publication pick-ups, content placed on aggregator sites and from bloggers writing about your content. Earned media is still the strongest and most trusted, 88% of people trust earned media over owned (branded) media per Nielsen Research. Because of the credibility that earned media provides it is one of the hardest media’s to obtain, but when you do get that type of recognition it’s great to combine earned media with owned and paid media to increase awareness of your brand and the earned media received.
By incorporating your earned media with your owned media, it adds value to owned media. To achieve this media mix add earned media recognitions to brand assets like logos, websites, email signatures, business cards, social media profiles and anywhere else you would want to promote your earned media through owned media. Another media mix is earned media and paid media. Paid media is buying attention for your brand, and can be effective when marketing, because nothing promotes itself.
No Social Media, No Content Marketing
Social media plays a vital role when developing content marketing strategies. If there were no social channels to specifically target and distribute content, then there wouldn’t be a need for content marketing. Social Media paved the way for content marketing, a revolutionary concept to reach your target audience and keep them engaged through content.