Content Marketing: Social Media, Web Content And Much More

Last post: Mar 28, 2014

A few tips on how to approach a successful social media campaign

The new age of content marketing

Content marketing is one of those buzzwords that everyone likes to talk about but don't always understand. They seem to agree it's the future, and try to include it in their marketing, but an astoundingly large amount of it goes to waste.

The first mistake people make is to think of it as a concept for the future in the first place. Indeed, as I was clearing out my old toy box from the eighties, the other day, I realized I'd been consuming content marketing my entire life. Here, dusted in cobwebs, I found Transformers, He Man figures and Star Wars toys – all of which were promoted through films and cartoons. These were created as little more than elaborate advertisements – and by the look of this collection it had worked.

Indeed it goes back even further than that. Back in 1895 John Deere launched its own magazine. 1900 saw the arrival of the Michelin guides while in the sixties Proctor & Gamble used soap operas to sell, well, soap. The only difference is that today we have more avenues than ever to use it and as traditional marketing becomes less effective, it's becoming the best way to engage with your customers. Here are some basic tips that every organisation thinking of using content marketing should understand.

 Plan ahead

The majority of companies do not start with any form of content marketing strategy. Instead, they'll open a Twitter account, start a blog or send mail outs with no real understanding of what they're hoping to achieve.

You can start with a content calendar. Look at what dates in the coming year are important to you and schedule content around them. You may want to use content across several platforms for one single date – such as blogs, newsletters or social media – so make a note of what you intend to do and when.

Set goals

Content marketing is nothing without goals. Decide what you want to achieve; are you looking for more followers, greater customer engagement or simply to get them to buy. Tailor your content towards achieving those goals. For example, if you want them to buy, try promoting discounts through a mail out to your key customers.

Understand what they want

There is a surprising disconnect between what customers want and what businesses think they want. For example, a business is likely to believe their Twitter followers want to feel part of a community, when in fact what they're looking for are deals, competitions or information. Get a clear idea of what your followers want to get from any media stream. Those desires could be different depending on the media they are consuming. They may want to find out about new product launches in mail outs, to find special deals on Twitter or to get news and information via your blogs.


Set up a collaboration tool to smooth the workflow between various departments. This is useful so everyone in the company can see what the content management team is doing or planning to do and can contribute to it. This means your marketing strategy can be better linked to the aims of your sales team. There are plenty of good ones on the market. Salesforce and Basecamp are two of the best known but there are many others.

 Use pictures and videos

Words alone will not do the trick. Various studies show that Tweets with pictures embedded tend to be shared more and re-tweeted more. Video is often used to go viral, but for a small company the chances of being successful are slim, due to the immense competition. It has to be genuinely compelling, funny or entertaining, such as the famous 'Will in Blend' YouTube series which enthralled users through the full destruction of high tech equipment.

Measure results

Finally, you need to accurately measure results. This goes beyond simple follower stats – this is no use if they're not engaging. Look at who has likes your Tweet, shared content or clicked through to your website.

With your main website, don't just look at visitor numbers, check the bounce rate – if this is high then people are leaving without doing anything and you'll want to know why. Find out how many people actually clicked through to an action.

Finally, eliminate waste. A great deal of content marketing strategies goes unused and that leads to a lot of wasted effort. Find out which platforms are best at generating your desired result and concentrate your efforts in that area. In short it's a question of learning what works for you and concentrating your efforts there.