Social content services? Yes, of course... what else?
Content marketing (aka "copywriting services") is all the rage. I hear agencies, freelancers, and marketing generalists talk about content marketing as if it were as intuitive to their strategies and breathing is to living.
But there also seems to be a disconnect between what content marketing actually is, and most importantly, how to actually leverage it to benefit the business. Social media and blogging are operating in silos, and because they're not converging until after the fact, many businesses are missing out on the most compelling reasons why they should do either one of those.
What we should be doing is socializing content, and leveraging it to generate leads, and nurture those leads into paying customers.
Social content is the usage of educational data that your visitors can find by searching for answers to their problems that is easy to consume and share for the purposes of driving sales.
Without the social element, content marketing gets you a quarter of the way there, and without content, social media marketing does the same. Together, they propel you to the promised land, amplifying each other's impact and overall benefit to your business.
These are the four steps that will get you there:
1: Optimize your message
Search engine optimization (see more: What does SEO stand for?) isn't just for on-page content and your meta-tags. Your social media messages also affect the overall value that Google and friends place on your website. If you're using Google+, you're also likely to show up on the first page of your networks' search queries.
In addition, your blogging strategy is about ten times more likely to actually do anything for you if you follow a strict protocol that centers around relevant keywords without crossing the lines of decency (ie, keyword stuffing).
But content marketing isn't just about blogging and on-page script. What about downloads? The offers that you give to visitors is another area that you should optimize, right down to the title of the content pieces themselves, and even within.
2: Merge your minds
Social media should be involved in the discussions of SEO and blogging strategy for many reasons:
- Social media marketers see first-hand which blog posts (yours and those they're curating from 3rd parties) are generating clicks and other favorable actions, like shares, likes, and follows, so they can provide valuable input on blog topics and overall quality suggestions.
- SEO marketing specialists can provide insight for social media on which keywords are generating traffic, and since they are typically following traffic source reports very closely, they can even advise on which social channels to invest more time into and which ones to pull away from.
- Blog writers can boost SEO rankings by using keywords as central discussion topics.
- Your content downloads can be framed and promoted using blogging and social media. By developing blog topics that get granular on discussion points in your comprehensive downloads, you boost SEO ranking, social klout, AND lead generation.
Individually, they can drive value to the business, but together they WILL drive value, and you'll know exactly how and what that value actually looks like.
3: The path to lead conversions
Tying these elements together is important, and putting a lead conversion path in place is what makes it all worthwhile. Social media is a great distribution channel for blogs... Blogs are great channels for promoting content downloads (tastefully, of course, not blatant advertisements that make us not want to read them)... And if you put a form in front of your offers with compelling reasons to download, you'll have insalled a lead conversion path that looks like this:
4: Analyze, rinse, and repeat
Each arm of your outreach strategy should keep a close eye on what they're doing to see if what they are doing is moving the needle, but it's important to not review these statistics in silos in the very same way that they aren't operating like that.
Social media could be driving traffic to your website just fine, but if your lead conversion paths aren't there, or the blogging isn't creating a bridge between the two, it's going to make your social strategy look like it's failing when you look at the contact conversion reports.
Look at everything, put it all together, and identify where the true bottlenecks are, so you aren't investing resources in the wrong things. I suggest getting an all-in-one software solution to help you through this.... something like Hubspot, Marketo, Infusionsoft, etc. Piecing it together with multiple channels is a task I wouldn't wish on my worst enemies. You spend a lot of time integrating that could be better spent creating.
It's true: Social Content Services ARE better!
Have you ever seen that cartoon or played that old Sega videogame, Double Dragon? For some reason when I think about inbound marketing (which is what we described in this blog post), I think of Double Dragon.
They were about two brothers who were the strongest and most skilled martial artists in the world, but even though they were unmatched one-on-one, when they were teamed up, they had their limitations. However, when they were together (If I recall it was sealed by a high-five), they were each ten times more powerful than they were apart from each other.
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