Many companies today are just starting to get a grasp on content marketing. They’re reading about it, testing it out, and trying to figure out what it is and how to do it. While content marketing is a complex operation that requires many different resources such as SEOs, graphic designers and creative teams, social media marketers need to understand how they fit into the workflow.
There are three main phases to content marketing, and social media has a special place in each:
1. The Ideation Phase
Your brand wants to make a content marketing piece, but what should it be about? Since your goal is to create something people will consume and share, you need to find out what your audience wants to hear about and gear your content toward that. How? Ask your social media manager. Social media marketers have a wealth of information such as what types of trends and topics are doing best on social media right now, what competitors are doing successfully or poorly, and general social media insights that allow you to create a piece that is most relevant to the people you are targeting.
2. The Creation Phase
Once you’ve decided what the content piece will be about, now it needs to take a shape. Will you be creating a blog post, quiz, infographic, video, eBook, meme, etc.? Get some input from the social media manager, as they can shed some light on which mediums are most popular on social media right now. They can also guide you on how to create content that is optimized for each channel. For example, if you are making an infographic, you may want to create “teaser” images that best fit the photo specs for each social channel, or if it’s a video, you may need to consider a certain length that does best on social media before viewers lose attention.
3. The Promotion Phase
Naturally, this is where social media assistance is necessary. No matter how great your piece of content is, it will fall flat if it is not properly promoted. How else will people hear about it? So be sure to share it across you brand’s social media channels, promote it via social media advertising, share it with relevant and interested social media influencers & bloggers, engage in social media communities such as Google+ Communities and LinkedIn Groups, participate in relevant Twitter Chats (or host your own on the content topic!), utilize relevant hashtags and trending topics, and share it on sites like StumbleUpon and Digg. Sharing your content on social media is not a one day or one-week project; it may take weeks to get the word out there in a socially friendly way, so be sure to account for this time in your workflow.
Social media plays a role through the entire content marketing workflow and is important to include if a content piece is to be successful. Content marketing is just beginning so I anticipate there will be many more strategies including social media in the future, but follow the steps above for a good place to start today.
Devon DeMars helps brands understand their online audience and reach their social media goals as the Director of Social Media at Internet Marketing Inc. She’s particularly passionate about building authentic relationships between brands, bloggers and consumers; and educating on the word-of-mouth marketing power of social media. You can connect with her at @ThereDGoes.