Whether you believe the current hype around content marketing is crap or crêpes, you’re not going to avoid it. I have my thoughts why it’s such a hot topic, but this post is not about my opinion, but the opinions of experts who I admire and have learned so much from.
I moderated a panel discussion at Mark Schaefer’s Content Marketing Workshop in the summer featuring panelist representing different sectors. I asked each of them a question about content marketing specific to their speciality.
Mila Araujo: Social Business Strategist – Regulated Industries
Mila Araujo is Director of Personal Insurance for Ogilvy & Ogilvy Inc. and a contributing author for several top internet sites, including Social Media Today, Business 2 Community, 12 Most , Grow, The Online SafeHouse, and Winning at the Insurance Gamble, and her own blog, “Perspectives”.
Q – Do you feel that that the new focus on “content” will give the Regulated Industry sector an excuse to stall, if not pull back on social media?
“Before we talk about pulling back, it should be noted the vast majority of firms have hardly taken the leap into social media.
The focus on content combined with a lack of confidence is what holds them back. Rather than using these new tools as an opportunity to build relationships by engaging employees and publishing creative content to build relationships into the community, regulated industries use regulation as a rationale for not participating in social media as other industries do.
It’s the forward thinking firms that take on an overall social mindset, both internally and externally, that will adapt to these challenging times and succeed.”
Micheline Bourque: Social Media Marketing Consultant – SMB’s
Micheline Bourque is a Montreal-based marketing professional, social media enthusiast and evangelist. On her blog, Marketing sur mesure, she writes about the impact of social media on businesses and organizations as well as the sociological aspects that arise privacy issues.
Q – How would you explain the difference between content marketing and social media marketing to a small business owner?
Social media carries boxcars full of stories, questions, comments, videos, podcasts to their destinations.
Content marketing is how you determine what to fill your freight cars with and where to deliver them.
Social media marketing is using social media platforms to build relationships with your audience. It’s effective at nurturing trust and forming communities.
Content marketing, is the creation of content on social media platforms and elsewhere, that has lead generation as it’s primary goal.
Without tracks, your content’s going nowhere. Without trains, the rails will rust.”
Craig Silverman: Entrepreneurial Journalist – Journalism
Craig Silverman is an entrepreneurial journalist and director of content for Spundge, a content curation and creation platform used by newsrooms, brands and agencies. He is founder and editor of Regret the Error, which is now part of the Poynter Institute.
Q – Which of the best elements of journalism should be utilized and which of the worst ones are to be avoided in content marketing.
“We need more journalistic-style fact-based storytelling in content marketing.”
“In order to produce good, relevant useful content, you need to spend the time to dig into and research the areas that relate to your business, your message. It’s important to create a workflow and culture that takes the facts and applies a solid process to turn them into stories that are engaging, useful and informative. And to do so without a self-promotional bent. Make the story king.”
“As for what to avoid:
1. When things go wrong, or people object to coverage, the default response is to circle the wagons and not engage.
2. Don’t get caught in a rut. Don’t allow yourself to go back to the same sources again and again when trying to come up with story ideas and content. You’ll get boring very quickly.
3. Creating walls between territorial content groups prevent new thinking and innovation.”
Julien Smith: Best Selling Author and Change Agent – Start-ups
Julien Smith is the CEO of Breather, an on-demand space company, as well as the New York Times bestselling author of three books. Two of these, Trust Agents and The Impact Equation, were written with Chris Brogan. The third, The Flinch, has consistently remained one of the top read Kindle books since it was published in 2011.
Q – As an entrepreneur and communicator who unflinchingly embraces change, is content marketing breaking new ground?
“Content marketing is a buzz word.
It is uninteresting unless the subject itself, the writing, the company, or whatever, is interesting already. You don’t see Square, Uber, Apple, or Twitter talking about content marketing.
The product already does that job.
The product is the “content.”
Brendan Tully Walsh: Marketing Communications Consultant – Marketing
Brendan Tully Walsh is co founder of marketing agency, Brendan & Brendan. He has a decade and a half of experience as a national broadcast journalist, writer, public speaker and marcom strategist. With an Edward R. Murrow award and two AP awards for regional political and business coverage, Brendan has a keen editorial sense that has served his clients in all areas of marketing, communications and PR.
Q – As a journalist, content was your product, now as cofounder of a marketing agency, how has your content strategy changed (if it has)?
“The fundamental difference is the extent to which the content marketing operation must do the job of being a “newsy” while at the same time tastefully self-referential. To relay information or insights with consistent ties back into the company’s people, products, services and core values, and all the while without being overtly self-promotional. That radically changes the strategy, but in a multitude of subtle ways.
“Earlier examples of content marketing missed the subtle part of the mission. Today’s approaches should borrow heavily from the newsroom in the areas of consistency, programming, quality and relevance, while staying true to the purpose of extending and expanding the company’s relationships with its customers and community.”
“While content remains “the product” of both the newsroom and the content marketing operation, the journalist’s goal to inform, entertain or engage in the context of a beat, becomes the content marketer’s job to inform, entertain and engage in the context of the company and its values.”
The “Cut Through the Clutter” workshop was held on July 4th. The Panel discussion was held immediately after.
About Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz is a Google Plus Specialist and Social Media Strategist helping small businesses establish their brands and build their communities on the social web. A strong proponent for the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking, Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus. His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and individuals just trying to make sense of "social". Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.