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Updates on inbound marketing and content marketing and how they drive traffic, leads and sales.
John Lee talks about the power of visual content in social marketing, the importance of quality content rather than quantity, and why - just occasionally - it's alright to opt for social silence!
So John, you've given us (in part 1) two clear messages about encouraging people to interact with your social content, around planning and integration into your marketing mix and also, very much about your "social" tone. What's next - what else should we be thinking about?
We all know the reasons for having a blog right? It drives traffic to your website, it helps with search engine results, it generates leads, and all those great marketing objectives. Now, don’t get me wrong, they are all excellent reasons for publishing a blog. But those reasons should be true of all blogs, I mean, they should be a given.
They are the reasons why you should have a blog, they are not the reasons for your particular blog.
So why are you really blogging? You need to think about the strategic reasons for a blog as much as you do the practical reasons. If you don’t have a strategy, then your blog will fail, and the positive effects on your business will be lost.
Do you share links to your website or blog and wonder why no-body clicks on them?
John Lee, Head of Social Marketing at Webtrends, offers some great insights for B2B marketers on how to you get your content noticed in amongst the 500 million tweets a day.
John, regarding your blog post on this subject, did it come about as a result of some research that you’d done or just observations you’ve made over the years?
It’s a little bit of both – we’ve done a lot of research in terms of looking closely at our own social channels and finding out what really leads people to engage and repeatedly engage – so not just that “first click” but what makes that click more meaningful in the long term. And also, we’ve been able to look at other industry leaders, particularly in B2B digital marketing, and to look at what kind of patterns they’re seeing; it seems to be a trend that’s pretty consistent across the industry.
Digital marketing sites, content publishers, pundits, brands and regulators currently seem obsessed with native advertising.
The IAB have created a task force and published “The Native Advertising Playbook”. Adweek, Marketing Week, Mashable, even the Guardian are talking about it.
Recently the Sunday People website was relaunched funded solely by native advertising, and even more recently still, it’s been closed due to lack of audience.
At least one content marketing expert has said it is neither ‘native’ nor ‘advertising’. So what is it? Is it the next big thing in marketing? Should it be part of your essential inbound marketing toolkit?
Paul Hutchinson discusses how professional firms, using social networks to communicate with clients transparently and authentically, have found a winning marketing mix.
So Paul, can you start by explaining a little bit about your background?
I work for Black Letter PR, helping legal professionals develop their current communication methods. As the legal sector is becoming more and more consumer focused, we are finding increasingly that law firms want to engage with their clients via modern channels such as social media.
Are you finding that a bit of a challenge?
There is a lot of fear about social media from professional sectors. I think it’s that old adage of “what you don’t understand, you’re frightened of”, but as many people who have taken the jump have found, social media isn’t this horrible beast that is going to cause problems. It is actually a platform which is improving the way businesses engage with their customers.
Keeping in mind that most of the law firms haven’t got there yet, what advice would you give them?
This time last year, we came to the quick and sensible decision not to devise out own list of predictions for 2013, instead leaving it in the safe hands of other experts in the field who could foretell with renown and efficiency the inbound and content trends of the coming year. And they did so with aplomb – thank you Messrs Sheridan, Colman et al.
So, with the advent of another new year, we have scoured the Internet to compile a 2014 list of the best B2B inbound and content marketing predictions for the next 12 months, in the hope that they will prove useful in guiding your future marketing planning and strategy. So here’s our list of the four most salient objectives and anticipated trends for 2014 from the thought-leaders in our industry:
In an age where Generation Y are, as I observed in an earlier post, “completely visual learners”, with Generation X not far behind, does the rather formal, text-heavy, slightly august medium of the white paper still have any kind of place in your content writing armoury?
Should you just abandon it in favour of what David Meerman Scott, in his New Rules of Viral Marketing, called “the stylish younger sister to the nerdy white paper” - the more visual, interactive and “human” eBook?
Consultant employment solicitor Michael Sissons at Cubism Law talks here about how to avoid legal and HR nightmares around employees use of social media for business, by getting your procedures right before you hire people.
Michael, we have been looking recently the growing importance of social media skills in the workplace, and wanted to talk to you about some of the issues arising as social media comes more to the fore, and get your take on some of the legal or contractual requirements that are popping up in your world.
When you say legal requirements, one has to break that down a little bit, and it depends what area we are talking about.
We can’t be the only business with a blog that has seen an increase in the numbers of requests received (some welcome, others not so) for guest posts, both from those wanting to post on our blog and those wanting us to post on theirs!
The guest post, it could be argued, is fast-becoming B2B blog currency; so it's worth asking why that is, identifying some of the challenges associated with it, and exploring how carefully negotiating these hurdles could bring benefit to your existing inbound and content marketing activities.
Guest blogging done successfully - in conjunction with well-selected and reputable blog writers in your field, can deliver significant benefits for your business - in terms of profile, authority, perspicacity and originality to your online content.
And these advantages won't just be appreciated by your readers. As we explored in an earlier post, search engines now focus much more closely on the presence of content that is likely to be useful to the reader (as evidenced by ongoing algorithm changes in Google, for instance). Blogging and guest blogs fall naturally into this category.
Seemingly no aspect of business these days is untouched by social media; Steve Ward of Cloud Nine Recruitment, who specialises in placing social media and digital talent, talks here about the growing demand for social media skills in all areas of business.
Can we talk about the changing roles and responsibilities in today’s workplace and focus on some of the skills that are increasingly being required by employers. Have you seen a rise in the requirement for social media skills?
Yes, definitely. Three and a half years ago, when I first looked into this area, it was still a very specialised skill set, a niche within marketing and communications - that “weird bloke or weird girl in the corner” on Twitter and Facebook. Increasingly now, generic marketing, creative and PR roles are incorporating these skills. I would take that even further into the areas of HR and recruitment. So many more customer-facing roles have social media skills as a requirement these days.
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