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Guest Blog by Keith Paul, Chief Listener at EMC

How are you bringing content to market? Think you have a good idea of who your influencers are? How your most effective advocates are spreading your gospel? I challenge you to think again about how you’re engaging these voices. Or more simply, is your message being heard by the people who want to hear it? Are you reaching them?
Content Marketing is a fast growing segment of the overall marketing mix, if you will. It ranges from the marketing and sale of content (think ghost writing or content farms) to the specialized ability to leverage an idea or concept for publishing across a number of channels.

Getting content to the right audiences in the right way is key to successfully getting your idea out there. Speak to your networks in the language, style and format that matches expectations and tone. Don’t be academic in a casual setting. Don’t use jargon where it’s not part of the vocabulary. Don’t auto-post your tweets to Facebook. You get the idea.

Know Your Advocates

It’s these advocates that a content or social media marketer should spend the most time developing. It’s time to stop worrying about Twitter or Facebook or YouTube or any other social channel. In the realm of social media advocacy programs, they don’t matter. Ask yourself (and be honest with your answer), “Are you delivering content that is useful to your audience?”

Yes or no, you might not be able to directly answer that question. That’s where social listening comes in. Are you effectively able to draw accurate conclusions about the nature of your social engagements? Is the content you deliver driving value? Don’t worry about how many times you were retweeted. It doesn’t really matter.

Consider the context from which your audience is coming from. What problem might someone be trying to solve? Can you provide a solution? Better still, can you distill a pain point when one is not specifically expressed?

Know Your Content

Another question you’re probably now thinking: “What is this content this guy keeps on mentioning?” It’s any content you’re providing your audiences. It could be an exciting announcement or a cool Facebook game or it could be a thought-provoking blog. It could be the solution to a customer’s problem.

For the purposes of this discussion, content is defined as anything you put out on social media channels. It’s never enough to Tweet-Blast a blog link or other announcement. Wrap your message in a call-to-action. That can be anything from asking for feedback to sharing valuable content. A whitepaper might make for a good series of blog posts, which might inspire a handful of tweets. A blog comment or a reply to a tweet might inspire a how-to video.

Imagine yourself on the other side of your tweet. Is the content useful? Do you heed a call-to-action? Does it meet your need as a consumer? Does the content make you think or react? Did you learn something new?

Know Your Reach

Consider when, how, and where your content is consumed. I’m not asking you to know the number of impressions your content might earn. Nor am I advocating you focus on a metric that sizes up your content efforts. Be aware of your content. Is it suited for a particular audience or a particular channel? Don’t be lazy and cross-post the same message on Facebook and on Twitter. Consider what goal your audience might have on a particular channel. Some tasks might be specific, some might be vague. Know what’s effective. Know what resonates. It’s okay to ask questions of your audience. This “social threading” is important. Take advantage of how content is consumed on different channels.

Know your content. Yep, I’m repeating myself. The more you know your content, the more able you’ll be in sharing that content in ways that add value for your audiences.

About the Author

Keith Paul has over 15 years of digital marketing experience ranging from the unique goals of institutions of higher education to the market-driven needs of Fortune 500 brands, currently serving as Chief Listener at EMC.

Published with permission of the author.  Originally published in Listen Completely as 3 ways content marketing is critical to social business

Photographs: Creative Commons by topgold

Graphic:  S Hunt Sound Development