Let me start out by saying that I don’t think advertising is dead. There is a lot of talk out there that it’s limping along as content creation sprints forward leaving it in the dust. But, let’s be real, good advertising still sells. That said, content creation has been around for a while, but as a relatively newbie to the marketing tool kit it’s getting a lot of attention. There are some pretty compelling reasons for this. Study after study shows that people respond to informational content. What catches people’s attention is useful content that provides some insight or understanding. A good blog – one that tells your customers and potential customers something they need to know — is a perfect example of persuasive content.
The biggest challenge with a blog is consistency and providing useful information. But, there is more to it than that. Once you have the blogs written and posted your work isn’t done. If you have spent the time and energy to put together a useful blog you have to market it to keep it alive and reaching as many targeted people as possible. Good content is marketing gold, but only if you get people to see it. You can create a great ad, but if you don’t place it, it doesn’t sell anything.
There are lots of ways to market content. Social media like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ should all be part of the mix. But, I think one of the most overlooked marketing tools for b2b communication efforts is LinkedIn. We all know (or should know) that LinkedIn isn’t just for recruiting and job searches any more. People use it to keep tabs on contacts, network with peers, follow industry groups and get company news.
According to reports, LinkedIn has 300 million worldwide users with 100 million in the U.S. alone. And it’s estimated that 40 percent of those users check their accounts daily. The average LinkedIn user has 150 connections and many have more than 500. When you post something to LinkedIn it appears on the news feed of all of your followers (depending on your privacy settings). If one of your connections sees it and likes it then it appears on the news feed of all of that person’s connections, if one of his/her connections likes it, it appears on the newsfeed of all of that person’s connections and if someone from that person likes it . . . well you get the idea. The number of people who see your post adds up pretty rapidly and exponentially.
If your post links back to your website, you not only get more visibility for your content but you also have the potential of driving more people back to your website. And remember all of this is free. All you have to do is assign someone (or your agency) to regularly post all blogs and news coverage to LinkedIn. It should be on the check off list along with posting to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.
LinkedIn works pretty much like Facebook, but I like it because it is a business platform targeted to professionals. Facebook is great for family photos, funny animal videos and personal opinions, but LinkedIn is for business. When you post on your company page that post appears in the news feed of everyone following your company. These are people who have shown an interest in you. Keeping them updated is important and should be a priority. These are your evangelists – people who will spread the word for you.