When Duke’s Fuqua School of Business asked 500 CMOs how effectively social media is integrated with the rest of their firm’s marketing strategies, they uncovered some dismal results. On a scale of 1 to 7, where 1 is not at all integrated and 7 is completely integrated, the average score was 3.8. Interestingly enough, the score was also 3.8 when Duke did the same survey in 2012 and 2011.
Why the struggle? Christine Moorman, a Marketing Professor at Duke, says the problem has to do with measuring social media marketing’s success. “I think the mistake a lot of companies make is that they spend on marketing analytics but they don’t worry as much about how to use marketing analytics.”
A question I hear again and again from clients is “But how are we going to do this?”
I agree with Christine, but I also think a large part of the integration problem has to do with the process of content creation and distribution. A question I hear again and again from clients is “But how are we going to do this?” And their confusion is completely understandable. Without publishing industry experience, it can be hard to visualize how new content gets created and distributed on a regular basis.
When it comes to brands becoming publishers, there aren’t any one-size-fits-all answers. A lot of your workflow process will depend on how large your marketing department is, how much time your employees have to devote to content creation and how much you have budgeted for content.
“Stock and flow” describes the two types of content companies need to create on a regular basis.
Consumer brands like GE and Budweiser are using the “stock and flow” framework to conceptualize their content marketing processes. “Stock and flow” describes the two types of content companies need to create on a regular basis: high-value content like web page copy, white papers, case studies or videos (stock); and real-time content like status updates, curated content, tweets and pins (flow). Two companies that are helping brands execute the stock and flow method on a daily basis are Percolate and Relaborate.
Percolate is an enterprise-level content creation and management platform used by brands like American Express. I haven’t actually used Percolate (it requires a demo sign up) but I like their approach to content workflow and I think the brands they’re helping are doing a great job in the digital marketing space.
Relaborate is a relatively new player in the SaaS space. Their product is a content creation engine that offers writing prompts and lists of questions to help brands create both stock and flow content. Companies struggling with how to get content ideas and how to use their subject matter experts as content creators can definitely get a boost from Relaborate.
The platform has worked especially well in the real estate space. Apartment complexes and assisted living facilities, for example, need content that helps prospective residents understand what kind of culture they’re buying into when they sign a lease. With Relaborate, their marketing departments can either create their own content using Relaborate’s prompts or answer the Relaborate questionairres and let an outside agency handle the writing.
Apartment complexes and assisted living facilities need content that helps prospective residents understand what kind of culture they’re buying into when they sign a lease.
For smaller companies, the content marketing and social media workflow process isn’t as clear cut and depends a lot on budget and time constraints. One solution is to work with a content marketing agency on a long-term basis. A possible retainer agreement might include one piece of stock content per month and one piece of flow content daily, plus engagement and interaction on multiple social media properties. To create that content and actually make it useful for your business, the agency might schedule two interviews a month with you or your employees to uncover relevant content ideas.
If you’re dragging your feet because you don’t know where to start, get thee to a consultant ASAP.
Whatever the case may be, companies need to get over the mental roadblocks that are keeping them from creating social media content and great stock content on a regular basis. Yes, the process might be hard to visualize, but the best thing to do is jump in and figure it out as you go. A content marketing consultant can help you set up your content marketing workflow, so if you’re dragging your feet because you don’t know where to start, get thee to a consultant ASAP. Chances are your competitors already have their digital content operations up and running. As Duke’s survey shows, big brands are creating content even though they’re not entirely sure how to measure its value – which, by the way, is also do-able…but that’s a blog post for another day.
Want to see the entire 2013 CMO Survey video? Here it is.