Corporate Blogging is Dead, Long live Content Marketing! – 2013 survey results

book-new-largeI am not certain that Google will maintain Google alerts for very much longer. It seems, to put it in Forbes’s words, that it is broken. There is another cool innovation from the olden times which is still working though, I mean Google web trends. I still find it very interesting to see how things evolved through the use, or disuse, of certain keywords in the Google search engine. Lately, I went back to Google in order to check what was happening to corporate blogs. The only thing I was able to find out, was a 2005 report on corporate blogging. Does that mean that corporate blogging is over? Not at all! It is now part of a much broader subject, named content marketing. In essence, content marketing is bit different from just corporate blogging and it is a much better term. The replies of the interest for content marketing over the past few months is showing that something is happening in the web world again. Maybe it is a sign that companies are now more interested in what they get from the content which they produce rather than just spend time producing it. Let us review the 2013 content marketing survey report which gives us some interesting insight into the use of content marketing in 2013 (courtesy http://www.imninc.com/).

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Interest for corporate blogs has clearly shifted from blogs to content

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Key Survey Findings by IMN

  • Content marketing was a medium or high priority for 90%
    of respondents …”  however, one may point out  that comparisons with the 2012 survey my IMN (the first in the series) is showing that the realisation that content marketing is important is fairly recent, even in the US,
  • “31% of respondents have had a content strategy in place for more than a
    year, with 18% stating they put one in place within the last year and 33%
    working on implementing a strategy” … as stated above, all these content marketing programs are still fairly recent and there is still room for improvement,
  • “67% of respondents use a newsletter to distribute content to their
    customers and prospects” …  this is namely true with regard to newsletters for which a great number of users are sending  them once a year therefore showing little or no understanding of how the medium is used,
  • “78% of respondents curate content; 48% having run into permissions /
    attribution issues during the process” … But 15% of respondents are worried that they could use copyrighted content on their own resources,
  • 44% of respondents cited lead generation as the most important goal of
    content marketing programs; an increase from 16% last year.

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Awareness is widespread now. Content marketers are no longer regarded as zombies… well… I have a few recent counter examples but they are not American.

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Increasing leads is clearly what makes corporations tick. Yet, my personal experience in that area shows that few are able to go beyond buzz words and stick to their guns. Lead generation is a difficult trade, it requires a lot of fine tuning, and stamina. A trial and error mentality must be adopted; typically something that large companies have trouble coping with … long term thinking!

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Blogs are still here in that picture but they are not alone and part of an ecosystem. This makes perfect sense. An overarching strategy for marketing content must be adopted vs. piecemeal technical approaches which lead nowhere. Yet, if your blog is lousy, you are bound to go nowhere at all. The fundamentals must be remembered.

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Success is shifting away from readership to leads. Well… in the States maybe, in Europe, we still have a long way to go!

Download the 2005 blogger survey

Creating and embracing a social media culture (ConAgra Foods)

ConAgra's Stephanie Moritz

Last month, on Nov 10, 2009 the 7th blogwell session took place in sunny Atlanta, Ga. (this is meant to be a joke for I have been twice to Atlanta so far and have seen a lot of rain not to mention flooding). Nearly a month later – and I am a little late for that – now that the dust has settled I wish to recap on some of the best sessions I was able to attend. Stephanie Moritz, ConAgra foods presented her company and its many brands of foods (Hebrew National, Egg Beaters, Peter Pan, Banquet, Slim Jim, Kid Cuisine, Healthy choice…), most of which are huge hits in the US although less or even not at all known in Europe (another tale-telling example of non globalisation; there are many examples of brands which are immensely successful this side of the Atlantic and unknown on the other side and vice versa).

Stephanie explained how a big brand like ConAgra could use Social Media to stir passion within its fans. Here are my notes from that session, the live transcript of which you can also find here courtesy of Gaspedal and the Social Media Business Council.

Embracing a Social Media Culture

By Stephanie Moritz, ConAgra foods, USA

Social Media is everywhere. It is now mainstream. Consumers refuse to be marketed at. They want to participate, they have a passion. The challenge is to adapt it within a large organisation. How do you create inspiring programmes for your customers? It takes:

  • Targeted manageable plan,
  • A plan that supports business goals,
  • A focus on consensus building:
    • Setting a plan that achieves and ties to your business objectives
    • How do your get champions on board?
  • Long term commitment:

    Gapedal's Nieman and Stephanie Moritz
    Phil Nieman from Gaspedal and Stephanie Moritz
  • 1st step: understand how social media fits in our culture and objectives. How can you amplify your PR effort using SM
    • Creating a masterplan: define clear business objectives and match them with the SM initiative
    • Enterprise-wide solution. Not just Marketing
    • Establish some guidelines before moving into that space
    • Building the foundation first and listen to conversations. Who Responding to consumers. Addressing issues in a transparent manner.
    • Getting to know the blogging community. We ourselves tried blogs and tried and understand => Building communities
  • 2nd step: getting senior management to become a champion (through CMO)
    • Digital immersion
  • 3rd step: create coalition: there wasn’t much budget or staff. Experts and specialists throughout the organisation have been identified. All cross functional teams were identified. Enthusiasm made it.
  • (Audit) Identified key bloggers and organised discussions on products and how they could work together.
    • Created a Twitter page, spent a lot of time on it
    • Created a facebook page
    • Benchmarks, listened to conversations
    • Attended blogger events and blogger media conferences for the sole purpose of listening

When should a brand use social media? Not everyone should jump on the bandwagon Benchmarks are carried out continuously Key to success:

  • Set clear goals,
  • Create enterprise-wide endorsement,
  • Determine roadmap,
  • Commit.
  • 5 tips for your b2b Social Media strategy

    eye-smallnote: this piece was originally published on behalf of bnet at http://blogs.bnet.co.uk/sterling-performance/2009/09/23/five-tips-for-b2b-social-media-marketing/

    Business brands using social media are starting to see the benefits. But are there any best practices they can use? Guessing that the average businessperson may not know where to start, George Krautzel and Bill Connfrom online agency Toolbox.com have issued a whitepaper on that subject. Here are some ideas:

    1. Set objectives first. Don’t head on towards social media just because it’s hip. Who is your target audience and what are you trying to achieve. Are you using the right media outlets for the audience you want to reach?
    2. Build a roadmap to engagement. Start advertising on social media platforms and then slowly engage in conversations. “Entry in social media can be as simple as advertising in an online community”, as Conn and Krautzel point out.
    3. Examine the costs and benefits of building your own community, as opposed to tapping into existing communities.Building your own community is a lot more costly and exacting than joining an existing one that fits your needs.
    4. Transparency is a must. A marketer has to say that he is a marketer, and that’s that. A comprehensive guide to disclosure, as it’s often called, courtesy of the Social Media Business Council. So-called Flogs (fake blogs) are a no-go area,
    5. A good marketer listens to what is said about their brand. It’s inppropriate to control feedback, so you should be able to withstand criticism and use negative feedback to improve your service.

    I agree with most of Toolbox.com’s advice, but I’d add a couple of caveats:

    • Words like “campaign” and “targeting” aren’t really appropriate for social media, in my view.
    • And whereas Toolbox advises you to get started with online advertising and then to learn how to engage in conversations, I’d do just the opposite. My ultimate best practice advice would be to ask permission and learn by doing, slowly but surely, one step at a time.

    I’ll be picking this theme up in a post soon, but in the meantime, you can download the toolbox social media whitepaper here.

    Let me know if you have any other tips to share.

    Blogcouncil is dead, long live Social Media Business Council!

    The Social Media Business Council - The new name of the Blog Council

    Of course, we knew already about it, but it’s been made public only recently that the late Blog Council has changed its name to Social Media Business Council (aka SMBC). We are very pleased to be able to relay that information (note: I am a proud member of smbc) and we wish our friend Bob (picture below) and the whole council a lot of successful un-conferences and blogwell meetings.

    The aim of the name change is I believe obvious, that is to say to send a clear message to the business community – and the social media community – that social media isn’t just about Corporate blogging, it’s about a much broader range of subjects and tools including micro-blogging, social networking and others. This however – I can almost hear a few giggles here and there – that Corporate blogging is over and that we made a mistake by promoting Corporate blogging. Nothing could be more false. It means that Corporate blogging is one of the tools – and a powerful one at that – and that it cannot stand on its own without a few others on the side.

    For your benefit, here’s the press announcement made by the Blog C… sorry, the Social Media Business Council 😉

    Posted by on June 30, 2009
    Big news from all of us here at GasPedal and the newly renamed Blog Council: Our community for social media leaders at large companies has officially changed its name to the Social Media Business Council and has moved from BlogCouncil.org to SocialMedia.org. Here’s the press release with more details:
    Bob Pearson - the new President of the Blog CouncilChicago, IL — The Blog Council, a community of social media leaders at large companies, has officially changed its name to the Social Media Business Council and will call SocialMedia.org its new online home.
    “Every day, our members share advice on how to build successful, scalable and self-sufficient social media programs,” said Andy Sernovitz, CEO of the Social Media Business Council and its parent company, GasPedal. “This new name and domain better reflect the wide range of issues our community focuses on.”
    The name change was a collaborative effort, with members sharing dozens of name suggestions before selecting Social Media Business Council through a vote at Member Meeting 4 in New York City.

    note: picture courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/hyku/ on Flickr, this picture was made available by its author under the Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic creative common licence.

    media-aces: evangelising about Corporate social media in Europe

    Evangelising on Social Media

    http://media-aces.org blog now open

    Media-aces.org is the blog which will underpin our new club of European social media enterprise experts. This isn’t just another blog about web 2.0, but the platform which we will use in order to evangelise about social media and how important it is in the business world.