“We wrote our first blog post before we wrote our first line of code.”
- Jon Miller, founder, Marketo

Blogging is important for every business. So we don’t just offer ghostwriting services for others. We blog for ourselves. Why? To discuss big issues such as content strategy, commissioning and ROI, as well as tactics for effective copy creation or editing, not to mention news about Collective Content.

Remember, over a third of marketers say blogs are the most valuable content type. Let us know what you’d like to read about here.

Social media

The hunt for the B2B influencers

We’ve heard a lot about ‘influencers’ and influencer marketing in the past few years, driven by the ability to tap those with large or important social media followings.

But there have always been influencers. For decades PRs targeted influencers. They were mostly journalists.

Before that, historically others were influential. People sought out and engaged with them for that reason.

But today my search is specific. And uncertain. As someone who runs an agency with a number of good writers on our books, you’d think I have a raft of influencers for the same subjects – mainly B2B technology. But I don’t.

Here’s what I need:

  1. Probably a writer, quite possibly a former or freelance journalist. (So far, so obvious)
  2. Knows about B2B technology – has probably covered the area for a while. (Yup, that’s our area.)
  3. Strong social media following – not everywhere but a combination of Twitter, LinkedIn (native content), YouTube, own blog, podcast, other. (This rules out 95 per cent or so of people we know.)
  4. Willing to distribute content (possible by dint of 1 and 2) to agreed channels, at agreed frequency. (This is where it gets even harder.)

On the one hand, this type of thing is a paid gig. Clients have budget.

On the other hand, not only do some people not fit the bill (that’s to be expected) or don’t quite get how this works, but others are actively hostile to this kind of thing, however well flagged and above board.

In the consumer space we’ve seen this kind of thing evolve faster. It’s not been without problems. Social media stars or celebs with large followings have frequently not disclosed why they’re using a certain product on their Instagram, for example.

So in B2B we need to do this right. I’m not worried about that. But getting an influencer who’s a perfect fit? That’s harder.

Will let you know how this search goes, as it’s a search we’ll be doing more often.

 

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The one secret to a LinkedIn profile that works for you – and your employer

We don’t talk about it a lot but we spend some time at Collective Content helping companies and especially their senior executives with their LinkedIn profiles. Sometimes this takes the form of training, other times it’s about hands-on writing. Think of it as the first rung on the ladder for many people’s content marketing. (I know, I know – before I’ve called blogging the one thing to do above all else.)  LinkedIn - badge of influence

In doing this, we’ve learnt something very important. Probably 90 per cent or more of people on LinkedIn are getting it wrong. Here’s why.


What most people do on LinkedIn

You all know this. Most people talk about their experience, about years spent in an industry. About being motivated or innovative. If they’re better than average, they’re specific about accomplishments and avoid management speak.

But it usually feels like a stretch, like they’re not quite sure where to begin. Above all else, they talk about themselves. Why is that wrong, on a professional social network that is, after all, about you?

 

What most people should do on LinkedIn

The secret – it’s not really a secret, you know – is that you should talk about your employer. Not the person but preferably the organisation, ideally the greater mission or purpose. Make the wider team look good. (Clue: it’s a lot easier to be complimentary and honest about others.) Again, be specific. Talk about projects, accomplishments, what’s good about the organisation, how it helps others.

Repeat for past places of employment. Link out to proof points – articles, awards, Wikipedia entries.

 

Why this works

In a sense, it’s simple. One of the first rules of content marketing is not to go on and on about your company and its products. In the case of LinkedIn, don’t just talk about yourself in the all-important first 100-200 words.

What happens? Both you and your employer come out looking better. You come across as the kind of person someone else would want. Even if you’re genuinely not in the market for a new role (message to half of all LinkedIn users: LinkedIn isn’t just for job seekers), your company is helped by your profile.

Imagine 50 of its staff helping the wider cause this way. Imagine 500. How about 5,000?

Not everyone has to say the same thing. This isn’t about cut and paste. In fact it’s better when everyone says it their own way.

But you need to be able not to sell yourself – there will come times for that – but, in this very public context, sell those you work for. Don’t call it karma. But it will come back to benefit you.

*photo credit: nan palmero via photopin cc

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Why every B2B marketer should be using Google+

What’s the most popular social media channel B2B marketers are currently using? If you read our recent blog post by Collective Content founder Tony Hallett you’ll know it’s LinkedIn.

That’s based on two data sources. One is our own research among B2B tech and telecoms vendors about the adoption of content marketing, in which LinkedIn not only trumped all other social channels but ranked in the overall top three things included in marketing activity and ranked by importance. While the 2014 Content Marketing Institute (CMI) B2B study (see Slideshare below) puts LinkedIn at the top of the list of social media used by B2B marketers. There are many reasons for that – more of which here.

What’s interesting is how low down one social channel still ranks on these types of lists when it comes to B2B marketing – and most likely for B2C as well. Lying in a lowly fifth place in the CMI study – only just above Slideshare and Pinterest – is Google+.

It’s the marmite of social channels and a lot of that is simply down to a lack of understanding of how it works and how best to use it in a content marketing context.

Size

Why does it matter to me if it’s so low down on the list, you might rightly ask? Well there’s some evidence to suggest there’s a head of steam building up behind Google+ and that it will become increasingly important as a channel for distributing and sharing content and engaging with a target audience.

First look at the size of Google+. By number of users (according to Google’s own figures) it is now the second largest social network, with 540 million (as of October 2013) worldwide, behind Facebook and its 1.28 billion monthly users. Twitter is back in third with 200 million.

Brand engagement

Tech analyst Forrester ran some of its own research on Google+ earlier this year and came up with some unexpected findings. Its survey of 60,000 US online adults found 22 per cent visited Google+ each month – the same figure as for Twitter and more than Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Google Plus

Forrester also found that Google+ generates much more brand engagement. It studied more than three million user interactions with more than 2,500 brand posts on seven of the major social networks. And guess what – Google+ posts generated nearly as much engagement per post as Facebook and almost twice as much per follower as Twitter. Guy Kawasaki believes Google+ is a place for “passions”, with high-quality content and deeper engagement with like-minded individuals and communities. And that’s surely a dream for marketers.

Rate of growth

Then let’s look at its rate of growth as a channel used by B2B marketers. If we look back at the CMI’s study for the past three years, Google+ has gone from being used by just 13 per cent of B2B marketers in 2011 to 55 per cent in 2014. And while we’re talking rates of growth, both Pinterest and Slideshare are also big movers – but that’s another blog post.

SEO

But there are other important reasons to take note of Google+ as a channel for content marketing activity and that’s all to do with the SEO magic of Google’s platform. The Google Authorship feature enables businesses to link content to an author’s Google+ profile, giving it a higher ranking and adding a badge of credibility and trust, even if recently some have started to question this relationship.

We’re exploring ways to use Google+ for B2B content marketing and we’ll share some of our tips and lessons in future blog posts on here.

*photo credit: I am Veronica via photopincc

Follow us on Twitter – @ColContent

Need a corporate blog but don’t have the time or editorial expertise? Try Speech-to-blog, a new corporate blogging service from Collective Content.

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Contact us

Contact us to find out how we can help you:

Email:  tony.hallett@collectivecontent.co.uk

Twitter:  @ColContent

Facebook: facebook.com/CollectiveContent

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/collective-content

Phone:  0800 292 2826