2011 was the year of social media. 2012 was the year companies began to realize the value of content marketing. And 2013? That was when these seemingly disparate marketing practices began to convene. As inbound marketing becomes more and more mainstream, businesses are increasingly choosing to align their content marketing and social media into a unified form of outreach. The benefits of this approach include:
- Better consistency in messaging
- More targeted content promotion
- A more unified prospect experience
I’m a firm believer that every business can benefit from the combination of blogging and social media - and that your results will suffer if you do one without the other. As subject matter expert Caroline Melberg points out, these things “go hand in hand.” We’ve compiled some of the latest research-based reasons why blogging and social media go together are a match made in heaven.
Can You Even Do Social without Blogging?
Is it possible to create an effective Facebook and Twitter following without original content assets? Sure, but it’s not easy. However, I’m not entirely convinced that it’s possible to achieve remarkable results with content marketing unless you’re promoting it on your own social media channels. Most experts believe the first blog online was Open Diary, which was way back in 1998. However, look how the medium has grown since then:
In the early days of publishing content, having a blog was a novelty. People were sure to hear about it, and start to read it. Honestly, there weren’t very many to pick from, and online content was still a novelty. Today, there’s literally millions of blogs for web users to pick from - and there’s a good chance that at least a few thousand of these are in your niche.
You can start to blog without using social media, but it’s going to be a lot more challenging to gain any kind of traction or exposure. You won’t be able notice, and be able to initiate conversations when others share your work. Basically, you’ll miss out on the opportunities to build relationships that are so critical for beginning bloggers.
Inversely, social media without blogging can work - but it’s tough. You’ll likely end up driving traffic to your competitors websites because the core of your content will be curated. Get the drift? It’s pretty darn difficult to do either blogging or social well without both factors working in tandem. Creating high-quality content, and sharing it on your social channels is a model that’s been proven time and time again by countless inbound marketing success stories - it really works, so why deviate?
Social Media and SEO are Increasingly One and the Same
Social media shares are a crucial key performance indicator for your marketing program. Several years ago, search engines wised up to the fact that backlinks weren’t always the best indicator of content authority. It meant that only website owners could credit content by giving links, and the system was relatively easy to game at the time. As a result, social shares have increasingly become an enormously important factor in SEO. The more times your audience Tweets, Posts, Pins, or +1s your content, the better signal it sends to Google, Bing, and Yahoo that you’ve done something right:
In fact, recent studies by major research firms have found that social media shares may even outrank back links and keyword placement in terms of SEO weight:
The best way to get your content exposure on social media is to build a vibrant presence on these channels. Share other content creators’ work, so they’ll return the favor. Build relationships and trust with your audience, and watch your social media, SEO, and blogging metrics skyrocket.
Create a Unified Contact Experience
Business psychologists have found that it typically takes around 7 points of contact for a company to make a sale. This fact can vary according to your company’s price points, market, and buyer personas, but it’s pretty rare that any business can make a sale after a prospect reads just one blog or Facebook post. The truth is, 96% of first time visitors to your company’s website just aren’t ready to make a purchase.
When your blogging and social media strategies are firmly in place, and aligned to support your organization’s overall goals, you’ll be much more effective at “touching” these prospects and nurturing them towards a sale. By creating a blog that’s designed to increase social media reactions, you’ll entice first-time readers to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter. When you create content that people want to share, you’ll drive your followers’ friends to your company website. This in turn will help you generate subscribers and social media followers, allowing you to continually communicate with your prospects and remain top-of-mind until they’re ready to buy.
This idea isn’t just beneficial to your prospects, either. It’s in your best interest to create blog articles and social media content that benefit your current customer base. Your probability of selling to an existing customer is around 60-70% - and an integrated social media and blogging outreach program will help you maintain these important relationships.
Benefits of Unifying Your Social Media Presence
If you’re already using both social media and creating original articles for your website, congrats. You’re certainly on the right track! However, the next step is to ensure your strategies are in sync, so you get the most mileage for your marketing efforts. The benefits of aligning content and social can include:
- Better brand messaging and campaign awareness
- More effective and targeted content promotion
- Maximum SEO mileage for each new blog you write
- Effective utilization of keywords across platforms
- Increased efficiency in your marketing program
Regardless of how large or small your company is, you can achieve enormous benefit from ensuring your social media and blogging teams are on the same page. Your content team will be more effectively able to suggest promotion methods, and your social media will reflect your content strategy.
While organizational change is never easy, here are some ways we recommend initiating this process:
1. Define Your Blogging Strategy - If you haven’t taken the time to define factors like your brand’s voice, what you’re trying to achieve with inbound marketing, or the types of content you’ll be creating in the future, accomplish this first.
2. Open Up Your Editorial Calendar - While planning content topics and keywords is certainly a good first step, we recommend having your blogging staff share their editorial calendar with the social media team, for better consistency in posting topics, and immediate outreach to any thought leaders or companies featured in your content.
3. Review Metrics Closely - In an ideal world, your blogging and social media will drive each other’s metrics up significantly. Your high-quality content will increase social media engagement, and your social media team’s promotion will dramatically improve your blogging metrics. Review your numbers, and don’t be afraid to make changes until you’ve found the sweet spot where your inbound marketing reaches the tipping point and achieves some serious momentum.
Do you think it’s possible to succeed at blogging without social media, or vice versa? Share your opinion or experiences in the comments - we’d love to hear your success story!