The 3 Types of Content Every Social Media Marketing Campaign Should Have

We’ve all heard some version of the following…3-types-of-content-every-social-media-marketing-campaign-should-have

“Content drives engagement.”

“It’s the glue that holds together your community.”

“It drives people to buy what you’re selling.”

All true…

…but not necessarily helpful on their own.

Especially given the fact that the hard part is usually figuring out how “creating content” translates into an overall strategy.

First off, it helps to first understand that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

That does not mean, however, that you should just create content without any kind of guiding framework.

To do this, most people categorize content by format (ie blog, infographic, video, etc).

Although totally logical,  I find this approach can lead to creating the same kind of content over and over again without much thought as to its overall business purpose.

Another way to approach this problem is to separate content into three categories: Original, co-created, and curated. Doing this will give you a much clearer look at the role each piece plays in driving interaction within your community.

The rest of this post describes each type of content, how it helps you build a community, and a few suggestions on how to start the creation process.

1)      Original Content

This is content you either create yourself or hire someone to make for you.

It can be found in many forms – from blogs to free giveaways to videos to premium products like courses or ebooks.

What This Kind of Content Accomplishes:

  • Establishes you as a useful resource for original information.
  • Gives influencers in your community something to link to, which helps your own credibility and is great for SEO.
  • Acts as a platform for community building. Pick a common theme that ties together all your original content, and you will give your audience a rallying point for engagement.

How to Get Started:

It helps to visit a blog directory like alltop.com and search popular sites in your niche.

Look for problems that keep coming up.

Leave comments on other people’s posts and strike up conversations with people in online forums and on social media.

Ask questions.

Once you’ve identified some of the key things your audience is struggling with, develop content that provides a solution.

 2)      Co-Created Content

This is content created in collaboration with others in your community.

It can come from customers, influencers, or sometimes even competitors.

It includes content others create under your brand, but also stuff that you might create under someone else’s (such as guest blogging on another site).

What This Kind of Content Accomplishes:

  • Builds your influence. By helping to build the prestige of your customers and influencers, they will in turn help to build yours.
  • Exposure to new audiences. When you ask someone to create something for you (or you create something for them), they will share it with their audience as well.
  • Creates evangelists for your brand. People who you ask to take part of this process will feel bought into what you are doing, making them much more likely to tell the world about how great you are.

How to Get Started:

The most basic form of this content is the testimonial – a time-tested necessity for any business.

But in recent times, marketers are finding all kinds of savvy ways to co-create content.

Take Taco Bell for example.

The company is a great study on how to do social media marketing right, and their use of co-created content is absolutely amazing.

In just one example, they sent hand written notes to B List celebrities, along with wearable Taco Bell related items (check out the costume they made for singer Brian Logan Dales after he Tweeted about needing one).

taco-bell-social-media

Predictably, every single one of these celebrities Tweeted, Instagramed, Facebooked, and otherwise totally shared the branded content – all to the same target audience of young people that Taco Bell makes most of its money from.

Of course, when you’re first getting going, you should stick to the basics.

Start with guest blogging on established sites in your niche.

From there you might consider starting a podcast or webinar series featuring key members of your community.

Pick a few people who you want as evangelists for your brand and ask them to take part.

But don’t steal the show…

If you use this process as a way to highlight THEM, these potential evangelists will be much more likely to share your branded content.

Everyone wins!

3)      Curated Content

This is content created by others; you find it and then share with your community.

It could come from competitors, colleagues, or even some totally random source.

What This Kind of Content Accomplishes:

  • Allows you to get in good with influencers. Trust me, they pay attention to who shares their stuff.
  • Gives you a way to feed a hungry audience fresh material without always having to create it yourself.
  • Shows that you are plugged into your niche.

How to Get Started:

First off, you shouldn’t send things just to send them.

Don’t retweet or email everything that has some tiny bit of relevance.

Spend time figuring out where the gold is.

If you think about it, this is actually a valuable service for people…

There is so much bad advice out there, it can be hard to figure out what to follow. Think of yourself as a filter for the junk.

Lastly, when you share this kind of content with your community, make sure to provide a bit of context on why you think it’s important.

You’ll seem less like a spambot and more like the awesome person that you actually are!

Putting it All Together

As I said before, there’s no perfect formula for knowing what kind of content you should create.

Try using the leaders in your niche as a starting point. See what they do that works and try to put your own spin on it.

But to really figure out what motivates your audience, you sometimes just have to create stuff and test it out.

Remember also that no matter what kind of content you are creating, the focus should be on making content that is useful to the reader and that moves them emotionally.

Pretty soon you’ll find the right mix that makes your customers go wild.

Summary
Article Name
The 3 Types of Content Every Social Media Marketing Campaign Should Have
Author
Description
Rather than categorizing content by format (ie blog, infographic, video, etc), I find it much more useful to think in terms of how the content is actually developed. In particular, what role it plays in driving interaction within your community.

8 Responses to “The 3 Types of Content Every Social Media Marketing Campaign Should Have”

  1. good post and sound advice

  2. Ti Roberts says:

    Fantastic article, Jake.

    You certainly did hit on the 3 staple kinds of content. One of my favorite and the easiest kind of content to create is curated content.

    I used to publish weekly link roundups regularly on my blog, however, I’ve not published any in a while. When I did, they kept a steady stream of extra social traffic coming to my blog.

    I’m def going to begin publishing them again, but this time on a monthly basis as they’re easier to keep up with.

    Thanks for writing up this article for us. I found your blog via your guest post on Jon Morrow’s blog.

    Glad to see that your own content here is a great at your guest post. I’ll be sure to share this article with my social circle as well. :)

    ~ Ti

    • Jake says:

      Thanks so much for your kind words and for sharing the post!

      Curated content is not only helpful in the sense (like you said) that it allows you something to share without having to come up with gold yourself, but it’s also super cool in that it represents a real change in marketing from the mass approach (where everything is zero-sum) to a more collaborative framework. All that to say that it’s better for businesses and consumers too!

  3. Dawn Mentzer says:

    Nice article, Jake! I really like how you’ve zeroed in on what each type of content can do for a business and how to move forward from the starting line.

    Excellent point at the end, too. It takes some experimentation and time to figure out the right mix of content readers will respond to.

    • Jake says:

      Thanks Dawn! I think sometimes people are so worried about pushing away their audience that they try and find out what’s perfect before they will create anything. This just results in paralysis.

      I was watching an interview with an Executive Producer from PBS yesterday who was talking about how she had rejected the show Downton Abbey before eventually accepting it. It’s gone on of course to become the most widely viewed PBS show in history. But when asked why… she couldn’t say. Ultimately, the show just works for that audience.

  4. Hi Jake,

    Sometimes, it’s hard to know what your audience wants, unless they tell you.

    Going to Blogger Scope can surely help as well as forums.

    Good points made on each type of content. I have followed the leaders on what to blog about and that works for me.

    Great article. :)
    Geri Richmond

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