I’ve had an incredibly frantic last week at Microsoft – today is my last day – but before I change my stars I wanted to share some interesting insights I’ve gained in the last month or so. Part of the craziness of my impending departure was an opportunity to work with a terrific team of people who all bought into the vision to launch a pure-play content marketing site – www.transformingapac.com – to support an executive leadership event, arranged by Microsoft, with significant partner support.
The content on this site is all thought leadership. The sort that helps IT and business executives understand the digital transformation the world is going through and its choc-o-bloc full of great information.
Microsoft’s Asia Pacific Executive Leadership Forum was a perfect opportunity to embrace content marketing and do something different, on a major scale. We amplified it via the hashtag #transformingAPAC (which is still active and linked to the site), with the overall goal to influence well beyond the 200 people attending the actual event. I believe social amplification has changed event marketing forever and the early stats only on Twitter indicate:
- We reached 172,000 unique users
- We achieved 2.4 million exposures
- There were 1,500 tweets on the hashtag
- 179 contributors
- 839 comments
- And more
Of course, to get it off the ground, we needed amazing content, and so I spent quite a few weeks hunting for it. For Microsoft, no problem. I found thousands of amazing pieces across all of its Web assets – by vertical, trend, stories, and sometimes, product. I wasn’t looking for product, but some of it is definitely in the thought leadership range.
Then I went onto the partner sites and this is where it got interesting. Initially I focused on the partners Websites, but then I thought – hey, where would they share thought leadership content? It’s got to be on LinkedIn right, because that is the B2B communication platform today.
Here’s what I found:
- For the global consulting firms, they get content marketing and are sharing terrific insight to help their customer’s understand the global landscape. I searched Accenture, Avanade, PwC and Wipro for this event and they all have top information. Definitely check out the consulting firms if you’re looking for great information and resources, especially if you’re part of the c-suite
- For all businesses today, there must be more Asia-specific content. The challenge here, of course, is LinkedIn Company pages are usually owned by HQ, so the global content dominates. However, the power of the local story / angle is very important too, so all businesses need to keep this regional vs global content in mind
- Some of the smaller partner companies stood out to me too, but Jabra was the most interesting find. On the company Website I just couldn’t find anything relevant to a business. I’m sure the business content was there, but time wasn’t on my side, so once I went to LinkedIn, I found a rich resource of information and was very impressed with the quality they are sharing. Good on them
- Many of the businesses I checked out are doing a great job on LinkedIn, but the one thing I noticed is there can be a tendency to talk about themselves. If you think of LinkedIn, it attracts a business audience and to draw people to your business page (because eye balls are your biggest challenge today – getting them and keeping them) you’ve got to really engage them – give them something THEY need. Sure your customers and prospects are interested in your business success, because it gives them the confidence to do business with you, but if you want them to really invest in you and spend time on your information, then you’ve got to give them something more. As an example, say you’re a CFO and the technology industry has a solution for you. The company that speaks to the challenges you face every day in your role as a CFO and offers you solutions to those problems, well they’re going to win your business over a company that just sends out press releases or award announcements right? That’s the new paradigm
- Another observation is many companies are promoting content that is not their own on LinkedIn – this is good. If you look at the link above, half of the content is Microsoft but most of the rest is partner content. However, we also included top articles from publications like Harvard Business Review, The Economist, as well as analyst content that is compelling as well. So it’s good to share external content to build your credibility as a brand who values your customers and shares good resources with them
- Finally, in a few tiny cases, there wasn’t a company page – which, of course, isn’t an option anymore. Also for the large global companies, there are multiple pages. I appreciate that the large oligopolies do have this challenge, but if you can work out how to keep it simple, it’ll make it easier for your customers and prospects to find you on LinkedIn. So please, make sure you have a company presence and for Asia, keep a stream of relevant, local content in the mix too
I wasn’t planning on doing an “audit”, but there you go – an accidental audit that was quite enlightening. Do check out our Transforming APAC site. We think it’s pretty awesome, but it’s only the beginning.
Finally, LinkedIn is a powerful asset for businesses today. The quality of information coming through is incredible and I’m a huge fan of how LinkedIn has transformed into a powerful business content channel. However, what many may not realize is this – according to LinkedIn (image above from a LinkedIn deck), users rate the quality of content as seven times more important than the recruitment opportunities it offers. LinkedIn is not the same social media channel it used to be, so definitely worth investing in.
What’s next for me? Well after a couple of weeks to recoup I’ll let you know, but I’m excited to be moving into a pure content marketing role. Stay tuned if you’re interested, because I’m definitely looking forward to taking content marketing to the next level in Asia that’s for sure.