My colleague is complaining about people swamping his LinkedIn feed with too many updates. He showed me his screen and two people posted five pieces each before lunchtime. The worst part is the content wasn’t even that good – you can forgive excessive posting of great content, but you can’t forgive salesy, irrelevant content right? Apparently this is not the first time these particular connections have done this and he’s feeling extremely annoyed, talking about de-friending them. I don’t blame him, because for one, these connections are not thinking about their ‘customer’ – the people on the receiving end of these posts. Their very own LinkedIn community.
I’m doing another content “audit” for technology companies, and as I did last time, my starting point is LinkedIn. Why? Because if a brand is in the B2B space, this should be the only place I need to go to find amazing content focused on enterprise business professionals.
I believe that any B2B business should be focused on delivering rich content, relevant to job functions, on company LinkedIn page as a first port of call. Prospects on LinkedIn are not really that interested in your press releases, your people, or your community activities, although that is nice. Instead, content on your company page must first be solutions focused for the audience you want to reach.
If I explained it very simply, I would say: LinkedIn is the place I go for answers to help me, not to be sold by you. That comes later, once you’ve got my loyalty.
Alas, I don’t believe the majority of brands are understanding this yet and the company pages on LinkedIn reflect this. I’m so passionate about it, I want to ring them all and say hey, do you appreciate what a big miss this is for your business? Not utilizing LinkedIn company pages today is a massive missed opportunity, not just for business, but for executives who aren’t using the blogging platform. Businesses and leaders need to focus on having a social voice now – one speaking to your customer’s challenges – and LinkedIn is an obvious place to start this journey. Let’s change it in Asia in 2015 huh?
One brand that IS doing world-class content marketing is McKinsey & Company – and I’m not just talking about its LinkedIn page. If you move between McKinsey on LinkedIn to its company page on Facebook, you’ll uncover a rich feast of information on leadership, business technology, marketing and sales, strategy and organisation, investment, and so on. I also greatly value how global it is (not all global companies get this mix right), the vertical and country focus, and as someone who loves the technology sector, how it delves into the business case around hot trends – cloud, data, enterprise mobility, IoT, 3D printing, and more. Its great fodder for my curious brain, which loves to makes sense out of how technology is transforming the world.
Of course, McKinsey isn’t just on LinkedIn and Facebook. There are plenty of Twitter handles @McKinsey, @McKinseySociety and @McK_MktgSales to name a few. Google+ is also utilized across its various focus areas as well. I couldn’t find a Pinterest page, but McKinsey content is definitely being shared on Pinterest – I’m sharing it here. Its great information.
However, a reason I admire McKinsey’s more is its human page: Real Life at McKinsey. This is where it tells stories of the people who work at McKinsey and what they value in both their professional and personal life. What I find interesting is that very few companies can do content like this without looking completely corny. McKinsey have mastered this art and the segmentation from other corporate content makes a lot of sense to me. If you want to see how it’s done, subscribe to this Facebook page. It will make you want to work at McKinsey.
McKinsey is doing great work and have fully grasped the concept of content marketing. It’s not about creating more of the same marketing content and pushing it out over new social channels, it’s about creating content focused on helping the customer and building their loyalty to your brand. That’s what content marketing is fundamentally about.
Very briefly, two other businesses of note who are doing interesting content marketing include The World Economic Forum and the BBC – yep, a news business. Let me tell you why.
Where Fox News’ #OverIT2014 campaign on Twitter was a horrible failure – a case of really not understanding those who hate your brand (not dissimilar to McDonalds #McDStories back in 2012) – the BBC gets social and content. If you watch the BBC, its fully embraced social media from the beginning, and new platforms are picked up relatively quickly – which is impressive for an old, established icon. Over the Christmas/NY period I noticed a lot of crowdsourcing of content, which was then shared, and it went spectacularly well.
My top three:
- The Beeb asked for pictures where ever you were celebrating NY resulted in: In pictures: How you captured New Year celebrations
- In Pictures: India through the eyes of its children. You may not agree this is content marketing, but I do because it’s not journalists creating this content, but a story wrapped around the photographs children have taken. Very nice
- And probably my favourite “Drawing the News”
The BBC is providing a few seconds of fame to its contributors and curating great, human content – smart move. It does a lot more than this with its deep social media integration, but I appreciated the holiday sharing.
I’d also like to shout out The World Economic Forum. A new addition to my reading list, check out the World Economic Forum Agenda – a rich information resource, covering leadership, business, IT, the environment, the region, and so much more. Definitely one I track daily for interesting content.
The goal of this site? “The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.”
I’m sure this blog has built an enormous amount of traffic to the site, from communities they would probably never have attracted before. Bravo.
So there you go, three of my favourites, with McKinsey tops of the pops in the B2B space. Which brand do you value for your content marketing? I’m always happy to take on new recommendations – especially in the B2B space.
Two years ago, when looking to move back into corporate life after several years as an entrepreneur, one thing was very clear – my passion for content marketing was not an opportunity in Asia Pacific. It wasn’t on any business radars then and when I spoke about it, it was either unknown or perceived as a “nice to have.” It’s no longer the same.
Today, if you do a job search on LinkedIn – using the words content marketing – more than 160 opportunities pop up. A search for “content” finds 300+ roles. The world has changed and Asia is picking up speed.
In my previous blog “The Content Marketing Coup D’etat”, I wrote about how rapidly it’s changing – in fact, it felt like everything literally happened overnight. And when you look at the available work, I think we can agree we’ve moved to a tipping point in Asia. The problem with tipping points, however, is confusion, and the noise around content marketing has definitely hit a crescendo, but that’s always the case when something is “new.”
What is content marketing? Quite simply, it’s about flipping traditional marketing on its head. We no longer focus on what we want to tell our customers (‘isn’t our product great’), and instead share a rich resource of information and knowledge (not just our own) with a single goal of helping them be successful. By doing this, we’re delighting our customers and building their loyalty to our brand, which means they buy from us.
Moving onto emotional intelligence. This is something else that has changed in job descriptions, with the addition of Emotional Intelligence (or EQ) in the ‘skills required’ section. EQ is absolutely fundamental to many roles, but to finally see it being acknowledged as a required skill is definitely something that makes my heart sing. Maybe we’ll see some humanness coming back into business?
In regards to content marketing specifically, EQ is absolutely fundamental. Pure IQ does not cut it – although having the smarts continues to be important. I believe the people who will shine in this field are those who have an intuitive feel for what information and resources resonate with the “customer” – be it employees, partners, customers, or constituents. And this counts as much for B2B as it does for B2C.
It really doesn’t matter who the audience is. What does matter is having the deep insight into what will make the audience feel and act. That requires strong EQ.
People who can put themselves in the shoes of the “customer” and provide a valuable resource that delivers knowledge focused on making their customer’s personal and professional life better, will be the winners here. But you’ve got to have high EQ to understand how to feed that need. You’ve also got to understand that it’s not about what your company has to offer, but about delivering a whole ecosystem of thought leadership that maps to what is relevant to your audience, which ultimately should map back to your business.
Brand new professions are coming to life in this digital economy, and content marketing strategist, trainer, creator, etc… is finally getting its day in the sun. I just want to encourage those hiring for these roles seek people with extremely high IQs AND EQs to ensure content marketing flourishes in this region.
Then again, perhaps EQ is overrated as Adam Grant, Influencer, Wharton professor and author of ‘GIVE AND TAKE’ suggests in this post? But you know, I’d take a person with high EQ AND IQ over just IQ any day – in my line of work at least.
What do you think?