The content publishing war fought by the social media heavyweights

26 June, 2014

Content Publishing BattleEach month we bring you the best of the online marketing bunch to send you into a laughter-induced learning coma.

This month, we shine the spotlight on the furious four way battle for our content publishing supremacy fought between the heavyweights of social media for an enourmous potential purse.

There’s been a few big punches thrown between Facebook, Linkedin, Google Plus and Twitter. Two of them have been left bloody and beaten.

Meanwhile the world cup has captured the world’s attention, which inevitably catches marketer’s attention. The big brands have jumped on the world game ‘brandwagon’ and we share some content marketing lessons from some of the best storytelling efforts of the tournament.So grab yourself a cup of piping hot coffee, a banana to snack on and lean in. We’ve got your monthly content marketing news handled.

The content publishing war (Facebook V Linkedin V Google Plus V Twitter)

Facebook hasn’t finished. Organic reach is still declining. We flagged Facebook’s double dipping a few months ago. Things have escalated.

Brand marketing teams who starting piling up massive amounts of eggs in this promising singular basket are seeing them shatter into a gloopy mess before their eyes. Only 2% of them are left. Social@Ogilivy has charted the unpaid reach of Facebook brand pages with followings over 500,000 at less than 2%.

Dont Put All Your Eggs In Facebook's BasketFlickr Image Courtesy Christopher Craig

You’d better start producing irresistably sharable content. Or you can pull out your chequebook. Facebook kindly assures us that promoted posts will still let you talk to your fans.

It’s not about to change. The worst kept secret in social media has been confirmed by Facebook VP of Ads Product Marketing Brian Boland. This Forbes headline sums it up

Facebook puts everyone on notice about the death of organic reach

Mr Boland takes a swipe at real time competitors like Twitter, contending that there is such an overwhelming amount of content that makes up a user’s news feed that Facebook needs to filter out the very best stuff.

The Facebook ProblemFlickr Image Courtesy Garry Knight

Regardless of the reasons, it seems your organic reach is destined to reach 0%. Two sage content marketers who have long warned of this development are Joe Pullizi and Robert Rose of the Content marketing Institute. They dissected the ramifications of Facebook’s ‘pay to play’ model for content marketers in episode 30 of their This Old Marketing podcast.

If this show isn’t on your weekly to do list already, sort yourself out and subscribe. It’s a must listen for any self-respecting marketing pro, just steel yourself for a regular dose of gleefully amusing rants. If you want some more marketing podcast suggestions to brighten up your commute, here’s 8 of the best.

Best Ecommerce Podcasts

Linkedin is the surprise new title challenger.

Linkedin is making a huge play to push its way onto the online publisher platform. Even though the majority of its revenue comes from recruiters paying to subscribe to their services, Linkedin is trying to provide disaster relief to the Facebook marketing refugees. Growth in engagement metrics has slipped and Linkedin is turning to content marketing for help to monetise the platform.

Deep Nishar, who heads up LinkedIn’s product and user experience division, alludes to the new direction:

“Content consumption is a daily use-case so we find more of our members visiting LinkedIn on a regular basis”

Translated out of unneccesary-executive-cliché-riddled-nonsense: Linkedin wants you to check your profile every day. So it can sell ads. So it wants you to share, read and upload content. So it wants to become an online publisher. Quartz explains the Linkedin journey in super interesting detail.

Linkedins Content Marketing Play

Can you get involved? Sure, but play carefully. Don’t go to the time and effort of creating and uploading great content and building an audience of passionate subscribers exclusively on the Linkedin publisher platform. Your website needs that kind of content marketing lovin’. Find the balance. Publish a teaser on Linkedin that drives readers back to a longer form version on your blog. Then grab your reader’s email address and keep offering them your great blog content over time.

Once you’ve got your strategy down for this channel, the practicalities are a little different. Want to know how to get your post featured alongside the Richard Branson’s of the world on Linkedin’s content platform? It can happen. Marko Saric of fame gives you a blow-by-blow account of how he did just that.

Linkedin Content Marketing Platform

Even amidst Linkedin’s brave steps forward, there are the occasional wobbles backwards. There are still a few little issues they need to work out before they become a part of the mainstream marketing toolkit.

Twitter is still the fan’s favourite.

Twitter remains an undisputed darling of content marketing. The platform’s real time model ensures that your content is seen by any of your fans scrolling their news feed at your time of posting. We’re a big fan. You can find me here and give me a social media high five.

I mentioned our favourite new blog Sorry For Marketing last month. Jay’s at his sardonic best once again, shining a confronting mirror in front of your online face. Turns out Twitter sparks a strange narcissicism in all of us. If you’re up for a self-deprecating chuckle, jump on over and find out why Twitter is the worst cocktail party ever.

Twitter Content Marketing

In mouth-watering news for ecommerce marketers, Twitter has turned to online product sales as a potential way to monetise the platform. Announcing #AmazonCart.

Watch and learn (and rejoice in excitement if you sell stuff online)

Sharmin Kent from Digital Relevance gives us a nice insight into

the possible benefits of this move for marketers.

There are some red flags here too. Twitter is trying to move the purchase decision moment to their land. They want to own the ‘add to cart’ moment and tax brands for it. Tread carefully marketers. Sure an increase in sales is great. Establishing long term relationships with your subscribers is better. A personalised email is a more targeted way to complete this task.

For lazy marketers this concept must conjure up images of dollar signs. We can hear their thoughts already…

“So we can sell more products. All we need to do is sit around and post a whole bunch of links to our products on Twitter. Some people are bound to bite.”

Dont Wait For The Mass Market To BiteFlickr Image Courtesy Kathleen Tyler Conklin

Don’t be that guy. Please. You still need to create great content and promote it to the right people to get your Twitter followers to the point where they trust you and your products enough to buy your product with a link and a hashtag.

Google Plus is on the canvas.

Google Plus has never reached the heights of the Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram social media behemoths. This month, the battle to avoid the dreaded Google too-hard-basket has drawn closer to an unceremonious close. Google Plus creator and leader Vic Gundotra resigned suddenly, leaving the project in limbo. In response, Google has reshuffled the deck, dealing Hangouts to the Android team and it’s likely that Photos will follow.

Vic Gundotra Google PlusFlickr Image Courtesy Paul May

One month after Gundotra quietly quit, Google chief Sergey Brin told a conference audience last week that involvement in Google+ was “a mistake”, citing his own social peculiarities as a reason why Google should never have got involved in social media in the first place. He made the opposite statement in 2011.

Techcrunch lets us in on some juicy internal Google-nerd-infighting (we can only imagine it involved light sabers) that may have contributed to resignation. Indeed a bunch of decisions forcing Google Plus onto other Google product users without expressed consent seems to have driven a wedge between Gundotra and Brin.

The Google Nerd BattleFlickr Image Courtesy Alex Erde

Violet Blue of Pulp Tech outline a litany of Google Plus failures in this deliciously acerbic piece, eloquently titled “Thanks for nothing jerkface”.

Regardless, the departure of one man from the Google Plus team (albeit influential) does not necessarily order the tombstone for the social media platform. The platforms most voracious user base, the indomitable tech community, is unwavering in its Google Plus support. Many contend that ‘reports of the Google Plus death have been greatly exaggerated’. The majority of experts counter that Google Plus will never be allowed to die, it will just be kept on life support.

Google Plus Life SupportImage Courtesy Indusnet

So there’s been a bunch of important changes across these four social networks in the past few weeks. Changes that may have an impact on your online marketing program.

What does all of this mean?

Contently spell it out for us

“Build an audience that secretly belongs to a social media mob at your own peril, and don’t be surprised when the brands and publishers that own their audiences are the only ones that survive.”

Social media is a great way to meet new customers. It’s a channel to promote new content. But if you’re not bringing your new found prospects back to your owned platform, you better be prepared to pay. Or lose them for good.

The Best of the World Cup Content Marketing Brandwagon

Meanwhile, in brand-land, the impressive content marketing trailblazers keep delivering. Our wrap of examples this month come from some of the industry’s go-to-guys.

We usually aim to focus on the smaller end of town to prove to you that small budgets and limited resources aren’t a barrier to content marketing success. This time we’re showing you what millions of dollars can do with the right integrated strategy.

You can learn a lesson or two from the industry heavyweights and you can replicate the ideas from these examples on a smaller scale to build and strengthen your audience of paying customers. Practice the methods of the superstars and you’ll make it there eventually.

Learn From The Best Content MarketersFlickr Image Courtesy USAG Humphreys

On with the show…

The world is going crazy for the Football World Cup. Screaming a four letter word at the top of your lungs is socially acceptable for a month. The world’s best storytellers are out to share their stories about the world’s biggest event.

To stand out, you need to have something unique to say, or you need to say it in a unique way. The snow fall is snowballing. This take on the world game from The New York Times has kept the momentum of this new multimedia format charging.

Of course, there are a stadium full of marketers who have jumped on the ‘brandwagon’. Only the very best content marketing has dribbled through the defence of the internet’s web of information overload.

Soccer World CupFlickr Image Courtesy A C Moreas

Beats 5 Minutes Before The Game.

Headphones. Not the sexiest product. Once confined to the bargain bins and bottom shelves of electronics stores, your choice of headphones you wear (yeah ‘wear’, not ‘use’ – it’s an accessory now) now says a great deal about you as a person. Beats by Dre have a big role to play in this cultural shift.

Much like Red Bull, the Beats brand has come to embody the philosophy and personality of the sports stars it sponsors. A long term program of sustained storytelling with content across a multitude of channels favoured by its youthful audience has made a set of Beats headphones into a status symbol. Something you’d pay over $200 for.

Beats Headphones Content Marketing

Beats TV is a cornerstone of the brands content marketing success. The brand has developed a series of stories profiling their athlete’s personal inspiration and drive. The content is about dedication, excellence, triumph over adversity – not headphones. Sure the athletes explain what music and Beats mean to their preparation, but the story is the hero. They make you want to go for a big long run. And take your Beats with you while you’re at it. Their 5 minute World Cup primer is more mini feature film than commercial. Watch in awe. (It helps that Neymar is doing quite well this tournament)

The lesson for folks without Apple/LeBron’s bank balance to throw at a video? Tell stories about the ideas and beliefs that your business and products supports. Make the people not the product the hero.

Nike’s video is just as good, their front man not so much.

Still on the World Cup, Nike have followed Beats in releasing a breathtaking 5 minute video to inspire football fans around the globe. Unfortunately their superstar front man Christiano Ronaldo is not having the happiest of tournaments. Perhaps Nike should have stuck with Neymar.

Regardless, Nike’s animated save-the-world good guys beat the bad guys feature would have Pixar envious.

Risk Everything is the ethos Nike wants the brand to embody. This story is just one in a never ending series of content marketing wonder-goals. gives us a little insight into this particular campaign. They’ve done a better job than Beats with integrating a clear call to action at the end of the clip to allow any interested fans to buy a whole stack of football gear in their glory induced post video stupor.

Evidently the World Cup is a reminder to tell great stories. Pepsi had a go too.

Same deal more or less. Amazing storytelling to align a brand with a lifestyle without promoting products. Pepsi went the non-celebrity approach. It’s a good time.

It’s also more affordable. The underdog wins. Your content marketing can be like the nerdy guy. You just need dedication, lots of hours, hard work and a good heart.

Meanwhile, outside Brazil, some other nice things happened…

Porter is back. Somehow Bigger and Better.

Net-A-Porter is the ecommerce giant who showed publishers why print still matters with its launch of Porter magazine last February. In one of our most popular blog articles to date, we went into detail to let everyone know why print content marketing is the new Vogue. This is why Porter is better than Vogue. Gaga.

Porter – Lady Gaga from Inez & Vinoodh on Vimeo.

As if Gisele Bundchen wasn’t enough for issue one, Porter somehow raised the bar. This video clearly has little to do with selling clothes online. Net-A-Porter wants to be the voice of women’s style. This video helps them gain some authority in this space. You need to find your voice, then create and promote content that does proves your authority.

Online magazines still work and GE is still a content marketing boss.

It’s not just the medium that matters. The strategy behind a magazine is most important. Find your customer’s interest, then provide interesting content to educate, inform and entertain. Online or offline. Depends on your customer’s preference. Sounds easy right? It is for GE Money and Australian agency King Content.

In May GE Australia launched a new online magazine slash blog dubbed ‘The Art of Money’ to spice up the often dreary slew of financial advice content scattered across the suit-and-tie wearing corners of the internet.

Ge Art Of Money Content Marketing

King Content truly is the king of content marketing services for big business down under. They’ve pumped up the tyres of their work with GE on this one, but the hype seems vindicated. The interface is stunning. The design is slick. The call to actions are clear and the lead nurturing content is ready to reel in the email addresses.

The lesson from this content marketing winner is clear. Build your audience on your own land. Create helpful and educational content. Optimise it for search engine rankings. Make it sharable. Then exchange value. Grab everyone’s email address in return for your content, then use more advanced content to nurture your audience towards purchase.

There’s your inspiration from the big end of town. Be bold. Tell better stories. Create unique content. Stand out from the crowd. Don’t forget the marketing of your content marketing. You still have to get the good stuff into the hands of the right people.

If you’ve got a great example or a super article to share with me, we’re always sleuthing our way through the internet to find the best of the bunch to share. Sometimes we even dedicate an entire post to our favourite content marketing masterstrokes.

Here’s some crackers we’ve found recently:

So shout out to me on Twitter and send me some lovin’.

Until then, good luck online. Gorilla Out.

*** Catch up with May’s monthly best of the content marketing bunch

By James Dillon
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