Does your small to midsize business or startup have a social sharing and content marketing strategy? Who’s in charge: you, the CEO, whose business reputation relies on this strategy? Or have you assigned this task to an entry-level employee with little business acumen and even less sales skills.
The difference can have a big impact on your brand equity.
The social business strategy for many small to midsize businesses and startups relies heavily upon social sharing and content marketing.
It takes at least two to tango in this sharing economy content marketing strategy: You the Content Creator and at least one of Me: your Content Sharer.
Where is your content going to come from?
Are you going to write it yourself, exclusively? Are you going to hire a recent university graduate or editorial writer to create your content for you?
What is the quality of your content?
Are you or your hired gun writers going to cut and paste and paraphrase (and hopefully not plagiarize) what they have read in others’ blog posts? Are they going to create original, unique, insightful and thoughtful posts based on their own domain expertise (you are hiring editorial writers with domain area expertise, aren’t you)?
How are you going to get other folks, like me, to share your content?
Are you planning on identifying high profile thought leaders and asking them to provide you with their own high quality content for your company’s or startup’s blog? What’s your ask? In exchange for their high quality content, are you offering to swap your own company’s content for theirs?
What’s the value in that strategy? Consider your proposal for content swapping from the other side of the writing table.
Is your content swapping strategy equitable? If not, be prepared for the thought leaders you contacted to tell you “So What?” and push back and decline your offer.
Some Blogger Thought Leaders will feature guest bloggers’ content on their own blog sites. Other folks are predominantly exclusive in curating their own content creation and maintaining their brand. Did you take the opportunity to understand their policy for content swapping before your junior intern contacted them? Or did you send these folks a mass email, cold-call invitation?
When you propose – or “pitch”- your Content Swapping offer, are you only thinking about what’s in it for you versus what’s the benefit for them: these folks lending their name and influence to your company’s blog? If they don’t know who you are (even though you just connected with them on LinkedIn and now are asking for their content), why should they provide content to you?
It’s the same concept many sales people fail to grasp when chasing quarterly quota instead of working from the customers’ perspective.
Some Thought Leader Bloggers may already know about you and the quality of your content. They either will or won’t be delighted to collaborate with you. Other bloggers may ask to be compensated for providing endorsement via their content. Content creation is part of their business model.
How you handle their rejection, gracefully or with a snarky email response, has a direct reflection on your company.
The last time I checked, the Sharing Economy is also a Business Economy. There is a transactional aspect to social sharing and content swapping.
Take a page out of Selling. Figure out what your value proposition for content swapping and social sharing looks and sounds like.
Is it equitable or one-sided?
If your current social sharing and content swapping campaign is falling flat, consider how effectively you sell your proposition to your targeted content contributors. The ball is in your court.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, catalyzes collaborative business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She works with non-traditional sellers, engineers, small and midmarket manufacturers, and technical startups. She was named one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers and Bloggers in 2013 and 2014.