FIR B2B #12: Most Branded Content is Terrible – But It’s Getting Better

FIR B2BAllan Schoenberg is still transitioning to his new role at TIAA-CREF, so Paul anchors the podcast solo this week. In this episode:

News & Trends

An overseas trip last week yielded important lessons about how social media is used differently in other countries. In Germany, a company called Transcat devotes a full 50% of its marketing budget to social media and tracks everything with rigid precision. The managing director says social leads convert at two to three times the rate of leads that come in through conventional marketing or search. a French company called Kalista has more than 1,500 Google ad words terms identified. That, combined with their blog, is yielding a gusher of leads.

One of the secrets is that these companies operate in small, local geographies where search engine results can pay big dividends when customers are looking for nearby partners. Paul’s trip made it clear that, when it comes to social media, European firms are no stragglers.

Shel and Neville reported last week on a TechCruch article on the growing momentum of vertical professional social networks, some of which are pulling in eight-figure financing deals. Every hear of Doximity, RallyPoint or GitHub? They’re attracting the kind of deep professional interactions that LinkedIn can’t. Are we on the verge of an explosion of activity and professional social networks? How will LinkedIn compete? One thing is clear: Marketers have to be aware of the places their customers are gathering, even if those sites aren’t household names.

Special Guest: Michael Brenner

Our special guest is Michael Brenner, Head of Strategy for the content marketing platform NewsCred and one of the prime architects of the wildly successful social media strategy at the software giant SAP. Michael tells us why most branded content is so bad and why storytelling must become a core competency of marketers trying to reach customers who just don’t want to listen to pitches any more. Storytelling doesn’t mean focusing just on your own stories. SAP’s Business Innovation blog features issues that matter to its customers, and promotions for SAP are strictly verboten.

“The large majority of branded content is absolutely terrible,” Michael says. But the situation is improving. “Brands are still learning how to become storytellers and it demands a dramatic shift in approach.” That means putting the customers’ best interests first. And yes, curation is a valuable tool. Brands can perform a service by amplifying the best content in the areas customers care about.

Follow Michael on Twitter.

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About Your Hosts

Paul GillinPaul Gillin is a veteran technology journalist and a thought leader in new media. Since 2005, he has advised marketers and business executives on strategies to optimize their use of social media and online channels to reach buyers cost-effectively. He is the author or co-author of five books, including Social Marketing to the Business Customer (2011), the first book devoted entirely to B2B social media marketing. He is also a social media trainer and coach at Profitecture, a training firm for B2B companies and their channel partners.

Allan SchoenbergAllan Schoenberg is based Vice President, Corporate Public Relations and Communications at TIAA-CREF in New York. As part of the firm’s Enterprise Communications team within Marketing, this role helps the team drive firm-wide corporate communications, employee communications, reputation and crises management, social media, CEO positioning and public policy communications. He has more than 20 years of experience in B2B communications, including his work for Accenture, Edelman Worldwide, Fleishman Hillard and CME Group..

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Posted by Paul Gillin on 07/15 at 03:56 PM

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