Unless you’ve been in darkest Timbuktu over the past few months, you will have probably picked up on the tweets, characters, plots and sub plots of the best selling erotic novel “Fifty shades of Grey”.

In short, a young business magnate, Christian Grey seduces a young college virgin, Ana Steel into a BDSM relationship. Before you ask BDSM doesn’t mean ‘Badly Done Social Media’, although I’m pretty sure we could actually do with an acronym for this.

While many readers are enticed originally by the sexual antics within the book, the real fascination is with the complex relationships and power shifts between the 2 central characters.

Anyway, it got me thinking about the complex relationship between Content marketing and Social Media. See, what I did there :)

B2B marketers are struggling to understand the complexities of how Content and Social add value to the brand and demand generation process.

Is your Content strategy dominant? Is your Social Strategy submissive?

Content and Social are great bedfellows that’s for sure. They compliment each other fantastically, but they can exist independent of each other.

The real question that needs to be asked is “How does an effective Content and social strategy drive engagement and pipeline?”

Here’s my quick point of view on this.

When I talk about Content Marketing, I break it down into four key buckets.

1: Branded Content – stuff that helps position the brand, gives it an emotional dimension. Web Adverts, Thought leadership pieces, Killer research.

2: Educational Content – the really useful stuff that explains what/how you do things and educates your buyers and customers. From infographics to blogs,  ‘how to guides’ and case studies to video tutorials.

3: Promotional Content – the activities, offers, events that trigger a purchase, download, subscription, meeting etc.

4: Honey Content – the news articles and industry related content that you can write that drives inbound links to your web site (enhancing your SEO) and ensuring your site is frequently indexed by the search engines.

Each type of Content has a different role to play across the B2B buying cycle. Depending on the maturity of the category you operate in and the types of customers you are trying to influence i.e. early adopters laggards, its’ critical you get the right ‘Content blend’ in order to maximize your opportunity.

Once you’ve made your investment in creating this valuable Content it’s vital you ‘give it wings’. Every piece of Content can be cut-up, dissected, reformatted to ensure its ‘shelf life’ is as long as possible.

Social creates great context for every piece of content and allows your prospects and customers to interact with you and ‘give life’ to the Content.

Too often clients create a piece of content that lives and dies in the ‘campaign moment’. You need to think about how you keep your content ‘alive and kicking’ for 12 months. This is where the value and ROI kick-in and real sales opportunities are nurtured and converted.

So stop practicing Badly Done Social Media (BDSM) and start integrating your Content strategy in a way that seeks to extend the relationship you have with your customers.

All comments welcomed.