So, you’ve been given the keys to your organization’s blog and social media accounts. Great, now what? 
Cue deer-in-headlights expression.
 If you’re like most, the thought of routine content creation and social media management causes night sweats, even for the most enthusiastic marketers. But fear not, Strategic Marketing and Communications (SMC) is here to help.

In an effort to help educate the Chapman community, we’ve put together this multi-post content marketing guide to arm you with best practices for creating effective digital content.

Step one: Understanding Content Marketing

It’s always best to start with a clear understanding of the subject. Here is a definition of content marketing from 
Mina Seetharaman, Executive Director, Content Practice 
and Advanced Video Practice for OgilvyOne, New York

“Content marketing is the discipline of planning, creating and distributing relevant
and valuable content to build and engage a well-defined and understood
audience to drive a valuable customer action or behavior.”

Basically, all efforts in respect to your content should be working toward a central goal, whether that’s more applicants, more donations, credibility, or branding. And instead of pitching your services like traditional advertising, you are building trust and credibility though valuable content, which then leads to action.

If you’re going to put in the effort, then you might as well be strategic about it.

The Value of Content Marketing

One of the biggest obstacles of any large organization’s content marketing effort is to get participants to fully understand the value and join the efforts. Dare I say that even some of you are skeptical right now? Hopefully we can enlighten you to the content rich future of marketing.

Hard Benefits

Proven stats about content marketing. Here are a few key numbers from this much more in-depth

  • Costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.
  • 82% of marketers who blog see positive ROI for their inbound marketing.
  • Buyers (in our case applicants) go through about 57% of the purchasing (application) process before ever talking to sales.
  • Organic search leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound marketing leads have a 1.7%.
  • 60% of buyers are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it.
  • Interesting content is one of the top 3 reasons people follow brands on social media.

Soft Benefits

These benefits are h
arder to measure, but equally impactful. This
 article goes into detail regarding the ROI of content marketing, but we’ll touch on the high points here.

  • Online Content is Forever – When you write a post online it is permanent, and the more branded elements you put online the bigger your organic network of indexed pages becomes.
  • Improved Search Ranking – When you create popular content you are building equity with search engines. This is becoming increasingly important as Google takes over our minds.
  • Build Brand Trust – Blogs and social media allow you to build relationships that traditional advertising cannot. Speaking to audiences at the right time in their decision process builds trust.
  • Reach the Millennial – It’s been highly studied that younger generations ignore traditional advertising. Organic content has a higher probability to resonate with younger generations.

If you’re interested about learning more, here is a great ebook on content marketing from

Going Viral: Reach, Not View Count

One of biggest buzz phrases in the content marketing world is “going viral,” and if you are like most people you define this by the little counter at the bottom of your video or by your blog views. And while this does show you actual eyes on the prize, it is missing a key element of the viral game — The Third Circle (
cue eerie music)
, as author Scott Stratten (
) describes in 
The Book of Business Awesomeness.

He explains that there are actually three circles to every content marketing effort. These include:

viral circle graphicThe First Circle
consists of all your closest connections. They are the friends and family who know you and will “like” all of your posts all of the time.

The Second Circle
consists of friends of friends. These are the people who make six degrees of separation possible and often see your posts because your ‘first circle’ friends love to share your [insert food/baby/pet image].

The Third Circle
the true goal of content marketing. This group consists of friends of friends of friends, so total strangers to you. They have no real connection to you, but have seen your post because it was interesting and sharable. This is true viral.

So whether you have a million views or two hundred, you need to ask yourself how many of these are part of the third circle. Were you able to break your sphere of influence?

How Content Marketing fits into Chapman’s Vision

Chapman is a thriving university with lots of great stories, research, and opinions hidden just out of sight for most of the population. SMC has been working hard at
building the infrastructure
 so the Chapman community has the opportunity to easily contribute their stories to a wider audience, further helping brand the university through organic messaging.

Here is a quick rundown of Chapman’s content system and the different layers involved:

Screen shot of Chapman's website

Community Contribute -
The newest feature to the content party, community contribute is an access point for the entire Chapman community, which includes students, staff, faculty, and alumni, to submit their stories without having to be connected with a school or department.

School and Department Blogs and Social Media Accounts
 - These are the support beams of the whole system and are immensely important. Run by the schools and departments, these environments have the closest access to interesting stories and should be where a distinct personality is developed and nurtured per school or department.

Screen shot of Chapman's and
 - These aggregate feeds from the blogs and social media are the second level of our system and act as an easy way for the larger audiences to get a glimpse of the action going on at the university. Inside.Chapman works through an
that allows great content to rise to the top.

Chapman Homepage -
The top level of this system is the Chapman homepage, which gets about 44,000 page views a week and growing.

This is where the university’s best stories shine through.

Our goal is to to uncover all the great stories, research, opinions, and events happening here every day. We are lucky to be a part of such a thriving environment, and we hope you’ll help us share these stories with the world to encourage more great minds to join the Chapman community.

Next up for the Content Marketing Guide:

10 Tips for Organizing your Content Marketing Efforts