This post features social content marketing tips and advice from a case study at our Member Meeting in New York by Casey Hall, Thomson Reuters' Senior Marketer. Casey's been a member since 2012.
Thomson Reuters' product-focused legal blog needed an overhaul.
According to Casey Hall, Thomson Reuters' Senior Marketer, they had to shift their content from promotional and salesy to educational and informative.
“But what I really wanted to do was kick all of the marketers off of the blog,” he says in his presentation at SocialMedia.org's Member Meeting in New York.
With their old workflow, marketers came to Casey with pre-written product promotions and press releases to publish on the blog. The new goal for their blog: empower internal experts to create more engaging, valuable content.
As an intelligent information provider, they needed a content strategy focused on thought leadership and conversion.
“Most attorneys don't consider themselves a marketing segment, they consider themselves practicing attorneys who are interested in legal news.”
Casey explains that if people are looking to buy products, the blog is not the place for them. The new blog for their legal business units would be a place for content that's valuable for all of their readers.
“Here's my litmus test: If an attorney out there reading this blog was never going to buy our products or be our customer, would this content still be valuable to them?”
“Thought leadership is important to everyone, but what we do is sell experts information. We want to be the experts for the experts.”
That's why Casey brought in experts like judges, law professors, and regulations researchers to write for their new blog. But it took a little social media training at first.
“We had some amazing internal experts, but they weren't exactly ready for prime time.”
For example, one of their brilliant law professor's first submissions for a blog post: A 14-page, well footnoted fax. Yes, a fax.
Casey says preparing Thomson Reuters' experts to write for the blog took a lot of upfront training investment — as well as defense of his strategy.
To make it happen, they used an easily digestible one-pager on the social media basics and a lot of one-on-one time refining and focusing their blogging efforts and strategy. But reshaping the blog wasn't just about training, Casey explains it was also an uphill battle to change minds internally.
“From the perspective of a lot of our marketers, I had essentially thrown them under the bus. I was called into a number of marketing directors' offices who explained to me that this is not the way we've been doing it.”
But he says all of that investment and explaining was worth it, because once they were ready, their new writers became a focused, sustainable content resource.
Within 18 months, Casey had 62 experts ready to contribute to the blog.
The two new workflows:
- Identify a theme from a product they want to promote, map out a blog series, find a topical expert, and curate the blog series.
- Get a tip from an expert on an interesting new topic, suggest a blog post or a series, consider how to best leverage it, and post it to the blog.
In the first six months, page views increased by 277 percent. As for conversion, they had a 240-percent increase in readers following links from the blog to Thomson Reuters' ecommerce sites.
Casey showed this graph and explained, “Whenever people have questions about whether or not this is a good content strategy or if other business units want to do the same thing, I share this graph with them.”