The following are links to a series of posts written by Hammock founder Rex Hammock in which he explores the various kinds of content that is being used by companies, associations, and other organizations and institutions to build stronger relationships with their customers, members, etc.
The posts also examine ways in which different types of content and different communications channels and platforms can work independently or in a complementary, integrated fashion to help companies reach specific business objectives.

A new study reveals that small businesses are increasingly incorporating social media into their marketing strategies. In fact, usage of social media among small businesses has doubled over the last year: 24 percent of small businesses with fewer than 100 employees use social media versus 12 percent last year, according to the latest Small Business Success Index study performed by Network Solutions and the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.
The study found that the most common social media methods among small businesses is creating a Facebook or LinkedIn page (75 percent). Only 39 percent of small businesses have a blog, and 26 percent use Twitter to share information about their area of expertise.
The study also provided insight into why small business owners are hesitant about using social media to market their businesses. Biggest barriers include longer-than- expected marketing results and the fear that social media channels give customers an opportunity to publicly criticize their business.

[See also: Table of Contents for this series.]
Over the coming months, I will be writing a series of posts that focus on the role of “content” in how companies and customers connect with one-another. (Of course, when I say “companies,” I also mean associations and governments and churches and schools and candidates. And when I say “customers,” I also mean members and alumni and supporters, etc.) But first, I thought I’d provide an introduction.

If you’re not aggregating your content on your company’s Facebook fan page, you should be — especially now that Google Analytics can be set up to track activity on the page. As this article from Buzzmarketing Daily notes, Facebook’s default traffic analyzer, Facebook Insights, only tracks the activity of users who have become fans of your page. Google Analytics, however, tracks the actions of anyone who visits the page and provides information related to “visits, average time on site, visitor location, and more.”
Check out Buzzmarketing Daily to learn more about what Google Analytics for Facebook can help you determine about the visitors to your page.

Looking for a shortcut to creating an online buzz and driving more traffic to your Web site? While it’s true there are overnight success stories of companies whose traffic spiked after something they posted went viral, this kind of success is only temporary, as this Buzz Factory blog points out. Instead shoot for lasting success, which comes from creating engaging content for your target market across several social media sites consistently and every day. Just a little bit of daily activity on your part will bring in traffic that will ultimately prove to be more beneficial than a one-time spike.

A successful content marketing strategy is not limited to only posting relevant, engaging content on your website. You have to learn how to take that great content and distribute it—syndicating it to other online outlets. One of those outlets is Twitter.
Twitter is where a growing portion of your audience is consuming their content, whether breaking news or pithy analysis. So embrace the power of Twitter to drive people back to your site’s compelling content. Twitter should become a larger source of your referring website traffic.
Wondering how to make Twitter part of your content marketing strategy? Here are three content marketing Twitter tips from Meqouda’s Amanada McArthur:

I’m going on vacation next week, and for the last few weeks, I’ve gone to almost every day to see if there were any new reviews about the hotel where I’ll be staying. Yesterday, I got lucky. There was a new review, and after I read it I may have closed my eyes for a few seconds imagining myself kayaking in sunny Mexico. Man, I love TripAdvisor.
It’s not the lists of hotels or restaurants or the links to book your trip on that make TripAdvisor successful — it’s the traveler reviews offering first-hand knowledge and photos from people who have been where you want to go. It’s unique, valuable content, and it’s the reason I recommend the site to anyone telling me they’re planning a vacation.
So what can your business learn from a site with monthly visits in the millions? It’s simple: Content is king.

Your customers are busy. Preoccupied and stressed. They feel the strain of the economy. Despite the many distractions they face, you have to find a way to successfully connect with them. The key to that connection is content–but not just any content. By creating relevant, engaging and informational content you will find that not only will your prospects become customers, but also that you will build loyalty with your existing customers.

Many businesses have realized the importance of maintaining a blog, but how many see their blog as a product? New media marketing master Chris Brogan discusses the importance of viewing your blog as a part of a “content ecosystem,” noting that as soon as you recognize your blog as “only ‘a’ channel, that’s when you start thinking of other outreach opportunities.”
According to Brogan, being able to view your content — and all of your products — as an ecosystem instead of completely separate entities increases its value and opens the door for development.

The word content today means many things: Writing, photography, video, illustrations, design, interactive games, apps and data. Content can refer to a wide variety of media, also, from beautiful coffee-table magazines to how-to videos appearing on the web.
Because marketers are discovering that the difference between success and failure is often the quality, strategy and measurement of an organization’s content, we’ve decided to more clearly define our services by using the term “content marketing” to stress the solutions and support we can provide our clients.