It’s Time for Social Teams and Content Teams to Play Nice

By: Mike Pilarz, LinkedIn

December 21, 2017

As soon as I asked the question, things turned awkward.

I was halfway through a content marketing workshop with the social team for a large enterprise. They were frustrated. They said they didn’t have the content they needed to succeed. I mentioned one of the company’s blogs that was not only actively publishing, but had recently won some industry awards.

But the social team wasn’t sharing any of the blog content via organic or paid social.

“Why not?” I asked.

Some of the people on the social team sighed and rolled their eyes. Others shifted in their chairs. Finally, one of them spoke up.

“Because,” she confessed, “we didn’t even know that blog existed.”

Break Down the Content Silos

Unfortunately, I’ve seen this more than once. It’s not enough to create great content. Without a sound distribution strategy, even the best content won’t get the exposure it deserves. And as social platforms increasingly become destinations for content discovery, they are a critical element of any distribution plan.

LinkedIn, Content Marketing Evangelist, Mike Pilarz

Mike Pilarz, Content Marketing Evangelist, LinkedIn

On LinkedIn, for example, there are now 15 times more content impressions than job postings served in the feed each week.

The challenge is that many companies only recently created a content team, which isn’t yet collaborating with the social team. We’re starting to see progress. The top priority for content strategists in 2017 was to unify multiple departments around a central content strategy, according to Altimeter’s Digital Content Survey.

But we’re not there yet.

So how can you break down the walls between content creation and distribution inside your organization?

Make it someone’s job.

Rethink Your Org Chart

Some organizations are calling them Chief Content Officers. Some use the title Editor-in-Chief. Others are starting smaller by expanding the scope of responsibilities for an existing role.

Regardless of the path you choose, you need someone in place who can oversee and influence all aspects of a content marketing program: strategy, production, distribution and optimization. It’s critical that this person has the backing of the most senior marketer in your company.

Once that happens, here are three areas to focus on first:

Establish a shared content calendar. You would never turn off your website. Similarly, your social program should never go dark. But that’s hard to do without knowing what’s coming. You need to bring your social and content teams together to establish a shared calendar. That way, the social team can establish a consistent publishing cadence and the content team will get the distribution they deserve.

Embrace the entire buyer’s journey. Some of your prospects are ready to buy today. Some won’t be ready for weeks, quarters or even years. The content you distribute via social must speak to each stage of the buyer’s journey. Work with your content team to make sure you have content at each stage of the funnel. Then, the social team can leverage social targeting techniques (re-targeting, email matching, etc.) to align the right content with the right buyer.

Optimize for metrics that matter. Your content team can tell you which assets have high conversion rates (email newsletter signups, eBook downloads, etc.). Assets with low traffic but high conversion are prime candidates for promotion; prioritize them in your social program. Conversely, you should pause promotion for assets that aren’t generating any conversions until those assets are updated.

This is just a starting point, but acting on any of these ideas requires a healthy relationship between the content and social teams.

Who owns that relationship inside your organization?


Mike Pilarz is a content marketing evangelist at LinkedIn, where he counsels marketers at leading brands on how to build effective content creation and distribution programs, a topic he’ll speak to at The Social Shake-Up, May 7-9, 2018, in Atlanta.

Follow Mike: @mikepilarz

At The Social Shake-Up