Sponsored shares and employees help Microsoft to content marketing no.1

Microsoft has taken a fair share of stick over the last few years for its inability to move with the times. Recent issues include Windows 8, the collapse in the desktop market, underestimating the iPhone and, beyond that, the dreaded Internet Explorer.

Yet its content marketing it appears to be leading the way, at least according to LinkedIn. The social media channel rated Microsoft number one for 2015 in its ‘Content Marketing Score’ system.

This ranks content marketing efforts that are pushed by brands through LinkedIn. Among the criteria are the number of updates, employee shares, sponsored updates, activity in groups and employee posts, all through LinkedIn.

Measurement of social media success is a discipline of its own. And no doubt all these elements are important. But there is no mention of quality here, unless of course you are basing it on shares by people who already work for that company.

But four interesting statistics were flagged by LinkedIn. 72% of top companies for CM were using sponsored content, 99% both published regular updates and had their employees sharing content, and 97.6% had employees publishing long-form posts.

Of course, there are no algorithms – at least not a good one – that can rate a well-written and informed piece. If there were, there would be a lot of journalists working in Costa Coffee.

At the same time, Microsoft’s content marketing is rather good and has plenty of varied and original content. A quick glance at Microsoft’s LinkedIn page showed the latest story, which used the Battle of Waterloo anniversary to flag up its tools for flexible working.

This might seem a bit of a leap, but it was well-executed. It told the story about the battle and how the weather conditions – it was raining – affected the efficacy of the French artillery. The post explains how we can now affect workers conditions by giving them the right tools etc, to turn your own Waterloo in your favour.

A nice example of using the current news schedule.

There were a lot of other tech brands in the LinkedIn top 10. Perhaps this reflects their varied product range. Or maybe it is simply an enlightened view when it comes to producing content online. While it takes a certain amount of courage to trust employees to publish their own content without running it through a PR first.

Microsoft hasn’t always been described as enlightened. But it seems to be on a bit of a comeback since new CEO Satya Nadella’s appointment (despite last year’s embarrassing comments about women’s pay). Windows 10 has had good reviews and even the dreaded IE has been ditched. Maybe it will now show the way in content marketing.

Linkedin Global Best-in-Class Content Marketers

  1. Microsoft
  2. Forbes
  3. Harvard Business Review
  4. IBM
  5. Inc Magazine
  6. HP
  7. Google
  8. Saleforce
  9. Domo
  10. EY

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