TopRank Online Marketing
Lee Odden

Secrets of Content Marketing World: Agent Jason Falls, Social Media Explorer

By Lee Odden     Blogging, Content Marketing, Interviews, Marketing PR Conferences, Online Marketing

Jason Falls Content Marketing Secret Agent There’s a lot of power in words and even more in secret words. This week we’ve been leaking content marketing secrets all over the web and hopefully you’ve been paying attention. In particular, you’ll want to tune in to the no-nonsense approach from this special agent of content marketing, Jason Falls, the CEO of Social Media Explorer.

Jason has been a vocal advocate of practical online marketing and PR for years and his experience with blogging and blog consulting may very well be the one thing you need to experience to justify your own secret mission to Columbus next week for Content Marketing World. For a sneak peek at Jason’s business blogging and content marketing secrets, check out the following interview.

BTW, we could tell you how we were able to get these secrets out of Jason, but then we’d have to “kill” you. With content of course.

You’re a busy man! As an author, speaker, blogger and the CEO of Social Media Explorer, how has your work with content as a marketing asset evolved? What do you think about all the recent buzz about “content marketing”? What’s BS and what’s the truth?

If anything, I’d say that my work with content marketing has grown more critical to each client we work with. Without exception, every client Social Media Explorer has worked with in the last three years, and even the clients I worked with in my previous role at Doe-Anderson, had content at the core of what made them successful online. In my mind, the digital and social marketing roles for a business are there to help create a holistic and consistent consumer experience with the brand. Content drives the online touch points. Without it, all you have are ads, which, by the way, also constitues content.

What do you consider to be reasonable goals for a content marketing program that’s focused on showing a business return, whether it’s sales, retention or something else?

It depends on a lot of factors — size of brand, scope of goals, size of audience/customer base, passion brand or more utility/commodity brand — but I think reasonable goals are to establish a connection between online content marketing efforts and either unit sales, revenue or cost savings, then grow that baseline as the effort matures. You’re going to start with very little needle moving at first for many brands, but as you build and attract more relevant audience members to your content, the numbers go up … they always do if your content is outstanding and you are consistent.

Your session “Cut the Bull – Blog with a Purpose and Drive Your Business” is focused on taking a no B.S. approach to blogging for business.  What are 3 of the primary takeaways from your Content Marketing World presentation that you think are most important?

That you shouldn’t blog as a business unless you’re going to blog for business. Is that three? Seriously, we’re going to talk about why blogs are business drivers, how you can make yours one, how you can build an audience for it and how you can track and measure your blog’s effectiveness as a business driver. Wait … that’s more than three. Damn.

What are some ways that successful companies are integrating content marketing with other online marketing channels such as social media, digital PR and SEO? Can you share a few examples?

Content Marketing World has one of the best examples in its speaking roster. Marcus Sheridan has created the penultimate small business marketing case study for River Pools and Spas. He used his company blog to simply write content based on answering key customer questions and solving key customer problems. Because he used SEO techniques to optimize for strategic keywords, the content ranked well. The natural traffic has turned their content marketing into a primary customer acquisition mechanism. It’s just awesome. I also like what Western River Expeditions is doing to combine social media, blogging and email marketing to create a beautiful cycle. But to know more about that, you’ll have to come to my session. Heh.

Content is both art and science with high demands on coordinating necessary planning, time and resources. This seems especially true for large, complex organizations with multiple players and diverse needs. What tools, software or services can recommend for large enterprise companies that want to be more efficient and effective at using content to drive new business and engage their customers?

The good news is that there are dozens of really good social media management systems out there to help organize large social content marketing teams and outposts. The bad news is that there are dozens of really good social media management systems out there to help organize large social content marketing teams and outposts. Unfortunately none of them do everything most companies need a content management system to do. For one, most don’t manage your own content (website, blog, etc.) While tools like Awareness get close, most are focused on social channels only. Some of my favorite picks for enterprise social media management systems — all worth looking at — include Expion, Spredfast, Sprinklr, Vitrue and Awareness.

Goals can vary of course, but what are some of the essential “must have” measurements for content marketing success?

Nichole Kelly (my partner in SME Digital) and I almost always insist that your content marketing needs to point customer to a path to conversion. Whether you’re primary measures are online sales or leads for offline sales, we want to formulate strategies that help you drive unit sales, revenues or save costs. Bottom line metrics are the ones that make boards and CEOs happy and get you budget, etc. So we focus much of our efforts there. While you certainly can have awareness, customer service, research and development and more as goals for your efforts, those in your organization who are skeptical of social will always be until you can show them how online content moves financial needles.

What are “secret” 3 predictions that you have for the future and importance of brands and content marketing?

A bank will actually “get it” soon. The entertainment industry will figure it out and lead the way for brands to “get it.” Journalists will soon aspire to be brand reporters.

All of that is made up bullshit, but I might get lucky.

We detect a complete absence of bovine fecal matter in your responses Agent Falls. Congratulations. 

For more no B.S. content marketing secrets, check out Jason’s presentation at Content Marketing World next week: Sept 5th at 10:30am “Cut the Bull – Blog with a Purpose and Drive Your Business”.

Also be sure to check out the TopRank session on the future of optimization: Optimize and Socialize for Better Content Marketing” – Sept 6 – 3:05-3:50pm (Content Creation & Optimization Track).

What’s your best content marketing secret?
Share your best content marketing secret in the comments below and we’ll pick 3 winners this week to receive a free copy of “Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing”.

Who’s next in our series of Content Marketing Secrets?  It looks like Julie Fleischer, Director of CRM Content Strategy & Integration at Kraft Foods.


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