Essential Q and A on the Value of Content Marketing

Content Marketing Q & A

Content Marketing Sage or Ice Giant?

In advance of the Content Marketing Conference Europe event last week, Maaike Gulden did an interview with me to surface some essential advice about improving content marketing.

Since the interview was published in Dutch, I’m posting portions here for our readers looking for a useful perspective on content marketing that will hopefully bring some clarity to an increasingly misunderstood concept. This Q and A covers everything from a definition to why to why content marketing is valuable, a solid B2B content marketing example and my perspective on the future.

What is your perspective on content marketing?

Content is the reason search engines exist and it’s the cornerstone of what people share on the social web. A quantity of quality content that answers reader’s questions in a useful and entertaining way serves everything from demand generation to lead generation.

From Antwerp to Bucharest – Lessons Learned About Storytelling and Content Marketing

Storytelling Content Marketing

Growing digital marketing skills and knowledge are more important now than ever. I’m sure you can relate to the pressures of having to continuously stay on top of what’s new and most effective.

The good news is that much knowledge can be gained from new experiences and connections. In the past 2 weeks I’ve had the good fortune to attend an Integrated Marketing Communications event at West Virginia University a content marketing conference in Antwerp, Belgium and a digital marketing conference in Bucharest Romania. Plus this week I’m in London for a few meetings where similar topics will be discussed.

Amongst those geographically diverse experiences, each with a focus on some aspect of digital marketing and communications, I have noticed a consistent set of expectations regarding information delivery, content quality and interactions.

Brand or Customer: What’s Your Content Marketing Center? #fusionmex

Content Marketing Conference Europe

For over 1,000 years people used to think the Earth was the center of the Universe, not unlike how many companies still think the corporate brand should be the center of their marketing messages.

As with Copernicus’s 16th century observations about the Earth moving around the Sun, modern marketers in Europe and all over the world are realizing that the customer is at the center for content and messaging, not just the brand.

Some companies, agencies and consultants have made significant progress in this view of content marketing and we reached out to a number of them that will be presenting at the upcoming Content Marketing Conference Europe.

The question? We asked: What is one of the most important ways content marketing creates value for customers?

Modular Content – Creative Repurposing for Content Marketing

Modular Content

There are many content types and tactics for content marketing. Each has it’s place. Each offers unique benefits.

Creating original content on an ongoing basis can be a challenge, so most marketers practice the fine art of content repurposing.

For example, you could take a long eBook and turn it into 4 blog posts, leverage for a newsletter and excerpt it in an article submitted to an industry publication. Or you could take a speech heavy video and transcribe the text into a blog post, using screen shots for the images. You could also modify content for different target audiences, which is a form of repurposing that is more about personalization than just getting extra mileage out of your content. After creating your “reimagined” content, the common next step is to deconstruct it into micro-content for social sharing.

How an Online Marketing Audit Can Help A Small Business Optimize Search, Social & Content Marketing

Online Marketing Audit

An increasing number of companies feel they have a solid content marketing strategy and tactical mix in place. Now it’s time to think about how to integrate an “Optimize and Socialize” approach into the overall online marketing program.

Two key considerations for implementing a scalable “Optimize and Socialize” content marketing approach involve where SEO and social media optimization fit within the content planning and publishing process and the skills of Social Media and SEO content creators. Here is a small business example that uses an Online Marketing Audit to start finding the answer to those questions about process and skills.

Small Business Marketing Problem: No Time For Content

The Hidden Value of Influencers in B2B Content Marketing

B2B influencer marketing

In the 2014 B2B Content Marketing Trends report from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, the top challenges that B2B content marketers face include: lack of time, not being able to produce enough content, not being able to create the kind of content that engages, lack of budget, and lack of content variety.

Sound familiar?

Stats like “Buyers are two-thirds to 90% through the sales funnel before they contact sales” (Forrester) and “72% of B2B buyers use social media to research solutions to purchase.” (DGR 2014 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey) have a lot of B2B marketers focusing on content and social media programs that require far more resources and time to deliver leads than most business managers have patience for.

Beyond Newsjacking: Pop Culture in Content Marketing with Movies, TV and Memes

Content Marketing, Real-Time Marketing

The expression “newsjacking” has been popularized by David Meerman Scott and the available material on the topic is near limitless from case studies of Oreo’s Dunk in the Dark Twitter ad to missed opportunities by Poland Spring.

Related to newsjacking is the practice of leveraging popular culture references in brand messaging. Movies, music, memes and more can be deftly integrated into your social media and content marketing programs to provide an entertaining context to otherwise boring business information. Beyond attaching to something that’s popular on TV, the best applications of popular culture references find creative ways to make a connection back to the brand’s products or services.

SlideShare for Business: Tips and Tricks for Success from #SMMW14

Todd Wheatland SlideShare Presentation #SMMW14

If you’re not using SlideShare in your digital marketing tactical mix, you are missing out. As Todd Wheatland said in his session at #SMMW14, ‘whatever you’re selling, there’s a business case here.’

SlideShare is a fantastic opportunity for marketers and businesses for many reasons, including:

  • Huge visibility: over 60 million unique views / month
  • Relevant audience: heavily business focused
  • Improved search visibility: presentations posted on SlideShare tend to rank high in organic search

Below are 3 tips to help you achieve success in SlideShare:

Optimize Your Content Within SlideShare

Similar to search, great content is a prerequisite, but optimization techniques provide the extra secret sauce that result in improved visibility and views within SlideShare. Because SlideShare content also ranks well in organic search, optimizing is a no brainer. Some key things to think about:

How Content Plus an Influencer Network Can Grow Your Business

Lee Odden

Photo credit: DJ Waldow

Your customers are experiencing content shock. Every day there is more content being created than the day before, and it’s up to savvy content marketers to cut through the noise and increase the number of people who view and engage with their content.

After years of experience, Lee Odden has learned that co-creating content with influential people in your industry can give your brand the visibility that your content needs to succeed. Co-creating content can help you increase the content’s exposure, grow out your social following and increase your brand’s influence.

An excellent example of co-created content is the SlideShare presentation Riding the Waves of Social Media: 38 Tips from the Pros that Lee created for this conference: SMMW14. He’s also co-created 36 Content Marketers who Rock for Content Marketing World 2013 because co-created content works!

5 Content Marketing Best Practices Most Businesses Aren’t Doing, but Should! #SMMW14

Content Marketing Best Practices from Joe Pulizzi #SMMW14 v4

(Image credit: @aaronnak)

George Carlin famously said, the goal of human beings is to acquire stuff, then to store it somewhere.

Unfortunately, many businesses have treated their corporate content the same way, as stuff to be acquired, and used their websites, blogs, and social channels as the places to store it.

‘If we only talk about ourselves, we’ll never reach customers’ says the always entertaining Joe Pulizzi in his packed-room presentation at Social Media Marketing World 2014.

The answer to this pathological content hoarding problem is content marketing, or at least it was supposed to be. Unfortunately, many businesses are not following important content marketing best practices and are seeing disappointing results because of it. According to research from Content Marketing Institute, 90% of businesses today are engaging in content marketing, but only 45% report it to be effective.

What’s the One Most Important Skill for a Content Marketer?

content marketing empathyFocus and simplicity help ideas grow.

The changing, competitive and often complex world of content marketing could use some simplification and that’s why it was refreshing to get the following question recently:

What’s the one thing that has been instrumental for you to be successful at content marketing?

My gut reaction of course was, there is no “one thing”. There are many things and they vary depending on the industry, types of product/services, target audience, maturity of the company’s marketing, resources, timeframe and so on. In fact, I posted about an array digital marketing skills just 2 weeks ago.

But really, for me there is one thing that seems to stand out.

Content Marketing With Real-World Events: Pros, Cons, Examples and Best Practices

Lee OddenConferences, symposiums, summits, trade shows, roundtables and world expos. From intimate, invitation-only events to sprawling Las Vegas-style exhibit halls, most of us have attended at least one industry-specific event.

While the business value has been debated off and on over the years, and it was predicted that webinars and other digital forms of online training would eventually replace live events, there is just no substitute for face time when you want to establish rapport with people who share your interests and business goals.

As content marketing strategy continues to gain momentum, an interesting phenomenon is occurring – real-world, in-person events are starting to edge out trendier content tactics, like video. In fact, according to Content Marketing Institute, in-person events have been ranked as the most effective content marketing tactic over the past four years by B2B marketers.