Content Marketing continues to drive marketing strategy for many companies and yet, most companies don’t document that strategy. The result? Marketing departments are challenged to create a variety of compelling content on a consistent basis.
Smart, creative and results-focused advice on content marketing that actually works is in high demand and I’m happy to say that over the past few years we’ve published just under 500 content marketing articles on topics ranging from strategy to measuring ROI. To bring you a balanced view of content marketing, we’ve made sure to publish our own point of view and thought leadership as well as interviews with brand content marketing practitioners and executives.
There’s a lot of insight in those interviews and below is a list of the 10 of the most popular, featuring conversations with brands that include: MarketingProfs, Visa, Facebook, Content Marketing Institute, LinkedIn, 3M, Bank of America, Xerox, and Dun & Bradstreet. Enjoy!
1. Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs
Interview: “Writing is thinking. And for us as marketers, good writing is good marketing”
In business and in life, writing is an essential part of communications – no matter how digital, virtual and science fiction we get in our communications. That’s why Ann’s most recent book, Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content, is so timely. From Twitter to White Papers to books in print, Ann has smart, actionable advice for us all.
Takeaway: “The best content marketing isn’t about what you do or what you sell – it’s about how what that thing does for others. That’s a subtle shift, but an important one, and a hard one for companies to truly embrace.”
2. Stephanie Losee, Head of Content at Visa
Interview: “Brands now have the freedom to speak to their audiences directly.”
In this interview Stephanie discusses the most important changes in content marketing, a content report card for brands, predictions, career advice, and insight into more cross-functional content marketing success. Oh, and she also has thoughts on what will be the ruin of Snapchat.
Takeaway: “Think about what kind of content are external audiences expecting when they visit your owned channels, both content and social? What would benefit them? Ask for data about visitors and use it to inform your first few moves. Use existing staffers and resources and get to an always-on strategy that puts customers’ needs first as fast as you can.”
3. Jonathon Colman, Product UX + Content Strategy Lead at Facebook
Interview: “Quality isn’t a definition; it’s a conversation.”
An insatiable learner (Masters in Information Science), wicked smart, focused on results, kind and thoughtful, Jonathan is definitely someone you can learn a lot from. In this interview he shares his journey from REI SEO to Content Strategist at Facebook, offering really useful tips, tools and resources along the way.
Takeaway: “Content experiences aren’t a zero-sum game, they’re not binary, and they’re not a competition between silos within an organization. When you look at the organizations who are growing sustainably year after year, most of the time you’ll see quality content and content services are a strong part of their strategy.”
4. Joe Pulizzi, Founder of Content Marketing Institute
Interview: “Build an audience first and define products and services second.”
In this interview, Joe talks about how he found his passion for content marketing, the value and impact of goal setting, and the 6 step Content Inc model.
Takeaway: “I love content marketing because you can increase the bottom line while, at the same time, help your customers live better lives or get better jobs. Content marketing is the only kind of marketing that provides ongoing value, whether you purchase the product or not. Isn’t that what all marketers want to do?”
5. Jason Miller, Group Manager, Global Content and Social Media Marketing at LinkedIn
Interview: “You need a plan, and you need to find what works, then scale.”
This interview focuses on Jason’s current work, about LinkedIn and his insights into making social media and content marketing hits. He also shares examples of great B2B social media and content marketing, tools, resources and even a few predictions.
Takeaway: “As a content marketer you really need to ask yourself: ‘Do you want to stand out or do you want to truly connect with your customers and prospects?’ The answer is a balance of the two.”
6. Carlos Abler, Leader – Content Marketing and Strategy :: Global eTransformation at 3M
Interview: “Content culture transformation is an essential pillar of digital transformation.”
This in-depth interview with Carlos covers content marketing in general, content strategy, and how to develop a content marketing culture across a large enterprise.
Takeaway: “Content strategy is a broad concept of organizational practices for effectively managing content lifecycle; content marketing is a specific application of content to add value to an organization’s relationship with people. Content strategy enables content marketing and content marketing defines the requirements that content strategy must serve to enable it.”
7. John von Brachel, SVP, Content Marketing Executive at Bank of America
Interview: “Good content marketers need to have both left-brain and right-brain skills.”
For this post, John talked about his editorial background, how he stays current, motivating executive participation with content and a preview of his keynote and breakout session presentations at Content Marketing World.
Takeaway: “Have a compelling and consistent story to tell, one that allows you to build better relationships with your audiences. Sequence these stories to your audiences in ways that keep them connected to you and your brand over longer periods of time.”
8. Jeannine Rossignol, Vice President, Marketing at Xerox
Interview: “Content is an integral component of every aspect of marketing.”
This conversation with Jeannine focused on content marketing strategy, top challenges facing content marketers, and content marketing lessons to be learned from Charlotte’s Web.
Takeaway: “A clear strategy should include who you target, what their buyer’s journey looks like, and most importantly, what are the questions they need to answer to move from one stage in the journey to the next. Every piece of content should go back to that strategy.”
9. Rishi Dave, CMO at Dun & Bradstreet
Interview: “There may not be a need for more content, but there is a need for higher quality content that delivers new insights.”
Here, Rishi talks about building an inbound approach to marketing with content and the role content plays in an overall demand generation strategy.
Takeaway: “Don’t simply jump into tactics around analytics, technology, and content operations. Make sure you have something unique to say and that the organization understands what that messaging is. Until you have that, and a culture that supports it, great execution of inbound will not break through the noise.”
10. Michael Brenner, CEO at Marketing Insider Group
Interview: “The real question behind content ROI is, ‘why should I change what I am doing today?‘”
A first class guy and a pleasure to work with as an influencer, our discussion with Michael touches on some of the key questions marketers are trying to tackle, from developing a strategy to growing an audience to the importance of measuring content marketing performance. Michael also shares a business lesson from one of his favorite childhood stories.
Takeaway: “Content Marketing ROI is no harder than ROI for the rest of marketing. Start with a benchmark, calculate the cost of your content, place a value on the results and from there, ROI is pretty easy.”
There’s a lot of smarts in these content marketing interviews and I hope they have inspired you in ways that will motivate content that is better for your customers and more effective for your marketing.
The Content Marketing World conference is coming up fast and on September 8th, I will be presenting solo and participating on a panel that you might be interested in. Here are the details:
Thursday, Sept. 8 – 12:05 – 12:50pm
Optimize the ROI of Your Content Agency Investment
Solo Lunch & Learn Session (Room 1)
Thursday, Sept. 8 – 2:50 – 3:35pm
How B2B Executives Need to Strategize in the World of Content
Panel with Jennifer Harmel, Michael Brenner, Carla Johnson and Kira Modrus (Room 3)
You will also be able to see most of the content marketing smarties interviewed above at Content Marketing World. Ann, Stephanie and John are all giving keynotes and of course, Joe Pulizzi is the man behind it all.
My business partner and our agency president, Susan Misukanis (L) and our agency director of marketing, Ashley Zeckman (R) will be attending Content Marketing World as well.
If you can’t make the conference or even if you are, don’t miss a thing by watching @toprank, @smisukanis and @azeckman for tweets during the conference and Online Marketing Blog for daily liveblogging of presentations. We hope to see you in Cleveland!
Disclosure: We are currently providing services to LinkedIn and MarketingProfs.