Guest: Lee Odden – CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, an industry leading digital marketing agency toprankmarketing.com. TopRank focuses on helping Fortune 1000 companies improve customer relationships, grow new business and brand visibility online. @leeodden also writes about Social Media SEO & Content Marketing on TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog TopRankBlog.com. @leeodden has been cited by numerous publications such as The Economist, US News and DM News and leading industry books. He’s been a speaker at conferences and training workshops in New York, London, Hong Kong, Sydney, San Francisco and many others. @leeodden serves on the board of advisors for Search Engine Strategies and is a past advisor to the DMA and MIMA.
What are the most effective forms of content marketing?
The answer to “best content marketing” isn’t a silver bullet. However, it does involve personas, storytelling & great content. It’s content designed to meet customer needs. For developing that kind of content, personas are essential like keywords are for SEO.
Best content marketing has a purpose in mind, an outcome or objective according to customer preferences. It might be text or video or interactive or audio or print or more likely a combination according to buying cycle.
Are there types of content marketing should be avoided?
Automated. Doing the shotgun is a waste. Syndicating everything everywhere is good to avoid. Content needs to be personal, not generic. Consider audience. No heavy graphics & video for visually-impaired.
- Developing Personas for Better Social Media Marketing
- Content types check this post: Customer Life Cycle & Content Marketing
- Marketing Content During the Customer Life Cycle
After blogging, what’s the next best way to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry?
- As the name “thought leader” implies, being able to communicate original ideas and take a position on important topics.
- “Act the part”: This isn’t my thing, but I’ve seen many people act is if they were in a thought leader position from day on. Their confidence spread & people accepted them according the that behavior. Fortunately & unfortunately, perception is reality.
- “Birds of a feather, flock together”: Being on lists along with established thought leaders influences perception you belong. Also media coverage from relevant industry publications and mentions by other influentials.
- Study, learn from the experts, test, fight to have your ideas and thoughts seen. Use your skills to market yourself, prove.
- Don’t regurgitate content. Provide unique spin & perspective if writing about hot trends.
- Networking is key. Ex: getting kudos from a keynote speaker in front of a room with a few thousand people is priceless cred.
- If people link to you and tell their friends about your website, then you know you’re an established leader.
- Very few thought leaders can disappear for a long time and maintain their leader position. Seth Godin and Tim Ferris are 2 of the few that can do the disappearing trick and still be considered thought leaders.
- People seek out Thought Leaders. You can’t brand yourself as one. Another dead give away – Thought Leaders rarely scream.
But the thing about thought leaders, is that many are broke! It doesn’t matter if you can’t monetize. Revenue solves a lot of problems. In the right hands, enables great things. It can be a cart before the horse thing, $ and notoriety, but in the end – you have to deliver.
Consistency is key. A strong brand is a promise kept. A good brand name doesn’t need to ask for links, it earns them. Brand awareness can’t be the only way you get links, otherwise you only rank for your brand name.
The key is to drive traffic with quality content – and SEO will follow. Without quality, your audience won’t come back and link. Clients need to do their research because without quality content, you’ll never have good SEO.
How has content marketing changed in the last few years? How do you think it’ll change in the next two?
Content marketing is and spamming have become synonmyous…but still room for thoughtful discourse. There will be a bigger need to prove you know your stuff. This need grows stronger each year and every industry. Content marketing as a way to reach customers, especially in long sales cycles of the B2B space has been around quite a while.
Print newsletters, magazines and even TV and radio have been used as content marketing by brands for years. P&G pioneered the soap opera. General Mills owns radio stations. Amex owns multiple print magazines.
@juntajoe popularized the idea of “content marketing” a few years ago with his book, “Get Customers Get Content”. @juntajoe is the epitome of a thought leader when it comes to Content Marketing – CMI, Magazine, Conference, Websites, Org…
Another fantastic content marketing book is “Content Rules” by @marketingprofs & @cc_chapman. Check the http://contentmarketinginstitute.com site for great CM resources. Of course http://toprankblog.com is pretty good too.
As for content marketing future: 51% of B2B marketers plan to spend more money on content marketing in 2011. Content needs to be more than keyword-stuffing & focus on customer engagement – people over search engines. Vistors come before the rankings. If I can’t please my customers, then why aim for rankings?
Content Marketing as a practice has been adopted by many digital marketers and it’s the glue of both SEO and Social Media. Add content in a strategic, orderly fashion segmented by levels of relevance.
In terms of how content marketing will change: more companies will adopt a position of “brand as publisher”. You earn links with great content but to win you have to push and pull. Companies will increasingly incorporate content publishing within their marketing mix. The push & pull is the ying & yang of getting the word out. Without you still can’t earn a link. Good content can get you links, but MARKETING good content will get you more links and additional exposure. Build customer centric & optimized content. Promote via distribution channels & mine real-time for opportunity. Its not all about unique content. There is something to be said for unique presentation of same old content.
There will be far more content than anyone will every be able to consume in a 100 lifetimes. Over-saturation is inevitable. “Oversaturation” requires your content must stand out from the crowd, make it past the overload filters.
Prediction: the experts will differentiate themselves by getting the content in front of the right audience. Content curation will increase in importance since a lot of companies won’t be able to afford to produce content.
Prediction: being creative beyond reason will be necessary.
Since not all ‘content’ is text, what are the best ways to market content across multiple channels?
A content marketing strategy that leverages a mix of distribution channels is how to extend reach. But the mix has to be relevant to the audiences as well as the influencers that will propagate.
Here’s a specific presentation on that: 10 Steps to Better Content Marketing & SEO
Have you seen this Hub and Spoke Model?
Determine best mix of types of content according to personas, objectives, your resources, analytics (search & social) repeat.
Things I need to know: My market,competition, the best prospects for conversion.
Content Marketing & SEO are about a lot more than driving top of the funnel. Need CRO.
A talented SEO copywriter can research and produce a 600 word article in a few hours. Add pitching, 1 more hour.
How do you keep your content from being ruined by SEO, but still be effective for SEO?
Great content and SEO is art and science – something we aspire to @TopRank. It takes real talent to create keyword inspired content that resonates with specific customer needs and interests. Write to human beings but try & fit modifier words in from focused keyword list. Also, u can also add 5-10 tags.
Determine what the goal of your content is; if it is ranking & conversion you write carefully and optimize well.
Optimizing existing content just isn’t in the same league as being able to develop content + keywords. Great optimized content is customer centric, not just search engine centric.
Subject matter experts can be found on sites like Profnet and other media relations/public relations software svcs.
A must visit resource: http://www.seocopywriting.com online course for copywriting & SEO from @heatherlloyd.