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Content Marketing Strategies with Lee Odden – SES London 2011

In this session Lee Odden of Toprank Online Marketing gives the lowdown on content as the core of any search or social media marketing programme.

He’s friendly, keeps inviting people up to sit at the front. I like him.

He clarifies:

This is all about content marketing and optimisation.

He works with small companies – through to large million dollar healthcare companies – offering content editorial based marketing. Anything not to do with advertising.

Asks – ‘who is in a role where you personally are authoring original content?’. Most of us. Many people are in the role of authoring content to communicate and persuade potential customers.

‘Build it and they will come’ is baloney. Needs promoting via social channels and search.

92% of consumers use search to find out more info about products and services before puchasing. You need to ‘get’ this, and become accountable for driving traffic to your content.

Your potentials are finding you via Google, Youtube (2nd most popular search engine after Google) and other social media channels. 7% of folks in the UK are engaged in social media somehow. Globally there is an explosion of social media participation, people are sharing content online.

There is alot of social networking on smart phones. Since 2007, Google started including different data sources in the SERPS – universal search. Also, now they are buying in data feeds and including this in search, ie Twitter in social search.

85% of marketers in the UK consider content very important, yet only 50% have a content strategy in place and even fewer have a content and SEO strategy in place.

In b2b markets 9 out of 10 marketers are using content to reach their audience, most popular is social content and events.

Lee makes sure he creates content at all times – photos and interviews, even when he is at events.

Live blogging sessions – make sure that you let Lee know and he will link back to you. Ah, happy times.

So many different ways to go to market via content – but just because you can doesn’t mean that you should

Don’t throw spaghetti against the wall to see if it sticks!

Don’t just do what everyone else is doing – make sure that you understand what your customers want in terms of information discovery, content ways of sharing.

Companies want to know ‘how they can we more efficiently aquire customers ahead of the competition?’

Shows photo of peanut butter and jelly. SEO is the peanut butter, content is the jelly, bread is the…I’ve lost the analogy, he speaks fast. I’m sure it’s a great analogy, but the photo makes me feel queezy. It’s so wrong.

Content marketing is aligning the brand objectives with what the customer needs are, customers and potentials are moving back and forth between search and social – their journey is varied.

Brands as publishers – brands that have high visibility in the social web as well asi n the the SERPs have higher conversion rates.

If you go to a website and it just has products – where can you ask questions? Where can you get the extra information?

Content marketing is NOT just about the top of the funnel – there are lots of different touchpoints in the customer lifecycle. You can save a fortune by having an excellent FAQ section – which can serve an SEO funtion, an HR function and a customer services function. Content works at many stages.

It’s about building the relationship with your customers, evangelising your customers, and getting them to produce content for you.

What we must do

Content must educate and make it easy to follow a logical conclusion to buy.

Toprank produce a lot of content with just afew people involved. They have tight processes. Over 25,000 keywords drive traffic monthly to the site, there are 6000k plus site links to the blog, which attracts new talent to the business, as well as speaking gigs.

It’s essential to create a persona for your key audience and target market. Assemble keywords on the back of this, plan the content accordingly including seasonal oportiunities, then decide on the content to create and curate. All based on careful research and a thorough understanding of the target audience.

The organisation becomes content driven – it’s at the core of the business and all staff taken on have to be able to write content!

There are broadly 3 types of strategies:

  • Audit existing content and focus on refining current content and digital asset optimisation
  • Optimise the priority content and add new content according to marketing / PR purposes following SEO best practise
  • Develop new site content and editorial plan for adding content according to KP and persona targets, train all content producers on SEO, followed by corporate wide and implement SEO at template and process level.

Content marketing checklist – 10 steps (appearing in top rank internet marketing guide)

Searcher personas – what can we do to give them what they want? How do they discover new things? In what format do they consume it? Video, text? Are they prone to sharing and how do they share it?

You can reach your business goals by helping your customers reach theirs.

Your personas will guide your linkbuilding, KP research and content strategy.

Collect data to help you build your personas, as you collect info you segment into groups, then name your personas. As you do that you start to cluster content and keywords.

Get the data from your customers – you can ask them, you can conduct surveys. The premise is that you want to serve them better.

Look at conversion data – what sources are generating the most conversions. Use SEMrush or SPYFU, google keyword tool. Postrank.com is a handy tool measuring social engagement with blogs. You can also get this info on your competitors blog – yay!

Forresters social media profile tool – basic. Try it: http://forrester.com/empowered/tool_consumer.html

Flowtown is an appending service – adds info to email lists that you have. If you have a database you can enter it and see if these prospects have a social media profile, and which ones. You can see where your prospects are actually hanging out and consuming content.

This profile will give you a great feel for your target audience, and this will help you plan a killer content marketing strategy.

Keyword research

Search based keyword tools – Wordtracker, Google keywords tools etc

Social KW tool – identify what topics people are talking about most often in tweets, comment etc in real time. You can do this via social media monitoring tools. Use Radian6 etc, they cost money. Social monitoring tools scrape the social web and organise the data into a useful format – e.g. in a keyword cloud.

Bring raw keyword research and put it into a glossary. Put together an editorial calender based on your KPs and your web properties. title, topic and category, keywords, Topic, media to be included, the number of times you can repurpose it, keywords etc.

Much content can be re purposed and re flavoured.

What tools will I use to promote this post? For exampl, an image rich blog post needs to be promoted on stubleupon, delicious people love huge lists. Know what type of ‘sharing’ audience will best suit your content.

Essential social content development

Use hub and spoke publishing – at the centre is your blog/website and then outside are the outposts including flickr, facebook, industry publications, youtube, twitter, PRweb, metacafe, slideshare etc. Think of all external channels where you can socialise your content, and repurpose and republish it where appropriate.

Imagine there were no search engines – tyou need to diversify sources of traffic to your website – think of your distribution channels, email, RSS, Blogging, Socal, Media/PR.

Model called ‘cycle of search in SEO’. Create and promote optimised content. Content is notice,d shared and voted on, & grows in visibulity. Exposure attracts more subscribers, fans and frienbs, followers and links. Increased links and exposure. Traffic and community help research, develop and further grow networks for content and SEO.

This is not a quick win, these things take time.

Tie social media efforts together. Content plan keywords, blog posts and then from there you use RSS, Youtube , twitter etc. You have to have built a presence in these places. These could then be picked up by a blogger, a curator, a scraper, news blog, niche blog etc. Leading to links and traffic, leading back to new blog post for you to write.

Tips on repurposing content

Put video on Youtube, then embed on blog post with additional content. Screen shots then go to Flickr with descriptions and links back to the blog post. Slideshow shared then upload onto Scribd.

‘Content curation’ – the notion that we are not authoring the content but we are adding value to existing content. Storify and Amplify do this kind of thing. Assembling and curating the best themed content within your niche. Avopid duplicate content issues by linking back to the source and by sharing in different formats.

You don’t need to choose between content and curation? Best to mix them up. If you are going to creaet you need to have the resources. Curation is good if you have limited resources.

Key Takeaways

  • Develop and optimise content with your customer personas in mind
  • Create an editorial plan. Think like a publisher.
  • Develop channels of distribution and social links.

Fab stuff. Follow him!

@leeodden

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