As I got settled in my airplane seat, getting ready to take off for Social Media Marketing World 2014 (SMMW14), a woman approached me and said, “Welcome to JetBlue, I’ll be your window seat companion on this flight to sunny San Diego.” Considering this woman’s kind and professional voice, my first thought was that this was a stewardess who would be joining me as a passenger, perhaps on her way back home to San Diego. As I looked up, I realized that it was actually Laura Fitton, aka @Pistachio. At that point, I knew that this event was going to be a lot more than your average marketing conference.
I spent two days at SMMW14 with over 2,000 of the world’s leading B2B and B2C social media and content marketers, including 130 speakers such as: Jay Baer,Chris Brogan, Lee Odden, Joe Pulizzi, Marcus Sheridan, Jason Miller and many, many more. In Chris Brogan’s words, “This is like a stacked deck of people I love. . . I feel like I’m at my own funeral.”
Why was I there?
First, to learn as much as possible from the industry’s best and brightest.
Second, to spend two straight days culling the most important insights from speakers and attendees alike to share with those of you that either weren’t able to attend, or are simply looking for the show’s highlights from someone that’s a compulsive, yet organized, note-taker.
Below you’ll find highlights, key take-aways and tactical tips from presentations, panels and exclusive interviews with the following experts
Scott Gulbransen, VP Global Communications & Digital Marketing, DSI @kcgully
Lewis Bertolucci, Head of Social Media, Humana @Lewis502
Cory Edwards, Head of Social Business Center of Excellence, Adobe, @coryedwards
David Blundell, Social Media Manager, British Council @D_Blundell
The Six Themes of Social Media Marketing World
Unable to extract 10 years of IDC analyst experience from my DNA, I feel that I must start off with 6 themes that continued to surface throughout the conference: [warning: these themes are simple in theory, yet difficult in practice]
1. Be fearless and relentless in your pursuit of success. The key to innovation in social media and content marketing is to continuously reinvent your strategy and tactics. In some cases this may lead to mistakes. Great! Learn from them.
2. Do the opposite of what everyone says you should be doing. We’re trying to differentiate here. Following the herd like a wildebeest will not help differentiate your organization.
3. Don’t rent out digital space when you can and should be building your own. Build your own digital marketing property, and go deep into specific topics using different communication formats. Marketing has come a long way in the past 20 years. Harness the power of content marketing to build your brand’s credibility and find a way to break through the noise.
4. Connect with your customers, internal and external, every day and you’ll never run out of content.
5. Enterprise marketers set up a Center of Excellence team for social media and content marketing. (refer to details below about how this is designed at Citrix, SAP, Adobe and others)
6. Do not reinvent ROI metrics when communicating with your management team. (refer below to Adobe’s target social media and content marketing KPIs which they were kind enough to provide for this post)
All insight is sourced, paraphrased and quoted from the respective individuals, except for my personal comments which are in [brackets].
Social Media Marketing in 2014: What the Newest Research Reveals [Keynote]
Visual Strategy: If you want to differentiate yourself from a social media and content marketing perspective, you must have a visual strategy for your business. 70% of marketers will increase investment in this area.
Social Media Examiner statistics: 7.5 M readers last year, 2 pieces of content published per day now.
Importance of blogging:
68% of marketers plan on increasing their blogging activity in 2014.
Blogs are more important today than Facebook, Twitter and YouTube activity. [As much work as it may be, it is well worth your effort and investment to start blogging if you haven’t already. But there’s no doubt that once begun, you’ll need to feed the content beast.]
Podcasts are a great way to connect with your most loyal fans, and more importantly, offer them more value; however, only 6% of marketers podcast today. [A great opportunity to stand out, and do what your competitors aren’t doing.]
5 Content Marketing Practices that Most Businesses Ignore, but Shouldn’t
Do start off with a content marketing strategy. 90% of B2C organizations are using content marketing, compared with 86% last year. [Part of this strategy is putting someone in charge of content marketing across your organization. Curata’s most recent survey found that 43% of organizations already have a content executive in place.]
Three key success factors for your content marketing strategy: owning, not renting; attract & retain; create & curate. [Marketers’ target content mix includes 65% created content, 25% curated content and 10% syndicated content according to our recent study. Learn more here about what is content curation.]
Overarching goals: Sales – savings – sunshine (i.e., make your customers happy)
Examples of owned media:
Jyske bank reallocated $2.5M that was being spent on various marketing activities to the creation of a video production studio. They decided to build their own digital media site instead of paying for sports sponsorship and other “rented” media sites.
John Deere invested in their own magazine, The Furrow, to become the leading media entity in the farming industry. They chose an area where they could be the leading expert for their audience. This helped keep their customers loyal and happy.
Develop a content marketing mission statement: All media companies start with one, however, hardly any marketing organizations do!
B2B example: Indium Corp has 17 engineers that blog for them, led by a managing editor. They started with the following mission: “Help engineers answer the most challenging industrial solder questions.” They chose a topic that: 1) their customers are interested in; 2) is not product or company specific; 3) is an area where they can be the world’s leading experts to provide value for their audience. This statement serves as the basis for their content creation process.
Social Media 4-1-1: This sharing system works to help organizations gain visibility with social influencers. For every six pieces of content, for example, four should be pieces of content from your influencer target that also pertain to your audience’s interests, one should be an original thought leadership piece by your organization and one should be related to sales (press release, product notice, etc). So overall, 67% of content you’re sharing is not yours – this brings attention to your influencer group.
Interesting statistics about CMI’s blog:
50-60% of CMI subscribers come from their pop-up form to ask for a subscription [As annoying as you may think these pop-ups are, you can’t question the success that it brings to CMI’s blog.]
Slideshare is their second best source of subscribers. They post two to three Slideshares per month. [refer to Todd Wheatland’s insights below regarding SlideShare]
How to Use SlideShare for Business: The Success Formula
Do you need a reason to even use SlideShare for your business? Check out these proof points by Todd:
SlideShare is the #2 source of all new leads globally at Kelly Services, an $5B+ global company
SlidesShare gets 60 million visits a month. They mean business over at Slideshare: common keywords across their users – business social media, trends, statistics, research. Bottom line?. .. the intent of visitors on Slideshare is business!
It’s tightly integrated with LinkedIn, a highly influential community.
You can measure the impact on performance. With Slideshare’s data, you can establish a clear line between contacts, leads and sales through consumption and engagement activities.
SlideShare provides a “neutral platform” vs. your own site which may be perceived as being more subjective. [Yes, establishing an owned digital property should be a key part of your content marketing strategy; however, no one should overlook the potential value of at least using SlideShare as a promotional channel.]
Don’t be fooled by its name. “Slideshare” is a misnomer – you can share a lot more than slides; for example, ebooks, video, etc.
SlideShare tactics to live by:
Don’t just stick your PDF up on SlideShare. Make the extra 10% effort to increase the appeal and readability of your slides. For example:
Get creative about your thumbnails and covers. SlideShare hand curates content from across their site for individuals. Being creative will help get their curators’ attention.
Promote your slides:
Trending slides in social media is less driven by SlideShare editors and more so by readers. Leverage your network and community to increase the likes and shares for your content.
Connect your LinkedIn and SlideShare profiles. This will significantly increase your exposure.
Don’t forget the basics of content marketing:
Know your competitive space and what your competition is doing so you stand out.
Be intentional regarding content creation – that is, create content that will be relevant and of high quality for your target audience.
Use horizontal slides:
Take that detailed eBook and created a real “fluff” SlideShare piece. [Todd did this for one of their heavy eBooks. The result was 11K+ views for this “fluffier” presentation vs. 250 for heavy prez. Check out Todd’s presentation on social content marketing that received 84K+ shares.]
How to Build a Multi-Author Blog For More Visibility and Sales
Invest in your blog as its own media destination. [It’s better to own (owned media) versus rent (paid media).]
Do not be discouraged if there are 1000s of blogs in your niche. “This didn’t discourage me. I saw it as an opportunity to develop something that’s different. All those blogs are just proof that there’s a large audience out there.” @Mike_Stelzner
Get writers, create content, then use distribution channels as a catalyst to build an audience. (audience = your business asset)
Guest blogging is a great way build your own digital property. [Every company should consider this as part of their content marketing strategy. It’s also a great way to feed your content beast and ensure that you’re not being an egocentric content marketer.]
Why do people guest blog? (use these to attract great people to write for you for free)
You’ll need to spend time and $ to get your content noticed. . . till you hit a “minimum viable audience,” and then people will want to give you free content, or even pay you to put content on your site.
They want to be in front of your audience.
People love to share content within their domain expertise.
To get guest bloggers, go for B and C folks initially; then As will come if you’re successful.
Use tough editorial standards to maintain high quality multi-author blogs. “Key to our success was social distribution fueled by quality content.” @Mike_Stelzner
Don’t be afraid to make your writers great!
Use Google authorship to make your content and its authors “real.”
Some of your authors may get great reviews on your “media site,” but that will also mean that you’ve recently gained significant value from these folks. Treat them well and they may stay; and even if they leave, your site benefits from you having been associated with them.
Managing the multi-author blog and its writers:
Understand that “managing writers” is an oxymoron. [That is, set guidelines, but give them their freedom to create and innovate.]
An editorial calendar is our #1 tool. We use a WordPress plug-in, as well as one month planning cycles.
Don’t underestimate the importance of the editor(s)
“Sometimes I’d spend as much time editing a contributors’ post as I would have spent writing that post myself; however, I still valued their perspective and contribution.” (@BrianClark)
“A great editor considers the value of the media site more important than his/her own contribution.”
Our team at Social Media Examiner includes 7 editors under a chief editor. Our team also includes SEO experts, content writers and copywriters. We publish two times per day. @Mike_Stelzner
Our editing team at CopyBlogger includes 2 people to review posts, then our Chief Content Officer has the final view. We only publish 1x/day so that we don’t burn out our audience’s attention. @BrianClark
Other great blogging advice and insight:
A good article has a 72 hour shelf-life, but a great one can last for months.
Publish as often as you can be amazing. . .don’t publish just to publish.
As the owner of your future media empire, you are creating value and building a business around 3 tenets (refer to Chris’s My 3 Words for 2014 post)
Business is about belonging/building community (i.e., the tool doesn’t matter, it’s what you do with the tools)
Own your path, own your decisions, and set the vision for your future
The monchu (one family) is the media
Stories that people want to hear:
“You are very special”
“I am here to help”
“You are not alone”
“We are a tribe”
Make your buyer the hero. (e.g., tell stories about the great things that they’ve done)
How to make really good media is to “bring it with passion.” For example, if you don’t like to write. . . stop doing it. You should be writing about things that you just can’t wait to share with everyone.
As you write with passion, have a viewpoint! [Do create with passion; and even if you’re curating other people’s content, provide your own analyst insight. Check out Content Marketing Done Right for more tips.]
Use YouTube. . . it’s the #2 search engine in the world!
“Brevity, damn you, brevity:” You don’t need hour long podcasts. Make them 20 minutes, then make a bunch of them.
Stop following other people’s examples.
“Stop sucking up to the people above you and spend more time raising up the people alongside of you.” (e.g., your internal team, your writers, other content contributors)
Interview: The Colliding of Content and Social Marketing
Content marketing and social marketing are the same. However, when doing content marketing, you want to create content that can also be social.
Don’t forget to focus on getting your message out. You need to go far beyond just publishing a blog post (i.e. promotion). And don’t forget that social updates (e.g., through Twitter) is content also, and abides by many of the same rules for creation of great content.
Greatest challenges impeding the success of content marketers today, including keys to overcoming these challenges:
Marketers are overwhelmed, and they face many time management challenges.
Focus, focus, focus
Only post content that is relevant, and don’t do it just to meet a schedule.
They look at social marketing as just hanging out on Facebook.
Connect with your customers, prospects and influencers every day; get their message out through creation and curation, as well as using different formats(e.g., SlideShare, Podcasts). [Try using Curata’s Content Marketing Pyramid as a content marketing framework.]
Difficulty creating your own original content
You can leverage outsourcing with someone else writing for you; however, note that they can’t necessarily represent you. If you do outsource, ensure you stay in the loop. (e.g., act as an editor for what they write, reply to comments yourself)
Be the go to source of expertise and knowledge in your industry.
Interview: The Colliding of Content and Social Marketing
How do you distinguish the role of content marketing vs. inbound marketing vs. social media?
Inbound is a confusing term for marketers. (e.g., although email is part of an inbound strategy, it involves sending something “out”)
Content marketing provides a clear line between advertising and content development and execution as a value add for your audience.
Social media is a promotional channel. . . that is, a content marketing tactic.
What advice can you give to marketers to be best-in-class in content marketing?
Go deep into specific topics. Identify what topics you can own, and create the best pages on the Internet for that topic (refer to Andy’s post Leave Early, Go Far, Stay Long for more insight on a successful, long-term content marketing strategy).
Develop content differently for your web site versus off-site use.
On-site:Create different articles on your site around the same subcategory.
Off-site: e.g., Publish guest posts onto others web sites/blogs, focusing on those that are most influential for your industry. Note that you’ll need to meet specific guidelines for those off-site properties.
What have you found to be the most successful tactics for marketers to best leverage their content – from a web/Internet technology perspective? (check out Andy’s blog for examples of these)
Put your subscription form right next to the most compelling information on your site.
Ensure that it’s visually prominent, and offers the promise of what you get and how often.
Provide social proof of peers who your subscribers will be joining.
Do you have pop-ups for your subscription asking users if they’d like to subscribe?
What are the key metrics that companies should be measuring to track the success of their blog?
Interview: How to Run a Best-in-Class Enterprise Social Media Team
Citrix is a $2.9B company that provides users with market-leading cloud, networking and virtualization technologies that are transforming how people and organizations collaborate.
How does Citrix support social media across such a large organization?
Justin leads social media globally at Citrix including a Social Media Center of Excellence(CoE) team, responsible for the following areas: guidelines, governance, education, crisis management and enablement
What does this CoE team do?
Act as strategic advisor to all things social across the organization.
Manage brand presence across all platforms.
Manage corporate initiatives. (e.g., brand campaign, customer or partner conferences)
Enable product marketers to manage social media for their products through a set of guidelines, policies, best practices, company wide tools.
Look to business units and geographies to manage the channels day-to-day and stay within “guardrails.”
Where is the intersection between social media and content marketing from an organizational perspective?
We have content teams that create eBooks, whitepapers and other content. We also work with 3rd party vendors for outsourcing content creation. These content teams are located throughout the organization. (e.g., in business units or product marketing, vertical marketing teams)
Regardless of the reporting relationships, all digital marketing teams should work together. (e.g., social media, blog, content teams, web stie). That is, it’s not the organizational structure that makes digital marketing success, it’s the level of collaboration across the teams to achieve integrated marketing
Social media team needs to collaborate with the content creation teams to help them understand how to communicate that content (i.e., help plan the strategy for promotion and to measure performance)
Three key performance indicators used by SAP: Cost per impression, cost per engagement and pipeline touched. (This last one really got sales on board to appreciate the value of social media!)
They have had great social media success, having touched and progressed millions of dollars in the sales pipeline, which would pay for 10% of their team’s 2014 salaries.
As a result of their success, they are doubling down on the social media space in 2014
The devil is in the details (and the technology)
SAP leverages their marketing and sales technology stack to help cross the typical fragmented data landscape that is common in digital marketing today
SAP codes all digital marketing content and promotional pieces to enable identification of registrants and other visitors are coming from. This all goes into the SAP CRM system enabling a connection between social media to revenue.
Next steps for SAP?
Further automate their digital coding process to improve control over that path to conversion.
Strive for more complete ownership across SAP of their customers’ digital experience.
Add more cost metrics into the social media and content marketing equation for better ROI analysis.
Panelist – Scott Gulbransen
VP Global Communications & Digital Marketing, DSI @kcgully (formerly with H&R Block)
H&R Block delivers social ROI via a service model
H&R Block developed a very comprehensive Social Response Flow to identify who does what along the social service supply chain. Refer to figure below.
Number of people that pass through their flow process, resolution success, time to solution
Demonstrate how the social team helps impact retention and customer success as measurement by Net Promoter Score(NPS) and other customer satisfaction scores.
Humana gives a lesson in driving social ROI success
Speak in the language of your audience: For example, sales revenue, cost, retention and other more common metrics that are familiar to your management teams, and not in “fans”, “likes” and “followers”.
Develop ROI measurement based on comparative cost savings, such as what the equivalent advertising spend would have been for your social reach results.
Don’t reinvent ROI metrics. One company developed a “Return on conversation” metric; however, since it was a new metric, they had to spend an inordinate amount of time explaining it to the CEO versus communicating in terms they’re already used to.
How Brands Organize Their Social Media Marketing Efforts: Lessons from the Pros
Panelist – Cory Edwards
Head of Social Business Center of Excellence, Adobe, @coryedwards
An inside view of Adobe’s Center of Excellent (CoE) social media team
Social media CoE acts as an operations group (provides operations framework to allow their business to be social) (e.g., Adobe’s social media CoE puts out policies and guidelines as well as doing their own social media activity, while social media is also done in the business units, sales and other functional and areas)
4 key areas of CoE team:
Governance – dedicated people that establish policies and audits, as well as ensuring social media marketing is on brand.
Enablement – Develop and execute training programs (e.g., Adobe Social Shift Training program) to scale social media globally; consult with other social media managers.
Measurement – Help social teams measure and meet their objectives. These are highly analytical people who will consult with social teams to establish unique metrics and/or leverage existing metrics.
Innovation – A group focused on trying to determine what’s next? (e.g., how to be platform agnostic, identify new channels and technologies) The ultimate goal of this group is to do “social by design.”
Key success factors for optimizing the relationship with the C-suite
Set expectations up front. (e.g., what you’ll be able to provide regarding measurement)
“Sit in the limo with your CEO on the way to the airport and interview them for social content. This helps get them on-board with the value of social media and content marketing without taking them out of their comfort zone,” Pam Moore.
Speak in the language of your CXO, especially when communicating metrics. For example, Cory and his team communicated to an Adobe executive in terms of socially assisted sales, showing that 10-15% of sales of one of our business units resulted from social media influence.
Performance Measurement: For each of Adobe’s 10 business objectives, they developed matching social KPIs to ensure alignment with the company’s goals as well as to demonstrate how they’re helping to achieve those goals. (refer the the table below, provided courtesy of Adobe)
This isn’t necessarily the list of the KPIs that Adobe is always using, it’s simply a listing of the types of KPIs that their various teams could use based on various business objectives:
Social at scale: Train and activate your employees for social. As Pam Moore added, inspire and motivate your employees to be part of the (social) room.
How to organize a social media effort for a 7,500 person non-profit?
CoE Model: David has 30 social media folks on his team, however, no one reports directly to him. “I don’t care about hierarchy. I look for talent across my organization and leverage their expertise. (e.g., Facebook experts; Twitter experts; country experts)” [David’s model is very similar to a CoE model, with him leading the CoE and the extended team being his 30 social media folks across the organization.]
Social Voice Framework: Ensure that your extended social media team members abide by a Social Voice Framework to assist with alignment and execution. (e.g., correct tone of voice, such as “worldly”, “authoritative” and “vivid” used for the British Council; and ensure it matches your brand)
Key success factors for optimizing the relationship with the C-suite
Build social into the fabric of the organization: David strives to connect his organization as much as possible so they understand social – and to break down the silos.
Education along with collaboration on a specific project: Ensure the c-suite understands that social must tie in with the rest of the organization to optimize impact and social ROI. (e.g., work on a social campaign that includes different functions)
How to Build a Content Marketing Strategy That Works
“Competition” has taken on new meaning: Online you’re competing for attention against everything as you land in your customers’ email boxes.
The secret is not to do more. . . it’s to create content that matters, that they cherish since people crave useful things. Check out Jay’s book, Youtility, for more on this. [Jay Baer doubters, if there are any, may think this is simple, however, how many content marketers strive to meet this objective versus simply sending out boring content to feed the weekly newsletter beast?]
Long game = Youtility. Make content marketing so useful that people will pay for it. This content must have very high intrinsic and inherent value. This is the standard that we have to meet.
What’s our goal as social media and content marketers? Our customers will keep us close, and not just online. Jay provided a great example of IKEA, who experienced a 25% increase in sales in Montreal due to being useful. They provided free boxes on the largest moving day of the year in order to add real value to their customers.
3 Ways to create great social content: Produced Content, Curated Content, Cooperative Content. [Curata’s most recent study found that best-in-class marketers are using a content mix of 65% created, 25% curated and 10% syndicated. Find out how to adjust your content mix and curate like a RockStar.]
3 steps to content cooperation by other experts and influencers in your market. [Jay’s strategy is similar to that provided by other #SMMW14 speakers about the importance of including industry experts into your content creation process to help feed your content beast.]
Find: (Who are the right content creators for your blog?)
Influencers: Although the top influencers on your list have an audience and can create quality content, they are in many cases difficult to get on a consistent basis. Jay described a good spectrum to assess your influencers: going from celebrity status with significant reach and resonance, to quality content creators, to buzz builders and promoters, to advocates and employees (e.g., people passionate about your company)
Buzz Builders and promoters are the sweet spot for you as you build out your content creator network. To find them, leverage Google, marketplaces and your personal networks.
Assign (How do you get them to write for you?)
Inspire them to tell great stories. They should focus on the intersection of: your target audience’s needs/wants; your brand’s story; and your influencer’s point of view. Jay provided a great example using Canon, who paid a contractor to put together a blog post about life in the high-tech home. For only $1,000, this contractor wrote a highly visual post about what the high-tech home should look like. The only place Canon was mentioned was a small logo on a printer towards the end of this post, and a qualifier at the end indicating that it was paid for by Canon. (i.e., high value for the consumer while avoiding egocentric content)
Provide guidelines for your writers, but give them leeway for creativity.
Give them something to talk about. (e.g., sneak peek at a new product; first look at new research; offer digital influencers a free tour of a new building; give them cash. Jay and Rustin offered some ranges for the cost of outsourcing content creation: blog for brand – $100 to $500; Reviews – $50 to $250. Actual costs depend on quality desired, assignment, length of content, reach provided by that person, etc.
How to Growth Hack your Blog: Proven Tips for Growth
What is Growth Hacking? “A person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth,” as stated by Sean Ellis. [Check out this blog by Ellis who coined the term.]
Do what others aren’t doing. “I do the things that other folks aren’t doing, and/or the experts say not to do.”
Blog Growth Hack #1:Be proactive once you’ve posted your blog post. Do not use the old tactic of “blast and watch.” Stan offered some good tactical examples of how to promote your posts: (Refer to Stan Smith’s blog for lots of great tips and guidance: pushingsocial.com)
Leverage the social channels most used by your audience. (e.g., don’t focus on Facebook if your audience tends to be on LinkedIn)
Favorites mean more than retweets. (i.e., If someone sends a tweet out about your post, favorite it; and they’ll get an email from Twitter indicating that you’ve done this. Great way to “show the love.”)
Twitter lists have social value. (e.g., create a list called “[insert your industry here] Rockstars”, put your influencers on this list and they’ll hear about it.)
Blog Growth Hack #2:Set goals for your social media and content marketing activities.
What is next month’s reader growth goal? (e.g., page views, comments, shares)
Fast growth blogs have 10X goals and 10X action.
Set a goal to repurpose blog content for iTunes, Slideshare and YouTube.
Set a goal to build relationships that open up PR options. (e.g., who at a conference can make a key introduction for you for a guest post gig?)
Use your posts to create a new course on Udemy. (online courses)
Blog Growth Hack #3:Start your own guest blogger program. Get others to craft your content, promote your content and engage with your audience.
Blog Growth Hack #4:Do the basics for Google SEO. And this doesn’t mean stuff your posts with keywords.
Brainstorm 9 search phrases: 3 phrases your readers use to find information about your subject + 3 phrases your readers use to research key topics in your area + 3 phrases your readers use to decide if they should do business with you. Next, brainstorm 5 posts for each of the 9 search phrases. This will get you 45 great posts.
Interview: Developing a Successful Digital Marketing Strategy
Use the PESO framework as a skeleton for your digital marketing strategy: paid, earned, shared and owned.
What the difference between content marketing vs. social media?
Content – something you own.
Social – helps to push the message out.
Greatest challenges impeding the success of content marketers today, including keys to overcoming these challenges:
Tapping into the creative power of your own organization:
Many companies are missing the opportunity to leverage their employees for content development. The best content marketers are crowdsourcing across their organizations to tap into their organization’s internal expertise and ability to tell relevant stories for their audience.
10% want to help; 10% never will; 80% waiting to see if worthwhile – Provide incentives for the 10% that want to help in order to reward them, and their peers will jump on board.
Experimenting with new social media and content marketing techniques. Gini provided a great example of a security company that is the only one doing content marketing in their industry; and therefore, they are able to deeply engage their target customers without much competitive pressure. Their marketing staff and engineering team get very excited about change, and they love experimentation.
Creating content that is value added to a company’s audience, and is not product centric. The best content marketers create content so well, that their audience doesn’t know they’re creating it.
Measuring the impact of social media and content marketing. Gini was clear that she doesn’t believe in vanity metrics. Bottom line? You have to track who is interacting with your content as well as how you’re pushing them through the decision-making process
Interview: Timeless Qualities of Great Content and Social Media Marketing [Keynote]
How to communicate with management about social media and content marketing.
Educate. You should be listening, communicating, teaching and helping your peers and management to buy into the power of social media and content marketing.
Speak at their level, in their language, in a way that they understand.
Do not say this to your management team: “I really think we should be blogging. . . inbound marketing . . . content marketing.” Focus on the value that you’ll be providing to the business, not how you’ll get there.
“The reward of getting investment in social media and/or content marketing is that they get it, not that you get a great title.”
How to best engage your audience.
“They Ask, You Answer” is your key to listening to your audience and engaging with them. Too many companies ignore the simplest of questions that their audience asks them, and become an ostrich with their head in the sand.
For example: Buyers are constantly frustrated with the lack of pricing information on companies’ websites. This leads to the ‘F word’ of Internet: Frustration. Resulting misconceptions include:
Our customers will shop around if we give them pricing – like they wouldn’t anyway.
Our pricing structure is confusing, and therefore, people will call us if they know that.
Marcus did a great job of demonstrating how, as marketers, we need to break through our current misconceptions that are building frustration and mistrust across our prospects; and costing us revenue!
“I challenge you to be the Wikipedia of your industry.”
“You want good links on Google?. . .hide from nothing. Speak about things that are unique.”
Marcus’s example: “We don’t build pools, we’re the best teachers in the world about pools.”
“Every industry is thirsting for simplicity.”
Fix the sales and marketing divide!
“Get sales to ‘bcc’ you whenever they answer a question by email to help you get mass quantities of content; and help break down the silos between marketing and sales.”
“As marketers, hold workshops with all of your sales folks about the ultimate value of social media and content marketing; and most importantly, how it will help their success. Educate them so that they understand the goals of your path; otherwise they’ll see you as a hindrance.”
Comments should be a measurement of social media and content marketing performance. However these comments should not be limited to the end of a blog post. Conversations are happening all over the place, and comments in the blog isn’t the location of the true interactions that are happening today.
Learn from what you’re doing; don’t be negatively influenced by your mistakes.
Did you hear any other great insights at SMMW14? Catch anything interesting on Twitter? Let us know in the comments below. Interested in other content marketing related events in the coming year? Check out our list here.
Michael is the CMO of Curata. He is responsible for Curata's marketing strategy and all related activities. Michael has over 25 years of marketing and sales experience, having successfully launched and sustained three start-up ventures as well as having driven innovative customer creation strategies for large technology organizations. (e.g., IDC, Kenan Systems, Prospero (mZinga) and Millipore). Michael received his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, as well as a BS in Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an MS in Engineering from Northeastern University. You can reach him on Twitter at @michaelgerard.