Content Runner has reached out to a number experts in the industry to assist with our 2014 Content Marketing Q&A Blog Series and this is our initial post. We really appreciate the tremendous response that we’ve received so far and when we are done with the entire series we are going to compile the results into a white paper and make it available free of charge for anyone that wants to download. Without further ado I’m proud to announce the first post in our series from:
Author, speaker, teacher, husband, father, web marketer! Stoney deGeyter is the president and fearless pit crew leader of Pole Position Marketing, a results-driven inbound marketing agency established in 1998. In addition to training events, Stoney has been known to spin a yarn or two at nationwide conferences such as PubCon and Search Marketing Expo; shares how to navigate the web marketing landscape with articles on Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal; and reveals how to velocitize your web marketing efforts in his book, The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period, and other ebooks. Contact Stoney to discuss web marketing strategy; to speak at your next conference, seminar or workshop; and/or to provide in-house training for your team.
1. How has content marketing evolved in the last 2 years? What changes are you seeing in the services you deliver for your clients?
I think the primary way content marketing has evolved is that it has become its own genuine strategy. Over the years we’ve seen a lot of flash-in-the-pan “content marketing” strategies that were really just content development masquerading for another purpose. Link bait from several years ago comes to mind. Heck, even guest posting might fall into that category for many people. The idea is to use content to achieve something more tangible: links.
But I think what we are seeing more of today is using content to build engagement. That might include things that used to be called “link bait,” guest posting, or other old-school strategies, but for a more noble purpose, for lack of a better word.
Content isn’t just a marketing strategy, it is a legitimate form marketing. As marketers, we want to create content that provides value to our audience, and use that as a starting point for engagement. The rest (links, social shares, etc.) will come if the content is great.
2. Where will content marketing be in 2018, what are you top 3 predictions?
We will never get away from those who look for the strategy of the day that ultimately gets abused until it’s penalized. While there is nothing wrong creating specific content strategies for different clients, if we keep our focus on building value then that will give us both unchanging and ever-changing content. Unchanging in the basic approach, anything of value is valuable. Ever changing in that it opens the door to a whole lot of content options that maybe we aren’t using fully today (video, PowerPoint, etc.), to possibly other forms that have yet to be invented.
3. What are you favorite tools you use for producing content? What do you primarily use them for?
My favorite tool is the keyboard. Seriously. If I just start typing, eventually something half-way decent will come about. Then I just go back and delete the junk. Other than that, it’s just a matter of staying educated in my industry so I know both what people are interested in and how to meet that need in a new or unique way. I don’t care where I write (in WordPress, Word, iOS Notes, etc.), as long as I get the result I want.
4. What platforms offer the biggest opportunities for content marketing outside of Google? What’s a hidden gem that other marketers aren’t talking about where you’ve found success?
The biggest opportunities outside of Google lay within niche platforms. As platforms become more diverse, audiences become spread out. It’s important to find where your target audience is active, even if it’s a small little-known platform, and join them there.
5. How do you gauge the effectiveness of the content you produce for yourself as well as for you clients? How do you measure the ROI on content?
Different content has different goals and therefore each piece has to be measured differently. Some specific things that we do look for, again depending on the content, is engagement, social shares, downloads, form submits, links, conversion assists, etc. Before any piece of content is developed it’s a good idea to know what the end-goal is. That will help you determine how you promote and, ultimately, measure the success of the content itself.
6. Do you provide client’s guidance on Content Strategy? If so what are 2 critical things most companies forget about when they create their strategy?
First, have a goal. Second, have a plan to achieve that goal. Content for the sake of content generally isn’t going to be all that valuable. Determine what you want to happen and what needs to be done, so that the content and promotion efforts behind it achieve the goal.
7. Which of the Google updates has impacted you the most and changed the way you create and market content?
None. It’s always been about creating valuable content for us. However, when it comes to optimizing the title tags of content, I would say Hummingbird has caused us to not be so concerned about keyword placement in title tags. Yes, title tags are still important but the keyword doesn’t have to be at the very front if you can create a more readable title otherwise.
8. What social platforms work the best for you to promote your content? What’s one piece of insight that many people don’t know when it comes to social promotion?
Again, it really depends on the content. Not everything gets promoted the same way and different social networks have varying strengths for particular types of content and the audience they are intended to reach. On a personal level, I’m not as good at engaging on social media as I should be, so I tend to gravitate toward LinkedIn that isn’t all about the instant response that the other social networks like Twitter are typically built on. The most important thing is that you’re promoting your content and building communities where your target audience is active.