Content Runner has reached out to a number experts in the industry to assist with our 2014 Content Marketing Q&A Blog Series. 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. We have previously published the following interviews:

Rob Garner

rob-garner-author-500wRob is the Chief Strategy Officer at Advice Interactive in Dallas, Texas, and works with businesses and brands to develop paid, earned, and owned strategies that drive visibility, engagement, and results. He is the author of “Search and Social: The Definitive Guide to Real-Time Content Marketing,” (Wiley/Sybex 2013). Some of the brands he has worked with include Marriott, USAA, Dollar/Thrifty, Fisher-Price, Sovereign Bank, Ally Bank, Mastercard, & Visa, among many others.

Company URL: www.adviceinteractive.com
Twitter handle: @robgarner

Questions:

1.    How has content marketing evolved in the last 2 years? What changes are you seeing in the services you deliver for your clients?

The biggest thing I’ve seen occur is a greater adoption of content marketing by advertisers as a whole. It used to be the smart and cutting edge marketers who were adopting this model. Now the space has become much more crowded. Content marketing has officially become a mainstream strategy, along with search, social, web development, media, etc.

2.    Where will content marketing be in 2018? What are you top 3 predictions?

The first would be that content marketers and companies will become more like media producers. Content marketing is more than just writing blog posts, and there is still an ongoing education curve. Second, marketers will realize they have to do more than just produce content to get seen and shared. They have to create great content. So it will be less about the content itself, and more about the idea behind it. This is true today, but it will be even more true in 4-5 years. Third, we will see more of the brand newsroom approach to content. While some marketers are already doing this, it will be more of a differentiating factor in the future and will set the good content marketers apart from the great ones. Content is already at the speed of “now,” but marketers have a long way to go to catch up.

3.    What are you favorite tools for producing content? What do you primarily use them for?

I like using search tools as a gauge for content performance, and social tools as well for determining distribution and reach. But, by far, my favorite tool is my brain.

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?

I really like LinkedIn as an opportunity and a gem. They have recently expanded content sharing, and their platform offers so many opportunities for marketers, well beyond B2B.

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?

I look at traffic, direct response goals, distribution and reach (Did it get shared? Did it reach areas outside my primary channels?), comments on posts, and social interaction. There are myriad ways to measure the ROI on content, and all of them are subjective to specific client goals.

6.    Do you provide client’s guidance on Content Strategy? If so what are two critical things most companies forget about when they create their strategy?

Yes, providing strategic and tactical guidance is one of Advice Interactive’s areas of specialty. A lot of companies miss the opportunity of massive reach in real-time because they are overly and unnecessarily cautious about producing and distributing fluidly. The second thing they forget is there is a media value on impressions and engagement through content. When marketers begin to place a media value on audience engagement, they view content marketing in an entirely different way, and can justify moving more media budget to earned content.

7.    Which of the Google updates has impacted you the most and changed the way you create and market content?

Penguin and Panda are, of course, the big ones, and we have shifted from being “keyword-centric,” to being more “audience-centric,” and “persona-centric.” We also focus a lot on local search and have a proprietary platform called LocalSiteSubmit.com that anchors strong local signals to Google, which in turn can make content more authoritative. The old days of easy and overly optimized SEO are gone, and I am actually very pleased about it in many ways, because it makes marketers think more about a long-term and sustainable approach to search, social, and content, which is a win-win for legit marketers everywhere.

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?

There is an enterprise tool called Right Intel that is fantastic for curation and production when used properly, and with a good-sized team. The biggest secret to social promotion is growing your network reach through increased followers, friends, likes, circles, etc.—meaning these people are following you. The larger the network (and the more engaging the content), the more successful your content promotion efforts will be.