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:
- Part 1 with Stoney DeGuyter
- Part 2 with Phil Buckley
- Part 3 with Greg Gifford
- Part 4 with Jessica Bosari
- Part 5 with Rob Garner
- Part 6 with Dayna Moon
Currently the Director of Business Strategy for Vertical Measures, Mike has been involved in Internet Marketing since the turn of the century. From SEO to Content Marketing, Mike has been involved at the strategic level for start-ups and traditional media companies helping craft programs that have increased traffic and leads.
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 wouldn’t say that CM has evolved in the past 2 years as much as it’s become a more mainstream Internet Marketing tactic. The recent Google updates have certainly been a driver to that end, moving more and more webmasters to become involved in Content Marketing. As such, if you’ve been doing Content Marketing over the past 2 years you are ahead of most webmasters and you are enjoying the traffic.
With the recent focus on CM by more marketers, we are seeing increases in providing content strategies, content audits, content ideation and a combination of services that evaluate where the website is currently and how a content marketing program can be implemented effectively.
2. Where will content marketing be in 2018, what are you top 3 predictions?
Content Marketing will certainly evolve over the next 4 years. I think we need to make sure we are considering all screen sizes when we produce content. More and more people are accessing information on tablets and smart phones. We also shouldn’t forget that some older channels of distribution should be considered as components of your Content Marketing. For example, email marketing is still a great channel for content distribution and many marketers are missing this all together.
Top 3 predictions
- Companies will create a content ‘culture’ internally; actually dedicating resources and creating departments. This is becoming more and more important and the C-suite is starting to understand the importance of providing content that helps people solve problems and make decisions. This is also coming about as people like Arnie Kuenn evangelize on the importance of Content Marketing.
- Smart companies will move to responsive design. With all the new screen sizes, it’s important to make sure your content fits the screen and with CSS3/HTML5 there is no reason not to accommodate.
- For many companies, the last place readers find their content is on their website so promotion and distribution are still very important aspects of sharing content. I think that more and more opportunities will evolve to help us market content.
3. What are your favorite tools you use for producing content? What do you primarily use them for?
I think the tool is predicated on the outcome. We use Word and a number of CMS backbones, Adobe Suite, Video editing tools…really whatever is needed for the particular content format. The format of the content will also dictate the tools used.
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?
Again, the content format will dictate what platforms to use. When you say outside of Google, do you consider YouTube outside? Pinterest is all about images. So again, the channel is a lot about the format of the content.
A gem that most marketers are ignoring is LinkedIn. They just opened up the opportunity to publish content on their site and they are well positioned for B2B.
5. How do you gauge the effectiveness of the content you produce for yourself as well as for your clients? How do you measure the ROI on content?
We measure everything from traffic increases to time on site and lead generation numbers. Measuring content ROI is all about identifying your goal(s) up front. Do you want to gain more followers? Boost brand awareness? Establish thought leadership? Some metrics are softer than others, but if you identify your goal and consistently publish content to meet those needs, then you can tweak your content offerings as needed month to month.
6. Do you provide clients guidance on Content Strategy? If so what are 2 critical things most companies forget about when they create their strategy?
Absolutely. At Vertical Measures, we offer a variety of content strategy services. We find that many companies believe that if they begin creating content, new customers will simply find them. For content marketing to work, it has to be a sustained publishing effort, and promotion has to be a part of that.
Another misnomer about content strategy is that you need to develop your brand’s story, personas and a full-blown, 50-page strategy. If you’re an SMB, a better approach is simply to aim to help your customers. Identify their pain points and create content around that. A strategy will support that and more importantly, including tactics helps the client take action. We include topic ideation, content calendars detailed down to the content format and placement ideas. The more granular and more tactical our deliverables are the better our clients are able to publish.
7. Which of the Google updates has impacted you the most and changed the way you create and market content?
Penguin is the update that has impacted many of our new clients. Our advice is to fix this problem first prior to doing any content marketing. If you are in a penalty whether it’s algorithmic or a manual penalty, adding content to your site won’t help you gain traffic. Link building is still important. In fact, Matt Cutts said that links are still baked into the algorithm and will be used in the near future for ranking purposes.
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?
Facebook still tends to have the largest reach of all the social networks. But it’s important to know your audience, and research where your target demographic(s) are spending their time already. Remember that you don’t have to be on every social channel, and you don’t have to be on Facebook. It’s best to pick the platforms that will work best for you. Being an active participant and consistently publishing compelling content on 1 or 2 social media channels is more valuable than having a stale presence across 10 different social networks.