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August 17, 2010

Content Marketing Optimization — SES San Francisco

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Awesome – got my first article off to Virginia and Susan 30 seconds after that session ended. Probably means there are sixty issues they have to fix. But that’s life because I had to immediately run next door for my next session! This one could go really well or really bad, because there’s just one speaker, and while it’s Lee Odden, I’ve not yet heard him at a conference, so if he’s a RAPID-FIRE speaker like Shari just was, I’m screwed…

ses san francisco logo

Intro by:

Heather Lloyd-Martin, CEO, SuccessWorks

Solo presenter:

Lee Odden, SES Advisory Board & CEO, TopRank Online Marketing

And here we go! Heather says Lee Odden is definitely the master when it comes to content marketing… Lee’s up! {insert company promo pitch here} :-) yeah, I like to do that, because you can click on his link and learn for yourselves…

We Are Content Marketers

Lee wants to share things he’s learned first hand. Content marketing is creating and distributing relevant content to attract, acquire and engage customers that you know a lot about. In search, you’re using the behavior of searching for something, then you’re creating content as a reflection of that search. There are a lot of touch points that customers will have with content. Before they’re a customer, during consideration, after they become a customer, all the way to ongoing interactions when they become your advocate.

Customers are expecting more. They search, ask their friends, go back to search, eventually look at features and benefits, make a purchase, then share that information with their friends. Any of these points is an opportunity for content. Remember: The easier you can make it for search engines, the more money they can make, and we can make.

Search engines are syndicating some of that content. Content is essential for social SEO. It’s why search exists, and often an outcome of social interaction. Content marketing types: Digital magazines, sites, blogs, press releases, podcasts, videos, webinars… Even independent of SEO, it works. Imagine if it’s properly optimized. If you could leverage that, and extend your reach.

SEO is the most important tactic for generating conversions (according to Forbes Ad Effectiveness Survey 2009 (YAY SEO!) That’s above social, above email! Changing nature of search: intro of universal search, real-time search, personalized search, and the addition of that 3rd column at Google — the faceted search. You have to be familiar with the landscape of search results. You have to understand — if you have top terms and you do a search, and see it’s all Web pages, a week later, there might be real-time results — look — we have to get news out…

If you know what you’re doing, it’s easier to optimize images or video and that can be an end-run around more difficult challenges. If it can be searched on somewhere, somehow, that content can be better optimized to bring in new people.

Example: search for “horse puzzle”. Example site is top in the organic results. They’re also top in image search. That’s a practical example. Start with Goals Increase Sales. That’s obvious. Are you going to chase that, or are you going to also build on social for that? What are your goals? Optimized content in search can reduce costs.

People don’t just search to buy stuff. We also optimize after-the-sale content. Things people would call a call-center for — that’s a great thing. We can optimize for that and reduce call center costs. Media relations can find savings if we optimize content for journalists. Marketing is funding the investment in SEO, but other parts of the organization can see benefits as well.

Growth of Social Media

Forrester predicts 3.1 billion dollars will go into social by 2014, but that’s only one-tenth what they think is going into search.

SEO & Social Media

The two meet at the point of content. Then you can drive traffic through Google, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook…

10 Steps to Success with Content Marketing and SEO Goals

Increase Revenue: Along with this, there are a lot of other things you can achieve. Product marketing is important for consumer purchases. Think of it as in terms of engagement — what can you do to keep them?

Buyer Personas: Demographic info, behavioral info — poll your customers. What do you search for, where do you spend your time in social media? Go to social media sites and learn what is already happening. Look at existing email lists. Develop the description of the different type of customers you have.

Keywords: Look at WordTracker, Google Keyword Tool, existing visitor keywords…

Look at Social: Anticipate what’s important to people about your brand, about things they care about. Look for insight into what people are talking about.

Social Media Monitoring: Tools help but you can’t export that into a .CSV file, though you can look at that data. Develop your social keyword glossary and reconcile that with your search keyword research.

Content & Digital Assets: E-commerce sites have ten thousand products, so what else do they publish? Looking at buyer personas, you can learn about what they like, and that is what you can write content around. It attracts them to your brand. With video deconstruct the video — can you turn that into a blog post, include screen-shots from the video… (Re-purposing of content is 1 strategy).

Editorial Plan: We understand who are customers are. These are the things they prefer to do on the social Web. These are the keywords they use. What kind of content can we develop? What are we publishing, where are we publishing it, how are we going to promote those things? Work that all into an editorial calendar. Map it out over a long period of time. Understand where people are in the buying cycle. Build those different points into your plan.

Operationalize SEO: Many content people could care less about keywords. If you’re making sure you’re sharing keyword glossaries with content developers, show them how to use them, how it can help them be more effective in reaching their target. Some of that comes with template optimization. So is training the people responsible for the content.

Develop Off-Site Content: Do we need on-site content anymore? I think we do. Building off-site assets is really important though. Like that video on YouTube that we embed on our site. You can SlideShare, Docstoc, flickr, metacafe, industry publications, PRWeb, Facebook, Twitter… There are a lot of things you can do… One example: Poll 10 industry leaders. Consolidate the results into one monster blog post. Write content around it. Repurpose information you gain from it for other places.

Social Bookmarking: If you grow your networks where you’re publishing original content, you’ll grow your reach. It’s very important to grow your networks. Leverage If someone gets media coverage for an article, I’m going to be the first one to comment and make sure I sound a lot smarter than they do in their own article. (THAT is leverage of existing content others create!)

Promotion: Promotion is very important. Don’t promote to the same places every time. When you publish something great, you have to promote it, in a way that shows value. Measure Look for effects of your efforts. See if there are spikes. PostRank is helpful. It will tell you on any blog, how many comments they’re getting, where is it bookmarked, where are they getting results from. Go there and find out if you can connect with the people commenting or promoting. Make sure you leverage this information.

Examples: J and O Fabrics Major Fabric Brand

Their newsletter in e-mail, they put on Blogspot, Lee got them to move it to WordPress. They use Facebook, YouTube, Twitter. Through cross-promotion and good SEO, they have hundreds of #1 phrases (in the organic search listings). Market to A B to B Marketing Automation company. They’re a start-up wanting to dominate the BtoB marketing category. They have a blog, provide resources, reports, webinars, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Iiteractive. They are now the second fastest SAAS company behind Salesforce.com. The SEO and the blog work is the #1 source of leads for that company.

Takeaways

  • Develop & optimize content with personas in mind.
  • Think about information needs of customers according to different stages of buying cycle.
  • Create and promote content on a regular basis.
  • Develop channels of distribution and social links.
  • Leverage both web and social media analytics.

And THAT was one of the single BEST presentations I have heard this year (and this is my FIFTH conference)!

Q&A

Q – When re-purposing are you concerned with duplicate content?

Yes – When you can mix and match things, but not like scraper sites – mix things up. The link footprint makes things different. Noindex some categories in your blog. Use different media types. If you are thoughtful of the audience, you’ll succeed. I can take content from our blog. If I want to take that and bring it to smallbusiness.com, I’ll change the language. I might have an image in one, a video in another. I’ll have a different opening and a different close. Take a webinar or podcast and turn it into text. Take something that’s offline and create an online version.

Q – How much new content and frequency do you need to satisfy search engines?

SEs would love thousands of new pages every day. But it really depends on your market. I would put up a video a month or every two weeks and see how it goes. Doing it once isn’t enough to see how it works. Give it time. If it’s a new channel, you ABSOLUTELY need to be patient. You have to be patient and consistent. If you are a participant in that channel with others there, you can eventually at least ask others there to give you feedback. You can have a really long blog post once a week and destroy the competition. If you’re a news source, you need at least one a day.

Q – If you have a content producer, it’s harder to get them to re-write it – because they think – I’ve already written it once…”

Ask them when you ask for the first content. Explain: We need this content for use here – but we’re also going to need to use that over at this other place… It’s better to ask up front rather than coming back to them.

Q – Do you have ways to know when you’ve created buzz?

Web analytics – you can see spikes. On the social side, a social media monitoring tool will show you what people are talking about. I can put whatever word or phrase I relate to an effort into those monitoring tools – they will let you know if there’s a spike in social media about what it was you’re promoting…

Oops – I Just Lost a Q and A just now – sorry people – my wrists are interrupting me…

(Hey Susan – want to pay for my next massage appointment? :-) )

Q – Syndication of content – we want to syndicate in exchange for backlinks – We have a big inventory of content with backlinks back to pages we want to rank for. We want to syndicate that.

Make that syndication easy with RSS if you can. I don’t know what the diversity of topics is, from search, the more focused it is, the better. You might be able to promote that content based on topic focus. Otherwise your other option would be outreach. Do clever queries to find blogs that take guest posts.

Q – Reputation management – negative comments – can you talk about that?

Something like a forum or blog with comments enabled – the fear is people will say bad things there. Cliche’s are true – they are already saying things about you elsewhere – why not have them do it in your backyard where you can respond and address that?

More Q&A but I have to go to my next session!

WOWZER – If you’re not following @LeeOdden on Twitter, #YOUNEEDTO!

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2 responses to “Content Marketing Optimization — SES San Francisco”

  1. Lee Odden writes:

    Thank for a great blog post on the session and such kind words Alan!

  2. reactorr writes:

    Good stuff. Especially enjoyed the re-purposing comments.



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