Yesterday, I was able to go to an event called Social Media Breakfast (SMB), which brings people from all areas of the Twin Cities to discuss social media in its various platforms. (And they give you bacon. How awesome is that?) Yesterday’s event was centered on content marketing, and the person they interviewed was Lee Odden. Lee is the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, an agency located in the western suburbs of Minneapolis, and the author of Optimize, a book on integrating SEO, social media, and content marketing into your company.
First off, a definition of content: Lee defined it as “the process of planning, creating, and promotion of stuff for a specific audience to inspire action and/or a specific outcome for your audience and brand.” So basically, anything you’re creating on your website that has a purpose is content, and you’ve gotta market it.
Lee talked all over the board about content marketing, ranging from helpful web applications to self-publishing. But what I found most helpful about this event were some of Lee’s quick and dirty tips for people starting out in content marketing:
1) Focus on Your Passion, Go Deep, and Connect
Lee recommends focusing on getting really, really good at the thing you’re passionate about (relevant to content). Then go deep into that thing, connect with people in that thing, and give valuable content to them about that thing. Don’t just leech off the people you look up to, but imitate them, giving them good content in return.
2) Create Value
Content marketing is all about the merit of what you’re putting out there. Creating value for your customers is key to successful content marketing.
3) Constantly Analyze Your Data
This one should be a no-brainer. In order to know if your content is informative, encouraging, or at all worthwhile to your customers, you must look at the statistics rolling in about your data. That way you can make the necessary adjustments to construct your content to be even better and more relevant.
Finally, one of Lee’s last pieces of advice to anyone in this industry emphasized the value of content marketing and that it’s not just about link attraction.
“Content marketing shouldn’t be the drive to sales; rather, it should be about empathizing with the customers.” –Lee Odden
This conference was super helpful for me in re-examining the way I look at my own blog as well as how I analyze the pages I manage for other clients. A big thanks to Lee, Mykl Roventine, director of SMB who interviewed Lee, and to the entire SMB team for pulling this event together. It was a great time!