5 Big Content Marketing Questions From Undergraduate Students

I was invited to speak at an undergraduate content marketing class.  Rather them giving a presentation, I asked the students submit questions. I created a customized deck to address as many questions as possible in one hour.

Here are some questions from the class:

  • Gina- Do you feel content marketing is for all businesses? What about small vs large enterprise?
  • Jake – What is your advice on the best ways to use content marketing within professional sports organizations?
  • Claudia- Do you have any advice for explaining the importance of implementing content marketing strategies to higher-ups in business?
  • Julia- What is your advice for professionals that are looking to expand their career in digital and content marketing?
  • Jamie- So you were a CPA before, what extra “benefits” has that brought to your career?

Q1: Do you feel content marketing is for all businesses? What about small vs large enterprise?

Gina, the answer is yes!  Let’s define content and content marketing first.

Content is

 

Content marketing is

 

Oh, BTW, here are 50 different definitions of content marketing in case you are curious.

Content marketing is about being helpful, educational, entertaining and challenging your customer. This should eventually also facilitating buying.  If you are sharing content to do any of that, you are in the content marketing business.

Let’s check out various websites from REI, Salesforce to a small ski school teaching baby boomers how to ski moguls.  Most of these sites peak the customers interests by providing something useful and beneficial. They are working from the angle of “learning” and “educational”.

 

Q2: What is your advice on the best ways to use content marketing within professional sports organizations?

Jake, content is super-critical for any sport. Since you have players and merchandise, you can generate a lot of content such as player practice, pre-game, and post game footage, as well as streaming of actual games and matches. You can have player community involvement information, press interviews etc. There is no shortage of content in sports marketing. The challenges are:

  • How to display and share content through a sport team’s vast communications channels.
  • How to balance the original (brands) content with user-generated content
  • How to integrate content to broader paid marketing campaigns and press efforts
  • How to be quick, timely and deliver personalized content

Content marketing can’t work alone, especially in sports marketing. It needs to be seamlessly integrated into all media efforts. Sports marketing is about engaging players and fans, especially during game time. It’s more about sharing content quick, fast, timely and fun. Images and videos usually work well in sports marketing.

5 Audience Engagement Tips from ESPN, Bloomberg and Purch

How to Reach Sports  Fans With Content Marketing

Q3: Do you have any advice for explaining the importance of implementing content marketing strategies to higher-ups in business?

Yes, Claudia. I even wrote a blog post about it.  Check out this blog post!

The reality is that it’s hard to measure the ROI of content. To get started, here are the key elements to consider:

  • Understand content promotional channels in your company
  • Create “From Content to Lead” or “From Content to Sales” mapping
  • Initiate a discussion with your marketing peers to help them understand the benefits of content
  • Offer to co-own their marketing metrics
  • Help them to do their jobs better with your expertise

The best way to quantify the effectiveness of content is in the context of marketing channels utilized. To unleash the value of content, you need to co-own outbound marketing metrics with your marketing peers. 

Q4: What is your advice for professionals that are looking to expand their career in digital and content marketing?

Understand how digital marketing front-end and back-end works.  It’s easy to understand how different marketing channels work together, from paid to earn media and hybrids. However, it’s important to comprehend the back-end of all marketing efforts: how all different platforms, tools and technologies work together and how they talk to each other. If you understand the back-end, you can see easily how the dots are connected. When you see how everything is related, you will have a holistic view of the company’s marketing efforts.

You will learn something from any marketing and non-marketing job. Learn as much as you can in any job you take, especially the jobs you don’t like.

In modern marketing, technology moves so fast that you need to learn, unlearn and relearn. It’s very exciting and overwhelming.

Q5: So you were a CPA before, what extra “benefits” has that brought to your career?

Jamie, this is a left-brain vs right-brain question.  The finance and accounting background prepared me to manage “Marketing” like a business. I was able to carry conversations with management, product teams and finance/accounting to provide updates from their perspectives.  Rather than talking about the opening rates of an e-mail campaign or likes and shares on social media, I made an effort to tie that to leads and sales.

Therefore, I am not naturally attuned to the creative side of marketing such as the creative concept development, story-telling, copywriting. I have to make an intentional effort to develop my right-brain thinking.

In summary…

I had a great time talking to all the students.  Some of them even reached out to me via LinkedIn. It’s wonderful to see content marketing being offered as part of the communications program. It’s never too early to discuss content’s role in marketing communications.

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#ContentChat – How to Build A global Content Marketing Team

What does a global content marketing team structure look like? I was asked this question frequently. Unfortunately, a team structure is unique and situational for each company. There is no standard answer! And there is no one-size-fits-all! However, I made an attempt to shed some light so that you can give some thoughts on how to put a team together.

At the same time, I would like to see what others have to say.  Therefore, I posed the question How to Build a Global Content Marketing Team? as part of Spin Sucks  weekly TweetChat with Erika Heald last week.

It was a lot of fun to exchange knowledge and experience with this great community. The best part was meeting awesome new people and having great conversation with them.

We covered basics of advantages and challenges of creating integrated content teams, and how to get started with globalizing content strategy.

Here are some highlights, but make sure to check out the full recap on Erika’s website. You’ll find valuable advice from the tweetchat participants, and what’s most important different perspectives on global content marketing teams, important elements and how to build one.

After reading the full recap you’ll still have some questions; you can download my ebook for free: How to Build a Global Content Marketing Team, or you can simply reach out to me via the contact form on my website.

To connect with this great community follow the official hashtag – #ContentChat on twitter, and join the party every Monday 12pmPST/3pmET. See you there.

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Learn How To Create Content Strategy and Build A Team at Intelligent Content Conference 2017

I like to challenge myself by creating new keynote topics, courses and workshops.  To be able to create a new topic for a course or a workshop, I synthesize relevant information and put it into an easy-to-understand framework. Then, I need to find a story angel to tie all the key points together. It’s a fun and frustrating creative journey. Ok, the ugly truth, the workshop creation process is 80% frustration, 20% fun. The fun part comes after a rough framework is put together… It’s like building a house or designing an evening gown. After you have a decent blue print or a directional sketch your creative juices really start flowing.

New year, new resolution and new workshop!  For the Intelligent Content Conference in Las Vegas on 3/28, I decided to create a brand-new workshop. And for that I need to thank Joe Pulizzi because he was the one nudging me into that direction. 🙂 

Setting Up and Managing a Global, Content-First Marketing Team 

Although I do plenty of customized corporate marketing workshops, my standard workshops primarily aim at global content marketing planning and collaboration.

So, what is this workshop all about?

The objective of this workshop is to help you set up a Content Marketing team so that you can scale your content effectively.  But here is the tricky part: the maturity stage of every company’s content marketing is different; therefore, your team set up is situational and different.

During the workshop, we will first evaluate your current content marketing stage by answering a short list of questions. Once the stage is defined, we will go through the 5 elements: strategy, content plan, team, processes and budget. In this workshop, you will create your own plan and team structure. Everyone’s team will be tailored based on his/her company’s structure, his/her role in this company and the maturity stage of content marketing efforts.

My goal is for you to have drafts of a plan and a team structure when you walk out the workshop. It will be something that you can continue to work on or discuss with your team and management.  It means that there are hands-on exercises at the workshop.  Yes, you have to work in this workshop.  🙂

After the workshop, you will be able to:

  • Identify your specific challenges for creating a content-first marketing team
  • Craft a plan to overcome some of these challenges
  • Work together at the workshop to create your team structure
  • Have a proposed content first plan and team structure to further discuss with your team and management

How is this workshop different the other three?

The past workshops focused on strategy setting and collaboration process between headquarters and locals. This workshop will touch on the cores of the past workshops, and MORE.  I will assist you to analyze your current situations with a list of questions and guide you to create something that you can take back for further development and discussion.

In case you already have an established team, there is more…

If you have a team in place and are doing well on scaling your content with your local team, there are other interesting workshops and sessions that you should check out:

Content Strategy for the Enterprise Marketer – The Marketer’s Approach to a Technical Challenge by Robert Rose

Executing a Usable Content Audit that Will Immediately Make an Impact on Your Marketing Content by Cathy McKnight

Busting Down the Silos by Dr. Andrew Bredenkamp and James Mathewson

Creating Transformational Roadmaps: A Toolkit For Internal Collaboration That Actually Works by Carlos Abler

 

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Working on Your Closing Presentation? 3 Elements to Make It Stand Out!

Recently, I was invited to speak at a client’s internal marketing conference. In addition to internal speakers, they also invited 5 external speakers during the 3-day. I was assigned as the last speaker, just after lunch on the final day. I was like “Yikes! Speaking to an audience that has been bombarded with presentation after presentation for the past 3 days…  And, they will be in a food coma, since it’s right after lunch.”

The other 4 external speakers were very good. They are pros! They know when to pause, when to crack a joke and when to dramatize their first-hand experience to get the audiences’ attention. Like other professional speakers, they have multiple standard templates and storylines that they use when they speak.  They make modifications, but the core of their presentations stay the same. Since they have been speaking at so many conferences, they’ve really got it nailed.  I enjoyed their talks!

After listening to their presentations, I was thinking about what I can do to be different and get my audience’s attention, especially when they will be in a food coma after lunch.

HERE ARE SEVERAL STEPS I TOOK TO MAKE MY PRESENTATION DIFFERENT:

Customized the deck and integrated other speakers’ key take-aways

Since this was a company event, I first wanted to know the duration of the event and when my time slot would be. Once I learned that I would be the last speaker on the 3rd day, I asked if I could attend the 1st and 2nd days.

Reason: I want to help my audience synthesize key presentations throughout the 3 days. They might be overwhelmed with information so the best way I can help is to incorporate key take-aways, tool announcements and best practices from VPs, external speakers and internal team members. It’s about making their job easy and helping the audience connect the dots as much as possible.

Ugly truth: Ok, that’s a lot of WORK! Not only did I have to be there for the whole event, but also I was customizing my deck real-time. I ended up ditching my standard talk and rebuilding the presentation because I came up with a better way to tell the story that would resonate with the audience better. It’s a little bit (really a LOT) of extra pressure!

If you want to go the extra mile for your audience, you will need to customize your deck and tie it back to what the audience heard.  Content marketing is about sharing relevant and useful information with your audience. I can understand my audiences’ needs much better by sitting there with them.  Therefore, I made changes based on what I learned to reflect their needs. It’s all about my audience.

Have a theme or a tagline

During the breaks, I made an effort to talk to some employees. I asked everyone the same question: “What is the biggest challenge of your job?” The responses ranged from “no resource and budget”, “Content marketing is hard. I don’t know where to start” to “I am overwhelmed with so many tools and processes”.  I internalized it and came up with a theme: “Strategic, but agile”.  The tagline is nothing new, but it helped me tie all the take-aways together with some of the points of view that I was planning to share in my original deck. Then, I gathered relevant information from the other speakers presentations to build around that theme.

Ugly truth: It takes time to crystalize your theme from all the conversations you had.  You need to think through what the audience is trying to say. The words they use usually have another layer of meaning. You need to think about the commonalities among all the challenges.

Use fun and expected memes and images to keep audience’s attention

This is the fun part. I love using funny memes, gif and images to engage the audiences’ ‘left brain’ so their right brain doesn’t get bored and stop listening.

Here some examples that got the audience to laugh.

 

Ugly truth: It does take time to find funny images and memes. And sometimes you have to pay for those images.

In summary…

At the end day, the most important thing is to keep the content relevant for the audience.  Even if I do all the three things above, if the content has no substance and is not relevant, I still won’t get their attention.

It was a very stressful 3-days! I literally rebuilt my presentations, asked my event organizer to supply me with some necessary slides from other speakers real-time and incorporated their key take-aways at the last minute.  I was so worried that I would not able to deliver well since it was not my normal flow.  However, I gave so much thought to how it should flow during the 3-day that I already knew the material well enough to deliver a useful presentation.

Several people came to me afterwards and told me that they were curious about what I would say as closing, since almost every topic about content marketing was already covered by both internal and external speakers. They love that I synthesized all the key points from the past 3 days and delivered it in a fun and humorous way.

Do you have any other suggestions on how to deliver an awesome presentation on the last day of an event after lunch?

 

Quick note: Here are a couple of thoughtful comments I received on Twitter. The stress? It’s all worth it in the end!

 

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From Context to Leads: Metrics and ROI of Content Marketing

How to measure content marketing ROI? Here is one approach

The content marketing ROI question comes up frequently when I speak at conferences.  Here is my step-by-step answer:

Content is like a piece of furniture. It’s very hard to measure the overall value of furniture all by itself.

 

But, if you put the furniture in a partially decorated room…

 

Or better yet, put it in a fully decorated room… Voila! The piece of furniture suddenly has more value as part of the overall set!

 

Content is the same way. It’s hard to measure the content in the absence of context. See below, that’s just a blog in a Word file.  It doesn’t mean much, if your content is only in a Word file. Nobody is going to see it.

 

It needs to be on your website or part of an e-mail, etc.  It needs to be incorporated into your marketing channels.

To unleash the value of content, it has to be part of your outbound channels.

Ok, the next question: “what metrics should we use measure content marketing ROI?”  Well, I’d rephrase the question: “what metrics should we use to report out to senior management?” There are two approaches to track these metrics. You can track metrics from the sources, which are your syndication channels (number of views, number of likes, number of shares..).  Or you can track from the destinations to where your content leads. I call that the end-point.

Guess which metrics management cares about the most? The sources or the end points?  I’d say they are more concerned with the end-results.  Therefore, your content metrics should focus on the end-points.  Don’t take me wrong, the syndication channel metrics have their place. You should certainly review them when you work with your marketing peers to optimize your content copy and creative. These metrics are not something your senior management focuses on. At end of the day, they want to know if the dollar spent on content helps the company’s business.

Let’s take one blog post as an example.

All the outbound marketing channels drive traffic to this blog post.

And this specific blog post is part of the blog site.

So, what is the main goal of this blog site?  Well, it’s about sharing relevant and useful information with the target audience. At the same time, it is also intended to increase the number of subscribers.

 

Hopefully, compelling content will attract “NEW” subscribers who show interest in your products. If they show interest, you have opportunities to engage and convert them to qualified or paid leads. There, that’s the main goal of this blog site. That’s also the main goal of the content you create.

 

So a quick summary, here is why we track from content to lead.

 

Now, let’s work back to see how content links to the end-point.  In the following example, we can say that 10 blog posts per month help to get 100 leads per month. If you make that claim, your marketing peers will argue with you that it’s not true.  They also contribute to making that happen.

The best way is to work with your marketing peers to agree a ratio on how content contributes to leads or the business goals.

You can also do AB testing.  For 2-4 months, you do 15 blog posts per month.  For another 2-4 months, you do only 5 blog posts. Or you can try different content to see if one generates more leads than the others. You will see if the number of leads correlates with the number of posts.  I understand the findings are not absolute, given that the promotion channels may change and other factors may play into it. But you can get the gist of it. That should also give management a sense of the importance of content contribution.

The reality is that it’s hard to measure the ROI of content. To get started, here are the key elements to consider:

  • Understand content promotional channels in your company
  • Create “From Content to Lead” or “From Content to Sales” mapping
  • Initiate a discussion with your marketing peers to help them understand the benefits of content
  • Offer to co-own their marketing metrics
  • Help them to do their jobs better with your expertise

The best way to show content is in the context of marketing channels utilized.

To unleash the value of content, you need to co-own outbound marketing metrics with your marketing peers. Therefore, as a content marketer, it’s time to have a discussion with your marketing peers.  Make that your 2017 goal!

 

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Save the date! Content and Social Media Marketing Workshop in Geneva October 28, 2016

Are you In Switzerland? Are you an entrepreneur, small business owner, or a marketer – looking for ways to maximize your content marketing efforts, and create a successful synergy with social media? If you answer with YES, than this 2-part workshop is for you.

Kelly Hungerford and I teamed up to do a workshop in Lausanne in May.  It was well-received!  We decided to do it again, this time is in Geneva! Yeah!

And that is not all! Before I share the Workshop details there are two more introductory events you should know about.

Kelly is a VP of Women in Switzerland an excellent Swiss community of women working in digital. Together we arranged a content marketing meetup on October 25th: The New Rules of Content Marketing It will be a great opportunity to learn more about the Workshop, and to meet some fantastic people, including expert panelists who will share tips on content marketing topics.

In case you can’t make it to Geneva, on Wednesday 26th we’ll be in Lausanne: How to Use New Rules of Content Marketing to Your Advantage It’s a unique opportunity to discuss how to use content marketing effectively to market your business. Also, I will share tips and tricks from strategy through implementation.

THE WORKSHOP: CONTENT AND SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING 

Based on the learning we captured during the Lausanne, Kelly and I decided to offer two 3.5-hour workshop this time. The morning workshop focuses more on strategy setting and campaign integration of earned, owned and paid media, while the afternoon workshop focuses on maximizing content and social media marketing. Both sessions will be packed with case studies and best practices.  There will be some overlap between the two sessions, but the two presentations are different.

Here are the details of the two sessions:

  • Date: 10/28/2016
  • Time: 9:00 – 12:00 and 1:30 – 4:30
  • Location: Voisins Coworking Space, Place du Grenus 4, 1201, Geneva
  • Pricing: CHF 159 per session or CHF 258 for both sessions (with CHF 60 discount)

 

Morning Session:

USE CONTENT EFFECTIVELY IN EARNED,

OWNED AND PAID MEDIA 

Session Description:

The modern marketing landscape has changed dramatically. It’s more and more challenging to create an integrated campaign with fragmented marketing channels. How can we better leverage content across various marketing channels? Can we use the same content or should we customize them? Pam will share the practices of evaluating your content and determining the content to share for different channels.  Packed with practical examples, case studies and how-tos.

After the session, you will be able to:

  • Comprehend the relationship among the owned, paid and
    earned media
  • Understand the content needs in each media
  • Grasp ideas and practices to scale content across different media

Afternoon Session:

MAXIMIZE THE SYNERGY BETWEEN CONTENT

AND SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

Session Description:

Effective and useful content is key to social media, yet marketing isn’t all about social media. Are there better ways to search and curate content for your social media? What are the content types? How best to plan your editorial plan? Pam Didner will discuss the delicate intricacies of building synergy between your social media and content marketing efforts. Plenty of tips and case studies to help you do your job better!

AFTER THE SESSION, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO:
  • Leverage different content for social media success
  • Shape content editorial planning by providing social media insights
  • Connect the dots between social media and content

When Kelly and I met the first time, she worked at a start-up, while I was at a big corporation. With our different roles and experience on two continents, we learned by doing and experimenting with different tactics of modern marketing, especially in social media and digital marketing. We love to share our mistakes, success and industry best practices. Come join us!!  We’d love to meet you!

You can check out all the details and register for the Workshop here

In the meantime feel free to download my FREE course: How To Build Global Content Marketing Team

It is set up to quickly and easily help you design the organizational structure of your company’s content marketing team. It’s a presentation I had this year at #CMWorld, that utilizes clear, concise, easily-digestible slides to help you create a plan to move forward! (picture will be also included)

 

 

 

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My Favorite Takeaways /Tweets /Articles From Content Marketing World 2016

photo: courtesy of @Ekaterina Walter

Does attending the same conference for 6 years straight begin to get old?  The answer is NO. I had the rare privilege of speaking at the Content Marketing World (@CMWorld) every year since its inception. Fun concerts, mingling with old friends and new, awesome keynotes and 150 know-how sessions… What’s not to like?

Whenever I attend the conference, I hear unique insights and I always think about how they will apply to B2B, enterprises or business marketers who do content marketing across regions.

So, here are my 3 favorite takeaways from this year’s conference. 

1. My favorite Content Marketing World keynotes

“In content marketing, you are either all in or all out.” 

This is Joe Pulizzi’s opening keynote message. I agree with it all-heartedly, but how do you go all in when you need to work with multiple teams across regions who may not be all in? The best way to go all-in is to have senior executives commit budget and resources. The financial backing will kick off the momentum.  Once the momentum starts, you need to keep the buzz going by meeting with the teams on a regular basis.

Let me re-phrase Joe’s quote for B2B corporate content marketers: “In content marketing, B2B companies can only go all in with senior executive financial support and regular communications within the team.”  Of course, this applies to small businesses as well.

“We look for organic amplification before we look for paid media spend.”

I enjoyed Lars Silberbauer’s Lego speech very much. Lars, based in London, is responsible for Lego’s global social media and search. With its large user-base (FB with 11.6M fans and Youtube channel with 1B views per year), Lego will run several different campaigns on social media channels, then closely monitor their traction and buzz. If it does well, they will strategically place paid budget to further propel its reach.

Again, I agree with that when your user-base is big and you can see significant differences between different campaigns. When your user-base is small, you may not be able to see the statistically significant difference among the campaigns you run. In that case, you need to work hard to increase your user-base through continuous organic outreach with solid content marketing efforts and coupled with paid efforts.

For Lego, it makes sense that organic is the primary channel and paid is secondary. However, it doesn’t apply to all companies. When your user-base is small or your organic engagement is not working well, paid may be your primary channel. Here is the truth: most companies won’t talk about how much money they spend on paid to build up their user-base. Please be cognizant that paid trumps organic in some cases. Let me re-phrase the quote for B2B corporate content marketers: “We look for paid media spend and organic amplification.” The re-phrase also applies to small businesses, since their paid efforts usually are AdWord and FB ad buys.

“If you don’t have people in your blog posts, you aren’t optimized for social.” 

This is the biggest take-away from Andy Crestodina who received the highest speaking score last year and was invited to do a keynote this year. His keynote presentation was fantastic!  He discussed how content marketing couples with SEO to drive traffic and conversions. I walked away from his keynote feeling that I need to be an SEO expert in order to be a great content marketer.

B2B corporate content marketers will write blogs or create content specifically about their products, services and industries. They don’t often include other “people” such as industry experts, customers or even their social media followers in their content. Andy stressed that it’s important to mention them and make them part of your content. Then, mention their names when you syndicate your content out to social media channels. It’s a win-win!  You showcase them, they help you amplify your content. His quote is perfect for B2B corporate content marketer. His quote also inspired me to include my favorite tweets from this event. He is right – I need to include more people in my blog posts.

2. Enjoy the following selection of awesome tweets and don’t stop there. I’ve made a selection of some great #CMWorld articles.

 

3. There’s so much great content out there, but these are my favorites, and hopefully this roundup of #CMWorld articles will keep you entertained and informed.

The Worst Lessons Marketing Ever Taught Content by @randfish

The Revolution Begins: Highlights from Content Marketing World 2016 via @Upwork

20 Tweetable Takeaways from Content Marketing World 2016 #cmworld by @MarilynECox via @HeinzMarketing

#CMWorld 2016: Nine things to know about the Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland this week  by @janetcho via @clevelanddotcom

The Road to Content Marketing Success by @amandatodo

20 Quotes That Defined Content Marketing World 2016 via @LinkedInMktg

Content Marketing Is Growing Up: 5 Takeaways from Content Marketing World via @LinkedInMktg

Conversation Starters With The Experts at Content Marketing World by @mitchellhall via @curata

In the end it’s obvious: content marketing is an imperative and it connects businesses, but it does so much more – it connects people.

Till next time and the next Content Marketing World.

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10 Extremely Important Content Marketing Questions – Answered

When I speak, I always encourage attendees to reach out and ask me questions. Daniel Benyo sent me a list of questions after listening to my presentation “New Rules of Marketing” in Hungary.

Q1: How can a cross-border marketer best understand segments that he never interacted before?  

A:  If you want to sell something to a different country, the best way is to travel to that country to see the market first hand. It’s also important to build your sales network by hiring local sales reps or local channel partners. Visit them and have them introduce you or meet some of the potential customers. That’s on the sales front.

Q2: How much analysis, research is needed before you start a content marketing campaign targeted at a foreign market compared to when you do it on your own?

A: On the marketing front, you can check if there are any customers from that county who have come to your website and downloaded any content. If you have their e-mail addresses or contact information, reach out to them and see if you can engage them in phone calls or focus groups.

Talk to your potential customers and get to know them. That’s the best way to learn.

 Here is the reality: the amount of analysis and research that you can do depends on your budget. Your budget will dictate your analysis and research efforts.  If you don’t have a budget, just start somewhere or anywhere. Start with your local contacts if you have any, gather information then refine as you go. You are bound to make mistakes.  We all do! Learn from them and move on!

Q3: If you are aiming at global content marketing, you have to do a lot more segmenting than if you target smaller markets – is this something that only large multinational corporations can do, or is it possible – in terms of resources – for smaller companies as well?

A: Smaller companies can do segmentation as well. My recommendation is to start with your products. Do you need to customize your products for another country? If the products are homogenous, maybe you don’t need to have multiple segments. If you need to customize and repackage your products completely, you very likely will need a different set of audience segmentation or different messaging to serve the local needs.  I’d start from the product first, then ask yourself what will users do with the products? How will they use them?  Maybe the usage models are different.  The product customization and usage model will dictate if you need a separate segmentation or not.

Q4: In your experience what are the results of not having a content calendar? Chaos, unrealistic goals, missed deadlines?

A: Well, it depends. If you are a one-person marketing team, you may not need a content calendar, especially if you are the content creator and promoter. If you are working with a team, it’s best to have a content calendar. It’s a way to guide the team and avoid duplication.

Please bear in mind that chaos still happens, even if you have a content calendar! Things just happen in the real world, such as customer complaints, real-time PR crises, early product launches. Your editorial needs to be agile and adjust to changes which may impact your company’s brands and image.

Chaos never goes away, but processes and tools will minimize it.

Q5: Do you think content marketing is for everyone? For one-man businesses to the largest enterprises? How can small companies with very limited budget, time and energy on their hands compete with complete in-house content marketing departments?

A: I think everyone is doing content marketing. If you are a small company with a website and a blog, you are, in a way, doing content marketing. If you create a white paper and share it with your customers or use it as part of an e-mail campaign, you are doing content marketing. The question is not if content marketing is for everyone. The question is whether you have time and resources to do content marketing continuously and do it right.

You are not necessarily competing with other companies in terms of content marketing, but rather you need to understand what you are trying to accomplish and match that to your budget and resources.

Q6: How can any business maintain a content strategy long term? How can they find new and new topics, new stories to tell?

A: Like everything else, long-term efforts require budget and resources. Management buy-in is super-critical. Although there is nothing new under the sun, you can always find something new to say about something old. The best way to find something new is to talk to your subject matter experts, your sales people, your customers, your management team…  Things happen every day in your company. There is always something to share and something to say. You need to pay attention.

Q7: Last year Joe Pulizzi told me that the main reason of content campaign fails is that companies don’t set realistic goals and don’t realize that the first 6-12 months are all about building your audience. Do you agree with this?

A: Yes. You can’t build Rome in one day. You can’t write 15 blog posts and expect your website traffic to increase 10X. I have written over 200 blog posts in the past three years. Well, these blog posts really didn’t bring me much revenue per se, but it established me as a thought leader in the field of global content marketing. The recognition of being a thought leader brings opportunities.  You need to understand what you want to accomplish with content marketing and, most importantly, get your management to support it.  Content marketing is like a long purchase cycle, it can take 12-months to see the impact…  Unfortunately, there is no short cut.  Management likes short-term results but you need to set clear expectations upfront.

Q8: What should the goals of a content strategy be – and what KPIs to watch?

A: At a tactical level, it depends on what your company’s marketing promotion channels are. Your content needs to closely tie with your promotion and syndication channels.  For example: if a white paper is used for e-mail campaign and event collateral, you need to know the number of downloads as well as the number of business cards collected at the event.

Q9: How do you think modern technology will change content marketing in the coming years? For example, do you think content creation and distribution can be completely automized?

A: In my opinion, the company’s content marketing efforts will be closely tied to online and offline user experience and augmented reality moving forward. For example: In the near future, you can stand in front of a mirror in your house and virtually try on clothes which may then be tailor made to your order. Content will pop up on a virtual screen to share with you the latest fashion tips and trends and recommendations for similar outfits (the virtual service will show you with accessories that others who tried similar clothing bought.) In addition, your online experience needs to be optimized for whatever device are used by customers, from desktop, laptops, tablets, mobile devices to wearables and whatever comes next. But it is unlikely that the creation of content can be automated in the foreseeable future.

Q10: One of your earlier interviews brought the term “hero product” to my attention. Can you explain what makes a hero product?

A: In simple terms, the hero product of your company is the product that brings in the most revenue. You can also define a hero product as the one that the company wants to focus on and therefore allocates the most marketing budget for.

Do you have questions you want to ask? Send them my way!  I am ready!

 

Photo: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_pixelsaway‘>pixelsaway / 123RF Stock Photo</a> Marek Uliasz

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Content Marketing World 2016 – A Must To Go Conference

If you are a content marketer, there is a must-go-to conference that you need to check out: the annual Content Marketing World in Cleveland.

Hundreds of useful sessions from brands’ case studies, how-to tips and tricks, to new tools and platforms, not to mention two-nights of fun parties. For the purpose of professional development and networking with other content marketing peeps, it’s a worthwhile conference to attend.

I already had the pleasure of doing a workshop at Content Marketing World 2015 and I feel honored to have a workshop again at #CMWorld 2016. My topics are, of course, related to global content marketing. Even if this is not your focus, there are a wide variety of marketing tracks that you will find interesting. I hope to see you there!

Workshop title:

The Step-by-Step Guide to Create Global Content Marketing Strategy

Time: September 6th, 1:00 – 4:30 pm

Workshop description:

Creating a content marketing strategy for one region is easy, the challenge is to scale that content marketing strategy across regions. Pam Didner will share with you specific processes and steps that you can take to create a cross-regional content marketing strategy.

Key Takeaways:

  • Identify key elements to incorporate into your global plan
  • Comprehend a process that you can implement internally to create your strategy
  • Understand the do’s and don’ts of scaling content across channels and countries

Session Title:

How to build a Global Content Marketing Team

Time: September 8, 10:00-10:45 am

Session Description:

The key element of implementing cross-region content marketing initiatives for your company is to put a team together. You will learn how to balance global vs. local from a content marketing perspective, and when and how to say to ‘No’ to your teams. Tools, strategy and process will come only if you have a team assembled. You will understand the best practices and tips for collaborating between headquarters and local teams to implement your marketing strategy effectively.

After attending this session, you will:

  • Think about Global Content Marketing differently
  • Identify key elements to incorporate into your global plan
  • Tips and tricks to collaborate your local teams

Join us in Cleveland for #CMWorld 2016! There are many ways to participate in Content Marketing World 2016. Get familiar with the package options, as well as workshop and lab descriptions prior to beginning your registration. Registration can be accessed here.

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PR and Content Marketing

Here is a brief recap of my session: How Content Marketing Applies to PR

I had the pleasure of speaking at the PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) Wisconsin Chapter in June. Unlike at other speaking engagements, I not only did a 45-min general session, but also a 90-min deep-dive workshop for PRSA members. The attendees were awesome and engaging. I had a great time!

Traditionally, PR departments (or PR agencies) shared information with reporters and journalists.  Journalist, in turn, would then share the information with their readers. PR would communicate when there was something new or news-worthy but, this communication was one-way street.

Traditional PR

Search, social media and mobile devices completely change how the public receives information. In addition, people are recording and sharing information in real-time. Breaking news could happen anytime and anywhere. PR needs to proactively monitor buzz and have a process to respond quickly. Although crisis management continues to be at the core of PR, the technology PR uses to monitor and the channels they use to communicate have changed and expanded.

Setting aside crisis management, content marketing can apply to PR in two main ways:

When there is something new to say….

PR’s traditional role still has its place (see the image above). A great example is the release of Shutterstock’s Annual Creative Trends. Shutterstock is a site for downloading licensed photos, music and videos. Millions of people around the world purchase creative assets through Shutterstock. By analyzing the back-end data on what people download, Shutterstock is able to shed insight on what’s hot, popular and trendy.

Rather than creating a nice PDF report, Shutterstock created a visually compelling microsite to showcase the types of photos, videos, and music that people download around the world. They also create additional content to promote that microsite, such as blogs and infographics.

Infographic:

Global Trends PR and Content Marketing

Blog Post:

Global Trends Close Up - PR and Content Marketing

The annual Creative Trends report is something new and news-worthy. It’s fitting and proper for Shutterstock’s PR department (if they have a PR team) to play an active role in reaching out to reporters and influencers to highlight the Creative Trends report. In addition, it also makes sense to use an aggressive organic social media outreach.  Of course, paid social media efforts will also certainly boost the overall engagement, if budget is available.

If PR managers have a holistic view of how paid, earned, and owned channels are used to promote the annual Creative Trends report, they can better help marketing connect the dots while complementing their efforts.

Possible Channels used by Shutterstock to promote: PR and Content Marketing

 

Keep your topic alive

The general rule of PR: if there is nothing new to say, then don’t say it. In today’s over-communicating world, you may just need to create something new to share. This is where content marketing can help. REI, a retail store with a strong online presence that sells high-quality outdoor gear, is a good example.

REI focuses on sharing employees and experts’ knowledge. They share tips and tricks for various outdoor activities. They analyze the pros and cons of different gear to help customers make purchase decisions. Their “Blog” and “Learn” tabs offer a wealth of knowledge.

If you are a PR agency or marketing professional working for REI, you can incorporate corporate announcements and new product releases as content in the ‘blog’ or ‘learn’ sections.

PR and Content Marketing: Content Channels

PR and Content Marketing: PR and Content Marketing: REI Content Topics

PR and Content Marketing: REI Useful and Relevant Content

In summary…

PR and content marketing complement each other.  It’s important for PR to understand content editorial just as it’s important for content marketers to understand PR messaging and communications strategy. Moving forward, the line between PR and marketing will continue to blur, so it’s important to act with one voice!

On a side note: It was my first time in Milwaukee, the birthplace of Harley-Davison.  Unfortunately, I was in and out and didn’t get a chance to visit the famous Harley-Davision museum or stroll down the RiverWalk along the Milwaukee River. My good friend, Sara Rude, did drive me around downtown Milwaukee. I got a chance to glance at the RiverWalk and the Historical Third Ward district. I hope to go back and visit this beautiful city in the future.

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