commit: 6b2ca8a - #414 (2014-03-05 12:54:44 -0500)
Hey there, Inbound community!
Thanks for the invitation to participate in "Ask Me Anything"! I've been asked to provide a few ground rules for our time together today:
· I'm here to chat with you about content strategy—setting the course for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content.
· I'll be around (more or less) to answer questions between now and 12pm CT, then again between 3-5pm CT.
· Please note that I know just enough about the mechanics of SEO to be dangerous. I can't talk to you about Google algorithms, for example. It's not that I don't care. It's only that I am unschooled in your science of findability.
All right, then. Let's do this thing.
Thanks for devoting some time to share your knowledge / experience Kristina.
I'd love to know if you had any tips or advice on getting other people in the company to contribute to the overall content strategy of the company.
I find that a lot of these other team members could be providing fantastic content for the company, but often times they either don't know how, don't have time or are standoffish as content creation is not typically part of their normal job responsibilities.
In your experience, what works and what doesn't?
Hi, Vinny! Thanks for your question.
So, the first question is always, "Why do we need this content?" Yes, you likely have colleagues who could be producing fantatsic content for the company ... but just because they *can* doesn't mean they *should*. So, before you start trying to recruit/convert content creators, ask yourself: what do we really need, here? What will help us meet our business objectives? What are our users expecting from us? How can we competitively differentiate ourselves through our content?
Once you go through that exercise—and assigning some success metrics never hurt—then you can begin to put together a realistic content plan. By "realistic", I mean a plan that really takes into account the actual, real-time resources you have to get that content created and published, whether it's internal folks creating it or assigning budget to outsource it. I also mean, once you publish/share that content, do you *realistically* have to time to take care of it in the weeks/months/years to come? Who is going to make sure that it remains relevant, accurate, and on-brand over time?
If you can go to people and say, look, you've told us about the time constraints of your job, we know you're hesitant to commit to anything, but here is an editorial calendar that takes into account your time limitations, and here's the kind of support we can offer you during the process ... and here is WHY we want you to create this content ... then you have a solid business case that also seems manageable to the individual.
Hope that helps!
I LOVE this..
"we know you're hesitant to commit to anything, but here is an editorial calendar that takes into account your time limitations, and here's the kind of support we can offer you during the process ... and here is WHY we want you to create this content"
Thank you! That was very helpful.
Hi Kristina! I have two questions:
1) What kind of repeatable post-types do you find most valuable? E.g. list posts, group posts, polls, etc.
2) What is the most important aspect of a piece of content in order to make it widely shared (if any)?
Good morning, Troy!
Thanks for your questions. My answer: it depends. (Don't you love it when people say that?)
For #1: do you mean, valuable in terms of improving search rankings or content findability? Unfortunately, I don't know. It depends on what you're talking about, who you're wanting to engage in conversation, and what your desired outcomes would be.
For #2: I guess I'd have to say, relevance to your audience needs or interests. I should offer the caveat, here, that you have to KNOW what your audience likes/prefers/needs, not assume. I've seen so many marketers chasing results based on their own assumptions of what people want or need. Audience research isn't just nice to have ... it's necessary.
Does that help?
Cheers for doing this. My question: What role, if any, would you say data analysis plays in the content marketing process. Do you use data to inform what your going to write about on any given day, or do you follow more of a, I guess, creative gut feel approach?
Well, I think it's definitely a joint effort, here. If you're committed to "content marketing", then why? What are you trying to achieve? Who are you trying to reach? Where are they hanging out? What do you want them to do? What do THEY want to do?
That said, I think it's feasible to use a blended approach to creating an editorial calendar (which I REQUIRE you have if you're going to do any kind of ongoing content creation!). Use your own analytics to inform what past article successes you can build upon. Decide how you will handle one-off posts in response to today's hot topic or discussion. And by all means, if you have a burst of creative energy, don't stifle it! :)
Thanks so much for hosting an Inbound.org AMA, Kristina!
Many of us content marketers assume "content" = publicly consumable information such as blog posts, infographics, videos, testimonials, etc.
What other content is wrapped into the "content strategy" discipline that content marketers might not be considering?
Also: what's your favorite tool for audience research?
Good morning, Lauren!
Well, I guess I'll say this: part of what really frustrates me about 99% of all content marketing discussions is that marketers are ONLY focusing on the content—its substance, format, and channel distribution. The parts that they AREN'T talking about are the things that will make them successful in the long run: how they're going to create an effective, sustainable infrastructure to create, deliver, and govern this content over the long run.
It's hard for me not to start ranting about "content marketing" in general—it's not really anything different than what we've been telling ourselves to do for the past 15 years ("The more content you publish, the more the search engines will like you!" "You have to start blogging so that you're constantly creating fresh content!" "Get a YouTube channel" etc.). The thing is, we are asking people to create more and more and more content without really telling them, oh, also, this is very expensive and complicated and will likely require some sort of organizational change for you to get it right.
Oh wait. I'm ranting. Anyhow, that's the stuff I don't think is being considered. The one other thing I'd say is that I think marketers really overlook the opportunity for useful, compelling meta descriptions—if your plumbing company comes up in my search results, and the meta description reads, for example:
St. Paul Family Trust Your Home To Minneapolis Saint Paul Plumbing Heating Air For All Your Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning and Drain Cleaning Service ...
...you've lost a big opportunity with me, because you sound like a robot and I don't want you in my house.
p.s. Audience research tool ... I like picking up the phone and asking people what they think. Seriously. Outside of, like, Survey Monkey, we always ALWAYS recommend talking to people.
So you're saying there's no get-rich-quick answers with getting my content popular and shared?! :)
Now I understand why some of my Content Strategy friends squick at "Content Marketing". That, and it's encouraging lots of crap. (http://www.slideshare.net/dougkessler/crap-the-content-marketing-deluge)
I'll add to the rant: just because it's easy to sit at your computer and hit the keyboard on a word processor and throw that text up on a website doesn't mean content strategy should be taken any less seriously. I feel like, for many organizations, content strategy is still a hard sell.
But thanks to advocates like you, it's come a long way. So, thank you! And thank you for this reality-check answer. :)
You mention content marketing's focus on "substance, format, and channel distribution" like it's a bad thing. It seems like you're suggesting that content marketing and content strategy are competing terms, and content marketing has left out some really important pieces.
To me, they are complimentary and content marketing is serving a useful purpose. I would even go a step farther and say that they both need each other to be successful.
Content marketing will become a fad that passes if it doesn't have its roots in content strategy. Organizations need to understand when content marketing is appropriate in their content strategy, otherwise you do get a lot of crap.
On the flip side, content strategy won't survive as a useful practice if it doesn't help companies achieve their goals. Since those goals almost always lead back to revenue, marketing is a necessary element. Otherwise, you get great content that is never seen.
For me personally, I was able to get greater focus on content strategy in my organization by showing them how it connected to our content marketing efforts. Rather than fight the two terms, I showed them how a content strategy made our content marketing efforts more effective. So it's more of a parent-child relationship, and less of a sibling relationship to me.
Lauren, I agree with you wholeheartedly, here—the "parent-child" analogy is a good one, I think. That does, however, refute the idea that content strategy can't exist without content marketing ... I think you can *execute* strategy with custom publishing tactics, and there are plenty of people who are doing it brilliantly. It absolutely can serve a useful purpose.
My primary concern is not that content marketing has "left out" useful pieces, but that too often it's presented as a silver bullet (as marketing trends often are), and—like we did with social media, too—companies are jumping on the bus without really understanding what it is they're committing to. I am always the Debbie Downer in these conversations. In fact, I was invited to participate in an "innovative content marketing" seminar for a Fortune 100 company, then disinvited when I told them I intended to talk about infrastructure instead of "innovation". Sadly, that is a true story.
At any rate, I very much appreciate your comments and would encourage you to share more about your own efforts raising CS's profile within your organization! Well done.
Excellent point about content strategy surviving without content marketing. It saddens me to hear about your experience, though! I think they can be such a happy combination.
I will try to share more about the work I've done! It's certainly been exciting.
Thanks so much for the dialogue today.
Hi Kristina, this is slightly along the same lines as Michael Curtis' question...I think I'm stealing a content strategy idea of using site search data to devise a content strategy (take the most searched for phrases and devise content to cover these).Who am I stealing this idea from and do you know of any, or can think of any, flaws or pitfalls with this approach?
Hi Chris –
Well, I don't know if you're STEALING it, but you can find out a ton of great information about this approach in Lou Rosenfeld's book, Search Analytics for Your Site: http://rosenfeldmedia.com/books/search-analytics/
Lou is going to be a much better resource for you on the flaws or pitfalls here. Regardless, I think site search analytics are too often overlooked as an extraordinary input to any content strategy!
Awesome, thanks Kristina. Hope to see you again at the next Confab - which was outstanding.
Many thanks for this :)
One of the key roadblocks I stumble across is wanting to produce content, and making something, but it just flows... or downright sucks. It's mediocre, it won't punch through the noise on the web and it doesn't resonate with our main audience.
I guess that's in part attributable to not being a "trained writer", but that begs the question of what can us mere mortals do to get good at this stuff? So, I have three questions...
1. How can I get really frickin' good at consistency producing amazing content?
2. How can we as an community better explain and help others to want to engage in content marketing AND excel at it.
3. What could Inbound.org do to help members produce amazing content, and help our members help other people produce amazing content?
Hi, Ed –
QUESTION 1: Remember high school English? That's where you learned how to write (or, you were supposed to—heh). And you learned from doing it over and over again. So in terms of getting really good at producing amazing content:
1. Figure out (research, analytics, what's got you all excited) what you want to focus on.
2. Make an editorial calendar for yourself.
3. Set aside writing time for yourself. Honor it.
4. DO IT. Over and over. Ask for feedback. That's it.
QUESTION 2: Well, here is my question: SHOULD people engage in content marketing? Some people should. Some people absolutely shouldn't. So I think maybe the responsible thing to do is start providing people with the right tools to make smarter decisions about a) whether regularly producing content makes sense for their organization (and audiences), and b) if so, how they can make smart decisions (audience research, competitive differentiation, available resources) to do the best, most targeted work with what they have to work with.
QUESTION 3: Any kind of open information sharing—like this forum—is probably the #1 thing you can do. Also, encourage Inbound.org meetups! Those have probably been the #1 awesome contributors to the ever-growing content strategy body of knowledge. Enjoy!
On meetups, we're hopefully rolling out Inbound Groups in the coming weeks to support meetup groups. Thoughts from a thread yesterday of a place to share "examples" on Inbound too might be useful: http://www.inbound.org/articles/view/here-is-today-superb-example-of-data-visualisation
I guess one more cheeky question - when and where do you go when you want to hire great writers, designers and content producers? Assuming you already have the data, the audience and a broad direction already in place?
We're lucky to have lots of people interested in working with Brain Traffic ... so I'm honored to have "the best of the best" coming to us. (If anyone's interested in contracting with us, please apply here! http://braintraffic.com/contract-positions.html
What is your single best piece of advice regarding governance? Our site needs to step up its governance game.
Hey there, Melanie!
Well ... my best advice is to figure out who your most important site contributors, stakeholders, and sponsors are, and get all those people in a room. Get a neutral facilitator to lead a conversation about big pain points. Why focus on the pain, you ask? People turn to the idea of governance because things (people, process, website, social media properties, all of the above) are in chaos, and they want to feel a sense of control. So this gives you a chance to open up lines of communication to identify the biggest areas of opportunity for site/workflow improvement.
Above all else, governance provides the framework for smarter decision-making across an organization, so people need to have a sense of shared ownership in whatever "playbook" you decide on. That makes your first meeting the most important—early buy-in is key.
So the "who" (the people involved) are more crucial than the "what" (the plan). Common sense, yet it clarifies a lot for me. It's easy to get distracted by tactics before we even get started. Thanks!
we appreciate your time. was talking about this w a friend who is an artist lately. how much time do you devote toward editing/returning to a unpublished project before "it's done." some champion the 'published better than perfect' mantra, but that's pretty vague. i mean, editing and more nurturing is important, right? thanks, Anthony
Hi Anthony – well, realistically, it sort of depends on how much time and budget are available for the editing process. I know that's not a very good "best practice" benchmark, but that's sort of how it goes. If you're in charge of when it gets published, then here's my advice: set a deadline for yourself for publication, and DO IT, no matter what shape you feel the article is in. That will train you to figure out your own comfort level for how much editing is enough!
Awesome to see you here Kristina!
As one of the most notable content strategy evangelists there is I would ask can you give us a definitive statement on the difference between Content Strategy and Content Marketing?
I have more questions, but I can't remember what they are so I'll be back!
Yes. I can.
CONTENT STRATEGY: a shared set of goals, guiding principles, and success metrics that guides the creation, delivery, and governance of content across an organization.
CONTENT MARKETING: multichannel custom publishing.
Also: have I mentioned that I'm not a fan of the phrase "content marketing"? :p
Hi Kristina, thanks for doing this.Regarding the promotion of linkable assets (such as infographics specifically), how do you measure success? I know that it is contingent on clients/posts/etc. BUT, fighting the urge to say 'it depends,' what would your gut say? As a general measuring stick, how many social shares and unique root domain links feels "right" to you? KatePS - if you have any time to write about your experience as a woman in this field (or just on inbound.org!) that would also be very valuable.
Sounds wonderful, thank you! Any forum would be welcome to me :D
I would love to hear the response as well!
IMO, I think measuring the shares / root domain links is only half of the measurement, the other half should be traffic and conversions from it.
Your thoughts Kristina?
Popping back in to say that I agree, Alan. "Success" can mean so many different things, each depending on the project, but I'm really interested in how folks articulate that feeling. Maybe this could be a separate discussion post sometime too!
Yes. How to determine that is a whole separate discussion.
Hey Kristina, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and experience with us here on Inbound.
I'm really looking forward to Confab, your Content Strategy conference, coming up in June. Could you tell us what the genesis for that was, what the first Confab was like, and how you put it all together?
Well, the vision was this: get all the people who shape content within an organization—editorial, technical, UX, SEO, etc.—under the same roof so we could all talk about our shared content challenges.
The more work I do with clients, the more I believe that there are really a finite set of challenges around content, and although we are each dealing with our own cultures, organizational structures, unique content products, technology sets, and so on, there are CS tools and processes that can be applied in a variety of settings, flexibly and effectively. That's what Confab is about: collaboration, conversation, community. Any good conference should be!
How did I put Confab together? Erik Westra, Sean Tubridy, and Lauren Cramer from UIE ... and everyone at my company Brain Traffic who made the conference "go." :)
I'd also like to know: other than brains, bravado, and bourbon, what are the essential tools that you and other content strategists use every day? :)
My essential tools: asking questions, listening carefully, smart note-taking and ... wait for it ... Twitter. Knowledge sharing is the best sharing!
Hi Kristina from Spain.
As an SEO, who has moved from pure and only SEO hands on consultancy to a more strategic one, what would be your tips and tricks for the most profitable collaboration between SEO and Content Strategy (while not forgetting the existence of Social Media Strategy). Or, better, what are your suggestions in relation to what could be the best way to design the synergy between all the areas of Inbound (Content, Social and Social) from a strategic point of view?
My best advice: get everyone around the table for a few hours and talk to each other about what you're doing, why you're doing it, where the gaps are, and how you can start finding ways to collaborate. It's incredible how much work can get done in conversation. That said, I also recognize that some companies fall prey to the "talk a lot, do nothing" syndrome. Make sure someone assigns accountability around the table for how people are going to start sharing information about their independent strategies and activities.
Finally: somewhere, at the leadership level, someone has to be committed to pulling these initiatives together under the "content strategy" umbrella. Shared principles, goals, and success metrics are key.
How do you explain the payoff of content strategy to clients?
THIS. THIS. THIS. This..... this. Right here.
Ian, we have found great success with providing a 'By The Numbers'. Often times a pitch or sale doesn't work.
It's a great Idea to have multiple case studies that include raw data.
Thanks for your patience today. I always say, sell to their pain. Find out what's keeping them up at night. See what is making them nervous about the competition. Identify redundancies and inefficiencies in their current workflow structures (or lack thereof). Also, sell to their current hot topic: what's the most recent executive mandate? (e.g. "WE MUST BE ON PINTEREST! NOW!") What book did someone read that they're all fired up about? Is there a new product launching? Is the website being redesigned, and dangerous assumptions are being made about the content?
Then, it all comes down to figuring out what success looks like to them, and tailoring your CS pitch to that outcome.
For example: "We are drowning in content. We have no idea what's on our site, we don't know who owns it, our site search sucks. It's scary." Sales pitch: "A content audit plan will help you figure out what matters now, based on current business objectives and user goals ... then we can see what's necessary, what needs revising, and what needs to go." (Caveat: the content audit example is an easy go-to CS sales pitch, but it's very surprising how that offers a non-threatening first step towards more strategic planning.)
How can SEO's help YOU - content strategists? What are some things we should know that would make us more empathetic to your challenges?
Hi Dan – really, the best thing you can do is reach out to a CS and say, "Look, here are my objectives, here's why, and here's what I'm doing to succeed at them." A big part of any CS job is to synthesize a variety of content initiatives throughout an organization ... providing input about your activities and success metrics is really important part of making sure that person is working to help you fill in any knowledge gaps that could help YOU do your job better!
It's like one big content group hug!!
Hi, Do you know of any metrics that could help generate trended content that sells your business. Keeping in mind your content shouldn't really be commercial! your thoughts would be appreciated!
You mention the difference between content marketing and content strategy. How can we as a community better evangelise and educate people about the difference between the two, and get this graph of trends to converge? http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=content strategy, content marketing
Ed, I'll be blunt and say that I'm pretty pessimistic about ever getting these two trends aligned. Most marketers aren't paid to work on strategies—they're paid for getting tactical initiatives done, for showing short-term results, for launching things that are "new and innovative!!!!" Content strategy is decidedly unsexy work, and it takes time. And money. And, at the enterprise level, executive sponsorship. These things are hard to come by.
Content marketing is just the new term for doing what we've always tried to do: deliver smart, relevant, interesting, entertaining, useful information where and when our customers want it most. Websites. Blogging. Search engines. YouTube. Facebook. It's all the same damn thing, and it requires some serious resources to get it done right. But putting that infrastructure in place is messy and political. Instead, let's just talk about 5 Ways to Engage Your Audience Through Content Marketing.
Man, "content marketing" really sets me off. Let me be clear: there are people doing outstanding work in this area of marketing. I'd guess they don't really call what they're doing "content marketing," though. They might call it "executing a content strategy." Just saying.
Truth. Geez... this really puts it into perspective.
Hi Kristina. What would your approach be to a company that is anti-theory? That is, how would you engage with a client that wants to boost engagement, but would run a mile if they were presented with, sometimes, quite abstract notions of content strategy?
Sometimes I find the culture of content strategy quite abstract and unhinged from practical application...
so how do you influence at a fundamental level a culture that is anti-theory?
OMG I LOVE THIS QUESTION.
First of all, DO NOT SPEAK OF THEORY. Ever. Ask good questions that point to content challenges. Point people to practical seminars on content strategy (e.g. "here is how to do a messaging architecture" or "here is what governance looks like in a large organization"). Describe CS as a way to create a shared language and framework for working through content problems, and as a way to build out common principles and processes for making content work for your company.
Secondly, can you give me some examples of how you feel like the CS culture is "unhinged from practical application"? I will point you in the direction of a different CS culture ... one that wants to get good work DONE. :)
Hi Kristina! So excited you're here :-)
1) How did you get your start in marketing? What do you think are the catalysts/motivators/traits that led to such a prolific and impressive career?
2) Do you have some favorite examples of organizations doing creative content marketing?
3) I've always been challenged to define precisely what content marketing means (especially where it begins and ends). It seems that one could say that everything produced by a company is content - the product, the values, the social media updates, the advertising, the public statements, etc. Do you use a very broad definition or do you try to make it more narrow?
Hey, thanks for stopping by! Here are some attempted answers:
1) I got my start in marketing at a small cellular phone company (when phones were still the size of bricks) (I was 12!) (not really). They were doing all these direct mail pieces that really sucked. I finally was like, GIVE ME THAT, and rewrote one. It had a terrific response. So they basically said, here, you write all the stuff now. And that pretty much describes every job I had after that one: I was opinionated and bossy, and kept taking on more responsibilities, mostly ones that people handed off just so I would shut up.
Catalysts for my career (which, thank you for those kind descriptors):
- Wanting to buy a new car. I majored in theater, and it turns out working in the theater doesn't often equal a livable paycheck. (See: cell phone job.)
- Getting fired right after September 11. (See: bossy and opinionated.) People essentially stopped hiring, so I had to make up my own job. I knew just enough about a lot of things to be dangerous, so I hit on copywriting as one thing I felt confident doing. That worked out prettyw ell.
- Working on tons of website projects where the content was just a total eleventh-hour sh*tshow (to coin Karen McGrane's term). Like so many others, I was an accidental content strategist.
- Most importantly: meeting so many amazing individuals who are SO SMART and SO FUN and SO HARDWORKING. Really I just wanted to keep up with them, which means I have kept very busy. :)
2) No. People ask me this all the time, and I just don't. I need to get a good answer. Do you?!
3) I think I said this earlier, and I just made it up, but I kinda like it: Content marketing is multichannel custom publishing. Whaddaya say?
1) That was awesome - worth the price of admission alone :-)
2) I'm working on a list! I'll definitely publish a blog post about it at some point (so meta!)
3) 10/10 for brevity, I should have asked about "content strategy" which you eloquently defined above.
2. Re: folks doing creative content marketing, I have some recommendations:
Crutchfield (full disclosure: I used to work there) — Okay maybe not "super innovative!!" but solid, incredibly useful content (for those in the market for electronics). See: http://www.crutchfield.com/App/Learn/default.aspx
Mindtouch — They create a yearly list of the "most influential technical communicators." The list gets tweeted again and again. Oh and it just HAPPENS to comprise their target market. Very creative and smart. See: http://www.mindtouch.com/blog/2013/04/04/2013-influencers-in-techcomm/
Also, check out Chief Content Officer magazine. It's full of good stuff. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/chief-content-officer/
I just want to say that it's so great to have a strong, smart, female role model right here in town! As a woman in tech, I'm always excited to see the great things other women are doing.
How do you balance between privacy concerns, and the need for real user data? How do you get a professional, highly educated audience to participate in surveying/other data collection that would help understand web analytics and if content is useful and meaningful?
Thanks for this question. Unfortunately, I don't think I can answer it without really understanding more about what you're trying to achieve with the data you're gathering. I guess I'd say that the real question is, which tools are going to feel the safest for the audience you're approaching? For example, I will happily talk to a company I know and do business with via email, or I will even fill out a survey for them if they send me an email with the link. However, I have never (and will never) answer a pop-up request to participate in a survey when I visit a website.
I guess I'm looking for the why behind my what. Is my content useful to my audience.
Yes. Only research and conversation with your customers will help you understand for sure!
Also, I failed to thank you for your kind comments about my role as a "woman in tech"—I do my best. :)
OK Inbound friends—have to step away for a few hours. I can tell I'll be up late tonight answering all your amazing questions, though! Stay tuned...
Thanks Kristina - I'll update the community alert :)
How far along is the content strategy industry with metrics? I see a of work produced by content strategists that have the wrong metrics identified or they're flat-out missing metrics. Now, having read your book (it's right next to me as we speak, actually), I know that metrics should be a part of any content strategist's plan.
When you talk with content strategy folks, do you get the sense that both content and metrics are embraced equally, or are certain strategies within the discipline evolving at different rates?
Josh, there is an ongoing discussion in the CS community (and beyond, of course) about the importance of quantitative data—not only collecting it, but ensuring you're gathering the *right* kind of data, and that you're applying smart analysis to it.
The tougher area to discuss is "qualitative metrics"—figuring out how to measure whether or not content is any good, in general. And that is something that's always going to be under discussion. The nature of anything that's qualitative is that it's subject to opinion.
Side rant: my opinion is that we're all constantly looking for "best practices" to model our work on because, ultimately, we're wishing for a "one-size-fits-all" set of metrics. "What's everyone else doing? Let's benchmark against that." This seems like lazy thinking to me. What's working great for one company may very well make NO SENSE WHATSOEVER for you. Get aligned on your own objectives and desired outcomes, and get to work on figuring out which tools in your tactical toolbox make sense to use.
That's kind of the sense I get. Thanks for your insight, Kristina. We should grab coffee sometime and I can share with you some of the things we've been doing around qualitative data, task completion, and satisfaction.
Hi Kristina! Great of you to offer to answer in this community. Was curious if you have any data supporting length of content for ranking purposes. I've read a few case studies and hope to put together my own case study suggesting the length of content is often proportional to the success of it in driving traffic to your site from organic search. Would love to hear your thoughts and/or stats on the topic. Here's the original article that got my wheels turning.... http://thinktraffic.net/proof-that-epic-content-works
Hi, Kaila – you know, I'm sorry, but I don't. I think that's likely a subjective metric based on audience preference, channel, topic, frequency of posts, and so on. If you come across anything, let me know ... I'd be curious to hear more.
Thanks for doing this!
My question is: How do you factor competitors into content strategy? Technically, "strategy" in a classical sense is about creating a sustainable competitive advantage, but I don't hear people talk realistically about competing with content in markets where competitors are actively dedicated to content strategy too. How do you suggest creating content "strongholds?"
1. What are the common elements I should consider when writing a content strategy?
I figure channels (where to get traffic), customer segment, goals, and timing. Anything else?
2. What do you use to communicate strategy? Powerpoint? Is there a framework or template you like?
What do you make of Coca Cola's ahhhh campaign? Brave branded entertainment or a temporary suspension from TV?
When we talk about great content and effectual content marketing, we tend to get caught up in the better known brands that do things well (your AirBnB neighborhoods and Coca Colas, for example). Do you have any examples of really great content strategies being run at a smaller or local level? You know, people doing well without huge marketing budgets. Thanks!
Asking for a friend ;)What is your strategy for getting all shareholders in an organization on board with the *same* content strategy? Let's pretend you have a developer, a designer, a group of web editors, an SEO analyst and a brand communications manager who all have competing priorities and are all very protective of their "territory." Now that the marketing manager has bought into the idea of hiring a content strategist - what are your best methods of getting everyone to work together?
Thanks in advance for your thoughts. What is the best way to coordinate content enterprise wide across an organization? We have a lot of contributors, but it doesn't seem like everyone talks to one another. What is the best content strategy for a large organization?
1. Now that everyone is content marketing, how can smaller brands that are less trusted get cut through?
2. You're almost run out of budget on a specific piece. What do you invest your last £££ in?
P.S: The book has been v. useful so cheers for that :-)
My biggest challenge is localization. The big companies I've worked for start with English and then translates to other languages. I think it's just too expensive to have dedicated teams in all the countries we support, so we have sub teams. <rant> And I can't tell you how much I hate to be limited in English because it won't translate well in ten other languages. </rant>
Oh Jim, I feel your pain. I wish I had some easy answers about localization—I've heard a few terrific presentations on how ecommerce companies have expanded, but you're right, everyone starts in English. Let's hope those who are doing it in new ways that *won't* limit you step up and share their successes, and soon!
Thanks for taking the time to do an AMA :-)
What 3 pieces of content have blown you away recently? What were they about, what type/style of content (e.g. blog post, infographic, etc.) and what made them so special in your eyes?
Having followed and been part of content strategy myself since 2008 - I would love to know what your take is on the explosion of content marketing over the last few months.... is it a good thing or bad thing?
I have heard and read so many posts about this "new" channel of marketing and so much of it is quite "thin" in its context (I have found myself recommending your book so many times, I should be on commission :-) ).
I have concerns over the web becoming awash with "content" for content sake and many brands not using metrics to truly measure whether the content they are pumping out is successful or not... be good to hear what you have to say!
What I have to say is: I agree with you on all of this. I mean, I'm glad people are talking about "content", and I am VERY glad that people are starting to talk about the necessary tools (e.g. editorial calendars, style guides, new roles within organizations) that are required to do content right. But I hate the articles that are like "5 ways to attract new customers using compelling content"—that just muddies the waters, because of the things you articulate above.
Another question, Kristina:
You mentioned several months ago via Twitter that if someone wants to start a much-needed content strategy business, they should open a content auditing agency. Why? And have you seen a shift toward this since?
Hi Kristina, any advice on training new hires in content marketing strategy from scratch?
Hey folks—thank you so much for all of your terrific questions here today. I'm sorry I couldn't answer every last one of them! If you have any particular subjects you'd like to see me expand on, please list them here, and I will work it into my blog editorial calendar ... which I intend to create this week, in the spirit of "walking the walk." Ahem.
In the interim, I will be momentarily, unabashedly self-promotional and encourage you to get ahold of a copy of my book, Content Strategy for the Web (2nd ed. co-authored by Melissa Rach). We've received a LOT of anecdotal feedback from companies of all sizes saying it's been a great internal sales tool for getting people on board with content strategy. Also it's red, which will help people understand that CS is VERY IMPORTANT. #bookcoverstrategy
Thanks again for the invitation, and keep waving the CS flag!
Hi Kristina. Does that mean you won't be coming back to answer the few that are left up to this point at least? That's a shame...
Keep calm and subscribe to her blog: http://blog.braintraffic.com/author/kristina-halvorson/
She may be answering the unanswered questions in upcoming blog posts.
Hehe :-) It's just that in all the previous AMAs so far, the people have made the effort to answer all questions, even come back and answer more. So it's a shame to see so many go unanswered.
Steve - we're lucky to have such a shear number of questions answered in any case!
Follow @halvorson - I'm sure she'll cover some of the bigger topics sometime soon
Hi Kristina, I hope I am not late to ask a question.
One of the biggest problem faced in content creation is finding a topic, asking a content writer to write on technical topic is an over estimation of his abilities, and promoting a technical website without them is impossible. Should we go after the developers to start writing blog posts for us.
Shucks. Hopefully this makes the editorial calendar because I read through all the comments to see if anyone brought it up...I am interested in understand how a brand voice guideline works hand in hand in a content strategy and content marketing. It seems to me with so many competing voices/intiatives in the company that those voices get lost in the mediums unless they are united by a tuned brand voice.
You sparked the thought by talking about the board room "Come to Jesus" meeting between all the different marketing folks in a company. I immediately started thinking about brand voice...
1. What level of businesses (small, medium, large) need to be concerned with brand voice and how deliberate and thought out does it need to be?
2. Any best practices or "how to" guidelines you'd suggest in developing a brand voice guideline for small businesses? Medium? Large?
Any book recommendations would be awesome as well :)
Hello Kristina. First of, I want to thank you for giving such awesome insight about content strategy and content marketing. Got tons of golden nuggets from your replies (and the people engaging as well).
My question is, what are the 3 top most important elements of content marketing that marketers shouldn't ignore. And why? Thank you in advance for the answer.