After the great opening session on an Introduction to PPC by Guy Levine, next up was Content Marketing Optimisation with Lee Odden. This session was rammed to the brim with many people having to sit on the floor around the room as all the available seats disappeared pretty quickly.

Lee started off his session by telling the room the biggest lie about was “build it and they will come.”
“If you have great content you need to set it free.”
He then goes on to real off some stats about sharing content, saying that 70% of UK users interact with social platforms… that’s a lot of shared content. Making your content share-able is even more important because search is becoming more and more social, first with universal search in 2007 and now with the various social signals being included in the algorithms just goes to show how important sociable content is.

The first part of this talk is quite stat heavy & Lee is rattling through them at quite a pace but another stat that stood out was that 85% of UK marketers think that content marketing is quite or extremely important; however, only 52% of them actually have a content strategy in place.

9 out of 10 B2B marketers use content, with the most popular tactics being:

  • Social media (79%)
  • Articles (78%)
  • Events (62%)
  • Newsletters (61%)
  • Blogs (51%)

“Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”
Next Lee mentioned that you need to keep an eye on what’s right for you and your customers. A lot of people are just seeing what other people are doing and doing the same because they think they should.

At this point of the talk Lee made me very hungry by sharing the ‘Peanut butter & jelly (jam) sandwich’ analogy, whereby SEO is the peanut butter, social media is the jelly and content is the bread surrounding them. There was more to this and I was listening, but if I’m honest I did for a split second daydream about the lunch that was coming up next.

Brands are now publishers – they publish their content in different formats so that customers know about their brand and products. A good example of this is the Ford Story site, this originally started out as a press database however users can now interact and be social on it, Ford have realised that there are different touch points in the customer journey, and that they are not just interested in the end funnel. They’re looking at what happens before and after the visitor converts? They are trying to keep the value online through their published content, that way it keeps the contact online helping to build a relationship between the brand and the customer. Hopefully that way the customer moves on to becoming a brand advocate.

There have been changes in the information gathering stage of the buying cycle, people are now more social and will ask friends for their opinions on things, if you educate/ inform customers and that will make you successful.
Lee goes on to say that because of the content on Toprank they now have over 25k unique keywords a month driving traffic and hundreds of thousands of links to the site.

Marketers should audit what they already have, is there any offline content that could come online? Are there any training/ promo videos that be put up via a YouTube channel? What about your brand guidelines? Make sure they are SEO friendly, doesn’t have to be anything really complex just make sure that anything published online covers the basic SEO ideas.

When creating content Lee tells the audience to look at what their respective customer personas are, what are their preferences? How do they find new content? What type of content are they looking at? How do they share that content, what social media tools do they use? You can collect all the data via surveys, web analytics & conversion data, segment it and create customer profiles. Identify keyword clusters for each segment. And once you have it you can make sure that your Facebook, Twitter profiles etc. are as they should be.

Lee talks about how marketers also need to be aware of which channel could work best for their content, he says that StumbleUpon users may like more image heavy content whereas Delicious users might prefer wordier topics that they bookmark and the go back to read later.

Hub & spoke publishing is a strategy that Lee promotes, saying that the content should be at the centre of the ‘wheel’ with the various different channels at the end of each ‘spoke’, people shouldn’t concentrate on just a couple of channels otherwise how are people supposed to find the content?

Lee also spoke quite a lot about repurposing content whereby you could for example, upload a video to YouTube, and then include it in a blog post about the subject. He also mentioned that you could take stills from the video and upload them to your image stream on Flickr or even transcribe the video content into other blog posts.
“The more content you make, the more money you make.”
Another content strategy that Lee discussed was content curation, whereby you find topics based on your interested keywords and then bring them all together curating the information. He also highlighted potential duplication issues and stressed that everything should obviously be referenced correctly and that any curation strategy should involve the curator adding value to the pieces and not simply regurgitating the original content.

Lee finished the session by saying that creating content takes a lot of resources, whether it be in house or outsourced and as curation can be done on limited resources he thought the best approaches utilised both aspects and used them to their advantage.

Matt Hopson (21 Posts)

Matt has managed PPC campaigns for over 5 years for a large selection of clients including large travel companies through to retail & a number of charitable organisations.