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SEOChat on Content Marketing and SEO

Posted on Jan 14th, 2011
Written by Lee Odden
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    Ready to elevate your B2B brand?

    TopRank Marketing drives results with content, influencer, SEO & social media marketing.

    #seochatLast night I had the privilege of being the guest on #seochat – a fairly new but very active Twitter Chat that happens on Thursday nights at 8pm CT.  Twitter chats are familiar territory and can be very engaging, especially when they’re as well run as #seochat.  Thanks to @Dan_Patterson for inviting me.  You can read the whole transcript of our discussion on SEO and Content Marketing here.

    Besides the host being organized, one of the keys to a successful Twitter Chat is the prep done by the guest. Time goes by insanely fast when 10, 20 or a few hundred people are all tweeting to the same hashtag at the same time. I received questions in advance from Dan and then took the time to construct Twitter friendly replies in a text document including stats and links to supporting resources. Below are my prep notes on the topic of Content Marketing and SEO.

    Q1: What are the most effective forms of content marketing?

    The answer to “best content marketing” isn’t a silver bullet. However, it does involve personas, storytelling & crafting content designed to meet customer needs. For a pretty good post on developing personas: Developing Personas for Better Social Media Marketing.

    The best content marketing has a purpose in mind for a particular audience and an outcome or objective according to customer preferences.  This is somewhat in contrast to a lot of SEO work which tends to focus on optimizing existing content to appear where customers are looking. The good news is that working together, Content Marketing and SEO amplifies effectiveness and becomes a competitive advantage.

    Format-wise, effective content marketing tactics might be text or video or interactive or audio or print or more likely a combination according to the point in the buying cycle that the marketer is trying to engage.

    Regarding matching content types with touchpoints in the buying cycle, check this post: Customer Life Cycle & Content Marketing.

    Q2: After blogging, what’s the next best way to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry?

    I think there are many ways to do that, but here are 3:

    1. As the name “thought leader” implies, being able to communicate original ideas and take a position on important topics – consistently.
    2. “Act the part”: This isn’t my thing, but I’ve seen many people act is if they were in a thought leader position from day one and their confidence spread and people accepted them according the that behavior. Fortunately and unfortunately, perception is reality.
    3. “Birds of a feather, flock together”: Being on lists along with established thought leaders influences the perception that you belong.

    Also, media coverage from relevant industry publications and mentions by other influentials is very effective for building credibility and authority. This assumes the coverage is positive or complimentary of course 🙂

    Networking is key. For example: Getting kudos from a keynote speaker in front of a room with a few thousand people is priceless credibility during a conference.

    Q3: How has content marketing changed in the last few years? How do you think it’ll change in the next two?

    Content marketing as a way to reach customers, especially in the long sales cycles of the B2B space has been around quite a while.  Print newsletters, magazines and even TV and radio have been used as content marketing by brands. For example, P&G pioneered the soap opera. General Mills owns radio stations. American Express owns multiple print magazines.

    Joe Pulizzi popularized the idea of “content marketing” a few years ago with his book, “Get Customers Get Content“.  Another fantastic content marketing book is “Content Rules” by Ann Handley and CC Chapman.

    Be sure to check the Content Marketing Institute site for great Content Marketing resources. Of course, Online Marketing Blog’s Content Marketing category is pretty good too 🙂

    As for the future of Content Marketing, 51% of B2B marketers plan to spend more money on content marketing in 2011 according to a study by CMI. Here’s a link to the full B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budget & Trends report.

    Content Marketing as a practice has been adopted by many digital marketers and it’s the glue of both SEO and Social Media. In terms of how content marketing will change: more companies will adopt a position of “brand as publisher”. Companies will increasingly incorporate content publishing within their marketing mix. This will result in far more content than anyone will every be able to consume in a 100 lifetimes, so over-saturation is inevitable.

    Content curation will increase in importance since a lot of companies won’t be able to afford to produce as much content as they need to be competitive. It’s also an effective way to serve as a filter to the sheer volume of content being produced. Being a destination news source is an efficient method of creating connections with potential customers and such curation is a key part of content marketing strategy.

    Q4: What are the best ways to market content across multiple channels?

    A content marketing strategy that leverages a mix of distribution channels is how to extend reach. But the mix has to be relevant to the audiences as well as the influencers that will propagate. Here’s a specific presentation on that: 10 Steps to Better Content Marketing & SEO.  Also, check out the hub and spoke publishing model we practice for ourselves and for our clients:

    Q5: How do you keep your content from being ruined by SEO, but still be effective for SEO?

    Great content and SEO is art and science – something we aspire to @TopRank.  It takes real talent to create keyword inspired content that resonates with specific customer needs and interests. Optimizing existing content just isn’t in the same league as being able to develop and implement a content marketing strategy in alignment with both keywords and great content.

    A must visit resource on learning how to write engaging copy that’s also keyword optimized is this SEO Copywriting online course from Heather Lloyd Martin. One of my Account Managers, Ken Horst took and reviewed that course here.

    Thanks again to #seochat for hosting me. There were a flurry of tweets and it was hard to keep up.