14 Content Marketing Tips From The Pros

Con­tent mar­ket­ing allows brands to tell their own sto­ries and to own the con­ver­sa­tion by putting con­sumers at the cen­ter of the uni­verse.

Lisa Lacy By Lisa Lacy. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Con­tent mar­ket­ing allows brands to not only tell their own sto­ries, but to actu­al­ly own the con­ver­sa­tion. And pro­vid­ed the con­tent they cre­ate is rel­e­vant, it can eas­i­ly be repur­posed much like a Thanks­giv­ing turkey. That’s accord­ing to a slew of experts who spoke at Dig­i­tal Sum­mit Phoenix last week. In addi­tion, they say brands should not be afraid to show a lit­tle per­son­al­i­ty in their social and dig­i­tal con­tent and to look to search queries for guid­ance about what con­sumers want. These tips and more fol­low.

Tip 1: Become The Media

Jason Miller, senior man­ag­er of con­tent mar­ket­ing at LinkedIn, took a page from music his­to­ry and point­ed to punk rock­ers from New York and Eng­land that couldn’t get the press to pay atten­tion to them in the Dis­co era.

They became so out­landish and made peo­ple pay atten­tion,” he said, quot­ing anoth­er musi­cian, Jel­lo Biafra, who said, “Don’t hate the media, become the media.”

This is what we can do right now,” Miller added. “You don’t have to hate the media or have a huge PR push. You can tell your own sto­ry and own your own inten­tion. You have time to tell your own sto­ry. You can start this morn­ing and make an impact this after­noon.”

Tip 2: Get Relevant Content Out There

If 90 per­cent of the buy­ing cycle is done before a con­sumer is ready to talk to a sales per­son, brand­ed con­tent should be out there – and opti­mized – for said con­sumer to find.

We don’t need more con­tent, we need more rel­e­vant con­tent,” Miller said, not­ing search engines have killed con­tent farms, but they weren’t help­ing any­one any­way.

A search engine’s job is to serve rel­e­vant con­tent and a con­tent marketer’s job is to [cre­ate] rel­e­vant con­tent,” Miller added.

Tip 3: Create A Big Rock Piece Of Content

Accord­ing to Miller, a Big Rock Piece of Con­tent is “a sub­stan­tial piece of con­tent, like a video, ebook or what­ev­er. But if you want to own the con­ver­sa­tion, you have to have a stake in the ground.”

In LinkedIn’s case, the Big Rock Piece of Con­tent that put its stake in the ground is the 65-page Sophis­ti­cat­ed Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn. It includes third-par­ty inter­views and the like to add val­i­da­tion because “we want [read­ers] to con­sume this and [if they are read­ing] on a mobile device, [we want them to] come back when they’re ready.”

Tip 4: Repurpose Content Like Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey

That means once the stake is in the ground with the Big Rock Piece of Con­tent, it can be sliced up just like a turkey into oth­er types of con­tent such as slide pre­sen­ta­tions, blogs, info­graph­ics, webi­na­rs, and videos.

Use turkey slices to fuel your con­tent hubs,” Miller said. “One big raw piece of con­tent can be sliced and diced. Repur­pose, repur­pose, and repur­pose some more.”

Tip 5: The Blog Is The Social Media Rug That Ties The Room Together

Acknowl­edg­ing “the blog is not the sex­i­est piece of social media,” Miller said it allows brands to divvy up con­tent into “blog­ging food groups” and serve con­sumers “a steady diet of qual­i­ty con­tent.”

Much like the same food diet every day bores the taste buds, so, too, does the same con­tent diet bore con­sumers. That’s why Miller divides con­tent into the fol­low­ing food groups:

  • Raisin Bran Con­tent, which is easy to dish out and helps ease con­sumers into your con­tent, is good for Mon­days.
  • Spinach Con­tent, which pro­vides a bit more to chew on and includes more thought lead­er­ship pieces, is best served Tues­days.
  • Roast Con­tent fol­lows on Wednes­days. “That’s a sub­stan­tial piece of con­tent,” Miller said. “You want to own the con­ver­sa­tion with the Roast.”
  • Tabas­co Con­tent comes on Thurs­days. That’s the kind of con­tent that lights a fire, takes an opin­ion and gets peo­ple talk­ing, Miller said.
  • Choco­late Cake Con­tent is for Fri­days. That’s fun con­tent that “sends [con­sumers] into the week­end with a smile to start the process all over again [on Mon­day].”

Tip 6: Inject Your Personality Into Your Content

Cit­ing his own blog posts like, 10 Hys­ter­i­cal­ly Fun­ny Reviews of Led Zep­pelin IV By 10 Peo­ple Who Hate It and 5 Con­tent Mar­ket­ing Lessons from Guns ‘N’ Ros­es, Miller said, “We inject­ed per­son­al­i­ty into the con­tent and [con­sumers] want­ed to come back.”

The lat­ter even inspired a tweet from the band itself.

Tip 7: Emulate Kiss

The four mem­bers of the band Kiss work togeth­er to deliv­er an amaz­ing prod­uct, as should any brand, Miller said.

Like each band mem­ber, SEO lays the ground­work, social fuels the con­tent, con­tent fuels demand gen­er­a­tion, and demand gen­er­a­tion ties every­thing togeth­er, he added.

[Kiss] con­sis­tent­ly [deliv­ers] con­tent that their fans want to con­sume and share,” Miller not­ed.

In addi­tion, they built a thriv­ing com­mu­ni­ty in the Kiss Army, Miller said.

[The Kiss Army] could be called the best com­mu­ni­ty in the world,” Miller said. “They con­sume con­tent and feel like they won’t be let down by the content…if you don’t have com­mu­ni­ty, you don’t real­ly have any­thing.”

Tip 8: Use LinkedIn

One out of three pro­fes­sion­als on the plan­et is on LinkedIn and with 332 mil­lion mem­bers world­wide, Miller said, “This is this place to be if you’re a con­tent mar­keter.”

What’s more, LinkedIn con­tent pages receive sev­en times the page views its job pages do, which, he not­ed, makes for “a prime oppor­tu­ni­ty to cre­ate con­tent and do it well.”

Tip 9: Optimize Your Content

You might be pro­duc­ing con­tent, but you’re still shoot­ing your­self in the foot if you’re not opti­miz­ing prop­er­ly,” says Arnie Kuenn, CEO of con­tent mar­ket­ing agency Ver­ti­cal Mea­sures. “If you con­fuse Google, you will lose.”

Tip 10: Add Fresh Content

Accord­ing to Kuenn, Google knows that most blogs and web­sites “start off with a bang” and fail a few months lat­er.

It is smart enough to watch and make sure [the site is] adding fresh con­tent,” he added.

Tip 11: Use Google Autocomplete And Suggested Related Queries For New Content Ideas

Social is great shar­ing tool, but when con­sumers want to buy some­thing, they go online and do research. And 86 per­cent of con­sumers con­duct non-brand­ed queries, Kuenn said.

What’s more, every year, the search query gets a lit­tle longer. Plus, con­sumers are now speak­ing into their phones to ask ques­tions. This means brands need to pro­vide con­tent that cus­tomers are search­ing for. And brands are get­ting addi­tion­al clues in these increas­ing­ly longer queries.

So, Kuenn sug­gest­ed, go to Google and start a search and see what comes up in Auto­com­plete for what con­sumers are already look­ing for and cre­ate con­tent that answers those ques­tions. Plus, there are even more sug­ges­tions at the bot­tom of page, which, again, gives even more oppor­tu­ni­ties for brands to cre­ate con­tent con­sumers are actu­al­ly search­ing for.

Tip 12: Know Your Audience

Using the exam­ple of Malaysia Air­lines, which had recent­ly had mul­ti­ple acci­dents, Andy Beal, CEO of social media mon­i­tor­ing tool Track­ur, point­ed to the brand’s My Ulti­mate Buck­et List pro­mo­tion as a good exam­ple of a brand that cre­at­ed con­tent with­out think­ing about its audi­ence.

You have to under­stand: Will this res­onate with our audi­ence? Will they rebel against it? What will they think?” Beal asked. “And the audi­ence is beyond just your cus­tomer base. What will oth­ers think?”

He also point­ed to GoDad­dy’s 2015 Super Bowl ad, which inad­ver­tent­ly pro­mot­ed pup­py mills, say­ing, “They didn’t con­sid­er the wider audi­ence.”

Tip 13: The Consumer Is The Center Of The Universe

As mar­keters, we have to make sure we’re talk­ing to [con­sumers] where and when they are and in the right, rel­e­vant way that offers a val­ue exchange,” said Kate Watts, man­ag­ing direc­tor of dig­i­tal agency Huge.

That means con­stant­ly think­ing about how con­sumers engage online and how a brand can engage with its audi­ence in ways that make sense, she added.

Tip 14: Show, Don’t Tell

Devices like iPhones and GoPros make is easy for brands to shoot high-qual­i­ty video that shows con­sumers what­ev­er a brand wants to get across, said Rob Humphrey, glob­al senior mar­ket­ing man­ag­er at LinkedIn. That means brands need sim­ply to find the right sto­ries and tell them.

Lisa Lacy

Written by Lisa Lacy

Lisa is a senior features writer for Inked. She also previously covered digital marketing for Incisive Media. Her background includes editorial positions at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, AOL, Amazon, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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