In this week’s episode of Content Marketing NEXT, I talk with Andy Crestodina, Co-Founder and Strategic Director of Orbit Media Studios, a web design and development agency located in Chicago, Illinois. Andy’s presentation at Content Marketing World 2014, Content Marketing 201: Optimized and Advanced Analytics, was standing room only, a testament to his knowledge and ability to take an often-confusing topic and make it easy for anyone, at any level to digest. He has written literally hundreds of guest blogs and is the first to say this content tactic is not only alive and well, but that each of us should consider doing more of it.
What’s new, what’s now, what’s next
In a word: Mobile. Andy shares that his clients are seeing more than 50% of searches coming from a mobile device. There are two big implications for marketers:
- You need to modify content for mobile devices. (In fact, Orbit Media now only works in responsive design.)
- You need to focus on faster site speed. Since sites tend to generally load slower on mobile devices, Andy and his team need to be ready to do what they can to alleviate this challenge for their clients.
Natural language search is also the most current successful form of search on the web. Because people are searching in full sentences or questions, content should be created in the same way. Try this: Write out customer questions in plain English and then write out the answers in plain English as well. This will increase the chance that your content will more closely align with what your future customer is searching for.
The volume of content on blogs is exploding every day. So, content creators who spend more time with their content tend to see a greater return. Content formats such as case studies and research that take longer to produce, are more in-depth in quality, and are longer in form tend to be more interesting and have a higher qualified conversion for the audience.
Andy encourages content teams to ask these two questions when developing content ideas:
- What is the sales cycle of my product/service?
- What is the buying interval or how often does my customer purchase my product/service?
Tune your content to the sales cycle and buying intervals to better align what you have to say so it will be helpful to your prospects and current customers.
In terms of analytics, Andy encourages you to keep an eye on Google Tag Manager. This Google tool allows you to manage your tags and configure your mobile applications yourself with an easy-to-use interface. The potential of this tool could be a big game-changer for marketers.
Andy also believes people will continue to place more emphasis on higher value formats of content such as live events and podcasts. The live event format is so much more interesting and the quality of those connections is so much higher. With more content intake being done not only on mobile devices, but also on wearable technology and in car dashboards, podcasting as a content form will continue to be in demand.
Blast the buzzword
Andy’s Buzzword: Solutions
In Andy’s opinion, this word basically tags you as a salesperson. As soon as you say ‘solutions’ you sound like you’re pitching something. Even more important: Very few buyers ever use the word solutions, and it’s a terrible phrase for targeted search (not to mention that it’s meaningless jargon). There is almost always a shorter and more specific word that can be used. Talk like a person. Use natural language
In the hot seat
Here’s a recap of Andy’s hot-seat Q&A:
Q1: What innovation in the last five years has made your life as a content marketer better?
Andy thinks contributing to other people’s sites and guest blogging has made a big difference. Two-thirds of the articles written by Andy are on other people’s blogs. He has made so many friends and received so much benefit from the guest blogging process. By working with other editors, he also gets to see how they approach writing and continues to learn from these folks all the time. Content collaboration is the most fun he has had as a marketing professional.
Q2: What is the most valuable piece of advice you have been given, either personal or professionally? And who gave this advice to you?
Andy said his most valuable advice is to be empathetic. This key life lesson that was handed down from his mom is, obviously, very applicable to content marketing as it’s important to get into the mind and perspective of your audience.
Another important piece of professional advice comes from his friend, Ian Cleary, of Razor Social: “Get up early”. Get to bed early and get up early. When you get up early you should do something awesome before you check email. Do this every day, and you will improve your creativity and content output.
Q3: What book have you read that still stays with you today?
“Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty” by Patrick Lencioni. It really gets to the importance of collaboration and not fearing competition. It reminds us to have humility and honesty. Andy proclaims this book to be a fantastic, quick read that will remind you to be a real person regardless of the role you play in your organization.
Listen to Pamela’s full interview with Andy Crestodina here:
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Cover image courtesy of Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute