Calling Content Marketers! Vocus Users Group Recap: Lee Odden
Vocus kicked off its Friday's Vocus Users Conference schedule with a compelling and passionate speaker, Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, who discussed why PR people should care about content marketing and how to optimize content, search and social to drive business.
His talk centered around the intersection of PR and marketing, which is a topic near and dear to my heart since we've been touting this migration for years now. I was able to briefly speak to him before the session (thanks Frank Strong) and he is an early pioneer on the topic: he saw the need to incorporate search into public relations strategies over ten years ago. At SpeakerBox, we have seen first hand how the integration of marketing and commuincations discplines create better results, so it was a treat to learn more about his methodology and approach. The audience was captivated, one attendee actually tweeted:
@: I am too busy listening and taking notes to tweet often! Sign of a great presentation! @.
He has published a book, Optimize, which includes many of these best practices. I'll share some of the takeaways that I was able to capture in this session (full disclosure, if i paraphrase his points inaccurately or didn't capture the essense perfectly, I take full responsibility!):
It all starts with search: Again, he saw the connection years ago and now, with a stated 12 billion searches conducted monthly in Google, he hammers home the point about how people virtually always start with search when make buying decisions. Fleishman Hillard conducted a 2012 Digital Index Survey and found that 89% of purchases made initially started with search engines. So why should PR care about content marketing? Because content marketing is one of the only pure, authentic ways to drive search, especially with the new algorhythms Google continually improves. He even questions the audience, "what are you hiding from if you aren’t incorporating search into everything you do?"
Furthermore, as he relates search to the PR Professionals in the room, he cited a statistic that 95% of journalists use search in their research for sources, so being found for your area of expertise is critical in getting inbound journalist inquiries.
Search+Social+Content: A mantra that will not die, and shouldn't! We've been saying this for years, and we believe the combination of these three disciplines is what gets people to engage and convert. But content that is created must have a purpose, a strategy behind what's created and where it is distributed, etc. He spent a lot of time on this and shared many detailed methodologies which are also available in his book.
Don’t spray and pray: Be incredibly disciplined in the development of your content, what you say, what you deliver, and where you deliver it. He shared the term “Info-tain” which is the process of creating a positive, entertaining experience for those in the buying cycle. This could be in the development of infographs, videos, photos, etc., that entertain while they educate. But again, follow a plan to develop content your audience wants and plan the best way to deliver that content to your audience.
B2B is no different: When specifically treating B2B relationships, he states that the relationship building is even MORE important than perhaps on the B2C side, since he believes a "romance" has to happen in B2B for people to buy. Delivering right content is the right way at the right time is the key to making that happen.
Some other good nuggets, and tweetable soundbites (you can follow tweets from the conference at #vocus):
- Customers today pull themselves through 70% of the sales cycle. Be there with content for them while they are in that process.
- Content fuels the word of mouth that has been the best marketing engine since the dawn of conversation.
- Content marketing is not about you. It’s about your customers and what information they want to consume.
- After you know what your people want to hear through your content, how do you want them to feel? Don't leave out this important buying consideration.
- Don't forget to optimize your content (and your website), for mobile devices. Look at your analytics to determine what percentage of your inbound visitors are coming via mobile devices.
- Look at journalists like a customer. Consider it a successful sale if they write about you or your client in a positive way.
- Have a storyline for your tweets, otherwise it’s like a one-night stand!
And my favorite quote from him when asked by clients to get them into the Wall Street Journal..."well, first you have to deserve to be there!" Content can help make that happen.
--Elizabeth Shea @eliz2shea