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Online Student Again Part 5: Content Marketing: Wait, didn’t I hear about this a year ago? 

"We have a sound content marketing strategy! PR, marketing, IT, the social media team, and the content strategy team all pitched in! It's gonna work!" says Don Draper.
“We have a sound content marketing strategy! PR, marketing, IT, the social media team, and the content strategy team all pitched in! It’s gonna work!” says Don Draper.

Almost exactly a year ago, I returned from a conference that changed a lot about the way I think about content. It was the 2014 Intelligent Content Conference (ICC2014). My brain soaked in a lot of information, and new friends and networking connections were made during that trip. (Good times!)

One major point–which is also a big focus of this year’s 2015 Intelligent Content Conference–was that content marketing was the next big focus item. Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) gave a keynote that compelled content strategists at the ICC2014 for us to consider embracing marketers and work together toward tearing down the silos so that we could share skillsets to create better content to promote goods and services. In other words, we should all be shifting towards being content marketers. It made sense, but it was overwhelming for me.

Fast forward to a year later, and here I am now, taking my digital marketing coursework, and this week’s module was about content marketing. Ooh boy. Here we go. The very reason that I’m taking this coursework in the first place–to have a deeper understanding of digital marketing, what content marketing is, and how I can try to fit into it my skill set going forward.

The instructor for this module was Greg Jarboe, a well-known YouTube guru and president of SEO-PR, a content marketing agency which has worked with several well-known brands. While I hadn’t seen Mr. Jarboe present before, his name rings a bell, and I don’t know why. Hmm.

Anyway, Mr. Jarboe’s lecture was enlightening, enjoyable, and took some of my anxieties away.  While content marketing is still a little overwhelming because of the scale of all of it, I came away with six main points that I’d heard before in content strategy, but hit home for me for content marketing.

1) Content needs to be relevant and have value for the end user. This seems obvious, but it’s generally overlooked.

2) Storytelling works. People are drawn in by stories, not jingles or catch-phrases. This is how blogging for a company actually can have some big benefits. (Yay!)

3) Tear down the silos by working with other departments, such as marketing, IT, public relations, etc. Gee, I’ve definitely heard that multiple times in last two years on the content strategy side!

4) A structured, documented content strategy is necessary to build for success. Like we content strategists didn’t already know this one!

5) Measurable metrics for ROI based on outcomes, like website traffic is up, sales, sales leads, customer retention, higher conversion rates, etc.  The first thing that came to my mind was good ol’ Mark Lewis with XML Metrics as a start. Mr. Jarboe took this a step further from a marketing perspective.  An easy way to do this is to track what you do! Measure URL hits against results using special URLs from the Google URL generator. For example, create a special URL for a promotion, and measure number of clicks to that special URL against sales results during that time period. (Makes sense!)

6) Brand recognition is not the goal anymore; generating leads and sales is. This makes sense too. I’ve learned from marketing this blog that once you knew my “brand” of TechCommGeekMom, then it’s been up to me to keep you coming back. While my “product” at this point it sharing information that I think is relevant in the tech comm world at large,  I want you to keep coming back and sharing your experiences and interests with me as well.

So there you have it. I think from a content strategist’s point of view, these are easy to understand and remember. The trick is, going back to point #3, is that it’s good to have more than one perspective working on content marketing. By combining the different “superpowers” from various groups, a great content marketing strategy can result. I think if I can keep these basics in mind, I might just have a chance at finding a content marketing position if the opportunity arises.

Do you think I’m leaving any basics out? Let me know in the comments.

Next module up is called, “Personalized Digital Experiences”. Again, this is another topic that I know I’ve heard before several times in content strategy, so it’ll be interesting to hear how digital marketing approaches the same topic.

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Want to go to the 2015 Intelligent Content Conference? Here’s $100 for you!

ICC_Affiliate_300x250I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I went to the Intelligent Content Conference in San Jose, California at Scott Abel‘s invitation. To say the least, I have to say I had a marvelous time. This is a conference that focuses on content strategy, and all the presentations were loaded with information that either reinforced what I had already learned, or introduced new ideas and concepts on the subject. The thing I liked about it was that it really had something for everyone at all professional levels–even for somebody like me who still considers herself a newbie.  I also met a lot of new professional contacts who specialize in content strategy–a real “who’s who” of content strategy attended. Over the past year, I’ve learned a great amount from each of these experts and have been able to apply much of what I’ve learned to my job. (That’s important!)

This year, the Intelligent Content Conference  (ICC) changed hands from the Rockley Group to the Content Marketing Institute. But fret not! Ann Rockley and Scott Abel are still very much involved with ICC, but now attendees have the added bonus of the know-how of the Content Marketing Institute and the wisdom of Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi! Joe spoke as a keynote speaker at last year’s ICC, and he was fantastic, presenting the concepts of content marketing to this content strategy crowd. The merging of these two groups will open up new doors connecting content strategists and content marketers, and it should be great!

The Intelligent Content Conference  is in San Francisco, California this year, and will be held on March 23-25, 2015. It looks like it’s going to be a great conference, and a nice time of year in San Francisco, too!

Alas, due to timing, I can’t go. (Awwww.) I’m immensely disappointed, that I can tell you. But, don’t let that stop you from going if you can! I’ve been in contact with the good folks at the Content Marketing Institute, and they let me know that if you click on the image at the top of this post, or use the image on the right sidebar of this blog, and use the code TCGM100, you can get a $100 discount on your registration. How cool is that? “Ka-ching” for you!

So, what are you waiting for? Go click on the image now, and check out what ICC has to offer this year (which is a LOT!), and register now!