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How To Do Content Strategy (Probably)40:13 with Kristina Halvorson
Put 10 people in a room and ask them to define 'content strategy,' and you’ll likely get 10 different answers. Kristina will share her own tried-and-true approach!
[MUSIC] 0:00 Hi, I asked if I could dress like a faerie sprite and 0:06 I could be just like coming out of the woods but they said no. 0:10 Also just wanted to clarify, brain traffic is a content strategy consultancy and 0:16 I'll explain a little bit more of why that is in just a minute. 0:20 So, I'm actually gonna get us back on track for time. 0:24 I have cut slides but I'm gonna give you a secret URL where not only can you 0:28 see those secret slides but you can download the whole PDF, right? 0:34 >> [APPLAUSE] >> You guys 0:39 were a whole lot less excited about that than I thought you were gonna be. 0:42 Okay, so just to provide a little bit of context for 0:46 my journey with content strategy. 0:50 In 2009 I wrote a book called Content Strategy for the Web. 0:53 And at the time there were maybe one or two other books about content strategy but 0:56 they were really scary to me. 1:00 They used a lot of big words and talked about things like XML and taxonomies, and 1:02 at the time I was a web copywriter and I was just like, those are, those scare me. 1:09 So what I wanted to do was I wanted to provide a really easy elevator 1:13 pitch for what I thought was a really important topic that nobody was really 1:18 talking about. 1:22 So this is what I came up with. 1:23 Content strategy is the practice for planning for 1:24 the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, useable content. 1:28 People seemed to like this, it was non scary, it was simple, it was to the point. 1:34 It helped people understand that oh yeah, content, people aren't coming to our 1:38 websites for the design or the flash or the interactive company history timeline. 1:43 So the other thing that content strategy did that I thought was important was that 1:50 it stepped us away from the what. 1:55 Right, the what are we gonna do is relatively straight forward conversation. 1:58 What are we gonna talk about? 2:03 What are we gonna build? 2:05 Is it gonna be a social media post? 2:06 Is it gonna be a video? 2:07 Is it gonna be a podcast? 2:08 Because if fact there are a whole host of other questions that we need to be 2:10 considering when we talk about our content. 2:15 Why are we doing this in the first place? 2:19 Is it for visibility on search engines? 2:21 Is it for links? 2:25 Is it because our customers have asked for it? 2:27 Because they need it? 2:30 Is it to promote our products and services? 2:31 Is it to build trust? 2:35 So, understanding specifically why and how that's related to our business goals and 2:38 our user needs is so critical and so key. 2:43 And we'll talk about that a little bit later. 2:46 How are we going to do this? 2:49 No really, how's it going to get done? 2:51 Are we paying somebody to do it? 2:53 Do we have the right skill sets in place? 2:56 Do we have the time? 2:58 [LAUGH] Do we have the appropriate source content? 2:59 How is this gonna get done? 3:03 When is it going to get done? 3:06 Now, I know that we're all, the answer that we always get at brain traffic is, 3:07 do you have a timeline? 3:12 And they're like yes, yesterday. 3:13 Well, that doesn't work. 3:14 So, are we appropriately estimating the amount of time 3:16 that the content that we believe will be required to fulfill whatever 3:20 objectives we have ill need to be done and delivered. 3:24 Who is the content for? 3:29 I often say that if your content is for 3:32 everybody, then your content really is for nobody. 3:34 Do we have our appropriate audience segments in mind? 3:38 Do we have user personas in place? 3:42 Have we done a good job of mapping content requirements to the user or 3:45 to the customer journey? 3:49 How was this for? 3:51 Who is going to create it? 3:54 This is also a big question, especially with 3:55 the content-heavy marketing plans that most of us have today. 4:00 A big thing I hear from clients is we're just not sure that we have the appropriate 4:04 skill sets in place to create content for the digital environment. 4:08 Or we're not sure which agency to go with or whether or not we can find the right 4:13 kind of freelance writers to do this kind of content. 4:18 That information has to feed into your content strategy and your content plans. 4:21 What is it that we currently have to work with? 4:27 Another huge thing we get called in for are content audits. 4:30 Where people are telling us, we know we have so much fantastic content but 4:34 it isn't stored in one place or 4:38 people within our organization can't find it or don't know that it exists. 4:41 Or when we take a step back and look we find that editorial plans that we have in 4:45 place for the next two months are the same things we had in place four years ago. 4:49 Where is that content? 4:56 Is it any good? 4:57 Is it still relevant? 4:58 Is it accurate? 5:00 Is it timely? 5:01 Is it up to date? 5:02 Where is this content going to go? 5:04 This can be, we see this often times as marketers as an opportunity, 5:08 where we want to focus on content distribution and 5:12 content amplification in promoting that content. 5:16 This comes back around to that why. 5:20 Why are we doing this in the first place? 5:23 So that when we are considering the where as part of our content strategy, 5:25 we're insuring that the answer to that question is informed by 5:30 strategy and not simply by because we should. 5:35 How often are we going to create this content? 5:40 When we first started recommending blogs for 5:43 example, everybody needed to have a blog. 5:46 Put that blog on your homepage. 5:48 Get the CEO blogging. 5:50 One of the things that we didn't consider was 5:52 what we were committing to when we launched a blog. 5:54 How often were we going to be posting? 5:58 Did that person actually have the time and resources to do that? 6:01 So if we commit to any kind of a content property, 6:04 how often are we going to need to take care of it? 6:08 And then this was the big question that always cropped up for 6:12 me when I was doing web copy writing projects. 6:17 It was what next? 6:20 What's gonna happen once that content is out there? 6:21 Because a lot of times what I found is that content was something that just got 6:25 added to the content landfill. 6:29 Which is already what we have for so many of our social media properties or 6:31 our websites or our multiple websites. 6:35 Content that just piles on top of more content so without any kind of a strategic 6:38 plan for what's next, we're just ending up with content that dies on the vine. 6:44 So that's where we started six years ago. 6:50 In 2012, I co-authored a second edition 6:52 with my VP of Content Strategy at the time, Melissa Rach. 6:57 And suddenly, three years later, 7:02 our definition of Content Strategy had gotten a whole lot longer. 7:06 And a whole lot more complicated. 7:12 You might say there were a bunch of caveats. 7:15 But ultimately what we found was that 7:18 the conversation had not necessarily splintered but had taken so 7:21 many different, so many awesome focuses depending on. 7:25 Whether you were working within a content management system, 7:29 whether you were an information architect. 7:33 Depending on your role in marketing, were you social, 7:36 were you SEO, were you lead jet. 7:39 Depending on your role with the user experience design. 7:42 So content strategy suddenly seemed to apply to everyone. 7:46 And it was for that reason that we were trying to get our arms around exactly. 7:52 When we talked about content strategy, what exactly did we mean? 7:57 Now right about this time, another trend was on the rise. 8:03 That's right. 8:06 Content marketing. 8:08 Epic content marketing. 8:10 I tried to figure out how to do an animation where 8:12 this would go with the Star Wars theme. 8:14 Do you know what I mean? [MUSIC] 8:17 That's not the Star Wars theme, but you know what I mean. 8:19 So what was crazy about this to me is that I had already been coping with and sort 8:22 of coaching clients back from the edge of we need more content in our web sites. 8:28 We have to make sure that content is sticky and 8:33 it gives people a reason to engage and to come back. 8:35 And I was saying, what I think we really need to focus on is user experience and 8:38 content purpose and making sure that when our customers come to us or 8:42 our potential customers come to us we're getting the content in front of them that 8:47 they need in order to make a decision or get a problem solved. 8:51 Content marketing and demand gen kind of rose up at the same time, 8:55 which was the only kind of marketing that's left Is content that builds trust, 9:01 that doesn't talk about our product and services. 9:07 Content that creates goodwill towards our brand, and affinity with our brand. 9:09 Now, I agree with all that. 9:15 I think that content marketing or custom publishing Is important and that for 9:18 some organizations it can be a really good idea. 9:22 However, the way that that was translated and 9:25 continues to be translated within our industry is this. 9:27 This is a thing that exists on the Internet, 9:33 by the way, I did not create this. 9:35 Where more content equals good content over and 9:36 over I go into organizations to consult or to vet their marketing plans. 9:41 And over and over what I hear is we're not sure why, but 9:48 we need more content because that's what leadership is telling us. 9:52 And you guys. 9:57 We couldn't deal with the content that we already had in the first place, and 10:00 now we're being tasked with creating more. 10:04 And not only that, you guys are being tasked with optimizing it and making 10:07 sure that it appears in the right time and the right place for the right people. 10:11 Right? 10:16 So, more than ever it's my opinion that the conversation about 10:18 content strategy and insuring that we are considering 10:22 our content from a strategic standpoint is more and more critical. 10:26 So the good news is that now, six years after I first 10:31 published Content Strategy for the Web, there's a whole host of amazing resources. 10:36 Not just books, but also blogs and podcasts and 10:40 you hear about content strategy at just about every single conference you go to. 10:46 And this is a huge shift. 10:50 Rand showed in his intro, 10:52 his kind of state of the state talk, that Content Marketing and 10:55 Content Strategy are the two fastest growing positions within the industry. 10:59 There's a reason for that. 11:05 So I wanna take a step back then. 11:07 There are a lot of different ways as I mention to sort of address and 11:10 talk about and consider content strategy. 11:13 But this is how I talk about content strategy. 11:16 So when you consider content strategy Melissa and 11:20 I introduce this, and it's the quad. 11:22 It's something we developed at Brain Traffic a couple of years ago. 11:25 And essentially what I think is powerful about this framework for 11:28 discussing content strategy, is that for the first time, it really tied together 11:33 not just what we were going to create, but also how we were going to structure that. 11:38 And then, who the people were, and what their processes were for 11:43 getting at that content, and creating it, and taking care of it. 11:47 And then, the governance component, which is how we're gonna care for this, 11:50 over time, and make decisions. 11:53 So at the center of this is the Strategy. 11:55 And when I talk about content strategy, really what I encourage people to do is 12:00 to make some active decisions about where they are going to focus their time and 12:06 energy and resources to improve their content efforts. 12:11 Which have to exist necessarily within the larger content ecosystem. 12:17 So really what that comes down to is this, 12:22 any good strategy forces you to make a choice. 12:26 We' are gonna focus on this, we're not gonna do this. 12:29 As marketeers, we really hate doing that because we love opportunity. 12:33 We love cool new things. 12:38 We love trials and testing and so on. 12:39 And that's really obviously so valuable. 12:43 But ultimately we can't do it all, and when we try to do it all, 12:46 our efforts become fragmented and metrics become shaky. 12:50 So we'll talk a little bit more about how to set that strategy. 12:55 So, again, Content, when we talk about this substance, really, 12:59 this is something that, 13:04 again I think tends to be a little bit of an easier conversation for us. 13:06 What's the story we wanna tell? 13:11 What's the topic that we need to address? 13:13 What are the brand elements? 13:15 How can we ensure that the brand integrity is intact? 13:16 What's the voice and tone that we're going to use? 13:21 And then the structure is how are we going to organize that content? 13:24 How are we going to categorize it? 13:27 And then what are the elements of the content structure that we need to consider 13:29 to make it work with our backend systems? 13:33 And this then is what it comes down to. 13:36 When we select and make decisions about our content substance, we have to 13:39 ensure that's it's fulfilling our business objectives by meeting our audiences needs. 13:43 And this structure, when we consider that, is that it's got to make 13:48 content findable and usable for our users, and manageable for technologies. 13:51 Now what's cool about search, 13:56 I think, is that your work really bridges those two things. 13:58 That the work that search analysts and SEO experts and practitioners do is 14:03 something where you've got to understand how these two things work together. 14:08 It is a science and an art. 14:13 And just for the record, I know just enough about search to be dangerous. 14:16 So let's quickly move on before I make a jerk out of myself. 14:19 So man, you guys are a tough audience. 14:23 >> [LAUGH] >> Woo, thinking it. 14:26 >> You're thinking? 14:29 You're over-thinking it? 14:30 Okay, great. 14:32 Let's move on. 14:33 All right, so then we get into the roles, structures, processes and tools, 14:34 your workflow. 14:38 This is always a bit of a messy thing, especially, when it comes to ownership, 14:39 content ownership. 14:44 Roles and responsibilities where your starts and stops and so on. 14:46 And then governance, which is our policies, standards, and guidelines. 14:49 Governance is probably the number one thing that we get called for 14:53 at Brain Traffic. 14:57 Because they're like, oh my God, we have content marketing and we have SEO and 14:58 we have social and we have CMS and we have a million different silos working in all 15:01 these different things and there's no centralized platform. 15:06 Blah, blah, blah and 15:09 we're pretty sure governance is the silver bullet that's gonna help us get there. 15:09 What can you have to us by the end of Q2? 15:14 To which I always respond. 15:16 [LAUGH] So our workflow ultimately is what's going to 15:18 put some structure around our content lifecycle. 15:22 Doesn't that sound dreamy? 15:26 And then governance is in fact what is going to help empower, facilitate, and 15:28 align content decisions across all of the different teams within marketing, 15:33 within our SMEs, across our different silos. 15:38 So let me step back and provide a little bit of clarification. 15:43 Remember I said that, that big long definition that we decided we needed to 15:47 introduce in 2012 which was really 14 definitions? 15:52 I recently, this has really been kind of keeping me up at night. 15:55 Some people worry about like taxes or the government, 16:00 and I worry about content strategy. 16:03 And I really kind of was able to break it down into three different areas of 16:04 content strategy, and so this is sort of how I end up talking about it. 16:09 We didn't call it content strategy for 16:16 the web because our publisher wouldn't let us change the second edition title. 16:17 But really when I think about it now, 16:21 I talk about it in terms of content strategy for user experience. 16:23 This is where we're really talking about how content plays a role in what our 16:27 customers experience when they encounter us across any of our digital properties. 16:32 So I really love this graphic. 16:39 This is something that was published by IBM in the early 2000s. 16:40 Forward thinkers, and 16:45 you can kind of see here's where content strategy plays a role. 16:46 I love that they include usability and accessibility, which is something that we 16:50 kind of tend to run over in our rush to get to the next great thing. 16:53 UI, User Interface, understanding and 16:58 making smart decisions about our platform selections. 17:01 How things are going to function, and 17:04 then that all important information architecture. 17:07 So that's the first piece. 17:11 The second way that I talk about content strategy is Adaptive Content Strategy. 17:11 And I was, so I saw this on Twitter recently. 17:16 Ethan Marcotte is the guy that invented responsive design, and he showed 17:20 a clip of something he was IMing with someone where he said I'm really sorry, 17:25 I know this is rough, is there anything I can do for you? 17:29 And the response was yes, you can roll back time and 17:31 not invent responsive design, because that has completely messed with our jobs and 17:34 our processes and everything else. 17:39 It's a great thing, but 17:41 ultimately we do need to be thinking about content components and tagging. 17:42 And how those are going to be delivered and searched for, and 17:47 how they will turn up across different platforms and devices. 17:50 And then finally, this thing, Enterprise Content Strategy, 17:54 which is really not necessarily an area we all get to plan. 17:58 Because this is something that often times has everything to do with organizational 18:01 structure, change management leadership and overall sort of operating principles. 18:06 This is included in the slide deck. 18:13 You guys can go and enjoy it for a little bit of bedtime reading. 18:15 But it really does sort of cover all of the different parts of how content 18:20 operations, and that substance, and planning and editorial and so 18:25 on all come together. 18:28 I mean within that governance, within that governance piece, 18:30 it's really a good messy thing that I love to mess around with. 18:35 Okay, so yeah, let's get to this. 18:40 So there are really four parts to getting content strategy done that I work with. 18:43 And that I would encourage you guys to consider too. 18:50 The assessment and analysis of the content and 18:52 of the content ecosystem of your customers, your stakeholders, 18:55 the tools you have to work with, the content you already have, etc. 19:00 Analysis which is getting back with your key findings and 19:03 insights about what's working, what's not, and where the opportunities are. 19:06 And then Strategy, which is, we can do all of these things, but we're gona focus on 19:12 these things to have the most impact for our customers and on our bottom line. 19:17 Architecture and Editorial, which really get at that substance and structure piece. 19:23 Implementation, which is how are we gonna get this stuff done. 19:28 And then Maintenance, which is the plan for what happens next. 19:31 So we're gonna tackle the first two parts here, Assessment, Analysis, 19:35 and Strategy and Architecture and Editorial. 19:39 These are the two things that we, typically, can play in. 19:42 Again, often times our roles or our jobs, 19:46 we sit in areas where we don't have control over all of this stuff. 19:49 That we have focused control. 19:54 And so, as I go through this, I want you guys to really be thinking, 19:55 what can I bring to the table here? 19:59 What should I be bringing to the table? 20:00 What meetings are happening that I'm not being invited to that I need to gently 20:02 introduce myself into? 20:07 So that I can help the folks that aren't making decisions in these areas make good 20:08 decisions, better decisions, smarter decisions that will help make this content 20:13 findable and more visible across channels and properties. 20:18 So when we get into any sort of a discovery checklist when we're designing 20:23 digital properties or undergoing digital planning, 20:27 these are oftentimes the discovery questions that get asked. 20:31 These look familiar to you guys? 20:34 Business objectives, project objectives, 20:36 cross-platform initiatives, design research, all this good stuff. 20:39 For me one of the most powerful things about a content strategy 20:44 framework are the questions that get asked in this phase. 20:48 Because often times what I find is what causes 11th hour meltdowns when 20:52 we're building any kind of digital process, 20:57 is that smart questions weren't asked upfront. 21:00 And so those are the things that come back to bite us in the end. 21:04 So what I recommend to people 21:07 is that they come to the table not only with the typical what is your role, 21:10 what do you do, what's important to you, what's working, what's not. 21:14 But questions that are going to help us focus in on opportunities and 21:18 challenges that exist with the content itself, with content planning, and 21:22 with the content processes. 21:27 Content ROT is something that, often times, 21:29 will come at us when we do an early content inventory, and 21:31 it's redundant content, outdated contented, and trivialed content. 21:35 I think that's so clever, I did not make that up. 21:39 I wish I did. 21:43 Again man, what is wrong with you guys? 21:44 I mean that was not like hilarious but at least like a courtesy laugh. 21:46 >> [LAUGH] >> Geez. 21:50 Okay, so after we get to all of this we write up our assessment and analysis and 21:55 we get to [SOUND] the strategy, the thing everybody's super excited about. 21:59 Woo-hoo strategy. 22:03 Okay, so here is a sample content strategy. 22:05 We'll deliver the right content, to the right person, 22:10 in the right time, in the right place. 22:12 Do you guys recognize this strategy? 22:16 Is this your strategy? 22:20 This is the strategy I get handed 90% of the time as I walk through the door. 22:22 And it's at this point that I think, I gotta talk to these people about strategy. 22:26 Strategy was another thing that kept me up at night for a really long time. 22:32 And I, because there was a lot written about it, it's confusing, 22:37 what's marketing strategy, business strategy and so on. 22:40 And this was finally sort of what helped me boil it down. 22:44 So let's say that you're a bear. 22:47 And as a bear you have some fundamental goals in life. 22:51 Right? 22:55 The primary one is which of course to survive but you've gotta sleep, 22:56 you've gotta hibernate, you've gotta reproduce and of course you've gotta eat. 22:59 So, in this instance we're gonna focus on that primary goal which is eating to 23:02 be sustained. 23:07 Now to fulfill this goal, you have a couple of different options. 23:08 Right? 23:11 You can go forage for berries, you can go, or small animals, or whatever bears eat. 23:12 You can go look in the campground to see 23:18 if there's anything in there that you can rummage around and eat. 23:21 Or in this instance, you can go down to the river to get fish. 23:25 So this bear, you guys have chosen, your strategy is to go down to that river, 23:28 to travel to the river and to find fish, to eat fish. 23:33 Okay? 23:37 So in this instance, specifically then you also have a bunch of different ways that 23:38 you can go after that fish. 23:43 You can, go swim into the river and try to catch it. 23:44 Right? You can go along the side of the river and 23:48 see if there are fish close to the shore you can kind of get at. 23:52 Or you can go and stand in the middle of the river and open your mouth and wait for 23:57 a fish to jump in, which is what the tactic is here. 24:01 So okay, so we've got our goal, which is to eat, we've got our strategy, 24:04 which is to go down to the river and then we have our tactic which is to stand in 24:08 the middle of the river with our mouth open hoping that a fish will jump into it. 24:12 So in this scenario, if we take away the strategy. 24:18 And we're left with our goal and our tactic. 24:24 Then we might as well be sitting in a field with 24:27 our mouth open hoping that a fish will fall from the sky. 24:31 >> [LAUGH] >> There you go. 24:36 >> [LAUGH] >> [LAUGH] So, how are you, 24:41 I mean I feel like often times, we're operating like this. 24:44 Right? 24:49 Well, let's hope this works. 24:50 We'll go sit over here and try it again over here. 24:52 What are our metrics? 24:55 So these are a few actually effective content strategies. 24:56 And again, these things force us to say no. 25:00 We're gonna use our website as our primary vehicle to gather and 25:04 capture qualified leads. 25:08 All right? 25:10 So we're going to ensure that our website is usable. 25:11 We are going to point to our website from our social media properties. 25:14 We are going to focus our search efforts on our website specifically. 25:18 We are going to ensure that our website is responsibly designed. 25:22 Okay? 25:27 So these are decisions that we make as an organization, 25:28 as a team, that forced us to say, no to other things. 25:32 Or, we'll evolve our print production model to deliver single source 25:37 omnichannel content. 25:40 Well now, we're looking at our technology platform. 25:41 Now, we're looking at content structure. 25:44 Now, we're looking at a content audit to ensure that we have all our content types. 25:47 These are specific activities that we need to focus on. 25:51 So when you go to document your content strategy, 25:56 these are the things you absolutely need to have in place. 25:59 Anything that's missing, if something is missing here, it's not a strategy. 26:04 It's a good idea or it's a half baked plan. 26:08 And when we make decisions within marketing, 26:11 hopefully there is something like this that is directing our efforts, or 26:16 that's providing guard rails for our efforts. 26:20 I rarely see this within an organization, and it's a tough 26:24 thing to get to because it requires a substantial amount of alignment. 26:27 But again, this is something that we can participate in 26:31 simply by coming to the table and asking good questions. 26:34 So here's a really pretty framework that you can use and 26:38 in the secret PDF I also have a bunch of different examples of introductions 26:42 to the content strategy document. 26:47 What your analysis structure can look like and so on. 26:49 Okay? 26:52 I have three minutes to catch up, that's not gonna happen. 26:53 All right, so let me get into architecture and editorial. 26:56 Now oftentimes, this is what we see. 26:59 When we're creating anything, these are the different pieces 27:02 that are going into our build process or into our day to day activities. 27:06 However, when we are talking about content strategy, 27:10 these are the pieces that are often overlooked or they're an afterthought, or 27:13 they're unclear or they're fragmented. 27:18 So within our content strategy tool kit or 27:21 implementation plan, these are things that need to be addressed. 27:24 Now again, in this secret PDF, I have lots of different examples of this, 27:28 which frankly would be really boring to walk through up here because it's kind of 27:32 small type, which Erica really gave me hell for, appropriately. 27:35 But if you want a shortcut there's this amazing new book called 27:39 The Content Strategy Toolkit. 27:43 That has collected and curated more examples that I've ever seen in one place. 27:45 So you might wanna check it out their free chapters out there. 27:50 So then we get into the implementation and maintenance or 27:55 as I like to call it the hard stuff. 27:58 This is where politics come into play. 28:02 This is where resources come into play. 28:05 This is where the difference between demand Jen and lead Jen comes into play, 28:08 because this is where we need to make decisions about what's working and 28:13 what's not. 28:18 And as Rand was talking about, be brave and kill the stuff that isn't. 28:19 Kill it, admit defeat, whatever you need to do to innovate. 28:24 And also, in the governance piece. 28:30 Who gets to say no? 28:33 Moving forward, if we come to the table with ideas or things that maybe are just 28:36 alongside of the strategy, or things that we think might help us in other areas. 28:42 Right? 28:47 Who gets to reign us in? 28:48 Who gets to say this is what we've chosen to focus on now? 28:49 Now, do I think that this framework completely eliminates the opportunity for 28:52 innovation or for creativity or for spotting new opportunities? 28:58 Absolutely not. 29:04 Those have to be a part of our every day work. 29:06 However, what I think is important is that as marketers we tend to 29:09 become subject to the bright shiny object syndrome. 29:14 Where instead of really seeing through activities that we've been working 29:18 towards and building on, we suddenly will think, oh my God, 29:23 there's a new platform over here, and we absolutely have to be on it right away. 29:26 I spoke in a marketing conference several years ago where I asked people, how many 29:31 of you know what content you have within your organization and where it lives? 29:36 And it was an audience about this big, and I had three people raise their hand. 29:39 And then I said how many of you are on Pintrest and 29:44 I swear to God every single hand in the place went up. 29:47 And I just wondered, how many of you should be on Pintrest. 29:50 How many of you have brands where that actually makes sense? 29:54 How many customers or potential customers actually care? 29:57 To find you on Pinterest. 30:01 Those are the kinds of things that a solid content strategy can help you look 30:03 at clearly. 30:08 And make brave decisions about what you are gonna do and what you're not gonna do. 30:09 So how do you make the case to go backwards with the clicker? 30:16 God, again. 30:23 How do you make the case for content strategy? 30:24 This is the number one question that I get asked at conferences because a lot of 30:27 times people know that it's important, but they can't get anybody to listen. 30:30 Or they put together their deck or they've downloaded one of my decks and 30:34 they've done a roadshow of it within the organization and 30:38 they're just not getting the kind of buy-in that they're looking for. 30:40 The number one way that you can make the case or get buy-in for content strategy or 30:43 for investing in content strategy, both time and 30:48 resources, is to talk about Pain Points. 30:50 Figure out what your boss or your boss's boss cares about and 30:54 what's hurting them and what they are wishing they could get fixed. 31:00 Or where the process is breaking down or 31:04 where things seem to continue to get messed up within the content process. 31:07 Where is it that it hurts? 31:12 And then step back and figure out how one of the pieces of the content strategy 31:15 process might be able to deliver a smart solution and start there. 31:19 Start small. 31:24 Same with unanswered questions. 31:26 The number of times I see us making decisions based on assumptions, 31:29 like not just a few decisions, but a whole lot of decisions, 31:34 entire campaigns based on assumptions, makes me nuts. 31:37 So if we can get in there and identify what are those unanswered questions. 31:42 Where do we have an opportunity to ask some of these smarter questions about 31:46 content often times that will buy us the time and 31:51 the resources that we need to be able to go ask those questions. 31:54 And it doesn't need to be some huge, well-funded resource project, 31:58 research project. 32:02 Sometimes it could just be getting the right people around the table and 32:03 asking questions that nobody else has before. 32:07 And then there are, of course, the Opportunities. 32:10 And I'm not talking about the content marketing opportunity here. 32:13 I'm talking about opportunities to improve the quality of our content, 32:16 not just in a way that we think is better, but in an industry-wide way. 32:21 How can we competitively differentiate with our content, really, truly, 32:27 differentiate? 32:31 You guys are always looking for 32:32 ways to improve findability of your content, to improve visibility. 32:34 Where are those opportunities, and how can understanding more about our audiences or 32:39 our clear business objectives help you to prioritize and focus those opportunities? 32:45 And also, are there opportunities to cut costs? 32:50 It's to create new efficiencies within our content processes internally. 32:53 Where are those opportunities? 32:58 Can you spot them? 33:00 Can you articulate them? 33:01 That's an easier thing to sell up. 33:03 So my final question to you is this. 33:06 You guys sometimes do live in silos that are frustrating. 33:10 Because you see and you know and 33:15 you understand from the best practices perspective. 33:17 God, if only everybody who's creating content and 33:19 who's delivering content would check in with me. 33:23 Or let me participate in that conversation. 33:27 So that I can bring my clear expertise to the table, or 33:30 bring the new insights that I've gathered from MozCon and 33:33 help shape our content creation and maintenance process. 33:37 Use this approach, use this framework, work hard to tie in from a holistic 33:42 standpoint all the different pieces that have an effect on our content products and 33:49 processes that exist within our companies and for our customers. 33:53 It's up to you guys to shape this conversation, to bring it to the table. 33:58 And to advocate for your user needs, 34:04 your customer needs, for responsible metrics, for meaningful metrics. 34:07 And, ultimately, for 34:12 the entire thing that content strategy comes back and focuses on. 34:14 Which is, what are you gonna do? 34:18 What are you not gonna do? 34:20 And the stuff that you are gonna do, how are you gonna kick ass at it? 34:22 Thanks. 34:26 >> [APPLAUSE]. 34:27 >> That was awesome. 34:31 >> Thanks. Okay, 34:34 this is a really important slide that we actually need to keep up. 34:35 >> Okay. Let's leave that up. 34:38 Let's leave that up. 34:39 We're going to take a couple questions here. 34:40 >> Good, you can take me right off that screen. 34:41 >> Yes. 34:44 >> Damn. >> So 34:44 this is the URL that people can go to and download the PDF. 34:45 >> Yup. Yup. 34:48 And if you guys have WiFi access and anybody wants to try to do that right now 34:48 and then let me know if it's working that would be fantastic. 34:52 >> Okay so I'm an old-school SEO. 34:55 Right? 34:58 And a lot of old-school SEOs in this audience. 34:59 We're very slow to evolve sometimes, so 35:01 I thought this was a really good question from Evan Davis. 35:04 My clients want calls, and their customers don't read content. 35:09 So we make content to rank. 35:11 I bet you hate that question. 35:13 So how does content strategy apply? 35:15 >> When you're making content to rank? 35:17 Well, I think that, what I've always said 35:20 in the world of search is that often times, we're measured on page rank. 35:24 But, and that's what our clients are looking for, and 35:29 that's what our clients count as a success. 35:32 But ultimately, if people click on that and 35:34 they don't find what they're looking for or the content sucks they're gonna leave. 35:37 Right? 35:41 Going back to search results is a click or it's a swipe. 35:43 So content strategy I think can help. 35:46 Sorry, I'm talking to you. 35:48 Content strategy I think can help can help by ensuring that, that content is quality, 35:49 and that it is meaningful. 35:54 And ultimately, that it does, I know that a big pennant of content marketing is 35:56 that, don't use content to market your products or services. 35:59 Use it to build your authority as a trusted top leader in the space. 36:02 But I think again ultimately, people want pretty specific things from you as a brand 36:07 and if you're creating content just for the visibility if they get to it and 36:13 it's not meeting those needs then it was a nice idea. 36:17 >> I think a lot of us, even at Moz we sometimes struggle to create content 36:22 that is actually valuable to people. 36:27 And I have a question here. 36:29 When you say less content but engaging content, 36:31 do you have any good examples of that? 36:33 >> Now, I didn't say engaging. 36:36 I think, or if I did say engaging, I take it back. 36:37 Because I think that engagement is a pretty lousy metric, and I think it is 36:41 a metric that we've leaned on because we're not sure what else to measure. 36:44 So we measure shares and we measure clicks and we measure likes. 36:47 But ultimately those are pretty cheap to come by, I think, 36:51 because it doesn't do anything to assess intent. 36:56 Right? It's just kind of a wave, 37:01 or it's kind of a high five. 37:03 So, I'm gonna answer the question more what do I think makes content 37:05 quality content or useful content or content 37:10 that actually drives our customers through and drives them deeper into the funnel. 37:15 Again, I think it's content that addresses the specific need or 37:20 task which is pretty unsexy. 37:23 Right? 37:26 I mean, the content that I'm looking for, nine times out of ten, 37:27 if I'm thinking about a product or a service or how to solve a problem is 37:31 specifically how to solve a problem or how to make a decision. 37:35 Yeah, and so I think that when we create content about like, 37:39 we sell, I don't know, paper products, so 37:44 we're gonna create a series of good ideas for a picnic. 37:48 What? 37:52 Right? 37:53 I wanna know maybe where you're sourcing them or mine were moldy and who do I call. 37:54 I mean I'm sorry I've never had moldy paper products. 37:59 [LAUGH] >> Okay, 38:02 one thing, another question we had, final question for you, 38:03 a lot of people in this room are very heavily involved in content promotion. 38:08 We didn't get into it very much in your presentation here. 38:12 Is that very much part of your process or is that more outside the process? 38:14 >> You know, I've been thinking a lot about content promotion. 38:17 And I don't, like I'm really unclear about why would we 38:24 be promoting our content versus our products and services. 38:29 Like I kind of don't get that. 38:34 I mean I, God you guys hate my guts. 38:36 Because I just think that promoting content, 38:42 that's kind of a part of this idea of demand gen. 38:46 And, what? 38:49 I mean for me, it's just advertising and promotion except it's for content and 38:50 if for content, it's just supposed to be building brand good will. 38:55 Then that's kind of, isn't that what advertising has done for a long time? 39:00 >> Let me play devil's advocate and maybe just so we're on the same page. 39:04 >> Yes. >> But what about getting 39:08 iBalls on the content that you create? 39:09 >> So? 39:11 >> Is it important? 39:13 >> I mean what's important is brand goodwill. 39:17 Right? 39:21 And gathering leads and lead conversion. 39:23 Right? 39:26 And brand goodwill I think it's important, it's really tough to measure but 39:27 for me brand goodwill really happens at the service level, 39:32 at the customer service level or at the product level. 39:35 Right? 39:39 Like if I, Dana had some great examples. 39:40 If I have, if you guys have great content but 39:44 then your service sucks like I'm not gonna buy you because of your content. 39:46 Now I'm just depressing everybody. 39:52 You know what's hilarious is that I'm giving 39:53 the keynote at Content Marketing World. 39:55 >> [LAUGH] >> Right? 39:57 Bring your tomatoes to throw. 40:00 [LAUGH] >> Christine, we're so 40:02 glad you joined us here today, I hope we can have you back another year. 40:05 I'm sure you're gonna get a lot of questions in the lobby. 40:08 Please give a warm hand for Christina Halverson. 40:10 >> Great, thanks. 40:12
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