Content Strategy Meetup

MelissaIt was the first Content Strategy meting I attended, and, schedule permitting, I will be there for the next one.  It is a pleasure to discover a new group in Twin Cities!  We are so lucky to live within a vibrant business community – even if so many people do not care about the weather 🙂

The group is fantastic – people who understand marketing, content, SEO, issues of the online marketing channel…  and in many cases face the same obstacles in their jobs or businesses.   These obstacles are discussed during the meetings with interesting insights.

dialogMelissa Rach was fantastic in a question-answer format, and the event felt more of a conversation and collective problem solving.  I usually prefer a lecture format, as in many cases, the audience may not be able to generate thoughtful questions…  not only participate in discussing the answers.  The members of Content Strategy meetup are absolutely excellent.

My notes from the event:

  • Generally, most modern terms are relatively new, and may not have clear understanding in the business world…  What is the difference between Content Strategy and Marketing Strategy?  Content strategy is marketing strategy implemented around content…  Content marketing vs. Content strategy?  In general, Strategy and Marketing are new concepts… (now complete lack of understanding of these terms in corporate world makes sense 😉  )
  • Reminder of the industry perspective: adapt something interesting from one industry to another
  • Long-form content is also acceptable on the web – the length is based on the audience and objective
  • Stages of the content strategy on the web (hilariously universal!)
    1. just placing content designed for print online
    2. any technical elements are so cool!  Adding technical elements, widgets, etc. and considering it content
    3. design is awesome – the “pretty” site is enough to consider it having good “content”
    4. oh…  people are actually coming to the site to get something useful… we need… content!
  • Content strategy can be done by a person who can not write… though it does need to be executed by somebody who can 😉
  • bookContent person needs to be involved into the process at the point of CMS  setup…  or, the CMS can be setup in a manner that is not suitable for providing content in a reasonable fashion.  I can add that CMS or even selection of CMS, can not be done by IT – it creates sites not suitable not only for content, but also for marketing in general
  • Content provided by a company can be different in tone or style, as a company can have different audiences

They did a web site redesign and then realized that something was wrong with the site

They did not have a writer – they thought that PDF placement was sufficient

Quotes from colleagues – very common for the industry 🙂

  • Which companies are succeeding in content strategy?  “Smart ones…”  In general, it is easier for companies not burdened by the stock market pressure to show growth every quarter to have better content strategy – they can afford to experiment, take risks, and invest resources
  • If there is nobody who’s job description requires content creation in a large organization – there will be no content
  • In many cases, good content requires reorganization – including elimination of silos
  • Preoccupation with SEO for the sake of SEO is generally common…  When SEO is done, realization that nobody is converting can help in creation of the content (smaller companies seem to have more lack with this approach 😉 ).

Very interesting concept from – brand’s history may not be a benefit, but might be a burden in the eyes of the consumers.


heritageBy the way, the PDF is done very well from marketing perspective – easy to read, easy to quote and add to presentation (I will do that!!) and has irresistible calls to actions to follow.

PPT posted on the site and Slide Share has the same remarkable quality – excellent “What to do next…” last slide of the presentation.



Book – Epic Content Marketing


Very interesting book full of practical advice and inspiring stories.

The first example (and a significant challenge for B-to-B companies) is described in foreword:

SAP had content for people who needed product information, but not the people who did not know that the type of technology that SAP sold even existed.  It was a significant gap.

Difference between Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing:

  • Social media marketing uses the channels and places the content suitable for the channel into that channel.
  • Content marketing creates content that lives on the company’s site (or blog, or microsite, etc.) and social media is used as a channel to promote the content.

The goal of marketing is not to find customers, but to create passionate subscribers to our brand.

General Electric hired Forbs editor for their content marketing needs.

johnContent marketing existed in a variety of forms for… centuries 🙂  One of the first examples of content marketing of a B-to-B company in the US agriculture would be John Deere Furrow magazine, which appeared in 1895.

Companies marketing to us, marketers, have similar approach. – content approach from Adobe (does not work on Chrome)

Epic content marketing process (similar to a publisher):

  1. Goal or objective
  2. Defining the audience
  3. Understanding how the audience buys
  4. Choosing your content niche
  5. Developing content marketing mission statement

Quite interesting – print might becoming a novelty as less marketers use it…  and novelty could get attention.  Another benefit of print – people are searching for an opportunity to “unplug” – and printed magazine is a very welcome option to do it.

To start content marketing program (content marketing is not a campaign with a defined start and an end, it is a program), a pilot is recommended.  The pilot needs to be at least 6 months and the KPI for the pilot need to be aligned with business objectives and accepted by the management who will evaluate pilot’s success.

Marketers often use irrelevant data for the content persona (for B-to-B demographics are not relevant).

5 points content marketing persona must have:persona

  1. Priority initiatives – what are top 3-5 top problems to which he/she dedicates time, budget, and political capital?
  2. Success factors – what are tangible or intangible metrics of success?
  3. Perceived barriers – what can encourage the persona to question if your solution can help (competing interests, politics, previous negative experience with similar products)?
  4. Buying process
  5. Decision criteria – includes information from a prospect who bought, a prospect who chose competition and why, and a prospect who decided not to buy at all

Up Close and Persona – free persona-generating tool.

WordPress has a free Editorial calendar plugin.


Very interesting point about SEO: it is not as effective (in the traditional form) post Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird, so many SEO agencies are making transition to content marketing.  Top Rank is considered one of these organizations with a successful transition.

Writing a book for marketing purpose – spend 40% on writing the book and 100% on the promotion of the book.

Hilarious: Analytics could become WMD (Weapons of Mass Delusion)

Book has excellent section of examples for inspiration (starting page 299). 

indiumIndium – a blog “From One Engineer to Another

The blog provides useful information to engineers on the use of the company’s products and industry topics.

The topics are immediately useful to the target audience and written by the experts in the area.

Interesting: quite a few engineers are participating in the effort – it is clear that the organization is managing (and investigng) significant effort into the blog.

600% jump in leads after starting the blog. I guess, repeating a call to action at the end of each post could increase this number further (per HubSpot data).