Solo presentation by: Lee Odden, SES Advisory Board & CEO, Top Rank Online Marketing
The third day of the SES SF 2011, session 2 saw a solo presentation by Lee Odden (@leeodden), SES Advisory Board & CEO, Top Rank Online Marketing. This session focused onto content based optimization strategies and processes as well as tactics that are required for sourcing, creating and promotin an optimized content on the social web.
Lee Odden begins the session by talking about the importance of content in a website and reminded the audience that to optimize your site, you have to take into consideration everything right from rich media to web pages to digital assets to PDF documents to both created and shared content into account. He further says, “If it’s searchable, it’s optimizable.”
Lee then raises few questions like What does content marketing do for SEO? And where does it fit within an online marketing program? And explains by saying that we develop messages that can be comprehend and share it with the people we want to connect as content marketers. He says that content is everything that you create within your own social network and even this goes for brands as well. There leads to an increase in social content creation when more companies adopt the brand as publisher. In today's competitive scenario, it is important that you make use every avenue of media everything from webinars to white papers to blogs to case studies for reaching a wider audience.
If you are a content creator searching for success, there are two things you must do:
- Make your content findable
- Make your content sharable
Lee further, says that if you spread optimized content across various types of media, they will be able to find it in more place than one, thereby, increasing the chances that they will share your content. Content marketing is basically just aligning customers’ needs with a brand’s objective. He then suggests looking at segmentation of different customer groups as well as personas and raises following questions:
- How do you even get started writing your content?
- What groups do your customers fall into?
Lee answers the above questions by explaining in the following ways:
One Large Cup of Fresh Content, Please: Good content is considered to be the most effective
SEO tactic though it is very difficult to maintain. But to be on the top of the search engine results, creating new, fresh ideas on a regular basis (and optimizing them) is pertinent for the success of your brand. Lee further explains, you need to have a process rather a cyclical relationship with the community to write quality content. This will provide you with new and original ideas everyday. Every individual likes to be recognized for their ideas, so reward your community for sharing, and they will continue to share. Keep your community happy and in return they will share content and original thoughts with you.
Lee says, there's no point in writing a thoughtful piece or shooting an informational video if you’re not going to optimize it. Thus, companies should create content that can be optimized because if you don't optimize it, there is less chance that it will be findable. Expending significant time on content should be rewarded with optimization. It has been observed that quite often a company think they need to optimize their products or services first because this will ultimately result in more sales. This is true but at the same time, managers fails to realize how important it is for news, press releases and general information to be optimized. If your entire website is in an optimization mode, a customer is more likely to find your company or your product.
At Your Service, Dear Customer!: You all know that people search Google for forums that will provide an answer to their question. So why don't you increase the level of customer satisfaction by making their answer readily available, optimized, and easily navigable? Lee stresses and says, “Remember: Whatever can be searched can be optimized. Everything from images to video to tweets to Facebook updates to LinkedIn updates and Microsoft Office documents”. Though these media types can be ranked on their own, but optimizing will make these more findable. If it’s more findable, that’s less work for your customer.
Make sure that you master optimization for content across the customer’s buying cycle. What are you doing to optimize for customer experience?
Strategy, Strategy, Strategy!
After you have achieved the high quality content you want, you need to work towards content marketing optimization and social media optimization. Lee then explains with the below mentioned points:
- Research customer segments.
- Identify search keywords and social topics that are relevant to your customer needs.
- Content and promotion plan:
- Where will you promote it?
- Where will you re-purpose it?
- Companies often publish their content only to never use it again.
- Plan how to re-use your content.
- Optimize, socialize and promote your content. Grow your network everyday.
- Who do you follow and associate with?
- What are your customers content preferences?
- How do they discover, consume and share content?
- What are they looking for on search engines?
- Align your business goals with the needs of your consumer.
Many SEOs optimize existing content for particular phrases as they think will be most searched but doing this is not enough to create relationships with customers.
- You should find out why your customers want that product.
- Harvest the dialogue, organize it by keywords, and answer their questions.
- Collect data, identify commonalities, and cluster common characteristics.
- Where do we get the data?
- Ask customers! If you were to search for a product, where would you search?
- What would you search for?
Some Questions Worth Asking… Yourself
- Which phrases do competitors optimize?
- What high level keywords do you want to be known for?
- How will you promote that blog post?
- Where will you re-purpose it?
- What media will you include?
- How can you make it interactive?
- What are the top level concepts you want to dominate?
- Is this piece of content useful and interesting?
Bottom Line: If You Create Good Stuff, People Will Share It
Lee says that people will be interested in sharing if you create good stuff. So to achieve more coordinated content, you should use a mix of different media types to appease all customers. For this contributed articles and guest blog posts can be useful, but to find a well-respected guest blogger is also important. Finding a guest blogger is as simple as checking search results for guest bloggers and reaching out to them. Most bloggers will love the exposure, especially if the blog is the center of your site. Are you being creative with getting your content out there? Creating networks at the end of each distribution channel is important. Its not enough to provide optimized content.
So, now you’re ready to apply content SEO. Now what?Quite often, to start off with an optimization project is quite difficult. Lee shares the following practical tips:
- Audit existing content and focus on current content and digital asset optimization.
- Optimize priority content and add new content according to marketing/PR purposes following SEO best practices.
- Re-vamp! Develop new site content and a new editorial plan while adding content according to keywords.
Lee also provides the following 8 tips for Fresh Content:
- Google alert keywords – provide commentary and insight.
- Create short lists of tips according to keyword themes.
- Compile large collections of resources according to theme. As you find things online, collect them and categorize them. Over time, you will accrue a substantial list.
- Interview other bloggers. Either ask many bloggers one question or ask several questions to one blogger.
- Aggregate the best comments from other blogs and turn that into your own analysis.
- Run surveys, polls and contests that result in content. What did you discover?
- Get your staff to ask you questions, and answer as a blog post. It’s a gold mine for coming up with content ideas!
- Collect services/sales/FAQ information and then write about them.
Providing 8 tips for Fresh Content Lee says that being marketers, we need to embrace our creativity and make it as accessible as possible because there is a fierce competition in Online marketing. He says we should take the initiative to always remain one step ahead of our competitors. “If your competition is performing, borrow their popularity by interacting in their conversation. After you’ve furiously produced some fresh, stimulating content and optimized it to Timbuktu, your competition will be the one trying to interact with you”.
Lee Odden's session had these top takeaways:
- You have to be customer-centric, and you need a good team
- Train your copywriters on SEO best practices, and go holistic with social and SEO.
- You will need to train your SEOs on how to create an efficient content strategy
- Lastly, don’t forget to set reasonable, adaptable goals and create feedback mechanisms to stay in contact with your customers and community.