The Top 12 Content Marketing Tips from 4 Groundbreaking Thought Leaders

When I hear the words “content marketing”, I automatically think of Sean Work of KISSmetrics, Oli Gardner of Unbounce.com, Daniel Burstein of MarketingSherpa, and Marcus Sheridan of TheSalesLion.com. These 4 guys really get what content and inbound is all about, moreover, few have more hands-on experience then them. In this article, they each give you their top 3 tips for content marketing success.

Sean Work, KISSmetrics:

Sean Work, KISSmetrics.com1. Don’t publish junk. I’ve seen plenty of cases where a site will learn that blogging “keeps the search engines coming back” and helps their “long-tail SEO”. So they try to find ways to source as much incoherent, gibberish laden content that they can find at the cheapest possible price. It just doesn’t work.

2. Yearn for beautiful layout and design. Having great content is one thing, but ugly packaging can really ruin the experience. Ask yourself, would Steve Jobs approve of our “content packaging”? How would he “box” it?

3. Be consistent. If you’ve decided to publish content, you need a regular frequency just to get the momentum you need to find your angle. And after that, you obviously need to be able to maintain course. If you’re involved in an operation where it’s hard to stick to a regular process, consider outsourcing your content marketing.

Bonus tip: Stock photos are getting played out. After seeing the same photos over and over again – they are just “cheesin” up the world. I’m of the opinion that if you can’t find any relevant images that add to the content, just leave it out.

Sean Work is Director of Marketing & Minister of Propaganda at KISSmetrics. For your daily fix of free marketing guides, analytics advice, and optimization tips, check out out blog.KISSmetrics.com or follow Sean via Twitter. Also, you might want to check out his hobby site Tubebox.fm - it’s pretty rad!

Oli Gardner, Unbounce.com:

Oli Gardner, Unbounce.com1. Make your content last: In our Ultimate Guide to Marketing With Infographics I explain step-by-step how to make the most of content you’ve likely spent days working on. This includes how to use social recycling to ensure you get a consistent flow of shares. You can also add a few of your latest posts to the footer of your emails to help with customer retention.

2. Effective blogging: This is really 2 tips in one.

First, guest post like a maniac – and always with your very best content. This allows you to reach markets your own blog can’t. My guest post on SEOmoz broke a ton of records and brought in a lot of new customers.

Secondly, for your own blog, reach out to subject matter experts in all the categories you discuss on your blog to build a stable of “paid” writers, and create an editorial calendar to ensure both you and the writers are prepared. Having a months worth of content planned to post is very calming on everyone’s nerves. Also, have regular brainstorms to decide what your post topics should be. There are more techniques here about what to do after your blog is released to ensure post momentum.

3. Be a curator: You don’t always have to rely on your own content. Become a useful resource for others so that they keep coming back for more. Here’s an example round-up post where each section is bundled into it’s own RSS feed that provides free value to people. Once readers know that you will collect great content for them, they’ll keep coming back for more.

Oli is Co-Founder & Creative Director at Unbounce. He is a former Director of Marketing & Interaction Designer who tends to use metaphor more than he probably should in his writing. Oli writes about conversion centered design and is one of the main voices of the Unbounce Twitter account.

Daniel Burstein, MarketingSherpa:

Daniel Burstein - MarketingSherpa / MarketingExperimentsThe 3 Tips from Daniel are coming to you in video format.

I had the great pleasure of hanging out with Daniel at the 2012 Optimization Summit in Denver, and he was happy to share his top 3 tips for content marketing success.

As Director of Editorial Content for MECLABS, Daniel Burstein oversees all editorial content coming from the MarketingExperiments / MarketingSherpa brands. He was the main writer powering the MarketingExperiments publishing engine and has vast experience with content marketing. Follow him on Twitter here

Listen to my recent podcast with Daniel here >>

Marcus Sheridan, TheSalesLion.com:

Marcus Sheridan - Thesaleslion.com

1. Take the top 50 questions you get every single day from prospects and clients (via phone, email, face to face, etc.) and write those questions down. Now turn those 50 questions into 50 blog posts and answer them exactly as if you were talking to a customer face to face.

Also, make sure the question is the title of the blog post. The 50 posts will then turn into the foundation and pillars of all your marketing and sales and SEO strategy from that point forward… And just by doing this one thing, you will be in the top 1% of your industry.

2. Don’t be afraid to address any and every possible question a consumer might ask. In other words, if someone asks you to compare yourself against your competition, that’s a blog post you should write. If someone asks you to compare your product X versus another company’s product Y, you should write that article (or produce that video). I see nothing as off limits. Again, if someone is asking it or thinking it, we need to be writing and teaching others about it. That is the essence of a great content marketer.

3. Content is an evergreen. It should be used again and again and again throughout the sales process. The more content a prospect reads, the further down the sales funnel they go, which is why it is a must that we as sales professionals and marketers make sure they are viewing, reading, and consuming out content. I call this process ‘assignment selling‘, but it can work wonders for any sales department when done the right way.

Marcus Sheridan helps business and bloggers dominate their niche through his unique online marketing strategies. Make sure to download his popular and FREE 230-page eBook, Inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy. Follow him on Twitter here

Listen to my recent podcast with Marcus here >>

Comments

  1. Mogens Møller says:

    Great stuff Michael. Very inspirering people!

    I took Sheridans 50-questions advice earlier when you made a video with him. It has increased our sales and really made customer service much easier at http://www.lasttouch.dk.

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Hi Mogens – thank you very much!

      I’m psyched that you liked the article, and that you used Marcus’ advice from the interview.
      I’d love to hear more about you made it work for you…

      - Michael

  2. Thanks for putting together this together. It is always great to learn from those who are doing remarkable work in the field. I have seen several leaders of startups advocate guest posting so it is cool to see that Oli confirms that this tactic can help grow a startup when executed thoughtfully.

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Thank you Charles!

      I totally a agree with Oli here – guest blogging can be a very powerful way of building your audience.

      Some of my guest posts on KISSmetrics and Unbounce.com have gotten serious attention that I could never have hoped for had I posted the same content on my own blog.
      Oli will be posting a new guest post from me on Unbounce.com this week, check it out ;-)

      - Michael

  3. AND THERE IT IS – my motto: “Take the top 50 questions you get every single day from prospects and clients . . . and . . . turn those 50 questions into 50 blog posts and answer them exactly as if you were talking to a customer face to face.” This is what authority sites are about, and the success grows from here.

  4. This post really targets how to optimize content from a variety of angles. Managing engaging and original content isn’t easy to do on a consistent basis. Whether you are creating it yourself or curating content, you have to be able to present ideas in new and exciting ways. This prevents content from going stale and your readership noticing that you are not evolving with your ideas. This post has helped me approach some ideas I have from different points of view. For some more ideas about how to “feed the content beast”, download our eBook: http://www.curata.com/resources/ebooks/how-to-feed-the-content-beast/

  5. Awesome post some real good insight Michael and love the site – clean and esy to read. Have a great day!

  6. Hey Michael

    This was a really great post – thanks for sharing. I will follow the 50Q’s -> 50 posts advice. Good stuff man!

  7. Great stuff. Really love the top 50 questions advice from Marcus Sheridan, makes the content so much more relevant for the visitors and also help your site rank in the Serps as your content will be the same as what people are searching for.

    • Michael Aagaard says:

      Thank you Thomas!

      Yes, Marcus’ strategy is awesome! I’ve used it myself with great success.

      My experience is that it’s much easier to use this strategy in relation to content in English, because the volume is so much bigger.
      It’s a lot more difficult to find powerful long tail, question-related queries in Danish.

      - Michael

  8. Hey Michael,

    Great article you have here! I agree that you must have effective blogging and that you must make your content last. Here are a few things that I do when creating content.

    I keep people in the buying part of their brain. This is a must when communicating with people indirectly, using methods such as social media, blogs, websites, and email blasts. Having content that gets the customer in this part of their brain will make it easier for them to forward items to friends, family, and business associates. Creating ‘forward-able’ content will make it easier to be read by a customer rather then being skimmed through or thrown into a spam folder. This will also keep them more intrigued with your blogs, websites, and email blasts.

    Thanks for sharing,

    T.C.

  9. Hi Michael and thanks for sharing.
    Nice one. It is good that you take your time and write so often good posts (I know that this is the old one, but we also track your new posts).

    Keep going…

  10. Definitely some very helpful tips, seriously I can’t even say if some were more useful, than the other. All of them are priceless, well, at least that’s the way I see it. As a beginner I find it very informative.

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