This interview with Derek Edmond of KoMarketing Associates is part of the Convirza Webinar Series.The following is the Q&A portion of the interview.
McKay Allen:Okay, a couple of other questions here that are starting to flow in. Whenever we have a content marketing webinar, whenever I talk to anybody about content marketing, the number one question is, “Well, what do I write about? What do I talk about? What do I say?”
How do you address that? Because you gave some very common sense tactics of just improving your company pages and your “about us” pages and that sort of stuff. But in terms of producing blog content or video content, where do people start? Do you have a rule or two on how people start the process of what to produce?
Derek Edmond: Well, I think if you’re struggling as a marketer, the first places to go are talk to your sales force and talk to your customer service people. It can be tough. Everyone’s schedules are busy and salespeople have quotas and customer service people have inquiries that they have to deal with, but try to get a sense of what are the common questions being asked, either in the evaluation of the solution you’re providing or in the feedback and questions in terms of how to actually use the solution that you offer.
That’s the first place, I think. Then marry that with the keyword referral report to see, “Are there commonalities between what you know people are asking from the interview side to what you’re seeing in your Google Analytics or your website reporting data, whatever that might be?” That’s the next place, I think, or one of the first places to go.
McKay Allen: That’s great. Then I want to reference to you, you mentioned our case study experiment we did with content marketing. I appreciate you mentioning that as well.
Derek Edmond: I hope that was okay.
McKay Allen: Yeah, no, that was great. Because we did it for another 100 days after that, another 50 days we did another… basically we ended up with 300 posts in 100 days. The two things that were really interesting, and I wonder if you could react to this, is first, it was fascinating that, the biggest increase was in those initial 50 days when we did the 150 posts, that was the biggest increase, but the increase continued.
It actually just continued to slowly increase every week. More visitors to the blog, more visitors to the site, particularly organic traffic. Where is the balance between… most companies just can’t produce three blogs a day. How do you produce enough content to move the needle? I guess is the question for an average business. We’re getting that question a couple of times as well.
Derek Edmond: Yeah. I mean, it’s so hard to know exactly. The first thing is to get yourself a benchmark for where you are today. So are you generating 1000 visits to your site right now or 10,000? Then think about your conversion rate on what your traffic rate is providing today. So it’s a math equation in some sense, but that’s going to let you determine how much you need to grow your traffic base in order to hit your marketing goals in terms of either leads or transactions.
Your post, phenomenal results, but like you said, most people can’t commit to something like that. Through a combination of keyword research and traffic bench-marking, that’s where you start to figure out, “Well, okay, I have this much content on my site now, it’s producing this much volume. My projection is that if I create this much more new material over the course of the year or quarter or six months, it should triangulate into this type of increase.” Keeping in mind, I think, keyword strategy and social media presence and build-out and those types of things.
So you probably want to start small first, especially if resources are an issue. Put a small goal out there. If you’re doing a blog post a week right now, commit to three blog posts every two weeks for a month and see how that impacts your overall traffic portfolio. Look at it from a per asset type of view, if possible, meaning how many page views, how many entries did this post get based on what I was projecting and so on and so forth. Keep building it that way. A lot of times you’re just not going to get approval to go hire someone new to be a full-time content producer for you. So it has to be proven throughout a staggered growth period. Does that answer your question?
McKay Allen: No, that’s great. The other thing that I want to – because obviously content strategy is critical as you guys start working with your clients, without letting us see too far behind the curtain, talk about how you approach when you get a new client on. What sort of an evaluation process you do of their content? Do you guys produce the content for them? Do you help them produce it? What’s the process there? Again, without giving too much of your secret sauce away.
Derek Edmond: Sure. I’ll be totally transparent when I say there’s really limited secret sauce. It’s more about thorough auditing, understanding our client’s businesses, and then really rolling up the sleeves and doing some of the work. We don’t gain algorithms or look for short-sighted goals.
The first part is just auditing. Looking at the entire site structure, looking at what we have, and what we need to work with, making sure that it’s search-friendly and as social-friendly as possible. For example, one new client we have, they have a repository of images with no details to them. So the heavy lifting at the start is going to be working with their marketing team and maybe their engineering team to figure out what these images are and how we can apply some more detailed descriptions because while you and I or someone in the industry might know what it is, Google doesn’t know what it is. We need to explain that using text and information. So it’s trying to find those opportunities based on what we know are going to be triggers for improving organic search or social media and auditing to see where to start first from there. But really understanding the business.
McKay Allen: That makes sense. That makes a lot of sense. So no secret sauce, I’m disappointed. I hoped there was some sort of grand secret that you could impart.
Derek Edmond: Well, I think there are tactics that everyone uses that turn out to be more successful and you like to keep them in your back pocket. But, no, there’s no shortcuts, sadly.
McKay Allen: Now, this is off the beaten path but I wanted to have you address it because we’ve actually gotten a lot of questions from our clients and we’ve talked with a lot of agencies we work with that use a lot of my calls for their clients, and there have been a lot of stuff on message boards online and blogs and things that have noted that even though Google is cracking down… content is critical to them, obviously. Even though they continue to crack down on the spammy stuff, there’s always a few of the edge cases, if you will, where somebody buys 50,000 links, they show up Thursday, and they’re all of a sudden ranking number one for a critical keyword.
In the call tracking space, there was a company that showed up like a week ago, no content, no back links. We analyzed their stuff with Moz and with other tools and you could see no apparent reason that suddenly they’re number three ranked on page one. Any insight into why that still happens occasionally? I mean, obviously Google’s algorithm isn’t perfect, but is it nothing more than that?
Derek Edmond: I think so. I mean, they’re not going to be able to catch every instance. They’re looking at it from a high levels way, but from a much more programmatic way, to look at patterns and then put in place filters and restrictions based on those patterns. So it can’t be 100% accurate, I wouldn’t think. Those type of things certainly happen. We’ve had it in the past and current. Clients that see similar things and it’s like, “Man, I see this site that’s re-purposed 10 times with duplicate material on it, five different domains.”
The key is education and understanding what is happening and then reconciling that with where our client’s brand and organization strategy is going to be and going about it that way because if you’re in it for the long haul, then you can’t do things like that because once Google does catch it and penalize you, it’s going to ruin your business. Certainly in the last year, we’ve seen companies lose their business because of things they have done. It’s a shame, really. It’s a shame because sometimes these business owners, they just didn’t even know what the practices were. Education’s critical here and understanding what your competitors are doing. Like you’re doing now, with Moz and everything.
McKay Allen: Absolutely. Yeah, that’s great. All right, one more question and then we’ll be done. If someone’s looking for… the biggest question is, “Where do you start?” So if someone’s saying, “Look, I don’t really have a grand content strategy right now.” Maybe they’re just starting this process. What’s the best place to start? Is it a bench-marking tool to say, “Okay, here’s where I am now, here’s where I want to be.” Is there a tactic? What’s the first thing someone should do if they’re trying to start down this content marketing path?
Derek Edmond: Yeah, I think there’s a combination of things to do. One step is to look at your competitors, both your traditional competitors and competitors for the keywords you want to do well for. Throwing out things like Wikipedia or things that you might just not be in the right… you’re not playing in the same arena for. But looking at what their volumes are and what they’re doing. If they’re blogging, how often do they blog? Is it daily, is it weekly? Something of that nature. If they’re creating white papers, how often do they publish them? What are they using to distribute them? It’s really doing an audit of how your competitors stack up against your current initiatives.
For me, it’s just a simple matrix in Excel of competitors A through whatever, here’s what they’re doing and here’s how often they’re doing it. Here’s what I’m going to need to do to play in this particular space. So that’s one place to start. I tend to think that if you’re thinking purely, “What content tactics should I look at first?” I really think that the blogging is a nice, easy way to get into the habit of producing content, just because of its conversational nature, and most software, it’s just WordPress or similar applications, are going to be fairly good at enabling both S.E.O. strategy and social media strategy.
McKay Allen: Perfect. That’s great. Well, Derek, thank you, sir. We appreciate it. Thank you, everybody, for showing up today. We appreciate that as well. This webinar recording will be emailed to you tomorrow morning, bright and early. So hopefully when you get into work, you’ll have it in your inbox. Then we’ll also make sure to, in that email, include a link to our webinar library, so you can go and view other webinars as well. So thank you for attending, everybody, today. Derek, any final thoughts before we conclude, sir?
Derek Edmond: Well, just thank you again. Thanks, everyone, for their time this afternoon and joining in and I hope that you found it of value. Feel free to reach out to me through Twitter if any questions come up or anything of that nature. I really appreciate it.
McKay Allen: Awesome. Now, Derek, we appreciate it. Thank you so much for your time, sir, and, everybody, thanks again for attending.