Matthew T Grant


Tall Guy. Glasses.

“It Doesn’t Feel Like Marketing” – Matthew T. Grant on Noteworthy Content

Kyla Cullinane interviewed me during MarketingProfs’ B2B Forum last month. The topic was “How to Make your Online Content Stand Out.”

Briefly stated, I believe that your content will stand out if it is useful in and of itself (not just as marketing copy for your company). Of course, when you focus on “usefulness” you begin to move away from the notion of content as “words on a page” and begin to think of it in terms of tools, applications, and ideas. That is, as Shakespeare used to say, “the rub.”

If you don’t have two minutes and thirty odd seconds to spend on this video but you want something to think about, consider this: What question is your product or service the answer to?

Now let that question guide you in developing content that is meaningful, pertinent, and, above all, useful to the people who matter most: your customers.

If on the other hand you do have the time to watch, what do you think?

MarketingProfs B2B Forum, Boston 2009 – Assorted Afterthoughts

3609889588_dd2d4ff833_mI spent Monday and Tuesday at MarketingProfs B2B Forum where I moderated a panel on “creating robust content to engage customers and prospects.” The panelists – Phil Juliano of Novell, Valeria Maltoni (the Conversation Agent), Chris Penn of the Student Loan Network, and Mike O’Toole of PJA – were all smart, funny, articulate and great to work with. It was a privilege to be associated with these folks.

While I hope that our panel discussion, which Valeria recapped on her blog and which Mike and I previewed on MarketingProfs DailyFix, provided attendees with a useful framework and practical advice for advancing their content-based marketing initiatives, I know for a fact that I learned a lot from the sessions I visited and the numerous people I met at this conference. To whit:

  • More and more B2B marketers are feeling the need to leverage social media but are not sure where to start.
  • Even when they are producing interesting content, organizations are not taking advantage of the many available distribution channels nor are they thoughtfully or aggressively re-purposing this content.
  • Even though marketing department budgets and staff have been cut drastically, companies still need to market their products and services, which seems to offer a lot of opportunities for independent consultants and agencies.
  • Companies don’t realize the importance of integrating their SEO efforts with the full range of marketing, advertising, and, most importantly, IT initiatives.
  • As a corollary, the lines of communication and collaboration between IT and Marketing seem to be broken, which is a problem because the state of marketing today calls for increasing and ongoing integration with IT.
  • Finally, the individuals on your sales force are your most important channel in the B2B space, so your marketing efforts need to be geared at educating, enabling, and empowering them.

I have more to say on each of these topics but am actually more curious to hear what you have to say about them. This stuff sound right? Wrong? Whatever?

Image Courtesy of Bob Collins. Thanks, Bob!

Do you consider SEO a part of marketing or a separate job?

I did a webcast on marketing careers for the Aquent and the AMA in September, 2008. We got a lot of questions during and after the webcast and here’s how I answered one of them. – Matt

Got this question after our AMA webcast on marketing careers t’other day and I’m reading it this way: Should all marketers be thinking about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or should there be a specific individual in the organization who focuses on SEO?

My answer is, “Yes.” Now let me explain, since it doesn’t make any sense to answer an “either/or” question in the affirmative.

Marketers, especially in the communications and advertising realm, all need to think about SEO. The “comms” (PR, corporate communications, investor relations, etc.) should be thinking about it because most if not all the content they produce will probably live on the Web and should serve to drive convertible traffic to the relevant site. For this reason, said content ought to be optimized for search and fit the company’s overall SEO strategy.

Likewise, ad campaigns should have an SEO component in the sense that you should think about buying keywords you don’t already own if they are showing up in your TV, radio, or print spots. For example, I believe the folks at Sobe bought “Thriller” when they ran their Super Bowl ad, though my memory could be playing tricks on me.

At the same time, SEO has emerged as a discipline unto itself, meaning that people can get paid to focus entirely on that. Because this is a specialized and evolving field, every organization should at least hire an SEO consultant or contractor to help get their strategy right. In fact, it will even make sense for some larger organizations to hire a full-time SEO specialist.

In other words, “Yes, SEO is part of marketing AND a separate job.”

Content and its Discontents

1176663820_ecc5f27a17_mThe other day I posted, “5 Rules for Creating Content that RULES!“, which I wrote with PJA’s Mike O’Toole. We were walking a fine line because we wanted to talk about ways to effectively conduct content-driven marketing but, at the same time, we said that your content strategy had to flow from your marketing strategy AND that content itself, in order to be useful and ultimately shareable, had to be created with the audience in mind.

In other words, if you want to create content that rules, actually creating content is the last thing you should do.

The underlying message is: Don’t confuse means with ends. The goal of marketing is not to pump out advertisements, for example; the goal is to market products and services and use advertising or pricing or merchandising or channel management or whatever to do that.

But there is another, more subtle message underlying the aforementioned message: For content to be of use to you, it has to seem like you created it primarily for others. That is, if your content is too obviously self-serving (by being “salesy” or overtly promotional), even if others could use it, they will probably choose not to.

If you are going to give something away (valuable information, useful tools, practical insights, etc.) in order to get something, you have to give it away without expecting anything in return. I think there is some kind of life lesson in here somewhere.

Image Courtesy of dogeared-1144.

SEO-Friendly Title

Keyword-laden content.

Self-credentialing commentary and links.

Call to action.

Thus ends this morning’s lesson.