Content Marketing Trends, Pitfalls, and Success Tips: An Interview with Andy Crestodina

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With content marketing considered a top priority for digital marketers everywhere, we knew we just had to catch up with Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina. He was one of the top-rated speakers at last month’s Conversion Conference in Chicago, and is a go-to resource person for anyone struggling with getting results from their content marketing efforts.

Read on to learn Andy’s take on the biggest trends, the common mistakes that marketers make, and the toughest obstacles to hurdle in content marketing.

What do you think are the biggest trends defining content marketing now? Do you think these trends will last long or are these temporary?

Andy: The trends are huge and they're colliding! One of them is mobile. Eventually, a majority of web visits will be from mobile devices. That's big. There are also big changes in search, analytics, social media and UX.

Possibly the biggest trend is content itself. The adoption rate of content marketing is now very high. Brands everywhere are publishing like crazy.

None of these are temporary. But that last one is a biggie. More companies doing content marketing means that for most industries, it's getting more difficult to get traction. If another brand has been at it longer, it can be hard to catch up.

Search optimization, social media and email marketing all benefit from scale, so they get easier as time goes on. Which means life for you is relatively harder if your competitors jumped in first.

But it's never too late. One of the great things about content marketing is that smaller businesses can compete against the big boys. But why let your competitors get big in the first place!

andy crestodina

What common mistakes do marketers make when it comes to creating content?

Andy: One huge mistake is producing content without having a plan to promote it. It's not productive to faithfully stick to a publishing calendar, pumping out blog post after another, with no traffic and no traction. Bad idea.

Great marketers are thinking about how to drive traffic to something from the conception of the idea. Creation and promotion are inseparable.

  • Social: Don't just plan who to share your content with, collaborate with influencers to create it.
  • Search: Don't just plan what phrase to target, plan a set of content on your site and on others, always referring back to your "anchor piece"
  • Email: Don't just send another newsletter, add a question that leads to a post that includes the voice of your audience.

Some formats have the promotion built in. If you're creating content but struggling to increase traffic, here's a post that might help: Content Promotion Strategy: 33 Ways to Drive Traffic.

In your experience, what’s the toughest content marketing pitfall/challenge?

Andy: Time and commitment. Most people know how well it can work, but far fewer get serious enough to follow-through. Or they start and when the results don't roll in quickly, they give up.The key is to prioritize. Embrace content marketing as if...

  • You’re being chased by a wild animal
  • You're starving on a desert island
  • A loved one is tied to the train tracks

...and only content can help!

Imagine. What if you took it half that seriously? Would you watch TV tonight? What time would you get up tomorrow morning? What would you do this weekend?

We did some research and found that 40% of bloggers will be creating content this weekend.

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Yes, I'm talking about sacrifice, but it doesn't have to be that way. If you're organized, if you invest and if you delegate, it can fit within a semi-normal lifestyle.

And if you do give something up, ask yourself this:

What would it be worth to dominate your industry?

It's certainly worth something. And it's possible. Something to think about...

What area/areas should digital marketers focus on to be successful in lead generation from content?

Andy: They should focus on two things: traffic and conversion rates. Every action we take as marketers must affect one of these two numbers or it was a waste.

  • For traffic: I recommend paying attention to search. Learn the basics of SEO and keep an eye out for keywords and links. It makes a huge difference in the long run.
  • For conversions: I recommend optimizing your site to maximize newsletter signups. It will create a dominant position for you down the road. You don't own Facebook, Twitter or Google, but you do own your list. Grow it as fast as you can...

If you're looking for conversion optimization tips, you're in the right place. Do I get to ask questions here? Tim and his team definitely have the answers...

This is a sneak peek at Andy Crestodina’s upcoming webinar, “Content, Conversions, and Lead Generation.” If you want to learn how to get more leads from your content and you missed Andy at Conversion Conference, catch his encore presentation on Aug. 6, 2014, 10am PDT.