Talking Content heads over to Boston, to share a content marketing perspective from Byron White.
Byron is CEO of WriterAccess, a cloud based content platform allowing access to writers, editors, translators and strategists. The content marketing roots of the business date back to 2000 with ideaLaunch. Byron is also curator of the Content Marketing Conference (during April 2017).
I wanted to things back to basics and look at the need to have direction, rather than jump in feet first with a, ‘lets give this content marketing stuff a go and start blogging’ approach.
Six questions, six answers, lets go…
You are a believer in creating stronger communities. Do you see this as a way of building deeper connections whilst everyone panics that no one is listening to them?
Communities are certainly where the web and the world have taken us, connecting dots all thew time.
Way back in 2000 we launched our first “community” business focused on making the world a better place, one tip at a time. It’s called LifeTips, still surviving the test of time, attracting millions of readers to the 120,000 tips we created over the years, and thousands of listeners to 300+ podcasts I’ve recorded and published.
Communities are like a life of their own, perpetually serving the needs of the tribal members. Controlling the community however is difficult, if not impossible. Strengthening the community is possible, but must be forged with caution. When the community is running on all pistons, we see deeper connections. But yes, think community, support community, believe in the community and take action the community members want and need to make the community great.
Before we jump in and get excited that we can start creating videos, star a podcast on iTunes or start becoming more committed to our websites, does everyone need to start with why they are different?
Starting with tactics never works. And it’s not about being different really, as the goal for content marketing or anything really.
Instead, it’s about finding something you are personally passionate about, knowledgeable in, and something that gets you excited to wake up every day and go to work creating those content assets you mentioned in the question. But before you start creating content (tactic), you need a strategy to not just stand out, but achieve aim the goals in the right direction, to them measure the success of the tactics you hope will achieve the goals.
Once you do get that moving in the right direction, it starts getting fun. Did I hit the target today on that blog post I created? Did I connect with listeners on the video I produced? You need strategy first, backed with personal passion, tactics next. When you get it right, you have “UPLIFT” that will attract readers and fans, without big paid budgets or spam.
What is your biggest frustration when you look at companies who say that they are adopting a content driven approach?
That’s simple: The content the create sucks, typically self-centered and/or promotional.
Joining the content marketing revolution does not mean cranking out more that does not help people make their life better. Instead, it means understanding your customer journey, what they’re thinking and feeling along the way, and publishing information they want and need, consistently.
It’s best summed up here:
Forward thinking companies need to start thinking like great publishers— gathering ideas, developing stories, and optimizing content to appeal to readers and fans, so they keep coming back for more.
When it comes to inspiration for creating and curating content, do we need to look outside of our immediate profession ie. human behaviour, psychology, tech?
To rev up our creative juices, we probably need to look inwardly first, finding those ah-ha moments based on research and insightful thinking.
We then need to look outside for data and discovery that back up our inward thinking. Only then can we actually create content that is original and interesting, like content that is counter intuitive to our mainstream thinking, or well researched, or even opinionated.
Why did you decide to commit to the Content Marketing Conference? What are the plans for 2017?
Content Marketing Conference is a way for us all to gather in person to learn what’s new and what’s next with Content Marketing.
Running our main business WriterAccess, a marketplace that connects thousands of customers with freelance writers, editors, content strategists and translators is difficult without face to face conversations that helps us design a better customer experience.
Now onto our third year, CMC has been amazing for our attendees, and our team, particularly because we have been able to attack the best speakers that are so great— they’re all Content Marketing Superheroes, the theme of the 2017 conference in Boston, April 11 to 13th.
How do you learn?
By listening really carefully, for signals that can be put to work with the business or help make peoples lives better.
Research on other businesses or people doing remarkable things is my base camp for learning. But action for me is the purpose of learning, namely taking action on what you learn. When I listen, I’m focused on developing deep empathy for the person or situation I’m listening to. Same with reading really, I’m trying to learn the story, the strategy, the tragedy, the tactics and/or the big idea. Once you learn anything worthy of learning, it’s time to put that knowledge to work. And it needs to be simple, like creating a blog post that explains your inspiration from something you read, and how you’re going to revise your business plan, or at least think about it.
Failure is the fun part of learning, learning what works, and what does not. I’m basically learning all the time in my role, from people, businesses and experiments we’re testing all the time.
BIG thanks to Byron for this perspective. Why not find out more from his side:
Byron on Twitter: click here
WriterAccess: click here
The Content Marketing Conference: click here
When Byron and me had a chat on the WriterAccess podcast: click here