Sam Hirbod is the Principal Inbound Agency Strategist at Hubspot. He has worked with over a thousand organizations in both the public and private sectors, enabling growth by helping them build actionable goals based on data. A Swedish native, Sam has international experience, having worked jobs in Sweden, Ireland, and the U.S.
In this presentation, he shares his perspective and experience on where content marketing is headed, and how to get ahead of the curve.
Sam begins his presentation discussing how to set real, attainable goals for your content initiatives. The key here is to focus on data and measurable factors. Central to creating these concrete goals, he explains, is the “SMART” goal format, which you may be familiar with. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. He breaks it down like this:
Goals should be specific, indicating whether you’re looking for an increase in things like visits, leads, or customers. They should be measurable, meaning there should be a hard number attached to the goal, which you’re trying to reach. They should be attainable, i.e., the number you attach to the goal should be something that’s realistic.
It should be relevant, meaning the number you measure should relate back to the goal you’re trying to achieve. Does an increase in traffic by 50% translate to more customers like you want, for example? And last, it should be timely, meaning there should be a deadline. Set goals in this manner, he says, and your content initiatives will both be more successful, and easier to track.
The 3-in-1 Approach
Next, Sam discusses how we’re rapidly approaching the end of static and gated content. We’ve lived through the “copy era,” where content marketing strategies have largely revolved around trying to snag a slice of the most successful pies, pushing out lots of low-quality content wherever traffic is being generated. This has only bogged down the system, and we need to start thinking about how to position ourselves as different.
A solution he offers in the 3-in-1 approach. First, write a piece of content. Then, set up a camera (even a simple smartphone on a cheap tripod) and a (nice) microphone, and have someone present that piece of content like a speech.
By writing, filming, and recording the content, you can post and promote it in three different formats: textual, podcast, and video. This makes the content more dynamic, and allows the audience to consume it in the format they prefer.
Get Ready for Voice
Sam also discusses how voice search is quickly becoming a game changer. With more and more people using it, we need to start gearing our content towards being found via voice. Here’s how he suggests doing just that.
First, fill out your Google My Business page as much as possible. Next, start tweaking your content. You’ll want to change the tone of your content, from the formal nature of written content, to a more conversational style that reflects the method it will be delivered to the user. People aren’t going to be reading this, it’s going to be read to them, so focus on making it sound natural.
He also encourages businesses to focus more on long-tail keywords, rather than short, as that will give you more specificity, and make it easier to claim your stake. As for what content to produce, he advises you to analyze your FAQ section for ideas. Give each major question its own page, as it makes it easier for Google and Siri to find that content.
Finally, Sam explains how keeping our audience’s attention going forward is going to require interactive content. Giving your audience a role in the content consumption will increase consumption. Examples of this kind of content include quizzes, surveys, generators, and tools, just to name a few.
In short, you’ll want to make your content “unskippable” if you want to succeed. Use the “skyscraper” model, and really put some effort into your content. This is the future. The age of the content mills is quickly coming to an end.