Influencer Marketing and Hybrid Content Marketing Strategy with Lee Odden

July 16, 2016

Influencer Marketing and Hybrid Content Marketing Strategy with Lee Odden

When it’s tuned-up with the right strategy, content marketing is a powerful engine for building an audience and converting them into leads. And just like any engine, content marketing has a lot of moving parts. Each must work with the others toward a specific purpose. Otherwise, you get noise and motion, but don’t get any closer to your destination.

TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden is a master at bringing together all the disparate parts of marketing into one holistic strategy. His approach combines PR, SEO, content, and influencer marketing, breaking down silos to make sure each part is serving the whole.

We had the good fortune to interview Lee for The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Content Marketing. Read on to see how Lee and his team at TopRank Marketing create marketing that is smart, creative, and focused on results.

Q&A with TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden

Where do you see influencer marketing in five years? How about next year?

Lee: Much of influencer marketing is about advocacy and more B2B marketers will look at influencers as partners. Everyone is influential about something and because of ubiquitous connectivity and the ability to publish anywhere, anytime, people are more empowered than ever to grow their networks.

In the future I see a democratization of content creation through content relationships with famous influencers (brandividuals) and niche influencers alike. There's upside to content co-creation for both brands and contributors. The influencers get exposure to the brand community and the brand gets exposure to better quality content shared with an entirely new audience.

I think content platforms and planning tools will integrate better with influencer marketing tools to leverage influencer insights in the content marketing process. From topic ideation, to quote sourcing, to measuring the performance of influencer content sharing, an integrated solution will provide brands with an effective means to increase content quantity, quality and reach.

You are known as a jack of all trades. As marketing leaders look to expand upon their content, social, PR, SEO, event, and influencer marketing strategies in the years ahead, how can they tie it all together to ensure the whole is greater than the sum of the parts?

Lee: Sophisticated marketing starts with a solid strategy. To create a smart plan for achieving marketing goals, it's essential to capture insights from customers. When marketers understand customer preferences for content discovery, consumption, and engagement, a more effective strategy and tactical mix can be created.

If you were starting a content marketing program from scratch, where would you begin?

Lee: All marketing starts with the customer. Understanding what buyers need is essential for architecting a content marketing program that is relevant, meaningful, and effective at driving new business.

The most successful content marketing is a cycle of content informed by customer insight that when implemented, provides even more data for further insight and further content marketing performance optimization.

In your eyes, what is the biggest difference between content marketing five years ago and content marketing today?

Lee: Five years ago, content marketing for many companies was simply about creating more content.

As the practice of content marketing has matured, more marketers are creating higher quality content that not only provides self-directed buyers with answers to the questions that lead them through the sales process, but also content experiences.

Visual content, more creative storytelling, and interactive content contribute to experiences that inform and create an emotional connection with buyers. Brands are still creating more content, but it's held to a higher standard by customers.

If you are tasked with hiring a content marketer, what is the #1 attribute you are looking for?

Lee: Genuine passion for creating content and marketing.

I recently polled the team at TopRank Marketing on what it takes to succeed at the agency. The most frequently used attribute shared was passion. Without genuine interest in the content process and all that goes with content marketing, it is very difficult to produce the quantity of quality necessary to succeed.

Thanks to Lee for joining us. You can follow him on Twitter @leeodden, and read more from the TopRank Marketing team on the TopRank Marketing blog.

For 100+ pages of content marketing strategy advice from Lee and other top marketing minds, download The Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to Content Marketing.