Author of Optimize, CEO of TopRank Marketing, and content/SEO specialist Lee Odden recently provided words of wisdom to The Social Lights Community Management Training Program class in a presentation that emphasized the importance of storytelling in content creation and search engine optimization. The presentation was as inspiring as it was informative, given by a professional who is truly passionate about his career and the ever-evolving digital world.
“What keeps me interested is simple – I love learning,” Odden said.
“I learn something new everyday.”
Odden is a highly distinguished marketing and social media expert, as well as an author and blogger, whose vast experience in the digital world translates to the role of a Community Manager. His presentation to the CMTP class spoke volumes as he explained the value of engaging content versus keyword use in SEO.
As Community Managers in training, the class learned that being the voice of a business or brand means writing engaging content that speaks to a particular audience.
“That is the genesis of how we approach content, and through that we’ll create and curate,” he explained. “Especially in the realm of community management – you should plan on doing a lot of curating. Creation, curation, socialized, publicized, and optimized – that’s the entire scheme.”
Despite its smaller size, Odden’s company, TopRank Marketing, leaves a footprint on the Internet comparable to that of a major corporation because of its use of content. TopRankBlog.com, which he authors, is a site utilized by marketing, PR, and advertising professionals throughout the world, as it offers insight into ways to drive more traffic to your own company website or blog.
“Just because you write great content does not mean that people will find it,” said Alex Haider, a CMTP student and local blogger. “TopRank Blog helps you learn how to get people to find your website. In essence, it is not buying attention. It is earning attention by producing good content.”
Odden explained that after creating content for a website or blog, in order to drive traffic to that site, a Community Manager must create anticipation through use of social networks.
“We live in an age of ubiquitous connectivity,” he added. “Social [media] has become a strong signal that impacts search visibility.”
A recent study titled, “The 2013 State of Community Management: Proving the Value of Community” by The Community Roundtable was referenced, which identifies the roles and skills required of a Community Manager. Among the study’s findings, the most important skill of a Community Manager is engagement/people skills. Content development, strategic and business, and technical skills followed, respectively.
People skills are most certainly the most important asset a Community Manager can have, as a CM must be able to cater content to and engage with a particular audience on behalf of a brand. Odden identified key factors that should be considered when creating and optimizing content:
- Who are you writing for?
- What do they care about?
- What stories will connect you?
- Make it easy to find and share.
Repurposing was also discussed, with students breaking into teams to brainstorm ways to repurpose or “reimagine” content. Repurposing is essentially using old content on new platforms, and customizing that content based on its medium. In a TopRank Blog post, Odden summed up the practical reasons why a company/CM would want to repurpose content:
- Short attention span
- Building SEO relevancy
- Personalize for vertical or customer segments
- The future of repurposed content is scaled creation/collective social wisdom
Advice on job placement and distinguishing oneself in a highly competitive line of work was offered, with approach and strategic thinking being at the forefront of what employers look for in candidates.
“It’s important to have a humble but confident approach,” Odden said. “And the fact that you’re thinking strategically about an approach is going to help you stand out. Anybody can set up accounts, but being able to have an effective outcome – here’s a problem, here’s my recommendation, and here’s the outcome – that is awesome.”
Staying up-to-date with current events and media trends, as well as participating in the social conversation on a site, was a final piece of advice Odden had for every person working in social media:
“Increasing your own knowledge and getting outside of your normal boundaries is a good idea – because it’s too easy to get into a routine. People are empowered to create, consume, interact, and transact anywhere.”
For more information on Lee Odden or his book, “Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing” visit http://optimizebook.com/. For more information on TopRank Marketing, visit http://www.toprankmarketing.com/.