Live from IS 2016 from Queensbury Theater’s Black Box!

This is Raissa Evans, Founder/Chief Strategist of Running Reload and President of Houston IMA live blogging from IS 2016! First up, Ronell Smith, Moz, “Inputs > Outcomes: How to Make Your Content Marketing INVINCIBLE”

A self-described “two-bit hick from Mississippi”, Ronell starts us out on his hero’s journey about losing the 60 pounds he gained after high school, making an analogy about the terrible tactics he underwent by working out and starving himself. What is it that people who are in great shape, and stay that way, do on a regular basis? Habits are simple, but not easy. People in the best shape realize it’s a journey, and that it’s about the process. Better health, looking good, etc. were a result of the process, not the goal.

The goal is baked into the process – Eureka!

Clients want better content, but don’t have the staff. Their website is almost invisible to Google and their brand is inconsistent. They are too  focused on these outcomes, and it’s Ronell’s conclusion based on research that this is the wrong focus. A focus on input vs outcome metrics (meaning focus on creating content, posting to Facebook, monitoring review sites) is the key to web success. Focus on visibility, a loyal audience to your content and not just to your brand. We have to start ignoring content for content’s sake and instead deliver so much value that our biggest fans look for our content not just on our own site, but across the web.

What are the friction points? We ignore the “why” of things that are working, chase shiny things and measure everything or the wrong things instead of those that matter. When our comfort zone is to measure output, it can be hard to optimize the performance of the right efforts. The key to content marketing success is tolerance, adherence and repetition.

Putting this to the test: Back to the weight/health analogy, a typical goal might look like “I want to lose weight, get under 230 pounds, and I’ll do that by eating less and working out more.” But if you instead put the work first, it looks like “I am going to eat less, work out more, and measure success by the scale resulting in weight loss” you can move the needle by the focus being on the process and tweaking along the way. Eric Cressey, Cressey Sports Performance trains major league athletes and says, “There is growth in every process, but not in ANY outcome.”

The nudge component is what makes consistent success more reliable.  But how does an already overwhelmed team find time to blog every day to increase their audience, for example? Realize that what we commit to, is what we achieve success by. Our job is to find the best targets for OUR brand, ignore the competitors. Earn it. Great customer service, for instance, earns more customer reviews. Which actions earn social engagement, and are they actually worthwhile? More of this, less of that – where should you actually be spending your time? A handful of keyword-focused pages could have big, long-term impact. Site crawl to fix your issues (but don’t call it a site audit, folks hate that word). Create relationships before you need them, and especially before asking them for something.

How in the heck do we find the time? The NUDGE. What makes the activity you know you need to do more likely? Curtail daily meetings. Assign the activity to someone to own. Then refine, revise, repeat. Ronell’s favorite tool (and mine too!): Trello.