Content Marketing at Conferences with Lee Odden [VIDEO]
Arnie Kuenn speaks with Lee Odden of TopRank Online Marketing about content marketing at conferences.
Lee Odden is the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing.
Arnie: Hi everyone I’m Arnie Kuenn with Vertical Measures, and today we have our guest, a friend of mine, Lee Odden, with TopRank. Say hello, Lee.
Lee: Hey, Arnie, how are you? Good to be here.
Arnie: I’m doing great, thanks for joining us. So, the short version of how this came about is — hey I used a Minnesota term, or a Canadian term, “coming about.”
Lee: I don’t know.
Arnie: Anyway, I digress. So Lee and I have done a few panels together, and he always brings a few gadgets and I’ve always been intrigued about the kind of content he produces when he’s actually at various conferences and speaking and attending, so on and so forth. We thought it might make a good blog post. In fact I think he wrote a post similar to this just a few days ago, we’ll link to it in this. But I asked Lee if the thought this would turn out better as a video and actually show the devices we’re talking about. So I’m going to turn it over to Lee and he’s going to talk to you about how he does content marketing at conferences. Take it away.
Lee: Thanks Arnie, you know two of the key things we do to get the word out about TopRank, about our consulting services for the purpose of attracting clients, recruiting, is speaking at conferences and creating content through our blog and media outreach: online articles and industry publications. Conferences can cost a lot of money, but yet at the same time it can be amazing opportunities for lots of business value, and that’s really what I wrote about in my article on Monday this week.
In one of those pieces of value you get from events is creating content, and these days lots of folks are live blogging. You go into exhibit hall and lots of people are setup with cameras and doing video interviews and all of that stuff. Those are really great things and they’re actually becoming more common, but it’s also more competitive now. So you’ve got to do things to be more creative. So I found that by going to conferences and being a speaker or just as an attendee there’s lots of different things you can do to create content. While you’re creating content, you can also network with people, you can create connections, you can create value.
One of my most powerful tools of course is this iPhone. Especially the iPhone 4 — it has a fantastic camera. The apps for social networking to share the video you capture with that camera are really amazing. So I guess one of the first things I would talk about would be some of the apps you can use. Obviously using the camera itself, but also camera enhancements. I love to use Instagram, and I also like to share through Instagram to Facebook, to Twitter, and to other places. And I also like to manipulate the images using Instagram, and maybe I don’t even share them with Instagram.
This is my laptop bag which I have a 13-inch Macbook Air, here it is, what I carry it in is 13-inch 13 inch Mackbook Air, and it’s super light. Inside that bag, I have another bag. These are a lot of the gadgets that I bring to events. One of the things I like to do is, right before I give a presentation, I want to do something different. I want to make myself stand out, and I want to do something that creates content and also social opportunity. So I’ve got a little bag here, this an Olloclip, and inside this little bag of course is a lens. And I can take it and I can add it on to my iPhone, so now I actually have the ability to shoot a fisheye video version or a wide angle of the entire audience. One of the problems was when first started to take pictures of the audience, what I’m looking for of course is the best looking audience in the world. That line works in Hong Kong, in works in Barcelona, in London, in Antwerp, and certainly in Minneapolis, Chicago, San Francisco, and New York. Everyone wants to be good looking so I ask them to please quick get good looking so I can take a picture of you. When I take it with the iPhone of course the spectrum of width is only so much. So adding on this little Olloclip lens allows me to capture the entire audience and it adds a neat effect.
I have to say, all over the world when I’ve been taking pictures with this thing at conferences people come up to me and say what’s that thing on your phone? And it initiates a conversation. I have an interesting story: I was in Time Square doing a video — imagine how much you can capture with a wide angel lens there. And I hear, “Sir, sir.” I don’t know who that is. And I turn around and there’s this six foot six giant NYC cop. He’s like, “What is that, is that a webcam?” and in a few seconds he’s writing down the name Olloclip on his hand, because he wants to use it too.
Really great technical tools can be great social tools as well. Here’s another one I have in my bag. It’s just an extension cord. It’s a plug-in. So I plug this into a wall, right, you’re at a conference, there’s people live blogging. Everyone needs power, and this thing is really small. You can literally carry this in your jacket pocket if you wanted to. But you can plug three devices into this and then plug it into the wall. So someone might be there taking up electricity, and you say hey, do you mind if I plug in? You can plug into me and someone else can plug in too. By the fact that you’re close to one another you might have to talk, and so that’s a nice little social networking tool and gadget to have.
Obviously I have the other adapters for Mac products so I can connect to wi-fi, or I can connect to an external monitor. Another cool thing in terms of power is this gadget. I have two types of power, I’ve got the New Trent battery pack. This thing will power an iPad several times. It will power my iPhone for an entire week, just this one thing. Now this is big, you wouldn’t want to probably carry this with you but I carry it in my bag, especially internationally. I’ve always got power for my iPhone because of this thing. But when I want to have something smaller, I’ve got this tiny little GMYLE it’s called. And this attaches to the bottom of your iPhone. But this thing is quite handy because it’s so small you can carry it in your pocket if you don’t like to have one of those big adapters, this can be quite useful for one or one-and-a-half charges of your iPhone. So that’s really not content creation, but you know what, if your phone isn’t charged you can’t take videos, so it’s important.
One of the other gadgets for the iPhone that I like to use is a little wireless lavalier. And it’s made by — Scosche? I’m not sure, I’ll put it up to the camera. The way you would use this with your iPhone is that you download an app on your iPhone and then you can put your iPhone, let’s say somewhere stationary, and then you can walk away, and you can clip this to yourself and use it as a wireless mic. The other way I like to use it is if I’m shooting video like this and it’s really crowded, noisy, the camera on the iPhone is awesome but the audio sucks, the microphone sucks. So you can literally be shooting a video with someone and do a here you go, I’m talking, here you go kind of thing and you can make sure that the audio that’s captured with this thing is really, really clear.
This is pretty handy, and I don’t use this often enough, but it’s great for doing interviews. One of the other things I’d like to share is you want to make sure you’ve got a way to capture higher resolution video. So I like this Sony NEX-5N camera. I bought a shotgun mic for it to make sure I improve the image quality, but this thing in terms of a small, digital SLR, is absolutely awesome. It takes amazing pictures. It’s got an incredibly easy to use interface, and I’ve shot some really, really good videos with people using it. And that allows of course to publish much higher resolution to pop up onto YouTube, so people can have many different options in terms of viewing it.
Planning is the big part and I just went into showing you a bunch of gadgets, but one of the things about going to events and creating content is to make a plan. If you’re going to use interviews, and a lot of things I share are very interview-centric, you want to plan on who it is you’re going to interview with, and have some idea of where they’re going to be. You’ll want to treat it like you’re a journalist and especially if they’re a speaker they’re going to want to give interviews, but they may be busy. So plan a head and try to create a schedule of who you’re going to interview and when. Also, be adaptive and take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves.
I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve been able to get interviews with interesting people that I just bumped into. And I happen to go “Hey, you want to do a quick interview?” They’re in the business of being known, they’re more than happy, their ego will drive them to shoot a video with you, and you go hey, here’s my iPhone, here’s my cool little lens, and they’ll go what is that? Then you shoot that video and then you’ve got your little lavalier microphone, and it’s cool. People appreciate gadgets and the finished product is a lot better than if you just go up to someone and shaky with your hand and do a video with an iPhone.
Those are a couple of tips. I guess the other thing is take advantage of distribution. You shoot videos with people, make sure you let them know you shot the video and that they share it with their networks. Pop it up on your network, do screenshots of videos so you can up load those to Picasa, Flickr and Pinterest, with a link back to the full video that’s embedded on your blog. Deconstruct the media that you create and think about all ways you can repurpose it, and you’ll get a lot more distribution and a lot more exposure, than just throwing up a video on YouTube, and crossing your fingers hopping that someones going to pay attention to it.
Arnie: That’s exactly what I was hoping for, and as you mentioned throughout how it starts conversations. That’s exactly how this piece of content we’re creating came about. You and I were setting up on one of those stages and I saw the lavalier, and the fisheye, and I thought, we need to do something to tell people how you’re producing content. So great job. And I noticed one thing, I don’t know how the video’s going to shake out once we download this, but it did seem when you were moving around sometimes the voice didn’t sync up, so I apologize to our viewers, hopefully you get the gist of everything Lee was talking about. And before we wrap up I noticed over your left shoulder, what happens to be a copy of a really cool new book by a famous author. Why don’t you tell us about it.
Lee: Infamous, infamous author, of the book Optimized. Optimized is a book that was published almost a month ago by Wiley and talks about the intersection of search, social and content, and at that level it’s not too different than Accelerate!, bringing together those three disciplines. Optimized spends a lot of time on customer segmentation. It spends a lot of time on many different types of audits and there’s a bit more social slant and content slant to it than search. I think those two books are pretty dangerous for any smart person to get a hold of actually. Because both of them have a lot of framework information, but they also have a lot of specific tactical advice. And I think I remember you saying that you had even modified how you were doing some of the things you were doing in your agency.
I’ve been blogging for eight years and I’ve always said, “Well I blog, why the hell would I want to write a book?” and I wanted to go through the journey. I wanted to know what it was like to actually do the research and put something together that’s 60-70,000 words and hope that it’s going to make sense to people. And the feedback that I’ve had has been amazing. Some of the people that have endorsed it and some of the reviews we’ve had already, really floored me. I’m pretty happy with it. It’s just getting started, we haven’t even done any outreach with it yet, which is silly. I know that you’re supposed to that months before the book launches. But I wanted to see how it would go. Do we have a network, do we have a good network or not? We paid forward, or not, and it turns out that we did. And a lot of people have really gone out of their way from marketing props to Joe at Content Marketing Institute. Coffee Blogger and Jay Baer and lots of other places to say hey, what can we do to help you promote the book? And I appreciate you bringing it up during this hangout.
Arnie: Absolutely. I have to say, your publisher sent me a copy and I just started to read it. We hired a new marketing manager and I gave it to her and she’s almost finished with it and she said she’s really, really enjoying it so I’ll encourage her to give you a good review. I know those are valuable.
Lee: Yes, and folks can find out about the book at OptimizeBook.com. There we have blog posts about events and we do this fun thing called “Optimize in the Wild” when people take photos of themselves and the book and we go ahead and put that up in blog posts and put it up on Flickr and Pinterest and things like that. There’s also some downloadable spreadsheets for a keyword glossary and a content plan. And there are previews to several of the chapters, and that sort of stuff. I’m trying to add more to it but it’s a good place to find out about the book and actually order the book too.
Arnie: Great, well it’s time to wrap it up. Once again, Lee I want to thank you for your time, I appreciate it. Thanks for all the wonderful advice and best of luck with Optimized.
Lee: Thanks a lot Arnie.
About Arnie Kuenn
Arnie Kuenn is the CEO of Vertical Measures and author of Accelerate! Content Development & Marketing to Grow Your Business Online. Vertical Measures provides search, social and content marketing services, designed to help businesses improve their online presence and obtain more traffic and conversions. +Arnie Kuenn