Expert Content Interview with Bill Flitter

April 27th, 2011 • By:  • Expert Interviews

Expert Interviews
In an attempt to keep the conversation on content creation and distribution strategies going, I reached out to the Founder and CEO of Dlvr.it, an efficient way to distribute your content to acquire more engaged customers that click, share and buy. He shared with me some great tips on Facebook’s EdgeRank, social media and content marketing’s symbiotic relationship as well as the new things that his organization is up to these days.

Elise Redlin-Cook: You spoke at the Content Marketing Strategies Conference a few months ago about how to leverage Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm to publicize your content. Would you be able to give our readers some quick tips on how this tool can be used?Bill Flitter

Bill Flitter: As soon as I provide tips they are bound to change! The Facebook newsfeed or EdgeRank, much like Google Pagerank, is in a constant state of flux. The biggest difference between EdgeRank and Pagerank, the consumer has more control over affecting EdgeRank by un-following a brand (sends a clear message) or conversely interacting with the brand more.

ERO (EdgeRank Optimization) is the new SEO. The goal with EdgeRank is to have your content show more often in the newsfeed of your fans. The higher your EdgeRank the more likely your content will be read.

Here are three tips:

1. The more you are engaged with your fans, the higher the EdgeRank. Some tactics that you might want to try;

a. Do polls

b. Start a post with a question

c. Try fill in the _____ posts

2. Links trump status updates

a. Auto-distribute your blog posts or, curate relevant content – become a publisher and an editor

3. A picture is worth a thousand words. Posts with pictures receive highest weight and engagement

Elise: Beyond Facebook, what other social media networks seem to pack the biggest publicity power punch for content syndication?

Bill: Depends what your goal is and who your audience is. From our research at Dlvr.it, we know customers treat Facebook differently than they do Twitter than they do LinkedIn.

Click to Tweet this QuoteBottom line is this, be where your customers are. It used to be easy, build a website and optimize for search. Today, there are so many more places consumers are interacting with brands. From social networks to mobile to forums to email to websites, you have to interact with your customer where they choose.

Elise: Many people seem to lump content marketing and social media into the same pool. Could you explain what is different about these two disciplines and how they are interrelated?

Bill: I recently wrote a blog post on this subject. Marketers are drawn to the next “shiny” object. Since the Internet’s infancy, marketers have honed in on the newest built silo. That shiny object got all of their attention, whether it was social media, email, SEO, mobile marketing or (fill in the blank with next shiny marketing strategy). There is one thing that cuts across all these tactics – content.

Content marketing is used by more than nine of 10 companies, and each company’s marketing team uses on average eight content tactics, according to a report from the Content Marketing Institute. However, these tactics are unnecessarily costly if individual messages are not integrated. Producing tangibles across these silos, creating content that potentially fills each silo, is the real test of a marketer’s capability.

Producing tangibles across these silos, creating content that potentially fills each silo, is the real test of a marketer’s capability.

Social Media is a tactic – shiny object. It allows us to have conversations with our customers like they were in our physical storefront. It is no different than shop keepers have been doing for decades. The difference is in the tools or technology.

I look at my in-laws who own a small Italian restaurant in Northern California. They are a second generation shopkeepers. I see them interact or ‘be social’ with their customers. Their social network is their restaurant where people gather from 11-9 every day to catch up on the latest news, gossip and family. They have been doing this long before Zuckerberg’s parents were even born.

Be careful not to get caught up in the next shiny object. Focus on your product and customers and the rest will take care of itself. We now have a “town square” (ie. Facebook) where millions of people from around the World are having conversations. The same conversations they had been having in places like my in-laws restaurant. Point is don’t get too carried away or overthink social.

Elise:What do you think the biggest challenges for a content publisher is today?

Bill:

1. Writing quality content
2. Optimizing the content across channel
3. Thinking like a publisher vs. marketer. Tell the story vs. sell the story.

Elise: Yes, I think those are all very common challenges faced today. So, with the increased speed of publishing do you think that the quality of content that is produced overall has been sacrificed?

Bill: I think that was proven with the Google Panda update. It is not about over-production but quality. I challenge marketers to ask themselves, if you could only produce one piece of content, is the piece that you are about to hit the send button on, selling or un-selling the brand? Click to Tweet this QuoteDoes it tell a piece of the brand ‘story.’ If it doesn’t, don’t distribute it.

Elise: Good advice. Well, Bill…you always seem to have big things in the pipeline. Do you have any exciting projects that you can tell us about?

dlvr.it logoBill: We have a lot of good things cooking. I wish I had about 10 more developers to keep up! We just launched demographic analysis for distributed content. This will help marketers and publishers understand who is reading their content. It answers the question of whether a marketer is writing for the right audience.

Launching soon is a content curation module. This will give our customers more control over the exact content they distribute. It will also allow our customers to personalize the headline or choose an image for the content before it gets distributed.

We are also rolling out the next generation of our Content Yield Optimization engine. Without giving too much away, this new engine will provide insights for the delivery of content that elicit a faster consumer response to increase content sharing, traffic and revenue.

Elise: Sounds VERY interesting. I can’t wait to take a look!

Bill discussed some of the common challenges with content faced by today’s marketers. Are you struggling with content challenges? Comment below!

Elise Redlin

Elise is the Content & Marketing Manager at Vertical Measures, an internet marketing company in sunny Arizona providing services ranging from content marketing, to social media marketing, link building, and advanced SEO. She’s fully immersed herself into the world of content marketing and content strategy and is the managing editor of this blog. +Elise Redlin

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