Andy Crestodina’s Guide to Content Chemistry

Episode 10 November 29, 2019 00:18:44
Andy Crestodina’s Guide to Content Chemistry
Social PR Secrets: public relations podcast for entrepreneurs by Lisa Buyer
Andy Crestodina’s Guide to Content Chemistry
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Show Notes

Why is content king? Andy Crestodina says content is ground zero of all social media activity, and if you want your content seen, never post without an image.

In this episode of the Social PR Secrets Podcast, Lisa Buyer sits down with entrepreneur, author and acclaimed speaker Andy Crestodina to get his advice for creating social media content. If you’re looking for guidance on how to optimize your content or marketing skills, Andy is the person to turn to. Andy is the co-founder of Orbit Media, an award-winning web design company, and author of Content Chemistry, the most comprehensive guide available of all things modern marketing.

In this episode from the vault, Andy and Lisa discuss how to repurpose one piece of content for many different posts, why social media is essential for every marketer, and tips to maximize your SEO. What is a headline and how do you write one that will generate more clicks? Andy tells us all his data-driven hacks to stand out. Want to know how to get ahead in social media marketing? Andy reveals the biggest gap in the field and how you can capitalize on it!

 “The bottom line is we have to be focused on our audience. The greatest skill in marketing is empathy” - Andy Crestodina

Some topics discussed in this episode include:

Contact Andy Crestodina:

More from Andy:

References and links mentioned:

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 2 00:10 Welcome to another episode of social PR secrets. My name is Lisa buyer and I'll be your host. Today's guest is Andy Crestodina. Andy is the co founder of orbit media and award-winning web design company and he is also known as the content chemist. Andy wrote several books on content marketing and content chemistry and that's what we talk about in today's episode. This episode was originally recorded as part of my social media management class at the university of Florida. It was also one of my most popular, I'm excited for you to hear and learn from Andy's content formulas. Speaker 3 00:55 Okay, so we are back and we are here. This is actually week four and we're focusing on content, social media content and I have a very special guest. His name is Andy Crestodina and he is the co founder of orbit media and he also happens to be the author of this book called content chemistry, which he was nice enough to send to me. Andy speaks at conferences all over the United States, probably internationally. I'm going to hand it over to him and let him tell you a little bit more about his background and then we're going to dig into social media content. So Andy, over to you. Speaker 4 01:30 Thanks Lisa. Honored to be here. So I'm generation X, so I was, I was born into a world without the internet and like everyone my age and older, we are all self-taught. Uh, so we started doing interactive and doing web, um, as personal projects in the late nineties. Started doing websites for clients in uh, January of 2000. And so after it's been like 15 years of doing just literally more than a thousand projects, um, we were doing content marketing and blogging back before it was really called that. This has been seven years of, of um, of blogging and email marketing. If you go back to search engine optimization and analytics, that's more like 15 years. So I've done this a long time, have been teaching it for a long time. It's really fun. We're more of a web design company than a marketing company. But I just love to share my favorite tricks and show people how it works and connect lots of dots and, uh, pass along the most practical, actionable, uh, ways that I know to do a great marketing. Speaker 3 02:29 And when we talk about great marketing, that brings us to social media when it comes to marketing and social media content. And that's our focus this week. So Andy, you wrote the book on content chemistry and whether we're talking about social media, we're talking about search, everybody this coined phrase that content is King. So what's the big deal when it comes to content and when it comes to social media content? And why does everybody say content is King? Speaker 4 02:53 Yeah. Well, if social media is a dialogue, I mean they're, you need to have a topic. Uh, social media is a, is a, is a place you need to have context. So without content, there is not much to be social about. I mean, the difference between social media and social media marketing is content, right? We have to have, uh, something to share, something to talk about. Something that we like. Uh, so basically, uh, content is kind of ground zero for all social media activity. It's, it's sort of the, the, the topics around which you do networking and you do promotion. So I'm not sure you really could do social media without some form of content. Otherwise, what would it be? What would it, what would your stream look like? What would, what would you be sharing? There would be no links or images or messaging. It would, uh, social media is content. Good point. Speaker 3 03:43 So we're here today talking about social media management with the students and when it comes to social media and content, what are the various types of content? If you're a social media manager that you should be looking to possibly publish? Speaker 4 03:57 Well, posts and tweets and anything that's in social media is content. In micro blogging. It's tiny bits of content. All those things are actually content. But the, the bigger context and the larger body of work that you tend to be promoting would often be blog posts, videos, podcasts, infographics, uh, the, you know, we're making content right now. Uh, live events are a form of content. Uh, the book is a form of content. So there are, we are format agnostic when we are at our best as marketers, we are format agnostic or at least tailoring our messaging and producing different forms of content that we know our audience to be interested in. And then we're sharing that through social, which is kind of, you know, creating an echo chamber of topics and dialogue. And here we made something and we're talking to someone about it there and now they're talking back to us. So, uh, we use all those different formats and all that different content as just kind of a way to, uh, put some gas in the tank and give us something to talk about when we're online being social. Speaker 3 04:58 And w, one little side note that I thought was interesting that you brought up before when we were talking before the interview started was that I, you know, I said how long did it take you to actually write content chemistry? And you said it actually was a form formulation of starting with blog posts. So it's interesting how one piece of content added to another to another can then all of a sudden form a whole new piece of content. Speaker 4 05:20 It's true. And that actually was, uh, originally we wrote a blog post called the periodic table of content, which was a guide for repurposing one piece of content into, into many different formats. So it's, I think on the back cover there's like that little periodic table and it's like blog posts and articles and infographics and all these things they can be, you can take small things and combine them into bigger things, take big things and combine them into a, break them into smaller things. So when you're good at marketing, you're not just producing one thing in one format and moving on, you're taking that topic. We already did the research, you already did the work, you already interviewed the experts or whatever you did to make that and then put it into alternate formats. That's what the book really is. It's 30 or 40% blog posts that were already written and vetted and we knew to be, you know, have gotten traction. Speaker 4 06:07 They were edited based on feedback and had been live. And then wrap them up in a bow and have a book. A strategic way to do this is to begin all of your content marketing with an outline of your body of work. The all, you know, that entire subject matter, uh, laid out in a structure and then blog into a book or gradually create content that fits within that structure. It's going to give you more logic when it comes time to do internal linking, linking between your content just simply through hypertext. And, uh, and also in the end you'll have an easier time repurposing. Speaker 3 06:41 I love it. Okay, so I think I shared with you that I'm a good majority of the class is from the college of journalism and many focusing on public relations. So tell us, um, how do you feel social media content influences public relations and vice versa? Speaker 4 06:58 Well, I don't know how you could really do public relations to that social media these days because you need to find the right people to connect with. And social media is the world's greatest phone book. Then you just slowly build relationships with them and social media gives you a hundred little ways to get attention, you know, following, commenting, sharing, retweeting, mentioning all those different actions will gradually make you warmer, you know, so that when it comes time for the ask, when it comes time to make that out, to do that outreach and to seek placement or seek a mention or get, you know, get visibility among a journalist or editor or blogger or podcast or, or event producer, uh, they know you because you've been in their stream all along. Right? You're friends with them already, like you've been, I don't know, you can't really, I don't know how you could do research and outreach without the social media. You know, a marketer without social media would be like a salesperson without a phone. Speaker 3 07:49 How do you do that job? I don't know how we did it before social media. I really don't. It seems like it would be almost impossible. Um, so what are some tips that you can give us in creating social media content in 2015? So it seems like every year things change with social media. When we first started working in social media for business, it was much different than it is today. Much easier, I'm going to say, but not as professional. So what about today when it comes to social media content? 2015. What's, what, what should we be doing? Speaker 4 08:17 It's more crowded and noisy than ever. So we needed to work harder to be more visible. And that, uh, one of the easy ways to do that is to just upgrade your, uh, all of your efforts related to visual content. The images that you're making. You know, we should be putting images into all of our posts. Don't post anything without an image and never, never make, I mean, if you make a piece of content and then go and test it by sharing it on a social network, it doesn't have a big beautiful image in there. It's not going to get shared. It's not going to look good. It's not going to get that extra traffic that you would and you're not good, you're going to reduce your reach. So basically, blog posts should have multiple images. Every social media post should have at one image. Speaker 4 08:56 Images should use human faces whenever possible, or else be diagrams and data-driven, uh, images should have contained the headline or an excerpt or quote or a little soundbite from the article. That way people can get the meaning, right? We need to use tools like Canva or anything to just make social media content more visual. Uh, that's what's got to get traction in 2015. Okay, great. And what about the mobile aspect of it? Well, mobile is the mega trend that we just can't ignore, right? So we have to assume that people are looking at things on small screens and make our content accessible that way. Uh, in a lot of ways it's not that much different from the desktop because we just have to be very sensitive to formatting short paragraphs, short sentences, short words, you know, go ahead and read a long post, but make sure that you've got lots of sub-headers and bullets and bolding in there that make it just something that the person could, you know, swipe through, um, on that mobile device. So, uh, I think headlines are as important and as ever, uh, and uh, and making sure that that is going to be a great mobile experience just in terms of the formatting, the layout, the writing, um, makes a huge difference. Speaker 3 10:04 Okay. And speaking of headlines, so what are some tips that you can give us when it comes to headlines and then also, um, captions? So with Instagram, I mean, it's, you know, it could take me sometimes 20 minutes to post, publish something on Instagram because I want to think of the best caption with the right hashtags. What are some of your tips? Speaker 4 10:23 Well, Lisa, you brought up a great example because what is a headline? A headline could be an Instagram caption. It could be a tweet, it could be the, you know, the top of a post. It could be an H one tag on a webpage. It could be a title tag for SEO. You know, a headline is really something that, a subject line for email. These are all headlines basically. I'm not sure what a headline really is. I mean, it's just a, it's a header in many, in many possible places. It should be tailored for different places. Like you've mentioned, Instagram gets hashtags, uh, uh, headlines that are as title tags should be limited to 55 characters or Google or Google will truncate them, you know, so there's different uses. Um, generally speaking, uh, we cannot use clever headlines the way that journalists used to do. Speaker 4 11:04 We have to write clear headlines because your headline is going to be competing for attention in a massive fast flowing stream of content in an inbox or a social media stream. So, so that means being explicit. I noticed. Of course we all did that movie trailers are now like 10 minutes long. They do it because they want to tell you what the movie is all about because you're more likely to see it if you have more information about it. The risk of not liking it is lower. In the same way, headlines need to be very specific, very benefit driven and be in many cases, just more descriptive, right? Put uh, uh, unless it's the title tag, don't worry about length and make sure that the benefit is obvious. What is the reader going to get beyond that? They're really effective. Buzzfeed and Upworthy style headlines are those that leave a curiosity gap. Speaker 4 11:47 You know, you won't believe what happened when this baby's stuck his finger in his sister's ear. Like whatever. We would like these headlines that just make you wonder like, I can't, you know, one of the most successful headlines last year was like nine out of 10 Americans are totally oblivious to this mind blowing fact. Didn't your brain just go nuts? You want to know what it is? Right? Right. Yeah. That was one of the most shared articles on a Buzzfeed last year. So leave a curiosity gap or be super specific and be, um, uh, be benefit driven. But beyond that, of course, you know, uh, numbers stand out in a line of text, use numbered headlines, write less posts. Um, you know, the word you is very powerful. Question marks are very powerful headlines that are cut into two headlines through a, a colon or a dash. Speaker 4 12:36 You know, you can separate, you can basically put two headlines into one, like how I wrote a post called, uh, how to write headlines. Colon, seven tips for getting clicked. That's like two headlines, right? You can kind of, the colon or the punctuation in the middle allows you to, to double down. Um, all those are good, good, best practices and those data behind every recommendation I'm making. Okay, great. Well, I know Andy, you said that you would give us, um, a chapter out of your book that I could share with the class. So I'll put that in a PDF and share that. And included in that will be the criteria when it comes to what's important criteria when it comes to content. And just a few of those things that you mentioned, physical, emotional, you know, kind of creating that, um, you know, if you want to talk to that and you know, very quickly and then we'll just to know that we'll be sharing that in detail. Speaker 4 13:23 Yeah, you'll get the detailed version. But the bottom line, and you said this too, just before we pressed play, um, the, uh, we have to be focused on our audience, right? The greatest skill in marketing is empathy. We must be sensitive to our audience. We have to know what they're thinking. Every recommendation we've given right is about mobile. They're in a hurry, you know, pay attention to formatting headlines, you know, they don't know if it's good. So give them all the benefits. You know, we have to be empathetic. The key here is empathy. Be sensitive to our audiences mindset. Where are they? What are they looking at? What's their lives like? You know, the more you can get into the hearts and minds and choose of your audiences, that's the degree to which you'll succeed. So the ultimate trick and to wrap all that up in the general idea there is that, uh, we have to be totally just obsessive. Speaker 4 14:13 Only Ann Handley says pathologically empathetic, uh, or else, you know, we're just talking about ourselves and that's kind of boring. Okay. I just have a couple more questions cause we're almost running out of time and we're talking about social media content. But in your very simplest answer, and I know this could be an all day conference workshop, but what does social media and search, how do they influence each other? Huh? Well, sites that rank high tend to rank high because they have authority. They have authority because people link to them. People link to things because they liked it and they noticed and people notice things because it's brought to their attention through, oftentimes through social media. So, uh, so that's going, coming from one direction to go from the other direction. Uh, what a search optimizer has to do is to build relationships with people who create content and make good things, uh, visible to them. So what an SEO has to do these days is research by finding bloggers, journalists, editors, pod-casters, you know, academic researchers, uh, event directors, and then make friends with them just like we were talking about. It's a PR, it's basically a PR job, but with sensitivity to the value of links, make friends with them, network with them, and then, uh, make your, uh, invite them to collaborate on your content with the long term goal of being mentioned and a link to from their content that's SEO and you can't do it without doing social media. Speaker 3 15:43 Okay. Maybe we could ask you to come back for the week that we're focusing on SEO. That would be awesome. Um, so last question. Any advice for the future of social media managers in this class? Speaker 4 15:56 Well, one of the biggest gaps is analytics. Anybody that's going to be looking for a job should go ahead and get some basic analytics certification, including the Google analytics certification. My general advice for anybody who's in school now and will be in the job market soon, is to get comfortable talking about and showing evidence of a competence in analytics because that is the number one skill gap and what employers say is missing between their workforce and the needs of their company. So, um, yeah, pay attention to the numbers, measure things, prove that you know how to iterate, that you can make decisions based on data analytics is not a scoreboard, it's a decision support tool. So show how you can make good decisions from data and you'll just be a more successful marketer, uh, for your own career and for the companies you work with. Speaker 3 16:43 Andy, I could not agree more and I want to thank you so much for joining us. So where can our students follow you? Um, which social network can they follow you on? Uh, Speaker 4 16:52 Google plus, we're here in Google plus also LinkedIn and Twitter. I'm not really on Facebook very much, but most of my best contents on the blog. So orbit media.com/blog. Um, but anyone's welcome to reach out anytime for any reason. Uh, I love to collaborate and I'm happy to help anyone however I can. Speaker 3 17:11 Great. Andy, so you are at at Kris Costa, Dino at Don Twitter? Speaker 4 17:17 Yep. At Crestodina. C. R. E. S. T. O. D. I. N. A. That's my last name. So if you search for content chemistry or you, you're going to, you can find me on Amazon or you can find me in all these places, but on Twitter I am at Crestodina. That's my last name. Speaker 3 17:32 Perfect. Okay. Andy, thank you so much for joining us and everybody have a great week. My pleasure. Thank you. Bye. Thank you for listening to this episode of social secrets. If Speaker 2 17:50 you like what you heard, check out the book on Amazon or follow our [email protected] this episode was sponsored by the buyer group, a social PR agency, striving to keep our balance in the digital world, practicing public relations, social media and search marketing while occasionally drinking a glass of wine or two for the best creativity and results. Thank you all for tuning in. If you would like to get a free chapter of social PR secrets, go to social PR secrets.com/free.

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