Content Marketing Experiments: Twitter Chat with @JustinPLambert #VCBuzz

Content Marketing Experiments: Twitter Chat with @JustinPLambertContent marketing is all about experimenting: You play with different angles, dare to touch upon controversies, mix things together and then measure the results.

Today’s chat will hopefully give you more inspiration and encourage you to experiment more!

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About Justin

.@JustinPLambert is content Marketing specialist and author of The Content Marketing Hurricane

Justin works with SPROUTcontent.com as well.

Questions we discussed

Q1 How did you become a content marketer? What’s your career path?

Been writing all my life it seems. Started moonlighting around 2003 while working full time in insurance customer service (blech). Did ads/brochures/etc. for local businesses. First big client was a consultant in New Jersey, ghostwrote a book for him.

It grew slowly, but didn’t go full time until 2011 when I unexpectedly lost my day job. Best thing that ever happened to me.

Went full time, never looked back. Got a big boost from Copyblogger when my content marketing blog got chosen in their top 10. Freelanced for 3 years, gained lots of experience. Started working with SPROUT Content as a freelancer, that grew. They offered me full time January 2015, I jumped on it. They’re a great Inbound agency and Hubspot partner. Great team.

I still freelance here and there also, and working on lots of personal projects.

I’m actually in the midst of updating The Content Marketing Hurricane and creating a membership site around it. Also helping both my kids with their first entrepreneurial efforts. 🙂 #proudpapa

Q2 You come up with some intriguing, very different angles: How do you do it? What’s your brainstorming process?

Ha! Yeah the male enhancement thing… 🙂 That was fun. More often than not, my brainstorming process begins with a title…

Then I’ll do all sorts of research with Master Google to see what everyone else has already said about that subject.

Then I’ll do everything in my power to identify an angle that hasn’t been touched yet. Or at least a new way of approaching it.

I’m also big on metaphors. Like the enlargement concept. 🙂 I like to be able to take a visual idea and carry it through a post.

Start by sending them expensive scotch, then pop the question. 🙂 But seriously, best is to research, find bloggers passionate about what you do, and pitch them individually. We’re just everyday folks like you who love to get involved in something cool.

If they’re obviously active on Twitter or some other platform, that’s not a bad idea. But don’t assume they are.

If they have a personal website with a personal email, I generally start there. If they’re like me, they’re always paying attention to that.

Everything’s becoming more focused, more niche, more results-oriented, as it should be.

Q3 How do you measure content marketing campaign results? What to focus on?

Measurement is always client-specific when I’m working for someone else. Some of my clients only care about visibility… So for them, vanity metrics are good enough. But for my own work and for SPROUT, we dig a lot deeper: I want to know how my content is earning money. Sometimes, it’s a stretch because 90% of what I do is top-of-the-funnel, but we focus on conversion, tracking how a visitor moves through the site, and A/B testing CTAs relentlessly. Every time a client gets back to us with feedback we have a new mission.

I automate almost all my social content curation. I know that’s sacrilege to some, but it’s worked for me. I also automate generic social media distribution of blog and other content. I don’t automate any social conversations. All my content creation activity is manual.

Nearly everything we do at SPROUT is Hubspot-related, so our testing occurs generally inside Hubspot. Some GA. Hubspot reports and GA are the most common reporting elements we use, and they’re automated automatically 🙂

I’ve experimented with mindmapping in the past, and although I feel like is SHOULD work, I always end up outlining.

Q4 What are your favorite content brainstorming and marketing tools?

I’d be lost without Google, OneNote, and Google Docs/Drive. Those are the core of every content creation process I do.

For publishing, like I said SPROUT is nearly 100% Hubspot, and it’s an awesome tool that makes a lot of the process simple.

I’m also heavily invested in WordPress for all my personal and freelance projects. Both are super easy to use and make look great.

I use Google Trends and the keyword tool to generate connections I may not come up with on my own. And I tend to review social networks on their own rather than using a dashboard tool like Hootsuite. Makes it easier to pick out the trends from the noise, at least for me.

But honestly, good old fashioned Boolean searches on Google end up being my best brainstorming tool by far.

Q5 How do you keep yourself productive as a writer? What are your content productivity secrets?

Productivity comes in waves for me. Just the way it is. That’s one of the reasons I’m so grateful to work from home and to be able to do my job at 2:00 am on a Sunday if I have to. I find strict deadlines help, I work well under pressure.

So I’ll sometimes set artificial deadlines for myself to trick myself into getting things done early. Sometimes it works.

I’ve been recently experimenting with Pomodoro timing and it works when I’m in the midst of a marathon writing session… It forces me to get up, stretch, and clear my mind. That keeps me going physically too.

Plus, of course, coffee. Lots and lots of very strong coffee.

I should also mention SPROUT is an agile marketing agency. We currently run 1 week sprints and a daily scrum. I work in Jira for project management. It definitely has a learning curve, and I’m sure we’re not using even 20% of its functionality, but it helps us. All of this helps incredibly because I don’t waste time with a lot of “what should I do next? ”

That’s true. We worked with a great consultant who specializes in agile inbound marketing agencies. He helped tons.

Our previous content marketing chats:

 

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