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Talking Content Marketing – Interview With Arnie Kuenn

Talking Content Marketing_interview with Arnie Kuenn_The ID Group

Talking Content Marketing looks at search and owning your space in your marketplace in our latest interview with Arnie Kuenn.

Arnie is CEO of Vertical Measures, a search, social, and content marketing company. He is a regular speaker at conferences such as SMX, PubCon, and Content Marketing World.

This year, he is on a mission to evangelize the benefits of content marketing for businesses through interactive workshops and training. Arnie is also the author of the book Accelerate! The Convergence of Search, Social and Content Marketing.

Let’s get down to business…

Do we need to find a niche in our industries to own (and be found) rather than jumping on the same train as everyone else?

Finding a niche for niche’s sake will only get you so far. That’s not to say becoming an expert in your field should go undone. That’s exactly what should happen – become an authority and build your audience. But your ‘niche’ has to come from a place that is authentic to your business, your overall goals and your resources. When you pull those things together and look at your competitors, you will see the differences in how you both go about your strategy. You’ll also see the similarities, but continue to bring your strategy back to your unique voice, your unique goals, and your unique perspectives.

How do we keep our content fresh and keep from ‘burn out’ and running out of ideas?

There are always enough ideas out there, you just have to do a little work to find them! I highly recommend taking advantage of your internal team. They are treasure chests of information that can be turned into content ideas. Sales people especially get asked relevant questions by clients all the time. They even know how to answer objections when they come up. Right there, you’ll have plenty of fresh content topics. As your business and the larger industry you are in evolves, these questions will change, and your answers may too. Stay on top of what direction everything is going, and set a time once or twice a year to refresh your catalog of ideas. One actionable way we’ve done this is to ask everyone in our company to list 5 questions they get all the time. Take those questions, figure out what format would be best to answer them, and start mapping out your calendar.

Do too many people declare themselves as self-confessed experts by focusing too much on themselves?

Content marketing isn’t about “me.” It’s about “you.” The you of course, is the audience you’re creating a piece of content for in the first place. If a piece of content comes off as “me me me,” then it isn’t content marketing. It’s branding and self-promotion. There’s a place for that, but be careful when your efforts come off as too self-centered; less about your audience and more about what you want to get from them. True content marketing is shifting the promotional state of mind to one that aims to help, teach, and encourage understanding in your potential customers. By providing them with the information they need to make an informed purchase decision and building a relationship that instills a sense of loyalty and trust, you will become naturally top of their mind when it comes time for them to buy.

You’re a big supporter of video content. Is this a business owners key tool for credibility, search and presenting a ‘human’ story?

Videos can be very powerful when done right. They don’t have to even be fancy or long, but they need to illustrate a point well and in a way that is engaging. Many people aren’t readers, so the format of a video is much more appealing to them, especially in a digestible short format that we often produce. Videos can be extremely authoritative on search results pages, often near the top of the page with a direct screenshot of the video itself. As for credibility and storytelling, videos can do this more than the written word sometimes can. It’s often difficult to portray the point you want to make in mere text – but when you add facial expressions, tone, and visuals, you can reach someone in under 2 minutes more directly and tangibly than you could in 1500+ words.

What are the problems for businesses that are still writing for search engines (and not a defined audience)?

Search engines are important, I don’t want to diminish that fact. That being said, there is now a question to pose: how do search engines produce results in the first place? PEOPLE type in their questions into their browser. Don’t remove the human element from your content, because it is people who will be landing on your website. Get into the mindset of who it is you want to reach, and think about what they might want to know. It’s not that you have to get deep into richly detailed audience personas, either. Those are great too, but keep it simple:

  • What questions are your customers and prospects asking?
  • What content format will best answer the question?
  • How can you share the answers in the places your audience hangs out online?

When someone goes to the search engine to ask their question and the SERPs show your result near the top, you know you did something right: you gave people the information they needed.

Do businesses become too focused on measurement success by the amount of likes and followers they have, rather than building an audience on their own platform (website/blog) and revenue?

Yes, this is a common thing we’ve seen in our work. And I don’t blame people who focus on this – it’s a very tangible thing to track amidst sometimes elusive measurement indicators. But – and it’s a very big but – social factors cannot be the end all of measurement. In fact, I use the example a lot in my presentations of a blog post Marcus Sheridan wrote for his Fiberglass pools blog years ago. It has 0 comments, 0 Facebook likes, and 0 social shares. Yet that post alone generated over 1 million dollars for his company. That’s pretty amazing if you think about it. We’ve seen it time and time again with our own blog: some content pieces will perform poorly on social, but be one of our highest converting pages. Some top social blogs generate great traffic and interest, but no business comes as a result of it. Remember that social is a great distribution, promotion and branding outlet, but building up your site content is what will drive results (and revenue).


Thanks to Arnie for his time and his opinion for how to make a content mindset work for you.

Why not find out a bit more from Arnie and his approach:

Arnie of Twitter: click here

Vertical Measures Website: click here

Vertical Measures blog: click here

Arnie’s Speaker bio: click here

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