10 Lessons Learned About Content Marketing

By Bob Duthie

The Great Bob Duthie

I have been doing content marketing for www.interstateac.com  for over a year.  Here are 10 lessons I learned on the job:

  1. Content marketing is not a project, but rather a career or vocation.   You have to constantly be developing new content – it is on-going and never ending – and deliver it on a regular schedule.  If you hire a consultant, it would be wise to place them on retainer.  A one-time, project-based pass at content marketing will not cut it.
  2. The product or service (from your client or employer) you are marketing must be good or forget about content marketing.  “You can’t make a silk purse from a pig’s ear” is an expression that applies no matter how good your content is.
  3. There may be many people involved, and often there is no clear delineation of responsibilities as to who does what.  For example, who writes the meta tags?  Is it the website developer, the SEO expert, or the content marketer?
  4. I’m convinced that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is by far the most complicated subject yet devised by mankind.  Content marketers can’t ignore it.  The rules change constantly.  What gets good positioning on Google may backfire on Yahoo and Bing.
  5. Trickery no longer works.  While your keywords should appear once or twice in a post, don’t overdo it.  Search engines are getting smarter about tricks and content.
  6. Blog tools are best for content marketing.  They can reflect a timeline (i.e., calendar) and support images, video, and text.  They allow linking to other forms of content like PDFs or websites.  They allow for categorizing the content and are searchable.  They can provide a consistent magazine-type look.  You can call the section that contains your content anything you want, such as “News.”  You don’t need to call it a “blog” as some readers may be turned off by blogs.
  7. Reviews are necessary to get good search engine positioning.  You have to be able to reach your client’s customers and encourage them to write reviews.  Reviews on Google are the best way to get high positioning on Google.
  8. Don’t do anything to encourage reviews on YELP or you may get “disowned” by YELP.
  9. Titles of posts are the most important way to get attention from search engines.  One SEO expert I know said spend half your time writing the title and the rest on the content.
  10. Be sure you have someone edit the posts you write.  Everyone needs an editor, from acclaimed authors to blog writers.  Getting feedback from an independent set of eyes is invaluable and provides you a preview as to how the public will perceive it.

Bob Duthie

Duthie Learning


An AMA Webcast Review – “Online Optimization Through Behavorial Analytics”

by Sara Kemp

Sara Kemp

Last year, I was faced with looking for a job for the first time since 1999. Excited about new opportunities, but knowing I needed to step up my game, I joined the AMA and NAMA. AMA webcasts have helped me identify areas where I needed additional training and discover new interests within the marketing field.

A recent AMA webcast, Online Optimization: How to Optimize Your Website for Critical Success, presented by Shmuli Goldberg of Clicktale and Hannah Paramore of Paramore, offered a great introduction to behavioral analytics. While Google Analytics offers helpful statistical data, it cannot report what a customer does once inside of a webpage.  Clicktale offers heatmaps which anonymously track every mouse move, click, and keystroke made by website visitors. Who wouldn’t love an opportunity to look over your customer’s shoulder and see how they view your site?

Paramore detailed how they used Clicktale in the redesign of Gatlinburg.com and found that the data helped them develop navigation wording and call to action placement. With Clicktale technology, they were able to distinguish between a “hard bounce,” a visitor who arrives accidentally and leaves immediately, and a “soft bounce,” a visitor who arrives for a few seconds to get information. Those distinctions matter when determining the success of a website.

The AMA has dozens of webcasts available on demand on topics such as branding, social media, and content creation.  Take advantage of these resources that can help you in your career and keep you current in this fast-paced marketplace.

Sara Kemp is the Director of Marketing and Co-Founder of Tennessee Voices for Victims, a non-profit, crime prevention organization created in 2012.  She serves on the communications committee for NAMA.





AMA’s Marketing Training Boot Camp Comes To Nashville!

The ability to effectively develop the elements of a marketing plan is a critical success factor for marketing professionals, business managers and entrepreneurs. NAMA is proud to host AMA’s updated Marketing Planning Boot Camp™ in Nashville on April 17-18. You don’t want to miss this professional development opportunity that will give you the foundation to create a dynamic marketing plan of your own. During the program you will work with peers in a small group setting under close supervision of an expert in marketing plan development. Each group will create a marketing plan for the case study company specified at the beginning of the session.

The Marketing Planning Boot Camp™ instructor will operate in a consultative mode with each small group to coach them on creating a unique high quality marketing plan for the case study company. On the second day, each team will present highlights of their plan to the full class and will receive constructive suggestions, critique, and feedback from the instructor. Upon completion of the Marketing Planning Boot Camp you will have the tools and the confidence to begin doing marketing planning in your own organization.

What You Will Learn:

  • Why a marketing plan must effectively fit in with the overall business planning process and how to ensure it does so.
  • What constitutes an effective marketing plan.
  • How to effectively create and apply:
    • A situation and competitor analysis
    • Marketing objectives, action plans
    • Market segmentation, target marketing, positioning and marketing mix strategy approaches
    • Appropriate metrics to monitor plan success
  • How to articulate an executive report of the marketing plan orally and in writing

At the close of the Marketing Planning Boot Camp™ you will have a complete example of a marketing plan, along with resources that you can use as a process guide when you develop a marketing plan in your own work setting!

Who Should Attend

  • Persons who enjoy learning by doing
  • Individuals who are proficient in marketing or have already completed the AMA Marketing 101 Boot Camp
  • Marketing professionals, business managers, entrepreneurs with a solid working understanding of marketing and who need to develop a marketing plan
  • Recent college graduates in marketing

“I was amazed at how much the Planning Boot Camp opened my mind and changed my way of thinking about marketing strategies.”– Marketing Planning Boot Camp™ Attendee

Click here to for more details, pricing information, and to register for AMA’s Marketing Bootcamps in Nashville!

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations received prior to 4 weeks before the event will receive a refund minus a $75 cancellation fee. Within 4 weeks of event refunds will be granted minus a $150 cancellation fee. There will be no refunds issued on or after the day of the event.

AMA’s Marketing Planning Boot Camp™
April 17-18
Hilton Garden Inn Nashville/Vanderbilt
1715 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203
4/17/2013 8:00 AM – 4/18/2013 5:00 PM
Register by 3/17/2013 11:00 PM for early registration fee

As always, a great big thanks to our media sponsor, The Nashville Business Journal, and our printing sponsor, Marshall & Bruce.



Does Your City Sing? Lessons in Destination Branding

Steve Chandler

I have one of the best marketing jobs I know. For much of my business, I get to work with cities and communities for the purpose of helping them identify the best branding direction that can grow tourism and economic development. As a result, I have clients in different areas of the country. I learn about each one from the people that make the community what it is. I visit the best eateries they have to offer and experience the best spots of local interest. Culturally, it’s really amazing.

Many people ask me, “What does it take for a city to brand itself successfully?”

I don’t have an easy answer for that one, mainly because I believe a city has a more difficult challenge branding itself than any public or private company. This is because unlike Apple, Disney or McDonald’s, a city does not own its name. It must share it with other businesses that use it, as well as every single resident (imagine how many businesses include the name Nashville). As a result, anyone’s efforts could positively or negatively affect your brand image. And unlike other brands, since no single entity owns the name, a city cannot take legal action against someone for misusing its name. Yikes!

So what’s the key to city branding success? It’s not a new ad campaign, it’s not a logo, it’s not even a cool line such as “What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas.” The key is in a city’s ability to deliver authentic experiences and in how well its residents and visitors are engaged in evangelizing the city to others. In other words, pride well spoken. Try crafting a marketing plan to make that happen. It’s not that easy. It takes buy-in and long-term commitment from local city organizations and private investors. This requires a deliberate process of collaboration with room for organic spontaneity. In other words, when everyone sings the same note, music happens.

Nashville does the above beautifully. Of course, it’s easy for the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau to market Music City. Honky tonks, the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame are just starters for delivering this experience. But the reason Nashville “sings” is because doses of Music City are sprinkled everywhere. Here is a small starter list:

  • The Nashville Technology Council gives out guitars as awards at their annual Technology Awards. By the way, they use the theme line, “Feel the Beat of Technology.”
  • Bicycle racks shaped like giant microphones and musical notes are a public art project.
  • The city serves as headquarters for Country Music Association, International Bluegrass Music Association, Gospel Music Association, the Americana Music Association and even the Barbershop Harmony Society.
  • Vanderbilt Medical Center frequently uses imagery of guitars in its advertising.
  • One downtown parking garage names its floors after iconic country music stars (yes there is a Johnny Cash floor).
  • In a brilliant collaboration between tourism and the City Public Works, “live music venue” signs map out the countless number of locations that deliver a live music experience.
  • And of course there are festivals, marathons, national TV shows (go “Nashville!”) and more.

So, what does it take for a city to “sing?” It takes a village. The more people that are united and proud of the place where they live, work and play, the louder one strong note can be heard. I encourage you to sing for your community. It will make your city’s voice stronger and louder, which creates more business for everyone.

Steve Chandler is Owner and Brand Strategist at Chandler Thinks. He also serves as NAMA’s Programming Co-Chair.

The Nashville AMA Collegiate Relations Committee – Investing In Next-Generation Marketers

by Natalie Stegall
The Nashville AMA Collegiate Relations Committee is quickly becoming the go-to marketing career resource for full-time students and young professionals in the greater Nashville area. In our continuing effort to support NAMA’s goal of deepening its brand in the marketplace, we work with students and professors from local universities to inform them of available internships, connect NAMA members with professors for speaking opportunities in their classrooms, and mentor students as they transition from collegiate to professional membership after graduation. We even hosted a special student networking and learning event this past spring entitled “Marketing the Marketer” to discuss job search insights with a panel of successful marketers in the area. Given the amount of interest in that event, we plan to host a similar session in spring 2013.

Dr. Jax Conrad, faculty advisor for Belmont University’s AMA chapter, is proud of what the chapter has achieved thus far, and enthusiastic about some great opportunities on the horizon.

“This semester marks the beginning of the fourth year of the AMA chapter at Belmont University,” Dr. Conrad says. “One of our first projects was creating a marketing plan for the Nashville Dismas House. The chapter has also been instrumental in increasing membership in Belmont’s student sports fan organization (MOB). In addition, the Children’s Kindness Network recently awarded Belmont’s AMA chapter the contract to do marketing for a children’s book and an original orchestral recording that promotes kindness principles with the hope of stopping bullying before it starts. The orchestral recording includes 17 celebrity voices, including Larry Gatlin, Ben Vereen, and Wynonna Judd. This is an important opportunity for Belmont students to get real-world marketing experience, while also making an ethical, socially responsible contribution to our country by helping to stop bullying before it starts.”

In addition to strengthening ties between local students and professors and our professional chapter, the NAMA Collegiate Relations Committee supports the development of local AMA collegiate chapters.  Just as the professional chapter relies on its volunteers, collegiate chapters evolve with the help of volunteer students and advisors who are passionate about marketing and dedicated to informing and connecting students with the local marketing community. In addition to Belmont, the NAMA Collegiate Relations group is currently in the process of establishing an AMA Chapter at Tennessee State University. As the NAMA presence grows within the academic community, we will continue to help students gain access to everyday resources that will facilitate growth in the classroom and beyond.

If you would like to learn more or get involved, please reach out to Collegiate Relations Chair Natalie Stegall or Co-Chair Brian Keegan.

AMA Lands Constellation SuperNova Awards Nomination!

Exciting news from AMA’s national headquarters – The American Marketing Association has been selected as a semi-finalist in the 2012 SuperNova Awards, recognizing the organizations leadership in disruptive technology (a term describing a new technology that unexpectedly displaces an established technology).

The Constellation SuperNova Awards celebrate and recognize leaders and teams who have overcome the odds to successfully apply such emerging technologies for their organizations.  This second-annual search for innovators includes an all-star judging panel, substantial prizes, invite-only admission and speaking opportunities at Constellation’s Connected Enterprise Summit.

Public voting is currently open and will continue through November 2nd. Lend your support! Click here for a link to the online judging form (use the scroll bar in the far right of the page to access the Next Generation list of finalists).

Questions to Help You Plan Your Content Marketing

Strategy is Key to Successful Content Marketing

Nicole Provonchee, VP, Parthenon Publishing

Content marketing consumes about a quarter of all marketing budgets today and 60 percent of marketers expect to maintain or increase their content marketing budgets in the coming year, according to the Content Marketing Institute. That has led many to proclaim, “content is king”. It is true that engaging content based on a strategy tied to business goals is the king of marketing tools. However, content with no strategy is, at best, a distant royal relative.

Whether they call it “content marketing” or not, almost every company practices some form of content marketing. To engage with current and potential customers, companies may create a print newsletter, send an email update, share items on Facebook or write a blog. It is all content marketing.

With audiences splintering across more and more media platforms, marketers need to create more content than ever before. And, in content marketing, one size does not fit all. Content should be tailored to each unique platform. How do you create content marketing that’s strategic and hits your audiences?

A plan is just the first step. Whether the plan will succeed depends not only on the volume of content a company creates, but on the quality.

While content strategies are specific to individual companies, there are three simple questions marketers should ask when developing or evaluating content:

  1. Does it engage our target audience? To succeed, content needs to be noticed, inviting and relevant.
  2. Does it deliver value? Successful content must deliver value through inspiration, entertainment or information. If you can achieve all three – all the better.
  3. Does it make sense coming from our company? Content marketing efforts need to be consistent with an organization’s overall brand position and offer.

These questions create a strong base for a company’s content marketing strategy.

Parthenon Publishing helps clients grow their business through engaging communications through a variety of print and web-based platforms. Parthenon has been working with clients on content marketing needs for almost a decade.

A Culture of WOW: Seven Takeaways from Zappos Insights

At our March 1st luncheon, NAMA proudly hosted Jon Wolske from Zappos.com, who shared about how and why Zappos is dedicated to creating WOW for their customers. Here’s seven Big Ideas on how Zappos creates WOW through the culture of their organization.

Read more