We caught up with Jason Miller to talk about emerging trends in content marketing, advice on how to become a thought leader and more.
Jason Miller’s enthusiasm for originality has effortlessly brought a new level of creativity and flare into the world of content marketing. Jason, who currently leads the content and social media marketing strategy for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, has become a content celebrity by practicing what he preaches and letting us all in on his content triumphs and tribulations. In the middle of a transformational time for marketing, the self-described B2B marketer trapped in a B2C marketer’s body believes there’s one component that can make any marketing campaign top a Billboard chart: relevant content. We were lucky to catch up with Jason on the heels of his new book — “Welcome to the Funnel: Proven Tactics to Turn Your Social and Content Marketing up to 11” — which talks about how original and relevant content can improve all areas of marketing.
Scripted: Tell us a about how your background helped you get to where you are today with LinkedIn Marketing Solutions?
Jason: I worked in the music business for 12 years and while it was crumbling in on itself I went back to school and learned as much as I could about digital marketing, email marketing, and SEO while working on becoming a better writer as well. Then someone took a chance on me and gave me a social media gig at a small startup and I took full advantage of that and haven’t stopped since.
I am a B2B marketer trapped in a B2C marketer just trying to create content that is a bit edgy, fun, and ultimately helps marketers become better at what they do and drive revenue.
I do know this for sure though; it’s all about your network and the relationships you build along the way. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. This stuff is all learnable and there is a PhD’s worth of information available on the Internet pretty much for free with unlimited access to the experts. It’s all what you make of it.
Scripted: What are you responsible for in your organization (daily responsibilities, goals, etc.)?
Jason: I lead content and social initiatives for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions. My days are spent managing the content and social team, where we tell the story of the marketer on LinkedIn and how they can best use LinkedIn for driving business. We have several goals as a marketing team, but the main two are how we can inspire marketers to be better at what they do and to drive qualified leads using LinkedIn as part of their overall integrated marketing strategy.
Scripted: What’s your content strategy and how has that changed since you started?
Jason: I’m in the camp of “we don’t need more content out there, we need more relevant content.” Search engines have killed content farms for a good reason; they were pumping out bad content that was created specifically to rank on specific keywords that their business was interested in. That strategy is no longer effective and does not make sense anymore. While SEO is still important, it is not the number one thing your content should be based upon. Instead, you should be creating content that answers existing and prospective customer questions and solves their pain points. The best answer optimized for multiple channels will be the winner of this game. It’s no longer a game of numbers, but one of relevance.
My strategy hasn’t really changed since I started, but it is evolving. It’s moved towards an always on strategy for promoting good content across multiple channels. I am also focusing more on segmenting audiences and refining personas to achieve better content relevance.
Scripted: What are the top three things marketers should be doing to utilize LinkedIn as part of their content marketing strategy?
Jason: Publishing on LinkedIn: Through this open publishing platform, your original content becomes part of your company’s profile, is shared with your trusted network and has the ability to reach the largest group of professionals ever assembled.
Paying to Promote Content: Moving into 2015, if you don’t have budget and headcount for social and content, you are simply missing opportunities. Native advertising is now an essential part of any successful content strategy and LinkedIn offers a very powerful solution called Sponsored Updates. Sponsored Updates let you publish relevant content straight to the LinkedIn feed of any member on the site and they are extremely efficient at driving quality leads, event registration, increasing brand awareness, and thought leadership.
SlideShare: The rise of visual content marketing is forcing marketers everywhere to re-evaluate their overall strategy. No longer can a marketing professional rely solely on white papers and blog posts to get their message to prospective buyers and customers. It’s now vital to include a visual element across all marketing campaigns. SlideShare is another essential part of any successful content marketing strategy for many businesses. It’s much more than just a place to upload your webinar slides; it’s a powerful social community with a reported 70 million monthly visitors.
Scripted: How did you grow your audience and community organically?
Jason: There’s a great quote from Dave Grohl that I relate to very well in regards to this question.
“It’s tough to go to sleep at night, and I wake up after five hours because I feel like I’m wasting time. I just sit up at night and think about what I can do next.” – Dave Grohl, Rock n Roller, Foo Fighter.
This quote pretty much explains my approach to work and life. I’m always thinking of what I can do next around writing, marketing, photography, etc and I really never turn it off. It’s an “always on” approach to combining the things that I love and pushing forward with new ideas where I am constantly learning and refining.
My advice for anyone trying to grow an audience is to have something you are passionate about and find a way to inject that into what you do every day. My passion will always be rock ‘n’ roll and heavy metal. There is almost always some element of KISS, Judas Priest, or Guns N’ Roses in my content and sometimes I even use my own rock n roll photography and anecdotes to “enhance” my presentations.
If you can take your personality and inject it into what you do and the message you share, you’ll be one step ahead in the content marketing game. Audiences can sense when a person is passionate about a certain topic and whether or not they are sincere in their message and delivery. In addition, passion adds credibility and trust which I find missing in much of the content on the web today. It may not translate to every individual, but then again you can’t please everyone, and you certainly shouldn’t be trying to in the first place.
Scripted: What are your thoughts on “content shock” in the content marketing space? Do you think this is something marketers should be concerned about and what can they do to stand out above the noise?
Jason: I don’t buy into that idea at all. Smart marketing and technology will solve that problem. I think it’s a bit premature to think of any type of content shock happening before the majority of businesses figure out how to actually create better content strategies and use technology to better track, deliver and measure the effectiveness of their content and truly figure out what’s working. I don’t think content shock is coming anytime soon, but I do think that content marketers need to get much better at creating the type of content that their target audiences are looking for.
Scripted: Finally, what do you think will be trending in content marketing in 2015?
Jason: Since mobile Internet usage will continue to surpass desktop in 2015 my prediction is that B2B marketers will double down on their mobile strategy. As their potential buyers shift from researching on their desktop to their mobile devices, it’s going to be vital that B2B content is optimized for mobile with a seamless experience across all three screens (desktop, tablet, phone). Taking that a step further, lead forms that are quick and easy to fill out and tracking these mobile interactions across the funnel will become the norm.
If you’re interested in learning more check out Jason’s book on Amazon here.
Content Careers: Prezi’s Susannah Shattuck on Creating a Content Marketing Strategy
Content Careers: Dayna Rothman on Being a Content Manager
Content Careers: Producer Felicia Williams, A Look Inside The TechCrunch Video Strategy