Content Runner has reached out to a number experts in the industry to assist with our 2014 Content Marketing Q&A Blog Series. We really appreciate the tremendous response that we’ve received so far and when we are done with the entire series we are going to compile the results into a white paper and make it available free of charge for anyone that wants to download. We have previously published Part 1 of the series, check it out here and now I’m happy to announce the second post in our series from:

Phil Buckley

phil-buckley-300x300Phil Buckley has been working on the web since the late 1990’s doing everything from early web development and system administration. He found his true calling about 10 years ago when he started the move to online marketing. Phil has worked for multi-million dollar e-commerce websites, two advertising agencies and a boutique SEO agency.

He’s held positions as director of User Experience, Director of Interactive and Director of SEO. He organizes the most successful SEO Meetup in the United States, is one of the co-founders of the Digital Marketing for Business Conference and has spoken at conferences around the country on search, social, content marketing and the future of Internet marketing.

He has helped prepare MBA candidates at the Kenan-Flagler Business school at the University of North Carolina, students in the Master’s in Interactive Media program at Elon University and presented at the Triangle AMA and TIMA’s events to local professional marketers. Phil is also an instructor with ASPE teaching Content Marketing to some of the biggest brands in the country each month.

Phil now helps companies increase their profitability through smarter code, better ideas and intelligent 21st Century marketing at New Media Leaders and when he’s not helping his new startup Crowdfunde get off the ground.


1. How has content marketing evolved in the last 2 years? What changes are you seeing in the services you deliver for your clients?

Clients were initially curious about the Penguin changes, then they become frightened, and now they don’t even want to talk about link building. They still understand that links are essential to an SEO strategy, but they are no longer willing to put their website at risk of a penalty.

The talk of “content marketing” underwent a similar, although opposite, discussion. At first, clients thought it was just another thing SEO’s were selling, then they saw the idea hit mainstream acceptance, and now it’s acknowledged as the a reliable path forward.

The problem with content is that it’s work. The reason “traditional” link building worked is because it required almost no work from a client, just a check. Now consultants are telling clients they have to do work. Most have no interest, skills or time to be awesome writers. All of those out-of-work newspaper writers from last decade are suddenly in demand again.

There is still mostly crap being produced, let’s be honest. It’s about 20% better than where it was a couple of years ago, but that isn’t saying much. Most writers are just not skilled in writing for the web, because they haven’t been asked to. I fully expect to rewrite the opening line and maybe the first paragraph of almost all of the content that is turned into me.

Writers tend to meander into the story, the web hates that.

2. Where will content marketing be in 2018, what are you top 3 predictions?

The same place it is today. The people and places that are already doing it well, will continue and very few will rise up to meet them. It’s just too damn hard, so most will look for a shortcut.

3. What are you favorite tools you use for producing content? What do you primarily use them for?

I like using a service like Content Runner to get the meat of an article. I then spend about 30 minutes editing and giving it the specifics that make it mine. I can edit all day, but creating from a blank page is a lot harder.

4. What platforms offer the biggest opportunities for content marketing outside of Google? What’s a hidden gem that other marketers aren’t talking about where you’ve found success?

I think one of the most interesting platforms right now is crowdfunding. Interestingly, people don’t even think of it as a platform like email or social media yet, but it’s coming. I love that you have a very limited time to tell your story, convince and convert.

5. How do you gauge the effectiveness of the content you produce for yourself as well as for you clients? How do you measure the ROI on content?

Content has to serve one of three masters. First is conversion. If I have a button at the bottom of a landing page, then revenue is the boss. Second is helpfulness. If a piece of content helps my community they’ll let me know with comments, links, and social recognition and shares. Third is interest. Long form content that is meant to teach needs to be read – so I want the time-on-page to show that.

6. Do you provide client’s guidance on Content Strategy? If so what are 2 critical things most companies forget about when they create their strategy?

I don’t find that they forget anything during the strategy setting, but they sometimes stumble back to their old ways during the execution phase. Bringing it to their attention usually cures them.

7. Which of the Google updates has impacted you the most and changed the way you create and market content?

Well the most recent are always the freshest wounds, so I will say Panda and Penguin have done more to push out the old, short-term SEO practices more than anything. But beyond Google, people are engaging with the web very differently now. People don’t search like they used to, we are starting to use our networks now as filters and following what seems interesting from our Facebook feeds or Twitter or Google+. When you think about what you were doing on the web a decade ago and how you use it now it’s mind-boggling.

8. What social platforms work the best for you to promote your content? What’s one piece of insight that many people don’t know when it comes to social promotion?

The answer for this will be different for everyone, because the answer is “the network where I have the strongest network”. I do think people don’t see the power of Google+ yet, and that’s unfortunate.