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 the following interviews:

and now I’m happy to announce the third post in our series from:

Greg Gifford 

2014-gg-headshotGreg Gifford is the Director of Search and Social at AutoRevo, a software company that provides websites and online marketing to used car dealers all over the country. His responsibilities include the development and execution of all client SEO and social media efforts, as well as managing AutoRevo’s corporate SEO and social media presence. He’s got over 15 years of online marketing and web design experience, and his expertise in local SEO has helped hundreds of auto dealers thrive while the industry has struggled during the recession.

Company URL:
Twitter handle: @greggifford


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

Content marketing has really come to the forefront in the last few years. If you went to any SEO conference a few years ago, most of the sessions were about linkbuilding. Now, there are more content marketing sessions than you can count… And that shows how important it has become.

So many websites and businesses have realized that amazing content is what really matters – but without a solid content marketing strategy, the content just sits there and nobody sees it. We’ve definitely placed increasing emphasis on quality content and effective strategies for getting that content “out there”.

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

In 2018, I doubt it’ll be called content marketing anymore – it will just be standard business practice. It won’t be something “extra” that you do for additional visibility or ranking boosts – it’ll be something you just do every day.

Prediction 1 – Marketing/SEO agencies will have evolved into full-service idea-generators. As content becomes increasingly important, they’ll need to hire subject experts in order to stay competitive.

Prediction 2 – Marketing/SEO agencies won’t sell their services by showing ranking increases, they’ll sell based on awesome content ideas or strategies

Prediction 3 – Some agency is going to figure out the right way to offer affordable content marketing and strategy to small businesses, and once they figure out how to scale it, they’ll be a huge player by 2018.

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

My favorite content tool is the client. They’ve got so much more knowledge capital than anyone on our team, and we’ve gotten pretty talented at mining their knowledge gold. Once you get the awesome nuggets of knowledge, we can turn the team loose and do awesome things.

We’re big fans of a company called CopyPress. They started out as a copywriting company, but they’ve grown into a content company. They can create anything from written content to interactive experiences and videos. They’re affordable, fast, and really good at what they do.

We also love a little social tool called Sendible. It’s awesome for managing tons of social profiles and posting to sites for multiple clients. It’s also got the best Google+ integration of any social tool on the market.

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?

On the corporate side, our biggest bang comes from LinkedIn. We’ve got our own group, and we’ve also joined a few key industry groups. We get exponentially more traction from LinkedIn than from every other social platform combined.

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?

We measure ROI by monitoring traffic and conversions. Whether it’s for our own company or our clients, we want to know if the content either created social engagement or website visits, and we want to know if either of those led to conversions. Whenever we push out links to social platforms or other sites, we’re incredibly granular on our URL tagging so we can see exactly what happens with traffic and conversions.

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?

We don’t really provide guidance – we steer the ship. That’s why our clients hire us. When we talk to clients who want to be more involved, we stress the importance of 2 things: setting a content calendar that actually gets used, and making sure that there’s accountability in following through with the process.

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

We actually haven’t been impacted by the updates… We’ve always stressed the importance of good content, so while we didn’t always call it “content marketing,” that’s what we’ve been doing for years.  If anything, we’ve had more buy-in from potential clients who WERE hit by updates, since they realize that our process is what they really need.

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?

We pretty much stick with the big 3 for our clients – Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. Those have the most bang for the buck, and are where the vast majority of their client base spend time. When we’re promoting our own content, we use those three, but concentrate a lot on LinkedIn. As I mentioned above, we get WAY more out of LinkedIn than we do out of the other three combined.

When it comes to social promotion, most people don’t get it right because they still like to make it “all about them.” It’s not an ego thing – even if you’ve created the best piece of content ever, you have to market it as something the customer needs… not as something awesome you made that makes you look cool.