andy crestodina blog post

Who is Andy?

Andy Crestodina is a co-founder of Orbit Media, a 35-person web design company in Chicago. Over the past 15 years, Andy has provided web strategy advice to over 1,000 businesses. He has written hundreds of articles on topics including search optimization, social media and analytics. He is also the author of Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing. (@crestodina)

The best teacher wins at content marketing. Every. Single. Time.

The secrets to Andy’s success in content strategy. Behold.

Name: Andy Crestodina

Company: Orbit Media Studios, Inc.

Role: Co-Founder/Strategic Director

What you did before Orbit Media: I was an IT recruiter. But that was a long time ago. I’ve been in the digital marketing and web design space for the last 15 years.

Your most valuable asset: My team. No question. The people around you give you superpowers. I am amazed and empowered by them every day.

Number of people on your team: 38

Content philosophy: Make the best page on the internet for whatever topic you’re writing about. Go deep. Quality is more important than quantity.

Most killer piece you’ve produced: I once researched and wrote a post about the ideal length for everything in marketing, from tweets to domain names, from subject lines to title tags. I was the first to publish this and it’s been copied many times since by many famous blogs. It was frustrating to see other sites spin my article, but all is fair in love and content. The version on the Buffer blog was the most shared marketing article of 2014. After that, the book Content Chemistry is my next most killer piece of content. It’s a complete, illustrated handbook for content marketing.

People describe your writing/marketing style as: Educational. Our goal is to out-teach everyone else in our industry. This is how you win the links (for search rankings), subscribes (for email) and the follows (for social media) The best teacher wins at content marketing. Every. Single. Time.

Something your coworkers don’t know about you: They know pretty much everything about me. But a lot of people don’t know this: I make paper mache dragons in my free time. They’re pretty detailed.

Platforms you use to leverage content: I publish my best stuff on my own blog, but I still write for other sites sometimes. Last year, I did a guest blogging world tour and wrote for all of the top marketing sites. It was a lot of fun. But I’ve slowed down a bit and my own site and newsletter is now my main platform. I still speak at a lot of the big marketing conferences. I don’t love to travel, but it’s great to see my online friends face-to-face. For online platforms, I use LinkedIn a lot, but I don’t post there first. For me, it’s a place to repost things. And no, I’m not afraid of duplicate content. It’s mostly a myth!

Facebook or Twitter: Twitter. I hardly ever use “Faceworld” anymore.

How you tame the analytics beast (how you measure success): I measure the big picture trends, but also the performance of specific posts. There are ways to measure the conversion rate for every one of your blog posts if you know how (instructions here). The best way to use Analytics is as a decision support tool. Ask a question and use Analytics to find the answer. Create a hypothesis and use Analytics to test it. Analytics is for analysis, not just reporting! We use Express Pigeon for email delivery and reporting. Believe it or not, we don’t use marketing automation. But I do use several other tools on a regular basis: MOZ, SEMrush, Meet Edgar.

Thoughts on retargeting: The companies that do it well are seeing strong ROI. I’m a content marketer so I don’t do a lot of spending on traffic, but I hear very good things. Along with Google PPC and social ads, it seems to be one of the best advertising channels available.

Where you put your billz in content strategy (budget priorities): Live events are one of our bigger budget expenses. We invest in our own events, some of which are paid and generate a small amount of revenue, others have a cost to produce. We also budget for event registration and travel for some of the big conferences, which we view as a marketing expense. As I said early, face-to-face interaction has the highest value! Even if it’s offline, we consider these to be content marketing activities.

When you wake up in the morning you read: Quora and Feedly. Feedly is loaded with several dozen marketing blogs, including Content Marketing Institute, Social Media Examiner, Spin Sucks, Businesses Grow and Boost Blog Traffic.

Mentor: I’ve learned so much from so many marketers. Two of my favorites are Ann Handley and Sonia Simone. I’m also a big fan of Avinash Kaushik, Mark Schaefer and a lot of lesser known, but heroic marketers. I could give you a very long list!

App you cannot live without: Aside from the usual social media and productivity apps, I use the Google Analytics app almost every day. It’s a useful way to check traffic levels from anywhere and see what’s getting traction on the blog. I’m obviously an Analytics geek!

Best content master in the game: For content creation, Barry Feldman. For content promotion, Brian Dean.

Where you go to seek inspiration: Most of my ideas come from in-person conversations with clients and prospects. Listening to them, I hear first hand what the top concerns are for marketers. Talking to them, I learn what messages and topics connect and which don’t. I also get a lot of inspiration in my inbox. Not just from newsletters, but in questions from my network. When people ask me something and I answer it, the email response was a seed for content. I can expand on that email and write a post, knowing that the topic is important to my network and the tone is personal and direct. Your “sent mail” folder is filled with content. Get that stuff out of there and onto your website!

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