Touchdown: Inbound Marketing Summit at Gillette Stadium

Oct. 6th and 7th, at Gillette Stadium, I attended the Inbound Marketing Summit, sponsored by New Marketing Labs LLC. It didn’t disappoint. It was a great venue, with great speakers, and I came away with some valuable nuggets, on curating, developing, and managing online content.

Here are some key takeaways, from sessions that were especially relevant to my interests as a content developer.

Is that Content Marketing in Your Pocket or…? by Pawan Deshpande, CEO at HiveFire

According to Pawan Deshpande, CEO of HiveFire, an online content marketing technology company,  inbound marketing starts with content. Fresh content feeds hungry search engines and drives traffic to your site, but the effort to develop that ongoing content can be difficult.

To make content marketing easier, Deshpande advised pulling together various online content, through content curation, which involves selectively identifying, organizing, and sharing content online. In the process, Deshpande explained, you can make publishing content much easier, draw in more customers, and stand out from your competition, as an authority on a topic that interests your prospects.

As an example, Deshpande pointed to Airvana’s, an industry resource on femtocell technology (see the Airvana Case Study from HiveFire) For more information, also check out HiveFire’s Content Curation: Taming the Flood in B2B Social Media.

Secrets to Content Marketing Success by Maria Pergolino, Director of Marketing/Demand Generation at Marketo

I especially benefitted from the “Secrets to Content Marketing Success” session, by content marketing expert, Maria Pergolino. In her presentation, Pergolino shared ways to “effectively engage the right prospects, with the right content, at the right time.”

Pergolini described how the various pieces of content map to the buyer decision process (awareness, consideration, decision), with product documentation correlating to the consideration and decision phases. She also provided invaluable advice about how to get more SEO benefit from PDF documents (how some product documentation is delivered), using Flickerbox.

I look forward to checking out Marketo’s Creating Content That Sells: A Guide to Content Marketing for Demand Generation.

Why You Should Be Using a CMS to Manage Your Website and Content, Panel Discussion

This session was a panel discussion, with Ron West, Director of Product Strategy/Professional Services at PaperThin, Brett Zucker, Chief Technology Officer at Bridgeline Digital, Byron White, Chief Idea Officer at ideaLaunch, Vern Imrich, Chief Technical Officer, at Percussion Software, and Joe Henriques, Director, Client Services and Partner Development, at Sitecore.

The open discussion described how various applications are making it possible for Marketing to manage both the content and the application, where that content resides.

Panelists maintained this trend eliminates bottlenecks and empowers marketers to more quickly make site changes, based on analytics that come packaged with the CMS. According to one panelist, this trend is creating opportunities for Marketing Technologists, who know both the marketing and CMS lingos. A different panelist observed the more structured the existing content is, the easier it is to migrate.


These sessions especially complemented my focus on content strategy, development, and management, but they are only a sampling of the many excellent sessions and additional topics available, at Inbound Marketing Summit 2010. ROI was a recurring theme.

I would recommend this conference to anyone interested in a fast-paced tempo, with a broad cross-section of industry and other thought leaders, in a highly distinctive Boston setting.

Other benefits: free parking, high quality food (roasted turkey couldn’t have been any better), and a uniquely open facility layout, which made it easy to listen in on speakers, while simultaneously speaking with vendor reps, or meet with others, in the Demonstration Zone. (I also appreciated that you could see the presentation slides, from any number of overhead monitors.)

For more information, make sure to see New Marketing Labs TV, available on the Pulse Network, which livestreamed many keynotes and interviewed various speakers, through fireside chats.

Postscript: Special thanks, by the way, to the Marketwire rep, for the Nerf football souvenir, which my six-year-old at home, greatly appreciated, his first week of Flag Football.

About This Blog: Copyright Information

Contacting the Author: Content for a Convergent World – Peg Mulligan’s Blog

The Role of the Gatekeeper is Changing: Guest Post by Sarah O’Keefe

The following  guest post is by Sarah O’Keefe, the founder and president of Scriptorium Publishing, specializing in content strategy for technical communication.

Sarah reflects on the benefits and challenges that user-generated content poses for technical communicators. She calls on organizations to develop a content strategy, identifying the specific scenarios where user-generated content is valuable, alongside a different set of scenarios, where professionally-generated content is still highly relevant. She proposes an emerging role for technical communicators, as content curators.

I remain very indebted to Sarah, not only for this guest post, but for all the content strategy resources she generously offers the technical communication community.

Without further ado, here’s Sarah, in her own words…

The Internet is removing the traditional gatekeepers for content.

Until quite recently, content distribution was a challenging process that required expensive equipment (printing press, video production facilities, trucks, warehouses) and in some cases government permission (TV and radio broadcast licenses). Now sites like YouTube and software like WordPress make content distribution trivial.

This change has profound implications for professional content creators of all types. In this post, I want to focus on technical communicators — people who create information to explain complex technical products.

(Technical communication is also called technical writing, but that phrase is falling out of favor because it excludes non-text communication, such as graphics and video.)

For technical communicators, the rise of user-generated content is a decidedly double-edged sword.

Benefits for technical communicators

Technical communicators can communicate directly with their target audience — the end users of the product. If technical documentation is published on the Internet, end users can provide comments or edit information directly. This feedback helps technical communicators improve their content by identifying errors or unclear writing.

There’s never enough time for in-house professionals to create all of the content that’s needed. Contributions from the user community can provide additional support and build on the official core content. The organization’s strategic plan for content should identify areas where users are most valuable (such as unusual ways of using the product) and areas where corporate technical communicators add the most value (such as information that requires high production values, configuration/installation instructions, and conceptual information). The overall content strategy can then ensure that the various content contributors have appropriate frameworks in which to operate.

Challenges for technical communicators

There is a temptation for business executives, especially in cash-poor start-ups, to dismiss their technical communication staff and simply rely on the community to provide documentation. There are a number of problems with this approach, but let’s take some obvious ones:

  • New products, in general, are perceived as riskier than established products. A new product without documentation raises that risk even more. Lack of documentation will make the product an even harder sell.
  • Although vibrant communities may help out with documentation, start-ups don’t usually have communities yet. Somebody needs to provide a starting point for technical content.
  • The open-source community has great difficulty in getting volunteer help for product documentation. You can expect this difficulty to increase for a commercial product.
  • Technical communicators are needed more than ever to plan, organize, refine, and curate content.

I believe, however, that we are entering a new era of accountability. Web analytics software makes it quite easy to measure whether content is being viewed. Technical communicators — and their management — can see how many people are accessing their content, and specifically which content is most or least popular. These metrics will drive decisions about not just technical communication but also product designs, marketing, and more.

More on this topic:

Many thanks to Peg Mulligan for sharing her space!

Sarah O’Keefe, President, founded Scriptorium Publishing in 1996 to provide editing and production services to technical writing departments. From the beginning, Sarah focused on efficiency—-selecting the right publishing tools, creating templates, and training writers on how to use their tools.

Today, the company is known for expertise in cutting-edge tools and technologies. With a dozen employees, Scriptorium specializes in streamlining publishing processes for numerous high-profile clients in telecommunications, defense, technology, and other content-rich industries.

Please contact the author Sarah O’Keefe direcly, at Scriptorium Publishing, for any rights to republishing this post. Peg Mulligan’s blog is protected by copyright, but I give any appropriate rights back to guest bloggers, for posts they may have authored, but which were hosted at this blog.