Customer Questions Holy Grail of Content Marketing

Scott Gulbransen
Scott Gulbransen Vice President Global Communications & Digital Marketing, DSI

Posted on April 10th 2014

Customer Questions Holy Grail of Content Marketing

ImageA few weeks ago I was lucky enough to speak on a panel at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego. It was a great event that I felt really had showcased the maturing nature of this thing we call social marketing. Not only were the caliber of speakers and those attending high, but also the takeaways were truly substantive. One hot topic at #SMMW14 was content marketing. 

The conference closed out with another great keynote by Marcus Sheridan, who always inspires and makes online marketers and content creators think. If you haven’t seen Marcus live, it’s a blast and always educational.

One point Sheridan made as part of his keynote was one that particularly hits home for those of us leveraging social and content marketing in the B2B space – and heck, even in the B2C space: use your customers questions to build your content.

Marcus used his own personal story and the power of search as the backdrop. But it was this focus on answering questions, which was a truly powerful and transformational point for many in the room and for me. 

Being in a space where we are about marketing to other businesses, the creation and execution of a content strategy that moves the needles isn’t as easy as it seems. I found, during my many years as a consumer social and content marketer, it was much easier to identify key pieces of content for a general mass audience than it was for a more niche audience.  Yet, those niche audiences are closer to you. How do you leverage that?

Marcus nailed it: answer their questions.

Sure, you’re going to impact search significantly by doing that, but more over you’re going to build a never-ending stream of content that you and your team can use all year long. This is where content and brand marketers need to forge close and important relationships with their sales and services teams. They are the continuous pipeline to questions and inquiries from your customers and prospects. That’s gold in the content marketing world.

The impact of this is crucial and has two important outcomes:

  1. Search: As Marcus shared his own stories about his pool business, he searched Google to see who was answering certain like “how much does a fiberglass pool cost?” He found no one was. Just like him, you too can find out what questions are being asked – and unanswered – in your business and then use it to create content that actually answers their question. Imagine that.
  2. Content Planning & Stream: How many times in your career have you asked yourself: what are we going to write about next? Or what is the subject of our next podcast or Google Hangout? When you actually listen to your customers and their questions, and then use them to create great content, you provide them great value (for free!) and you fill up that editorial calendar fast. This helps your customers and your staff. What a win-win.

Everyone now does “content.” Big brands, small brands, consumer, B2B – we all are publishers. To stay ahead of the curve, to provide utility and value to your customers outside of the sale or your products, you have to answer their questions. This type of content moves the needle in more ways than one and helps solidify a well planned and executed online and social media content strategy.

Scott Gulbransen

Scott Gulbransen

Vice President Global Communications & Digital Marketing, DSI

Over the past 19 years, Scott Gulbransen, Vice President of Global Communications & Digital Marketing at DSI, has parlayed a deep level of experience in public relations and online marketing into a successful career built on innovation, creativity and hardcore business results.

A former print journalist, Scott moved into the world of public relations and corporate communications cutting his teeth at one of Fortune’s top workplaces – Intuit. For 10 years, Scott served as a primary spokesperson, communications strategist and social media innovator for both the TurboTax and Quicken brands. Recognizing the full-throttle freight train that social media was becoming, Gulbransen worked to establish a social media and content strategy for Intuit’s Consumer Group. With TurboTax, Scott lead the effort to establish the first of its kind customer support project, @TeamTurboTax, by using the new and emerging channel to help customers during tax season. He also helped to create, design, and launch the brand’s content hub.

In addition to his work on TurboTax, Gulbransen also helped turn around the Quicken brand with the launch of its new, free Quicken Online product – all of which was done primarily through the use of social media. Part of the success of the launch of Quicken Online led Intuit to acquire Mint.com – the nation’s leading online personal finance website.

Next, Scott was asked to create and lead social and digital media at the world’s largest casual dinging chain – Applebee’s. In his time there, he created a robust paid social strategy as well as the much heralded “National to Neighborhood” model for local Applebee’s restaurants. In just over eight months, Gulbransen and his team launched locally controlled Facebook pages for over 1,200 restaurants and the brand itself. Because the Applebee’s brand is focused on micro-local areas, he correctly surmised the social relationship had to be locally driven. That strategy continues to pay dividends for the brand and its sister IHOP. Gulbransen also led the complete overhaul and architecture of the new Applebees.com website and launched the companies first foray into mobile-driven marketing as well. Applebee’s, thanks to his vision, strategy and foundational work, was recently named as one of the top restaurant companies in social media

After just over a year away from taxes, Scott was again knee-deep in the middle of it again as H&R Block hired him away to push its influencer marketing and social media content strategy into high gear. Gulbransen ramped up the 54-year old brand’s social marketing and communications efforts by restructuring its social platforms, launching its new social content hub, and building new analytical approaches to social measurement He joined previous to the 2012 tax season and quickly made a huge impact. Besides being named one of H&R Block’s Top 100 Employees that year, after just eight months with the company, he also launched the award-winning campaigns to end all campaigns – The ‘Stache Act and Million Mustache March. The online-driven social campaign, designed to help the brand build relevance with millennial taxpayers, struck a nerve with customers and prospects and changed Block’s “buzz” trajectory. In besting his former employer, Gulbransen quickly elevated the brand in online and social media with the kitschy campaign.

That same year, Scott repeated his success from past stops as he created a robust, award-winning and industry-leading content strategy for the tax giant. In launching the brand’s first-ever client-focused content hub, BlockTalk, his strategy to engage tax clients all year with relevant finance and lifestyle content has paid dividends for the brand. Block now enjoys the largest share of voice and social engagement of any tax brand in the space.

In addition to his professional accomplishments at the corporate level, Gulbransen is also a prolific blogger named as one of the Top 50 Daddy Bloggers in the US by Cision in 2011. Gulbransen was ranked #21.Gulbransen is also an avid writer contributing to Social Media Today, Forbes, Technorati, SpinSucks.com and other publications. He also is a busy public speaker attending conferences and offering his views and thought leadership in PR, social media, and influencer marketing and content marketing.

Scott graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications (emphasis in Journalism) from UNLV, and is the married father of five kids (16, 13, 6, 4, 2), and lives in Kansas City.

See Full Profile >