Content Marketing Rockstars: Daniel Hochuli from Linkedin
In today’s Content Marketing Rockstars, meet Daniel Hochuli, LinkedIn’s Content Marketing Evangelist for the APAC region. He manages a team whose job is to inspire clients to make meaningful human connections with content on Linkedin and beyond!
Why Content Marketing?
Daniel: The world today has moved on from what we knew marketing to be 10 years ago. Today, consumers are savvier and more empowered than ever before. They ponder reviews of your brand created by others, and they block out your messaging with AdBlock. This is a monumental shift in power. The days when a brand could control what a market thought about them are gone.
As Scott Cook, founder of Intuit, says “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is; it’s what consumers tell each other it is.” So with traditional marketing no longer able to convince and convert in the new world order, brands need to invest in what the audience wants to hear, not what the brand wants to say.
Enter content marketing. It builds trust, sentiment, and value demanded by the savvy and empowered consumer. It is the only method that does this which is why Seth Godin said: “Content marketing is the only marketing left.”
Today, consumers are savvier and more empowered than ever before. They ponder reviews of your brand created by others, and they block out your messaging with AdBlock. This is a monumental shift in power. The days when a brand could control what a market thought about them are gone.
How did you get started with Content Marketing?
Daniel: I’ve always been a story-teller. When I was just eight years old I wrote a sequel to the Never Ending Story; and when I was sixteen, I wrote an action novel with a single scene that went over 100 A4 handwritten pages (yes, editing was required)!
When I was exploring what I wanted to do as a career, I was inevitably drawn to the written word. However, my first job was in real estate. But I found a way to combine my passions of writing and history with my work in real estate. I created a Blogger site in 2008 that explored the history of the suburb I was selling houses in. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I was doing ‘Content Marketing’ before content marketing was a thing. The blog was simply my attempt to differentiate myself in a space that was saturated with other agents. I realized I enjoyed writing about houses than actually selling them and knew that my next play was in writing.
Soon after I trained as a finance journalist in a PR firm and then moved agency side, where I composed blogs for brands for the purpose to rank in SEO and link building. In the SEO circles, content marketing was finding a home and I became one of the first people in Australia to have the title ‘content marketer’ during my time at Group M.
My next play led me to King Content, which at the time was one of the world’s leading content marketing agencies. Leveraging my knowledge in SEO as well as PR and writing, I found I was better suited to content strategy and moved to Singapore as King Content’s Asia Head of Strategy. My vocal work in figuring out how to prove Content Marketing ROI and how brands could leverage the method to be more than just another place to talk about product allowed me to secure the LinkedIn Content Marketing Evangelist role.
My journey was one of hard work and a pursuit of passion. I knew early on that content marketing was my calling and a job that I really loved. You cannot be successful in content marketing if you are not passionate. I truly believe it is the best way to market to consumers even if it takes time to show results.
Content marketing requires lots of inspiration, how do you stay inspired?
Daniel: I have an insatiable appetite to ask the question ‘why?’ And even today, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the content marketing method. I was lucky enough to be involved in some of content marketing’s initial thinking and over the years I have seen it mature and evolve to be a hugely disruptive approach to business.
There is still a lot of clarity needed in our discipline; and trying to answer some of the bigger questions keeps me inspired to see what happens next in the industry. I also believe content marketing is not just for marketers. It can be used in HR and Sales and Comms as well as the marketing department. Seeing how it will evolve in these departments is the next frontier for the method. There is no industry that is more dynamic than content today.
What are some valuable insights you would give to businesses or organizations that are starting up or have been struggling with content marketing?
1. Do not hit the ‘publish’ button until you know what and how you are measuring its success. Most content marketing attempts fail because it’s measured incorrectly or not at all. Understanding your goals and what they mean is perhaps one of the most important tasks to do in a content strategy. Measurement is also more than just counting ‘likes’, ‘traffic’ and ‘time-on-site’. If you want to measure content better, really think about your goals for doing it and how you are going to measure it.
2. Everyone is creating content. So you need to find your ‘Content Tilt’; your point of difference in the marketplace and double down on that.
3. Content Marketing is not advertising. You want to advertise – advertise, don’t do content marketing. It’s a completely different approach. Proper content marketing is about building audiences/subscribers and then leveraging them to improve your business. It should run in tandem to your advertising (which is to sell products).
An important lesson here is a hybrid of the two will fail: don’t create content that pushes product and don’t create ads with stories. Both suck. If you want to do content marketing, create content that tells a story; and ads that push products. There is a difference and many brands publishing content are creating these stumbling hybrids.
What do you think is the future of Content Marketing?
Daniel: The future of content marketing is in brands leveraging the method to do more than just sell their existing products. Content marketing will be used as an audience research tool to create new products. We are already seeing brands using content to attract audiences for the purpose of research. They are then using that research to improve and diversify their business. This is the savvy approach to content marketing.
I have written quite a bit on this topic. If you need to make the business case for content marketing within your organization, I would encourage you to build a long-term plan around how you can turn the content you produce into its own ‘content product’, that brings in a separate revenue stream from your brand’s existing products. This is the future of content marketing and is already being executed by brands like GE, RedBull, Lego, J&J, and L’Oreal.
Besides Content Marketing, what are you passionate about?
Daniel: Ancient History. I actually have an archaeology degree and love to ‘bury’ myself in Roman history and the writings of Cicero, Plutarch, Marcus Aurelius and the Plinys. History is my jam. I also advocate meditation and use mindfulness to bring me focus in both my professional and personal career.
Give us an elevator pitch of your business
Daniel: My company is LinkedIn and our mission statement is: “To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” We truly believe this and everything we do on the platform comes from whether we believe it will make our members more productive or successful. One of the reasons why I work for them is because it is the only social media platform that genuinely enriches my life and provides me opportunities.