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Interview with Andy Crestodina

by | Oct 1, 2018 | Interviews,

Andy Crestodina

Andy Crestodina

Speaker, Author, Content Marketer, co-founder of Orbit Media

Key Topics:Content Strategy, Analytics, Search Optimization, Influencer Marketing
Location:Chicago, IL

Andy Crestodina is a co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Orbit Media, an award-winning 38-person web design company in Chicago. Over the past 18 years, Andy has given digital marketing advice to 1000+ businesses. He speaks at big marketing conferences, writes for big marketing blogs and he hosts a little marketing podcast, Content Matters.

He’s written hundreds of articles on content marketing, search engine optimization, social media and Analytics.

  • Top 10 Online Marketing Experts to Watch, Forbes
  • Top 50 Marketing Influencer, Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Top 10 Social Media Influencers to Watch, Social Media Explorer
  • Top 50 Content Marketing Influencers to Follow, Outbrain

He is also the author of Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing.

How did you get to become an expert in content marketing?

We started our little web design company in 2001 and shortly after launching our first site, I realized that I needed to learn digital marketing. Or at least understand how search works. I also needed to find tools to measure traffic for that first client.

That was step one.

Years later, after applying some of those new learnings to our own site, we began to get a little traction ourselves. We were starting to rank, to get some qualified visitors and generate some leads. But I needed to do much more to create a sustainable business. I needed better SEO and conversion skills.

That was step two.

Then around 2007, I woke up and realized that we had hundreds of contacts and dozens of clients, but no way to keep in touch with people. No way to stay top of mind. I needed an efficient way to keep in touch and a newsletter/blog seemed like a natural fit. So I started writing.

That was step three.

And as search, social media, email marketing and blogging all converged and “content marketing” became a big thing, I was one of the ones who knew enough to teach it. So I gradually found myself in front of bigger and bigger rooms, giving presentations and teaching the slightly more technical parts of marketing: SEO and Analytics.

In each step, I was pushed forward by the gaps in my knowledge into learning. And I was pulled forward by those around me who wanted me to teach what I’d learning. It was all necessity, timing and demand.

What areas of content marketing are you most passionate about?

I love collaboration and influencer marketing…

I truly do. But I prefer the organic/friendship approach to the paid side. My best days in marketing are when I ask a thought leader I respect for a contributor quote and then send back 100 thoughtful words that make my article a better piece of content. Such a smart, fun and effective tactic.

I love anything that makes brands more personal…

So many web pages lack personality completely. There is not personal tone and no people. Here’s a quick tip for anyone who wants more leads: put a face next to your calls to action. It both draws the visitors attention and makes the brand more personal, more more.

How to design a website, Orbit Media

Image source: How to design a website, Orbit Media

I’m also watching how AI combines with analytics. There’s a little button in the top right of Google Analytics that gives you some automated suggestions. The stuff you see after clicking on that button is going to get smarter and smarter.

I predict that someday, Analytics and websites will combine. The tool will suggest the change and the website owner will be able to make the change with one click. Or maybe even without a click…

Marketer: “Hey Google, how can I get more leads?”

Analytics: “The conversion rates on your services pages is low. Would you like me to improve them by adding a face to your contact page?”

Marketer: “Yes, please. Go ahead and do that for me. Thanks.”

Analytics: “This work is complete.”

Which content marketing influencers influence you?

This answer won’t surprise you: Ann Handley and Mark Schaefer.

They’re smart, practical, funny and just great writers. It’s a honor to get to hang out with them. Here’s a picture of Ann when she visited my office last year. And I had cocktails with Mark two nights ago. They both have great insights on the future of influence.

Ann Handley Andy Cresotdina's office

Outside of content marketing who else influences you?

This answer also won’t surprise you: Elon Musk. Have you heard his interview with Joe Rogan yet? Really good…

How would you describe your offline influence

I’m known as the guy who gives the how-to sessions at the conference. I teach the practical, tactical, step-by-step process for better results through content. I’m not inspiring. I’m not entertaining. But when you leave my session, you have a lot of notes and you know what to do next.

What are going to be the key developments in the industry in the next 12 months?

Artificial Intelligence is rapidly evolving and will become a mainstream enterprise solution. It is starting out with many experiencing its traps and trepidations but winning organizations will “fail fast”, learn and use this essential discipline to pave a successful future. At the same time, I expect to see noticeable fallout from organizations who have either refused to invest in data the past few years or who have not had success with data and are just getting by with an accidental architecture.

If a brand wanted to work with you, what activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?

These are probably the best ways to collaborate with me, from fastest and easiest to

  • Contributor quotes
    I’m always happy to provide a few sentences to any article, anytime
  • Email interviews
    This one is a fun example. Send me questions, I’ll reply with detailed answers if I can
  • Podcast interviews
    I do several a week. It’s both collaborate and personal and high-value for listeners
  • Webinars
    About once a week I give presentations and Q&A in a webinar format for brands. These are often versions of presentations I’ve given at conferences (SEO, content strategy, Analytics). The video versions often get traction for weeks or months afterwards
  • Live Presentations
    I’m a top-rated speaker at the top national conferences, so I get a lot of invitations. I try to get in and out quickly since I have little one’s at home. But I help conferences by giving workshops, sessions and keynotes whenever I can…

What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?

Anyone is welcome to reach out anytime. Here’s a good place to get in touch.