Let’s be honest. Content marketing is not always a walk in the park. Effective content marketing requires dedication and many hours of research and implementation. However the potential thrill and rewards of content marketing are significant.

Luckily, the DNN crew has cracked the code on content marketing. Not only do they provide a wealth of free content marketing resources, they also offer robust tools that simplify many challenges of modern marketing. (This post is one of my favorites recently published on the DNN blog: How Webinars Can Be the Building Blocks for Your Content Marketing)

Several months ago, I connected with Dennis ShiaoDirector of Content Marketing at DNN, on Twitter over a mutual love for creating engaging contentFrom there, Ethos3 and DNN collaborated on the article, Slide Makeovers: Transforming PowerPoint Bullets Into Visual Learning for The Official SlideShare BlogThis presentation was one of the results of that article:

Because Dennis is an expert at so many things, including content marketing, SlideShare, webinars, and much more, I emailed him a few questions so I could share some of his insights with you.

A Q&A with Dennis Shiao

1. Can you tell me about DNN and your role there?

Sure! DNN Corp. makes software that helps you manage digital and web content. Marketers use our Evoq software to deliver engaging experiences to their target audience. Evoq is built atop an open source Content Management System (CMS) called DNN Platform, which powers over 750,000 websites worldwide.

I’m responsible for product and content marketing at DNN. I love content! I work on everything from blog posts and social media posts to eBooks, webinars, product sheets and SlideShares. I work closely with our sales team to ensure they have the most effective set of sales tools. I also publish guest posts (on other sites) and do interviews (like this one!) to help drive awareness of DNN and the products we offer.

2. How do you use presentations for your profession?

A little bit of “give and take.”

On the “give” side, we have a consistent schedule of webinars at DNN. Webinars are a key component of our lead generation program. In addition, they serve as the building blocks for our content marketing. We find that our webinars are effective at all stages of the sales cycle: they help attract “net new” names to our sales funnel; they help advance existing sales opportunities; and, customers tell us they’re a great educational resource, so they’re also effective as a post-sales tool.

On the “take” side, I use presentations to help me do my job better. I’m always on the look-out for interesting SlideShares, webinars and videos. Some give me inspiration, while others give me practical advice that I can apply right away. In addition, I like to attend in-person presentations at conferences and meetups. If I can gain a single idea from a presentation, it was worth my time.

3. What is your favorite piece of presentation advice?

It’s all about the hands and eyes.

When I first started giving presentations, my manager was quite frank with me: he told me I wasn’t an engaging speaker, because I wasn’t making eye contact with my audience. I also realized that my hands were planted squarely in my pockets.

So that was a big lesson: even if you’re giving the world’s best presentation, your audience may tune you out if your body language is off.

At first, I wasn’t sure how to approach the eye contact advice. Sure, I make eye contact when speaking to a person one-on-one, but how do I make eye contact with an audience? Luckily, it came naturally with practice. I do a horizontal scan across the audience. Some people will make eye contact back, while others don’t. My mind remembers those who did and I look back in their direction throughout the presentation.

Next, I learned to keep my hands out of my pockets. When I’m passionate about a point, my hands will rise up and gesture, which helps me make my point. For slide-based presentations, I’ll use my fingers and point to particular elements of the projected slide.

4. What inspired this presentation?

The presentation is titled “10 Ways Evoq Content Takes Your Website to New Heights.” Evoq Content is our CMS product. A few years ago, I created a two-page, PDF product sheet with the same name. I had an icon created for each of the “10 ways” and wrote a paragraph of text for each item.

As a sales tool, it was mildly effective. My sales team wondered if people were actually reading the document. “People prefer to scan, rather than read,” said one sales colleague. So I thought, why not convey the same message, but in a visual manner?

Hence the idea of doing this in SlideShare and hiring Ethos3 to make it happen. The Ethos3 team did a fantastic job.

5. How have you utilized this asset?

The first thing I did was share it with my sales team. Some continue to use the two-page PDF, while others used the SlideShare immediately.

We’ve also shared it widely on social media, embedded it in a blog post and placed it in our email nurturing programs.

In addition, hosting it on SlideShare means that it’s available to millions of business users worldwide. As a PDF, it was hidden from the world to see. So the SlideShare helps new people discover DNN and learn about our products.

6. What are some presentations or public speakers you admire? Have any impacted you recently?

Recently, we had Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) present a webinar with us on his concept of “content marketing as a food truck.” I admire Chris’ conversational presentation style. I didn’t feel like I was in a presentation; instead, I felt like Chris was chatting with me.

As for impact: in the webinar, Chris introduced a concept for email marketing. Called the “content upgrade,” it’s a way to share content with your subscribers via a series of emails tied to a single theme or story. I’m thinking about how we can implement this at DNN.

7. What are some conferences you love attending, or wish you could attend, and why?

Here in the Bay Area, Dreamforce (Salesforce) and Marketing Nation Summit (Marketo) are well-attended. It seems like they double in size each year. I’ve attended Marketo’s conference twice, but haven’t made it to Dreamforce just yet.

I’ve heard great things about Content Marketing World. I’m not able to attend this year’s event, but hope to make it out to Cleveland next year.

In addition, I look for Meetups and gatherings here in the Bay Area. There’s always an interesting presentation happening or someone interesting to meet! On that note, I’m planning on attending a networking meetup this evening.

Dennis was kind enough to also feature some of my ideas on the DNN blog. You can see our Q&A here: Create Unique Presentations: An Interview with Leslie Belknap of Ethos3 

Follow Dennis on Twitter: @dshiao

Also, follow DNN Corp.: @DNNCorp

Follow Ethos3: @Ethos3

Additional Resources:

Why You Need To Deliver Online Presentations

How To Create A Winning Presence on SlideShare

Get Ready – Upcoming Technology Conferences

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