Jim Rudden is the chief marketing officer at Spredfast, a software as a service company based in Austin that provides an enterprise-class social media management system. Jim's responsible for all aspects of Spredfast's marketing efforts, as well as overall customer success. He also works on the family cattle ranch in Texas.

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I invited Jim to Marketing Smarts to talk about social media marketing, content strategy, and what ranching and marketing have in common. (Bonus: Spredfast opens its Austin office to conference attendees during SXSW, so if you're planning to attend, stop by and use their workspace. They'll have snacks!)

Here are a few highlights from our conversation:

Marketers need to make "content risotto" (20:00): "It's just a truism in our world that we as marketers get sick of our content long before our audience does. Rebecca Lieb over at Altimeter talks about the fact that great content is like baking this fantastic Thanksgiving Day turkey. We enjoy the turkey in the moment, and then we enjoy six different variations of it over the next week, and then we make a broth out of it, and we have risotto from that turkey a month down the line. Great content takes an incredible amount of effort to produce. You need to dedicate the effort to figure out 'What we can do with all this content? How can we break it up?'"

It's okay to create a production schedule: planning content doesn't make you "inauthentic" (22:18): "About two years ago, if you talked about...planning a content calendar in social...the pitchforks would come out, the torches would get lit... Here's the deal, though: If social's going to be a first-class citizen in our communication channels, then it needs to be at the table. You don't just think of and execute a print ad or a TV campaign overnight... All your engagement can't be planned out six weeks in advance, but that doesn't mean that none of it should be."

No other channel provides the reach that social media offers (25:19): "There's no media that gives you bigger reach than social does right now. I would add to that that the targeting capabilities of social are unmatched by anything we've ever seen. My ability to reach my target customers, not just a broad set of people, is incredibly interesting and real time... I think the biggest part of the skepticism has been 'is it MY audience?' and 'is it a valuable audience?'"

To illustrate the value of social media, focus on the right metrics (26:05): "We marketers have to do a better job... If you're in the B2B space, spending all your time talking about reach metrics... you're not doing yourself a favor. We know that B2B marketing is much more driven by bottom-of-funnel conversion. Yes, I want to build audience and I want to build the right metrics, but my ultimate metrics are around conversion... My way of answering whether I have the right audience is whether they're reacting to my offers, spending more money with me, which means that this channel is contributing bottom line revenue to my business... That's where social is going these days."

Growing cattle and growing your business have more in common than you think (28:05): "The cows are unforgiving. They want to be fed every morning and they want their water. The good news is, if you're consistent and you take care of things, and you plan ahead and you have your hay, those cows are going to do fine. From a corporate perspective, it really boils down to planning (about 20%) and then 80% is just execution and being present and doing the work that needs to be done."

For more information, visit www.spredfast.com or follow CMO Jim Rudden on Twitter: @JimRudden.

Jim and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

Marketing Smarts is brought to you by the MarketingProfs B2B Forum, taking place October 9-11 in Boston, Massachusetts. The 7th Annual B2B Marketing Forum is the premier event for B2B marketers worldwide. This two-day event is packed with 42 sessions, 4 keynotes, tons of networking opportunities, a lot of fun, and more B2B business smarts than you'll find anywhere else this year. Marketing's full of choices. Choose B2B.

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Music credit: Noam Weinstein.

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