Five Insights Into Content Strategy From OgilvyOne’s Kohlben Vodden

3 minute read

Upland Admin

OgilvyOne's Kohlben Vodden for The Content MarketeerKohlben Vodden is the head of social media and content strategy at OgilvyOne, “arguably the largest direct and interactive marketing network in the world,” according to its website. Established in 1972, OgilvyOne has 150 offices in 30 countries and serves clients like British Airways, IBM, and American Express.

The agency’s size is almost unfathomable, but it shares a common objective with all content marketers: Build a loyal audience.

Of course, Vodden offers unique guidance to every client, informed by the brand, its needs, and its objectives. Still, there are lessons for all agencies and brands, large and small, in his general strategic approach, which he recently shared with the Marketeer.


Before any content is created, OgilvyOne tunes in to existing conversations online. What are the brand’s ideal users already talking about and searching for? What do they have to say about the brand and its competitors? Vodden uses tools like Radian6 and Sysomos, but he also knows that sometimes nothing beats the kind of results found via general search queries. Along with the information gleaned from online dialogues, Vodden also listens to stakeholders within an organization to assess their objectives.

Know What Your Users Want

Vodden has the benefit of a dedicated user experience department that specializes in taking the viewpoint of the user, offering unbiased insights. Content providers without such a department should be sure to turn the lens back on themselves from the users’ perspective.

“What we always talk to brands about is having the user at the center of everything they do, which sounds very cliché,” Vodden says.

Cliché, perhaps, but a mantra all marketers would be wise to adopt.

Give It to Them

It’s important to provide valuable, original content, but marketers don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Knowing what users are talking about, and having a clearer picture of who they are, allows you to develop and publish the kind of content your customers are already familiar with consuming.

Use Your Gut

As Vodden puts it, “Analytics are a tool that should never dictate; it should inform.”

As you track your process and gain insights, don’t let the numbers alone control your approach. If Vodden finds he is questioning the data, he consults with his peers in an “offline collaborative approach.” But remember, you are the professional.

“Everyone thinks they know the user better than someone else,” Vodden says, “even if you have the insights in front of you.”

Trust yourself. Follow your gut.

B2B Are People, Too!

OgilvyOne works with both B2B and B2C clients. Vodden says the main difference in approach is platform, but even that may be changing.

“The key difference in approach is the social platforms that you would be recommending. B2B use LinkedIn groups rather than Facebook pages,” he says. “There’s an ongoing debate, though, that B2B clients are ‘people too.’ Just because they’re B2B doesn’t mean they aren’t on Facebook. Obviously, depending on the brand you’re working with, you can tap into B2B clients through the same channels as B2C.”

Reliable products. Real results.

Every day, thousands of companies rely on Upland to get their jobs done simply and effectively. See how brands are putting Upland to work.

View Success Stories