The Write Podcast, Episode 40: Jay Baer on Talk Triggers & How to Build Effective Word-of-Mouth Marketing

The Write Podcast, Episode 40: Jay Baer on Talk Triggers & How to Build Effective Word-of-Mouth Marketing


Did you know? 83% of Americans say that a word-of-mouth recommendation from a friend or family member makes them more likely to purchase that product or service.
Today, for Episode 40 (already!!), I’m honored to have the amazing Jay Baer as my guest on The Write Podcast.
Jay’s brand-new book, Talk Triggers, co-written with Daniel Lemin, came out on October 2, 2018 – less than one week ago! We recorded this episode a day before his book came out.
My own copy is already in my hands, complete with an alpaca (listen for a funny discussion at the beginning about the difference between an alpaca vs. llama, complete with sound effects), cookies, and headband. (I did an unboxing video of the book and giveaway items that you can watch here.)
The book is awesome, and I was so excited to chat with Jay and get more inside details. He has tons of sage advice from years in the marketing space.
Jay is the founder of Convince & Convert, a Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker, and the best-selling author of 6 books, including The Now Revolution, Hug Your Haters, and Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is About Help and Hype. He’s well-qualified to speak (and write!) on today’s topic.
Without further ado, here are the episode show notes. Listen carefully for lots of gems – Jay is incredibly quotable!
E40 write podcast

The Write Podcast, E40: Jay Baer on Talk Triggers & How to Build Effective Word-of-Mouth Marketing

1:38 – Talking the Cover of Talk Triggers (Llama or Alpaca)? Before we dig into today’s topic, Jay clears up some confusion about the cover of his new book.
4:42 – Why Is Word-of-Mouth So Effective? According to the 2018 Word-of-Mouth Report, 83% of Americans are more likely to purchase a product or service if it earned a word-of-mouth recommendation from one of their friends or family members. Jay and I talk about this stat and the basic reason why word-of-mouth works so well.
8:05 – What’s the Difference Between a Talk Trigger and a USP (Unique Selling Proposition)? A talk trigger is something you do differently that gets people talking about your brand. It may be unexpected or surprising. Jay discusses how this concept is similar to but fundamentally different from a USP. (A great talk trigger example: Cheesecake Factory menus.)
10:03 – How Do You Start a Conversation Around Your Brand? Nobody has a word-of-mouth strategy. So how do you get people talking about you? According to Jay, the answer may lie between the expected and the unexpected.
12:09 – Should “Going Viral” Be One of Your Business Goals? Watch out – this is a trick question. Jay tells us why going viral could be positive or negative.
15:35 – How to Build Connections with Customers. Jay makes some great points here about how marketers rarely get insights from customers anymore. Instead, they rely on data. To create connections and nurture brand loyalty, you have to go to the source and find out what customers are expecting from you – then you can surprise them.
19:35 – Fans vs. Advocates. Jay comes up with a fantastic, off-the-cuff differentiator between fans and advocates. Hint: You definitely want brand advocates on your side.
22:52 – It’s Hard to Turn Fans into Advocates. Enter Talk Triggers. Jay gives a few great examples of how talk triggers can turn passive fans into active advocates for your brand.

Favorite Quotes to Tweet

“Word-of-mouth has always been important since the first caveman sold a rock to another caveman, and the third caveman was like, ‘Dude, this guy has the best rocks.’” @jaybaer via @writepodcast Click To Tweet
“Now, in this developed economy, we have so many choices and everything moves so quickly that somebody giving us a tip makes such a difference.” @jaybaer via @writepodcast Click To Tweet
“As the variety of options increases, the persuasive notion of word-of-mouth increases accordingly.” @jaybaer via @writepodcast Click To Tweet
“A talk trigger is a story people tell each other in a bar. A unique selling proposition is a bullet point people discuss in a boardroom.” @jaybaer via @writepodcast Click To Tweet
“Nobody has a word-of-mouth strategy despite the fact that word-of-mouth influences between 50-91% of all purchases.” @jaybaer via @writepodcast Click To Tweet
“Understand that same is lame. In business, we tend to play follow the leader. We say, ‘Who’s really good at xyz in our industry? Let’s mimic them, that’s safe” – but that doesn’t create conversations.” @jaybaer via @writepodcast Click To Tweet
“Understand what your customers expect, and then do something they definitely don’t expect. That difference becomes your talk trigger.” @jaybaer via @writepodcast Click To Tweet
“Going viral is not the same as a word-of-mouth strategy. Going viral is buying a lottery ticket. It’s a recipe of hope.” @jaybaer via @writepodcast Click To Tweet
“Today, most marketers are surrounded by data but starved for insights – and it’s partially because we don’t talk to customers.” @jaybaer via @writepodcast Click To Tweet
“Would you rather have fans than not have fans? Of course. But that’s only true because we assume that some percentage of fans will become advocates, or will give us money, or both.” @jaybaer via @writepodcast Click To Tweet

Links Mentioned

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The Write Podcast, Episode 18: The Secrets of Customer-Centric Content: How to Discover What Keeps Them Craving More with Keesa Schreane

The Write Podcast, Episode 18: The Secrets of Customer-Centric Content: How to Discover What Keeps Them Craving More with Keesa Schreane

Listen to “E18 The Secrets of Customer-Centric Content: How to Discover What Keeps Them Craving More with Keesa Schreane” on Spreaker.
I first listened to Keesa Schreane last November at the Search Engine Journal Summit in NYC, where she covered Inspired Marketing: How To Leverage Emotions In SEO. Her presentation was of so much value that I had to invite her onto my podcast! We connected on Twitter, then LinkedIn, and the rest is history. 🙂
Keesa, the API, platform and analytics content marketing head at Thomson Reuters, joined me today to discuss how online content works hand-in-hand with customer relationships and service. This is a unique topic to my podcast, and one to be sure to listen to all the way through.
If there’s one thing I think that’s not maximized enough in today’s content marketing world, it’s how to draw out super valuable content ideas from the very problems your own customers face daily. If you can uncover that, you’ll discover the hottest content topics to talk about to capture a motivated audience who will only enlarge your own customer base!
Win, win. Keesa is all about serving those you sell to–and her ideas are golden.
Enjoy this week’s episode!
E18 Keesa Schreane

The Write Podcast, Episode 18: The Secrets of Customer-Centric Content- How to Discover What Keeps Them Craving More with Keesa Schreane Show Notes

While Keesa’s background is in journalism, she’s spent years writing about personal finance, entrepreneurism, and careers. People describe her as “curious” and she believes deeply in maintaining this as a marketer, as well as a journalist.
This curiosity lead her into a career with entrepreneurs. In this podcast, Keesa talks about why she loves working with entrepreneurs so much, and how this dynamic group of innovators has led her to develop her own outlook on customer service, content, and digital relationships:
In our conversation, Keesa and I discuss the following:

  • Keesa’s role at Thomson Reuters. Keesa also gives us a glimpse into how she arrived at her dynamic role, and how her background influenced her decisions (and how curiosity is so important to content marketers!)
  • Why we build the things we build. Keesa talks about how great customer service and communication tie into great content. Keesa helps listeners understand how businesses can use customer service to develop great relationships while also incorporating the mission into the content they create, to create massively effective content!
  • Why it’s important to talk to your client ‘as if they were a 6-year old.’ While jargon can be tempting, Keesa describes why she thinks clarity and simplicity are central to shareable content–even with a high-level audience!
  • How businesses can start building a core message for their audiences. Plus, the importance of fleshing your customer personas out into real, semi-fictional people.
  • How to communicate and reach your target audience most effectively. Keesa talks about why it’s critical to read what your audience reads and visit the platforms they love.
  • How brands can provide the message of “great customer service” and show you care for your customers through content and branding. How building a “use case” can help set up your workflow and show your customer you understand their processes.
  • How to keep your audiences coming back once you have them hooked. And how finding out how your service and product is important to your clients will help you predict their future pain points.

Favorite Quotes to Tweet

'Be clear on why you do what you do, and marry that to a need in the marketplace.' @KeesaCamille Click To Tweet
'Great customer service and communication ties into great content.' @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet
'Businesses can tie in great customer relationships to their copy = massively effective!' @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet
'How to keep them coming back for more: know where your customer hangs out. Get to know X by knowing where X hangs out. Understand what motivates them, what’s important to them.' @KeesaCamille Click To Tweet
'If you're not ahead of the trends, in content marketing, you're behind.' @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet
'Have one-on-one conversations with your customers so you can serve them best.' @KeesaCamille Click To Tweet
'Nurture a client relationship by talking to customers. Listen to them, but also ask them questions. Be right there with them on their next question.' @KeesaCamille Click To Tweet
'I know it's old-school, but I use Excel as my editorial calendar.' @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet
'Sometimes, old school is all you need.' @KeesaCamille Click To Tweet
Reach out to a small trial group of customers, maybe a dozen, and ask: 'Hey, this is what I’m thinking about for next quarter blog. Does this resonate with you?' @KeesaCamille Click To Tweet
'Look for topics that prompt more conversation.' @KeesaCamille Click To Tweet
'We want every point in the customer journey to be the best for that customer – to be tailor-made for that customer.' @KeesaCamille Click To Tweet
'If a writer sticks to the story, the readers are going to be drawn to the authenticity of the article.' @KeesaCamille Click To Tweet

Links Mentioned

express writers cta

The Write Podcast, Episode 11: Why Content Marketing is Like Eggs to Your Cake with Brandon Schaefer

The Write Podcast, Episode 11: Why Content Marketing is Like Eggs to Your Cake with Brandon Schaefer


If you only listen to ONE of my episodes today, I’d point you to E11. You know why? I connected with someone who was as equally as passionate about content marketing as me–and so wonderfully expressive about their passion. Brandon Schaefer is the bomb! He’s an expert growth and business strategist, as well as mentor; and has helped companies like BuzzSumo, Hashtagify and many others (that he can’t name for NDA reasons) climb to the top. He’s also founded multiple companies of his own, including MyVirtualSalesForce.com. Brandon comes from a family of entrepreneurs and is an avid proponent of content marketing–you can tell it all throughout this episode! I enjoyed having his passion and expertise (not to mention personality!) on my show.
write podcast with brandon schaefer

In Episode 11 of The Write Podcast, Brandon Schaefer joins me for an epic discussion on content marketing:

  • Why it’s absolutely essential to businesses of ALL sizes
  • How brands can get started right now (hint: it’s as simple as writing, writing, writing)
  • How Brandon came from a family of entrepreneurs
  • What a “butt to the gut” is and how it applies to content marketing (basketball term)
  • How to connect with influencers (don’t go for the jugular right away)
  • Shoutout to Sujan Patel!
  • How content types and mediums are like the ingredients to a cake
  • ….& more!

 If you like what you hear, please leave me an honest rating and review on iTunes here. It will help the show and it’s ranking in iTunes immensely. I appreciate it! Enjoy the show!

Transcript: Episode 11, Why Content Marketing is Like Eggs to Your Cake with Brandon Schaefer

Julia: Hello and welcome to episode 11 in the Write Podcast. I’m here with Brandon Schaefer, who is a business strategist and mentor. He currently owns and runs myvirtualsalesforce.com. He’s a business mentor at Score Mentors and he’s worked with multiple companies in growth hacking and brand awareness. He’s also the author of Wake Up To Win.
Brandon, I’m really excited to have you here today.
Brandon: Oh thank you so much. I really appreciate it. I’m thankful for the opportunity.
Julia: Absolutely. So let’s start. What would be your number one piece of advice or something fundamental for someone that’s looking to grow their brand?
Brandon: Get a plan, sit down with somebody. [LAUGH]
Julia: [LAUGH]
Brandon: I don’t even write stuff, I type, I don’t even carry a pen, but get a plan and sit down with maybe one or two people in your market segment that you can count on, if you don’t know somebody, find one or two people that aren’t actually trying to sell you anything. That they’re maybe in a similar market segment or somebody that you can sit down with and kinda share where you’re at.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Content marketing is like going to the gym. You have to put time in to look buff. – @MyVSF_Brandon ” quote=”Because most people have spent like six months a year, 12 months 24 months investing your time and money into something, and they don’t see the results so then they get upset and then they just bail, they give up and I understand it. But if you just realize that if you put some time in, it’s like working at a gym you go to the gym you don’t walk out looking buff, wherever the heck you are it takes time.”]
Get an unbiased opinion and not from a wife, a husband, partner anything else like that. Get somebody that can sit down with you and be honest with you and say like, listen how I’m I gonna make this thing work? This is what I’ve done so far, this’s the amount of money I spent and this is the amount of money I have left in the reserve.
What can I do over these next three months and get a strategy together, because I talked a lot of people and they always dumped, like, $70,000 so far and they don’t have a website yet. So it’s like we’ve been launching the website and it’s like don’t wait for perfection.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Don’t wait till you have $70k to start a website. Don’t wait for perfection. – @MyVSF_Brandon” quote=”Get a strategy and don’t spend a lot of money upfront, and don’t wait for perfection.”]

All three of those, you need to really focus on. There’s not anything what, those three are my three magic portions there, strategy, don’t spend a lot, don’t wait for a perfection because none of them are, you’re not gonna have a lot of perfection, you’re not gonna have a lot of money probably when you start and you’re probably not gonna have a lot of strategy either so those three things are the triangle that will yield good results I love it.
Julia: That reminds me of how I started my company. Every point you said just reminded me of how I began. So four years ago, actually five years ago now, I started my company because I was a really busy freelance writer. I had too much work on my hands but I didn’t want to turn away any client.
So I identified the need for a writing agency that had really good writers because back then it was like the industry was more populated with non English writers so I just identified that need and then in five minutes I literally coined my business name and I wish I’d spent a little more time on it [LAUGH] because I just took that business and ran and now I’m like, oh, I could have been more creative.
[clickToTweet tweet=”You know, I just ran with the idea of a writing agency and now we’re a 7-figure company. @JuliaEMcCoy” quote=”You know I just took it and ran and now we’re a seven-figure company.”]
Brandon: Yeah, I mean the thing is like with your story, it’s kind of like your sitting then your like, oh this just seems like good idea, just do it. You’re not like spending like a ton of money because you go out you hire these big firms to do these websites to look like Walmart and Target and stuff like that or some like site that spends hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Just go to work, get something starting, blog or something, get something started, prove your model and as you prove your model, then you can start to spend some money, but you just don’t dive into the pool without knowing how deep it is.
You gotta out your toe in, feel it around, see what type of feedback you get like you did. An outlook. You got an incredible experience.
Julia Right. I spent $75 total to start my company. I coded my own website, I learned how to do it all myself, I learned how to post everything so [LAUGH] yeah, you don’t need much.
Brandon: I tell you what Julie, this is what most people that come to me I’m like, most companies, this is what I say initially.
I’ll sit down with you, I’ll go over the strategy, come back to me in 30, 60 days I’m gonna see how you’re doing. If you prove that you’ve done what I’ve recommended, then I’ll work with you. But until then, it’s not going to work because when someone jumps in, everyone has expectations that are like here because all we hear on the web is success stories.
All you hear is the tip of the iceberg, super success stories. Like hey I just started this, or hey I did this and this, we don’t hear about the 20 billion other people that just haven’t made a dime. It’s just shiny object syndrome.
But take the recommendations, start out slow and build it up from there and write Everyday, write every single day, I don’t care if you write 300 words, 500 words, what’s the guy, he posts everyday, he writes, Seth, who is it?
Julia: Seth Godin.
Brandon: Yeah, what’s he write? His posts are 100 words, I mean he has some more in-depths, I mean he’s an incredible guy, incredible resource, but his daily posts are like 200 words.
I mean that’s it.
Julia: They’re really short. Yeah that’s great advice. That’s something I do all the time, is just sit down and write. Maybe three fourths of my week is writing.
Brandon: Yeah it’s a diary. I mean for me personally I take the train on most days, so I just write on the trains. An hour ride each way on the train.
So usually in the morning time or afternoon, really in the afternoon I’ll take half hour and I’ll just write. And whatever I can write in a half hour, I write. And that’s me. I’m not sending this to get reviewed or anything else like that. I’m writing and publishing and firing. And I’m on to the next thing.
I know it’s not gonna be perfect. You hear me speak, I mean I speak crazily. I mean I speak with passion, I get loud, I get crazy.
Julia: That’s great.
Brandon: I jump up and down.
Julia: [LAUGH]
Brandon: Sometimes I have trouble talking, I mean it’s just because I’m excited. That’s it.
Julia: Right, well, your passion shows.
Brandon: Oh cool, thank you.
Julia: Tell me a little bit about your background as a business strategist.
Brandon: I grew up in business, my grand father was an entrepreneur, my mother is an entrepreneur. So I just naturally grew up around business strategy, around people always talking about that at thanks giving dinner, at holiday dinners or whenever, that’s all we ever talked about talked about was kind of business stuff, so he can say at some point it’s unfortunate, but kind of learned a lot.
I learned a lot about testing things, and failing, and that it’s okay and get right back up and tie those shoes on; you got to tie those laces on your shoes tighter the next day and get up and test something else out.
So as for planning, no. I always say failing to plan is planning to fail, right? So and that’s all that strategy is. It’s just taking the time to set out kind of a road map for yourself to go on.
Julia: I love that advice. So tell me a little bit about the companies that you’ve helped grow?
Brandon: Well I know one of them was BuzzSumo, I know you had mentioned that when you first reached out to me.
I recently worked with those guys. And I will tell you, that company does everything that they do 100% correctly. They have a small lean staff but they are truly an incredible model and if anybody on here, you reach out to Steve from BuzzSumo he will definitely talk with you. But yea those guys they do it, they do everything 100% correct and in the content world I guess, so much information is driven through content now that that market space that their in is a home-run because everybody is looking for content to share right? It’s perfect for everything for them right now. So it’s a really great company.
Hashtagify, for certain hashtags and stuff like that, that’s another home run of a company. Great brand that’s been around and is very popular in the social media space for attracting hashtags and searching to see which ones are most relevant, which ones are trending and stuff like that, and then we go all the way to sports equipment companies, you name it.
I’m not gonna go on and on with this stuff, for those who are probably two of the ones that would hit home most with your audience. I mean obviously they’re on all different types of market segments.
Julia: Yes you’re right, I use and I love both of those tools and BuzzSumo has been huge for content marketing.
I look at it like an essential content marketing tool, you can’t do much better than that. I haven’t found one that’s really better and you mentioned that what they do they do the best. I’ve reached out to Steve, he’s actually been on my podcast and I love—
Brandon: Oh my goodness okay.
Julia: Yeah and you’re so right about that, one thing he told me was that he has stayed up later than the competition, and that’s been like their number one secret.
Brandon: Oh and they’ve also got another secret, her name is Susan and she does all the web access and all kinds of stuff. She is a phenomenal lady. I feel like well I work with a lot of people but she is a phenomenal phenomenal resource for them.
Julia: That’s cool. It’s often people behind the scenes that are doing so many neat things and you don’t know them, but they’re there working really hard.
Brandon: Well that’s the key with business, actually probably a good point to bring up is that in business there’s always these secret hidden weapons, these secret weapons right, these people that really can get you to where you want to go or can help you along.
And we all see this bright shiny object and everybody especially when you’re trying to get into an account or something else like that, or get a guest post or something else like that, you always go right for the jugular.
Like we’re on an African plain like a lion trying to take down a hyena or something. You don’t look for the jugular, you hang out in the car, in the Jeep or whatever, see who does what. You’ll see that there’s hidden influencers behind all the big influencers or figures. So, if you can aim and start to hook up with some of these type of people, and whether you’re selling or in type of big sale, or whether it be an enterprise or a big company or whatever, whatever the case is, there’s always these hidden influences.
I always try to find a hidden influences or form relationships with them and then they can lead me when the time is right.
Julia: That’s really interesting, I love the advice. So how do you find someone like that?
Brandon: Well it’s, you gotta have, I call it butt in the gut, right? So, it’s like physical, like if you play basket ball, you will always butt in the gut, I’m not, I’m not like a basketball guy but I know my son plays basketball so he’s always coaching me on stuff which helps.
But yeah, it’s by paying attention, it’s by listening, because we all want to, and not just speaking for myself here and you know it’s like, I wanna say how great this is or what we can do or what problems we can solve and how great we’re gonna do it, but people want to really know what’s in it for them though? Like what effect is it going to have on us? Like if we do this service with you, then what results can we expect? What can we, what’s going to be different in our company? So, it’s important to stay focused on always providing value to the client, keeping them first.
Julia: That is so true and that’s funny, because I just published a blog today about how to stand out as a blogger and one of my number one tips is to focus on your audience, and sort of just you and, your brand whatever you’re selling and if you can focus on your audience and talk to that person, that’s so important, because that draws them in and they feel engaged and they’re probably more likely to go to your site and do something.
Brandon: Yeah and you’ve gotta get active, I mean, as, just as you know, you gotta go out to the conferences, if you can’t afford to go out to the conferences, then get involved in online groups, or Facebook groups, there’s lengthy in groups, there’s Twitter, you name it, just get engaged, get involved, with these different types of people and just give, give a response every once in a while, if they write something, I’m more into e-mail, I will rarely comment on an actual blog but I will get an e-mail address for them and send them a personal note like hey this is where this really hit home for me, thank you so much, like this is really cool, I was just thinking about this, like that type of stuff, so, I’ll take it actually offline right away, in most cases, if I’m gonna take the time to read a comment I’ll actually take the time to find their e-mail address and send them a personal e-mail and that’s, you wanna get your butt in your gut, that’s really get’s you belly to belly with somebody.
Julia: Exactly and that reminds me of how I touched base with you, I think it was just through a tweet.
Brandon: Oh yeah, that’s exactly how it works, you send me something today this is like this or whatever, we took it offline, and it’s a message I said hey send me an e-mail, and a couple of days later we were talking so.
Julia: Exactly, it’s amazing how quickly that can work. You know it’s like something, something so simple just to reach out directly and there’s so many platforms now like you mentioned going to events and Blab is huge.
Brandon: Yes, yeah.
Julia: For the networking, it’s been enormous.
Brandon: And there’s one thing that I always like to do too with these influencers, just kinda circling back on the, influencer stuff.
Julia: Mm-hm.
Brandon: Find out what platforms they hang out on and hang out on those platforms that they hang out on. So you try to get in front of somebody, but if someone’s big on Blab or someone’s big on Twitter or anywhere else and always on there, find out where they hang out the most and then communicate with them on that channel because there’s so many different channels as you know, we’re all kind of flipping back and forth, we’re getting with stuff.
I mean most people use tools, I know we use a bunch of tools to monitor tracks and hashtags and direct messages and email. There’s all day long there’s stuff coming come again, but if it’s sincere outreach, we’ll immediately respond back to that. Or if it’s something bad, we’re gonna immediately respond not that that happens a lot but wherever, but we’re prepared to take that conversation offline immediately as well.
Julia: Exactly. That’s so true about finding the platform where they I remember I was trying to reach out to someone on Twitter, when I was looking for someone to write my book for and I finally got Sujan Patel to do it but whenever I was looking for people, I reached out to someone on Twitter and they were like, well I don’t know you, so this was an influencer there.
Brandon: Yeah.
Julia: He’s like I don’t know you, but why don’t you come join my Blab and then we’ll get to know, to know each other and then yeah, maybe I’ll do it.
Brandon: Oh, that’s cool. Is it Sujan—Sujan?
Julia: Sujan Patel.
Brandon: Susan, okay. Does he run Contentmarketer.io or is that-
Julia: Yeah, he started that.
Brandon: I’ve actually reached out to him real quick about how to actually do something. I’ve actually tested out that software, it was pretty cool. He’s got a couple of different things going. He seems like a pretty cool dude, I like his profile picture and if he’s ever in Philadelphia here I’ll be sure to catch up with him.
Julia: Oh that’s cool. Influencers connecting with influencers.
Brandon: That’s [LAUGH] that’s it, is it.
Julia: So Brandon, I just wanted to touch on as well content marketing, in your experience as a business strategist and growth hacking, how important would you say content marketing is to a business that’s looking to grow?
Brandon: Oh man. It is vitally important.
If I like don’t answer you right away is because it hits directly to my, it’s like you stab me in the heart with a knife because it hits so close to home with me, like I’m actually catching my breath before I say something so-
Julia: [LAUGH]
Brandon: Oh yeah content marketing is vital to any size business, any size.
I don’t care if you’re bricks and mortar, Mom and Dad shop, that you’re 70 years old and you’re in some small town. Content marketing, first it’s free. Well I don’t know if anything’s free anymore because time costs money and you know here and there but if you don’t have the advertising dollars to actually pay Google or pay Facebook or pay Twitter or any of these other platforms to run ads on or banner or whatever and you’re a happy writer, even if you’re not a half decent writer, but you’re writing about making saddles for English riding and horses in Wyoming, if you’re very specific, there’s a very, very good chance and you’re offering some information that’s unique, there’s a very, very good chance that your content is going to get seen by people and have some type of you’re gonna get more leverage and more opportunities to talk to more people.
Not only that but you also have the opportunity to get back lengths like qualified backlinks—
Julia: Right.
Brandon: Not like junk crap backlinks that don’t mean anything. It would be like me linking to you linking to you know and that shows basically free SEO so and there are so many types of different content to like get on a blab you can do a blab then you can transcribe what you went over and what you talked about you can do portions you can do quotes from that you know there is just you can make it into a SlideShare then you can make it into another video on YouTube, there is 15,000 things to do so there is no excuse you know?
Julia: Exactly I totally agree with that and that’s something I found just launching a podcast is in the amount of content I can re-create out of this podcast. You know we’ve done transcriptions for every episode, and the transcriptions have been like 6,000 words, and we post that as a new piece of content on our site and that’s huge attracting already new rankings.
Brandon: Yeah of course it works and it’s important there are so many companies that are still kind of not believing in it And I mean listen you can pay I was just doing a guest post for Tor Refsland, he just picked me yesterday about a guest post for something similar to this so I sent it back yesterday but you got to believe in it right so there are so many companies that are paying Google. And when I pay Google I mean I’m just guilty of it as well right so it’s like when I go to the water falls and I turn the water falls and then water comes out right it’s the same thing with Google when I pay Google traffic comes, right? And then when I stop paying them the traffic stops coming and it just still be a little bit of leakage here and there every once in a while.
But when you implement content marketing and you do it good and consistently and when I say consistently it’s not just like once a week or you can do whatever is comfortable for you like I just share like once a day, once every other day, I’m just here like a business experience that I’m going through I won’t mention any names because we always disclosure agreements but I won’t mention any names but I’ll just share like a similar story or something else like that and it works it’s a way to get it to work.
Julia: Right. So how would you look at different mediums of content as like for example being more important or more essential than another, like blogging I suppose, to doing a video or different mediums like that. So how important is a blog for business in general?
Brandon: Again you are stabbing me in the heart because these things hit so close to home. Always on my mind. You are doing a great job.
I look at it like this right so when you make a recipe at home not that I cook a lot and stuff like that my wife thank goodness for her does that, but so when we cook or something when we do we need all the ingredients right we need something like mushrooms.

We need some onions, we need some oil, we need some butter. We need some chicken if we’re gonna put in there or whatever. So those are all the ingredients, and no one type of content is good for everybody. So you gotta take a little bit of each one of the pieces, whether it is video, whether it’s actually an infographic, whether it’s by chair whatever platform it is you need to fold them all into the blender right and you need to hit, it just gets you, you need to touch on all basis and then once you do that for like a month for like 30, 60, 90 days then you can see which one is giving you the most ROI right and then you can start to really focus on that one, but you can’t leave the rest of them out of the picture right because all of them equal to pieces of puzzles.
So if you find one piece that like yields you better results than the others then always have that issue of primary focus but still make sure you are always hitting on this other types of content as well.
Julia: I love it that reminds me of a phrase I’ve seen a lot, like the eggs to your cake. That’s like—
Brandon: Exactly.
Julia: The content to your marketing.
Brandon: Yeah that’s exactly what it is.
Julia: Thanks so much for being here Brandon, I really appreciate it.
Brandon: Anytime and I’m available any time anybody wants to talk, anybody wants to chat in whatever, I’m here to help.
[MUSIC] Thanks for joining today’s Write Podcast. For more online content, tips and strategies, visit expresswriters.com/write-blog and now here’s your host Julia McCoy with a final message.
Julia: I hope you enjoyed today’s episode, I absolutely loved connecting to and talking with Brandon Schaefer, you can find them at myvirtualsalesforce.com or on Twitter @MyVSF_Brandon.
I’m really excited because my, book So You Think You Can Write, The Definitive Guide To Successful Online Writing came out April 19th and I’ve seen it already hit #2 and 3 on the charts on Amazon. And even better than that, I’ve been hearing from so many people including people around the world that are telling me how much my book is helping them create better content online, and that to me is so inspirational. That’s why I wrote this book, I really think that the hands-on skills involved in online content writing are not taught or talked about enough in a way that everyone can understand. It took me over five years of self teaching to learn all of this skills after a lot of trial and error and finding out what works and what doesn’t. So I’ve put everything I’ve learnt into a book, So You Think You Can Write, the Definitive Guide To Successful Online Writing and you can find it right now on Amazon, Print and Kindle as well as Barnes & Noble and iBooks. Go to www.bit.ly/soyouthinkyoucanwrite for all the links.
Thank you so much for joining today’s Write Podcast!

The Write Podcast, Episode 10: Book Chapter Read of So You Think You Can Write? The Definitive Guide to Successful Online Writing

The Write Podcast, Episode 10: Book Chapter Read of So You Think You Can Write? The Definitive Guide to Successful Online Writing


EEK. My first-ever published book, So You Think You Can Write? The Definitive Guide to Online Writing, launched TODAY on Amazon.
Amazon-Buy-Button
In today’s episode, I read aloud part of the Introduction, where I talk about how I got started in this crazy world of online writing, and the first chapter from my book, where I share a section I thoroughly love: starting grounds for the online writer. Enjoy!

In Episode 10 of The Write Podcast, Julia reads an excerpt of her new book, So You Think You Can Write?

  • Learn how storytelling is an underlying fundamental of great online writing
  • Find out which companies are leading the forefront in creative, spectacular online writing skills
  • Hear some of Julia’s history, from her early days as a content marketer to today
  • Be inspired as you listen to what makes up some of the great stories in content marketing today
  • ….& more!

 If you like what you hear, please leave me an honest rating and review on iTunes by clicking here. It will help the show and it’s ranking in iTunes immensely. I appreciate it! Enjoy the show!

Transcript: Book Chapter Read of So You Think You Can Write? The Definitive Guide to Successful Online Writing

Julia: Hello and welcome to The Write Podcast! This is Julia McCoy, and today I’m really excited to share with you that my book So You Think You Can Write? The Definitive Guide To Successful Online Writing is finally out. It went live today as print and Kindle on Amazon! This book is a summary of every skill I’ve learned and taught myself in the last few years to create successful online content, from blogs to webpages and much more.
To buy my book on Amazon just go to bit.ly/juliamccoy. The direct Amazon book link will also be in this podcast description. 
I’ve had this book idea for years and I started working on, So you think you can write about a year ago. It’s been crazy just to get through this year of writing a book, I have a whole new respect for authors.
Writing a book is no small task, especially if you really wanna make it a good and worthwhile book. Worthwhile book. So the section I’m gonna read to you begins at the Introduction and I will read you chapter one, so let’s get started. Introduction. As an online marketer, site owner and freelance writer I’ve been and in online consecrations since 2011.
In a short few years I have seen the entire world of online content evolve for 100’s of businesses. The good news is that I’ve seen a great deal of progression, in 2011 I saw a lot of sub par online content do just fine then Giggle Panda hit the web a lot of duplicate cured stuffed poor content got struck down from the rankings.
Every time a major Google update has come out I’ve researched it, written about it and watched marketers flinch and then adapt. Some of my favorite clients were the marketers who came to me with the need to change and fit their content to the new Google rules and regulations. I think I was on speed dial for some of them [LAUGH] It was simple really.
Many of these marketers just needed higher quality content or they needed to replace the duplicate content on their site that they had copied over from somewhere else on the web. Yikes! So today’s overall online content direction is progressing toward a higher content quality and standard all over the web.
And who’s the major driving force? Google. I’ve been doing this for half a decade now and I run a seven figure company with a team of talented writers delivering online content to businesses of all kind. This has been my self taught full time career path. Here’s my belief about succeeding in this field, you don’t need a college course to learn to be an online writer, the nitty gritty, hands on, real world skills of online content writing aren’t taught in college yet.
I’ll agree that a foundational knowledge from college English 101 or 102 is applicable if it helps to refine your basic writing skills. Consequently a journalism degree does help if you choose to write press releases, but I firmly believe anyone could be self-taught in successful online content writing to create great content for themselves or earn a living doing it with the caviar that they have a passion and talent for writing because passion and talent will keep them going.
I’ve seen this manifest in my own career. If you’re this kind of writer but you don’t know how to bring your talents online yet or you want to solidify your knowledge in creating good online content, then my guide is just for you. I am giving you such a thorough definitive guide on online content writing that if you find all of it, you’ll be ready to write any kind of content that will rank well online and be successful, whether it’s for your clients or for yourself.
Chapter One: Starting Grounds.
Success in online writing, both monetary and in the subsequent value and ranking of great web content can happen for any passionate writer and brand given the opportunity to learn the tricks of the online writing trade. The tough part is there’s no one easy course to sign up for it that teaches you all of the tricks you need to know to succeed.
I was completely self-taught and I picked up some of my bet skills by learning them on the job as I wrote online content for my clients, not what I’d suggest for everyone. I think that essential writing skills are born from a passion that surfaces at a young age. This passion can’t be taught and it’s the starting point of what it takes to be a stellar content creator and copywriter.
My stunning growth can be traced back to writing fiction when I was just 9 years old. Many professional copywriters, probably more than half, double in fiction When the mood strikes them. Writing fiction maintains and sharpens the base skills of creative writing. When we grow up telling stories it’s only natural that we incorporate pieces of them into our current writing, and guess what, fiction writing is the fertile ground where some f the greatest storytelling genius is born and cultivated.
A passion for storytelling born at an early age can blossom into amazing online content writing skills at a later age and thus translate into well developed copyrighting chops for the world’s most successful brands. Ordinary writers doing extraordinary things. Storytelling comes from showing reality from a different perspective, it could be summed up that simply.
An interesting, unique point of view can really draw a person in, and when you combine the identifiable point of view with a good story to tell you transform that story into an extension of someone’s life. A good story and advertising copy makes the person witnessing it subconsciously think – GEE, that sounds like or could be me!
How was that emotion pulled out? By a story told so well that it became relatable and real. Very often that person goes on to become a customer for the company that drew them in and related to them on a personal level. Although story telling styles and media has changed over time, the idea that a good story appeals to the audience is timeless, it’s why we tell our kids stories adapted from 16th century German fairy tales.
The story is in itself a timeless art form. Once upon a time stories were used as a means of promoting discourse. Socrates presented his thoughts to the public in the form of fables. Many ancient Greek and Roman philosophers such as Euclid and Plato used to couch their factual knowledge and Story telling, and you know what? Stories stick.
Who remembers the first grade fairytale rather than the sixth grade Geography or Math lesson? Me too. It goes to show that a relatable story is often remembered far more accurately and much more vividly than drier content pushed down our throats as a road to memorization. This persistence of memory is also another reason why the story has taken root in modern day advertising.
Storytelling allows us to bring the audience into the front seat and bad times make each person feel like the most important person in the room. Nothing is as memorable as a show put on just for you, unless it’s a show that is starring you. In our attempts at storytelling we try to put the audience in the driver’s seat and have them experience the feelings and emotions that an ordinary person would feel in such a position, like the myriad of writers that came before us, from Herodotus to Shakespeare.
We continue to carry on the timeless work of telling stories. What are the online writers stories made of? Now obviously online copywriters don’t write the kinds of stories found in books. You just won’t see a guy staring at a full page ad and reading it like a novel enjoying its use of double entendre, maybe we’ll get there one day, whenever any single one of us enjoys the fabulous art of reading entire volumes voraciously, but I highly doubt that’s likely.
Our attention spans are currently dwindling not growing according to research. So the way an online writer builds a story is a little different. While a fictional writer has a toolbox full of plots, devices and character portraits, the content writer has a trunk full of information about whom they want to reach and the most effective way to do it.
We began by researching our audience first and foremost before we even start writing. A fiction writer starts with the premise and then finds the audience but the copywriter starts with the audience and then generates the premise, and they create a story that sells to that audience.
There are a number of different success tales in businesses, both large and small that testify to the usefulness of this story as a marketing tool. Recent trends in marketing have shown that combining the idea of a story to teach the audience something has a far greater impact on final sales.
As entertaining as the story is, if it doesn’t sell then it isn’t successful from a marketing perspective. So are there limits to storytelling? Will the story ever detract from a message you need to get across to a potential customer in order to sell him or her? Enter the following example, marketing storytelling so good it sold crap literally.
An example of storytelling success in marketing: Poo~Pourri. Recently I came across an example of brand storytelling so good it blew my mind. It was an ad by the brand Poo~Pourri on YouTube. This 3 minute 5 second video captured me and held my attention the entire time. Yes they interrupted the writing of this book.
The video opens with a beautiful, English, redheaded girl drinking tea and eating baked goods with her lady friends. She suddenly experiences the passing of gas, looks into the camera and says, my butt trumpet is about to blow [LAUGH] and when the eclairs spreads my hot-crossed buns no one will ever know. It’s time to go down the crappit hole, where smelling is believing.
The viewer then proceeds to get flushed down a toilet, and to a music video where people are doing yoga and simultaneously singing about crap with their heads between their legs. Did that just make you say what? And then immediately you want to know more.
The maker of this newer brand sold no less than 4 million products to date. And I think the magic of their story telling is their primary reason. Make your story educating and entertaining. Potpourri’s example is so crazy good it’s out of this world literally I haven’t seen a better tale in marketing.
If you can nail a story that creative then my hat is off to you. Not every brand will be able to come up with that amount of successful crappy puns, pun intended. So even if you cant be the next Poo Potpourri here’s how you should be using the hugely important element of storytelling in your content.
The overall aim of our online storytelling should be to educate and entertain and from that naturally to sell. Educating validates the idea of a value-based content system, what Google and readers love today. Success for the online marketer is found in copy that isn’t aimed at a hard sale, but instead offers useful and insightful information.
Through visualized content that naturally attracts more leads out of viewers and entertaining is simply your desired and achievable level of creativity. However far you want to go to make your story entertain your fans on a one to Poo~Pourri level. With a truly useful educational, entertaining story line and consistent content output, regular blogs, videos or other content types you’ll draw and warm leads will keep reading your content because it gives them an answer or solves their problems, and these leads are much more likely to buy your product.
Then the readers face with the cold sale. This is big news for us writers, since a whopping 40% or more of the world’s population now has access to the Internet, which means there are more than 3 billion people online, Internet marketing is the primary advertising avenue for all businesses.
More than 8 new people get online every second and over 139,000 new websites go live everyday based on 2013 statistics. 46% of people read blogs more than once a day and 82% of marketers who blog daily gain a customer from their blogs. Adobe has reported that Internet TV will be replacing traditional cable television with Internet video viewing growing by 388% annually, and cable TV is seeing the lowest number of viewers today than it has ever seen.
I could cite stuff all day long but the point is if you’re in business your best audience is found online and the foundation of all online marketing is good content. Fundamentally good story telling is the key to writing contents that excels then add too this strong underlying foundation it make as your knowledge research skills and the ability to thoroughly address all of your readers questions.
Learning to create captivating headlines that correctly reflect what the content is about is another important tool in your skill set. This described process is also what I’m about to teach you in my book. This approach is already working, numbers don’t lie, companies such as General Electric RedBull have utilized the medium of story telling in a bold new way giving theirs viewers and readers stories informing as opposed to selling.
Go read and watch some of the media on their websites if you want to be inspired, and as I showed there are brands like Poo~Pourri taking storytelling to the next creative level. and simply sewing through the power of an astoundingly fun brand. Providing useful engaging content is the new face of marketing.
If you’re aware of this concept and can manage to blend storytelling with useful information then you’re well on you way to becoming a first class content creator, and when And once you’ve had some experience in storytelling, whether it is making up fables on the fly or your kid brother, eating up volumes of beautiful fiction tales at a time or writing a lengthy essay you actually enjoyed creating for your middle school teacher, then you probably have the skills for this type of content.
Truth be told I personally find it easier to write from an ad or targeted online copy perspective than just writing from a fictional perspective. Fiction gives you a lot of freedom to experiment but too much of a good thing means you have no limits or boundaries and it’s very easy to wonder off message.
In contrast online copy almost every time has defined guidelines to work within and although you were challenged to think outside the box where really good ideas are born, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll end up doing something wrong if you stay within the guidelines while exercising your writing talents and skills.
In this type of writing once you understand the instructions it’s impossible to stray off the beating path, fall off the cliff or wonder into the weeds.
End of chapter one.
I really hope you enjoy this brief excerpt of my book So You Think You Can Write, The Definitive Guide To Successful Online Writing.
Thanks for joining The Write Podcast.

To buy Julia’s book, click the Amazon button below:
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The Write Podcast, Episode 9: How to Fit Content Curation into Your Content Marketing Strategy Successfully with Guillaume Decugis

The Write Podcast, Episode 9: How to Fit Content Curation into Your Content Marketing Strategy Successfully with Guillaume Decugis


Welcome to Episode 9 in The Write Podcast! I’m thrilled you’ve joined me for another episode. This episode is a good one: Guillaume Decugis, one of my favorite marketers in the content curation niche, joined me as a guest expert to share insights on just how marketers can do online content curation correctly. Guillaume is an expert online and his insights are fantastic. Prior to co-founding Scoop.it, which is a pioneer in the content curation platform space and has over 2 million users today, Guillaume built a company to success from scratch and sold it to Microsoft. I like what he says so much, I’ve invited Guillaume to be a guest expert on #ContentWritingChat, and had a Google Hangout with him a way back.
In this episode, Guillaume discusses Scoop.it, how they’re doing great new things, and how content curation as a whole fits into content marketing–plus a whole lot more good things. Enjoy!
guillaume decugis content curation

In Episode 9 of The Write Podcast, Guillaume shares insights on:

  • How Scoop.it is fulfilling on a mission to help marketers find and re-share great content
  • How the methodology in content marketing isn’t clear, how many marketers don’t know yet how to create great content; and how content curation helps marketers
  • How Guillaume is an engineer-turned-content-marketer and how that helps him reverse engineer content marketing (a reason I seriously love listening to him!)
  • How you’re not a parrot if you re-share your content (you’re just getting more visibility)
  • How we’re about to see a lot more SMBs embrace content marketing – not just big box brands
  • Why measuring ROI in content marketing matters
  • ….& more!

 If you like what you hear, please leave me an honest rating and review on iTunes by clicking here. It will help the show and it’s ranking in iTunes immensely. I appreciate it! Enjoy the show!

Transcript: How to Fit Content Curation into Your Content Marketing Strategy Successfully with Guillaume Decugis

Julia: Hello and welcome to The Write Podcast. This is your host Julia McCoy. And today my guest is Guillaume, the founder and CEO of Scoop.it, which is a content discovery and curation platform. I love their home page tagline: you are the content you publish.
Guillaume, welcome to the show, and thanks for being here.
Guillaume: Hi everyone, and super excited to be here, hi Julia.
Julia: Great to have you here. So I wanted to go into a little bit about what Scoop.it does for content curation, and just how content curation ties into content marketing, for those who maybe haven’t heard of Scoop.it before aren’t familiar with it.
Guillaume: Yeah, so we’ve been around for four years now, we turned four in November which is entering old age for a start up.
And so we are very proud we made it so far, lots of exciting things to do, and I think it’s just the beginning. And so we started with this realization four or five years ago, and that’s why we like this claim that you are the content you publish. And what we mean by that is that online visibility has shifted over the last five years, from traditional techniques like SEO completely changed, it used to be technical, SEO techniques, used to be SEM, it used to be display adds, and it really changed to content.
Now if you wanna be visible online you have to publish great content. This is what Google tells you, this is what social networks tell you. So that’s what we wanted to help professionals in general, and marketers in particular, achieve is how to transition from the old style marketing to accountant based marketing.
And so we started with a first idea, we tried to think about what is the difficulty here. And we found a lot of marketers were not actually trained to create great content. They didn’t think in terms of their company as media, they thought about campaigns, they thought about a lot of digital marketing things, and even today in schools there are very few curriculums in marketing classes which really focus on content.
So we felt, okay, our mission is gonna be to help marketers be good at content. And so the first thing we noticed is that it was really hard for them to create content at scale, and that content curation was a great way to help them with that, to help them discover content to curate and share to their social channels, which is the basic curation that everybody does or everybody should do. Share somebody else’s content to engage our community. But there’s a lot more to curation to that. There’s the idea that you can use that curated content for your blog, for your newsletters, and we can touch into that.
So what we realized over time is that, we’ve been known for our curation service which is a free tool that anybody can use at Scoop.it, but the novelty that we’ve launched earlier this year is Scoop.it’s Content Director, where we encapsulated that curation technology with all sorts of different features to really create a complete integrated content marketing framework that helps.
A software that helps marketers with all of the content marketing cycle, and then curation is an important way we helped, but we’re strong believers that content marketing is a cycle that needs to be optimized in the same way that CRM was optimized, that lead nurturing was optimized, so there’s a lot to see on that.
Julia: So thinking about the future and 2016, it’s crazy for me to think about how much content will probably be out there, and it will be like a sea of content, it will be crazy. So how do you see content curation as helping navigate all of that content?
Guillaume: What really sounds super useful is that, so first of all the fact that everybody starts to embrace content marketing now means that you really have to be good at it in order to be efficient.
So you need to step up your game, you need to be having the right methodology, the right framework to do that. There was a benchmark by the Content Marketing Institute that really showed something interesting. They do their yearly benchmark, and this one went out about months ago.
More than 50%, I think 56% of marketers don’t know if their content marketing is efficient. So there’s really a lack of methodology, a lot of marketers don’t know really what they’re doing, what’s content marketing, and that’s not their fault. The methodology is not clear yet, and so we think that’s our mission, and that’s what we’re doing with our own content, but also putting rules in our product to help marketers with that.
So the first consequence of having everybody in content marketing is you really have to be professional at it. The second thing is, everybody publishes a lot of content, you have to keep track of what’s being published out there. And so the first thing you learn with content curation is you discover what content is published on your topic of expertise, on what’s interesting for your audience.
The third thing is that because a lot of content is produced, you don’t have to produce entirely from scratch, and so you both have to publish more content, but there’s already a lot of great content out there that you could relate to, that you could curate, and make your own by adding a commentary, an insight, and transform a piece of third party content into what we call a curated post, which really means quoting that piece of content linking back to it, being super ethical and transparent about it, but adding your own insight, as we call it, to turn that into a blog post.
And that’s been a great way to not only publish more content, we have an e-book on there that just show that compared to writing from scratch a piece of content during a curated post, takes maybe four to eight times faster. But it is also a great way to work with your community and to be really be lean about your content marketing.
And I think about it based in terms of, think about recycling, we all wanna recycle, we wanna be healthy with the time and everything. Well when you recycle content from somebody else you’re doing some magic here because you’re giving love and traffic to that author, but you’re also adding your own value and your own context, and you’re getting more content on your blog, and you can distribute that on your social channel as well.
So that’s really how content curation can help. So I think, as we’re seeing more content, I think curation plays more and more in a role.
Julia: Yes. I agree, that’s a really good nutshell of how it works for marketers I think, and going forth in 2016, we’ll probably see more use of platforms like yours and Scoop.it, and tell me a little bit about how you’ve seen it grown, I mean, you started it, how long ago?
Guillaume: Four years ago, November, 2011.
Julia: So how much have you seen it grown since then, and more so in this year?
Guillaume: Yeah, we’ve been seeing a ton of acceleration, so the reason for that, I think is as we’ve explained, content curation becomes more important, and becomes more important to discover content more easily, and be able to publish easily contents on social channels, on your blog, on your newsletters.
We have about two and half million users of the free version now, so that’s been really fantastic to see people embrace it. But the thing which to me is really something we’re proud of, is not just to have users, it’s the fact that those users collectively, ever since we started, attracted about 300 million people, and they were able to publish 100 million pieces of content.
So think about what we said earlier, our mission is, we said, you are the content you publish, and our mission is to help people publish content to get visibility. That was our starting point, publishing content is the way to get visibility, have you solve that? Well, content curation helps.
It makes it easier, and so our validation is we help a lot of people publish a lot of content, to attract even more visitors to their pages, either their Scoop.it pages, we have a light CMS platform you can create easily, Scoop.it pages, topic pages on Scoop.it, or you can integrate with your blog. So that’s really valuable traffic that the platform has been able to help our community of users build so it’s very satisfying for us to see that variation. And so now we keep growing, and we built this B2B version which is Scoop.it Content Director, and we already have a lot of companies using it, and the results have been fantastic as well.
We’ve seen people go from blogging one time a month to blogging twice a week, and they’ve seen the results in terms of how much SEO and traffic they generated. And I think the other niche we’re very happy about, is we’ve done a lot of work around how do you prove the ROI of content marketing? How do you generate leads? And we’re seeing now content marketing as something that is becoming essential as part of lead generation, demand generation, and I think that’s gonna also be a very important change next year. I think we’re gonna have a lot more ways to prove and improve the way of content marketing.
Julia: I totally agree, it’s amazing whenever you connect to your audience, and you find people in your audience who are sharing your content, and connecting to them back, and directly relates to our lives.
Like you said we’ll probably see refining of those types of tactics next year.
Guillaume: Yeah and I think we’ve done a lot of work ourselves on what is the ROI of Content? And we wanted to answer that question in general, but also for ourselves. We used content marketing, that’s our number one marketing strategy, and we experiment a lot with some of the ideas we have or what we see people blogging about.
And so a lot of the framework and the methodology we built for content marketing that is reflected in our products, is something that we’ve experimented with, and on which we have feedback. And so on ROI we’ve really thought about what does it mean to get ROI from content.
[clickToTweet tweet=”‘We don’t get paid in likes and visitors. We get paid in revenue.’ @gdecugis on @writepodcast:” quote=”And I think a lot of people still struggle with, okay I know I can get more content out there, I can measure traffic increase with maybe Google Analytics, but we don’t get paid in likes and Google Analytics visitors. We get paid in getting revenue up.”]
And so there was an interesting piece I curated recently about at times you get marketers on the quarter just like sales people. And I think that’s a very interesting idea because now there’s a bunch of tools like ours and others that really helps you.
For instance, one of the things we’re super happy with is that on Content Director you can go piece of content by piece of content, and see how many leads you’ve generated with that piece of content for your company. And for all of you who are B2B marketers, who are tasked with driving demand, generating leads, nurturing leads, really proved okay, let’s take a look at the blog post I published, the tweet I made, every piece of content I did over last one month, two months, three months, here’s how many leads each of this individual pieces generated.
That’s a fantastic tool to have because now you get a very different seat at the table when you’re discussing with your C-level, with your direct reporting, with your boss. Whether in a small or mid-size companies, that gives you a lot more credibility. And it’s also a way to scale content marketing because the minute you can prove that by blogging, by tweeting more content, by curating more content, by distributing more content you can generate more leads.
Then the next question you have is okay, tell me what you need to generate more. So I think we’ll see a lot of that trend in 2016.
Julia: That’s great. It sounds like you have already provided so much of an answer to find the ROI, what type of content converts and the numbers, and that’s definitely something not a lot of other platforms offer. So that’s really neat.
Guillaume: Yeah, but I think it’s really the beginning. We have a lot of interesting things in the road map. We’re building integrations with steel arm tools. I think, I’m an engineer turned marketer, so first I like to build stuff, but when we started to work on that content opportunity, and how to structure things, I wanted to reverse engineer content marketing.
I really wanted to understand and try to really build a solid methodology for other people to use. And I don’t want to do that as the consultants. I have a ton of respect for consultants, but I’m a product builder so we wanted, as a team, to build software to help people do that.
And when we think about everything we can do to help, if you think of all the posts you’ve read about how to do content marketing, how to be better, and there’s a lot on all blogs, there’s a lot on great other blogs, you write a lot of great contents on this as well. What’s really striking to me is as a community of people who write on content marketing we start to establish some patterns.
There are some rules, there are some methodology that everybody agrees upon, but it hasn’t been productized yet. And that’s where road map is bad. It’s taking those roles, things that everybody agrees upon, and making them easy for people to do. Like reassuring your content multiple times, re-purposing your content.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Publishing prey: people that publish a blog and think their work is done. -@gdecugis on @writepodcast” quote=”A lot of people still are, what I call, publishing prey. They publish a blog post, and they think their work is done, when maybe half of your job actually starts at that moment.”]
Julia: Right exactly.
Guillaume: So we’ve built work flows where you can say I want this blog post to be re-shared ten times over the next six weeks.
Things like re-sharing your old content, the content that transformed the most. So you need to have first this data, why don’t I blog posts which have the higher conversion rate. And how do I then, re-share them over and over again in a very easy way? So those are things software can help you do, and we’re really passionate about that, and we have tons of idea.
Julia: That’s awesome. Sounds like next year will be exciting for you because by now the need for content marketing has been so much established, and now it’s just like well, how do we bring numbers to our bosses that the content’s working? And how do we do it a better way. So, sounds like next year will be exciting?
Guillaume: Yeah. I think we’re going to see, my vision for this is that if you look at sales and marketing software in general, it all started with CRM 15 years ago, and sales force is the big player in that field.
I’m gonna date myself, but I was around when SalesForce, [LAUGH] started to gain traction, and there was a lot of people who were doing sales at the time in a very different way.
It wasn’t really so much process to run it, there was a large dimension which still exists, a great sales guy, is still a great sales guy, but a great sales guy with sales force is much a more efficient salesperson. And I think we’re gonna see the same in this marketing, there’s a cycle to optimize.
The CRM is about optimizing the cycle which is, you wanna do a certain number of tasks in order to keep them happy, take them from a qualified prospects to customer, and a happy customer, and everything. And you wanna align your organization around that, even if it’s a small team, even small teams are using CRM now.
I think we’re gonna see exactly the same thing happen with content marketing. Think about it. Content marketing is about doing a cycle, it’s about planning, understanding what content to publish, and when to publish it over time. It’s about producing content, either from scratch, original, curated, a mix thereof.
It’s about distribution on social, on email, SEO, and all the channels you can find. And it’s about analytics, analyzing that the impact on your business results, and repeating the cycle over and over again, and iterating it, learning from the analytics, and then doing some tests, and iterating, and getting better and better at it.
Now the fastest you can optimize that cycle, the more data you can use in that cycle, the better you’re gonna be. And of course you’ll still need to be able to be good at content, understand content, understand your target audience, understand your bio-persona. But we are firm believers that with the right tools you can make that cycle be more optimized, and that’s what we’re building.
Julia: Sounds like you’re trying to make life easier for content marketers?
Guillaume: Easier and more impacting.
The keyword for us is ROI. So ROI is R and I. So the ease here is making the I lower, and taking away a lot of the pain-points, a lot of the copy-pasting, and a lot of the painful stuff you have to do so that you can focus on where I think, human beings will never be replaced which is applying judgment, being creative, understanding, having empathy with your targets, prospects, and audience.
But the R is also important, think about what we’re discussing about republishing content.
This is documented, we’re not the only ones saying that. Mark Traphagen published a study two to three years ago, but the impact of republishing content over time.
You share it once you get that many views, you share it five times over three weeks, nobody is gonna think you’re a parrot because not 100% of your audience is seeing your tweet when you publish it, but then you get 2 to 3x more traffic.
So this is also how we increase ROI. So making the I lower, but also amplifying the impact of your content is something we work a lot on.
Julia: And I also wanted to mention some of what you just said will tie into this. The limitations of concentration, and what would be the limit? What would be the good percentage amount to mix up creating original content, and then adding in content curation?
Guillaume: First, content curation is not something you should do 100%.
It’s not a balance here, it’s not replacing creation for instance. If you look at our blog we’re using a mix of created and curated content. If you look at our social channels we’re also using a mix. And for us it’s also important because it ties in with our community, we share a lot of a lot of content from the influencers we respect and admire, and who also in turn help contribute to our content.
So I think the rule of thumb that I always like to give is if you think about what is good content plan? A good content plan might be to say, look, right now I’m blogging on a monthly basis. And I know it’s not enough, I wanna go to weekly, and I wanna do two extra weeks. So set objectives for yourself, and those objectives will vary in time.
Maybe next quarter you will be doubling, and the quarter after that your will be doubling again. So think about setting those objectives, and to me you should create as much as you can, quality content. It’s pointless to decrease your quality level just for the sake of publishing.
So at some point you gonna realize that you are either running out of time to create content, or you can create something that is not gonna be as good that shouldn’t have your brand. So at this moment you should say, well I’ve created enough, that I was inspired. I’m now lacking inspiration, I don’t have enough time, so you should think of supplementing your creation with curation.
So I always try to think about create everything you can as long as you maintain quality, as long as you’re inspired, as long as it’s easy for you to do so. And then the way you go from, and maybe that’s gonna be one of your two blog posts every week. Now the other one will be a curated one.
So there’s no strict rule like a 75/25, 50/50, 80/20, whatever. It’s different for everybody. Some people will find it easy to create one blog post every week, and then do maybe three curated posts. Some people will struggle to do one original blog post in months, and then they could supplement everything else by curation.
I think my rule is I don’t wanna create something that is not my quality standard, that’s not educational for my audience, that’s not actionable. So the minute I start to feel, okay. I’m gonna be blogging for blogging sakes, I’m better off publishing somebody else’s content, and adding some commentary in it.
Julia: That’s a very good rule of thumb. If you don’t like what you publish yourself maybe you shouldn’t be publishing it.
Guillaume: Yeah. And then, plus, there are lots of opportunities where if you publish somebody else’s content they’ve done the work, they’ve done something awesome, you can relate to it, that doesn’t make you weak.
There’s a lot of people who have been confused by that. Even the thought leaders who admired the most. Art sizes and field kind of marketing, if you look at history they’ve always been quoting, they’ve always been relating to other people’s content. That’s the way mankind is built.
We build on our predecessors and what’s existing. So it doesn’t make you weaker. Actually it plays the opposite role. Curation, besides ROI driven quantitative stuff like publishing more, and publishing faster, does a couple of things. First, it makes you more credible. If I tell you hey, here’s what an expert said on this topic, I’m more credible than if I’m telling you that.
And actually there was a study, I’m gonna do that just now, there was a study that was done not by us, but by an analytics and market research company who surveyed people on how they found various type of content credible. They had to rank. Do I trust that type of content or do I trust more that type of content? And they found that third party content was four to seven times more trusted than vendor originating content. So that’s not me saying it, it’s somebody else’s. So curation adds credibility to what you’re saying. But the second thing it also helps you build a relationship. There’s a lot of people, and it might be your case where I started sharing their content, and then we had conversations.
Hey, thanks for sharing my content, and then we started chatting on Twitter. And then you contributed to our blog, and now we’re creating content together. So sharing influencers’ content, influencers in your industry sharing their content will put you in their radar. And if you wanna then build on that and do influencer marketing. I think this is a great start.
And I published a blog post on the Tracker blog, on this. Tracker is a great platform to discover and nurture influencers. I recommend you look at it. There’s a blog post I wrote about how curation is actually a first step in an influencer marketing strategy, because before you can ask influencer anything.
I’m a firm believer that you have to give before you get. Give them traffic, give them love, share their content, and once you start to establish those relationships well maybe you’ll be in a position to ask them to, I don’t know, contribute to your content, or re-share one of your posts, or anything like that.
So that aspect of curation is also very, very important.
 Julia: Absolutely that’s great for connections. We’ve seen that happen so many times. We will go and connect to our influencer, just minutes later we’ll get a follow back, and then we’ll start a conversation. And if we didn’t initiate, and do something, re-share their content, follow them first, good things wouldn’t follow.
So it is about connecting. Any last thoughts you want to add, just thinking about the New Year, and business going into content marketing doing their curation?
Guillaume: Yeah. I think there’s a recap, I think we’re gonna see something pretty exciting happening over the next few months so next year is gonna be exciting.
I think, we’ve been hearing about content marketing for a long time. I think there’s another aspect maybe I’ll add to that is the fact that the other trend that I’ve been seeing in 2015 that I think will amplify in 2016 is the type of companies which are embracing content marketing.
If you look at four years ago when we started to talk about content marketing it was really a large company, a consumer brand story. I am a big admirer of for instance, Red Bull. They transformed a food company, a soft drink company into a media company. And we’ve seen a few examples of that.
When you look at those stories, you look at content marketing being awesome and great, but this is not what 99% of companies out there can do. It’s what large companies can do. And so, Joe Pulizzi has this compilation of predictions for next year, and last year he asked me, what’s your prediction for content marketing trends in 2015? And my prediction is we’re gonna start to see SMBs, so small to mid-size businesses, embrace content marketing, and content curation is actually an enabler of that because this whole ROI equation was the bottleneck for them, and so now they’re starting to see techniques that help them do that with a one person team, or two person, and then small marketing teams.
So I think we’re gonna see that trend accelerate in 2016. It’s already true now. I think we’re seeing a lot of small mid-size companies, who don’t have teams, marking teams of 100 to 200 people. Start to think about content as something they can really embrace, and start, be good at, and scale, even though they don’t have the means to give a million dollars to a large advertising agency and say okay, solve that problem for me.
So they have to do it themselves. So they need to have the right tools and the right methodology, and so I think we’re gonna see that amplified and continued through in 2016 in addition to that trend around, standardizing the methodology, and also be able to measure the ROI of content marketing a lot more.
Julia: Thank you so much for being on The Write Podcast Guillaume, really appreciate it.
Guillaume: Let’s do a follow up to see whether our prediction was true. [LAUGH]
Julia: [LAUGH] That sounds great.
Guillaume: Thanks for having me.
[MUSIC] For more online content tips and strategies, visit expresswriters.com/write-blog. [MUSIC]
Julia: I always like hearing Guillaume’s perspectives and insights on content marketing. You can follow him on Twitter @gdecugis, and be sure to check out Scoop.it.
Guillaume was recently a featured guest host on our weekly Twitter chat, this March. If you’re a writer, business owner, or content marketer, you’ll love our Twitter chat. It happens every week on Tuesdays at 10 AM CST. Join us with the #ContentWritingChat. I love hearing from the participants that join content writing chat every week. We always hear something like, a business owner learns a new way to do content, or someone is inspired to create better content in a better way. So be sure to join our Twitter chat.
Lastly, keep an eye out for my book. I’m really excited about it, it’s coming out the end of this march. The book is called, So You Think You Can Write? The Definitive Guide To Successful Online Content. In this book, I’m sharing everything I taught myself in the last four years on how to create great content for the web. This is both for the online writer who wants to make this their career, and for the business owner that wants to create great online content for their readers. Be sure to check it out on Amazon.
Thanks for joining today’s Write Podcast! For more episodes go to expresswriters.com/write-podcast.