The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 1 year ago

Better Content Means More Leads w/ Brad Smith


Everybody wants more leads...


And when it comes to getting more leads, content is king. 


Put simply: If you want more leads, you need better content.


On our show today we have the king of content, Brad Smith, Founder of Codeless Interactive


We sat down and went over what makes great content and how you can sharpen your content-creation skills.


Brad explained:


- Why content (and competition) is more complicated than it used to be


- How to approach content and what to look for in a writer


- Content under COVID-19


This blogpost includes highlights of our podcast interview with Brad Smith, Founder at Codeless Interactive.


For the entire interview, you can listen to The B2B Revenue Executive Experience. If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, we suggest this link.

I would rather have a subject matterexpert who's writing is pretty good than an amazing writer who doesn't know what they'retalking about, because it's always going to have that clash of like not gettingenough insight. You're listening to the BDB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicatedto helping executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you'relooking for techniques and strategies were tools and resources, you've come to the rightplace. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Welcome every oneof the BB revenue executive experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson.Today we're talking about how to leverage your content to generate leads. Everybody wantsmore leads and content as a critical element in the current sales and marketing environment. To help us, we have with US Brad Smith, founder and CEOof codeless, a content production company for some of the Best Sass sites outthere. Brad, thanks for taking time and welcome to the show chat.Thanks so much for sure. All right. So, before we jump in,when always asked a little weird questions we would get to know you alittle bit better. Curious to know, with all this extra time we've hadworking from home, what have you been able to get involved with? AHobby, Passion, something that you've been able to spend some time on thatyou probably weren't doing before? Yeah, it's a good question. It's funnybecause we're actually a remote company. Anyway, we have been while Yeah's busier toif that's even weirder. So gives me a terrible answer, but I'vebeen working almost more. We're coming out with like new things. We're actuallyclosing we're acquiring a product company that super similar to what we already provide forclients. I've been like crazy busy on a lot of puff outside of that, though, I would usually say like watching soccer. I like to watchlike thing, most mere league other stuff. None of that's on right now,so lowly, slowly starting to come back. It's a little boring.I've actually been Super Nerdy, but I've been rewatching sports on Youtube. Theyput they put like classic matches on both and soccer, but then they alsohave like old boxing matches and I don't kind of like trying to catch upwith that stuff and not, you know, not get too fat you up either. So that's about it. Awesome, I could. I can completely understandthat. I actually had to put a gym in because I couldn't Icould not work out. I didn't want to get the what do they callit? The Corona fifteen right, yeah, all right. So let's start withthis, with the concept of content production. So you know the thecompany is a content production company. So why should content be produced rather thanjust created? And what does that all entail? Yeah, definitely. Soin a nut show we're finding is that you can't create content today like youdid fifteen years ago when the world was new and and the whole content marketingthing was new. It's just too competitive. So most of the competition you're upagainst are getting savvier. They're creating longer articles, they're creating more indepth stuff, they're interviewing people, they're adding more images, and so partof it is like how do we kind of continue with push to paste andgo above and beyond that? So we work commonly with designers, developers,videographers, multiple different people involved in like...

...producing one piece of content. That'spart of it, and the other part of it is also volume two.So we do something like two hundred and fifty articles a month. That's alot, a lot we have. So essentially we have small teams built outthat are all working on individual deliverables, and a big reason of that againcomes back to content quality and competition and just the fact that what used towork doesn't work any longer. Okay, and so when we think about content, you know, I was in marketing at the start of my career andnow moved in sales. But so, when you think about it, though, there was this concept of Turkey legging or creating a centralized piece of contentto to kind of create littler pieces. Like, you know, you takea big article or big Ebook, you can do some tweets or social mediaor something like that with it. Are there other ways that people should bedetermining how to repurpose content they have or using content that they may not bethinking of as content but that could be turned around and used to their advantageas well? Yeah, definitely there's a there's a ton of them. Ithink the point you brought up as a good one. There's also look atyour byproducts. So, in other words, if your support team answers the samequestions every day or if you're if you're like sales and you're talking toindividual process and customers. You probably get the same types of questions every dayand you probably email them something that sounds very similar to the other ten emailsyou just wrote. So looking trying to mind those by products of just likethe natural work and communication you already have is a good starting places awareness.Yeah, exactly, for sure. Keep like a little spreadsheet or something,or a little document on going doc we are like hey, I tend toget that question or hey, I think that this is like an important thingthat people should become more aware of and just kind of like save and banka lot of stuff until you can actually flesh it out a lot more.That's part of it. Even meetings to like meeting recordings, can bring alot of that raw material that could you give e. Then eventually flush outor if you're if you're doing like voice memos and notes, like after acall, because I'd like I always forget what I what I talked about,you know. So taking that stuff and then working with someone externally, likean assistant, even like a marketing rapper person, a lot of times willpair like someone a technical expert with a writer so the technical expert can kindof give like the twenty, like the the main points of this article orthis piece of content, then the writer, whoever, can kind of take itand run with it from there. So that's that's a huge one forsure. Also data to like you shouldn't have to go create like a Webinarfrom scratch. So you should be looking at, like where our leads alreadycoming from, like what are they already referencing on our sites? What dowe already know works well? So for each major topic, you should,in theory, have in your mind like two or three angles that you alreadyknow work really well. So, for instance, off top of my head, if we're talking about Google analytics or some one wants to know something aboutGoogle analytics, like one of the first angles that already know works really wellis Google analytics data. Is Your Google Alex data is wrong and it's probablylying to you. Here's why you can...

...kind of like, and I justknow that it works, because we've tested it on multiple sites, we've donewebinars with it, we've done other content with it, and so you cankind of reuse the same angles and just update the information, and it's kindof like repurposing, but in a most clever way nice. And so ifyou think about many, because you said what two hundred articles a month,that's like that's a big lift. So somebody listen to this is probably goingto crap. How am I going to how am I gonna get a teamtogether to do this? So how do you budget or assigned internal resources?tonal and just do it once? But to do it consistently, I meanyou're talking about a mad dash for some companies. Yeah, for sure.So we structure it like an assembly line and we specialized roles as much aspossible. So, for instance, writers are writers. Are not require requiredto do email, they're not required to sit on company meetings and a lotof cases, or even with client meetings, account managers take over that kind ofwork. We also have like strategists or editor looking at different things.So, for instance, editing is like a black, you know box,like who knows how long it takes? Who knows? So we have asenior editor look at like accuracy and factual information, and so again there area subject matter expert in most cases. Then we have an account manager dolike your basic copy edits, and the reason we do that is because wedon't want senior editors who cost a lot more to waste time doing stuff likecopy edits. But on the same you know, on the same line,you account manager doesn't have the experience to be able to do the like deeperdive heavy edits. And so structuring out like a consistent process is is thestarting point, and then from there have different content types. So, forinstance, here's how our how two article should look, here's how our listarticle should work, here's how our case studies should look, and then theyhave like the same basic, you know, subheading structure and everything else. Soso the the format is consistent and then whoever's doing the actual work,it actually cuts down on the time it takes them to to do this stuff. Because if you've done if you've if you know these topics and you've writtenthe same, you know, intro, there's only like three ways to writean intro. So if you just kind of like make it a little moreformulaic for people, it tends to help them spend more time on like theactual, you know, writing or concentration less time on just figuring out allthe minutia. Okay, and so that's that's what gives rise to that becauseas we were prepping there was something that said, you know, to Xingoutput it half the cost. That's but that's the secret sauce right there.Make sure you've got it processed out. People centralize and focused on the thingsthat you know that they can be very efficient at, for sure. Yeah, that's a huge part of it. And then the other part of itto go back to repurposing in different ways. So, for instance, we'll commonlytake our top content and now go back and say, okay, let'sadd more video or let's go back and add more unique pieces and then,to one of your points earlier, we can reuse that video on like Dan, we can use it on social, we can use it an email.It's a new format. People aren't going to remember that. They are maybeI've read it or they've read, you know, certain parts of it.Another thing that we see with international clients...

...especially is taking the initial content andthen translating it into new languages. So a lot of times the lot easierto rank and to compete in like second third world countries in their own nativelanguages, as opposed to just focusing on North America, where it tends to, you know, have the most resources allocated. Another stuff. So that'sanother like really kind of easy thing to add to the end of the assemblyline. Is once content is produced and published, then what's the next stepfor getting it to our Spanish speaking people or whatever the case is. Solocalization, all right, all right. And so does this all have tobe done done internally? I mean, I can't imagine that every company answeris gonna be able to do all of it interning. Some of the largeone, sure. But if you're working with an outsource company, where we'reworking with outsource and visual, how do you make sure you're getting quality people, especially writers? Like right, everybody thinks because they have access to akeyboard they're writer, and that's not necessarily the case. So I'm curious howyou figure that, how you crack that nut? Yeah, it's it's tricky. So we I'll tell you what we do and I'll maybe relate that tolike what client should be looking for, but or people should looking for whenthey're hiring internally. We test a lot of people before we need them,is the short answer. So if we think we're going to need to,you know, we're going to do x amount of articles next month, we'realready testing ten people internally and we're to hire two or three of them.Okay, and we might give them like and these are a lot of timesyou're all paid tests too, by the way. So we're just factoring thatinto the cost of doing business. And that a resume doesn't tell me ifsomeone's a good writer. so or even a meeting, like we don't doa lot of calls with writers initially because that doesn't help us, that doesn'ttells anything, but we just go all right, here's what you want.Can they follow direction? So, especially in a remote work from home environments, you can't just like knock on their cubicle and ask them like hey,did you do that properly or based on my instructions? You kind of needto like give them the videos, the instructions and then the deadlines and thensee if they can kind of figure it out on their own. So whenwe're looking for writers, we're not always looking for like the most eloquent,clever writer, we're looking for the person who could fit the process and whoalso knows what we're talking about. So I would rather have a subject matterexpert whose writing is pretty good then an amazing writer who doesn't know what they'retalking about, because it's always going to have that clash of like not gettingenough insight. You know, right, absolutely, all right. So let'sget a little more actual here. Can can you outline any simple steps thatour listeners could take that might get them links and mentions from some of thesetop sites or or increase their visibility? Yeah, definitely. So this isgoing to sound backwards, but I I'm trying to recommend that people spend moretime on the asset and less time on the promotion advertising. And what Imean by that is, especially when it comes to writing, most people wantto be cheap and they don't want to pay that much money because they havethis like artificial number and our cap in their head of like what article shouldcost. The problem is it makes advertising and pr a lot more expensive becauseyour thing sucks. So if, even...

...if you're working with like a PRcompany and you're like and they're doing outreach to journalists and they're trying to promotethis thing for you, if that thing isn't good to begin with, thenthey're gonna have to spend way one more time and out of word. Ifyou're advertising, you're gonna have to spend a lot more in terms of likecost per click, cost per lead stuff. If you take the asset, ifyou have like a better angle, going back to that conversation, ifyou have a better idea from the start of something that's interesting, timely,it's built for promoting it, essentially, and then if you put more resourcesbehind it, like video, design all that stuff, it makes it reallyeasy to link to. It makes it really easy to get journalist interested init because they have like these ready made assets that are unique and a littlemore proprietary to you, versus like the same sound bite that you know tenother executives in the same space are going to give them. Yeah, loveit all right. So tell us about cold codeless. How'd you get theidea to find the company? What's the journey been like? Where did thiscome from? Yeah, so my backgrounds and Seo actually, and over thelast whatever fifteen, twenty years, Seo's got a lot more challenging and wewere running into the problem of like you can't really do seo anymore, likeyou can't really do everything in Seo because it's just so difficult. You wouldneed a team of like dozens of people just in each a little bird cool. So you have technical Seo, you have on site keyword research, content, Pr Link Building, like it just goes on and on. So westarted finding this little space that was growing for really long form and depth contentand at the time there's a lot of directed at SASS companies and technology companiesbecause they were finding it work really well and it was helping them acquire alot more customers for a lot less on a pearly basis contents and asset.So the payback period isn't, you know, two months like it is advertising,but it might, but in months twelve through twenty four to thirty six, it's huge and it continues to grow in quality. So we started findingthis little niche where I started working a lot of big like advertisers, likeat Espresso, Woodstream, kiss metrics, like everyone in the marketing space,with a lot of marketing tools. From there just started snowballing where cyber securityhas become huge in the last five years and there's a huge need there nowfor their type of service. Sand goes with like finance and other spaces,and so now we work with service companies, filliate publishing companies, where what ittakes to actually rank and perform. The type of content or produced,the type of content that works, is gotten really challenging, and so it'skind of opened up an area or an opportunity for a company in the carsto step in and and help help a lot of people kind of outsource allthat stuff. Nice. I love it all right. And so we havetalked about the current environment. So what what's changed as a result of thecurrent environment for you guys? Yeah, that's a good question. Unfortunately,a lot of coronavirus related stuff gets published these days. So if you're tryingto pitch because we also have a PR link building arm, so if you'retrying to pitch content to big publishers, if you have something for her,if you can if you can relate it back to something that's timely, unfortunatelythat's what's ending to get moved. We...

...had a lot of evergreen stuff,for example, in the queue and it all got bumped when everything started happeningin the last few months. I think you could do it cleverly, though, and so a friend of mine a company that's really cooled out there now. That's called Candor Dot Co. I want to say I'm getting that right. They came out with a list, a database of all these companies layingoff and hiring right now and it's updated in real time and it's crowdsource.And then they also have created stuff off of that, so for companies thatare laying people off, like a database for talent to hopefully help them getrehired, and so they've that's like something that's super simple, but it's gottenthem links on venture beat a bunch of other huge places because it's super timelyand it's super valuable. It's if it's got like a couple thousand employers inthere and, like I said, it's a lot of the informations crowdsource.So daily, weekly, you have people going in there saying like hey,company X is doing layoffs, or company wise seeing a huge growth in thisarea and so they're ramping up hiring for engineers in California or whatever. Itis nice if you can, if you can connect it stuff that's timely ina clever way. I think that's the key, because you see messages likeyou know, here's what t mobiles stands on, keeping people safe is,and it's like no one cares. You know, that has nothing to dowith like no one cares about tea mobile stance, but Kiva, the microfinancing, micro lending company, came out with like a school curriculum. Ofcourse, curriculum for kids, because everyone's like home with their kids right nowon teaching, helping. You teach your kids how like about the world,and I'll poverty about how to help other people. So I think that's likea perfect example of right picking what's happening and making it interesting and then alsorelating it back to your brand. Love it. Love it all right.So let's change direction a little bit. We ask all of our guest tostandard questions towards the end of each v the first is simply, as afounder, that makes you a prospect for a lot of people out there.So there's a lot of people trying to get your attention and get on yourcalendar. I'm always really curious to know if somebody doesn't have a trust,trusted reference or Afral in, how do they capture your attention and, youknow, earn the right to some time on your calendar? That's a reallygood question. I tend to ignore or avoid ninety nine percent of those.So if they don't it, coming through is always the best even. It'ssimple too, though, if you just look at like I could like athird connection on Linkedin and ask for an intro. It's really easy if youdo like a little bit of effort to get the people. But no one, no one doesn't. One does it. So the second way would probably belike helping me with something. So if you I'm trying to come upwith an example off time my head. But if, like, if younoticed our company, I don't know, sucks. That like twitter and you'relike hey, I just want to like give you, know, give youan update, like I think what you guys are doing is really cool,but like I noticed this thing could be a little better. So I justoffered to like do it for you or help you out with this problem.That would probably get my attention for sure, because it's unsolicited, but it's helpfulto me right. What's not helpful is that's like Hey, can youupdate your old post with this link for me, or all those types oflike asks right out of the gate.

When it's saying old, that's usuallykind of like a direct way to the trash. Yeah, we, we, I do the same thing. So, because we teach sales organizations at aprospect among other things, every time I get a crappy email that's Ijust forwarded to the CEO and say, Hey, if you're interested, Ican help you fix this. Yeah, I think it's perfect. Another thingwe're doing too, on for sales, on the for the PR Link BuildingCompany. We're just naturally linking to people companies in a similar space where itmakes sense based on the stuff we're already doing. So if you're going tolike think about it this way, if you're producing a piece of concept andyou're trying to get a journalist to cover it or a bloger to cover itor promote it for you, I would assume you would naturally talk about othercompanies in the course of that, because something external, sources who are experts, their quotes, whatever. And so we're now running campaigns. We're startingwith linkedin retarding campaigns, and then we're doing direct outreach where it's like hey, we linked to you. We just think we're like what you do isreally cool, we linked to you in this article. You know, wouldlove to connect or whatever, but we're trying to follow that process where it'slike, how do we just help them first, yeah, and then first, so you yeah, exactly. Then it's number numbers game. Yeah,absolutely love it. All right. So last question. We call it ouracceleration in sight. There's one thing, just one piece of advice you couldtell sales, marketing professional services people that, if they listen to you, believewould help them crush their quotas or hit the targets. What would itbe and why? I think more people should spend time and money on theasset. And so we talked about how that applies to advertising. But evenif, like I said, we're talking about like a like a proposal ora pitch deck or an email that we're going to send, spending more timefiguring out how that should look and what should be included and what shouldn't beincluded and how to make it better, and had to add video, likemaybe a personal video message, like really figuring out that, it's really easyto then replicate that. Right. So you're not like if you're just indollars and sense, if I'm sending out a hundred emails to sales prospects andI'm having to write each one from scratch, like that's really time consuming and andhalf of those are going to be good and half are probably going tosuck. But if I really nail down what the tempera should look like,and by template I mean you're still going to have really customized things in thatbut I already know, like what it should look like, more or less, and where that information is going to come from, it should be alot easier and less, you know, time intensive, and my leverage shouldbe better, my output and my production should be a lot better and itshould take me less time. I just have to spend the initial whatever's investat time somewhere else, early straight in order to drive, yeah, drives. Yeah, like again, yeah, exactly. Like. The more processdriven you can make your whatever your asset is, if it's piece of content, if it's a Webinar, if it's a sales script, like, themore time you can spend refinding that, versus like the ad hoc refining asyou go typically, like, I find, the better the results are awesome,excellent. All right. Rather, for listeners interested in talking more aboutthese points or wants to get in touch with you, where do you wantus to send them? You could go to our website at get costcom andfind a lot more about who we are,...

...what we do and a bunch ofthe companies work with. We also do a an article audits and somaybe I'll will set up a landing page for value selling just off of getcostcom. Basically just go in there and drop in some information and if everythinglooks good and it looks like it might be a good fit, and we'lljust like go through your article or go through your content and say, here'swhat looks good, here's what doesn't look good, based on what we've seenand based on the market and what we would recommend kind of improving or fixing. So that's just kind of like a free offer that we do for abit number of people each month. Nice. Love it. Appreciate that all right. Thank you so much, bred for taking the time. It's beenan absolute pleasure to have you on the show. Awesome. Yeah, thanksyou. I appreciate it all right, everybody that does it for this episode. You know, the drill be to be REV exactcom share with friends,family co workers, leave us a review until next time. We value thingassociates, which you all nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening tothe BB Revenue Executive Experience to ensure that you never miss an episode subscribe tothe show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much forlistening. Until next time,.

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