The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 months ago

The Content Conundrum: Crafting a Lasting Marketing Strategy


You listen to enough podcasts to know that content is king. You’ve allocated resources and budget to craft some truly killer content. Now you’ve just got to figure out where to spend your killer-content currency… and whether it’s working. You have a content conundrum and it needs solving.

Today’s guest, Erik Newton, VP of Marketing at Milestone, has built a career off solving the content conundrum and he joins the show to share how you can, too.

In this episode, we discuss:

The form and format your content should take

The value of SEO and schemas for your online content

Solving attribution difficulties for your content

And be sure to check out Erik’s book, Hack the Corporate Fast Track .

Now that you know how to solve the content conundrum, are you ready to learn buyer-first principles, or take a deep dive into the role data should play in your organization? Check out the full list of episodes: The B2B Revenue Executive Experience. 

You're listening to the BDB revenue executiveexperience, a podcast dedicated to helping executives train their sales and marketing teams tooptimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources,you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Welcome everyone to the BDB revenue executive experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about marketing, the content conundrum and howto most effectively craft a content strategy that will last and positively impact revenue.To help us, we have with US Eric Newton, VP of marketing atmilestone and author of Hack, the corporate fast track, accelerating promotions inside ofCorporate America. Eric, thank you so much for taking time and welcome tothe show. Pleasure to be here with you chat. Thanks for having me. Yeah, so we always like to ask kind of an Auth Wall questionsthe beginning, just so the audience gets a chance to know you a littlebit better, and I'm always curious to learn what our guests are passionate about. That those who only know them through work might be surprised to learn.So the only the people people who know me through work would be something thatonly anyway. I mean, I guess anybody suppressed to learn. Yeah,I think one of the eye will talk a lot about business, but Ithink one of the interesting things I'm tracking right now is is bees, whichare in a steep decline and they're so integral to the food supply. SoI reached out to the beekeeper's guild in my area to learn about keeping beesand it turns out you have to have approval from your neighbors to get apermit in my area. So instead I'll become a be angel investor and I'llreplenish their bee hives with two to three pounds of bees and a queen calleda nucleus to help rebuild the bees and the work they do in my area. Wow, that's all right. That's amazing. That's probably one of thebest ones that heard so far. How did you have what spark that?How did you get into that? Well, you know, I've been hearing aboutthe decline of bees because of pesticides, global warming and you know, theirhabitats being affected by the things we do as humans and I wanted tohelp them. So I wanted to kind of increase be population to help tohelp stop their decline. That so it's one of my non marketing hobbies thatI'm going to be getting into. Okay, excellent. So, all right,let's talk about content. Now. There's a lot out there, butI'm curious before we dive that deep contents typically part of marketing and I'm curiouswhere the passion from marketing came from. Right, you're a prolific speaker andwriter, got obviously perspectives on numerous topics. Just curious how you found your wayinto marketing and what drew you there. Yeah, as a college student Iwas kind of trained in classical liberal arts and poetry and interpretation and criticalthought and I had an aptitude for writing. So I looked for fields that wouldtake advantage of writing, which took me into the advertising fields, beinga copywriter and from their marketing was really fulfilling because it's both creative, analyticaland strategic. So it's all three of those things and it exercises all theparts of the brain and I understand the things I'm working on most fully whenI write about them. So that's when I really get my own thoughts reallyclear when I'm educating and communicating and thought leading for for the community. Doyou find the same thing as a podcaster? Chat that your medium makes you getyou deep on it. Yeah, it's funny. That was one ofthe reasons why I started the podcast. My backgrounds very similar. My undergradwas English with a writing emphasis, and so I process data by writing itas well. Hence why I send questions to our guests in advance, becausethat's when I start to really process what we're going to talk about. Butit is one of those it's one of those depth of engagement things keeps mefocused and just, you know, keeps me away from the notifications on Instagram, facebook, snapchat, whatever, whatever the addiction of the day is.I'm excited at what a big role writing has to play in the Internet economy. You know, twenty thirty years ago there was like technical writing and teachingand when I graduated there weren't that many hot fields to go into. Butnow it's so integral. You know your... presence, your brand presence andthe kind of content. And we're going to talk about the content conundrum today, but solving the content conundrum by creating amazing content is incredibly important, particularlyand be tob marketing. Oh absolutely, rely, and writing is one ofthe hallmarks of that. But I'm curious when you define content, because you'vegot everything from, you know, videos, augmented reality and so on and soforth. Just to give the audience kind of a macro perspective, howdo you define, you know, what is marketing content? Yeah, letme take a really broad let me give you a really broad answer in thatmarketing is created and content is exchanging some value in the content for the attentionwe're getting. So, whatever medium it is, we're creating something that's entertainingor informative or educational, that has, you know, a little bit ofbranding mentioned in it, said or some thought leadership, and people go,Oh, I like getting information from that source. So it's really it's acurrency we're exchanging to other people for their time and attention, like an advertisement, but it doesn't have a media cost, it has a content viability cost,it has a content quality cost. Once and I would some could probablyargue that it actually is. The cost is higher because time and attention isone thing we can't get back right everybody has. It's a it's a dwindlingasset. People don't have time. So to be able to get them togive you that time to engage in it, it has to be of the highestquality, I would assume. In So, when you think about thedifferent types of content that are out there, what ones are you seeing resonate themost or be more compelling? You know, I think of video.Right, there's a het. I've seen a huge increase in video lately.Everybody's got a camera and we're so or I'll sitting behind them working from home. But is is that compelling or is that becoming a little bit more commoditized, as are a type of content that you think is more compelling and effectivethan another? Yeah, before we jump into the asset classes, let's usea little bit of a framework that your audience might or might not be familiarwith, called Tofu, Mofu and Bowfu. Have you heard that before, Chad, I have, but the audience probably has a right so tofuo topof funnel, Mofu middle of Funnel and Bow Foo bottom of funnel. Soyou've got these three areas and within each of these three, those mediums thatyou're talking about play a more prominent role in one or the other. Soat the top of the funnel. You might be doing some research or ablog post or, you know, some thought leadership or how to. Videomight be something where people find you without knowing your brand directly, and afteryou engage them in that top of the funnel content, you get middle ofthe funnel content, which is going to be more like what's the problem?What's the solution that that's keeping you up at night, like what can Ihelp with? is where you try to get to in the middle and youstart to move your product towards their problem. And then bottom of funnel is goingto be evaluative type content that they're going to be farther into the customerjourney, and that content might be an RFP template or it might be anUrri calculator, and so you're getting in somewhat into interactive content. It andvideo. Video can play a role in each of these things, in eachof these areas, but we need to think about how they're going to findus. And most of my career has been spent in search and local,which are the two biggest channels by and like almost you know, order ofmagnitude over over some of the other channels that get a lot of attention likesocial. So we know we encourage at milestone. We encourage our customers toput a lot of focus on s on content that becomes viable by being onthe first or second page of Google. That's where the viable space is andif you're below that ranking you're missing out on the traffic that goes. Youknow, fifty sixty percent of the traffics coming via Google. And if you'renot in that optimal space of the first you know where you can get traffic, then the content is what we're saying. It's not in the viable zone.And so is there, I mean, aside from Seo, are there otherother ways to ensure that the content... compelling enough that it raises itin the Google rankings? Yeah, absolutely. So to be good content you needto understand the question and almost every search query is a question. Soevery listing result is an answer and in order to be one of the topcouple answers, you need to be helpful, you need to be original, youneed to have published that original content. You know Google recognizes when it hitthe Internet. You need to solve problems and answer the questions. Andin B Toc I would say you also have to be entertaining, an evocativepeople want something that gives them kind of an emotional lift or a bus fromknow that maybe it's funny, maybe it's compelling, maybe it's, you know, it's moving. In some way. It's a little less important in betob but being helpful, making that content helpful, and that is the contentitself. But you have to get the digital experience right. It has yourpage has to be really fast. You overall have to be an expert inyour field, you have to have to have authority and other people have tobe linking to you. This is the traditional Google model, the Google Algorithmof page rank, of people voting to you and giving you that, that'sreferral links. That gives Google the confidence that that the community supports you andyour positions in your Pov's and your content. And are there different types of contentmedium that work better through different channels? So, if I'm putting together acontent strategy and I have to think about, you know, social versuswebsite, versus forums, or I mean even clubhouse is, you know,one of those places where people get together and chat, are there different waysI need to be thinking about the content in order to make it as effectiveas possible to to positively impact not only my google rankings but the impact I'mhaving it. You Know Tofu, Mofu and Bo fo. Yeah, yeah, you know short form video. You know ten fifteen second video gets alot of attention and as a Bob Marketer you can look at some of thethings that do really well and use a version of that in Linkedin. Whatyou know? On linkedin you see a lot of static memes. Right,people do an image right, they upload and image that fits the speck thatthat linkedin gives us. But it's kind of equally easy to do a carouselwhere you upload a deck. You could just take a power point and uploadthat power point and it will become a carousel and be good if you reworkthe size and shape and color and pop a little bit on it. Butputting a little bit of extra effort into the rich media gets you that moreattention. One of the things I've seen doing really well in B tob inand on Linkedin are the Poles. Like if when we do a poll,we get maybe seven or eight x the engagement because people like the interactivity andthe polls. It's text base, but it's interactive text right, you don't. It's not very visual. Short videos, animated gifts. I think making avariety, thinking about your content as a core and then making multiple assettypes and deploying those multiple asset types is going to give you your best opportunityto get exposure both in traditional search, in local and in social, andyou're more likely to get referral links, which is, it's all, agreat source of traffic and and that support for your your Seo also. Right, it's okay. And so when we think about you know, you mentionedkind of going viral earlier. Everybody seems stuck to talk about that. Haveyou seen any instance where something business wearing a be tob has gone, youknow, not global viral, but viral maybe from a business sense? Iknow those are two different totally to yeah, it's but you know, it's acouple years back, but dollar shave club was a huge hit on thebeat to sea side. On the beat of B side it's less common,but some of the bit really big companies, you know, sales force and whatthey're doing around dreamforce, you know, often gets a lot of pickup justbecause the community so big, but it's not truly viral. It's justa it's a different it's a megaphone that they have to a really large audiencethat's already installed. But let's let's think about and talk about virality and simpleterms, what it means is that to... truly viral, and this iseven more relevant in the COVID era, is that each person shares it withmore than one other person and that allows it to spread. So if it'slike one point two, there's twenty percent more people each iteration that somebody readsit, and they should. You know, somebody shares it and on the averageit's getting shared out. Now, if it's below one, if peopleare sharing it with less than one person, it'll kind of die out and thenyou're back to the content conundrum where you've created something that's pretty good butit really doesn't have any legs of its own to carry itself. That's intechnical and biological terms, that's called the are not. When the are notis above or below one, you get spread or you get this retraction intointo kind of going to sleep. Got's okay. Now we got all thesechannels, get all this different type of content. We've got, you know, Google and Seo and all this stuff. How in the world our business issupposed to handle attribution to content, because some of these pieces can takesome serious time and investment to create and or, you know, research,or I mean even well written stuff, takes time. So there's always ayou know, there's always a I want to know how this is impacting,you know, our revenue or whatever objectives are. How do you handle,or suggest companies handle, attribution for content? Yeah, attribution is a longstanding challenge. You know, I've been something I've been looking at for maybe thirteen, fourteen years and I've made some progress in it when you have a largeenough data set. But let's let's say some easy things for the audience totake away. First of all, track the channels for the sort. Makesure that the channels are set up well, like separate local with a youtm parameterin Google, my business, you can separate local from Google organic andtry to get as much definition at the channel level. Then you want tobe tracking last click, the first click when people arrive at your website.What content were they clicking on, you know, for anywhere from an addto a pov to a white paper, and store that and then also storethe last click. So that you've got both the first in the last tosee where, like if they're, you know, somewhere tofu somewhere mofu asthey're moving along their journey, and then if you can get it there,and this is a little bit of a larger step for for all of usin the marketing world and in the business world, is develop a lead scoringsystem. How much content have they consumed? How many things have they downloaded?What order did they download them in, and assign a little bit of weightto each of these pieces and understanding the readiness of that buyer to goto the next step with you. That's a lead scoring system and most ofthe the crms and the email systems will allow you to do some lead scoring. You can assign values to different pieces of content. Now that's that's thesort of the scientific and technical answer. The old school way to figure thisout is to ask your colleagues and customers how useful has this peace you know, I delivered a piece to you, we put it up on the website, we did it out in social about a month ago. Have you beenusing it? What's the reaction to it? And just do good old shoe leatherkind of investigation using the Human Algorithm and say, Oh yeah, it'stotally landing. People are really responding to that one. You'll see this effectin be to be a lot in the decks. As a marketer, Iproduce a lot of powerpoint content for people to use and then when I attendtheir sales calls or customer calls, I can see which slides are still aroundafter a month or two, which ones are which ones have legs. It'sagain it's content viability and which ones have slipped into the non viable zone andyou know they're they're not getting used anymore. And does it land with customers?Is it is it sticky? What do people comment on after you dothat presentation that has, you know, three or four or five, sixlines of content in it? What are they remarking on and like Oh,it's that? They say, yeah, it's and a lot of one ofthe reasons I'm talking about the content conundrums because of the things I've developed toencapsulate what a marketing company like milestone does... increase a visibility is the contentconundrum and you know, I, like you know, kind of worked onon expressing it in a fun and interesting way. And the content conundrum lands, because the statistics, the data behind it is that ninety plus percent ofcontent over after a couple weeks after its launch, has no audience. BecauseGoogle, you know, ninety percent of the content doesn't rank on the firsttwo pages of Google, and Google and Google local and Google regular search arecontributing the vast majority of the traffic to fifty, sixty, sixty seven percentto most websites. Interesting. Interesting, okay. So do the do themathematical thing. Do as much good tracking as you can with with UTM's orhowever you're going to you know, with however you're going to do that asa fur, as your first party tracking system. Then just talk to peopleand really understand as an author, empathetically and my making stuff for you that'shelping you get your job done. Is it convincing customers? Is it convincingprospects? All right. And so when we look into the future, welooking on this constant evolution that we seem to be calling the new normal.What do you see the future of effective content or the next big medium orthe next big change or pivot that will that will impact the way marketers creatingand put out content? Yeah, well, let me let me give the letme be consistent in my answer, that that what was good last yearis going to be good next year, and that's that that you're solving aproblem, that you're helpful original, you're solving problems and answering questions. Soit's still that's not going to change. But I think to the spirit ofyour question, you could run some experiments in the emerging channels. Like aslong as SMS has been around, it's not that popular to SMS people.Like of the channels that my marketing colleagues are using. Testing an SMS campaign, especially for something like reminders to attend the appointment you accepted from my Sdrs, from my business development team, like that's a good thing to do insome on non US markets. Using what'SAPP. If you've got what'SAPP connection, sortof like having somebody's private having their SMS or their their mobile phone number, you can do a what'Sapp campaign. You can communicate via that like youwould in you know, in email, and I mentioned it before, butusing the rich content that's possible in linkedin posts on the Bob side, carousels, videos and polls. You know, it's a lot more work to createthan just talking about something. It's like, you know, just like a textbased post with a simple images, a little bit more like a tweetand linked in. Does give you those rich, the rich media opportunities,but they're then it's like developing another deck. Right, you end up with anotherkind of constituency to support in your company. Then absolutely all right.So let's talk about milestone for a second. Well, just tell the audience whaty'all do there and actually how you found yourself there. Yeah, sowe solve the content conundrum and that means we help customers increase visibility, especiallyin the two biggest channels, search and local, and the way we dothat is helping them research and identify and create great content, and then weuse some of the advanced technical techniques like adding Schemas and making the site corevitals compliant and making the pages faster and doing all those things that create agreat experience so that when Google sends customers are referring their customers to you,they see those customers have a great experience and they give you more visibility.And what we see is if you're doing kind of average at these things beforeyou start doing business with somebody like milestone, we see a twenty, thirty,forty percent jump in impressions and traffic that comes from getting a couple ofthese technical things tuned up. And I don't know if your audience knows muchabout Schemas, but it's an additional set of Metadata that you can put onthe page, but it's visible to the search crawler but it's not visible toall the humans. So, for example,...

...hotel rooms or apartments can add alot of information that supports getting an accurate answer to a, say,a long tail query by using these entities, and these entities are defined as thisinformation and that's how google builds the knowledge graph. So that's what wedo at milestone as we connect you with more prospects and make help you makemore customers out of them. And to your second question, how did Ifind myself here? You know, it kind of goes back to research andSCHEMAS. In my prior company we were asking each other, hey, shouldwhat's our point of view on Schemas and I said I don't see any evidencethat it's working. This is about three or four years ago, and theysaid that can't be our answer because we're recommending and I'm like yeah, butI don't see any evidence, so I don't really want to write definitively thatthis is this is a technique everybody should be using. And I looked aroundand we were trying to prove it, and then I saw milestone present thatthey had all these case says at six, seven, eight case studies across industriesthat said twenty, thirty, forty, eighty percent lift using the technique,and I thought, okay, these guys are experts in their field andI'm I started kind of borrowing their data to form my Pov's and we gotto know each other better and then, you know, they recruited me overand VP head of marketing there for a little last year and a half,just before joined, just before covid. Give me a lot of time tocreate content. Yeah, a lot of change. Yeah, a lot ofchange. All right, so let's change direction a little bit. We askall of our guests to stay ARD questions towards the end of each and readthe first is simply, as a VP marketing, that makes you a revenueexecutive, which makes you a prospect. There's a lot of people out there, and so I'm always curious to know from our guests when, when someonedoesn't have a trust of referral into you and they want to gain the rightto time on your account, of what works for them, to capture yourattention and earn that slot on your calendar. You know, chat this one isso easy. After I say it, everybody will say, Oh yeah,that's really obvious. Read my stuff, read my articles, read my papers. I've written almost everything on the website at milestone. I'm either theeditor or the writer or the researcher for it. Pick a piece that youlike, that that you respect, and use that to let me know thatyou're kind of serious and you did a little bit of homework. Put thattowards the front of your you know, your subject line or your message oryou know, I do pick up. I'll pick up the zoom calls occasionallyand the the the mobile phone calls. As long as I'm not in ameeting, I'm like, okay, well, I'll give this. You know,I'll give the salesperson a chance. That's the first thing. Is like, do you know anything about me or my business? Are you just callingbecause your boss told you to talk about Your Business and it's you know,it's kind of. It's it's a bummer, right, just like somebody just launchesinto their pitch. I'm like, sorry, what company? Because I'mconcentrating probably on producing content when you're calling me. Right, right. Soif you just mentioned my stuff, and in my whole career, fewer thanfive percent of people, fewer probably than three per two percent of people,have ever mentioned a piece that has my by line on it. And youknow, if you're an English major, you know we care about that stuff. That's our our our art. So that puts you in the top fivepercent or better. Now the second thing to do, and this is thisis really difficult, because the way corporations train young people is to crank thephone and do the pitch. But what you actually want to do is crankthe phone and engage me with a good question. Ask me a question.The way you're asking me questions Chad, get me talking, and then Iget I'll get less defensive and resistant to you know, and I'll I'll I'lltend to like you better because you're listening to me. It's the inverse ofwhat sales appears to be, which is that you're supposed to talk at me, which nobody likes. That doesn't even matter, such as into that.Yeah, it was a guy from Oracle is spoke at a conference. Saiddon't engage your customers by giving them a...

Selfie of yourself and your products.That's that's not a good opener. I got one more piece of advice forthe audience. Chad, don't say. Does that make sense? It's asort of a fake tie down or a fake leading question. You just wantme to go. Okay, what you want to do is ask me areal question, not ask me this kind of a fake half question, becauseif I don't understand, I don't really want to admit it, if I'mkind of half paying attention because you've you know, you disturbed me. Idon't want to I don't want to make myself look dumb. So I oftensay to people know, that doesn't make sense and then they just keep goingwith their pitch. Really makes me think like wow, does it matter ifI'm on this call or not? Absolutely all right. So last question.We call it our acceleration in sight. If there was one thing you couldtell sales, marketing, your professional services people, one piece of advice,you believe, if they listen to it, help them achiever, e. seetheir targets. What would it be and why? Yeah, this issomething that took me a long time to figure out what role it could playin my professional success, and it's empathy. Empathy is pretty hard to explain.If you ask people to find it, you get something that sounds more likesympathy, but really it's like understanding the other person and figure out whatthey need and align what you're doing to what they need. That makes themfeel cared about. That improves engagement, but it's really difficult, like thewhole corporate world, and when you're young and you know you're you're just outof school and you've got so many great ideas that you want to tell peopleabout. Now you gotta you got to understand what the other our person's problemis like. What what could you help with? And then you can't justdo your standard pitch all the time. You got to make your pitch fitto that thing and then they feel like you're you're an advisor, you're ayou're more like a friend, more like a colleague. Yeah, I couldnot agree more. That's an excellent, excellent point. So, Eric,if a listeners interested in finding the book hack, the corporate fast track.Where do you want us to send them? Well, Amazon's a great place togo. Look for hack the corporate fast track there on under Eric Newton, and if you read it and you like it, please drop me areview. Awesome. And if they want to get in touch with you totalk more about what milestone's doing or the content conundrum, where would you preferwe send them? Come straight to my email, Eric Dot n at milestoneinternetcom, and love to hear from you and let me know that Chad sentyou. Yeah, please definitely let him know what we sent you. AllRight, Dick, thank you so much for taking time. Has Been Anabsolute pleasure to have you on the show. Thanks, Chad. All right,everybody, it does it for this episode. CHECK US OUT OF BETOB REV exactcom. You know the drill. Share with friends, family, Coworkers. Leave US review on itunes. We evalue selling associates. We feelnothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the BB revenue executiveexperience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the showand Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening.Until next time,.

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