The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 1 year 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 executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize 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 how to 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 at milestone and author of Hack, the corporate fast track, accelerating promotions inside of Corporate America. Eric, thank you so much for taking time and welcome to the show. Pleasure to be here with you chat. Thanks for having me. Yeah, so we always like to ask kind of an Auth Wall questions the beginning, just so the audience gets a chance to know you a little bit 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 that only anyway. I mean, I guess anybody suppressed to learn. Yeah, I think one of the eye will talk a lot about business, but I think one of the interesting things I'm tracking right now is is bees, which are in a steep decline and they're so integral to the food supply. So I reached out to the beekeeper's guild in my area to learn about keeping bees and it turns out you have to have approval from your neighbors to get a permit in my area. So instead I'll become a be angel investor and I'll replenish their bee hives with two to three pounds of bees and a queen called a 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 the best 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 about the decline of bees because of pesticides, global warming and you know, their habitats being affected by the things we do as humans and I wanted to help them. So I wanted to kind of increase be population to help to help stop their decline. That so it's one of my non marketing hobbies that I'm going to be getting into. Okay, excellent. So, all right, let's talk about content. Now. There's a lot out there, but I'm curious before we dive that deep contents typically part of marketing and I'm curious where the passion from marketing came from. Right, you're a prolific speaker and writer, got obviously perspectives on numerous topics. Just curious how you found your way into marketing and what drew you there. Yeah, as a college student I was kind of trained in classical liberal arts and poetry and interpretation and critical thought and I had an aptitude for writing. So I looked for fields that would take advantage of writing, which took me into the advertising fields, being a copywriter and from their marketing was really fulfilling because it's both creative, analytical and strategic. So it's all three of those things and it exercises all the parts of the brain and I understand the things I'm working on most fully when I write about them. So that's when I really get my own thoughts really clear when I'm educating and communicating and thought leading for for the community. Do you find the same thing as a podcaster? Chat that your medium makes you get you deep on it. Yeah, it's funny. That was one of the reasons why I started the podcast. My backgrounds very similar. My undergrad was English with a writing emphasis, and so I process data by writing it as well. Hence why I send questions to our guests in advance, because that's when I start to really process what we're going to talk about. But it is one of those it's one of those depth of engagement things keeps me focused 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 teaching and when I graduated there weren't that many hot fields to go into. But now it's so integral. You know your... presence, your brand presence and the 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, particularly and be tob marketing. Oh absolutely, rely, and writing is one of the hallmarks of that. But I'm curious when you define content, because you've got everything from, you know, videos, augmented reality and so on and so forth. Just to give the audience kind of a macro perspective, how do you define, you know, what is marketing content? Yeah, let me take a really broad let me give you a really broad answer in that marketing is created and content is exchanging some value in the content for the attention we're getting. So, whatever medium it is, we're creating something that's entertaining or informative or educational, that has, you know, a little bit of branding 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 a currency 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 probably argue that it actually is. The cost is higher because time and attention is one thing we can't get back right everybody has. It's a it's a dwindling asset. People don't have time. So to be able to get them to give you that time to engage in it, it has to be of the highest quality, I would assume. In So, when you think about the different types of content that are out there, what ones are you seeing resonate the most 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 effective than another? Yeah, before we jump into the asset classes, let's use a little bit of a framework that your audience might or might not be familiar with, called Tofu, Mofu and Bowfu. Have you heard that before, Chad, I have, but the audience probably has a right so tofuo top of funnel, Mofu middle of Funnel and Bow Foo bottom of funnel. So you've got these three areas and within each of these three, those mediums that you're talking about play a more prominent role in one or the other. So at the top of the funnel. You might be doing some research or a blog post or, you know, some thought leadership or how to. Video might be something where people find you without knowing your brand directly, and after you engage them in that top of the funnel content, you get middle of the 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 I help with? is where you try to get to in the middle and you start to move your product towards their problem. And then bottom of funnel is going to be evaluative type content that they're going to be farther into the customer journey, and that content might be an RFP template or it might be an Urri calculator, and so you're getting in somewhat into interactive content. It and video. Video can play a role in each of these things, in each of these areas, but we need to think about how they're going to find us. 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 of magnitude over over some of the other channels that get a lot of attention like social. So we know we encourage at milestone. We encourage our customers to put a lot of focus on s on content that becomes viable by being on the first or second page of Google. That's where the viable space is and if you're below that ranking you're missing out on the traffic that goes. You know, fifty sixty percent of the traffics coming via Google. And if you're not 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 other other ways to ensure that the content... compelling enough that it raises it in the Google rankings? Yeah, absolutely. So to be good content you need to understand the question and almost every search query is a question. So every listing result is an answer and in order to be one of the top couple answers, you need to be helpful, you need to be original, you need to have published that original content. You know Google recognizes when it hit the Internet. You need to solve problems and answer the questions. And in B Toc I would say you also have to be entertaining, an evocative people want something that gives them kind of an emotional lift or a bus from know 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 be tob but being helpful, making that content helpful, and that is the content itself. But you have to get the digital experience right. It has your page has to be really fast. You overall have to be an expert in your field, you have to have to have authority and other people have to be linking to you. This is the traditional Google model, the Google Algorithm of page rank, of people voting to you and giving you that, that's referral links. That gives Google the confidence that that the community supports you and your positions in your Pov's and your content. And are there different types of content medium that work better through different channels? So, if I'm putting together a content strategy and I have to think about, you know, social versus website, versus forums, or I mean even clubhouse is, you know, one of those places where people get together and chat, are there different ways I need to be thinking about the content in order to make it as effective as possible to to positively impact not only my google rankings but the impact I'm having it. You Know Tofu, Mofu and Bo fo. Yeah, yeah, you know short form video. You know ten fifteen second video gets a lot of attention and as a Bob Marketer you can look at some of the things that do really well and use a version of that in Linkedin. What you know? On linkedin you see a lot of static memes. Right, people do an image right, they upload and image that fits the speck that that linkedin gives us. But it's kind of equally easy to do a carousel where you upload a deck. You could just take a power point and upload that power point and it will become a carousel and be good if you rework the size and shape and color and pop a little bit on it. But putting a little bit of extra effort into the rich media gets you that more attention. One of the things I've seen doing really well in B tob in and 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 and the 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 a variety, thinking about your content as a core and then making multiple asset types and deploying those multiple asset types is going to give you your best opportunity to get exposure both in traditional search, in local and in social, and you're more likely to get referral links, which is, it's all, a great 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 mentioned kind of going viral earlier. Everybody seems stuck to talk about that. Have you seen any instance where something business wearing a be tob has gone, you know, not global viral, but viral maybe from a business sense? I know those are two different totally to yeah, it's but you know, it's a couple years back, but dollar shave club was a huge hit on the beat 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 what they're doing around dreamforce, you know, often gets a lot of pickup just because the community so big, but it's not truly viral. It's just a it's a different it's a megaphone that they have to a really large audience that's already installed. But let's let's think about and talk about virality and simple terms, what it means is that to... truly viral, and this is even more relevant in the COVID era, is that each person shares it with more than one other person and that allows it to spread. So if it's like one point two, there's twenty percent more people each iteration that somebody reads it, and they should. You know, somebody shares it and on the average it's getting shared out. Now, if it's below one, if people are sharing it with less than one person, it'll kind of die out and then you're back to the content conundrum where you've created something that's pretty good but it really doesn't have any legs of its own to carry itself. That's in technical and biological terms, that's called the are not. When the are not is above or below one, you get spread or you get this retraction into into kind of going to sleep. Got's okay. Now we got all these channels, 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 is supposed to handle attribution to content, because some of these pieces can take some serious time and investment to create and or, you know, research, or I mean even well written stuff, takes time. So there's always a you 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 large enough data set. But let's let's say some easy things for the audience to take away. First of all, track the channels for the sort. Make sure that the channels are set up well, like separate local with a youtm parameter in Google, my business, you can separate local from Google organic and try to get as much definition at the channel level. Then you want to be tracking last click, the first click when people arrive at your website. What content were they clicking on, you know, for anywhere from an add to a pov to a white paper, and store that and then also store the last click. So that you've got both the first in the last to see where, like if they're, you know, somewhere tofu somewhere mofu as they'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 us in the marketing world and in the business world, is develop a lead scoring system. 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 weight to each of these pieces and understanding the readiness of that buyer to go to the next step with you. That's a lead scoring system and most of the 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 the sort of the scientific and technical answer. The old school way to figure this out 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 been using it? What's the reaction to it? And just do good old shoe leather kind of investigation using the Human Algorithm and say, Oh yeah, it's totally landing. People are really responding to that one. You'll see this effect in be to be a lot in the decks. As a marketer, I produce a lot of powerpoint content for people to use and then when I attend their sales calls or customer calls, I can see which slides are still around after a month or two, which ones are which ones have legs. It's again it's content viability and which ones have slipped into the non viable zone and you 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 do that presentation that has, you know, three or four or five, six lines 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 of the reasons I'm talking about the content conundrums because of the things I've developed to encapsulate what a marketing company like milestone does... increase a visibility is the content conundrum and you know, I, like you know, kind of worked on on 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 of content over after a couple weeks after its launch, has no audience. Because Google, you know, ninety percent of the content doesn't rank on the first two pages of Google, and Google and Google local and Google regular search are contributing the vast majority of the traffic to fifty, sixty, sixty seven percent to most websites. Interesting. Interesting, okay. So do the do the mathematical thing. Do as much good tracking as you can with with UTM's or however you're going to you know, with however you're going to do that as a fur, as your first party tracking system. Then just talk to people and really understand as an author, empathetically and my making stuff for you that's helping you get your job done. Is it convincing customers? Is it convincing prospects? All right. And so when we look into the future, we looking 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 or the next big change or pivot that will that will impact the way marketers creating and put out content? Yeah, well, let me let me give the let me be consistent in my answer, that that what was good last year is going to be good next year, and that's that that you're solving a problem, that you're helpful original, you're solving problems and answering questions. So it's still that's not going to change. But I think to the spirit of your question, you could run some experiments in the emerging channels. Like as long 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 in some on non US markets. Using what'SAPP. If you've got what'SAPP connection, sort of 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 you would in you know, in email, and I mentioned it before, but using 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 create than just talking about something. It's like, you know, just like a text based post with a simple images, a little bit more like a tweet and 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 another kind 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 what y'all do there and actually how you found yourself there. Yeah, so we solve the content conundrum and that means we help customers increase visibility, especially in the two biggest channels, search and local, and the way we do that is helping them research and identify and create great content, and then we use some of the advanced technical techniques like adding Schemas and making the site core vitals compliant and making the pages faster and doing all those things that create a great 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 before you 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 of these technical things tuned up. And I don't know if your audience knows much about Schemas, but it's an additional set of Metadata that you can put on the page, but it's visible to the search crawler but it's not visible to all the humans. So, for example,...

...hotel rooms or apartments can add a lot 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 this information and that's how google builds the knowledge graph. So that's what we do at milestone as we connect you with more prospects and make help you make more customers out of them. And to your second question, how did I find myself here? You know, it kind of goes back to research and SCHEMAS. In my prior company we were asking each other, hey, should what's our point of view on Schemas and I said I don't see any evidence that it's working. This is about three or four years ago, and they said that can't be our answer because we're recommending and I'm like yeah, but I don't see any evidence, so I don't really want to write definitively that this is this is a technique everybody should be using. And I looked around and we were trying to prove it, and then I saw milestone present that they had all these case says at six, seven, eight case studies across industries that said twenty, thirty, forty, eighty percent lift using the technique, and I thought, okay, these guys are experts in their field and I'm I started kind of borrowing their data to form my Pov's and we got to know each other better and then, you know, they recruited me over and 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 to create content. Yeah, a lot of change. Yeah, a lot of change. All right, so let's change direction a little bit. We ask all of our guests to stay ARD questions towards the end of each and read the first is simply, as a VP marketing, that makes you a revenue executive, 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 someone doesn't have a trust of referral into you and they want to gain the right to time on your account, of what works for them, to capture your attention and earn that slot on your calendar. You know, chat this one is so 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 the editor or the writer or the researcher for it. Pick a piece that you like, that that you respect, and use that to let me know that you're kind of serious and you did a little bit of homework. Put that towards the front of your you know, your subject line or your message or you know, I do pick up. I'll pick up the zoom calls occasionally and the the the mobile phone calls. As long as I'm not in a meeting, 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 calling because 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 launches into their pitch. I'm like, sorry, what company? Because I'm concentrating probably on producing content when you're calling me. Right, right. So if you just mentioned my stuff, and in my whole career, fewer than five 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 you know, 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 five percent or better. Now the second thing to do, and this is this is really difficult, because the way corporations train young people is to crank the phone and do the pitch. But what you actually want to do is crank the 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 I get I'll get less defensive and resistant to you know, and I'll I'll I'll tend to like you better because you're listening to me. It's the inverse of what 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. Said don'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 for the audience. Chad, don't say. Does that make sense? It's a sort of a fake tie down or a fake leading question. You just want me to go. Okay, what you want to do is ask me a real question, not ask me this kind of a fake half question, because if I don't understand, I don't really want to admit it, if I'm kind of half paying attention because you've you know, you disturbed me. I don't want to I don't want to make myself look dumb. So I often say to people know, that doesn't make sense and then they just keep going with their pitch. Really makes me think like wow, does it matter if I'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 could tell sales, marketing, your professional services people, one piece of advice, you believe, if they listen to it, help them achiever, e. see their targets. What would it be and why? Yeah, this is something that took me a long time to figure out what role it could play in 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 like sympathy, but really it's like understanding the other person and figure out what they need and align what you're doing to what they need. That makes them feel cared about. That improves engagement, but it's really difficult, like the whole corporate world, and when you're young and you know you're you're just out of school and you've got so many great ideas that you want to tell people about. Now you gotta you got to understand what the other our person's problem is like. What what could you help with? And then you can't just do your standard pitch all the time. You got to make your pitch fit to that thing and then they feel like you're you're an advisor, you're a you're more like a friend, more like a colleague. Yeah, I could not 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 to go. Look for hack the corporate fast track there on under Eric Newton, and if you read it and you like it, please drop me a review. Awesome. And if they want to get in touch with you to talk more about what milestone's doing or the content conundrum, where would you prefer we send them? Come straight to my email, Eric Dot n at milestone internetcom, and love to hear from you and let me know that Chad sent you. Yeah, please definitely let him know what we sent you. All Right, Dick, thank you so much for taking time. Has Been An absolute pleasure to have you on the show. Thanks, Chad. All right, everybody, it does it for this episode. CHECK US OUT OF BE TOB REV exactcom. You know the drill. Share with friends, family, Co workers. Leave US review on itunes. We evalue selling associates. We feel nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the BB revenue executive experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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