The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 7 months ago

How to Maximize Your Content Marketing Returns


You have what seems like a really mundane decision to make: You're in charge of upgrading outdated software for your organization and, for some reason, figuring out what to purchase has you jitterier than Big Bird at a Cats showing. Whatever you get, it has to be the best. In a blind panic, you sign up for every free trial known to man. Luckily, you find a pristine masterpiece of software that is sure to solve every conceivable problem in the multiverse. It worked out for one simple reason: It’s l because, sometimes, quantity is the fastest path to quality.

And that’s especially true for content marketing. 

That’s one of the many insights today’s guest, content-marketing wizard James Scherer has picked up throughout his career to VP of Growth at Codeless — insights he brings into the show to help us demystify content marketing.

Join us as we discuss:

  • The “pillar and post” content methodology 
  • AI in content marketing
  • Content analytics 
  • Quality vs. quantity 
  • Building a solid marketing function in the real world

Now that you know how to, are you ready to learn how to conduct killer marketing tests or use data to prevent revenue leaks in your business? Check out the full list of episodes: The B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for B2B Revenue Executive Experience in your favorite podcast player.

You're listening to the B Tob 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, were tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Welcome everyone to the be tob revenue executive experience. I'm your host, Carlos Snow Chain, and I'm joined by my cohost, Lisa shannaire. Say Highs, Lisa. Hey, folks, welcome to the show. Lisa and I are both excited to be cohosting the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience. We want to give a big shout out to Chad Sanderson for getting this podcast off the map with amazing guests and amazing content. Today we're talking about the future of content marketing. How do we maximize the value of our efforts? What might be the right mixed or quantity, and what might be some amazing insights that we can get from James on the dues and don'ts, and so to help us, we have with US James Share, vp of growth at codeless DOT Ioh a content marketing agency working with UNICORNS like mondaycom to drive growth through content at a huge scale. James, thank you for taking the time today and welcome to the show. Thank you so much for having maybe so and Carlos glad to be here. We made it all right to kick this thing off, one interesting question that we ask all our guests right at the beginning, which helps us to get to know you a little bit better. James. What might be something that you are passionate about that folks that only know you do business might be surprised to learn about you? So I saw this question you sent me before and I'd have a think about it. I think I have to say this case. So, couple years ago I moved to a new city here in Cardiff from the US. I'm in the UK now, and I was like looking for social stuff and I found a dungeons and dragons group and I got into it. Man. So yeah, no, I don't talk about that or tell clients really, but yeah, I really enjoy it, just getting getting with a few friends, telling some stories during some beers. Yeah, really, it's Nerdy as hell, but I enjoy it all. A great way to meet New People in a new city. So up gets you out and about. For sure, awesome. Well, tell us a little bit about codeless out Iohe what you do there specifically and how you arrived in this point in your career. For sure. So I graduated with an English degree into a world that was like we have no job for you. That's fucking he doesn't and ten and so I fell into marketing and then Sarah, that this Lee, fell into a content role and I was a writer for a long time and then move to that editorial position and then had it inbound and then my wife and I went kind of to travel the world for a while. So I'm buy to kind of the freelance writing thing. And then when I settled down again, was of the company that I was freelancing primarily...

...for said do you want more of a headed like a more of a managerial position? So I jumped on directive editorial first with codeless and then vp of growth more recently. So my role there in what kind of code this is and does they are? Were a content production, content marketing, content production agency. So our focus is exclusively on creating comprehensive kind of content plans for our clients to drive significant growth through content. My role is content strategy. From the majority of our kind of scale enterprised clients, we have somebody else who does kind of the smaller stuff, but I'm very much involved in in even that. Realistically, so it's the creation of kind of a sixmonth to twelvemonth content strategy built around the pillar and post method, alongside extual backwaking. And then we have seventy five to one hundred kind of freelance writers creating the content. We do about four hundred pieces of content every month for about twenty clients now, all the way down from early stage startups who just a hunting around or have just barrots in from of the parents, all the way up to people like Moneycom who have significant budget and are doing massive amounts of content. So it's a lot of fun, but it's definitely the agency lifestyle. folatility. Yeah, speed, yeah, intensity, it's good, right, yeah, it is. It's a high paced, high paste world to live in, for sure, it's. So I'm curious with the way you're looking at the future of content marketing. Just for context for the audience. What is a high level understanding of pillar and post content strategy? Sure, so I'll bring it down when we get a new client, I review their site and what they're kind of the space they're in and then build a plan around categories, pillars and posts. The categories of content would be like three to five different kind of categories of content that they want to be known or found for. So, for instance, we have one client, early bird, who they do financial gifting, like it's an APP that allows parents or fail members to give towards a child's future within an APP. So the categories for that client were gifting, financial gifting, the like Augma Utma, kind of the more like how to gift to a child in the and like the minor problems with that, and then parntal investing in general. So those are kind of the three categories of content. Gifting, the more technical style side of stuff, and then the parntal investment in general. Now each one of those categories has pillars. Pre who says say three to five categories? Three to five pillars within each category. The pillars are, in general, high competition, high difficulty, high volume search terms that if your business ranks for those key phrases, then you're like you're golden. However, because the more difficult and we're also starting from a lot of our clients, starting from relatively early days. With content. You can't just assume you're going to rank for those pieces in the short term or even without support in the long term period. So we need to support them. So if those are the pillar pieces that we have, the posts, the post being, it's complicate because everything is a blog post, but at the post being like the things that support the...

...pillar structurally infinite, without analogy. So they are within the Category Fifteen to twenty support pieces that are focused around internally linking to the pillars. Now the idea behind this is if we have three to five categories of content, three to five pillars to each category, fifteen to twenty five pieces of support content with each category. We have about a hundred pieces of content in any given year, which is eight to nine pieces of content published every month. And for a lot of smaller businesses that's like that's a good that's a good amount. That allows you to support the content that you're going for well and if you do everything right, then theoretically that support of great content the pillars, you should be getting ranking positions in three months, three months, doing a valuation at six double down on one of your categories if you see it really, really clicking, and then by the end of the twelve you should be really you should just be seen some serious from serious numbers, and I've seen it work, so I can batch for it. That's great. That sounds a very comprehensive and as somebody who's not a content marketer at all, I just learned something. I try to make it straightforward, but it is. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's it makes a lot of sense with that structure. So I'm curious, though, moving forward with the role of AI, artificial intelligence, in content marketing. You mentioned that you've been a writer, you've been an editor. What is their future role in this kind of new AI powered world? It's scary for sure. I know a lot of writers out of just where, like are we going to of a job in five years? And the answer is kind of complex. So, if we're talking about ai written content, like content that is you know, you give it, you give a key phrase to a tool and hit go and it spits out a fife hundred, twelve teacher thousant words. We are getting close to that in some spaces and I think that that is going to be a thing. If that's if it's mean it's already a bit of a thing and certain niches, but, for instance, financial content, like stock oriented content, I think will go that direction. I think be TOC ECOMMERCE content, product stuff, and go that direction, very like the fact focus content that doesn't require a whole lot of interpretation or analysis or context. You can just say the stock for, you know whatever Walmart went up ten percent. You know. That is like, I think that a tool can grab and put into a sense of that make sense relatively easily. I think possibly the medical industry as well could go down this route to a certain extent. But the B to being SASS space. Success within those spaces from a content perspective isn't just delivery of facts, it's also interpretation, analysis and thought leadership, bringing something new to the table for that subject, which by definition, a I can't do. You know, Ai is not going to be able to look at a new idea and say, here's what I think this new idea is going to mean for Your Business in the future, here's my opinion on it, here's here's my expertise brought to the table. and Google's getting really good at basically rewarding thought leadership from a content nasty over spective. So if Google's...

...going that route and ai can't follow, then there's not as much to kind of be concerned about within those spaces. Does that mean that there's no role for kind of software and content creation in every space? No, absolutely doesn't. But so it's not like that. That's that's kind of the AI written content side of things. There is also like can software help you create great content? In the answer that as like absolutely, hands down it can, and it should be a major part of how you do it. From our side, creating four hundred odd pieces of content any given month, our text stack is comprehensive. You know, we're using at a number of different tools to enable our writers to hit a standard quality of content every month and we know if they've ticked all the boxes that say they doing this, they say they're doing that, then we feel confident whether delivery us is high quality. So across the board, by you're a small business or a large one doing crazy amounts of content or not, incorporating tools like, you know, grammarly, writercom, which allows you to like check the tone of your content against against what you've against what you're looking for. Having a way does that as well and then using like an Seo analysis tool like phrase, or marketing use or clearscope for SEO surfer. All of those basically compare what you've written against the ranking competition for a given key phrase. So we're talking about here just ways that Ai, to a certain extent, can make your content better without having to write it all from scratch, and those are really valuable excellent James Teams, you also mentioned taking measurement at three months, six months and beyond. What sort of items should we be measuring and what kind of impacts for outcomes should we be expecting? So measurement from a important content plane is really important because we already we all know that SEO or content marketing investment takes a while. It's not an immediate turnaround. It's not going to get a buck for standing fifty zones, not immediately at least. So what we do is we sorry, answer your question. The first method you want to you want to check out as ranking position for your content. The reason that I say that is because I'm a proponent and been getting the quality versus quantity argument in a s cup or in a second but I'm a proponent of publishing a quantity of content, checking where it's performing and how it's performing and then diving back into optimize it after the fact once it starts getting close to a wrecking position. And I can only do that if I know exactly where it's ranking in any given week or month. So I five create a piece of content around financial gifting or whatever and it starts performing, climbing the surf and the surf and it gets eleventh position and plateaus. I want to know as soon as it's plateaued so I can go back in update it, improve it, add whatever I need to add to get it just a little bit to bump at that little bit which we get it to the ninth position, first page sudden, which we're getting traffic for it. So I want to know what everything I'm I've created, is ranking so I can go in and improve it and move it up. The reason that I care about that as well is that, from an internal linking perspective, my ranking, content that's ranking in the... one hundred is of course more valuable from a linking perspective that's and it's not ranking at all, and so that's ranking on the first page is more valuable from my linking perspective and stuff, and some on the seventh page. So if I'm aware where everything is, I can go in add internal links and increase the chance of all of my content ranking by being quite intentional with how I'm linking internally. So once I have a strong understanding of like okay, that's the first metric and looking at wreking position. The second one, realistically, is traffic, because you know, ultimately that's what we're doing, but we can't feel confident about any of our conversion additions unless we have traffic. So I would say like traffic doesn't matter, just track, you know, newsletter subscriptions or ebook downloads or you know, some bottom of funnel conversion. But I don't want to do is recommend you do anything unless you feel confident that what you've done is actually improve the performance page, which you can't do unless you have traffic, because we're not going to hits steal significance and less. We're actually drive a synificant traffic and can like see that what we've done has had an impact. So first metric is reking positions to improve the content. That's almost there. Second one is traffic. Once you get enough of it, and you're focusing on it through optimization, then you can test and drive bottom of funnel conversions, which is your third matric and probably the one that you would kind of build off of and have is your primary metric for after kind of year one. You mentioned quantity versus quality, and it's something that we also talk about internally as we produce some Johntent, so love to get your perspective there, for sure. Okay, so the discussion is basically like, which one do you do? And I think that it's a simplistic question. The answer is both. Everything you produced needs to be good, like really good. There's no point in creating a piece of content that's bad and then publish in it that you know it used to work ten years you want, I started to create someone's mediocre in a know before, maybe feel like sweet, amazing at this is like no, you're just, it's just, it's easy now, but that was intousand time. Nowadays everything has to be good. However, with the addition of kind of that software that I talked about, you can create a good standard of stiner quality of content relatively reliably, and that scale with freelanswers, even junior writers, because they are if they follow the process that you create, the end result is high quality. And then, once you've done a significant quality of content, I'm saying age ten pieces of content per month. The fact of the matter is is that I can't. I've been doing this for a while and I think I know what I'm doing, and I can't tell you that any given piece of content is going to succeed over any other. Realistically, if everything, if you're doing everything right, if you can all follow in all the SEO best practices, inteen everything you should be doing, I can't tell you that that piece of contents going to succeed over that one. And if I can't tell you that, then my recommendation is to publish a lot and then review your ranking positions and if you're getting towards the first page, just happens to something happens to click with Google, I don't know, like Google has told us everything that this gets going to tell us, and we know everything that we can know, what we do, everything we can do, and sometimes stuff just clicks and sometimes it just doesn't. If it's clicking, I want... know immediately and I want to double down not just on optimizing that individual url but also on that category of content. So that frames my production process after month kind of three or six suchet like whatever quarter you're kind of working to. So the short answer is do a good quality of content at quantity and then dive back in and really invest in those urls which are just off the first page or just off a traffic ranking. So it's I'm basically yeah, it's a both answer, unfortunately, but which is more work but higher return. Well, it makes common sense but, like you just said, it is more work pay. Can you share with us an example of a marketing team and organization that is doing it right in the types of outcomes they've realized? Yeah, I mean, I run one and we do it dam right. So that so our study rather than next like our entire business, because our business is not you know, there's a there's a lot of what we do that can't be internalized by small businesses because we know we're massive. Sorry, not for not. We do a lot of content. So what I would say is that we came up with one of our clients, early bird one I've alluded to. They joined us with very low domain authority and didn't have a blog. So they they were adding their cms as they we assigned their contract with us. Say We want to start from scratch with you. So we implemented the pillar and post method with them and they were kind of ore, like I'd seen it work pretty well and I was now we're doing this from beginning to end. Let's see what we get here. And the team structure for them and kind of for us is we had six writers on their account. First and foremost, they were doing a piece of content a month. I narrowed that list of writers down to for because two of them just naturally weren't able to find the tone that early bird was looking for, which is also an important part of this. Then they had a dedicated editor and a kind of a preliminary edit stage as well. I'll kind of break on the entire thing. So first and formist, we create a writer's guide, which is incredibly important. That gives your writers and editors a single master sheet that has everything it means to write for you as a brand or, in our case, a client. The writers then prepare, once the topics are all proved, based on the pillar and post method, the writers prepare an outline. The outline is based on a templetive content and it basically just breaks down what they're going to be covered in the article and etc. The outline is then reviewed by our editorial team. So basically, if you're in house, that would be the person who will be finally editing piece, but also somebody who knows kind of how you want to talk about your product or service, your brand, because the writer will do what they as best they can. And then you want to say, can you please add in this feature? Can you please make sure that we touch on this thing? Actually, can you not mention this? competit all within the outline review stage. It then goes to draft and then from draft it goes to preliminary review, which is somebody who checks the content, again, the writer's Guy Specifically.

Are you doing the Oxford Comma? Are you, you know, doing the semicolons instead of them ashes whatever? Then it goes to a final review, which is a fact checking and tone review, like does this feel right to me as I'm reading it, and have it ticked on the boxes from an expertise perspective? And then it goes to the client or to publication if you're in house. But the idea is that you have a very cohesive production process. We use a project management tool with, you know, stages for everything that we're talking about, and the team is three to four pretty high quality writers. They can be freelance, doesn't matter at all, so long as they're in your system. Use a project management tool if facilitates moving the piece from writer to or from kind of content planner to write writer, editor, editor back to the writer. I would have the outline review stage in there. I think it's a really important one. Otherwise they wasted to begin time working on something and drafting something, because I mean this Contea Pias are two thousand words. If they draft two thousand words we have to redraft it because they miss something. That's a huge amount of time and possibly expenditure for you. So have the outlinterview stage. Have ideally two rounds of edits. Have a more affordable editor who does the kind of the checklist editing and then a more expensive vertical expert who can do the, you know, the fat check in component of it. But if it only takes them ten minutes, then the cost for that stage is more scalable for you. And then, yeah, just get it live to great images. We use a graphic designer specifically for as clients and publish avolume and then have somebody who can read the analytics and interpret them and tell you this is what we're seeing, this is what we recommend as a result, which is probably going to be the person who created the content plaint at the beginning. So that's kind of it all into one little package. Yeah, that was a great summary. I was just like now everybody can go out and do amazing things with their content marketing. So thank you for something that up, of course. So let's change direction just a little bit here. At there's two questions we ask every guess that comes on to the podcast, and the first is you, as a revenue executive, are often a prospect yourself for sales sales folks. When somebody is looking for you to earn some of your time who doesn't know you and doesn't have a referral into you, what works to get your attention and to gain a little credibility from their side doesn't have a referral? As my answer was going to be, unless they have a referral, I usually don't respond. Realistically, I mean so I would emphasize like get a referral probably the best way and easiest way to do any of this, and there are ways that you can do that. You can type with people who know people, but the cold kind of outreach that I respond to is realistically it's the same best practice. We've been seen forever. Find something that you think I care about or you know I care about, not just an article I wrote in two thousand and fourteen you've seen me like prinstance, if I did like a Linkedin Post that like do quite well and was interesting for something say, you know, doing an outreach like hey, I really enjoyed that, like did post, I had a question about it specifically. Also, don't come at... I would rather you came at me with a question then with a proposal. Jack, and maybe that's just me, because I would rather answer a question. weirdly enough, that gets then get something from you immediately. I don't know. That's just I like starting kind of relationships with both sides giving something straightforward of value, because it shows that you're a if you're asking able to ask a question that I have the answer to, it shows that you know him, the person for it, and that question needs to be specific to like me and what I've done. Recently and like where I'm at, not like can you tell me about your whatever, whatever? That is totally random in Eric. None of that. Yeah, something. So approach, specific reference, approach with a question, not just a proposal, giving the proposal or the prompt after the fact, but ideally come with hey, I was talking to your friend John. He said that you might be interested in that's that's really answered that, though, and that's fair. Research shows, you know, having a referral in through their network is a number one way to get access. And then your second one about show me that you know me basically aligns really what we see all the time as well, James. So excellent points. One last question. We call it acceleration insights. What might be one little piece of advice you would share? And you've shared a bunch, so it's just how many you pick? One's going to be tough. That you would here that you believe really help sales at mark getting it hitting their own targets. The most important thing you can do in content marketing, if you've been doing it for a while, is to go back in and optimize existing content, because that's your bottom that's your low hanging fruit. It's not net new. That news going to take three to six months tops, until like at least until you kind of delivers value. Check out all the content that you have. Either do rewrites or optimizations, because existing urls are more valuable and seeing them more highly from Google than net new ur else. So Review Your what I referred to as Eleven S, which are your high potential Url's right upting eleven and thirty position. Those your opportunities. Go back in, run them through a tool like phrase clearscope market news, get the target score up to what they're recommending you hit, which is a comparison to the competition. We and update those URLS, keep track of how they're performing, and that's going to be easier for you than creating net new content. You're going to drive more traffic more quickly and easily doing that than you will doing anything anything of scratch. Perfect. That sounds like great advice, James. So if a listener was interested in talking more to you about the topics we touched on today, what's the best way you'd like them to get in contact with you? Email or Linkedin? Email is, honestly, James, that CODA, stought io. I'm happy to get involved or yeah, lived in DM following in dum perfect. Sounds Great. James. I can't thank you enough for your time today. We really appreciate it and it's been so great having you on the show. Thank you, James. It...

...was really fun. Thank US having me anytime awesome. Thanks for joining us. All right, everyone, that does it for this episode of the BETB Revenue Executive Experience. Please check us out at wwwatcom. Share this episode with your friends, your co workers and, if you like what you heard, throw us a five star review on itunes. please. Until next time, we have value of selling associates. With you all, 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 on Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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