In this episode, we talk about getting the most value from your content strategy.
- Start with Your Customer's Pain Points and Develop Topics from There
- Align Your Content Strategy with Your Top Nav and Footer Nav
- Plan a Variety of Content Formats: Blog Posts, Ebooks, Infographics
- Plan a Variety of Content Formats: Videos and Podcasts
- Support Your Sales and Customer Nurture Programs with Your Content
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Dodgeball Marketing Podcast #74: Getting the Most Value from Your Content Strategy
In this episode, we talk about getting the most value from your content strategy.
Michael Utley: Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Dodgeball Marketing Podcast. This is episode 74, getting the most value from your content strategy. I am Michael. This is Chris.
Chris Raines: Oh, Hey, I didn't see you there. I did see you there.
Michael Utley: Why don't you get us started? What's number one today in getting the most value from your content strategy?
Chris Raines: So number one we have started, is start with your customer's pain and develop topics from there. We talk about this a lot, but people go to search engines to search for content because they have a problem that needs to be solved, because they have a pain. So there's really no other way to develop content other than to solve people's problems and answer their questions. That's really it.
Michael Utley: Well, there's the bad way to do it of just talking about very niche information, specifications of your products and services.
Chris Raines: That's company focused, so be problem focused. And honestly, I think that there's no quicker way to develop trust in someone then to let them know that you understand their problem. So when you're talking about their problem, you're instantly garnering their trust. So that should be the focus of any content marketing program, is yes you want traffic, sure, you want placements on search engines, you want that traffic, but at the end of the day, you want this person here that could possibly do business with you to know about you and like you and trust you.
Michael Utley: So, that content's really a way to demonstrate your expertise through solving their pain points.
Chris Raines: And I would even say it's more important to establish that trust than to demonstrate your expertise. If you understand their problem, yes, the effect of that is you're going to come off as an expert, but really focus in on their problem and they're going to instantly trust you. And then it won't matter if you're the top expert or not. You know what I mean?
Michael Utley: Yeah.
Chris Raines: If you have someone coming in that's talking about your problem in the way that says to them you understand their problem, it doesn't matter if you're the top expert in your field.
Michael Utley: So understanding their problem could even include things like using the language they use for their pain, as opposed to jargon or whatever.
Chris Raines: Sure. So, that's number one, start with your customer's pain in mind, develop all of your content ideas around that and you can't go wrong.
Michael Utley: That's a good one. Next up, align your content strategy with your top nav and your footer nav. So this is part of content planning, and it should start with, like we've said in the first segment, what pain points your customers have that would drive them to consider your products or services. So the more your top nav on your website, any kind of getting around the website and finding stuff that's in, typically now, the header of a website and often repeated, or some version of it repeated in the footer, the more that can be built around the categories of your customer's needs, the more the website is going to gain traction in search engines around those topics. And the more all the subject matter on your website is going to support those topics and make it clear to search engines what your website's about.
Michael Utley: And so a common situation for us when a company comes to us and they're moving their internet marketing to DodgeballSEO or the parent company GoEpps is often their top nav is, I'll give you a pretty typical situation, home, about us, our philosophy, our past successes, contact us, services. There's only one of those buttons that's really related to the pain that the customer has that's driving them to the website. So you need to think in terms of flipping that script, decide what the second level of that services category is, and you may say, "Oh yeah, we've got four categories of business. Those are the only four things that we do. And everything that we do is in one of these four services." Well, guess what your new top nav is, service 1, 2, 3, and 4, and then an about us page or even just contact us page. Listen, whatever your philosophy is, I just used to be frank, nobody cares.
Chris Raines: You'd put it at the bottom?
Michael Utley: Yeah, you can put it in the footer. You can have a block on the home page, a little further down the page, whatever, the history of the company, nobody really cares about the history of the company. That's way down there in terms of establishing credibility. We often approach websites like there's a chronological story, and we need to know the characters, we need to know the backstory and then we get the big buildup of here's how we're going to do this for you. But that's thinking in terms of a narrative structure that ends with the climax, websites need to be built using a journalistic structure. In journalism, in newspaper articles, back in the days when everything was manually created, you'd have inches of copy that an editor could literally off from the bottom up and so you always opened with what was important, and if somebody wanted to keep reading, they would.
Michael Utley: And so it's really important to put the most important thing first. And in the case of any business, that's the products or the services in their categories if needed, but as close as you can get people to the business, into the stick of what you do, the better. And so in the top nav that means giving most of that top nav real estate to the things that you do, to the climax of the story, not the buildup or the backstory. And that's a real mind shift. A lot of folks really struggle with it because they've got a lot of things they want to say. So test it out, trust your SEO folks and just run with a top nav for a while that puts the customer first. Trust me, it'll do way better. You'll get plenty of time to tell the history of the company and explain that you're the third generation blah, blah, blah if it ever comes up.
Chris Raines: Nobody cares.
Michael Utley: Yeah, nobody cares.
Chris Raines: Number three, getting the most value of your content strategy, plan a variety of content formats so [crosstalk 00:06:23]
Michael Utley: Different formats. Yeah. That's right.
Chris Raines: There's so many different formats. You can do blog posts. You can do e-books, infographics, there's videos, there's audio, there'll be more in the future. There'll be some weird VR format, immersive format at when the metaverse is full blown. So right now the thing I would say about this is, number one, different people have different modalities in which they want to consume content. You'll notice on sites Kickstarter or other crowdfunding sites, they always have a video up top for the pitch for the crowdfunding item, but there's always a story portion underneath it that basically articulates the same thing. Why? Because some people want to read, some people want to watch. Same thing with your audience. So understand that people want to watch in different modalities. Some people want to listen. So right now the apex predator of content is video because all other forms of content can be derivative of that.
Chris Raines: So this is a video podcast, which will be the audio, which will be a blog post, which might work its way into an e-book over on dodgeballmarketing.com or dodgeballmarketing.com. Don't let all those different modalities intimidate you, just get out your iPhone, start making videos and then turn those into blog posts, turn those into audio, et cetera. So plan for different forms of content. And you don't have to do equal parts to all con... It's not like you have to have [crosstalk 00:07:58]
Michael Utley: Yeah, you don't have to do everything.
Chris Raines: You don't have to do everything, but you're probably missing the boat if you're only, for instance, generating text content on a blog. There's a lot more to be had than that. So think about how people want to consume content and make content around those modalities.
Michael Utley: And part two of this segment is plan a variety of content formats, videos, and podcasts. We want to add a second segment for this, because this can be a really tough category to break into if you've never done it, but we're just seeing a lot of good traction out of these rich formats. You're right, video is, I think, the giant. I feel like in the early days of podcasting, it got really hot for a while and then it cooled off. And then a few years later it came back in a way that was really different and it hasn't let up since that resurgence.
Chris Raines: I remember listening to podcasts in 2006 and 2007, back when it was podcast because you had to have an iPod...
Michael Utley: When Adam Curry was starting and created the first platform...
Chris Raines: It was weird. It went up and then it went down and it went up again. You're right.
Michael Utley: It went way down. When it went down, it went way down. But what I'm here to say is that podcasting and video are now both established. They're both here to stay and I would say, like you said, we're watching for whatever the next thing is over the hill, VR experience. So in this segment, what I want to share is a couple of ideas on how to get started. So videos and podcasts, it can be overwhelming. So number one, you already have a video production studio in your pocket, just remember, turn that thing sideways and get a landscape view. Next up is don't get caught up in thinking things need to be heavily produced. This is especially true with video.
Michael Utley: You often need a professional, but there's a lot of video content that can be more ephemeral, for example, social media posts, where you just say, "Hey, we're in the new dermatology office. We're really excited to be opening this new location. Here's what the office looks like. Here's the friendly staff. Here's what you can expect. And coming up this week, we've got this new service that we're offering and we want you to know about it, reach out to us today." So that's ephemeral content. You really can produce that in a very low-fi way and get started so that people are able to cross that barrier of understanding who you are, what kind of experience they're going to have. A lot of the things that you can accomplish with a picture, you can go a lot further and faster with video, and it doesn't all have to be professionally produced and part of a real sophisticated plan.
Michael Utley: And, as long as you're not doing harm or violating any of your commitments or whatever, I don't know, not showing a customer's face or violating somebody's HIPAA, as long as you're using just common sense, then these smaller kinds of videos can be out there for a while and then you can take them down if you shift strategies and get better at over time. So I think with video, the way to think about it is just start doing it. And, Chris, I've really enjoyed podcasting with you. This is our second podcast. We replaced a search primer podcast, which was audio only, with this video format when we shifted over to this location and had a better place to shoot.
Michael Utley: But I would say with podcasting, I would say there are a couple of hacks for getting started with this. Number one, don't put yourself in a category with any celebrity podcasters where you feel like you're competing with them. You're not Oprah, and you don't have to be. You don't have to be Joe Rogan to get into this. There's an audience out there for any subject matter. And if you have a B2B sales process that you manage and you're doing really technical work, or you have an industry, or you have a geographic region for your business, then all of the work that you do to produce content, to connect with your audience, that's going to work. It may be a small audience, but if there's any audience at all, anything above zero, it's going to connect over time.
Michael Utley: I would go into it with the idea of a minimum of 12 episodes. So once a month for a year before you have any decision about whether or not it's working. And then I would say for any video strategy, very similar, think in terms of a batch of, hey, we're going to produce one video a month until we have a video on our homepage and one on each of our service pages, and we're going to do the most important things first and then we're going to get into some topical video. So with podcasts or video, either of these richer formats that are harder to get started with, I would say lower the threat level by thinking in terms of an initial test batch of 12 that's going to be published over a year as a test before you put pressure on yourself to look at the metrics.
Chris Raines: That's good. All right. Last we have to support your sales and customer nurture programs with your content. The really cool thing about content is it can be double use, right?
Michael Utley: Yeah.
Chris Raines: It can exist out there on a page or on a profile as a hook in the water for SEO or surge, and it can also be used to nurture people that are already in your world. So if you have a sales staff or if you have people that are going through your sales process, it's good to clue them into what you're doing on the content side and offer up pieces of content that can answer questions maybe in a more thorough away than even the salesperson can answer them. If you have a particular training that would be relevant to this prospect, if you have a particular white paper, so they can manually feed that out to them over email, it's a really good way to...
Chris Raines: Like we were talking about, appear more as an authority to your prospects, and just to double dip on that content. Content's not just for getting impressions and clicks on google.com, content can be for sales enablement and to nurture people through the sales process and develop that [inaudible 00:14:13] I can trust. So the connection here is, if you have sales staff, make sure that they know what content is doing and what gems they can pull out of the content to flow into... And it makes it, Michael, a good way to reach out to people. So nobody wants to be reached out and say, "Hey, just checking in to see if you want to start..."
Michael Utley: Just checking in, do you need some time on my calendar?
Chris Raines: Better to check in and say, "Hey, we actually just filmed this new training on X, Y, Z. Do you want me to send it to you?" That's a different way to reach out, then, "Hey, can you give me money? You got some money for me?" I don't know why I'm talking about that. So content for sales enablement's, not just for hooks [inaudible 00:14:56] and SEO, it's also for sales.
Michael Utley: So double dip on all of your better, deeper pieces of material that can enable sales. That's awesome. Cool. This has been episode 74 of the Dodgeball Marketing Podcast. Check us out at dodgeballmarketing.com, and follow us on social medias, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and drop your comments below, subscribe. And we'll see you on the next one. Thanks, everybody.
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