Here’s the questions I had for Joe (and unusually I manage to pretty much stick to them!):
It’s not new – business owners have been writing books for years – so what’s changed?
Small business marketing is a constant trade off between time and money. How does a small business owner create time in order to create content?
I imagine there are some key boxes to tick no matter what road of content marketing you head down. What are they?
Give some examples of small businesses doing it really well.
OK, so you’ve now created all this content …. how do we get it out there?
How does the average, time poor small business owner start a content marketing strategy?
SBBM Podcast #125: Content Marketing with Joe Pulizzi
Tim: Let’s talk Joe Pulizzi, content marketing guy who started the Content Marketing Institute a number of years ago and boy, boy was he ahead of his time. Content marketing this year, 2013, I recon it’s hitting its scraps. We are starting to see a massive, massive attention going to content marketing versus other forms of traditional marketing. What is content marketing? You’re going to find that out in the discussion I have with Joe but you are listening to a form of content marketing right now with my podcast and I’ve been doing that for three and a half years and basically it’s a way of sharing your knowledge and pulling people towards you as opposed to pushing big advertising or direct marketing messages on them, sales messages on them. Joe is a content marketing event and he’s passionate about the colour orange. You’ll hear why in a minute and he’s one of the leading thought leaders behind the content marketing in social media movement of the last few years. I was so excited to be able to speak to him because he does explain it in beautifully simple terms. He’s actually in Sydney next week so it might be better to attend that event but he’s in Sydney with commencing March 4 and riding a three day content marketing event which is going to run again next year and I hope to be speaking at. Enough with that, let’s hear what Joe and I had to say about the new phenomenon that is content marketing. Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, welcome to small business big marketing.
Joe: Tim, I’m happy to be on. Thanks for having me.
Tim: Now Joe, quick question up front. On your Skype messages, he’s thinking of the colour orange, what’s that all about?
Joe: Oh man, I started wearing orange when I launched the business in 2007 and I’ll tell you a quick story because it’s interesting and there’s actually a business point behind it. I did, I was a bum, my fifth key note speech and the person that organized the event said “Joe I’ll have you come and do the speech but you have to wear black” I’m like “that’s fine. You’re paying me to come. I’m happy to wear black. I’ll do that, wear black” and there were video tape and there were a number of people in that event. This was actually in Brussels, Belgium.
Joe: And then I got a bunch of response after, everybody was going “Joe where is the orange? Why didn’t you wear the orange?” and I never noticed that I sort of branded myself in this orange attire and from that point on I said boy this could be a business advantage because you get noticed for – I mean nobody buzz about orange, nobody still wears orange.
Tim: Yeah, yeah
Joe: From that moment on, I kind of went over the psychotic edge on orange and everything we had in the business and in my own personal wardrobe is orange and I really feel that it helps our business and our brand.
Tim: Funny story but also quite serious. I mean every business should own a colour. That’s what the big guys do. You look to any big brand, McDonalds own red and yellow, banks in Australia owns a particular blue, it just makes sense and it’s just appealing to one of the many senses that we have in terms of building our brand.
Joe: so orange is the colour we try to own
Tim: Yeah my colour?
Joe: of everyday, what’s yours?
Tim: Well six foot four, big guy…pink, aye?
Joe: That’s the perfect colour for you, not for me.
Tim: I’m a tough guy. I’m a tough guy. No one will look at me and go hey Tim, what are your wearing pink for?
Joe: They’re not going to mess with you
Tim: No, no
Joe: I’m 5’9, I’m not wearing pink anywhere, I’m sorry.
Tim: Well pink and orange, that would never be seen together. That would be a crime, a fashion crime. Now Joe, how do you define content marketing?
Joe: I think for somebody that is new and never heard of it before, it’s acting like a publisher, acting like a media company so what that means is instead of creating advertisements and display and what I would call interruptive type of marketing around somebody else’s content or event, what we want to do is create our own compelling, relevant, valuable content to attract people to come to us so that at some point we become sort of that trusted adviser to them and when they’re ready to buy, they buy from us because we’ve been giving them all these fantastic information for so long.
Tim: Yeah I love that. I love that. I feel that. I’ve been doing that for a while with podcast. Well what then to that point, what’s the opposite of content marketing?
Joe: You know, I don’t even know if there’s an opposite. I don’t know if there’s a kryptonite. I mean I guess if you say that pure display advertising would be but I think content marketing gets along with everything. It’s like peanut butter and jelly, it makes everything a little bit better if you use it. Some people say “Joe does that mean I need to stop advertising?” I’m like “no” but the fact is if you want to be found in Google for search engine optimization, if you want to drive leads in any kind of significant way online and if you want to have anything of interest to say in social media, that has to start with what your content strategy is. It has to start with compelling and interesting stories and because the consumer buys so differently than the way they did in the past and they have a million options to get their information, if you don’t have something compelling for them, they’re going to ignore you.
Tim: It’s like a conversation – when you got nothing to say, then no one, who wants to talk to you?
Joe: It’s so interesting when Twitter was big; I mean I started on Twitter in whatever, 07, 08 and still Twitter is new to a lot of people but people said “Joe tell me, explain to me about Twitter” I said “well go into a cocktail reception, go into a cocktail reception and you get on a table and start screaming at the top of your voice how awesome you are” that’s advertising thinking, that’s old way of thinking. Hey I’m great, I’m awesome. The real way that we need to think is, our customers don’t care about us, they don’t care about our products, they don’t care about our services, they care about themselves so you need to give information that’s going to help them help you so if you’re on Twitter, you want to create interesting information so they follow you and you’re not going to put your press release on Twitter because nobody is going to care.
Tim: Good analogy. Can I just take you back? The opposite of content marketing, you said content marketing gets along with everything and I agree with that. When I talk about content marketing, I do say that I always talk push versus pull and if content marketing is pull, pulling people towards you by having interesting things to share and showing that you’re an opinion leader in your industry, then the opposite of that is push and push to me is pure advertising. Now I love when I see an ad in the magazine that has some content marketing integrated into it, for example “Call to action. Go and visit and YouTube channel for review of this product” but pure advertising I would say would be the opposite of content marketing?
Joe: I think that’s a good way to put it. I would also kind of expand on that and say look at the content that you create. I mean, I guess you could say pure promotional content versus educational and entertaining content. I mean those are quite opposite and if you’re a company of any size, the most of the content assets that you have, most of the stories, most of the assets are about you or about your products and services and the fact is that those are fine by the way, we need those but what are you going to do the 99% of the time when your customers aren’t ready to buy? That’s only for a very small portion of the buying cycle and everything else you need to help educate your customers. Take them to the next level, find out what their paying points are, answer their questions – those are the types of things that content marketing is for. I love, I think you’re right, you’re exactly right if you look at interruption versus non-interruption marketing. I think that’s what you’re saying but I would take a step deeper because people are saying “oh I do content marketing” I said “you do? What do you have? What kind of content?” they say “we got this fantastic brochure, all about the good stuff we’re doing” and I’m like that’s not really content marketing; that’s just more like shoving in somebody’s face and like “are you ready to buy? Would you buy this for me?” that’s not going to help your, I was trying to think of “what’s going to help your customers get better jobs, live better lives, that’s the type of content we want to talk.
Tim: it’s a bit like, I’m not one for drawing sexual analogy Joe, but it’s a bit like foreplay content marketing isn’t it?
Joe: Hey you brought it up
Tim: Well is it?
Joe: It is, I mean even with social media, I love to talk to companies that says “hey this social media thing is not working for me. I haven’t sold anything” I said “well do you expect to get the sale right away?” and that’s really what, that’s really where you see that analogy work really well because it’s about engaging them and giving them stuff over a long period of time and you know what, when they are ready to have “sex” from your stand point.
Tim: God, don’t be disgusting
Joe: I have to go with you because of the fact that you’ve been turning them on to that with that.
Tim: Here we go, that’s not going to leave the rest of this interview is it? At this point, our listeners are going “give me examples of content marketing” that’s easily answered. Content marketing is to sure that you’ve got a fantastic, It’s called the content marketing playbook – 42 ways to connect with customers but examples are, well you’re listening to a form of content marketing right now which is podcasting. We got blogs, we got books, there’s forums, there’s webinars, give me three more Joe.
Joe: Oh boy, white papers, you can do print magazine, print newsletter and could you do a customer event or a prospect event, I mean all the social media channels are forms of content and even if you look at offsite content like guess blogging is very, very popular to make sure that you look like experts not only on your own sites but on other people’s sites but I guess what I would do Tim is I like to take people a step back from the channels itself because I think people get the channels but when we talk with most companies they jump right to the channels, like they’ll say “Joe I want to do a blog” or “I want to have fantastic Twitter content” or “I want to do this thing on Facebook” or “I want to watch a video series on YouTube” all tactical forms of content marketing but we want to take them a step back and ask the question “why” not “what”, before we jump to “what” let’s figure out “why”. Why are we creating this content in the first place? I always talk about something called the content marketing mission statement and the whole idea is “why are you creating, what are you doing for the customer to help them in their job, in their life, in some way, what is that content about?” Just like a media company, if you are let’s say the leading trade magazine in your industry, what would be your editorial mission? I want you to come up first with what that editorial mission is and then once you have that and you tie it, by the way this is content marketing, you have to tie it with your business objective, what you’re trying to do and that’s sort of the secret sauce – editorial mission combined with your business objectives, then you can say “where would this type of story be told best? How do we tell that story in a blog? How do we tell it in a content platform? How do we tell it in a webinar? How do we tell it in an eBook?” Those types of things…
Tim: You are singing from the same songbook because one of the things I talk about a lot is yup, you might need to be in Twitter, you might need a website, you might need a podcast but let’s just put that aside and figure out – you talk about the “why” I just talk about the message, what have you got to say and let’s figure out your through line – my through line for this show is small business marketing tips and tricks. So, every bit of content I create has to come back to that.
Joe: I mean that’s your mission statement
Tim: That’s my editorial, what did you call it, editorial mission?
Joe: I talked to a CMO the other day of a fairly large company and said “Joe we have forty thousand fans in Facebook and we sort of plateau, how do we get more fans?” and my first question which seem like an obvious question was “why are you on Facebook?” and she didn’t have the answer to that.
Tim: It’s amazing, isn’t it?
Joe: You know what; you may not even need fans. You might not need followers on Twitter; those might be indicators that don’t help you drive your business in any way. We need to figure out what the message to your client, why it’s going to help our business and how we’re going to help the customers win their buying process, ultimately get to that point where they’re going to become a customer or become a better customer for you.
Tim: Gosh that’s true, exactly some of these businesses just launch into that medium and forget about why, why, why. When you know about the “why”, when you know why you’re on Facebook, it actually makes it easy. For example, it makes it easy to decide what to put on your Facebook.
Joe: That’s exactly right. Here’s a good exercise and we’re all about tips and tricks, so we got to give people some tips. I would say make a list of all the channels that you’re in right now, so every channel that you use, all social media channels, all print channels, all the online channels, everything, make a list of them and then simply put and answer the question “why are you on those channel?” I will guarantee you that you’ve never done that, that you’re using channels that you don’t know why you’re using them and then you make a decision about whether to continue to use it, to adapt that, maybe you’re doing just fine with it or maybe you need to redirect some of those resources doing something else.
Tim: I love it! Joe, content marketing is a bit like, business owners have been writing books for years. In that sense, content marketing is not new, so what’s changed this last, I don’t want to say months in Australia but what’s changed these last few years for content – for you to start a business called the Content Marketing institute?
Joe: There are a couple things; first of all it starts with the consumer. The consumer, take it back in the dawn of the web right, 97, 98, 99, 2000, before social media. That’s when we really started to get all these new channels. Before that, there were like 7 major channels that you have and now, if you look at all the channels that people can engage in content and let alone just look at television today, there’s like thousands, literally thousands online, offline, network of different channels, topics that they could get to then multiply that by radio and podcast and social media and everything, it’s like you almost become overwhelmed by the number of choices. What’s happened then is that consumers, they’re not tuning out content because they’re engaging in more content than ever before but they’re being very selective. It’s harder than ever before to get our message of that display billboard type message in front of somebody because they’re going to tune you out if it’s not helpful to them right then and there. That is the biggest thing that we’ve seen and that means that the book you created years ago has to be fantastic book today and you have to build relationships with people online and offline and throughout, at least be able to look up when that message and content comes their way. It’s just a lot more difficult to go forward with it and that’s why we were talking before, content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. If you need a reaction to your marketing in the next couple of days, please for the love of God don’t invest in content marketing. Go buy yourself a paid campaign, get reaction right away, flood the market with messages, it’s going to cost you a lot of money to do it but go with it however you can but if you have the time and you want to build relationships over time with those people and you can do it the right way and then become their, I guess get on their selected channel list of the type of content they engage with. Let’s say you’re going to do an eNews letter. There’s a million spam eNews letters that your customers are going to delete a day or not even pay attention to, how do you become the one that they actually open? It’s got to be pretty darn good stuff. That’s the difference there.
Tim: I’m seeing, what I’ve observed doing this podcast now for three and a half years, just in the last six months, the amount of colleagues and friends of friends who are starting to get podcast out there, the amount of people I know who are now publishing a book, like a real book, hard copy book, hard cover book, the amount of blogs that are starting, the amount of people opening up forums, whatever it might be. It’s increasing in a rapid rate hence clearly content marketing it’s the new blank Joe and what I’m noticing is that the quality just isn’t there.
Joe: No, to that point you’re exactly right and we can probably talk about quality forever but there are two things – one is this whole thing that’s going on with the consumer but the other thing is there are no barriers to entry in publishing anymore. I mean I’ve been in publishing for 13 years, when I started in the business in 2000; it was still quite pricey to figure out your circulation development, if you’re going to publish with let’s say print and all the production that goes in to that, the editorial and the design and the distribution and everything, it’s very, very costly. Well today, it costs literally nothing to produce a piece on content and get that publicize in some way. To your point, that means that we don’t necessarily book companies, don’t put the time and energy to make sure that it’s an epic piece of content and it just trash, it’s stuff that’s not going to get through, it’s not going to help your business, it’s not going to help the customer and so we got a lot of horrible content out there and it’s getting in the way of the good content trying to get through.
Tim: Yeah big time. One of the things I say to clients and listeners Joe is that I’m going back a step, one of the observations I make of small businesses in regards to content is that they think it’s going to be a Hollywood production. If I’m going to do a video, it’s got to be a Hollywood production, if I’m going to do a podcast, what’s the best mic to get? If I’m going to write a book, it’s like “I don’t want to do that” and they get caught up in what I call the Hollywood production syndrome versus the quality of the content, I think there’s a balance, do you agree? If so, where do you see that balance living between production and quality content?
Joe: I think it actually depends on the medium in my opinion. First of all, it’s almost a no-brainer, it has to be good and interesting and helpful content. I mean a lot, so you have to start there. If you have good content then just look at how good the quality has to be and I think if you look at what’s popular on YouTube, I think what we found is that actually sub-standard video passes in a lot of cases. What doesn’t pass has to be good audio.
Joe: They become frustrated if they can’t hear something so if you’re going to invest in something, well I say make sure that your audio first because video is secondary even when it comes to a video. People don’t understand kind of how that works. If you’re looking at book production, you can say “maybe create space on amazon is okay and I don’t have to take a step up which might be lighting source or something or actually producing it with the traditional book publisher” which is actually an option but not taken up by as many as it used to in the past. I guess the first thing is figure out what that story is, what that message is and then you can figure out and you can always test and go. Once you start with your content strategy, you can evolve it everyday, every second of the day once you get that feedback. Put something out there, doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s never going to be perfect, get that feedback and then figure out where you need to adapt.
Tim: So true, now at this point in time and by the way listeners, I’m speaking to Joe Pulizzi who is the founder of the contentmarketinginstitute.com, go and have a look at it because it is a very, very good source of content if you’re looking at content marketing. Joe, listeners at this point in time are going, even before this interview if they’re a long time listening to this show they’re probably going “I got to get a blog, I got to get a podcast. I’m going to get a podcast and I’m an accountant and I’m going to interview people and express my opinions via podcast about creating financial wealth for people who earn over $100,000 and that’s my editorial mission and I’m right there” and then they go “but what if I give all my knowledge away, all my IP away” can you give too much away Joe?
Joe: Some people will disagree with me but I haven’t talked to too many companies that would give the fire, you know, it’s not that I don’t believe it’s an issue. Obviously if you have some things that are illegal in your company, however your big your company is, please for the love of God don’t share this. Hey I get this, don’t share it but it’s usually not a legal issue. This is mutually we think that we have a process that is so unique, we have a product that’s so unique and I think the truth is that no you don’t. You don’t have anything that’s more special than anyone else. I mean I’m a big fan of Don Schultz; Don Schultz is the author of Integrated Marketing Communications, I’ve always been a great fan of his and he’s been saying this for 20 years – a competitor can literally copy every thing that we have and you know what, they probably know all about us. They already know our secrets so all the things that we think are secrets, they already now it. The only way that we can differentiate ourselves is on the way we communicate and I completely by into that. So, how we communicate can be the competitive difference and I’ll throw this out as well because I just did a speech for a bunch of consultants, who were the worst by the way. They think in the consulting business, they always think they have some proprietary process and when I always say this “look, if you don’t give this thing away, somebody else is going to and they’re going to get all that attention” so let’s say that you do it. You start getting more attention, more people start following you, and you really start positioning yourself well and oh my goodness, one of those people actually takes that tip and uses it for themselves and you know what you say? You say thank you because that’s business you don’t want.
Tim: Yup, yup!
Joe: What kind of business, you don’t want to do it yourself. What you want is somebody that comes to you and says “oh my goodness, this is an amazing answer. I want to follow this expert wherever they go and I can’t do this or I don’t want to do this myself because I’m not good at it and I’m going to hire them to do it.” That’s the way to do it.
Tim: I completely agree with what you said there Joe and I think it comes down to the end of the day, people buy from people. I said it before, if you listen to everyone of my podcast, if you listen to everyone of my blogs and if you’ve been to a few of my keynotes, you don’t need me but people still employ me, you know?
Joe: That’s very true, well I think that’s one good thing that we’ve seen that’s happened with social media too is because you’ve gotten closer to people than ever before. We can actually respond and talk to literally everyone and if you’ve got LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter or whatever, it’s pretty incredible and we have that opportunity to build that expertise and if you don’t give away really helpful content…
Tim: We lost you there for a minute, Joe are you there?
Joe: Yeah I’m still here
Tim: Oh it must be me. Joe this is a kind of a general question because clearly the listeners of my show are from all sorts of industries but I’m really keen for them to get an understanding what are some of the easiest forms of content marketing and what are some of the more popular forms of content marketing? General question I know but what do you got there?
Joe: I wouldn’t say the easiest, maybe you can make a case for I think for a small business, the most effective tool to use in my opinion would be the blog. I mean a blog is just a tool, it’s not a strategy but it integrates really well with search, it integrates really well with social media. There’s all kinds of templates out there to help you today, doesn’t cost a lot to get going and you can integrate video, slide share, podcast, anything into the blog. So, you really need a platform or you need a magnet sometimes, a lot of people call it the hub and spoke model where your hub is the blog and you have all these spokes going out, bringing people into your podcast and different social media distribution channels that you have and could be your eNews letter or your print news letter but they all funnel back into that blog and a blog is, at least according to our research, is used by 75% of the businesses out there in one way or another. Now here is the issue Tim, you look at most of those blogs, let’s say 3 out of 4 companies have a blog. If you look at IBM research they’ll say that 85% of corporate blogs have five or less post so what that means is we’re all really, really good at starting blogs but we’re horrible at continuing on. Content marketing, the success of content marketing has most to do with consistency than almost anything else.
Tim: Marathon not a sprint, well it’s like social media, you know how many times you go to someone’s Facebook page or Twitter and wow the last update was three months ago. Again, content marketing; let’s talk about money versus time. Content marketing is not expensive from a dollar point of view marketing strategy but there isn’t a thing as a free lunch, so what are you trading? You’re trading money for time and if you’re going to go down the path of a blog or a podcast or writing a book or an eNews letter, you’re really got to commit to it and make it part of what you do each week. You got to diarize it.
Joe: That’s exactly right and another thing is a lot of people listening to this might say “Joe and Tim, I’m not a good story teller, I’m not a good writer, I’m not a good podcaster, whatever the case is” but I don’t want to throw out to them that it has to be you. There are a lot of very successful small businesses out there that hire in journalist, editors and other experts that help them tell that story better. That’s been done forever. People have been outsourcing like this forever. Now personally, I think you should do it yourself if you can do it because you’ll learn so much more and you can understand kind of your story especially as a business owner but if you can’t do it and you want to do an interview, let’s say Q and A email back and forth or get somebody on the phone that can help you shape that story, I’m not going to have a problem with that at all. You figure out what’s the best use of your time and resources and that makes the most sense.
Tim: You look at some of these celebrity chef guys, do you know Jamie Oliver over at the states?
Joe: Sure, the naked chef
Tim: Yeah, the naked chef, now even he, for me he’s right up there. I put him right up on the top shelf. In terms of content marketing, there he is in the kitchen in front of the camera. There is someone behind the camera that he is talking to and she or he is leading the conversation with him. Even those guys, not even those guys, those guys have people who help them create content. You don’t have to do it yourself. One of the things that I suggest to my clients Joe and often when I’m giving a keynote is I suggest to people to go and print this playbook of the content marketing institute – 42 different ways of creating content marketing. Literally flick through it and stop at a page or two, every page is a different form of content marketing listeners; just choose one that resonates with you. If you see the video page and go “oh, I hate staring down the barrel of a camera” then keep flicking and you might get to another page that requires you to write or to record into a microphone or something and just choose one that resonates with you.
Joe: That’s right; I mean you’re not going to do all of them, right?
Tim: Not exactly
Joe: Hopefully you put most of your time into one of them and you can integrate a lot of the other ones. Maybe the blog is your base and you can leverage social media off of that, I mean that’s, look at Gary Vaynerchuk, I mean he did the whole thing on his video shows. He didn’t do, I mean he wasn’t typing a lot. He was just getting in front of that camera and doing his thing. You’re doing a podcast, I tend to like doing a blog but then we integrate a lot into that blog like I love slide share, I love integrating video into the blog but the blog becomes a centrepiece. Figure out where you feel the most comfortable because what’s great about today is there are so many choices and there are no barriers to entry. You can pick your poison as long as you understand what your strategy is first.
Tim: Give me an example Joe, you’ve mentioned slide share a few times, it’s on the social media radar in Australia and I know my audience is global, let’s go through an example – you write a blog post, call it 300-400 word blog post, do you then have someone turn that into a slide that can PowerPoint and upload to slide share and embed that into the blog?
Joe: Actually I’ll give you an example because it just happens so we have one of our guest writers, Roger Parker wrote a fantastic post on the 12 months of slide share and it was an incredibly successful, shared all over the internet and we’re like “wow this would actually be a really good slide share post for that” so what we’re doing is we take those 12 months and we create a highly visual, cut that blog post down into more bullet point type scenarios with headlines and really heavy calls to action for what they need to do. 12 slides, we’re working on it now. It will be up in a couple of days and then we’ll put that on slide share for additional distribution and link that back again to the blog post. For those people that don’t know, slide share is the YouTube for PowerPoint presentations. It’s the easiest way to think about it but what’s amazing is there are 80-85 million people every month going to slide share. People are actively looking for slide shows; I know you people are like “are you kidding me?” yes absolutely. The other thing is slide share gets a lot of traction and a lot of ranking with Google. If you don’t have a lot of credibility in Google, you could actually put something on slide share and I call it backdoor search results so if you can’t get them yourself, you can actually put a slide show, slide presentation, something educational or helpful on slide share and then you could actually get found that way and then backdoor that into your website.
Tim: It’s funny, the slide share thing, part of me loves it and I’ve got a lot of slide sitting on my Macbook and drop box but those slides of mine are really, they rely on me to be speaking to them, you know, because a lot of my slides are either a picture or one word, two words, three words so how do you flip that? Do you have to then design the slides so that they live and die by their own swords?
Joe: Look I’m like you too. When I go out and do a presentation, if somebody says “Joe can I have your presentation?” I’ll put that on my personal slide share so they can get that presentation and now you’re absolutely right. Half of my slides are picture only, it makes no sense to anyone but on our CMI, our corporate slide share page, we’re very deliberate about how we’re going to put that up there. We got to make sure that every slide that’s up there tells a story in and of itself. So, if I’m you, I’m going to say “look, this 40 slide presentation that I gave at the university, that’s not going to work. I’m going to cut this down to 15-20 and I’m going to tell a story around that” so it might take an extra hour to two hours of work but it’s all worth it because that all then tell the story for you and they don’t necessarily have to have you there.
Tim: Right, so you’re actually, all of a sudden you’re not creating a slide deck for a key note. You’re creating a slide deck for slide share that tells the story within the boundaries of each slide.
Joe: Exactly and I would probably separate it. I would probably say that the presentations that you do with PowerPoint or keynote had nothing to do with slide share. I would look at slide share more like YouTube, more like you’re going to tell a story in this channel, think about it that way and it’s driven home a ton of business for us directly and I think slide share is a sleeping giant. It’s owned by LinkedIn so if you’re looking at what’s the next, what’s the new channel that I need to be driving into, I would look at slide share now.
Tim: Yeah I agree. It’s been around a while and it’s kind of on that secondary ride for me but it is a good one. Joe, question on the spot, does any small business come to mind for you right now? When I say small, bricks and mortar type business, a vet, a dentist, a chiropractor who is just using content marketing so beautifully
Joe: Well I mean, I can give you a couple of different kinds of it. If you go to conditionedair.com – conditionedair.com, very simply this is nothing outlandish. She started a blog back in 2010, Theo Axel is the owner of that, I’m sorry it’s a heating and air conditioning company, they install heating and air conditioning units for their businesses and consumers and was doing a really good job branding and everything else and said “look what’s this whole social media thing?” and we talked about the idea that you really need to have a message, a story. What Theo did is twice a week, created a helpful post about how you can save energy in South of Florida, when you need to change your filters and why, what’s a programmable thermostat and did all of that and you know, about 6-9 months because when you first start a blog you get radio silence, it takes a while but once you get going and now she sees thousands of people that are coming to her site that never would have been there before. He gets thousands of people saying “hey I want more input from you” they filled in their contact forms and they’re getting there because they’re typing in things in Google and they’re seeing content on social media about helpful tips around HVAC and if they weren’t creating that original blog content, they’d never get to that site at all.
Tim: Just digging deeper on that because I get that, that’s just a smart example of a small business, heating and air-conditioning business, creating really useful content for their prospects to find and if they find it they consume it then they go “aha! These guys know a lot about heating and air-conditioning, I trust them. I’m going to inquire, I’m going to ring them, I’m going to email them, I’m going to walk into their shop” I get that, are they doing anything below that in terms of search engine optimization, getting the meta data right, getting the page description, the URL because at that point, that’s where I could see a lot of small business owners “okay that is now too hard”
Joe: Well I think yes and no, but I mean from that example I would use us. Let me give you an example with just my business because I think it has a good story. 2007 it was just me. It was just me blogging everyday, blogging about what I thought was important around our business objectives and around what the customer wanted and I was proofing, I was doing the whole thing myself. Now today, when I do a blog post which is I don’t blog everyday. Now I blog once a week because you can change your velocity once you get to a certain point so I blog once a week and that blog goes to our editorial manager. She reads it over, she edits that, that goes to a proof reader and they make sure that is looking good on WordPress then we have an SEO person that looks at that and makes sure is that title is the right title, is the meta data all right, all those things and by the way, those are all outsourced functions. There are people that don’t necessarily work for us but they all do their part and we’re a small business. There are not many businesses out there that couldn’t afford kind of what we’re looking at. It’s just that if you look at the process in what you’re good in and what you’re not good at, fill in the gaps with talent that’s available right now that you can find and it’s really, really worked for us. Our search engine traction right now is up about 20% every month, month in and month out just because we’re doing those little things with content now.
Tim: I love that. It plays into my whole concept I talked about with surrounding yourself with a virtual marketing team and the world of outsourcing, anyone listening to this, it’s not about finding someone in the same suburb, the same city, the same state, even the same country. It’s about finding A-players somewhere around the world and that process that you just described plays into that Joe. That leads into my almost my last question, you’ve got this whole, at the moment listeners are going “yeah I get it, I love it, I’m excited, I want to become a content marketer, I want to stop some of my advertising down and put it into content marketing but time, time is just…” to me it’s an excuse, you got to find either you do it or you don’t but any tips on how you make content marketing a comfortable part of what is already a busy week for small business owner?
Joe: I, you know, you and I we both run into this question all the time and unfortunately I can talk until I’m blue in the face and somebody doesn’t get it until they see something positive happen. They actually need to see it working and the problem is a lot of people get into it and two or three moths they’ll say “we haven’t seen anything” and they’re done, they’re like “I don’t know, this doesn’t work for me” they just didn’t give it an ample amount of time. I always say you got to start a little pilot program. You got to commit to the program for at least 6 months. Just like a television show has a pilot, you need to do a pilot too. You have to say “here’s our goals, here’s what we’re going to do, here’s the strategy and we’re going to consistently do this over 6 months and here’s the matrix we’re going to follow” and if you do that, you will see results but the problem is most people don’t get to that 6-month mark. They actually stop. From that standpoint Tim, I would just say you don’t see it coming. You might have been in an industry that maybe isn’t social media savvy or maybe you think your customers are different. This thing is coming like a freight train and you better out of fear alone be paying attention because if you’re not on this, you are going to get passed, you are not going to get found or you’re going to have to spend a ton of money doing things you don’t want to do to get attention that are not going to pay off for you in the long run. I mean I’ve never seen anything move as fast as this industry in moving. We’re about 2 years ahead of where I thought I was going to be and then moves faster every day. I just, now that more than 50% of the world has a smart phone in their pocket now. They’ve got a content device with them at all times. They have a world of answers at their hands and if you’re not there, they’re going to go somewhere else. You don’t have a choice to that.
Tim: I so agree, I so agree. I get excited and nervous and scared when you talk like that but it’s so true and don’t miss the boat listeners and when you put in the criteria together, when you do commit to that 3-6 month content marketing strategy and when you do put that mission criteria together, it might me search engine rankings, it might be calls, whatever it is, I think one of the things I love about creating content is the fact that I can get a phone call from a prospect Joe and they might be asking me about a particular, they might be asking me about whatever form of small business marketing it is and generally I’ve now got a piece of content, whether it be a blog or a white paper or an interview or whatever it is or a video, I’ll say “you know what, can I send you a link on an interview I did on that exact topic?” and that alone is so powerful.
Joe: I love that, what you’ve done is you built into the nature of your organization and that’s what we’ll, I mean if you think about the way that we’re headed, this is what companies will be doing when most of what – I mean that’s why brands over here in the states, they’re hiring tons of journalist and editors, they understand that we need to be telling better stories and this is new right now but in a couple of years this wont be new anymore and it will be like “oh my gosh what the heck is happening” and I think that you’re taking the story telling mentality, the sharing mentality into your organization and we got to figure out a way to get that in there so if you are a CEO that’s listening, if you’re a CEO, if you’re an owner, you can do something about it. It starts from the top down but if you’re not, if you’re a marketing manager in a small company, then you need to focus on small wins that you can show matrix to and take them up and say “look what we’ve did”
Tim: Yeah, this is a bit of a self centred question to finish Joe; I don’t normally do this but let’s talk podcasting. Do you like podcasting? I don’t think you guys’ podcast, why not?
Joe: No, actually you know what, we don’t, we leverage a lot of partners that do and you know it’s funny, it’s kind of one of those things where we’ve got Andrew Davis, good friend of mine, partner with CMI, he does a lot of blogging. We have a number of other bloggers that we work with, I like to partner with, we get our expertise on their. I do a lot of blogging, not podcast like this but I think what it proves is you can be successful and you don’t need to be into everything. We don’t do a lot of videos by the way, we do very few of them. My goal right now is to make sure that our content is accessible in mobile format wherever our customers are at and that’s a lot of small business don’t think about how your content is being engaged in a mobile device but I love podcast, I think that iOS change that’s happened recently, that’s amazing what’s happened and we’ve seen this rebirth of podcast. It seems like everybody is starting to podcast. I’m sure you’ve seen it all the time.
Tim: Big time, big time and you know I think its such a reassuring point that you’ve made which is here you are, you got the content marketing institute. It’s getting great traction in the world of content marketing and you focus on blogging with a secondary into slide share. Me, I got the number one marketing show in the country and I focus on podcasting. I’m not out there trying to do video marketing and blogging and book writing, you know, I slowly do. I mean a do blog every now and then. I do a video every now and then but it’s about doing one thing really well and not ten things poorly. Joe it has been an absolute pleasure to have you. Now you guys are coming to Australia, that’s exciting. I’m hoping to make, you’re going to have a content marketing institute is holding an event in Sydney, now podcasting is one of those kind of – people could be listening to this show in a years time but I will put in the show notes the dates and I will make comment after this interview is over unless you know the dates off the top of your head Joe that you’re going to be in Sydney.
Joe: Well we’re going to be in Sydney March 4th, 5th and 6th and the other thing is you listen to this, after the fact we’re going to be back every March hopefully and we’re going to do it again and again because there’s a big need for content marketing in Australia.
Tim: Absolutely and my aim is just a little goal, I wanted to be invited to speak at next years content marketing institute in Sydney.
Joe: I think we’re going to need a session on podcasting
Tim: I hear it! I could feel it! Absolutely, in fact we’re going to do a podcast live from stage. If you haven’t gotten one by then already, then we’re going to do the first episode of the content marketing institute’s podcast live on stage in Sydney in 2014.
Joe: I love it. I do, put it on paper, let’s do it.
Tim: I love it Joe. Thanks so much for sharing. It was absolute gold and contentmarketinginstitute.com is Joe’s business and he’s a good guy. Thanks Joe
Joe: Tim I appreciate it.
Tim: Marketing gold right there. Gosh Joe had lots to share. There are times when I just felt, I think I might have said it during the interview, I was talking to myself because there’s a lot of stuff, I’ve been sharing on my deep guide mastermind or have been talking about it in my keynotes or just thinking about it generally from the marketing of my own business. We live in exciting times, small business owners out there. We really do. There has never ever been a better time to market a small business and you just heard why. Some learning’s from Joe’s, the far side chat I had with Joe, number 1: content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. If you’re looking for results tomorrow, don’t worry about content marketing. Go run an ad, but commit to content marketing and you will see results just like I am having been a content producer now for a number of years with my podcast and my blog. Pull not push, number 2, learning take away, pull not push means pull people towards you by showing that you know a lot of things about the industry in which you operate and you do! That’s why you’re in there. Push meaning run advertising sales-based messages. There’s a role for both but content marketing is I think a magnet, it pulls people towards you. Number 3 learning, act like a publisher – I love that. You know, take on that publisher’s mindset. What do publishers do? They publish useful, sometimes entertaining, sometimes challenging, sometimes opinionated information – again to pull people towards them. Number 4 takeaway, what’s your editorial mission? What a great question. What is your editorial mission? If you can identify that, as I said mine is small business marketing tips and tricks, that’s my editorial mission. Everything I create is all about helping you build a better marketing strategy to grow your business. So what’s your editorial mission? Whack in the show notes if you know what it is. I’d love to hear it and number 5 takeaway, looks like slide share is a bit of a sleeping giant – one of those social media channels that’s just kind of on my secondary level. I upload some of my slide decks there but I don’t spent a lot of time on slide share. I think I should. It’s a bit like pinterest, sleeping giants we need to be there guys. More kind of time, I know, maybe it’s time you got a VA but you need, we need to be aware of these things, that’s why small business big marketing is here to draw them to your attention. We don’t need to be on all social media channels, don’t get me wrong but it’s good to be aware of them. So, there are five key takeaways from my chat with Joe, what are yours? I’d live to hear them. Go to the show notes at smallbusinessbigmarketing.com and look for episode 125 and leave me your thoughts. I would love to know them.