How to Build a Content Marketing Creation & Promotion Machine

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Building a content marketing strategy is a lot like building a house, says Visme's Farzad Rashidi .

You need a good foundation and infrastructure and a nice facade.

You need to have a clear understanding of the best keywords that will attract readers to content and determine the most relevant channels to publish content.

But creation should only account for 20% of your time.

80% should be devoted to promotion and distribution, as well as updating and refreshing existing content.

That's the formula for content marketing success.

Hi, it's Mark Evans and you're listening to marketing spark. Content marketing is hot, red hot, for BB SADS companies. Content is how they've attracted and engage customers over the past nineteen months and even with conferences slowly reemerging, the strategic importance of content marketing will continue. But here's the thing. Content for the sake of content is a waste of resources, time and money. Like any type of marketing, content needs to make a financial impact by turning prospects into customers. Far As ad Rasheti has seen the power of content marketing firsthand at vis me, which became a highly profitable rival to Canada and Ven Gage and generated organic traffic of more than two million visitors per month. Welcome to marketing spark, Fars at, glad to be here. Thank you very much for amvite. Before we get into the content marketing magic that happened at visit, I'm interested in your take on the content marketing landscape. How have you seen it evolved the last nineteen months? What are some of the things that have surprised you the most? So what? One thing as quite clear is that there's a lot of noise and unfortunately, a lot of companies have started to do content and they sort of have a check box of having a blog on their site and and they, you know, put purchase a few pieces of content, put on the side and called a day and and they get zero traffic from it. So normally they just never think about it. Right, lots of other companies that are doing pursuing content seriously. It's more so becoming a matter of SEO traffic, so that they basically are overdoing the scientific portion of writing content, which is, you know, Doing Keyword Research, keyword stuffing and and it. They normally don't care as much about the content piece that that's actually been published or not. IS ADDS value. And so the happy medium where basically you're still researching your audience, understanding what they're looking for and writing actual, you know, valuable, actionable pieces of content where your potential customers and audience coup put it. US just don't quite rarely. But but people have started to figure this out, that that, you know, the only way to really get make this work. They actually have to start investing in content, and that sort of been something that has been happening over the course of the past ten or so years. But nowadays what's happening is people are People's attention spans or sort of shortening, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that, you know, there's just so much going on with nowadays, specially with social media, that that it's hard to grab an audiences and tension for long periods of time. So what business has started doing is to start creating content through a variety of different channels, could be video, and take an omnichannel approach, where where I see definitely things are heading towards but as far as content itself goes, I think that that to detect the good old text based content not going anywhere, as just that to do it right and and put all the pieces of the puzzle together still swap quite time consuming and resource intensive. The companies who actually do invest in it are a then competitive advantage compared to their rivals who aren't. So let me ask you the sixty fourzero question. It's easy, relatively easy, to create content. As an ex journalist and a content marketer, I know that you can put a bunch of writers in a room and they can create content. But, as you say, it's a noisy landscape right now there is so much content being published and more companies have jumped on the bandwagon in the past eighteen months. How do you create high quality content or valuable...

...content that actually resonates and makes an impact, content that breaks through? I'm asking you a load of question, but as someone who has been in the midst of this content marketing landscape and help the company stand out from the crowd, what are your thoughts about this? I'm glad you asked so the answer that question is quite a few hours long and let's get to a few minutes. We're gonna, we'RE gonna, we're gonna summarize a little. The way I paint content market is always as a house, and building a content strategies a lot like building a house. You need to have a good foundation and a good infrastructure and a nice facade. So step one in any content marketing strategy is the right site structure. So that normally requires the tension of a person who somewhat does your savvy. Again, not a Jesus rocket science, but you need to understand. Okay, what are some of the key key words that we are operating it. So, say, for vis me, as an example, there's multi use cases for our platform, presentations, infographics and, say, social graphics. These are our parent keywords per se. So these are the ones that that that we ideally want to build our side a run. Within that site, we want to what we call a landing page or salespace. So, for example, as a consumer, when I need to create a presentation tomorrow, what I need to do is to go look up. What do you do? Mark when you're looking for a solution in any space, what's the first step you do? Intrinsically, do a search. There you go and right work. Where do you guys? Are? Google? Right, exact, right, good, exactly. So, presentation software, infographic maker, right, the reports maker, Tetra. So these are what we call our landing pages, sales pages. In in order to make these landing or these d sales pages competitive, what we do? What we do is to create what we called Topical Authority. So we create these categories or silos. As you know, a fancy market is called right of content, a meaning. Basically, it's just a simple way of saying just create content about presentation. So for our presentation landing page, we create how to make a presentation. What? How? What are some of the best ways to present in front of an audience, right, etc. And each one of them have an internal link structure, so they refer across reference to each other, right, so that the soft this site is well woven together, so that that's the one that's building is right side structure. Step too, is to start identifying what are some of the phrase or keywords that your audience are searching for. But that's not enough. You need to prioritize on because there's going to be a gazillion of them right in any sort of space that you want to touch on, anything from manufacturing to beauty. So what's going to happen is I going to end up with a million keywords? Now, in order to prioritize what are some of the keywords they want to go after, you need to start what I call, I've made this little smep simple formula. Would I called the opportunity keywords, where we're trying to prioritize these phrases where they get a lot of hits, so they're actually people, are actually here, he is and they're actively searching for so they get high volume and clicks and you got to make sure they actually have some commercial intent, so it's not just googling about stuff, but the actually are looking to take action and purchase something that are it's a product or service, and at the same time want to make sure that these keywords are not dominated by the big guys in the industry. So the competitiveness is somewhat relatively lower. So that sweet spot, that middle ground, is what we call the opportunity yword. So you make this little formula for folks can look Google it. Just look up vis me marketing strategy and I wrote a little ebook that go through all this for that sort of stop by step, so folks can download...

...that ebook and kind of follow through. It's great. But anyhow, as far as the the content strategy goes, most we have our kind or keywords that we know what we're trying to create. Then you want to segment it. Okay, is this better suited for a youtube video? Is this a better block? Poses is another landing page? It is a tamplet page, right, and you create these these pages on your website, and that's what I call a right infrastructure or a base for your website. Now you got to build a facade up and or build the walls and the plumbing, the electricity to go up and in order to show that, hey, this is a house, it's not just the foundation, right. So a lot of people just stop there, would say ninety percent of people not. It's just basically put out a piece of content, create a bunch of landing pages and they just think that people are magic that kind of show up at their door and and people are going to just form lines and and it and try to knock down the doors of the website to come in. And that's a rarely the case, right, unless your apple, where you know when you release a new life phone, you get a spike in your track. So most of us are an apple or Google or these fortune one hundred companies. So what do we do? Well, that's where content promotion kind of kicks in. So we actually spend twenty percent of resources on content creation, and that includes building landing pages, development creating content. Eighty percent of our resources going to content promotion. And it sounds quite scary because a lot of businesses are like, Hey, we don't have all these resources to go start promoting pieces of content. And to answer that, I said just don't produce as much content. Then it's a matter of dedication or resources. When you put out a thousand block pusts on your website and nobody looks at it and it doesn't rank for anything. That's a waste of money. Produce One blog post, one very good block post, every month and spend the rest of the month for promote a piece of content. Well, the obvious question is in theory it sounds great, but in terms of practical terms, how would you take a blog post, let's say it's a seven hundred and fifty to a thousand word blog post? Good content, helpful content? What do you do with it? Walk me through how you would extract as much value from that one piece of content. So a lot of people think of kind of promotion as just going out and and put it in on their social media and gets like two likes and they're like yes, right, made it, and then they put it in their news letters and it to their own existing customers. That, to me is not content promotion. Yes, you got to do that because you have to, but but it's not even in our strategy. It's just something that actually happen. Content promotion to US comes back to the main purpose of the content piece. So, once you create a piece of content, you want to use this as a magnet to bring in potential customers, to position her self to show up in places where people who are looking for a solution look or service like you would naturally in organically find you. Most of that traffic happens on Google. So how do you get that content piece rank for that target keyword? And in order to do that you need to understand how some of these search engines work, and I always come up with this example of a mean girls popularity count. The way it is searching is is carls works that the more other authoritative relevant websites in your space are talking about you and actually obviously mentioning it linked to your website, that's a vote of popularity. In Nice. Google and other search engine it's just tells them that hey, this is this must be a credible source because other people are linking to it. Right, just like how universities research papers are value based on the matter citationous they have, but not all citanceous that created equal. So you want to make sure that that the people were actually talking about you are authoritative. Now, in order to do that, people just don't actually...

...come and find you again. It's not, as sprain pray approach. It is somewhat of a active process of promotion. So that's sort of what was also the original story of how responding came into play. So back in the day, what we were doing anytime we would put out a piece of content, would have to actually go and use these Google advanced operators and try to do some research, try to identify water some of the content pieces the other people have created that have mentioned or talked about very briefly about the content piece, for example, let me give you an example to make sense. Say I put together a guide on lead generation. All right, ultimate guide to lead generation, and I'm elige generation agency, and I want to get that guide up into search a. thus now it's a very competitive content. Now, ideally, what I want to do is to find other content pieces that are mentioning what are some of the top marketing strategies for BBS as companies, right, and they end as a part of our content. That happened to mention lead generation as one of the strategies, but that obviously the focus of the content is something else, so they don't get to die deep into the topics. I want to ideally identify first these noncompeting post that happened, to mention our key word in there, and and and reach out to them and incentivize them to mention us. Now that's a whole flew of different, you know, tactics and strategies. I want to keep it to the Bra and also another thing you want to do is the reverse engineer what's already working. So we want to go take a look at all the other guys, lead generation into top ten search results in Google and see what are some of the resources or other post and blog articles. I've mentioned them, an extract list and reach out to them. If especially, if you'll have the superior post and it's Boba. Call it a reverse skyscriptatic, but identify these opportunities that you could reach out to. That whole process and then leads you to start finding the right people and understanding. Okay, for this site, for this page, who would be the best person that I could reach out to? What would be the right pitch? That collaboration also in a leads to a guess post and then leads to a partner, longer term partnership, and that that's sort of the whole process of prospecting, identification, finding contacts and average something that we were sort of put piecing together as me manually duct taping bunch of different tools and had a bunch of data minors and manual work and and and it was quite tedious, as you might can imagine. Yeah, that does sort of spark the idea of response that we were like, all right, well, we are software company. Why don't we just put together at a whole process that's already working for US manually put it in a software so we can scale without losing quality. So and stop. Let me talk be there, because you've talked about respond to, but you maybe tell the story of respond to because it's a spinoff something that emerge from within vis me. You have this problem that you're talking about in terms of content promotion. It's a classic we've got a problem, let's build a tool to fix it. What is respond to? How does it work, and is it just available to this me or is it going to be available to other content marketers? So responda. There's no Dan there, by the way. So all right, that's Hanna and you got it. We built this initially as a internal software. So we were basically like, Hey, guys, this content promotion process is long as tedious let's let's put to get a really ugly Ui and and doctate this steps together so we can sort of have a one have just one screen, so that one person could sit down go from Adz in a few minutes instead of spending hours doing research and hopping different tools. So that was initially built as an MVP, as an internal software, and what happened was that a just worked very well. We sort of text a productivity or more and also we cut around eighty percent of average cost because we let go...

...of six full time staff members whose job was just data mining, canceled a bunch of paid subscriptions that we had and we're like, all right, guys, I think we got something here. And Up to this day of busne still respond as biggest customer. But what we've decided to release respond as a standalone products. Started separate company and and sort of have that run scorse and and and over the course of the past couple of years, been mainly catering to other sass companies that are doing the same thing and a also a number of really high level SEO agencies and and people that are doing these sort of tactics for our clients and and other publishers, people who are who have a publishing website or to have some sort of affiliate website. So that that sort of led to the creation of respond and now I sort of shifted away from vis me and sort of running operation here at respond. We've got to've got a separate team here now. But yes, that initially was sort of a incube its. It was sort of incubated out of business. So I'm curious about the separation between the two companies. So are they different entities and what are some of the management challenges when you've got this love child, for lack of a better word, that has emerged from the parent is now the standing up tuned feet and it could become high growth company? Are they split in half? Are they is are they still inner, innerweaved? How you structured this new entity? We were very adamant keeping both products, supper and reason. Why is that? Viz meane and out of itself is a very successful company. For folks who don't know what it is, it it basically plays that brand management or brand content creation platform mark. You create all sorts of social media assets and you create presentations and you know, especially in larger organizations, word I have to keep everybody on the same page in terms of brand guidelines and logos and colors and fun so vis me sort of all in one hub that allows businesses to be able to create these sort of content pieces without lacking or impacting quality. It's a pretty, pretty interesting product. We are founder visme's founder, pay Moon, who is a CO founder at respond actually launched this back in two thousand and thirteen. Now it's got over then we passed just twelve million active users and over any of the employees fully profitable, growing at a very healthy rate, and so that whole operation is what Paymon's managing. So respond I was sort of since it was initiated by me and it created by me and it was sort of sort of responsibility for the management on the responding side fell on me. So we hired a separate engineering team. We have a separate marketing team. So we try to keep thinks separate so that and not one is impacting the other by eating up resources. Maybe you went back to the content marketing production world. What are your sut thoughts about how to maintain the production of high quality content, because it's easy to get excited in the short term and to create a number of great blog posts or ebooks or infographics. But in time that enthusiasm can wane. The ideas aren't as there's not as many, they're not as they don't flow as as well or as fast as they used to. So when you look at this me and the way that it approaches content, how do you keep the engine rumbling forward to that you're constantly creating great content month after month, year after year? Content production went once the CUTTON is out in the world, doesn't mean your jobs done. So every six months we actually won a content audit and go back to post our six months or older and see what post are on their performing and I includes time on site order. It's lost in the rankings. What are it has any backlinks or getting any sort of traffic,...

...and we actually delete post that don't have any links or get any traffic after signals. It's just a waste of space. So it is a and there are post. I have a good number of backlinks mentions, but the ranks have started to drop, so let's go ahead and update and refresh that those. So it's a it's a constant, dynamic process of evaluating contents that have been created in the past and keeping the block going. So so that's number one, is that you don't want to put out a piece of content. Let us sit there for ten years, right it. At some point it's going to hit zero. Side from content refresh is not a thing we do, is that we don't have just two people at the company whose job is to write, because sooner or later they're going to run out of topics to write about. Or what's going to happen is that, because it's almost impossible, that the person is a jackal trait. So they start writing that stuff that not necessarily relevant to that, for example. So, like if I had to run a cooking website, I'll be horrible because I can barely scramble x to get it right. So I can't topics. I'm not a so what we do at this maybe have a pretty good network writers. We've tried and tested over years and each one is an expert in something. So like one person is good with writing content, pass about design because they're there have a design background. Right. So there's a million pieces they can write about about design and we got not a person that WHO's expertise in digital marketing. Right, they come from the marketing world to know and IT INS and out. So having a network writers they can bounce ideas off of and not just necessarily have two people in charge of writing content per se. That helps a lot with but keep you things creative. So, to be clear, do you have inhouse writers as well as well as a network of writer? So you're you're tapping both internal and externals resources to create content? Yes, but but the inhouse folks are predominantly in charge of quality control. So they basically are, you know, delegating tasks, roping content, editing, publishing and also doing the research part at the top of the front right. So, okay, understanding. What do we need to write about? What do we need? But are we on a performing do you have a new feature coming out? Okay, let's let's see what Psilom we need to target. Their job is mainly predominantly to put together just content brief that they get passed on to the writer who's now it's going to sit up right from the heart. What are some of the mistakes that PB SASS companies make when it comes to content marketing? I know you're going to talk about promotion, you're going to talk about how to great quality content. But what do you see is the top two or three mistakes that many companies make when it comes to content, or number one, content marking is not for every right. So a lot of companies feel the obligation to have a blog, fill obligation to start producing content just for good measure, and they'll clear strategy in line and always advise them much. Sometimes some business it just doesn't make any sense. Like if you're a super enterprise software that sells like hundred K plus a year licenses in May not make sense to start writing content about it because guess what? Your target customers are in Googling for a hundred K plus license to suffer normally. That requires different sales cycle, that requires some outbound, requires some you know, salespeople and scrs and C or events venues, you name it. It's not always done through Google. So first understanding. Okay, where my audience hanging out? And that's something that that's a question that a lot of businesses don't even consider. They're just start writing content or just hired right. So that's number one mistake. Number One. First understand if it's the right fit for you. That leads me to number two and that's dedicating enough resources to it. So a lot of people, businesses, they do not like. Okay, thank that. I would assure you. Ninety percent of businesses were actually listening to this. Spend most of their money into pain salaries of strs or paid advertising. Those two channels normally occupy the majority of the marketing budget.

Very little startups invest as heavily as in content as companies like vis me or responded, and the reason being is it's a silent channel that has a very large lag. So you can just put some ads and it wants you start doing Google ads. You can see result. It's okay, here's how many impressions we guys did have the conversions. This is clear cut. This is great. Let's keep on newness. It's a never ending black hole of cash. Content is something that you're just sort of produce, an educational resource, putting out in the world, no idea who's going to see it. Okay, these get some traffic. Are you actually converted into customers? Because it's not as clear. People don't best as much in it. So once you identified, okay, this is a channel that the people are actively looking for our services online and mainly through Google. Now I'm producing in pieces of the content. Don't, I'm sorry, excuse my friends. Don't half asset roll in. You know, you want to make sure you putting the pieces right because if it's a ways, some money. Otherwise, if if you're going to skip any of these steps, dedicating enough resources and a personally, I don't know any other marketing channel has had this amount of Roi that content and sems have for us. Vis Mee's traffic. You know how much money we would have to spend in advertising, in add words in particular, based on the keywords are your ranking, to bring in this level of trafficking sign ups using add words. Pick a number million dollars. It's about one point four million dollars a month. Wow, that is huge. That's a huge number every month. We would have to spend one point four million to bring in this amount of sign ups and traffic. When you think about the amount of money we spend in content, that's a pretty damn good Roi. And not granted it took us a few years get here. Then it hap an overnight, but when you actually put them head to head, okay, we need to spend every one point four million dollars a month, every month forever, versus, you know, planned in the seas and putting together as pieces of content. Now, over time they're going to actually start yelling results. Given that your audience are looking for solutions like on Google, then that's an nobrainer to me. One final question, and this is a loaded question, but it's being talked about a lot these days, is the where you fall when it comes to gated versus ungated content. A lot of beasts SASS marketers want to get content because it generates email addresses. Growing number of marketers are saying that content should be for be what's your view of the world when it comes to gated content or on gated content? I don't think they're mutually exclusive. You know, I'm not against either one. I think you should do both if you have the resources for it. It's just a different type of content, that's educational resource that people are actively searching forward, and great, let's go ahead and put the size of blockbuster. There's no reason for it to be gated. Now, if you've done some original research, runs and surveys and and got some data, and he got some something interesting that people who are in your space would be willing to put in their information and take a look and it's not really a type of content that you would put on a Google and people be actively searching for. Then yeah, that that's much better suited for a gated piece of content. Now the way you require impressions is different. I. You got to be spending some ads and on Linkedin with these like forms that people can automatically prefil and up to into your list and get access to that e book. Or you already have an existing news letter base or US audience you could promote this to. Not a cool thing we've done also with gated content is that we partner up with another company. So we partner out with mark you and we say okay, mark you, go ahead and take care of this research part and we flesh it out. We take care of the design and then writing out the content and sort of putting it together. Let's put our money together and our and and let's both promoted to each other's audience and split a ad budget in both ways. Let's sure the least that we get from both of these are from these ebooks right...

...in about right. So it's sort of double out the allwise it's also in something. That's something that would do an ongoing basis with our businesses as well well. Forsa, this has been an excellent and inspiring conversation. Where can people learn more about you? visit me and Responda you can connect with me on Linkedin. There's not a whole lot of people named far Z out orsheity, so the spot on social media, thinked, is my main channel. It can connect with me there and also respond oncom. This mecom, and that's where they can learn about our business. Thanks for listening to another episode of marketing spark. If you enjoyed the conversation, leave a review, subscribe by Apple, podcast, spotify or your favorite podcast APP, and share via social media. To learn more how I HOLP TO BE SASS companies as a fractional CMO, spruchagic advisor and coach, send an email to mark and marquing spark dotcom, or connect with me on linked in. I'll talk you next time.

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