This week we have the amazing Chris Marr on the podcast. As an expert when it comes to becoming a ‘Wikipedia’ in your industry, Chris and I look at how to create content that leads people to buy. Although you may create content that is well-written or nice to look at, you need to think about how you’re going to use content to get people to buy into your product or service. Whilst we’ve spoken about this before, this episode goes much more into depth when it comes to creating valuable content. Grab a pen and a notepad, the episode is going to be filled with great snippets of information!
KEY TAKEAWAYS COVERED IN THE PODCAST
- Your customers and prospective buyers should determine the content that you create. Often, people create content for their peers instead, whereas, if you want to be an authority in your market is to create content that shows that you understand your customers.
- If you can serve your customers better, you will be seen as an expert in your industry.
- When creating your content, you need to think about how people go through the buying process. What problems do they have? What objections do they have? The content that answers this is the content that will perform well in terms of conversions.
- Buyers are doing research online before they make a buying decision so you need to step away and see the world as a consumer. On average, 77% of a buying decision is made online before a buyer contacts a company for the first time.
- The people that are vulnerable and honest in their industry effect their consumers in a positive way. If you’re not confident about your product and service, you’re going to hold back when it comes to creating content.
- If you’re worried about creating content in a different way to everyone in the industry then try to overthink it. You need to create content exactly how you want to. It will help you stand out!
- Although you should be keeping an eye on what your competition are doing, you need to have a unique approach to your content.
- Content is not about virality in your industry it is about your buyers making a buying decision. If one person has the ability to buy something and your content helps them make this decision, it is a success. Being famous to buyers is powerful.
- If your buyers have a question, it is your responsibility to answer it.
- There are 5 main topics that buyers want to have answers to when it comes to content. Those are price, cost, problems, reviews and comparisons and best of.
- You need to become the ‘Wikipedia’ of your industry. This means people use your website as an information resource to figure out what they want – whether they buy from you or not.
- By typing the questions you get from your buyers into Google and looking at the suggested searches, you will be able to get a snapshot of what your customers want to know. Once you’ve done this, you need to work out which questions have already been answered.
- You need to let go of the need to look smart.
- There are no secrets in any industry, so don’t worry about sharing them online. Let go of the need to control.
- It is not about being the first, it’s about who can do it better.
THE ONE THING YOU NEED TO REMEMBER ABOVE ALL ELSE…
Traffic to your website doesn’t necessarily mean leads. You need to differentiate between the two and ensure you’re writing content that leads to sales.
HIGHLIGHTS YOU SIMPLY CAN'T MISS
- Introducing Chris Marr – 03:12
- What Should We Think About When Creating Content for Our Audience? – 06:06
- What Content Should I Be Producing? – 11:30
- Should You Post Controversial Content? – 16:00
- How to Stand Out and Be an Expert in Your Industry – 26:28
- How Do You Know How to Help Your Customers? – 34:46
- Should You Share Your Secrets? – 40:00
- Chris’ Top Tips – 47:50
Hello, and a super warm welcome to this week's episode of the podcast. How has your week been? So this week, I am recording this episode from California. We're still here. We would have been well back but by the time this comes out but Phil, my lovely editor who's listening to this as I speak, he's going on holiday so we're just getting a little bit ahead and making sure that we batch this content so that it can be done before he goes. So it's a little early in the morning, and I have to say I had maybe one or two gin and tonics last night, so a little bit tired, but we're going to see how this goes. And thank goodness for you guys it's an interview, so you haven't got to listen to me go on the whole time.
So this week, I'm really excited to have Chris Marr on the podcast. Now I've seen Chris talk a number of times, but last year he keynoted MarketEd.Live, I was very lucky that I was able to keynote that event this year. But I saw him keynote MarketEd.Live last year and he said something that I have talked about over and over and over. And basically, he talked about being the Wikipedia of your industry. So whatever industry you're in, whatever your business is, that really people need to come to you because you're the expert. He gave a great example about how his wife actually runs another business and she did it with hers and it helped massively. So even though we've talked about content before and how important it is, he comes at it from two different angles; one talking about becoming the Wikipedia of your industry. But secondly, how do you create content that leads people to buy.
So you might create content that's nice for people to watch, or look at, or use, you might create content that is educational, or fun. But what are you actually doing to get them to physically buy your product or your service? So I really liked the conversation that we've had today, I really like what he talks about because this isn't something we've necessarily talked about. Well, we have talked about it before, but we haven't necessarily talked about it in this way before. So even if you've listened to lots of content episodes, I know we've talked about content before, he definitely puts a different spin on it and actually a really, really important spin. So I definitely want you to take a listen to this because it's going to be good.
So if you don't know Chris, he is a multi-award winning entrepreneur, and believes content marketing is the only way to set a business leaders free from a world of mediocre interruption marketing. He's also the founder and driving force behind CMA, the UK's largest membership organisation of its time. So I really think you're going to enjoy this one. So without further ado, here he is.
Introducing Chris Marr
I am super excited today to welcome the very smart and very lovely Chris Marr to the podcast. How are you doing, Chris?
I'm good. Thanks very much for having me along. I'm excited about this.
My pleasure. My pleasure. Now I've already said in the intro, that last year you were keynoting MarketEd.Live. And I've seen you speak before then. I'm sure I have. But last year really stood out, because you talked about content, and it literally blew my mind what you were saying and you came up with some great concepts. So to get you on to talk about this, I think it's going to be so much value to our audience. So just in case they haven't heard from you or they don't know who you are, can you just tell them who you are and how you got to do what you're doing now?
Well, my name's Chris Marr. I am based in Scotland in Dundee which is north of Edinburgh for those have never been before. And I work permanently from home full time. I run a small company called the Content Marketing Academy or CMA for short. And I've been running this company for about six or seven years now in various forms. We used to be an agency. We merged into a membership like that was 100% our focus and also consulting as well and obviously some speaking happens as well. So I spend most of my time working with our members, working with our clients. And I do most of that online. I've got a family just like you have, and some kids at home. Good to have the flexibility of the working lifestyle. So I pick up those kids from school and do all that kind of stuff. So I've got a fairly flexible working life and I enjoy what I do. It's great.
And content marketing is that the core of very much everything I do, whether we're talking about blogs, or videos, or websites, or anything type of content, there's a philosophy that we believe in. And that gets applied to everything that we do.
Yeah, no, I love it. And I love the fact as well that we are in a world now that we can work from home, we can balance that life a little bit better, and have those opportunities to do things like the school run and go to… not that I necessarily love going to the nativities, and the plays, and the things. But I can do if I want to and still do something we absolutely love and still help and teach and work with loads and loads of businesses. So I love the fact that we're in that position. And we were talking just before we got on this call about the fact of content marketing still seems to be an area where people really struggle. They really struggle to come up with that consistent content through maybe blogs and podcasts and vlogs, but then also they struggle to put content on social media. So in terms of content what do you think determines what we should create when we're thinking about content for our marketing in general?
What Should We Think About When Creating Content for Our Audience?
People do struggle with it. And I think, we'll cover off some of that, I think as we get into this conversation. But the reason we asked this question of what determines the content we create? The reason I asked the question is because I think, we need to be clear about this. And I think, it's obvious probably for a lot of people listening, they're probably thinking, “Well, it's our customers that determine the content that we create, or our prospective buyers that determine the content that we should create.” And we see it, but then when we look at your content, are we truly showing it? And oftentimes… and this is perhaps one of the biggest mistakes and errors that I see that really it does irritate me a little bit is when I see people creating content for their peers. I think, we slip into this way of thinking when we're trying to look like experts actually.
Everyone wants to be the authority in their marketplace or be seen as the expert in their marketplace. And the way they think they should do that is they create this content that shows them to be experts. But what they're doing is they're trying to look good or look like experts in terms of their peer network. Which is nothing wrong with that, except it doesn't help your customers to make a buying decision. And if we're not helping our prospective buyers to make buying decisions, then what are we doing? We're going to be famous in our industry, but we don't have any customers. So it's kind of we're trying to get that balance. And the reason that we want to have conversations about this subject in general, is to help people understand that if you can serve your customers better, then you will be seen as an expert in your industry, you will get that recognition you're looking for. But that foundation work has to happen first, that we have to serve our customers first and that's what we get recognised for.
And you know what? That's so interesting, because one thing I always think about is… don't get me wrong, it's so lovely to be recognised in your industry. And I think, we're in an industry where it's very visual, there's lots of events out there and it's nice to be picked to be told that yes, you are an expert in the industry. However, when I've not been picked for something, or when I've gone for something, and I've not been chosen, and I'm thinking, “I'm not being seen. I'm not this,” they're not the ones buying my stuff. They're not my customers. They're not the people who are going to join the membership. They're not the people who are going to want consultancy. So actually, am I doing it for me, or am I doing it for my ego? I'm certainly not doing it for the customers. So I find that fascinating.
So it's a balance, like everything. And I think we're all battling with our egos. Everyone has this battle. Some are better at winning over the ego than others. And I think, it's just important that you have that conversation with yourself and just make sure that you know why you're doing everything. So it's okay to do it I think, as long as you're honest with yourself about why you're doing it.
Absolutely. And be realistic about what that's going to get you. It is going to get you seen, it is going to get you put in front of other audiences, which is fine. But what's your ultimate goal at the end of the day? And especially when you're putting content out there it's lovely for other people to go, “Gosh, how smart is that? And how brilliant is that person?” But actually I've got people in the membership and I'm sure you have too that literally, we're starting right at the ground building up. And they don't want to hear what carpet bombing is, or some kind of crazy lead magnet funnel or whatever. They literally want me to go, “Okay, should you do it Pinterest? Or should you do Instagram?” Or, “How do you set up an account?” And that's the thing. So if they're the people who're going to be paying you, and you want to do that work then you've got to put content out for those people, haven't you?
I think that when we talk about our buyers, it doesn't matter what type of company you are, whether you're a B2C company or a B2B company or if you're a startup, a small company, a big company this goes across the board, is that when we're thinking from a marketing perspective, the biggest advantage you're going to give yourself is by seeing the world from the buyer's perspective. It sounds simple again, but it's a real challenge for a lot of marketers to move themselves into seeing the world from the buyer's perspective. And try to think to themselves, “How does someone actually move through the buying process here? How does someone make a buying decision? What frustrations do they have? What are stories that they are telling themselves about our industry? What bad experiences have they had? What bad experiences have their friends had? What objections do they have?”
And the content that we at CMA that we teach is that type of content, is helping people to create content that helps their prospective buyers to make an educated, and confident buying decision. And that content is oftentimes is not the content that we see companies creating. They might be getting click throughs, they might be getting traffic, they might be getting likes and comments and all that kind of stuff, but what they're not seeing is that conversion. They might say something like, “We're getting lots of traffic to our website. But for some reason we're not getting any leads.” And it's like, it's because your content is interesting. It's perhaps valuable to a certain degree. It could be educational, but it's not really dealing with the buying process. It's not helping someone make an educated buying decision. And that's what content marketing is truly all about from my perspective is helping your buyers to spend money with you. But how do you get them to make that decision?
What Content Should I Be Producing?
Absolutely. So have you got some examples where… because someone might be sat listening to this thinking, “That's cool. I need to do that type of content. But what is that type of content? What am I putting out there? What sort of things do I need to be saying?” So have you got an example or couple of examples of what that might be?
Well, the first thing is, is that we have to… the [inaudible 00:11:47] anybody can make is by accepting that we're all consumers. So the first thing is, is to be much more self-aware of your own buying behaviour. So when was the last time you bought something? You maybe bought something online, maybe it was a holiday, a sofa, a new home, I don't know, whatever it, it could have been a tripod for a camera, it could have been salt or a moisturising cream. Just think back to that whole process that you went through. All the research you did, the reviews you looked at, the blogs you were reading, the comparisons you were making. Every single consumer, every type of buyer is doing all this research online before they make a buying decision.
So in some ways when you step away from the business perspective, or you step away from the marketing perspective and start to see the world as a consumer, you start to realise that there's this process that every single buyer goes through. It might not be linear, and it might not be straightforward, and it may even be quite complex, but there is this research is happening in every single industry. People call it the zero moment of truth. And what they found was in their report is that on average, 70% of the buying decision is made online before a buyer contacts a company for the first time. So on average, 70% of the buying decision is made online before a buyer contacts a company for the first time. And the people that are listening to this their industry it may be higher or lower, but it's the principle that matters here. It's the fact that people are able to now before they contact the company, do all the research online, before they contact you.
You have to ask yourself, “Why do we do that?” We don't want to have that negotiation. And we can, we don't have to do that anymore. We feel like we're in control, as consumers we have the control to decide what we want, when we want it. And we don't have to make bad buying decisions anymore. We've got all the information right there at our fingertips to make that decision. So that's the first thing I think, is to be just more self-aware of your own buying journey that you take for everything that you buy. And then think to yourself, if you bring the business perspective back and think about it from your company perspective, “Are we creating the type of content that's truly going to help one of our buyers that's never heard of us before, to not only find us, but to then use our content on our website, whether it be blogs or videos or whatever it may be, to actually help them move through the process so they feel confident, so they feel educated, so that they feel like they trust us and want to contact us for the first time. Because if we're not doing that, if we're not creating that content, then we don't exist to them. Because the information that they find won't be from us, it will be from someone else, probably your competition.”
So this exists in every industry, the zero moment of truth. And it's really up to us as marketers and as business owners to understand how to win that zero moment of truth to create the content that helps our buyers to move through that process.
And that's so fascinating, because when I think back to the content that you're producing often I think people try and avoid some of the more not direct selling because it's not direct selling. It is having confidence. It is things like the reviews, and testimonials, and case studies, and all that kind of content that's helping you make that buying decision. Like you said, if I'm going to buy something online, that is some stuff I barely even pay attention to because the cost is so low that I don't mind taking the risk. But other things like you said, you will go and look and read and go through stuff. And sometimes I think we avoid putting that content right there, because we don't want to feel like we're selling all the time, or we're promoting our things.
But you've got to imagine if someone comes to you for the first time and looks at that and goes through your Facebook page, or looks at your site, or looks at your Instagram, are they given enough of an opportunity to see that stuff? Because honestly, sometimes I think in certain places, I don't even mention it. Because I try and avoid it altogether, which is obviously not a great strategy.
Should You Post Controversial Content?
So the truth of it is, this is based on years of experience with this, but also every week, I look at dozens and dozens of pieces of content to try and help people with this. Now the ones that are able to talk about the things that we typically shy away from, like… So let's take an example. Let's say there's a problem in your industry, that frustrates your customers in the buying process, but no one's talking about it. Let's call it the elephant in the room. Everyone knows it's there, but no one's talking about it. The reason we shy away from problems is because we don't want to be seen to be vulnerable, or to be imperfect, or to have made mistakes, for example. Like if I told you that every marketing project that I had ever done with anybody was a pure success, it would be a lie.
So what problems happen in marketing consultancy and marketing agency work? What problems occur? What have we learned from them? And how do we then solve those problems for you so they don't happen? The problem everyone's experienced it before but we shy away from it. Now the difference I find in people that are able to be more vulnerable, and to be more open, and to be more honest in their content, and be willing to discuss these bigger problems or deeper problems perhaps that we have in our industries… this is the key part that affect our consumers. Because if it isn't about ranting, this isn't about us being annoyed about things that happen in our industry. It's things that happen in our industry that affect our buyers. Difference is usually between how confident you are about your product or service. Does that makes sense?
So if you're not confident about your product or service, then you're going to be less likely to be bold and confident, open and honest and unbiased in your content. You're going to hold back essentially. Because you're trying to protect yourself. You don't feel confident, so you protect yourself from that. Those that are usually confident like understand, know their product, understand their customer base, and truly believe that the product or service they offer makes a difference, those are the people that are just much more, can drop their shield. Take their armour off and be more vulnerable because they're not trying to protect their product. They know it's good. Now this is about finding the right people. This is about being open, and honest, and vulnerable with our buyers. Does that make sense?
Yeah, [crosstalk 00:18:15].
That's what I've found to be the difference between mediocre content and world class content is this ability to be vulnerable. And we can only do that if we first of all, don't have to protect ourselves from something.
You're totally right because like you said, the people who are selling things or marketing things where it's all a little bit smoke and mirrors, they're not being out, and honest, and open. Like you said, it's a case of why is that? Whereas I think, sometimes I've always avoided being controversial because of the fact that I don't want to upset anybody or I'm a people pleaser, I can't help it, always have been. However, hearing you say it the way you just said it has made me feel different. Because you're very good in your content in terms of being open and honest about the industry you're in, and the good bits and the bad bits. And there's lots of it in our industry I have to say, and I'm sure there is in lots of others.
But there are people out there selling stuff and offering advice who really don't know what they're doing. We [saw a great one 00:19:16] we were just talking [inaudible 00:19:17] before we got on the call. And [inaudible 00:19:20] and I were talking he showed me this amazing app, which I'm going to link up to the show notes, [inaudible 00:19:24] what it's called, but you can put someone's Instagram in there and it will give you a percentage of how real they think their followers are. And if you're smart enough, you can tell how real their followers are by looking at their engagement. But there was this one guy who was basically selling a how to hack Instagram, how to get loads of followers, how to convert them, how to be amazing, which looked very attractive, I'm sure to lots of small businesses. And he literally must have bought most of his followers. Because he got little to no engagement. He wasn't practising what he preached.
And I would look at that privately and be like, “That's awful,” but wouldn't necessarily say something because I don't like rocking the boat. However, like you said, the way you've just described it is, is not I'm being ranty or having a go or just being argumentative for the sake of it. It's saying, “Actually, people, this is a problem. So if you are going to go and buy something from someone that helps you teach how do they do it, then these are the things you need to look out for to make sure that they are practising what they preach.” And I love the fact… the way you've just put that because like I said, I do avoid any kind of conflict or anything like that, really. But actually, I'm almost doing them an injustice because someone might go and buy his course. And this guy honestly knows nothing about what he's talking about.
So it's not about your competition. That's why a lot of people shy away from different types of content because they don't want to annoy their competition or rock the boat, like you said. But this isn't about your competition. This is about your buyer, you helping them to make an educated buying decision. Can you do that better than anybody else in your industry? That's really what it's all about. It comes back to I think… it's funny that you've mentioned this, because this is really a hot topic, I think in marketing just now. Because I think, a lot of people do copy other people or they're lead by other marketers and they do the same things that they do because they think, “Because they're doing it's the right thing to do.” But I always ask people it's like, “What do you believe in? What are your values? What are your principles?”
If you believe something… and it's the opposite way of everyone else is doing it, then don't feel like you have to do it like everybody else does it. Stick to your values, your principles. How do you want to run your business? How do you want to go to your market? How do you want to be seen to communicate with your market? That's you, that's your principles, your values. And I think, a lot of people don't really… can't grasp that because they truly do not know who they are. Their self-awareness, their concept of self is not strong enough. And that's something that I've been working on over the last couple of years, two or three years is to work out, what is it that I truly believe in? It's not about being controversial, that's about you being able to go out there and say that something is wrong, but it's based on a solid foundation of what you believe.
And I'm so glad you brought this up because do you know what is happened recently in our industry? You may or may not have seen it, but this is really fascinating to me. There are some people in our industry that are quirky, they do really good, funny, entertaining, slightly parody type things, but they've always done it because that's them. That's their character. They do it very, very well. So Marr, I'm going to name who they are. So Andrew and Pete, really funny guys, really quirky guys, they do a brilliant job of the way they are because that is authentically them. Dan and Lloyd they're exactly the same, they are authentically funny and quirky. And that style of marketing works perfectly for those guys because that is exactly who they are. And what I've noticed in recent… so probably in the last six months, is there's been a number of people who are doing the same as them, but it's not them. So what happens is they're putting this content out there being all quirky and crazy. And “Hey, look at me and how silly can I be? And I'm going to do a parody of this. And I'm going to do a pretend thing of this.” And then you actually see them, or meet them, or look at their other content and you're like, “That isn't you at all. Where have you got that from?”
In fact, I had this conversation with Andrew and Pete and I said to the boys, “I'm not like that at all. And I would never do that, because that's not authentically me. And if I try to, I would look like a prize idiot. So why would I do that?” But yet, like you said, I think, there are people who are seeing this tactic work, seen it work with Dan and Lloyd they put a video out about LinkedIn, I don't know whether you saw it, but it got hundreds and hundreds and thousands of views and loads of comments because it was a really funny video. But that's their style. And then I saw someone else trying to do something similar and it's like, “But that's not your style. So why are you doing that?”
We get a little bit unsure when it comes to marketing. We think that these problems only exist in marketing, but they've been going on for decades. You look at all performance, all different industries, everyone's copying each other all the different tactics. It's probably more prevalent in marketing, it's a deeper level in marketing I think, and it's dangerous in marketing as well. But absolutely, you're right this is like this… there's a deeper message here isn't there?
Like Andrew and Pete, or Dan and his brother Lloyd, they have a particular style, they know what they're good at. And when you see their content, you know it's them. It stands out from the audience. But that's them embracing themselves. If you're going to learn anything from say Gary Vaynerchuk or anybody else in the marketplace, you're not learning to do it like they do it, you're learning that because they can do it that way it's because they know truly who they are. So if you're going to learn anything it's that you need to learn is that self-awareness piece.
Absolutely. I think, as businesses go, as business owners go, I know we often look to other people and certainly, the clients and people that I deal with, they look to their competitors to go, “What's working for them?” And it's not that that's the wrong strategy, it's just a case of, “Take that,” and go, “That's interesting, but how would I do it? What is it that I would do and what's true to me? And therefore, let's go into it that way.”
It's good to keep an eye on what your competition are up to. I think, we're naturally… that's just part of who we are. It's what we do. But I've actually found that a lot of your best ideas can come from working internally on things, I think. You want to come up with something… it doesn't have to be new, but definitely a unique approach. And I think, the more that you listen, truly listen to your customers and your buyers, and you're getting in touch with them more and more, I think, you start to realise that a lot of the stuff your competition are doing it can't possibly work. And that's the thing. We just don't about our competition is if it works or not. Like what their goals and objectives are and I think that's difficult. So I think, it's good to keep an eye on them, but definitely… you don't want it to be your biggest influence on how you go to market.
How to Stand Out and Be an Expert in Your Industry
Awesome. So how are they going to stand out with their content? And what sort of things are they going to do? And I haven't said the phrase yet, but there's a very good phrase that you used at MarketEd.Live, which I have said a million times over, but not on this podcast yet. So talk to me a bit about that.
So I think, when we talk about standing out, and being the expert, I think, it's good to qualify that a little bit. So one of the things that we teach at CMA when it comes to content I think, a lot of people look at, like the blogs and videos that people create, and they're obsessed with the vanity metric of views, subscribers, traffic. And the content that we teach isn't necessarily going to get the tens or hundreds of thousands of views. Because it's not about the virality or being famous within a marketplace. This is about your buyers making a buying decision. So if one person who has the ability and willingness to buy something, your article, or your video helps them to make that buying decision, then that's a success.
So the metrics that we use to when we say stand out, it's basically how you… if you're going to talk about being famous is being famous to those buyers. Which could be the smallest possible audience. And the way that we teach this is through… I'm thinking of a few years back, just to build up to it. But the philosophy we believe in is something that Marcus Sheridan coined, which is They ask You Answer. And he published a book a couple of years ago on that topic, and he republished that book again this year, and it continues to sell and sell. Because it's based on a principle rather than tactics. So it's based on They Ask You Answer, which is a philosophy. Which is if our buyers have a question, it's our responsibility to answer those questions.
And he didn't just give us a philosophy, he gave us a methodology as well. And the methodology is the big five. And that there are five major topics that every buyer in every industry needs to have addressed in order to move through the buying process. So the big five, which is price, cost, problems, reviews, comparisons and best of, best in class. So far we've got three things. We've got the zero moment of truth, understand that people do the research online before contacting a company, we have They Ask You Answer and the big five. So with those three things together, what we start to pull together is this sort of strategy that we go to market as answering all of our customer's questions.
So we have a few clients now that have been doing this for three or four years that have literally… their prospective buyers are using their website to navigate their industry. So my partner Cara for example, she runs a real successful family business, called Gillies and Mackay, which is a shed company, summer houses and sheds they're really amazing beautiful cabins [inaudible 00:29:09]. And our customers have never heard of them before are using her website, her content, her blogs or videos to help them navigate the whole industry. Not just buy a shed from Gillies and Mackay, but to actually figure out what they want and how they want it to be. And that's happening in multiple industries, B2B and B2C. And we call this becoming the Wikipedia of your industry. In other words, people are using our website as an information resource to figure out what they want whether they buy from us or not. You've got to prepare for that. If you're going to have all that information out there to help your buyers make buying decisions, that some of them are going to decide that you're not the right company for them. Or perhaps they're in a different part of the world or whatever.
But that's the philosophy. The philosophy is becoming this Wikipedia of industry that we've answered all of our customers' questions and we continue to do so knowing that there are buyers have these questions and they need answers for them. And they're looking for an expert, looking for you. They're looking for you. And they want to find you when they need you. It's the exact opposite of what a lot of marketing is these days, which is pushing these messages on to people all the time. But we're creating this content that people can find when they need it the most. So we're just creating it for them and it's just there ready waiting for them to get the advice to get that information.
And I think people don't want to do that. I think the problem is we're in a world now where it's so fast moving and people honestly think there is so much get-rich-quicker there, we have more opportunities than we've ever had. Having things like social media and digital marketing has really opened up the playing field for businesses to do well and for people to start and that sort of thing.
But I think the problem is they honestly think, “I'll do a tweet today and I'm going to be a millionaire tomorrow.” And it's like it doesn't work like that. And when you try and sit down and talk to people about this and talk to people the fact that you have been doing your thing for, did you say six or seven years. I've been in marketing for 15 years but doing my thing probably consistently the past four or five years. And it takes time. It's taken the time to get there. And one of the examples I love to look at and remind people of is, when they look at someone like let's take Jasmine Star. Let's say she's a big person on Instagram, she teaches on business strategy. She's amazing. However, when you look at how many posts Jasmine's done, she's done like thousands and thousands. Which means she has been posting consistently on Instagram for about six years consistently. And she was posting when no one was watching. She was posting when no one was following her and now she's built that up over time. Because when people needed it, they came and found it and then they followed her.
So like you said, I think sometimes people think we need to do these things, get it done and someone is going to buy. It's not like that. You've got to play that longer term strategy.
Yeah. I think that you got to appreciate how long are you going to be in business for. I'm 30 years old. So I probably got another… I don't know how many years of working generally speaking I'm going to have. So my business could last 10 years, 15 years. Who knows? So why wouldn't I do everything in the best interest for my company to be successful in the future as well? And that's what this content is all about. It's we need to change our perspective about what marketing is. Marketing isn't about today. You don't save a company. You don't get customers because we did some marketing today. We don't get the customers today. It's about investment in the future of our companies.
So the content that we're talking about here is content that's ever green. This content will serve you in years to come. In fact, we hear stories all the time of even marketers who have left companies where this content is still creating sales today that they created years ago. And that's the beauty of content. You can get results quickly. I think a lot of people say that it's a longterm game. But if you feel like it isn't a longterm game. Life business is a longterm game. It's about the results. And I think people think that you can't get results from content quickly but you can. You just got to be measuring the right thing at the right time for you and your company. And you're guaranteed to get results from content if you do it in the right way.
And I don't say that lightly. You absolutely will get content if you understand the results, if you understand how to create content, within the zero moment of truth, The Ask and you Answer, and the Big Five, and this concept of becoming the Wikipedia of your industry because your buyers do have questions. They are using Google to search for the answers and they will find someone to answer that question for them. The differentia, the way to stand out today is can you answer that question better than anybody else in your industry. That is your challenge. And like you said though, some people just aren't prepared to do the work, to do what it takes. And that's again a distinct differentia between companies. Who's willing to put the effort in, who believes this, who's going to do it.
Yeah. Absolutely. So let's think about that. So if you are starting to thinking, “Okay, I definitely need to put some more of that type of content out there.” How are they going to find out, or where do they start to put together what type of content they've got to do in order to help their customers with the buyer decisions?
How Do You Know How to Help Your Customers?
There's loads of ways you can do this without even paying for any enterprise type tools. You can do this… Google is like one of the best places to go. Just start typing the questions that you get from your buyers into Google and see what comes up, see what alternative questions come up. Scroll to the bottom of the first page of Google and you'll see 10 other recommended searches for that same question on that same topic. Obviously they ask you answer in the big five, starting with the big five is a good place; price, costs, problems, reviews, comparisons and best. So you can start in those categories as well. And you can split it up into different products and services that you offer too.
But then look at your sent box and your emails. What questions have you already answered? Look at books in your industry on Amazon. Look at the contents pages. Ask your customers when you're in meetings with them or you're doing workshops with them or if you're on a call with them. Get your sales team to feed questions to the marketing team. We get people doing this all the time where they have that they ask your answer channel on Slack or on whatever platform they use to communicate. It's just like ship all the questions you get into that space. We run workshops with companies. There's no reason why you can't run a workshop and say, “Drew Company. What are the most common questions we get asked all the time?” Those are the questions that we should be looking for.
There's a listening technique I think that is needed. A lot of people say, “But I don't know what questions my customers have.” And all that says to me is, “You don't know who your customers are.” That's just like ever a problem. It's your fault that you don't know these questions because if you know your business and you know it well, then you absolutely should know the answer to that question. You should know what questions your buyers are asking.
Well, they're not listening, are they? So they're not paying attention. And all of that screams they don't care and therefore they're not going to be able to answer these questions. They've been not listening and hearing. The other thing… I don't know if you find this. The other thing I often find is we think the questions are much bigger and harder than they actually are. So one thing that I find is I think it's too simple to talk about something quite basic because everyone knows that surely. But the truth is we the experts in our industry, we know it. But actually the chances are loads of other people don't know that stuff.
That's 100% accurate. What we find is the more… We've seen this is like a working test, you could say, where we had people say, “I'm just going to go and do the most simplest basic content that I could possibly do,” and what happened was it turns out that that content was the most successful content that that person created. He was like, “There is no way that people need to know this.” Turns out, actually they do. So it's like you can't make it as simple as you possibly can and don't make any assumptions about your buyers. Just try and think about making it simple, making it accessible, and you have to see it even though you are the expert, you can't talk like an expert like you're talking to another expert. You have to pretend that people know nothing about the thing you're talking about. Not to patronise them of course, but just to break that barrier down and make the language accessible and make sense of it. I think that's the difference again.
There's a difference between people that are good communicators and people that are great communicators. People that are great communicators are able to break complex things down and make them simple for people and so they can understand it. I mean if you're going to go out there with content that ends up confusing your buyers then that actually reduces the confidence they have in themselves to make the decisions. So what we're trying to do is build trust, build confidence. In order to do that, you need to make things simple, you need to make them accessible, and we need to make the buyer feel like they are in control, that they've got that level of confidence. So I think a big part of this is about as a company, how do we want to communicate, how do we want our readers, the people watching our content, how do we want them to feel? I think that's a discussion a lot of companies need to have first before they put their fingers on the keyboard.
And honestly… It's so funny I was interviewed the other day some link and they'd used… They were the marketing industry and they're using terminology that I have to sit and think about and burning my [damn 00:38:56] degree and I've done 15 years in it. But it's because I don't feel the need to speak like that anymore because actually that's not helpful to my audience. So speaking in a language that they understand. And I think in lots of industries there's lots of jargon and lots of keywords and whatever that people are necessarily doing and they shouldn't be.
Yeah. Because we try to look smart. And again it's back to the first part of our conversation was it's not about us. This is not about me, it's not about you. And as soon as we try to look smart, that the moment we start to look stupid. So we need to go off this need to make it about us. If we want to be great content marketers it cannot be about us and therefore it's not about us looking smart or looking clever. This is about our buyers feeling like they're smart and that they're clever. So that's a different way of communicating I think.
Should You Share Your Secrets?
Absolutely. Okay. One thing that I'd like you just to touch on is the fact of, when I… I don't know. Probably a few years back, I remember working with some clients and saying, “Let's put some content out there about how to do this and how to do that and what makes that good and what makes that bad or helping the customers,” and they were terrified. Like, “I don't want to put this stuff out there. The competitor is going to see it and they're going to steal my ideas. They're going to do this.” Now I got over this a very long time ago. And I literally share… I'm a real over sharer when it comes to stuff. But how would you address that in terms of people who are terrified of sharing what they deem to see as their secrets in order to get that message across?
That's funny, this one. Because there isn't really any secrets in any industry really. And the thing I always say is if your business model could potentially come to a grinding halt, in other words, if your business could collapse because you're not publishing a blog article about something or a pdf about something, if that could, by not publishing it, saves your company, then you have to question your business model. Because somebody is going to publish the content at some point. So it's either going to be you or it's going to be someone else.
And if your business is potentially on the verge of collapse because someone's not saying something online, then you really do have to question to the business that you have. So I think you're either part of the conversation or you aren't. And I think it's the difference between publishing content and not publishing content. And often times I think people, they have this absolute need to control. And as soon as you publish something, you don't have control anymore. That doesn't belong to you anymore. That piece of art, that piece of content, that video, now that becomes owned by somebody else. Their interpretation of that thing, whatever it may be. And I think a lot of people especially business owners that have never done this before can feel this real anxiety or fear of just not having control of it anymore. And it's something that we all truly do need to get over.
But I always come back to this question of the business model. How confident are we about our product or service? What's the risk of not talking about this thing, who else is going to talk about it? Are our buyers having this conversation without us? Because if they are, we should definitely be part of that conversation. So we need to get the content out there and let go of the need to control. You've got to let go of that. We don't control anything, really. Not in our businesses, not about the buyers. You're either part of the conversation or you're aren't. Which one is it going to be?
And like you said, someone is going to put it out there and if it's not you, then they're going to go to them and think they're more expert than you are because you didn't put it out there. So I think it's a real kind of risk to think that you need to keep everything very close to your chest. The other… Sorry, go on.
It's not just about who's first, is it? It's like who can do better. Who's going to address this problem, this question better? Can we do it better than our competition? And I think there's also an irrational concept that's never been done before or something. Like I think remember looking at content you could see clearly that every single question has been answered online and to some capacity before, we're definitely not going to be the first. Not 20 years of internet and be the first. I think now it's about how can we do it better. So companies definitely need to think about not being afraid to do it but actually see the opportunity to do this better than anybody else has.
Yeah. I love that. And the other thing I think a lot of people are fearful of is if they stick their head above the power pit that suddenly they're going to get a lot of backlash or negativity or… And obviously like you said, and I'm glad you said, they don't own it once it's out there. People can say and do whatever they want on it. So what would say that it's not so much a fear of competitors seeing, it's more of a fear of what if somebody doesn't agree or what if somebody doesn't like what I said.
Yeah. It does come back to this control. We had this discussion really briefly. It's really before you publish a piece of content, before you even really create a piece of content, the first thing is, “What do I control what with my control” So we all control mainly the quality of the work, that we meet the deadline, that we've scheduled in the time to do the work. So basically we judged by our inputs we could do a really great job. The content is good quality. What we don't have control over is the comments, the likes, the shares, the traffic. Those metrics. We don't have control over any of that really. So we have to judge our work by inputs rather than outputs. And I think when it comes to let's say a potential negative, you have to believe in your content. If you're putting it out there, you have to believe it. If you don't believe it, don't publish it.
But if you truly believe it, then you should be able to back up any potential backlash or trolling or whatever it is that comes up if you chose to. If you chose to let that in, you can. But before you publish, you need to believe in what you're saying. If you don't believe in what you're saying, then when something happens online that goes against what you're saying then you're going to find yourself looking at a problem, aren't you? But you won't know how to back up your argument or to back up, provide the foundation for evidence whatever it might be. So it comes back to what we're talking about earlier, isn't it? That self-awareness, that self-belief that how to be as a company, how to be communicate, why do we believe that it has to be this way, and then when you go out there, you can feel confident that you, as a company, you're doing the right thing.
And if you're being completely authentic to yourself… And again, maybe this is an age thing that I've got more comfortable as I've got older. But when you're being completely authentic and sometimes I do the solo episodes to my podcast and I'm winging it. And I say I'm winging it. And I'll go, “Hang on, I'm thinking of an idea.” But that's the way I am. And if you met me tomorrow that's the way I am. And then if someone was to listen to the podcast and go, “This is ridiculous. She's not Polish. She's not this. She's not that,” I now have the confidence to go, “Well, I'm not for you then because that's who I am and some people like it, some people don't. And that's cool.” So I think being completely authentic to yourself kind of makes you go, “Well, not everyone's going to love that and that's okay.”
That's exactly it. I think if you were to create one single point from that is that you want to attract the right people for you, don't you? And so you want to repel the people that aren't right for you. And some people like you, some people won't. And that's just life.
Yeah. Absolutely. And I think we panic about that online. But honestly… And I have to say I've been very lucky. I don't know about you Chris because you've had too much experience in this. But I've had a few things that have been not nice. But generally I don't get a whole lot of stuff which is pretty good.
Yeah. I don't get that much either. But then, I'm like you though, I tend not to rock the boat so much. And my partner, Cara, has had her fair share of internet trolls by the thousands. And she's got a very… She's really great. Like we learned a lot from watching how she deals with them. And she's I would say like an expert in dealing with online trolls. She's a great person. You may want to interview her in the future but that's off [crosstalk 00:47:13].
No. I would. Yeah. I'd love that. And it's funny, you know. Because actually we think we're going to put one thing out there and suddenly all these people are going to see it and troll us. We'd be lucky for people to see it. Do you know what I mean?
Yeah. Because that says someone read our content. Exactly.
Don't worry about the trolls. If people are trolling you, it means people are actually looking at you. It's a good thing.
It's working. Yeah. Exactly.
I love it. Chris, in terms of producing that content and putting it out there, have you got anymore tips or thoughts or anything else you want to add before we wrap up today?
Chris’ Top Tips
Full of tips and ideas. I think the key is that this is… The way that we're talking about content marketing today on the podcast, for the listener it might feel like… they might be saying something like, “That sounds really great. It sounds like an amazing concept. I've learnt something new here today and that feels exciting.” However, it sounds like a lot of work. That's like normal. It sounds exciting but it also sounds overwhelming perhaps. And I guess the conversation that we didn't have today was tactical. We didn't talk about really quick things that you could do to get a customer or whoever. We won't talking about that. And this is one of things, mainly in recent times but it's been a thing that's been with us for a long time is that as a business owner and as a marketer there are some skills that you can learn today that are really quick.
Like you learn it, you put it in practise, you get results immediately. Like you can see it happening in front of you. But what we talked about today is much more of a deep learning that's happening. So it's like you've got to learn this stuff. So get marketer's book for example. They ask, You answer. Don't just read the book. Don't go, “Oh, yeah. I get it.” Just read it, study it. And put it into practise. And what you're going to learn is a deep skill, something that's not just going to serve your company now, but it's going to serve you for years and years to come. Just one of those things… That's why I'm glad that you brought it up earlier. Some people just aren't prepared to do that level of learning and to do that level of work because there's just easier options. It's the path of least resistance. However, there is a small percentage of us, a minority that love to learn at that level and love to put things into place at that level because they know that that's what's going to make a difference to them.
So that would be thing I'd say. If you listen to this and you're thinking that, then that's why. Because it is a deeper learning that's happening around this stuff rather than the sort of tactical quick ones which are good as well, you need them too. It's just that that's not what we talked about today.
And I totally agree with you. And I think I don't want to sit here and go, “That's the difference between businesses that succeed and businesses that don't.” However, I do think one of things that I love about the fact of being in marketing the length of time I have, that one, obviously I've had to move with the times because the marketing I do today and the marketing I learned in my degree are not the same thing. But I've had those principles and fundamentals forever. So they have helped me. So when a new tool and tactic has come along, and I've learned that. And normally, like you said, that's the kind of tactic stuff, it's technical, it's like, “Do this. Do this.” But underneath, having those things go, “Okay I can use this new tool but I still need to hold these beliefs and hold these strategies.” That is why I think I have been successful in doing some things and why maybe others aren't as successful because they literally just jump on the, “Right, I've got to tweet five times a day,” but they're tweeting absolutely rubbish, or, “I've got to post on Instagram,” but it isn't resonating with their audience.
So these fundamentals things for me, and I know you love to read. And I love that. Because I am… Well, I say I'm a big reader. I listen. Do you listen or do you read?
Yeah, I thought you did. And I always feel like I'm cheating because I listen. But I do listen and if it's really good, I buy it and I go back through it. And so I can take notes and I can do that sort of thing. But honestly, that has made such a difference. And I said, I've been in this industry a really long time. I could sit here very arrogantly and think I know it, I've done it. But have you read Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller?
Oh, man. I love that book.
It's so good.
He literally blew my mind in that book. And like you said, I've done this stuff for years and years. And the stuff I can continue to learn is amazing. And the fact that we can just get a book and learn that stuff is also amazing. So for me, like you said, although someone is going to sit and go, “Yeah, but you didn't tell me how to do that one thing that I can do tomorrow that's going to get me a customer.” No, we didn't. But you can go away and even if you've just got these thoughts in your mind as you're then putting together your next blog post or your next post for social media, then honestly the longterm benefits that outweigh that quick tactic I'm sure.
Yeah. And often times when you listen to podcasts, isn't always about what people in the podcast say. Like this could have triggered many ideas for you that have been buried for a long time. And that's still valuable.
Absolutely. Chris, it's been an absolute pleasure having you on. I really appreciate you giving me your time. Obviously I'm going to link up to everything in the share notes. All the details. I'm going to put a link to that book as well. Because you know what, that's on my list. I haven't actually read it yet. So that's going to jump it's way to the top of my list and I'm going to read that next.
Thank you so much. It's been an absolute pleasure having you on.
You're welcome. My pleasure. Thank you.
So what did you think? Has it given you a different perspective on creating that content? I really like to hear the things he said. Like he said, I love the fact that he talks about be the Wikipedia of your industry, and how you should be putting content out there so that when people try and find the answers to the questions they have about your products or service that you come up. I really like that. I liked the way he talked about how you actually going to convert people to buy from your content. And then I like the fact we talked a bit about not being controversial but being really firm in your opinions and thoughts which I'd always steered away from. So actually he gave me a different take on that which I really appreciated.
Really loved doing this interview. Chris is a super-smart guy. He says things in a way that is super-easy to understand. So I really hope you enjoyed this episode. Okay, I'm going to head off now and get myself started for the day. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your week and I'm going to be seeing you this time next week. Until then, have a great week.