Category Archives: Content Marketing

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The Top 10 Duct Tape Marketing Podcast Episodes for 2019

The Top 10 Duct Tape Marketing Podcast Episodes for 2019 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

2019 was another great year on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. I chatted with some incredible guests, I did some solo shows where I could share a bit about the Duct Tape Marketing philosophy, and I got to share excerpts from my latest book, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur, which was released in October.

In honor of an incredible year, I wanted to take a look back at the most popular episodes we aired in 2019.

If you enjoyed what you heard here, check out the full line-up of shows. We’ll be back the first full week in January with all new episodes and guests.

Pamela Wilson – Getting the Most Out of Your Content

Pamela Wilson is the founder of BIG Brand System and the author of Master Content Strategy: How to Maximize Your Reach and Boost Your Bottom Line Every Time You Hit Publish. She is an expert in creating the kind of content that grabs your audiences’ attention and can help you grow your business through the four distinct phases of growth.

Biggest takeaway: You’ll learn about the Lifecycle Approach to content management and creation, which acknowledges that your website will have different content needs at different points in the life of your business.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Solo Show – The Benefits of Including Video on Your Website

Video has become a critical element in marketing strategy. People want to watch video content, and companies are investing in creating videos for their brand. If you haven’t done it already, now is the time for you to incorporate video into your website.

Biggest takeaway: We’ll cover the four types of video content you should include on your website. Plus I’ll share practical, technical tips for video content creation, from how to manage lighting and camera work to where to turn for editing help.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Solo Show – Model for Marketing Maturity, Stage One: Build

Digital marketing provides business owners with dozens of channels through which to reach their audience. From paid ads to social media to SMS marketing to SEO, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the options out there. By starting with a solid foundation and a focus on only a handful of the tactics available, you can get those going strong and then expand to more tactics.

Biggest takeaway: We’ll walk through the five elements that go into the build stage of your marketing maturity model, from the creation of your marketing website with SEO and a strong content program, to social media and email marketing. Plus, you can follow the links in this podcast post to catch the episodes on the other two marketing maturity stages, grow and ignite.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Solo Show – Why Your Marketing Must Be Led By Strategy First

One of the main tenets of the Duct Tape Marketing approach to marketing is that your efforts must be led by strategy first. If you’re creating content without a guiding strategy, you’re spinning your wheels. These are the steps you must take to build a solid strategic base for your marketing tactics.

Biggest takeaway: You’ll learn why the first step in developing a solid marketing strategy is identifying your ideal customer, and I’ll give you tips on how to find them.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Jason Kander – Becoming a Great Leader, No Matter What Field You’re In

Jason Kander

Jason Kander served in the U.S. military as an Army Captain before transitioning into politics. He was elected to the Missouri House in 2008 and became the Missouri Secretary of State in 2009. He is also the author of the New York Times bestselling book, Outside the Wire: Ten Lessons I’ve Learned in Everyday Courage.

Biggest takeaway: You’ll hear a handful of lessons from Kander’s book – lessons that are takeaways from his time in the military. And while the stories come from Army life, they’re applicable to anyone in a position of leadership.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Matt Scanlon – Managing an Expanding Business, With Your Mission Guiding the Way

Matt Scanlon is a fellow Kansas City business owner. He runs The Hill KC, which began as a local CrossFit gym and has expanded to offer corporate wellness products and services to folks in the community who have disabilities or need help getting access to wellness services.

Biggest takeaway: You’ll hear from an entrepreneur who’s going through the tricky but exciting work of growing his business. Scanlon shares some of the struggles he’s come up against with respect to branding and bridging the gap between the different audiences he’s expanding to serve.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Paul Jarvis – Finding Success and Happiness as a Company of One

Paul Jarvis is a writer and designer who runs his own business and counts among his clients giants like Mercedes Benz, Microsoft, and Shaquille O’Neal. He discusses how to approach the big questions about how to grow your business so that you can build something sustainable that continues to bring you joy.

Biggest takeaway: When you decide it doesn’t make sense to scale, what do you do next? Paul Jarvis is happy as a company of one, and he shares tips for finding your own path as a solopreneur.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Jill Nelson – Growing Your Business While Growing as an Entrepreneur

Jill Nelson is the founder and CEO of Ruby Receptionists. The company provides virtual receptionist services across the U.S., and it regularly lands on “best of” lists as an employer and a service provider.

Biggest takeaway: When you found a company, your role as a leader doesn’t remain stagnant. It grows and changes as your business does the same. Nelson shares her own experience in scaling her business in the episode.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Neen James – The Benefits of Giving Intentional Attention

Neen James is an author, keynote speaker, and leadership expert. She believes that the key to building strong relationships with teammates and customers alike is being intentional in the way you give attention. She is the author of Attention Pays: How to Drive Profitability, Productivity, and Accountability.

Biggest takeaway: When you’re not paying attention, it can cause big problems in your business. Customers and good employees who feel overlooked go elsewhere. James shares why it’s important to give intentional attention to the people who matter most to your company.

Click here to listen to the episode.

James Fell – Setting the Stage for a Moment of Awakening

James Fell

James Fell is a health expert and the author of several books, including The Holy Sh!t Moment: How Lasting Change Can Happen in an Instant. As a college student, Fell was overweight, floundering in school, and struggling with money. A moment of sudden awakening changed the course of his life. And he wants to help you find your life-changing epiphany, too.

Biggest takeaway: Even if you’re in a bad spot in your life, you won’t necessarily be motivated to change. Fell walks us through the psychological principles at work that lead us to those epiphanies that can change the course of our lives.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Is your favorite episode on the list? If not, we’d love to hear which one you enjoyed listening to the most!

For our podcast audience, we can’t thank you enough for your support over the years! If you like the show, click on over and subscribe and if you love the show give us a review on iTunes, please!

Producing Useful Content Is the New SEO

Producing Useful Content Is the New SEO written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

A great SEO strategy has a lot of moving parts. For small business owners, it can be difficult to keep pace with the ever-changing elements that go into optimizing your content for search engines. After all, Google alone uses hundreds of metrics to rank pages for search results, and they keep those metrics (and how exactly they’re weighted and used) under tight wraps.

So if you’re already busy running a business and don’t have time to stay up to date on all the ins and outs of SEO, I have a shortcut for you. Focus on producing useful content, and in the process you’ll check off a lot of SEO boxes.

Why Should I Focus on Producing Useful Content?

Search engines like Google and Bing are so ever-present in our lives that it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that they’re also just businesses. They want to be helpful to their users, just like you want to solve problems for your customers.

For a user visiting a search engine, they want to enter a query and get a useful response in the fastest amount of time. So search engines have a vested interest in putting the best content front and center on their first page of search results.

To do so, they look at hundreds of metrics. Some of these are common knowledge, but for the most part Google doesn’t release details on their metrics, so even the greatest SEO expert can’t be 100 percent sure how Google is ranking sites. There are factors like dwell time (how long a visitor stays on a given page), click-through rate (how many people click on your blue link on the SERP), and number of external links that we know are a part of SEO.

But rather than driving yourself crazy trying to focus on each of these specific factors involved in ranking, creating great content will inherently check those boxes. If your content is useful, people will want to click on your link in SERPs. They’ll stay on your page for a while, combing through the rich well of information. And your meaningful content will be backed up by research from other reputable sites, which you’ll link out to. Just by focusing on creating a well-researched and informative piece of content, you’ve already ticked off several SEO boxes in the process.

What Does Useful Content Look Like?

Okay, so you want to create useful content, but you’re not sure where to start or what it looks like. It’s best to start by doing some keyword research. Knowing the keywords that your audience is using to search for your products or services, or for general information on your field, can help you to hone in on content topics that will address their biggest questions and concerns.

Let’s say you run a lawn care service, and you discover that a lot of people are searching for green or pesticide-free alternatives to maintaining a great lawn and garden. This gives you the opportunity to highlight your environmentally-friendly offerings on your homepage, build out your product pages for your green lawn care services, and create a blog post about why green lawn care is important to you and why your services work so well for your clients and the planet.

So the first step to creating useful content is understanding what your audience wants to know. Next, you should shake up how you tell your story. Think beyond the written word when it comes to content. Today’s consumers want image-rich blog posts, videos, infographics, and podcasts. Content is only useful if it’s in a format that’s easy for your viewers to digest. That means it’s time to think beyond just blogs and consider other media.

How Can I Get the Most Out of My Content?

Once you understand how to produce useful content, you want to maximize its reach and effectiveness to get even greater SEO results. That’s where hub pages come in.

Hub pages are ultimate guides to a given topic that’s relevant to your business. Returning to the lawn care example, you learned in your keyword research that customers are concerned about green lawn and garden care practices. That’s a pretty broad topic to cover, from reducing water waste to natural alternatives for chemical pesticides to selecting the right mix of plants for soil health—the list goes on.

A hub page can become the go-to section of your website for everything related to that topic. You create “The Ultimate Guide to Green Lawn and Garden Care,” and build a table of contents that covers all of the major subtopics. You include links to your relevant blog posts, videos, and podcast episodes, plus link to a number of relevant posts from reputable outside sources.

This page is a gold mine for your prospects and customers. They come to your hub page and read multiple articles, share links with their friends and neighbors, return again after a few days to learn even more on the topic, and spend a long time on the page sifting through all the great content.

These hub pages address a lot of the major SEO metrics, and search engines realize that readers love them. Pretty soon, this page is ranking at the top of the first page of SERPs, and you’re getting even more eyeballs on your great content.

Building hub pages around your most relevant topics is the final piece in the content creation puzzle. It ensures that your meaningful content is all housed together, and rather than relying on each individual piece of content to carry its own weight, the hub page elevates all of your content simultaneously and gets you noticed in SERPs. By starting with smart keyword research and ending with a well-structured hub page, you set your business up for content success.

How Repurposing Your Old Content Brings New Life and New Traffic

How Repurposing Your Old Content Brings New Life and New Traffic written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

If you’ve been in business for a while, you’ve probably generated a lot of content over the years. From blog posts to social media updates to podcasts and webinars, many businesses have shared tons of valuable information with their audience.

But sometimes that older content starts to collect dust. It’s out of date, it’s buried deep in the archives, and it’s not doing anything for your business. Repurposing old content can be a great way to save you time with respect to content creation, all while getting the most out of your existing assets, and drawing new traffic into your site.

Want to learn more about how to repurpose your existing content? Check out these tips.

Add New Information to Evergreen Content

Some content never goes out of style. Many businesses have created foundational content that provides readers in-depth information on their industry, and this content can continue to be useful for years. But just like anything that’s getting up there in years, it sometimes needs a refresh to regain some of its old sparkle.

Take our content here, for example. We’ve written thousands of blog posts over the years on just about every digital marketing topic. Something like a foundational piece on SEO can remain relevant for a long time, but some of the specifics will need to be updated as search engines change their algorithms and best practices shift.

Refreshing content and republishing anew, with an acknowledgement that it’s been updated to reflect the latest on the given topic, is one of the quickest and easiest ways to repurpose your old content. This allows you to hang onto any goodwill that particular link has garnered in terms of ranking over the years, while introducing it to a whole new audience and allowing it to generate even better standing in search results.

Incorporate Media into Existing Posts

Blog posts can get boring after a while. Reading through one after the other demands a lot of focus from your audience, and today’s consumers are looking for new ways to engage with content.

Video has become hugely popular of late and can add a lot of visual interest to existing pages. Plus, if someone’s unable to read through an entire blog post, they may have the time to watch a quick video that provides a summary of the information in the post. You can incorporate other forms of media, too. A relevant podcast episode, infographic, or webinar can spice up existing content.

Because you’re creating dynamic media to accompany the existing content, it’s easier to script out what you need and get it done. You can quickly distill the blog post down to a handful of bullet points and from there create a video that riffs on those key elements.

Again, this saves you time in the content creation process and allows you to attract a new audience to this content. While someone might not have wanted to read 1,000 words on the topic, that infographic that hits all the highlights might be just what they were looking for.

Transform it Into Other Content

Creating content takes a lot of time. You need to put together a thoughtful strategy and build your content calendar around that. Then there’s the process of actually making the content itself. Blogging involves research and revision; video and podcasting means you need to adopt production skills and be able to edit video and audio.

If you go through all the trouble of creating content in the first place, why not get as much mileage out of it as possible? Let’s say you own a home remodeling business. A while back, you posted a video walking prospective clients through the ins and outs of the kitchen renovation process, from budgeting and planning to selecting materials to managing construction timelines. The video generates lots of views and drives traffic to your website. You know that the content is useful to your audience and helps win attention for your business.

Don’t just leave it at that video! Instead, get the video transcribed, so you can easily convert it into a blog post. (I love Rev for fast, accurate transcription services). And don’t stop there: Take the audio from that video and transform it into a podcast episode. Suddenly, your one piece of content has multiplied into three. And that provides more opportunities for you to reach your audience through the medium that works best for them.

Assemble Hub Pages

Most businesses have their content scattered here, there, and everywhere. There are videos and podcast episodes on various pages on their website and hosted on external platforms. Their blog posts are so numerous they could rival the National Archives. But the content is scattered, so it’s not actually serving a purpose.

If you want to get the most out of this content, you need to organize it around hub pages. I’ve described hub pages as your own mini-Wikipedia on your website. You start by identifying a broad topic that’s of interest to your readers. For example, we work with a lot of local businesses, so we’ve created the Ultimate Guide to Local Marketing hub page on our site.

From there, we walk local businesses through everything they need to know to supercharge their marketing efforts. We cover the basics of Google My Business, paid search, SEO for local businesses, and reviews and competitive analysis. Under these broad topics, we’ve gathered together relevant content.

For local business owners, this repository of information is a gold mine. Rather than having to search through our thousands of pieces of content, the most relevant ones are organized nicely for them in the hub page’s table of contents. Suddenly, this page becomes a go-to resource. Visitors return again and again to go deeper in depth on the topic, and share the posts with their colleagues. Search engines take note of this behavior. They realize that the content is useful, and suddenly our hub page moves up the SERPs.

When done correctly, hub pages can get your local business ranking on the first page of results for relevant search terms. And you achieve that strong ranking by repurposing and reorganizing existing content, rather than having to start from scratch.

Creating content takes a lot of time and work. Repurposing your existing content allows you to get the greatest benefit from that investment. Not only does repurposing give it a new life and introduce it to a new audience, it can also help you boost your SEO standing and grow your reach even further.

5 Great Ways to Add Video to Your Website Experience

5 Great Ways to Add Video to Your Website Experience written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Video has become a major marketing channel. More and more people are saying that it’s the way they want to consume content. Why scroll through a long blog post or text-heavy web page when you can instead watch a quick, visually-engaging video and get all the information you need?

As consumers’ attitudes towards video shifts, it’s up to you to meet that demand and give the people what they want! There are tons of great opportunities to incorporate video all throughout your marketing efforts, from social media to your website.

Here, let me walk you through five of the most effective ways to add video to your website experience.

1. Share Your Mission

You started your business because you’re passionate about what you do. But sometimes that passion appears diluted when you try to write about it. If you’d like to share your mission and value proposition with your audience, why not do it with a video?

You can include this front-and-center on your home page. A mission video is a great way to grab attention and immediately begin to build trust. When visitors to your site can see you speaking with conviction and commitment about the work that you do to help your customers solve their problems, they feel an emotional connection to you and what you’re saying.

2. Explain Your Benefits

No matter what it is that you’re selling, a video can help you clarify the benefits of your products or services. Plus, while everyone else is relying on words (and perhaps still images) to showcase their offerings, you’ll stand out from the crowd with a video.

Video is certainly beneficial if your business does something that’s complicated or technical. Say, for example, you’re a B2B software company who provides data analytics for retailers. A video can help you quickly and easily share what your product does, why data analytics matter, and what data can do to help your prospects solve their business problems.

Even if your product is more straightforward, video can give you an edge of the competition. Take, for example, Anthropologie’s line of wedding wear, sold under their BHLDN label. They include videos in many of the product descriptions for their wedding dresses. The 10-second clips show the models moving around in the dresses, and give brides-to-be a sense of how the fabric looks and moves on an actual person. Anthropologie clearly understands that choosing a wedding dress is a costly and emotional endeavor. The video makes it a little easier for prospective shoppers to picture what the dress would look like on the big day.

3. Spread Industry Knowledge

You know that content creation is a key component of establishing your presence as a thought leader and expert in your industry. If you’ve owned your business for a while, you’re hopefully in the habit of creating regular blog posts (and maybe you’ve even taken things a step further and designed some hub pages to share all your incredible content).

But even if your blog posts are filled with nuggets of wisdom and incredible advice, sometimes your audience wants to consume information another way. Video can help break up the monotony of your blog by injecting some bold visuals into your posts.

Plus, with video, you can get a lot of content bang for your buck. Filming a three minute video on a topic you know well takes hardly any time at all. If you have your phone on-hand and a basic mic hooked up, you can create a pretty professional-looking clip in minutes. Get that video transcribed, and you can turn that content into another blog post, or break it up and share quotes from the video on your social media—there are so many other uses for the content! With video, you can get multiple forms of content in a fraction of the time that it would take to write even one traditional blog post.

4. Highlight Your Team or Customers

I’ve already touched on a few other ways that video can help to build trust with your audience. Creating videos featuring your team or customers is another important way to inspire faith and confidence in your brand.

Videos that introduce your team make your customers feel more at ease. They can see a bit of each employee’s personality and charm, and grow to feel like this employee is someone who is personally invested in creating great customer experiences. It’s a trust-building element for any company, but it’s an especially great tool if you run a service business where technicians are dispatched to clients’ houses. Creating a video with each technician, where they introduce themselves and share something about why they do what they do, makes people feel a bit more at ease about welcoming them into their home. Your technician becomes a familiar face, rather than a total stranger in a uniform.

Video testimonials build trust from another angle. When potential customers watch a video about how you solved an issue for your existing customer, there’s an instant flash of recognition. That prospect sees themselves in your customer! The person in the video has had the same problem and found great success by entrusting your company to solve it for them. Video allows you to build an emotional connection between prospect and happy customer in a way that a written testimonial couldn’t.

5. Tackle Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve all scrolled through FAQ pages, scanning for the information we really want and then glazing over by the time we finally find it, bored to death by a solid wall of text.

Video can turn your FAQ page from informational slog into something far more fun and engaging. FAQ videos are an opportunity for you and your team to show a bit of brand personality. Ask a handful of employees to get involved with answering questions, so that there’s variety on the page. And try to unite the videos thematically in a way that ties in with what your business does.

If you’re looking to keep prospects and customers engaged on your website, video is a great way to do it. There are a number of ways to incorporate video into your messaging and marketing, and doing so can help you build trust with viewers and stand out from the crowd.

How to Craft the Perfect Email

How to Craft the Perfect Email written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Some small business owners are intimidated by email marketing. Having to write an individual email is scary enough if you don’t consider yourself a writer. The thought of sending an email out to an entire mailing list can be downright terrifying!

Fortunately, the perfect email is about more than just writing. And even for the written elements, once you’ve figured out the essential components, it’s easy for even those more timid writers among us to excel.

Here are the steps that go into crafting the perfect email.

Start with a Strong Subject Line

According to Campaign Manager, the average office worker receives 121 emails per day. That’s a lot of activity in just one inbox, and it means that you need to do something from the start to catch your readers’ eyes.

This starts with a strong subject line. There are a number of approaches you can take to make sure your subject line stands out. Consider including one of the following elements:

  • Create a sense of urgency – “Sale ends TONIGHT at 9pm”
  • Make an offer they can’t refuse – “Free shipping on orders of $25 or more”
  • Pique their interest – “What’s the secret to maintaining a healthy lawn?”
  • Provide value – “5 Tips for Hosting the Perfect July 4 BBQ”

An eye-catching subject line just might include an emoji, too. Of course, including emojis won’t be the appropriate choice for all businesses, but for some it can be a fun way to stand out in a text-heavy inbox.

Personalize the Message

There are a few steps that go into personalizing email messaging. You should begin by segmenting your lists. By breaking your customers and prospects down into groups based on demographics (like age, location, or gender) or by behavior (past purchases, most recent interaction with your brand, etc.) you can target different subsets of your population with messaging that will be most relevant to them.

This doesn’t mean you need to reinvent the wheel for each variant, but there are little steps you can take to tweak the messaging to best appeal to each group. Let’s say you own a landscaping business. You’re offering a big start of the summer promotion; anyone who schedules regular yard work appointments at the start of the summer will get 10 percent off each session.

This is great news for all of your customers, but you can tailor the messaging based on how you’ve segmented your list. Let’s say you’ve broken your list down by types of services those customers currently receive. For those who take advantage of your gardening services, make the messaging about how you’ll keep their flowers in bloom all season long, for a fraction of the price. For those who use your lawn mowing services, the email can say something like “The only thing better than the smell of fresh-cut grass is saving 10% off your lawn care services this summer.”

To further personalize the messages, take advantage of merge tags, which allow you to include the name of the recipient in the greeting, rather than a generic “Hey there.”

Write Smart Body Copy

This is where those non-writers start to get intimidated. What is good copy, anyway? Really it’s about being concise, clear, and helpful.

Keep sentences short, eliminate jargon and technical speak, and make it very clear what you’re offering in your email. Because we do all get so many emails each day, no one has time to sit down and read a thousand word email. Keep it to 250-500 words maximum, and devise ways to draw attention to the most important keywords. This can be as simple as bolding relevant text or including an image that draws the viewer’s eye to the most critical part of the message.

If you’re feeling shaky in your copywriting skills, check out this list of dos and don’ts.

Incorporate Elements Beyond Text

Creating the perfect email is all about standing out from the crowd. And what better way to do that than to add elements beyond text? A stunning photo, an informative infographic, or a quick video are all ways to add other media into your messaging.

If you’re going to go this route, set it up with a brief sentence or two, and then let the media speak for itself. If needed, include captions on images so that viewers have more context. Videos should also include subtitles, so that those viewing in a place where they can’t turn their volume up can still grasp the content (a service like Rev can help you with your transcription needs).

End with a Call to Action

Once you’ve dazzled your readers with relevant, personalized content and exciting visual elements, it’s time to bring it on home. One simple, clear call to action that’s tied in with the rest of the email is the way to do that.

If your email was about a sale going on right now, include a “Shop the sale” button that takes readers to your e-commerce site. If your email was an offer for a free ebook, end with a “Get the book” link. Whatever the case may be, make sure that the call to action flows with the rest of the email content and is set apart visually so that readers can’t possibly miss it.

And Don’t Forget the Unsubscribe Option

Last but not least, you want to give your readers a chance to unsubscribe. Not only is it the law to give folks a chance to opt-out of your marketing messaging, it can also help you maintain a clean email list. When your email is going directly to spam folders or getting deleted without being opened week after week, that puts you at risk of being punished by ISPs. A clean email list, with higher open rates and fewer people marking you as spam, ensures that your messaging is ending up in the inboxes of your most engaged subscribers.

Once you get the hang of creating compelling marketing emails, you must keep it up! Staying in regular contact with your subscribers is the best way to remain top-of-mind, so establish a cadence for your email marketing and stick to it.

5 Ways to Save Time on Content Creation

5 Ways to Save Time on Content Creation written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Content creation, when done correctly, takes time. But you’re a busy entrepreneur with a lot on your plate. Surely, there is a way to get more efficient about the content creation process.

The good news is: there is! There are ways to streamline the process and save time, while still creating meaningful content that will get you noticed by prospects and keep you top of mind with existing customers.

Here are my top five tips for saving time on content creation so you can get back to the other tasks that come along with running a business.

1. It’s About Quality, Not Quantity

The first thing to remember is that you don’t need to create mountains of content. You’re better off creating less, high-quality content than you are flooding your audience with lots of empty content.

Along with quality, consistency is just as important. When you set a cadence for your content, you want to stick to it. Releasing content every single day and then going radio silent for a week and a half is not the way to build an audience.

Most prospects need to see a brand a handful of times before they even begin to think about doing business with them. If you can be a consistent presence in their inbox and on their social media feeds, you’re far more likely to get their attention than if you spam them with meaningless content for one week and then disappear the next.

2. Create an Editorial Calendar

How do you ensure that you’re creating high quality content on a regular basis? Put together an editorial calendar.

Not only does this help you set a plan and stick to it, it’s also a much more efficient use of your time to sit down and plan out the month’s content in one fell swoop, rather than scrambling to pull it together piecemeal each day.

Set aside a few hours at the end of each month to plan your content approach for the following month. Centering your content around a particular theme can help you to create content that works well together and provides the depth of information that your audience craves. It also aligns with the strategy of creating hub pages for your content, which will empower you to continue to get use out of your content well after it’s been published.

3. Refresh Existing Content

Just because you’re sharing content on a regular basis doesn’t mean that it all needs to be brand new. Refreshing old content is a great way to get additional life out of your content that remains relevant.

Some topics will never go out of style, but may need to be updated as the details change. Let’s say you own a business that handles home renovations. Perhaps you have a blog post about selecting the perfect kitchen countertop. While some of the principles of countertop selection will always be the same, some of the trends will change. You can refresh this content to reflect changes in consumer trends (acknowledging the shift from granite to quartz as the material of choice, for example). This keeps the content relevant, while allowing you to continue to benefit from the material meat of the original post.

4. Turn to Guest Posters

If you’re trying to create content on a regular basis, sometimes you know it will be difficult for you to keep pace. If there’s a week where you’ll be out of town at a conference, or a month where your business is launching a new product that will take up a lot of your time, this might be the time to tap a friend to create content as a guest.

Whether it’s a blog post, webinar, or podcast episode, guest content can serve a few important purposes. First, it frees you up to spend less of your time on content that week. Second, and perhaps even more importantly, it allows you to tap into the existing network of the guest poster.

Like with any strategic partnership, you want to seek out guests who are aligned with what you do and complement the work your business does. This not only adds value for your audience, but it also introduces you to guest posters’ fan base (and vice versa—it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement).

5. Consider Outsourcing

There are a lot of small businesses that aren’t quite big enough to build out their marketing department, but are a little too big for the owner or small team to handle marketing all on their own. This is when it might be time to outsource some of your marketing efforts and content creation.

Fortunately, in today’s highly connected world, it’s easy to find contractors who can work remotely to help you with content creation. Outsourcing allows you to put your marketing work in the hands of a professional, without having to worry about finding the resources to add to your permanent team.

Content Creation can eat up a lot of time and attention for small business owners. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you get smart about planning out your content and turn to others for help, you can continue to create meaningful, effective content without losing too much time in your day.

If you’re looking for help managing your content creation, check out our packages, designed to help you increase your visibility online.

How to Stand Out From Content Clutter

How to Stand Out From Content Clutter written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The internet is filled with a staggering amount of content. A Google search can turn up tens of millions of results for a single query in seconds.

So you’re an expert in your field, and you’re diligently creating content each week. But what is going to give you the edge up on all of the other businesses in your industry? And how will you build a loyal audience who will turn to you, rather than your competitors, for help solving their problems?

Here are some tips to help you create content that is a cut above the rest—work that really stands out from the content clutter.

Find a New Angle

The first step to creating unique content is understanding what makes your brand different. What is your business’s value proposition? You can discover your value proposition by asking yourself why you’re passionate about your work, and by asking your customers why they chose to do business with you over your competitors.

Asking your customers is a critical step, because sometimes the thing that makes you stand out is not what you expected. If you own a coffee shop, you may be passionate about sourcing the best espresso and think that’s what makes you exceptional. But in talking to your customers, you may find that they enjoy your coffee, but are even more excited about the baristas, who go out of their way to learn their names and greet them personally when they enter the store.

Once you understand what gets your customers excited about your business, you can create content that leans into that. Perhaps the owner of that coffee shop would want to start a customer of the month program, where they do a personal feature on one of their customers each month on social media.

Stay True to Your Brand’s Voice

If you’ve ever listened to A-list actors being interviewed about their careers, one of the most common questions they get is, “How did you get your big break?” Often, their answer is that they stayed true to themselves. They were competing against thousands of other actors, but they brought their own voice and personality to the role, and that’s eventually what helped them book the part.

Defining the voice and tone for your brand is a crucial part of creating content that resonates with your audience and keeps them following you rather than your competitor. This can sound like a nebulous pursuit, but you can use the same research you used to find your value proposition to define your voice.

What is it that people like about your brand? Is it your trustworthiness, your friendliness, your authenticity, or your passion? These words can help you create content that fits with the image your customers already have of your business.

Provide Actionable Steps for Your Readers

People turn to the internet looking for content that helps them solve a problem. If your content isn’t useful, it’s going to be ignored. This means you should be providing your readers with clear, actionable steps they can take to fix their problems.

This should be true for all of your brand’s content, from blog posts and webinars to Tweets and Instagram posts. Retweeting memes and cluttering people’s social media feeds with filler content is going to get you unfollowed. Sharing content that is unique, or at the very least thoughtfully curated and re-shared, is what’s going to keep people following your business.

Create Content in Desirable Formats

Part of building an audience for your content is providing content in a format that people want to engage with. Video has become hugely popular, and you should be working to incorporate it on your website and across social media. If you’re creating written content, make sure you’re creating effective copy.

When you’re posting on social media, make sure you’re active on the channels that are most important to your prospects and customers. If your ideal customer is a Baby Boomer, you should probably be focusing your efforts on Facebook rather than churning out content on Snapchat.

Establish Hub Pages to Keep Content Working for You

Creating content is a time-consuming task. And when you’re creating great content, you want to be sure you’re squeezing every ounce of value out of it. That’s where hub pages come in. These pages allow you to group your similar content together, making it easy for your audience to do a deep-dive into their topic of interest.

This positions you to be regarded as a thought leader in that area, allows you to continue to generate views for older content that would otherwise fade into the archives on your blog, and strengthen your ranking on search engines.

When you think about content creation, it can be easy to feel defeated: “There are so many other people out there on the internet, providing insight in my industry—how can I possibly stand out?” Fortunately for you, a lot of the content out there is not good. It doesn’t have a strong identity, and it doesn’t really add much value for readers. If you can create content that’s meaningful for your audience, you can get the upper hand and rise to the top of the content heap.

The Sales Team Dos and Don’ts for Creating Content

The Sales Team Dos and Don’ts for Creating Content written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Content creation falls squarely in the domain of your marketing team, right? Yes, it’s true that marketers set strategy and create the content that supports that vision. But no team is an island, and in reality, it’s the sales team that is out there interacting with prospects and customers each and every day.

Your sales team should feel empowered to share and create content for your business. Here’s how you get them involved in the process, and the dos and don’ts for making the system work.

Do: Ask for Their Input

Your marketing team might be the wordsmiths of the group, but your sales team are the boots on the ground. They’re out there talking to prospects every day. They hear the same questions, hesitations, and sticking points over and over again.

When creating your content, you want to be sure that you’re proving to prospects that your business is the best one out there to solve their problems. The sales team understands better than anyone what those problems are, and how to communicate your solution.

You should be turning to them for advice and input. They’re the people who can point the marketing team in the right direction and help them create the type of content that will be most meaningful and helpful for your audience.

Do: Create a Process for Gathering Their Ideas

Your sales team have their own impressive skill set, but marketing writing is not necessarily part of it. In order to gather their input, don’t ask them to think like a marketer. Make it easy for them to share what they hear in their role as a salesperson.

Consider putting together a worksheet that asks them some basic questions. What are the top three questions they hear from prospects? Do they hear similar reactions across the board to pricing and specific products? What kind of content do they wish they had available to them as part of their sales arsenal?

Gathering responses to these questions will help your marketing team understand and meet the sales team’s needs.

Do: Provide Them with Content Extras

Salespeople are dealing with prospects and existing customers who are at all different stages of the marketing hourglass. Whether they’re speaking with a prospect who wants more information or a return customer who’s thinking about referring a friend, it’s helpful for them to have unique content to share, that goes above and beyond what’s available on your website.

These prospects and customers are already speaking with your sales team—they’ve proven that they have a high level of interest in what your business is offering. Why not go the extra mile and dazzle them with a content upgrade that the Average Joe scanning your website won’t be able to access?

Providing the sales team with content like ebooks, checklists, or templates that can enhance the customer experience at any stage of their journey will help them to establish a deeper sense of trust with the prospect or customer, which can help them close the sale in the long run.

Don’t: Leave Them to Their Own Devices on Social Media

Social media is a great tool for salespeople to use. It can help them generate conversions, but only if they’re using it properly. Again, the sales team are not marketing experts. It’s up to your marketing people to share best practices and make sure that the sales team is using their social media profiles to greatest effect.

While the marketing team creates the social media persona and posts for the brand, salespeople can cultivate their own followings and voice on social channels. Encouraging them to use hashtags effectively, tag the company in relevant posts, and incorporate video into their posts are great ways to help them drive sales. For more on the specifics of how to use social media as a part of the sales process, check out this webinar.

Do: Establish Brand Guidelines and Provide Templates

The sales team shouldn’t feel afraid to take ownership of sharing company messaging. After all, they’re not going to turn to the marketing team to write every email and script out every phone call they have with a prospect.

However, your marketing team has worked hard to create a brand identity, complete with a set voice and look, and you want to be sure that any content your sales team does create is working in harmony with the marketing team’s strategy.

That’s why it’s helpful for your marketing team to provide salespeople with brand guidelines and templates. What are the approved color palette and fonts for marketing materials? How do you want sales pitch decks to look?

Providing a style guide can help salespeople stay on the right track when communicating with prospects. Your marketing team should also put together a template for the types of communications your sales team will use regularly (and that includes things as complex as pitch decks and as simple as the formatting for their email signature line).

Part of building trust in your brand is establishing consistency in the way you communicate. Prospects and customers might not realize it consciously, but when they’re getting materials from a brand that are all over the map in terms of appearance and tone, some distrust might start to creep in. That’s the last thing you want for your business, so you must provide your sales team with the tools they need to put their best, most consistent foot forward.

Your marketing team might own the content creation process, but your sales team is a valuable asset in establishing and executing their approach. Making sure that their input is collected and considered, and providing them with the guidance to confidently communicate with prospects is the key to creating effective, trustworthy content for your brand.

Why Hub Pages Can Be A Game-Changer for Your Business

Why Hub Pages Can Be A Game-Changer for Your Business written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

I’ve become more and more vocal of late about the importance of establishing hub pages on your website. Focused around a single topic, hub pages become a foundational source for readers, providing them with all the information they could need or want on a given topic.

No matter what kind of business you run, there is value in establishing hub pages for relevant areas of expertise. Still not convinced about why you should take the plunge? Here are the ways they can transform your business.

Organize Existing Content

If you’ve been diligently following the rules for content creation over the years, you likely have hundreds—maybe even thousands—of blog posts, webinars, and podcasts. That means you’ve shared a lot of useful information on the topics you know the most about. But right now, if someone is looking to do a deep dive into a specific topic, they have to go to your blog, search for a relevant term, and sort through articles looking for the ones that are most relevant.

Hub pages allow you to bring order to the content chaos and help guide your visitors’ experience. Let’s say you’re the owner of a yoga studio. You might create hub pages around various topics like nutrition for yogis, dealing with and recovering from injuries, pre- and post-natal yoga, and information on the different forms of yoga.

On each hub page, you would then create sub-categories, allowing you to share related content in an organized way. That makes it easy for visitors to quickly find the information they need, and maybe even discover related content they wouldn’t have thought to search for on their own!

Give Old Content a Second Life

You put a lot of time and effort into creating content that is meaningful and helpful for prospects and customers alike. But if you’re adding it to your blog or posting it on your podcast hosting site, it’s eventually fading into the background as you add more posts and episodes. Eventually, it ends up buried in the recesses of the archives.

Hub pages allow you the opportunity to highlight your evergreen content—those “oldies but goodies” that remain as relevant today as they were when you first posted them—bringing it front and center and getting the most out of the work you put into creating it!

Establish Yourself as an Industry Expert

One of the best ways to build trust with customers and prospects is to prove that you really know what you’re talking about. If all of your knowledge is spread across your website, it’s difficult for visitors to get the full scope of the expertise that you bring to the table.

When your content isn’t centralized, people might only be aware of a small sliver of the knowledge that you have. For example, if you run a landscaping business, someone might be aware that you handle fall leaf cleanup, but they might be unaware of the work you do to protect trees and mature plantings from diseases.

Without a hub page, visitors might also be missing out on understanding the depth of the knowledge you possess on each respective topic. Returning to the landscaping example, they might have heard from a neighbor that you saved their old pine trees from an invasive species, but they might not know that you are the only landscaper in the area that uses a highly-effective method for controlling the pests and keeping them at bay in the long run.

Hub pages empower you to define the terms for your visitors. You can showcase the expertise that you know differentiates you from your competition.

Increase Trust and Authority with Google

Trust and authority are two of the biggest ranking factors with Google. Creating hub pages allows you to link out to other industry experts who have content that is relevant to your hub topics. They also allow you to drive a lot of traffic internally to and from the page.

When you can create more high-quality internal linking, Google ranks you more highly in both authority and trust. These factors, over time, will help you to rank higher in Google’s search results, meaning that your best content—featured on your hub pages—will be seen by an even broader audience.

Boost Your Content Upgrades

You likely already have content upgrades offered on your website. It’s great to create extra content, like ebooks or checklists, that not only provide valuable information to interested parties, but also help you identify your most qualified leads.

When you include content upgrade offers on your hub pages, you’re able to generate even greater interest in this content. First of all, you’ve already established your expertise on the topic at hands, so who wouldn’t want to sign up to learn even more from you about this area of interest?

Second, since hub pages increase your standing in Google rankings, your content upgrades included on these hub pages are being seen by a broader audience, meaning you have the opportunity to capture even more qualified leads.

I strongly believe in the power of hub pages to transform a small business’ content marketing game. They allow you to harness the full power of all of the high-quality content you’ve created throughout the years. Plus they help you rank better in search and drive conversions with the most promising leads. What’s not to love?

Transcript of Marrying Content with the Customer Journey

Transcript of Marrying Content with the Customer Journey written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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Klaviyo logoJohn Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is brought to you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo is a platform that helps growth-focused eCommerce brands drive more sales with super-targeted, highly relevant email, Facebook and Instagram marketing.

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Arnie Kuenn. He is the founder and CEO of Vertical Measures. He’s also the author, or I guess I should say co-author because he’s got a group that he wrote this book with, called Customer Journey: Your Audience Will Take This Journey With or Without You, Are You Prepared?

Arnie, thanks for joining me.

Arnie Kuenn: Thanks for having me John, appreciate it.

John Jantsch: As a fellow author I’m always curious how these team books go. How did you find writing a book with others in terms of … The obvious benefit is you didn’t have to write as much, but then you also had to organize people’s thoughts, didn’t you?

Arnie Kuenn: Yeah. The journey for me has been … I wrote my first book solo back in 2011 around content marketing, it was called Accelerate, and found that to be … Just so everybody who has ever written a book totally understands, it was ten times harder and took three times longer than anyone even tried to warm ne it would take.

John Jantsch: And then you had to sell the dang thing.

Arnie Kuenn: Well yeah. Actually we don’t do it so much to become best-sellers. In the business we’re in it’s more thought leaders and help maybe bring some clients in. We do hope it sells, but you’re right, absolutely, then you’ve got to go market it. The second book I wrote was called content marketing works and it was based on all the lessons learned in the years between Accelerate and Content Marketing Works and I actually co-authored that with my son who is in charge of marketing for our agency and that was a lot easier, even though we had to do some coordinating. He lived in Nashville at the time, I lived in Phoenix. It was fun to do with him but, of course, it was half the work, that was kind of nice.

About two years ago we came up with this idea for the book around the customer journey. We have 60 employees altogether but we have multiple subject matter experts and we were just having a team meeting and talking about it and said, well if each of you takes a section we could probably knock this out. That’s how the idea came about. It takes more coordination that way, a little bit less effort but a lot more project management, so to speak to get it done. That’s a long answer but that’s how that all formed and how we decided to do it this way.

John Jantsch: I know in the course of writing a book, some of my books have taken … By the time the editor was really getting to to it I may have written that chapter six months ago and they’re coming back and saying, “Well, you said it this way this time.” I can’t imagine doing that with six or eight people.

Arnie Kuenn: Right. Yeah. We did have one editor so that person interacted with the person who wrote that chapter or those chapters, but you’re right, there’s actually people who finished their work, actually just about what you said, six, seven, eighth months ago and really haven’t looked at it since and the book just got released this week and they’re almost having to refresh, “What did I write again?” And read it over again.

John Jantsch: Well congrats.

Arnie Kuenn: Well thank you.

John Jantsch: You chose the format of, I don’t know, are you calling it a fable? That’s kind of what they call this, right?

Arnie Kuenn: A fable, you said?

John Jantsch: Where you have a fictitious character who is actually going on this journey.

Arnie Kuenn: Yes.

John Jantsch: I think they call those books fables.

Arnie Kuenn: You’re probably right. Actually I never thought about it in a business reference, but yes.

John Jantsch: I think so.

Arnie Kuenn: Yeah.

John Jantsch: What was the decision about trying to present the information in that voice?

Arnie Kuenn: The first two, if you looked at them, they were really … I mean, they felt and really were how-to books, very step-by-step and I’m pretty pragmatic and so it just followed a system and a process and all that. This time we just set off saying we’re going to really try to make it a story. Even though it has lots of good information on how-to and all of that, we just really wanted to make it more readable and, like you say, pitch it more of a story.

We created a character, you’re right, who is in business but wants to go back to school to get an advanced degree. We tell the whole story of how she’s searching for a school to take some online classes and how she starts to go through part of her journey in the beginning but the school she’s doing research around hasn’t quite finished all of their content to map to all of the phases of her journey. She ends up finding another school who has more comprehensive content that takes her all the way through decision and advocacy and so she jumps over and ends up enrolling and taking classes there and then eventually has a better position in life. We just thought that story worked and we’re proud of it, but I guess we’ll find out over the next few months if everybody else likes it.

John Jantsch: That’s the whole story, I guess we’re done.

Arnie Kuenn: Yeah, that’s pretty much it.

John Jantsch: Let’s unpack this idea of a journey because, in fact, you graciously asked me to give a blurb for the book, which I did, because it’s a great book.

Arnie Kuenn: Yeah, I did. Thank you very much.

John Jantsch: I’ve been saying for a long time that everybody talks about this change in marketing and that change in marketing. I’ve been saying for a long time, I think the things that change most is the way people buy and that’s what we’re subject to, the whole buyer journey has changed so much that we have to … Our marketing now has to respond to that massive change. How would you describe the customer journey? It’s a hot topic right now but it’s also one of those that I see a lot of sort of mixed signals around what it means.

Arnie Kuenn: Yeah. We describe it in four steps. I know everybody has different views and funnels and you had described one that you had talked about for years, but ours pretty much follows awareness as a first step, then consideration, decision and advocacy. Our view is that awareness can happen very, very quickly. It could be you are scrolling through your Facebook feed and you see a drone that looks like maybe you will never break, but you weren’t planning on buying drone but you became aware that there’s one that looks good for you and so you click on the ad or whatever.

It could be you’re watching television at night and how we all sit with our iPads or our laptops in our lap and something just strikes you, maybe it’s a pair of shoes or a new car or whatever it might be. You awareness could happen, like I say, in moments and then you turn online generally and you start the consideration phase. You start doing your research and, like you said, that’s what’s really changed is the way we buy now. You and I are old enough to … I’m sure you used to go to car dealers, you decided you want a new car but you showed up at a dealer with a yellow pad of paper and a pen so you could go and ask questions and take notes and go to the next one.

Now when we go to the dealer we walk in with a printout that we researched online and we say, here’s what I’d like to order or buy. In fact, I even know your inventory, I want this car. You’re right, that’s just what’s changed, the way people buy. Anyway, you make that decision but now there’s this whole advocacy piece, which again referring to our age, we used to tell our neighbors or our coworkers about this good or bad experience we have, well now we turn online and we do a Yelp review or an auto dealer review or a Google review and so on. It’s just digital now.

John Jantsch: I think that’s where I see so many people kind of miss the boat on this. The old funnel kind of ended when that person squirted out of the bottom of the funnel and that was like, oh you’re done now.

Arnie Kuenn: Yeah.

John Jantsch: I think that today a much more significant part of marketing is what happens after somebody says yes and I think the companies that are really killing it are taking advantage of that.

Arnie Kuenn: I agree. Yeah. In fact, more and more of our clients, although this is kind of a while ago, Andy Beale, a friend of mine, he’s kind of specialized in the whole protecting your brand online and reputation management. Lately it seems some of our clients are coming back to us saying, “We do need a little bit of help here. We’re not getting … We need better reviews or we need …” Oh I can’t think of that, what’s the website where your employees go?

John Jantsch: Glassdoor.

Arnie Kuenn: Yeah, Glassdoor. “We need better Glassdoor, we need Yelp …”, whatever it might be. We’re seeing a lot and it’s true. All of us, not all of us, but a lot of times before we go to buy something that car or the shoes I was referencing earlier, one of the things we do in our research is to go look at their reviews, what are people saying about that brand and that product. Again, 20 years ago that just did not happen.

John Jantsch: Yeah. I think there were certain industries that that became important five, ten years ago but I think it’s everybody now because that data’s out there and the behavior of looking at reviews has become so commonplace. I have kids that are in their 30s and late 20s and that’s one of the first pieces of data they want to look at before they visit a …

Arnie Kuenn:  Yeah, sure.

John Jantsch: I think that behavior has kind of made that more significant.

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One of the things that you had mentioned, you and I were talking offline before, I use this marketing hourglass approach and that was kind of the idea behind The Hourglass was that once the funnel kind of came to the point where somebody bought, then it expanded again. I have seven stages in mine, but I think the thing that trips people up a lot of times, even people that are buying into this idea of awareness, consideration, decision, is that these aren’t necessarily nice, tidy little boxes. Dependent upon a person’s problem, their relationship to the problem, how much they know coming into the deal, they can really … How people go through those boxes can change dramatically, can’t it?

Arnie Kuenn: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. Actually, one of the things that we’ve worked on here at Vertical Measures the last couple of years is we’ve created something that if you see it, it looks almost too simple if I told you it took us hundreds of hours to do it. We call it The Growth Matrix. Down one side we list awareness, consideration, decision, advocacy, but across the top there’s things to come into play. We look at, do you have content in each of these areas and what kinds of content will people be searching for.

Like you just said, are they trying to solve a problem, is it a how-to, it it … Whatever might be there. Does it need to be optimized? Does it need to be promoted? How are we going to actually measure whether or not the awareness stage is working, the consideration state, decision, so on and so forth. You’re right, even in the simple little funnel, I guess this is, of those four buckets, it gets more complex when you look at it like I’m describing from left to right and figuring out what needs to all be in each of these phases for this all to work well.

John Jantsch: And then, let’s start with another matrix factor, you’ve got these dimensions of your matrix because if I’m a homeowner and my furnace breaks down, my decision process for hiring an HVAC contractor to come fix is quite different than if I just bought a new home and I want to see if there’s something I need to upgrade, isn’t it?

Arnie Kuenn: Oh, gosh yeah. We have timeframe, for example.

John Jantsch: Well and just what information I need, how I’m going to go about getting that information. But I think the HVAC contractor in question here has to kind of plan for both, right?

Arnie Kuenn: Probably, yeah. Because … You’re right, you might be looking to upgrade or maybe even look at solar or whatever as opposed to …

John Jantsch: Yeah, so now I need information whereas before I just needed to know who will get here the fastest.

Arnie Kuenn: Yeah, who could get here. I’m in Chicago and it’s ten degrees and my furnace just broke, right?

John Jantsch: One of the things that I think is great about the book is you, given your background, particularly you make a very direct connection to content in each of these stages. I think that’s another thing that’s missing. A lot of people just look at content of like, “Okay, we have to have good content that’s out there and we blog and there we go, we checked that of the box.” Most of that content, between you and me, is written for that person who has already figured out what their problem is and they’re just looking for somebody to solve it. It really misses many of the other stages, doesn’t it?

Arnie Kuenn: It does, but I will say that … What you just described to me would be someone who might be actually successful with their content marketing. If they’re actually creating content around solving people’s problems, they’re already a step ahead of what I would say most organizations are. Because to me, still my biggest frustration that’s been the same frustration for five or six years is I still see people guessing at the kinds of content they should create or they’re still trying to create clever, journalistic headlines as opposed to really understanding the pain points that their prospect is going through and understanding the journey that we’re talking about and really trying to match up content there.

But you’re right, most people tend, if they’re into it, tend to focus on consideration or getting very close to a decision, so maybe they’ll do versus content, John versus Arnie, to see which one’s better or whatever, but there can be really good awareness content created as well and most people are missing that totally.

John Jantsch: For example, I sell marketing consulting services, would you say that’s what your firm does, is that how you would describe what [crosstalk]

Arnie Kuenn: More or less. Yeah. We’re a digital marketing agency so we probably are a little bit different than you, but you’re probably I think more on the consulting side, we actually …

John Jantsch: We have a network of consultants so we do a ton of training and stuff too.

Arnie Kuenn: Yeah.

John Jantsch: But I always advocate, nobody ever, in America at least, has woken up and said, “I think I’m going to go get me some marketing consulting.”

Arnie Kuenn: Right.

John Jantsch: They’re really complaining about problems that … They’re not even saying, “I’m going to go get some strategy.” But most of their complaints or they’re, how do I fix the fact that everybody … All they want is a lower price? Why do my competitors always show up ahead of me in the three pack? Those are the things they’re going and looking for answers to and I think that if we’re not addressing that in the early stages we’re never going to get to the part where what you need is a marketing strategy.

Arnie Kuenn: Correct. I absolutely agree. Yep.

John Jantsch: How do you go about helping somebody understand just that? I think that’s … As you mentioned, I’ve been talking about this for a lot of years. How do you get … We work with a lot of small businesses and most of them are still focused on that, here’s what we sell. But the clients out there looking for a solution, they don’t even know what their problem is yet, so how do you get people focused on creating content, particularly for those early stages when … I really a lot of times think people just … The only thing they can articulate is that it hurts.

Arnie Kuenn: Right. We’ll go about it a couple of ways. One might be more of a story form. We’ll go in and if we can talk to the CEO or whoever might be the top of the food chain as possible, and if they aren’t quite getting it we’ll just ask them … Let’s just say you’re into golf and you wanted a new set of golf clubs. Tell us what kind of things you would search for on Google. We’ll literally walk them through so that the light bulb can go on in their head where they realize that their customers are doing exactly what they do, it’s just a different product line. It could be B2B, it could be whatever.

We just show them, if you had a concern, if your customers have a concern, what is the problem that your products or services solve and how do you imagine they would go about this when they’re doing the research on Google and blah, blah, blah. Then we’ll bring … The next level is data. We’ll try to anticipate it, we’ll show them search volumes, we’ll go in and show their competitors and say, your competitor owns this piece here because they’ve just got all sorts of content helping them solve their problem, whatever it might be. Go get a new marketing automation system. The boss told you to go get a new marketing automation system, finally gave you a budget, but you don’t know any so you turn to Google and you start researching. What does that research path look like? Usually, if we can get an audience and tell that story, the light bulbs start to go on and they start to get it.

John Jantsch: The thing that I love about where you started with that too is I so often see people that are saying, “Okay, how do we create awareness? How do we create consideration? How do we create discovery?” It’s all about how do we do this to get this done and I think what you just described is really the place that a lot of people miss and that’s this, how does the buyer actually go about finding a company like this?

Arnie Kuenn: Right.

John Jantsch: I just moved to town, I need a new car wash. How does that buyer actually go about finding a car wash? I think if we can learn that, then it becomes a matter of then filling in the blanks of what content you need, what tactics you need, what campaigns you need, where you need to be, right?

Arnie Kuenn: Yeah, absolutely. I think another beauty part of this is that you’re also having someone find you at the time that they have the need as opposed to other marketing is really counting on the masses and hoping that someone happens to become aware or see their ad or their product or a service at the time of their need. Where if they turn to Google and they start to search, you’ve already eliminated all the people who have no interest in your products if you followed that logic.

That’s the other beauty of counting on digital and having that content ready for them is if they’re doing that search and they’re clicking on your stuff, odds are they’re in a buying mode.

John Jantsch: As a practitioner, do you find that having that conversation of how would somebody become aware, what are the other ways they become aware? Do you find that actually makes the sales process of, well then we need to do SEO or then we need to do long-form content. Do you find that they sort of self-admit that’s what somebody would do so we better have that. Does that make it easier for you to make a case for some of the tactics that you recommend?

Arnie Kuenn: In a word, yes. We’ve tried to refine it over the years and generally it takes that kind of a story for those who haven’t quite adopted it yet for them to really understand how this works. Yep.

John Jantsch: But I do think that that helps them get … Everything just seems like all these tactics that everybody’s selling and I think that that focus on the journey kind of brings it down to … Even to the point where you start identifying, we better have a better onboarding process and we better have some way that we check in with them in two weeks. It really kind of brings the whole business together, I find.

Arnie Kuenn:  Yeah, absolutely. Even a little piece we haven’t talked about is lead nurture. You might have actually got them to show up to your site and they were a hot prospect at that moment, they downloaded your piece of content or whatever it might be, but what have you done now to stay in touch with them? That’s also part of the buying process is you think that through and you make sure each followup, whether it’s a series of seven or eight or whatever it might be, but each one makes sense to the next thing they might be concerned about. Just keep eliminating objections along the way with your lead nurture.

John Jantsch: Arnie, thanks for joining us. Great book. Customer Journey: Your Audience Your Audience Will Take This Journey With You or Without You, so true. Where can people find out more about you and certainly where can they acquire the book, Customer Journey?

Arnie Kuenn: They can learn more about us at a simple URL, Actually if they go to the website, I don’t know the URL, but if they just look at resources, our book is listed there. Next week, I don’t know when this will be broadcasted, but let’s say by March this will be live on Amazon and they can find it there as well.

John Jantsch: Awesome. Thanks for stopping in and hopefully we will run into you out there on the road in Cincinnati or somewhere like that.

Arnie Kuenn: Sounds good. Thanks for having me, John.