From owned media to earned media, from distribution to “shock” Traffic Jam 37 is packed full of all things content. Joining James on this week’s episode is inbound marketing specialist Chad Pollitt from content promotion agency Digital Relevance.
We discuss how to avoid content shock and where it’s problem really lies, how to get your content syndicated by others and much more. So tune in now and discover the keys to effective research, creative, promotion, and conversion using content.
- Content Marketing Now
- Content Shock – What is it?
- Content Problem or Audience Problem?
- Getting Your Content Posted on Sites.
- Getting Your Audience’s Attention.
- The Right Promotion Strategy.
- Earned Media.
- Digital Relevance’s Biggest Pay Off.
Show / Hide Transcript
Hey! What’s up listener? You’re tuned in to the Traffic Jam podcast I’m your host, James Reynolds, and this is episode #37. If you are a first time listener to the show, the podcast is all about building and growing a profitable audience for your website, and on today’s episode we’re going to be helping you do that using inbound marketing specifically, using content distribution to amplify the content on your website. Plus we’ll be talking a little known concept called content shock which you’ll hear all about the upcoming interview. But don’t go anywhere after the interview because we’ll have our regular segments which are the One Minute Traffic tip, This Week’s News in traffic and then to play out the show the traffic jam, which is a musical jam chosen by my guest today who is Chad Pollit.
Let me introduce Chad Pollit. He’s a former US Army commander and professional at foosball which is kind of incidental because Eric Enge is also a former champion foosball player. So I guess we should probably have a Traffic Jam foosball head to head right? Episode 37 vs. 34, it would be kind of fun! Anyway, aside from foosball, Chad Pollit is an authority on inbound marketing and has produced some really awesome content around the topic and specifically his 51 Things Your Mother Taught You About Inbound Marketing, which is an e-book available on Amazon and some real authoritative piece from Social Media Today, which he’s a contributor. He’s the director at Digital Relevance which is www.relevance.com and he’s a really sound guy as well so I’m going to leave it at that for the introduction and let’s get straight in to the content so without any further ado, let’s welcome Chad Pollit from relevance.com.
James: So this is the interview for session#38 and at the end of several wires running underneath the ocean between Dubai and Indiana is Chad Pollit. Chad, welcome to Traffic Jam!
Chad: Thanks James! I appreciate it, it’s great to be here.
James: So I have asked you on today to talk a little bit about content marketing. Of course it’s been a topic that’s widely covered in this show and it’s an explosive trend and shows no signs of slowing down, at least imminently, how long Chad before this bubble bursts on content marketing?
Chad: Well, James, it is funny you say that because there is a lot of people with varying opinions on whether it will ever burst or what are some of the nuances around that concept of content shock, what those nuance are. I believe that we’re there now in some industries. I think that if you wanted to open a brand new marketing agency tomorrow and you started from scratch on a website and all you did was focus on owned media, and that’s your own blog and your infographics and things like that, it would take you years upon years if ever, to build a significant audience and to drive a massive business growth in your company. So I see that in our own industry today. In fact, Marcus Sheridan, many people know him as the sales lion, he developed a concept he calls digital sooners and he discussed a digital land grab and he attaches some dates to 2007 to about 2012 I believe, and what he said was in that time frame there was not a lot of industries publishing lots of helpful information so that the companies and the brands that did that in that time frame are the ones that ate being highly rewarded today with massive audiences. Brands like Moz and HubSpot. Now being very specific and talking about this niche but what we found there across other industries, this is happening as well. So for example, maybe HVAC, maybe they have not hit the red line yet on when they are going to experience this content edge but eventually they will, if they have not had already.
James: Well, it is interesting, we’ve had Marcus on the show, I’d have to dig back the episode number and he was a classic example himself of gaining real traction with content but you so rightly put it, he was doing it with river pools and spas in the very early days of content marketing when there was less competition and less people doing this stuff. It would be very interesting case study to see if he can achieve similar results now, right?
Chad: Yeah, exactly. And he may be able to, it depends on what’s happening content-wise in that particular industry, I don’t follow it regularly so I normally don’t have an input but I do know that content is being produced at a much faster clip than what it has in the past.
James: Yeah, good. Well of course I was in my opening question there usher towards the whole content of content shock and I think if I am right in saying, it was first coined by Mark Shaffer who guested on episode 18 and of course it is a concept that you have yourself talked about quite extensively. I think the idea is the best of my understanding is that sometimes my supply of content with outweigh demand and us marketers essentially are faced with a scenarios where, one, our content simply goes unconsumed, we lose the battle for attention as better content, perhaps more well-funded content emerges. Now what’s the answer, how do we actually battle against this ensuing scenario?
Chad: Well, that’s an excellent question and I think about this a little differently than most. Most people believe that this is apparently a content problem. I don’t believe it is. I believe it is an audience problem so that’s an important distinction to make between content and audience because this is why – audiences out there today, for the most part, they have their trusted sources for the information that they consume on a regular basis. Just look at your own habits. I have very specific websites that I go to, every morning, to consume my marketing content- the content that I need to read to stay up to date on what’s happening, and that does not waver very often. Occasionally I will see something on Twitter that I click on, but other than that, I go to LinkedIn today and I go to share blog to get a lot of my content. I also use Klout Now because Klout is now curating content. To get me away in the morning from those websites is going to be very, very, very difficult. But I say this, if you as a brand, can figure out how to get your content where I go already within the content that’s created and published, you have a much better chance and a higher likelihood of getting my attention. And what I mean specifically, is earned media. And that is earning coverage from an influencer or a journalist on one of those trusted websites that I go to on a regular basis.
James: Okay, this is good stuff, I guess we should perhaps explore how this might come about because I am sure there are listeners out there going right, I can establish a few sites in my market where my potential audience will be, I understand where those watering holes are. What’s the process of kind of approaching these sites, these journals, whatever they might be, to actually get your content placed there?
Chad: So we have a 4-step process that we use here. We earn media for clients on a regular basis since that’s what we do. We do some paid media but mostly earned. It all starts with research. In fact, I’ll spell out the process: research, creative, promotion, and conversion. Those are the four steps of our process. And before we even consider what e-book or what guide or what widget we want to create to pitch to the media, we do thorough, thorough research and we identify what our client’s personas online actually look like. Because they are going to look different, their digital signals will be different than their offsite signals or their offline signals for example. So it’s not – I am going to term up – traditional persona development. I am talking about what websites do they go to? How long do they stay there? Where were they before they went to that website? Where were we after they went to that website? Oh, and by the way, what articles and what types of content are the most shared and are the most popular on this particular website that your target demographic consumes on a regular basis? I want to know those questions, I want to know the answers to them. I want to do a media assessment. I want to do an influencer assessment. I want to know who those journalists are and those influencers who are creating this content that’s popular. I want to figure out what problems they’re solving on these online destinations. These are very, very important data points to gather. I am also going to do keyword research as well and figure out what buzz is happening on the search engines and how that relates to these particular websites and media outlets. And once I have all that, then I decide what guide, e-book, or widget I am going to build or create. It’s not until have that research because what I want to do, ultimately content marketers they want to create helpful content for the consumer of their content. But we approach it a little different. We want to create content for the media outlet. Ultimately, the media outlet prefers to launch or to publish content that their audience is going to love. But we focus more on the media because if we can pitch them appropriately, we can make this content say hey, would you cover this in an article? They are much more likely to do so.
James: Got it, and in reading up in our interview a few days ago, you’ve published a couple of articles which you’ve actually pinned on to me as resources and most of those had links off to a pdf guide or perhaps a downloadable e-book or something to that extent. For those particular content pieces in mind to what you actually want to send people off to afterwards?
Chad: Yes, yes. Those are what I call mini versions of what we do for our clients for example. It really is trying to – it’s distribution and promotion as an industry, it is very young, it is emerging. I’d say last year was the year of content marketing, this year is the year of distribution and promotion. And what I am trying to do is develop some thought leadership in bits and pieces, in cheat sheets and things like that and get them out there for people to consume so they can start thinking about content distribution and promotion. Because we all know that depending on – I think 2013’s state of B2B marketing study said that I think 64% of marketers were not confident that their content is delivering the results that it should. So that tells me right there that the industry is not embracing distribution and promotion like they should be.
James: Yeah, we’ll come back to that topic in a short while but I want to ask you a little bit about content creation itself and the life cycle of it. I mean, I know certainly in the past there was real benefits to producing regular content, it was something that Google rewarded in terms of its algorithms. That however, putting out consistently delivered content that perhaps isn’t of the highest quality level, probably doesn’t weigh up so well does it? With so much more content online. You probably have to raise the bar a little bit on the kind of quality that you put out. Where do you sit in that kind of whole seesaw between that quality content versus quality of content?
Chad: So that is another great question. I am going to say something that’s probably new to a lot of your listeners because a lot of people don’t talk about this. Ultimately, the reason why we’re producing this content is to drive business, right? But if you take a step back from that and ask yourself – why are we creating this content? Why do we create owned media? We create owned media to earn media. If you really think about it, that’s what we’re doing. We want to get covered. We want the media to cover our content, we want people talking about it, and we want people sharing it all throughout social media. We are creating it to earn media. So what I say is, the quality bar is established by those websites that we have audiences that we want to tap in to. For example, if you are in the PR industry, having your content featured on PR Daily, or syndicated on PR Daily, that’s a good place because there is an audience there that you might want to speak to. That being said, I would not say PR Daily publishes the highest quality content. They publish content that their audience likes. So if you take their content and pair it up against the Harvard Business Review, maybe the Harvard Business Review has “higher quality” content but the audience for PR Daily prefers their quality level of content so what I am saying is, we produce owned media to earn media and the quality bar is based on where you want to earn that media. So go to their website and look at the content that they publish and that should be your measuring stick.
James: Yeah and I guess this all comes back as well to understanding what that ideal person that you want your content to be consumed by because if you are not tailoring it to them which ultimately is the audience that exists on these places, you’re getting it all wrong, right?
Chad: Yeah, exactly. And that’s why that research phase in our process is critical. Lots of content marketers do some sort of research to write their piece or to create their video or whatever that is but it is the media assessment piece that most people don’t do because after all, we create owned media to gain media, that’s the real reason we’re doing it.
James: Yeah, so let’s talk now a little bit about promotion. In your opinion, what is the ideal balance between time and energy spent in creating content and time and energy spent promoting content?
Chad: That’s a great question. In fact, I had been doing a lot of research on this. I spoke to Ryan Forster over at skinner not too long ago about paid media specifically and he was leaning towards the 12-15% mark; that 12-15% of your time and your budget should be spent on promotion activities. And then I did some more research and I found a thought leader and I can’t remember his name, he’s in Ohio, if it pops in to my head, I will let you know, he recommended investing 45% of your marketing investment in to distribution and promotion so that’s a big, big gap between recommendations. So this is what I did. I went back to our client base and I went to our service side and I had them dig through and really pick apart our campaigns to see how much we are actually spending on promotion and distribution activities. And that number, when you include paid, came out to 29%. So that’s the rule of thumb or benchmark that we are sharing publicly now after doing that research.
James: Yeah, it’s interesting stuff. I mean I have heard numbers as high as 70% of your time, energy and budget should be spent of distribution. That kind of leaves a bit of a void for me; if so much of your budget is spent on distribution, I mean really what is left for creating stuff that is going to be consumed and shared in the first place? But it is an interesting conversation and I guess if we were to establish some numbers for more businesses out there I am sure they will be leaning far lower down in the scale in terms of time spent on creation as opposed to distribution.
Chad: Right, right. And Ryan Skinner for Forster for his own research showed that you can actually step down content creation and step up promotion and distribution and get much better results. One of the cool things about that is we always talk about quality content; what makes quality content is the feedback we get, right- that feedback loop. And what happens when you invest in content promotion and distribution, you accelerate loop so you are getting much more feedback because you are getting your content in front of thousands and thousands of eyeballs rather than the few hundred that you might get on your website in a day.
James: Yeah, well let’s talk a little bit more about distribution. We’ve spoken about this concept of earning distribution, but where else can our listeners potentially be distributing to that might not involve this earned sort of silo?
Chad: Okay, so well, first of all. When I say earned media, it could be news coverage, it could be editorial coverage, and it could be influencer coverage and one of the influencers write about something that you did. It could be a syndication relationships so for example I syndicate my content to LinkedIn and to the Huffington Post and to a couple other places like social media today. So syndication is a big one and curation is another form of earned media so if your content is being curated somewhere that’s another form. Now on the paid side, what I am really talking about is native advertising and that comes in several different flavors. So you’ve got your advertorials, so for example Forbes is a big name out there and they are making some decent revenue and selling basically contracts to companies and allowing to write articles within their paid promotion area. So it looks natural and native so to speak. There’s lots of other websites that offer advertorial contracts and relationships. There’s plenty of them out there. It’s kind of the wild, Wild West with prices all over the place from six figures down to a couple hundred dollars. So advertorials are one and then you have what I call more like your flat-line native advertising which are things like outbrain and adblade and taboola and companies like that where if you go to Huffington post and you scroll down to the bottom of the article, you’ll see there sponsored suggestions for other articles for you to read and if you click one of those it will go offsite to another website. That’s the native advertising that I am talking about in this example. So there are plenty of those opportunities as well. And then you could always do social promotion in the native feeds. That’s another big one. I have been experimenting with that a lot lately so that’s another opportunity for paid native promotion.
James: And what would you suggest is the right balance now and perhaps going forward as more competition starts to exist?
Chad: Well, on the paid side you really need to experiment because you can blow through a lot of money quickly if you’re not careful. So depending on the media research that you do, and the audience assessment that you do, depending on where they hang out what type of native relationships are established with the ad networks, you’re going to want to get your foot wet before you dive in. We spend about 5% of what we do in terms of time and budget on paid media to include social promotion as well as some of your native advertising. The advertorials that we focus on are more one offs. We establish those relationships in addition to the work that we do for our clients so that can really very. Like I said, advertorials are the wild, Wild West right now. Pricing is all over the map. You’ll have to determine if that value proposition is worth your budget.
James: Yeah! I know that you do a lot of different strategies in terms of syndication over at Digital Relevance, if you’d have to pick one from those that you’ve described, what’s been giving the biggest payoff for you recently?
Chad: I’d say the biggest payoff for me is the columns that I earn so for example, I have my own column at Social Media today. They do syndicate some of my content, but for the most part what I publish on Social Media today is original and exclusive to them. They go out of their way to promote that content. And their audience is the perfect audience for me to get my message out to so when we do our media assessment, they’re definitely one of those top websites! The content that we publish there tends to get a lot of traction and lots of conversions. I can get conversion rates over 30% from that website for one article when I link back to a landing page so it has been a great relationship with them. The other side of that is I also publish on Huffington post and LinkedIn. Those audiences are completely different than the audience over at Social Media today. Something that might go crazy at Social Media today might not get but 500 views on LinkedIn or on Huffington Post so where LinkedIn and Huffington Post have larger audiences, there is only a small subset of their audiences that are interested in the problem solving that we produce as a company.
James: Yeah, and I am sure you are tracking all of these. I’d be quite interested to know whether this content that you place especially to this social media site has diminishing returns because you’d expect that perhaps over time as that audience get used to you a little bit more that perhaps the return from that time invested there would be less fulfilling for. Has that been the case?
Chad: You know, I can’t say for certain that that’s the case because probably every four months the general topics of what I tend to write about change with the even flow nature of our industry so in that regard, as long as I am writing something that’s fresh on all of it, it tends to give the same conversion rate and the same amount of traffic back to our website. But I can see where if you are industry like maybe, nuclear engineering, that maybe you can only write so much about nuclear engineering without it getting boring, but I am sure there are some media outlets somewhere that love writing about nuclear engineering, but yeah, I can see that being an issue.
James: Well, if we can find any we’ll make sure we’ll link off to our show notes just to reference for our Traffic Jam listeners today. Now, a bit of a curve ball question as we kind of get towards closing out Chad, what has your m other told you about marketing?
Chad: Well I wrote a book about 51 Things Your Mother Taught You About Inbound Marketing and what I wanted to do – I wanted to have fun and really talk about some of those sayings that your mom used to say to you as a child like don’t jump on the bed or close the door you weren’t raised in a barn and really analogize those to principles of best practices in inbound marketing and I came up with 51 of them. The last one, spoiler alert – the last one is I love you. The idea is that if you get inbound marketing right and you create great content, your audience and your prospects and your customers and your community will show you brand love and will evangelize what you do and what you and what you produce. So that’s the moral of the story but I highly recommend giving it a download, I am sure there will be a link to it 27:29 and it’s a quick read, it’s just under a hundred pages.
James: Yeah, I had a quick check out of it earlier and I love the graphics and the imagery that comes with it. It is very cool! It is beautifully branded content as well which I am sure that Traffic Jam listeners thinking about their own stuff as well. So Chad, just before we close out, have you got any other parting pieces of advice for our traffic jam listeners that you’d like to share?
Chad: Yeah, I just want to reiterate, if you are just doing owned media and you don’t have a content distribution promotion planned, I highly recommend you do some research on it because it can give awesome returns. One link on Link Magazine last year has driven over nine thousand conversions on my website and we earned that mention and you can earn them too and you can get those leads and those conversions for your website.
James: Nice! Now if that’s not some inspiration to get traffic jam listeners going out there to do their own research, I don’t know what is. Chad, leave us with a few places that we can go to reach out and connect with you.
Chad: Certainly, I am easy to find, Chad Pollit on Google, there is a whole bunch of stuff there. I am accessible in LinkedIn, I love Twitter, and I am on Twitter every day. It’s just @ChadPollit, no weird characters there, and yeah, reach out, hit me up with questions. I love talking about this stuff and I look forward to connecting.
James: Fantastic! Thank you for your time and expertise today Chad. It has been thoroughly enjoyable chatting to you. To you the listeners, the show notes the transcript and all of the links and resources mentioned by Chad will be going on TrafficJamCast.com. Just look out for episode #37 and you’ll find all of the details there so just one last farewell and thank you Chad. You’ve been an absolute pleasure.
Chad: Thanks James!
This Week’s News in Traffic
The first news today is from Facebook, who’ve introduce something new called Facebook Audience Network and this is basically a way for advertisers to extend their Facebook advertising beyond Facebook itself in to other mobile applications so this will allow you not just to have ads in the Facebook newsfeed but extend those Facebook ads in to other application fascia. According to Facebook the same features such as co-audiences, look alike audiences and custom audiences will still be available but with one click you can send that advertising across other platforms and mobile applications. The audience network is in its very early stages of development and at least at first they are only available to advertisers looking to drive app installs and app engagement. It is certainly directed at the app marketer right now however they do say they’ll extend it to other objectives in the near future. I think it would be quite interesting to give the audience network a try however the targeting options at least at this stage do seem to be quite limited so I do think you can expect results to vary quite a lot. However if you do want to give it a go, you are encouraged to reach out to your account rep or your client partner at Facebook.
Elsewhere on the internet, it’s been a pretty quiet week really for traffic news. The main stories being that Google analytics have reported some reporting options and foursquare has split its app in to two separate applications. The new one being called swarm which takes its inspiration from instant messenger where you can see which of your friends is online or offline, and the original application has actually been redesigned from the ground up and the biggest surprise being the removal of the check in all together because the new app will focus on discovery and exploration. So if you are using foursquare in your marketing mix, you might want to go and check out that story a little bit further.
In other updates, I want to tell you about an event happening in Dubai on the 20th and the 21st of May at the JW Marriot Marquis Hotel Sheik Said Rd. – it’s the Marketing Live event and it’s a two-day conference, the second day being the search exchange which is the first and only search engine marketing to be held in the Middle East. Not only will I be presenting on that day, but I have been asked to chair and compare the event which I am super excited to do so if you want to come and see me live that’s where you can do it next. I’ll be presenting and comparing as I say on the 21st of May. Further details can be found on Facebook, just do a search for Marketing Live and it is using the acronym MKTG Live and you’ll find all of the details of the event and all the pre-show hype, well worth checking out and if I do see you there make sure to say hi as well.
The awesome reviews keep on coming in and they are especially awesome this week because both Ageni from Australia and Kiwi Liz from the United States have left reviews not just on iTunes or Stitcher radio, they have left their review on both. So guys I really do appreciate that extra effort to leave two reviews, and not just one. Ageni from Australia says this is by far my favorite podcast about online marketing. James is super nice with a very elegant English accent. Well, I am not so sure about that Ageni but I guess I’ll take your word for it. He then goes on to say the podcast consists of interviews with smart and influential people in the industry, James is a really good host and asks great questions that is relevant and useful. The show is very entertaining and informative as well. Kiwi Liz from the United States says James has a great personality with excellent guests, topics are spot on with focus on how to truly build your traffic and find an engaged audience online. Not just giving lip service to these topics but adding real value. So once again guys, thanks for going the extra effort of leaving your review in two places, not just one. To you the listener, well, one is enough so I really would appreciate if you get the time this week to pop in to iTunes or Stitcher radio and leave a review or rating for the show, or you can pop by TrafficJamCast.com, scroll to the bottom of the site and find a leave a voice message link and you can talk in to your microphone and leave a voice recording for the show, that also would be awesome or head on over to the page of the episode and all others at TrafficJamCast.com and you can enter the conversation there.
The One Minute Traffic Tip
Now I’m always arguing the point that SEO is not always about ranking. With factors like Google Authorship and personalized search there are other ways that you can impact how much search engine traffic you get to your website that does not depend on what rank you get for your website for certain keywords. In order to increase the amount of clicks that you get from your current rank, you want to optimize your page titles and page descriptions because this is the text that gets shown in the search results when your listing appears. By optimizing these two things you can make your listing more appealing and then therefore attract more clicks. To do this you can use Google analytics to first identify which pages on your site are most visited from search engines and then which search terms those pages get traffic for. Then by doing a search in Google yourself, you can see what the top rank adwords say in their ad copy. These ad copy rank top because they have the highest click through rate and by spying on their ad copy you can quickly assess what wording gets the highest clicks for those searches and use that to optimize your organic search results. So there you go, a real quick way to optimize your meta data to get more clicks from the search engines.
So thank you for listening in to episode 37 of traffic jam. I will be back in about seven days from now with a LinkedIn episode with Viveka von Rosen so tune back in for that one. Remember to subscribe via iTunes and Stitcher radio and for a direct link to all Traffic Jam episodes, go to TrafficJamCast.com where you can join the discussion on this episode and get links to all of the resources mentioned in today’s show. Also head on over to veravo.com for more traffic tips and training and to learn how I can help you get more traffic, leads and sales from the search engines.
We end this week’s show with a track chosen by my guest today Chad Pollit and the track is called Bodies by the band Drowning Pools. Enjoy, and I’ll see you again next week.
- Digital Relevance
- Chad Pollitt on Twitter
- Chad on Huffington Post
- Chad on Social Media Today
- 51 Things Your Mother Taught You About Inbound Marketing
THIS WEEKS NEWS IN TRAFFIC
- Facebook Introduces Facebook Audience Network
- Foursquare has Split in to Two Separate Apps
- Marketing Live Event in Dubai on May 20-21
ONE MINUTE TRAFFIC TIP
- Optimize Your Meta Data With The Top Rank Adwords To Get More Clicks
THE TRAFFIC JAM
- Bodies – Drowning Pool
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