How to Succeed with Content Marketing in 2018
In the podcast:
02:38 – How HerBusiness Operate03:54 – How HerBusiness Started with Content Marketing?05:41 – Tips on Creating Content Marketing09:49 – What content to produce for small businesses?14:33 – How to apply content promotion into business?16:21 – Successful form of content promotion for 201818:26 – Biggest Mistakes that people make24:26 – How to identify what content is working and what is not?
In this episode, I talk to Suzi Dafnis from HerBusiness. We talk about how to deploy a successful content marketing strategy in 2018. We also cover common content marketing mistakes so you can learn from other people’s mistakes. This episode is not to be missed.
Ilana: Ilana Wechsler here with another episode of Talking Web Marketing. So in today’s episode we’re going to be talking about content marketing specifically how to succeed with content marketing in 2018. If you’ve been in the marketing industry for a little while you’ve probably heard the term content marketing and so it’s important for your business.
So this episode we’re going to go into the basics of content marketing and importantly how you can use it. It’s a changing world because as you can probably will imagine it’s a changing industry. So it’s important to get these fundamentals right but also know what’s currently working now.
So to talk about this I’ve invited a guest on Today show to give her insights on this topic as she really is a leader in this space. So her name is Suzi Dafnis and she’s going to be sharing how she has successfully used content marketing to build her business which is actually called a business to over 30,000 community members who are small business owners.
So building you know such a community of a huge number of people is an amazing achievement and I’m sure you will agree given her success. She has a lot of tips and insights to provide on this topic. So let’s get stuck into today’s show. Welcome to today’s show Suzi Dafnis. We’re going to be talking about how to succeed with content marketing in 2018. So welcome to today’s show.
Suzi: Thank you. Very excited, this is one of my favorite topics.
Ilana: Also probably because you guys are so prolific at it.
Suzi: We are a content machine.
Ilana: You are a content machine. I like the way you put that. All right. So for those of you who don’t know you can you tell us a little bit about HerBusiness which is your business and the work that you do with small businesses?
How HerBusiness Operate
Suzi: Great. So my name is Suzi Dafnis. I’m the CEO of herbusiness.com and we provide we’re an online community that provides training and mentoring and resources for women who are growing their own business. And we tend to focus mostly on marketing. That’s usually the entry point.
How people find us we do a lot in that area but we’re helping them you know systemized, leverage their businesses, build their teams all across business but quite often they start by coming to us because they’re looking to get more customers and get more engagement or as what we’re talking about today is they know they need to be creating content but they really don’t know where to start.
Ilana: And I think many business owners are so overwhelmed you know like they’ve got so much coming at them they’ve got to do Facebook posts and they’ve got to do XYZ and Content Marketing is something that people find really, really time consuming.
So I guess you know I’m interested to kind of deliver a little bit deeper with you about how you’ve used content marketing to build your amazing community of 30,000 members or something amazing so that’s an amazing achievement. And I think it really harnesses the power that content marketing can have in one’s business. So maybe you want to kind of get started in I guess the approach that you initially took. So what it takes now to start out with content.
How HerBusiness Started with Content Marketing?
Suzi: So we’ve been creating content for a long time. I think we did our first a newsletter in 1997 where a lot of people still didn’t have email addresses and we launched our website about that time. But over the years we’ve always adopted the new way. So we had a blog very early on 2008 and I think it was we’ve done webinars, podcasts, live streams, tele classes, ebooks downloads, checklist, all those things. Sometimes all at the same time. But we’ve tried different things.
So for the longest time webinars were a really great community builder for us. Generating a lot of leads that were pretty new. We were really nailing the topics that were relevant the business owners. We were getting out to a thousand people signing up. These days there’s a lot more out there but we still do them. And one of the things I want to talk about today is you don’t actually need too much content. I think people get confused and overwhelmed is that they think they need to be on all the platforms doing all the different types and the fact is that whatever content you are choosing needs to tie back to what your main goals are for your business or what you’re trying to achieve and who you’re trying to reach.
And that is really important where we like to start our business owners with is really what are your key objectives. What are you trying to achieve and who are you trying to reach.
Ilana: And where is that personal line. What platform.
Suzi: Exactly, where is that person. Well because I mean you and I both know that you can find your ideal customer on most platforms but you have to be creating content that really speaks to the pain points of the solutions that I do a client is trying to overcome.
Tips on Creating Content Marketing
Ilana: So let’s pretend you know for our listeners if you haven’t really started at all with content marketing you touched on kind of identifying who your target audience would be. So I would imagine that would be step 1 for someone?
- Identify your target audience
Suzi: That would always be step one. I think in anything that we do with marketing, with starting a business, with growing a business, with deciding what products we’re going to have, and more content we’re going to publish is going who is this for. And so that the content we create is speaking to them specifically.
- Finding what place to take
Ilana: Yes. So once you’ve established who you’re talking to and where they are online what would you say is the next best place to take it?
Suzi: I think one of the things that you can start with is finding what comes naturally to you, what comes easier? Because if going on a Facebook Live is a huge barrier for you. You’re probably not likely to do it but if you’re more accustomed to writing then writing social posts or Facebook posts or e-book so that sort of thing might be great.
If you’re great at speaking live then maybe Facebook live and live event like a live event is content, right? Creating a presentation that you’re going to get on someone’s stage or you’re on stage, that is also a content.
- No to content without conversion
One of the mantras that we have and that we have on our content sales podcast is no content without conversion and we say that because we can’t get scattered in so many directions creating a bit of this bit of that bit of that with no purpose and I know we were doing this for the longest time.
We were getting thousands of people into our webinars we would put on a great show and we would never ask for anything. There was no call to action. No offer. Nothing. No next step. We would hope that they would leave us a nice testimonial at the end and that they would like it enough to immediately map over in their minds that what we really wanted them to do, will sign up to our newsletter or join our membership but we weren’t actively, because we didn’t want to pitch, we didn’t want to ask sale enough and so many people. Either go overboard on the pitching or don’t give people a clear call to action and that goes across all your content.
And I was speaking to a business owner yesterday she has and she’s an insurance broker and she’s been paying into the digital agency to create all these articles for her LinkedIn. And there’s no conversion, there’s no call to action, there’s no link to what she wants people to do next. And so I said to her, okay, you need to rein it in and stop paying money to publish content that doesn’t have a clear conversion activity.
- Think about the end goal of your content
Ilana: Yeah, I think you touched on an important point of like thinking about end goal first and then tailoring your content to facilitate that end goal and being obvious and upfront with what you want people to do next.
Suzi: Right. So you might have one great piece of content. Now this is your hero content. So say you had a live presentation or a great download or a webinar presentation or a blog post. If that one thing did what it was meant to do and created leads for you and created warm leads of the ideal client and then you had a sales process behind that then you only need one piece of content.
You then go about finding lots of different audiences. So say you had a great live presentation. You want to get on as many stages as possible with that same presentation. Once you find that, that piece of content converts, you don’t have to have 10 presentations. You just need one offer that converts and a friend of yours and mine can strengthen the proponent of that created off of that convert and that can be one awesome piece of content.
- Repurpose your content
Ilana: Yes and I think he arrived in that leveraging that one piece into many different forms or even the same form for a different audience like this myth or misconception is that you need to constantly keep reinventing and reinventing it is just not the case
Suzi: You bring up a great point about repurposing so quite often, do a webinar will have a transcribed that will create a blog post or sometimes multiple blog posts that will then be the source of social posts that we can create images for that could become a download that could become a live presentation.
So we’re creating it once and using it multiple times and I think that, that is really obvious when you hear it but so often we’re like okay I did that. Now I’m going to do the next thing rather than thinking how do I repurpose that. Can I take that blog post and read it and make an audio of it and put slides over it and stick that on YouTube. Like there’s so many ways to repurpose what we’ve already got.
What content to produce for small businesses?
Ilana: Exactly. You do a lot with small business and I would imagine that some people being local chiropractor for example might be thinking what content could I create as a local chiropractor. So I guess you know how do you find that you tap into some good content ideas and sort of really generate you know because one thing you know in the internet marketing industry is an endless supply of content ideas. But for a local chiropractor or a dentist for example.
Suzi: I love that example. I love it because it’s very specific. So if I was a chiropractor I would be doing a few things.
- Look at what you are solving everyday
What is it that I know that you know sometimes we can be our own worst enemy in that we think people know what we know and we forget the big in his mind. But as a chiropractor I might be saying you know it is the state that you sit on eight hours a day helping your backwards it causing you back pain. What sort of pillows might be the best for alleviating neck pain or three stretches you can do in three minutes. That’ll take that pain away. Look at what it is that you’re solving every day.
- Determine the questions you get all the time from your customers
The other thing is our customers and what the questions are we getting all the time. They are perfect thought starters for our content. And if I was a chiropractor I might as well think about you know what are the different ways that I can demonstrate that you might be able to do a short video. You might have a willing participant who might be a client or one of your staff where you are showing the way to sit, the way to stand, the way that you might adjust someone that’s very unique to you.
It could be custom stories. Custom stories are great content. So one of the best ways that we could demonstrate the value that we bring is through telling our clients stories. And so you could be creating content that might be a testimonial but it could also be a case study.
Right now we are rolling out a series of case study videos that we’re actually putting money behind on Facebook and this is a three to four minute videos about our clients. They’re really, there’s no sale, there’s no pitch. It’s just telling the story of this audience is women business owners. And it tells the story of these women why they out of their business. What makes an ideal business to them.
And then somewhere in this story without mentioning us they’ll talk about the fact that at some point they committed to their education and they were admitted to finding mentors and to getting really focused on their marketing and their business. And once they did that how their business changed. Now you could make it more pitchy than that. You can have them make it a testimonial about you. But either way you could use your customer stories to create content.
- Create a content like storytelling
Ilana: I think you touch on a really important point. It’s storytelling and incorporating story into it and weaving it through your content because it’s so relatable and you know I mean it’s a in copywriting mechanism facilitating a story. So that’s a great application I think of it.
Suzi: I personally have never felt I was a natural storyteller and I know that sometimes people can get hung up on that it’s like I don’t know what a good story is or ought to know how to tell a story. But what I’ve found works is that stream of consciousness edited.
You know when did something like that happened to you. And what did you do about it. So just this morning I was, actually yesterday afternoon I was at the hairdresser and I got an inspiration to write a blog post and it was nothing to do with getting my head.
But it was actually about the idea of saying no to something so that you can say yes to other things. And why was I telling you this. Oh my gosh. It’s really storytelling. Yeah. And I because I had a real situation where right now as we were recording I would normally be in the U.S. attending one of my favorite conferences called South by Southwest and it’s a place that has been the source of so much content that they either met authors and speakers and people I’ve interviewed etc.
And it’s an annual kind of event. But this year because we’re currently working on a brand new program for our women business owner as a marketing program I had to prioritize that because we’re launching in a few weeks time and it took so much to say no but sometimes in life we have to say no because we’ve only got so much time, so much energy to save with credit content.
What am I going to say no to so I can say yes to other things and I said no to the thing that is one of my favorite things to do because I’m working on something that’s really important. So that story that became storytelling, that became a way of telling people that something that was going on in my life. Being able to map that in a piece of content that had them be able to relate to what I needed to say no to to say yes to more of the things that I want in my life.
Ilana: Interesting. You touched on before about how you had created these videos stories and then you were promoting them on Facebook. It’s kind of like leads me to the next part of content marketing the whole myth that build it and they will come.
How to apply content promotion into business?
Ilana: So I mean just sort of touching on that whole concept of you know you created the content I mean I’ve heard a few statistics out there of people you know people saying you should have been 20% time or 20% of your time rather than generating and producing that 80% on the promotion of it. So you know how do you apply content promotion in your business.
Suzi: That is absolutely right. I have people who create content in the form of websites. I say this a lot with business owners and they creating content but nobody’s on the site because they’re not running ads to specific blog post they’ve written or they’re not driving traffic and they depending on that website to bring in business.
So a website for a small business on a site that doesn’t get a lot of traffic cannot be relied on to bring in business. So you need to have a track strategy right. So you need to have a way to get people there. And sometimes that’ll be because you’re driving them from your own page on Facebook or through your e-mail newsletter or emails you’re sending.
Or it could be like out here on your podcast. I might be driving people to that website you know because you’re going to give them a URL. I might be on stage somewhere and I mentioned the website. So you have to think about how am I getting eyeballs to that. Oh you could be paying somewhere like Facebook.
Ilana: The idea be very targeted. You know it’s pretty in front of everyone on Facebook you’re going to apply it to certain types of interest groups and location.
Suzi: And that’s when knowing who that ideal client is who you’re trying to target with that piece of content is so important because someone like something like Facebook allows you to get really granular around who you’re showing them to. And the more specific you can be the woman that audience the less you going to pay. Ultimately right.
Successful form of content promotion
Ilana: That’s right. So what would you say. You know within your business because you guys have been so prolific with it have been your best forms of content promotion for 2018 the world has changed from 10 years ago. What do you find as being a successful form of content promotion these days.
Suzi: So for us what’s really working so far this year and I know we’re only two and a bit months into it but it’s working great is video.
And so we’ve had just in the last few weeks like 76,000 views on our videos which is at stake. Now those videos shortfall like there are five minutes they actually have no pitch. Believe it or not there is some method in our madness.
What they are doing is saying this is who we are. This is what we stand for. This is what we believe in the very values based on what we’re trying to get people to just understand who we are and what we stand for said that if they come into our whole business world into our community whether they like our page or they join our database they know what they can expect from us.
Then we’re telling these case studies and we are actually you know spreading organically because they’re very easy to spread because they have a big picture in them. But we’re also putting some money on that. So that’s really working to build us a warm audience that we can then remarket to when we do have something to sell.
- Facebook Live
The other thing which we deeping our toe and still I feel like we have got totally got my training wheels on, is with facebook lives. But in the last six months you know we have been able to sell from Facebook lives actually make sales but that’s taken one knowing who the ideal client is really corrupting a message that speaking to them designing the Facebook live like we would a web i nar converts or any other presentation that converts and getting as many eyeballs on that as we could.
Some organically, some paid. So I would say those two things are probably top of mind for us right now. So it really kind of Facebook. So yeah I guess, yeah I guess they both. And we are putting the videos on YouTube and you know sending e-mails to our database to encourage them as well. But you know it really is a Facebook focused strategy for us right now.
Biggest Mistakes that people make
Ilana: Yeah interesting. So I mean I guess what would you say is some of the biggest mistakes that you see people make. So you mentioned before not having a call to action.
- Spreading content too thin
Suzi: That content without conversion the build it and they will come and trying to be in too many places and doing like spreading themselves very thin rather than going deep.
Ilana: Kind of like what you’re doing on Facebook, right?
Suzi: And so last year, you know going back to the idea of saying no we used to have three podcasts. We now have one. A month lying dormant. It’ll come back when it has a purpose. We used we had a weekly community newsletter. Twenty years believe it or not that we have sidelined because just wasn’t doing what it was doing. But it was still taking three staff time to write it, design it, get it into infusions often to ask customer management service send it out etc., etc.
So we just killed it right. It’s not worth it. And so less is definitely more when it comes to content and getting really really focus. So we still have an email strategy it’s one of the ways that we you know the business makes money through e-mail probably more than anything else.
But we have a very specific email strategy so we’re probably not emailing list. We might be emailing as much but we’re very specific with keeping what you said earlier that ended mind. What is it that we want people to do. What is the next step what sort of questions can we be answering. What is the content that they’re telling us they want to hear about because 1 they putting on a live chat on their website, they’re asking the questions in our webinars, they asking the questions at a mastermind event, on our courses, on our podcast page.
So a really paying attention all because we’re doing surveys which we do at least a couple of times a year where we do surveys to really understand what the pain points and that is one of the mistakes I see is that the content is irrelevant really speaking to the specific person you want to be speaking to.
- Not Repurposing
The other thing is as I said spreading yourself too thin and not repurposing. So before you go writing them in blog post. I would go OK do I have looking at your stats, looking at what’s done well. They go OK, they like that piece idea about you know how to train your dog without using traits. Great. I’m going to create one more just like that because I know that was popular as opposed to creating something about dog collars for instance really paring it back but that content without conversion is just really keeping me ended mind.
And quite often it’s like throwing things at a wall. One day I’m doing a Facebook post one day on you know using this sort of image. So consistency is the other mistake. Having people know that you’re always live on Facebook on a Monday or that they expect you newsletter on a Wednesday your podcast is out on a Tuesday. Just be consistent in your communication and so that way it doesn’t matter that you’re communicating a lot. As long as it’s relevant and consistent.
- No Consistency
Ilana: Touching on a bit further on that consistency aspect. Do you find that you guys have like a content calendar for example where it’s all mapped out to head what you’re going to be creating and when?
Suzi: Great. So every Thursday we have letter to a newsletter to a particular part of our database. I know that by Tuesday, I’m gonna see the rough outline, I know Wednesday, we’re testing on Thursday it goes out. That’s a process and all the various tasks it might be 20 tasks to put together the one newsletter. They’re all inside a project management software and they all allocated to different people with deliverable dates.
I know that our content sales podcast comes out every Tuesday and again all the tasks leading up to that are allocated to the right person the right time when we’ve got specific promotions like right now the marketing cost that way. Launching in April 2018 that has a content calendar that spans weeks so days and months actually.
So our content started in January and it concludes in April and yet so it’s mapped out what the content what day it’s coming out and then what it is. Is it video, is it a social post, is it a blog post, is it an e-mail, what day is it going out, to what segment of the database, is it going to, and now with drilling into the minutiae.
So while reading the background a couple of team members are working on the videos of the people setting to work on the landing pages so the sales pages other people work on scripts for upcoming things with scheduling everything. So yes we do have a content calendar because you want it you don’t unless you have it mapped out it’s really hard to get help.
Ilana: Yeah I guess you’ve just highlighted the importance of having a plan and then it can be structured and it’s actually not overwhelming because in one session you map out the plan and that is that you go into the minutiae.
Suzi: The plan is everything if you’re in business having a plan even if it’s a crappy plan is better than no plan at all. So having any plan any specific plan and a plan that starts with the end in mind. It’s what I’m trying to do in my business. What am I trying to do with this particular campaign. What am I trying to do with this particular product release and really starting with the ending mind and mapping it out.
And those of us who are like more organic and we like to do things on the fly. That’s all great but it’s really hard to bring a team along to outsource to leverage. If it’s all organic and not planned and you might set the big picture and get someone else to drill into the detail and map out the tasks and assign them and put deadlines to things but having a plan is so important because especially the content if you can see it all you can say oh you know what we’re really going heavy on our database that wake all you know we get to post 20 times that day on our Facebook page.
That’s not that you know. Oh maybe it is good. I don’t know. It depends on your page but you don’t unless you see it in linear form and can map all the various promotional activities over each other. You’ll never have an idea. Am I overloading the team? Am I overloading myself? Is it humanly possible? Absolutely. Having a plan around your content marketing is so important.
How to identify what content is working and what is not?
Ilana: Interesting last point I want to touch on is you know you sort of mentioned we both talked about sort of having the ended mind and therefore there’s an ability to reverse engineer what is working and what content does actually drive those those results in that ultimate goal versus what content doesn’t. So I’m a bit of a data person so from a tracking point of view I mean do you use Google Analytics like how do you find you can really identify the contents of the small hinges that are moving those big tools?
Suzi: That is a really great question. So with something like blog or our website just Google Analytics we look at you know so we went through thousands of posts we’ve had. But just recently we went and found what were our top 100 blog posts and because we didn’t have any strong calls to action in our posts for the longest time that was one of our big mistakes.
Ilana: When you say top 100 do you mean by views?
Suzi: By views, yeah. And so we categorize them. So we set top 100. What are the topics and we found that there were seven or eight different topics marketing, finances, people, money you know whatever they were and then we created a content upgrade so we created just to use sort of layman’s terms.
We created some sort of call to action some lead magnet, some next step for people depending on what the topic of the article was. So it all the marketing have a a free download that is about doing your ideal customer profile right because that relates to marketing. On the finance one, we have a simple budget etc.
Ilana: A unique content upgrade for that purpose.
Suzi: Well it’s unique to the category of blog posts. So that’s how we sort of fudged it. Yes you could have a different one for everyone. But who has time. We thought, if we have one for each of the key topics then we can definitely do that. I’ve never gotten your question.
Suzi: Tracking. Okay, so Google Analytics was allowed us to find out what the top posts when we’re spending money on Facebook we could very easily see what’s working and what’s not working. We don’t have page on our posts with the Facebook. With the insights that Facebook gives us we do track out email clickthrough rates and open rates. You know that’s an area of our business and I want to pay a whole lot more attention to it’s like really segmenting the database more said that we’re delivering more relevant information to the right part.
So if you’ve just started your business that you’ll get different communications then if you’re in full momentum and you’re just looking for to organize more, leverage more those sorts of things. So we’re in the process of that.
Now that’s a little more advanced but when you’re just starting out you do want to look at what’s working like we are about to split test two different free downloads that we designed specifically with a customer mind who is at a particular level in her business and we’ll going to split the two and then whichever one seems to be most popular we will put more dollars on this and scrape the one that doesn’t.
Ilana: Yeah. Interesting. All right. Well I am mindful of the time and I know you’re a very busy person so I don’t want to take up too much of your time. So where can people find out more information about you and you’ll what you offer people.
Suzi: So our website is simply herbusiness.com just like it sounds. But I also think just based on what we’ve been talking about today. Thank you again somewhat for the opportunity to talk about it. I could talk about this all day. Or is it just adding added content marketing and they want like a step by step. A great place to go is content sells podcasts and I would start right at episode number one. We’re now at 75 and just stop with the very beginning. Who am I speaking to. And every episode is like a mini training on content marketing so you can’t go wrong. And we do answer the audience questions. So if you get started and you think you know what creating this and I’m a little bit stuck that my co-host Michelle Falzon and I are really happy to answer listener questions.
Ilana: Awesome. So Suzi, thank you so much for coming in. It’s been a pleasure. I feel I could talk to you forever so maybe I’ll get you another show.
Suzi: I love that. Thank you again so much and great job in the podcast.
Ilana: Thanks so much.
Thanks for listening to today’s episode of Talking Web Marketing. I really hope you enjoyed it and got a lot of value out of it. And importantly it’s giving you some ideas of how you can apply it to your business. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to make a PDF available for you to download which will contain the tips that Suzy and I talk about with content marketing as well as the mistakes that people make so that you can implement it.
How do you get it? Just go to teachtraffic.com. You will actually be redirected to my website called green Arrow digital but will take you to the podcast section on my website and then you can just find that episode there. So just easiest way is to remember talking with marketing come and see it. If you enjoyed today’s show I’d love to hear about it by you leaving a cartoon’s review would really mean the world to me and stay tuned for the future episodes.