Why Is Content So Important in Marketing - Digital Fuel Podcast Episode 2

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Podcast Transcript

Kevin: Hello and welcome to the second episode of Digital Growth Podcast with Kevin and Matt. So my name's Kevin D'Arcy from ThinkFuel Marketing. And again, joined with my cohost Matt from Matty G Digital. Welcome Matt.
Matt: Hey, Kevin, how are you doing?
Kevin: Awesome. How about yourself?
Matt: Good. Is this podcast viral yet?
Kevin: I think so. I think so. I mean, I feel like I need a shot after it. Anyhow, so we're here today and we're going to talk about content. Is that right?
Matt: I guess so.
Kevin: All right. And we came up with this idea, because Matt and I were talking about it the other day, that... I was sharing a story of one of my customers with him, and it's a common story. I mean, this isn't unheard of and this is something that we face probably on a day to day basis. Would you agree, Matt?
Matt: Oh yeah. I've heard this story already, but I've had this conversation with probably half the people I've ever worked with, so...
Kevin: Yeah. And so for your knowledge out there listening to us, essentially the gist of the story is a customer of ours was wondering why they weren't ranking for a specific phrase. And in this case, that specific phrase was a product name of something they sold. When we broke it down for them, we showed them that through our SEO efforts, we optimize them to rank for a bit of a broader category for that line of product. So we didn't want to find people just looking for their brand, we wanted to find people looking for competitors' brands as well. So we went a little bit more generic with it. And so the question was that well, should we still be ranking for this product name? And it was absolutely doable and it's probably recommended, but the challenge with it is, is that they didn't have a page dedicated to that specific product.
Kevin: So, that's one issue that we run into on a really frequent basis as Matt was saying, is that, how does content work? Why does content work? How does Google figure out what's related between different types of content, different products and services you have on your page? And then how does this all work? Because if you've listened to any marketing person before, they'll tell you that you need to be blogging and creating fresh new content on a regular basis. But how and why does that work? And that's what Matt and I wanted to talk with you guys about. And Matt, what do you think? Did I sum that up about right?
Matt: Oh yeah, for sure. Like if you talked to any sort of marketing guru expert, especially all the people online that have these huge followings, they're going to tell you that you need content for days. You need to put out eight blogs a day, for the next year. Which is just sort of nonsense when you're dealing with small, medium sized businesses that don't have the time to do that. Or just in general, they're looking to rank their products or their services at a baseline level. And I always like to tell people, the way you need to do that and start ranking anything that you're doing is, this sounds silly, but you have to have a page for it. Or has to be mentioned on your website. Myself, Kevin, we're both humans, if there are other humans out there listening, when they go onto a website, humans can make assumptions about things.
Matt: They're able to see, okay, this person sells tools. They're a hardware store. I'm sure that they sell hammers. Google can't do that. Google is literal. They are robots. That they're literally crawling the website. So if they don't see something listed on the website, they will never ever, ever rank you for it. So that's why you need to make sure that you have a page or a mention of every single product and service that you actually have on your website. Otherwise, like literally they're just not going to ever rank you for it.
Kevin: Yeah. And I think it's important to note as well that, Google's algorithms are getting smarter. It's machine learning, it's getting a lot more intelligent. Matt you're right. Is that you still need to have content that talks about those specific keywords or products or services that you want to promote. But you will notice things like if you search for dog food, you'll see websites that rank well for the term pet food as well, show up in your rankings because Google's smart enough to understand that a dog is a pet and so dog food, pet food kind of go hand in hand. It won't show you results for restaurants, because it understands that dogs aren't actually food. You're looking for food for your pet.
Kevin: But going back to Matt's point, is absolutely. You should be treating everything as if it's, literal. Don't expect Google to make assumptions on your behalf.
Matt: Yeah, assumptions just aren't going to work. It's just not ever going to happen from a robot perspective of being clear, concise and optimized for Google. I still think the hardest thing for people though is getting to the point where they realize that maybe their pages, they don't have pages for all their products or services. So it can be a challenge to actually get to that point and figure out where to get all of those additional pages from.
Kevin: Yeah. And so I mean there's a lot of different ways that people come up with content ideas. And at some point you have make the determination is this keyword, product, service, whatever it is, something that I want to write a dedicated page on my site to? If it's a specific product for instance, that's a great idea. Or is it more of a concept that people are searching for or a solution to a problem that they're searching for that's maybe better suited to be a blog article? And what are your thoughts on that Matt? How do people draw that fine line between having too many page, well not too many pages, but going through the effort, time and expense of creating all of these products and service pages versus writing blogs. Where do you see the best use of it and kind of the best practices?
Matt: Your product and service pages are always going to rank better than your blog. And when it comes down to it, those are your bread and butter. You want people coming to your website for the products and services that you specifically are trying to sell. A blog should be supplementary. We should probably worry about those things after you've got all of your products and services on your website. I've spoken to other people about this, and again this might sound silly, but this is just the way that I approach things. Just I think it's very common sense. If you again, I have to use the hardware store as an example, and you're walking around your shop and you realize you don't have a webpage dedicated to all the hammers that you have, you need to write that.
Matt: So whether it's walking around your shop or talking to the people internally that work at the store or your office about what are the services that we offer? What are people asking us about? Oh well, I get someone that asked me every single day about calibration of this tool. Well, make sure that you have a service page dedicated to calibration. All of these resources are great, all these free tools are fantastic that are out there. But sometimes I think we take for granted about the common sense. Walk around and look at what we don't have on the website or talk to your staff that are dealing with these questions every single day.
Kevin: I think that's a good point and I think you hit on something there that marketers really often overlook and that's talking to other people in the company, whether it's the people providing those services, supporting the customers or if they're the sales people. And I know especially in a lot of our B2B customers, it's almost like marketing is afraid to go down the hall and have conversations with the salespeople. But they're the ones who are going to provide to you some great insight into what actually people are asking, what they're looking for and how they want to improve their... How your products or services are going to address the needs and the challenges that they have.
Kevin: So I mean that's a great idea for ways to come up with content for sure and that's probably a good segue into the next section, Matt, is that a lot of people other than just going through walkthroughs or talking to some people, how do people come up with ideas and how do people verify if those ideas are good or not? Because you might want to write a blog or a how to page, but how do you know just because one customer asked you about that, that a hundred other people out there, don't have the same question, right?
Matt: Yeah. The verification thing is interesting. I would honestly always take the approach of don't think so hard about it, and just write it. Get it on your website. It's never going to hurt you if you put it on. And I think that's where people get bogged down. Like they get overwhelmed. They know they need content, they think that they need 10 pieces of content a day for a year. But if you've got a good idea, if you notice that hammer there in the corner, write a page for it. If someone comes into the shop and asks about a specific question and someone else the week later asks a similar one, just write a blog, just get it up there. You don't really need to verify it at this point.
Matt: There's other ways too, in regards to getting page ranking. So you could do location pages as well. Making sure that you're ranking for all your products within your area, especially if you're product based. Service based as well. Don't even need to think that hard about it. I would probably take the approach of checking out on my analytics tracking where I'm getting some traffic from and then I'd probably try to boost that by putting out location based on those specific locations. But that's almost like one step ahead in my opinion, just open up a map. Like I'm talking to Kevin from the core office and I would just open up a map and be like, here are the major cities around me. Here's where there's population. Here's where there's business center. Start writing some location pages about those ones specifically, to help your ranking in those specific areas.
Matt: Blogs are another interesting one we talked about. I do think that talking to staff is a great start. Writing down any question that customers have, at any point, and like, okay, there's a great blog idea. You see a lot of times people have the frequently asked question page on their website. And it's usually one question, one or two sentences answers. I honestly just, we'll take that sometimes and be like, here's your whole blog topic. Take this one line answer, and turn it into 500 to a thousand words and run with it.
Kevin: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Matt: I think [Hues 00:11:41] are a great source of blog topics specifically. I use a couple of different tools. I will say will be a second step. I'd start with all the things I suggested, but honestly, one thing I've been doing from a blog perspective for a few years now is using Google Keyword Planner. And I'll type in a couple of my major keywords that I'm looking at. And what Google will do, is they'll present like seven and 900 keyword ideas. And it sounds like a lot of keywords, but there's a really simple way to find some blog topics that are basically already written there for you, if you start going to the sort alphabetically all the keywords, and then start looking for who, what, where, why, when, how, is. Look for all those keywords to start your Keyword. And there's usually a question involved in that one. So they're like, what is the best tool for this? And you can write a blog about that, et cetera.
Matt: So like there's a lot of diff... I've been doing that for a couple of years now and it's always been very effective. I can turn out blog ideas very quickly and effectively from that perspective of the way people are actually searching good Keyword, good questions. And it's all just right there just in a matter of like, okay, get that question and answer it the way that you know how, as the expert.
Kevin: Yeah, no, and I think that's a great idea. Another really powerful free tool that's super easy to use as well, if you're not familiar with using Google's Keyword Planner, is a website called AnswerThePublic. It's a really cool site. You go there, you just type in a keyword or a key phrase that people are searching or people are looking for you, that's related to your business, things like that. Challenges people might have. And it'll actually show you all the different questions ranked by popularity of that question, around that keyword. So if you were to type in SEO as an example, it would show you questions like what are the best practices for SEO? How do I get my page to rank better through SEO? And it will start to show you all of these ones with volumes of search around it for your areas. And there you go. I mean I always tell people, the biggest problem they have with writing blogs is coming up with ideas.
Matt: All right.
Kevin: But if somebody, I always tell people, and I usually will go into a meeting prepared with a couple ideas, is say, if a customer asked you a question today about your products, your services, how it works, the benefits of it, you could sit there and talk to them for five or 10 minutes about how that works and what the value of it is. But the problem is you need that prompt. You need that question. And so tools like Google's Keyword Planner, AnswerThePublic, more in depth tools and paid tools like SEMrush, these help you by developing those questions, topics, phrases that will direct you in the right way to write new content. Because again, if somebody asks you the question, if you're well versed in your business, you can answer it. Going back to Matt's example of the hardware store, you go in there and you'll see a hammer for two dollars, another hammer for $30 and then another one for 150. Well, they all drive nails into a piece of wood.
Kevin: So what's the difference between them? And if you're the owner of the hardware store, you can probably really clearly alliterate that to people, right? If you're the average Joe off the street, I'm going to look at it and say, well that two dollar hammer is probably going to break the $150 hammer. There's no way I'm spending money on that. So I guess I'm going to walk out with the $30 hammer. But-
Matt: Thank goodness. I was very concerned that you're buying the $150 hammer.
Kevin: Well I might. But most people wouldn't. But if that customer came up and asked you, as the owner of the store, you could probably really clearly outline what the differences are, and where you would use the different types of hammer and why in the world someone would spend $150 on the hammer. So yeah, coming up with the content ideas, doesn't have to be as hard as people make it out to be.
Matt: No, definitely isn't hard. I do think that's where people sometimes get... That's where they always get stuck, is oh yeah, I can write. I know my topic of course better than anyone. I'm not going to hire someone to write for me. But where do I start? And that's where they get trapped in my opinion. You see, that's where they're like, well let's write about the barbecue we had last week at work. Or here's the charity we're donating to, which has some value, but there's not value from a legitimate ranking and growing your business financially perspective. I still think people will be on, coming up with the topics, things that writing the content is difficult sometimes until they actually go and sit down and do it. Because like you said, someone if they ask you a question, you can answer it quite comfortably over a couple of minutes. But why can't you type all that out?
Kevin: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Matt: It's pretty straight forward. And especially when you take the time to just sit down and go through it. That's also a challenge to do, is like the time for all the business owners. But if they've got the ideas and actually just set aside an hour, which is what I will recommend to people, sit down, put your timer on for an hour, write. And after that hour, if you're not happy with it, who cares? Just finish the book, like just it's done, and post it.
Kevin: Yeah.
Matt: There's going to be value there. It doesn't need to be 3000 words. Like it's a thousand words maybe max. Just get something up there. When I started writing my own website, I went through two, three different versions of it, to be honest. Basically finding, I was using some other people to write it, and it just didn't sound like me. And I was super uncomfortable with that because this was supposed to be me, my brand, my voice. It never felt right. So I was like, okay, I got to write this myself. And finally I got to the point where I was like, okay, this makes sense. This is good. But it took a lot of time. Especially when I was writing service pages. I think the first one took me close to two hours to write a page. I don't even think it's a thousand words. But every page after that took so much less time. And now I can write a page in like just under an hour, for all that kind of stuff.
Matt: So it's just a matter of figuring out how you're going to write and just taking the time to do it and then just getting into the habit and repeating that over and over again.
Kevin: Yeah. And I want to touch on a couple of things you just said there. I mean, starting with what you just said, and working our way back. Yeah. I mean, don't fall into the trap that once something's posted, that's it, it can never be edited or changed again, right? Get something up there like Matt was talking about and then go back and refine it over time if you're not extremely happy with it. I mean, you can edit these-
Matt: Exactly.
Kevin: ... things and make it something that you're proud of. And two other things that you brought up there that I wanted to touch on as well, is that you made a lot of references to the length of a blog post, if it's 800 words, a thousand words, 3000. You go out there and you do a Google search for how long should blog posts be? And you'll find stuff that tells you anywhere from 1500 words to 3000 words. And that's because those numbers are because of jerks like Matt and I in the marketing world, where basically we kept trying to outdo each other. We're in a highly competitive space, so we keep writing content that's longer than the next person's. And we keep driving the average article length that pretty high, people in our space and people in highly competitive spaces like Mike Marketing.
Kevin: But keep in mind when it comes to the length of the article and the quality of the article, if you're that small town hardware store, a SaaS start up, anything like that, you're not competing against a marketer who writes a 3000 word blog on content creation. You're competing against companies who are in the same space, who are in the same search results as you. So do your competitive research around that. If you're looking at the average blog that ranks well in your space, and it's 800 words, shoot for a thousand. If it's 500 words, shoot for 750. You're not trying to compete with everybody out there. And that's why you don't want to look at an average length of all blogs. You want to look at your competition.
Kevin: And then, the other point I wanted to make on, something Matt said there as well was, some people aren't natural writers. It's difficult for people to write. Some people, they just may not be good at typing even. There's a lot of tools out there actually Google Docs has a built in, there's no cost to it, is their text-to-speech. So you could literally just talk, it records it, converts into speech. You may have to do some editing and if you're not happy with it, because it's conversational, not an informative article, you can always find a ton of freelancers out there who will take that conversational answer that you did text-to-speech on, and convert it into an informal blog for you.
Kevin: And then that way, they have the information that you know about your products and services. And they're writing it for your audience for you.
Matt: How accurate is the text to speak or speak to text thing? I didn't know about that, that's really cool.
Kevin: Yeah. So I mean it varies depending on what platform you're using. I find Google's pretty accurate. There's a lot of other ones out there. I mean just you think about how advanced these are getting, right? If you've got an iPhone, think about Siri, right? I usually have to do very little editing if I ever ask Siri to send a message for me on my behalf, right? It usually gets everything pretty right. It's if I look away from the microphone, if I'm stuttering or stammering through my texts, yeah, then I'm going to have some cleanup to do. But for somebody who can't type, but could go back and proofread an article, it's a great option for them.
Matt: No, that's really cool, because again, I always struggled more so at the beginning with writing content. Where I'd be like too much in my head, does this sound like me? Is this my voice? Would I speak that way? All that kind of stuff. But I'm super comfortable speaking, and I think it would be interesting if I could sit there and just have that pulled onto the screen and just sort of see what naturally, organically comes off a piece of written content based on my ramblings.
Kevin: Well, and the other reason that that might be good from a content perspective as well, and I'm not saying this is a hundred percent, although it could be pretty beneficial, is that you'll see a lot of people out there in the marketing world talking and concerned about optimizing their website and their content for voice search because that's the next thing coming down. Talk about Siri, whether you have an Android, iPhone, we all have these voice search capabilities. And the thing is, is that when we search for something by typing it in, it's not generally the same phrase as we would speak it, right? If we're looking, it's more conversational when you do a voice search. And so maybe writing blogs, using that text-to-speech, would be one way of capitalizing on Voice Search down the road.
Matt: Yeah, no, that's really interesting. Because I think when you're speaking, it's going to be a bit more casual, comfortable. You're going to be speaking how people would be using Voice Search, versus this is what happens to me when I'm writing something, I'll spend an hour writing two sentences, trying to refine it, and I will try to speak very concisely or write very concisely. I'm like well, I've said everything I needed to in two sentences, but that's not going to help out if I'm a blogging or content perspective.
Matt: So yeah, I would be super interested to see what would come of actually doing the speak-to-text or whatever.
Kevin: So man, I think we've covered a lot of bases today. We talked about why content is an important piece of your website, how it can be used to drop people in and improve your search rankings. And we also talked about how to come up with a variety of different ideas and some different tools that are out there. Before we wrap up today, do you have any last thoughts or comments you want to share?
Matt: Yeah, I don't think content is as hard as people think. We just need to think about if you are trying to sell something, you need to tell people about it. And it's the same way with Google. If you want to rank for something, it needs to be on your website and then don't overthink writing it. Just sit down. Honestly, set yourself a timer for an hour, write about that product and then get it on your website and worry about refining and making tweaks to it later.
Kevin: Absolutely. Couldn't have said it better myself. [crosstalk 00:25:33]
Matt: Don't even try.
Kevin: No, I won't, I won't. So that concludes, I guess our second episode of Digital Fuel. Again, it's been a lot of fun looking forward to doing a lot more of these and looking forward to continuing to grow this together. So Matt, appreciate your time today. Do you want to do your little shameless plug for our websites as well before we leave?
Matt: Huh, shameless plug, it's kind of why we're doing this.
Kevin: This is our form of content you mean?
Matt: Yeah. My form of content is through this podcast, that we will now take and create blogs and other fun content from it over and over and over again. If you want to check out our websites, you can check out Kevin's ThinkFuel Marketing at www.thinkfuel.ca. And then when you get bored on that website, go over to mine to www.mattygdigital.com, where you'll learn a whole ton about awesome digital marketing stuff.
Kevin: Very cool. Alrighty. Well thanks everybody and look forward to chatting again soon.
About Author
Kevin D'Arcy

As our Chief Marketing Enthusiast, Kevin strives to provide clarity, honesty, and unique insights into every one of our engagements. Kevin helps companies improve their lead generation, enhance customer acquisition, and increase revenue. With over 18 years of inbound and content marketing experience with B2B technology companies, Kevin brings a straightforward approach to marketing with results that can be measured. He also has the most adorable hound dog that frequently comes to work with him.