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How TrackMaven Doubled Their Blog’s Conversion Rate

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Today’s interview features Ian Wash, CMO for TrackMaven. TrackMaven is a SaaS company that has been growing rapidly. Their blog now gets 50,000 unique monthly visitors, 95% from organic traffic.

TrackMaven provides competitive intelligence for digital marketers. They look at all the content marketers are putting out across different digital and content marketing channels and help them understand how effective it is. They also help you understand how well your content stacks up to your competition.

Learn how TrackMaven defined their buyer personas, how they get ideas on what to write about, and their content vetting and syndication process.

Do you have aggressive growth goals this year? Learn how TrackMaven doubled their conversion rate of their blog (twice as many leads from the same amount of clients) and take lots of notes!

Listen now and you’ll hear Ian and I talk about:

  • (01:00)  Introductions
  • (06:00)  What are the things you did to double your conversions?
  • (11:00)  After you defined your buyer personas, what did you do next?
  • (17:00)  How do you decide what to write about?
  • (25:00)  How do you promote your content to CMOs?
  • (34:00)  How are you planning to achieve your aggressive list growth targets?
  • (37:00)  What do you think about republishing older posts with updates?
  • (39:00)  How do you find Influencers?
  • (40:30)  What does it cost you to produce a blog post?
  • (42:00)  How much do you spend on content marketing each year?

More About This EpisodeGroove Digital Marketing Podcast - Inbound Marketing Success Stories with Trent Dyrsmid

The Groove Digital Marketing podcast is the podcast for entrepreneurs  who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business. It’s designed to help entrepreneurs discover which proven tactics and strategies  are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

Listen Now

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Transcript

Trent:
Hey there bright idea hunters, welcome to the Groove Digital Marketing podcast episode number fifteen. I am your host Trent Dyrsmid and this is the podcast where we help marketing executives to discover ways to use digital marketing and marketing automation to dramatically increase revenue.

So if you are a marketing executive and you are looking for proven tactics and strategies to help to increase traffic to your site, conversions and ultimately profits well you are in the right place.

And the way that you that here at the show is you get to really just look over the shoulder of another executive that is going to be my guest on the show and see exactly what they are doing to achieve the result that they have achieved.

This episode is no different, my guest this time around is a fellow by the name of Ian Walsh. Ian is the chief marketing officer for a software services company called TrackMaven and they are absolutely on a growth tear in their first year. Their blog reached 50,000 monthly unique visitors, 95% of which is organic traffic.

In this episode we talk particularly about how they were able to double the conversion rate of their blog. In other words getting twice as many leads from the same amount of content so we are going to talk about buyer personas, we are going to talk about how they came up with ideas about what to write about in their content bedding process.

We are going to talk about how they syndicate their content and how Ian is planning to achieve his very aggressive list growth goals for this year and a number of other very interesting things so grab your pencil, grab your paper and stay tuned and please on just a moment join me in welcoming Ian to the show.

Before we get to that I just want to draw your attention to a page we have on Groove. If you are looking for guidance we have a page full of all our marketing content library, it is all of our premium content in the form of e-books and you can get to it at GrooveDigitalMarketing.com/resources.

It is page filled as I mentioned with our entire library of e-books and you can download anyone of them that you would like. So with that said please join me in welcoming Ian to the show.
Hey Ian welcome to the show.

Ian:
Thanks very much Trent. Great to be here.

Trent:
Yeah no problem, thank you for making the time.

I’m looking forward to discovering some of the big ideas or as I like to say bright ideas that you guys are implementing in your business. But before we get to any of that and the result that you are achieving in terms of this big boost in your conversion rate as of late; let’s give the audience a little bit of an introduction to who they are listening to. So who are you and what do you do?

Ian:
Sure thanks and thank you for having me as well. So my name is Ian Walsh, I am the chief marketing officer at TrackMaven. So at TrackMaven we basically provide competitive intelligence for digital marketers.

It is a SaaS platform where what we do is we look at all the content that marketers are putting into market across different channels; social, blogs, paid search, some email, web traffic, basically anything digital or content marketing oriented.

We help our customers understand how effective that is. So the metrics to judge that are channel specific, for social it is tweets and retweets and new shares and new likes and new followers and what have you.

For paid search it is clicks and conversions and so on and so forth. But what we do is we help you understand how well your content is performing. Second to that we actually do the same level analysis against our customer’s specific competitors. So help them understand everything about their own content but also how it stacks up to their competition.

So what is their competition doing that is working better for them gaining more engagement, helping them drive new business over time. Track how well you are doing and then benchmark it against your specific competition.

It is really about getting the most out of your content marketing. And it is not so much social listening or something along those lines which is a common question we get which is more voice of customer sentiment analysis.

It is really specifically of the stuff that you are investing and putting into market, is it working for you, what specifically is working for you and what can you do differently to make the stuff that you are doing better.

Trent:
What kind of companies are typically signing on as customers?

Ian:
It is really anyone who is investing time, resources and effort into content marketing. It is actually a split of B2B and B2C organisations. We also have a growing interest from the advocacy community and who know what else we will see over time. It is not really bent on any specific industry or niche toward B2B or B2C. It is a fairly wide lot at this point.

Trent:
Is there a size of company? What does it cost to use your stuff?

Ian:
We have pricing and packaging for anything from the 200 person company who seems to be our floor all the way up to the enterprise organisations for example CPG companies want to buy this out and apply it across multiple different brands.

As a SaaS play you are looking at anything from $15000 annual investment all the way up to possibly six figures in the case of the largest brands.

Trent:
Alright now that we have a little bit of an idea of who you are and what your company does, one of the things that you talked about in our pre-interview was.

You were invested heavily in content even before you were commercialised and you started to get traction in your website, I think you told me within the first year you hit a level of 40000 to 50000 visitors a month which is a heck of an accomplishment.

As of late you’ve seen a big increase; I think you told me actually that you doubled the conversion rate of visitors to leads. I want to spend the bulk of this interview diving into the nuts and the bolts of how you made that happen.

Do you happen to remember what the overall conversion rate, site wide was initially?

Ian:
After our first few months when it became actually people being interested in what we had to say vs. people who were curious who this interesting company is with a dog for its mascot. When we were on the map I think our conversion rates were well south of one percent so probably in order of magnitude below that.

Then over time we got that up to the point where we were converting in the low single digits. As most marketers know there is multiple stages of the funnel. And if you are converting in the low single digits of the top of the funnel and you get into what subset of that is qualified and what subset of that is an actual opportunity you’re still at the below one percent bubble.

I think it platoed around two percent for the next year or two.

Trent:
And that two percent was the amount you hit before you had this doubling of the conversion or that is what you are at now?

Ian:
I think we are a little bit higher than that now, I think we saw a small increase in conversion from just visitors up through raw leads. I think where we have seen a bigger increase is really around the ratio of visitors to the qualified leads so people who either through who they are or how interested we get them in what we do; they are actually worth talking to or worth pursuing from a sales perspective.

So we did see the overall conversion jump and on top of that it was multiplied or exasperated in a positive way by the increase in the qualified leads, the number of people who are worth our time if that makes sense?

Trent:
It does so, I’m just looking at your blog right now and in our for our clients typically what we do is we are helping them to publish blog content that is interesting to their target audience.

We help them to promote it, people come, they read the content, there is a call to action at the bottom of the piece of content that typically offers either an e-book or a webinar or some type of top of funnel premium content.

They go to a landing page, they fill it out, conversion happens.

What does that look for you guys, because I’m looking at one of your posts now and I don’t see (at least not graphically speaking, like we do it) a call to action at the bottom of the post. So where are all the conversions coming from?

Ian:
Great question, I think one of the things that we looked at when I got in seat was of our blog posts, how many of them have specific calls to action at all whether visual or otherwise. A fairly low number of those did in the beginning.

The first thing we did is we went and looked at, for the existing posts that were in place on the blog, what can we drive them to, what assets do we have in place already from some of the e-books and other things that we have created.

We really went in and white washed and added to those blog posts with specific calls to action that usually appears in the text so we don’t always have them in a visual format at them bottom because we have visual design standards that are one of our guiding principles, but we have been optimized for the visual design at the top of the blog post.

But we added text calls to action towards the conclusion of most of the posts. Some of them will have forms and other calls to action side barred on the right hand side but most of them appear in text.

That is something we didn’t even have, one way or another at all on the blog post. So we had a set of existing assets that we could drive people to. Then we said, “Alright we need to really professionalize our focus around what are these bigger content assets that we are going to do.”

I think we had been opportunistic in terms of assets and e-books that we were going to create.
We had done a couple around specific assets of content marketing based on some stuff that our product helps us look at. But we really put in place a pipeline of our own; one of the next big things that we need to do.

Then we also put in place documentation and a plan around what they are going to look like and how we treat them and how they get promoted and what they promote and what have you.

That is sort of the tip of the iceberg, we can sort of steer that or go in any direction as you like Trent.

Trent:
Yeah, sure well let’s start at the planning phase. This is a process that we go through with our clients so I am very interested to see how it compares to what you do. We first of all try to figure out, in order to maximise conversions we need to have relevant content. In order to have relevant content we need to know who the heck we are writing for.

So that starts us off with the buyer persona or even before the buyer personas we pick a target market. Then we define the buyer personas because until you know the needs, wants, desires and pain points of a specific individual or group of individuals it is really hard to create relevant content.

I’m going to guess that you did that, when you figured out who your personas were; did you start of and think, “So what e-books would be of interest to these people?” And then you created blog posts that supported those e-books?
I’m really interested in all of the tactics that enabled you to get more conversions.

Ian:
Yeah absolutely, for the buyer persona we basically looked at it as who is this person and the two key questions we wanted to document are; what are the tasked with and then what are the measured on.

And the tasks that we looked at in the case of our buyer persona were people who were responsible for generating and disseminating digital content across paid, owned, earned media channels and what have you.

They were measured on the ROI of their efforts and every week and every month that goes by as I am sure you know, the scrutiny and the level of granularity around the ROI for digital marketers goes up and goes up and goes up.

The pressure on these guys is high and it is not going away any time soon. So we kept that in the back of our mind and asked question like what are the types of things that don’t just help them do their day to day job better but also speak to them in a way that will get to their emotional level.

And what I mean by that is what is it that not just on their way to work do they think that they’re going to do this day. But on their way home from work, what are they worried about in terms of how are they going to prove their worth of their function, of their team, of their own job.

We started to identify what are the elements of our own content that support that and if we have a great idea for a piece of content that is really interesting but it doesn’t necessarily speak to that emotional element of our buyer, the marketing buyer. Then we would deprioritise that.

So we have a prioritisation scheme based on what is both important and emotionally urgent for our buyers. And then what we did us we put together three tiers of content. All of the content ideas that we have, they need to fit into one of the three tiers. If they don’t fit into one of those three tiers we have to really look closely as to why we would spend our time to work on it.

Tier one is everyday blog posts, does this fit into something that should be a blog post that is interesting to our audience and that we actually legitimately have something to say about it. We can bring something to the table through our research or through our talent or our team.

It is really easy to identify what is top of mind for marketers but if you don’t have a unique opinion on it or if you’re not really informed about it all the research will just show you how big of a waste of time it is.

Every piece of research that we have done and every piece of research that I have read around the ineffectiveness of most content marketing and how most blogs are never shared and how most tweets are never retweeted and how most Facebook posts are never liked.

You’ve got to have something interesting and compelling to say. We have set up some sort of gating mechanisms but effectively the first tier was really good quality blog posts. And since I’ve been on board one of the things that

I have actually done is cut down the number of posts that we do on a weekly basis.
We had a mindset that we were going to do a rich compelling blog post every single day. And with our small teams sometimes you run into resource constraints on that and then sometimes you run into intellectual constraints on that and how often do you legitimately have something great to say on that.

That was something else that we consciously decided to do; that was tier one.

Tier two is a set of content assets that get published periodically every six week, every twelve weeks, somewhere in between one and two between a fiscal quarter for us that really are anchor assets. That are going to be disseminated much more broadly than our blogs.

These are typically reporter e-books. We actually decided that what we were going to do put a consistent packaging around those. So in the past we had some that were specific analysis of the impact of different types of content on specific types of media channels, so what works on Twitter to get the most retweets; all sorts of analysis around that.

We had another one around what we call colossal content marketing which is really focused on blogs. So what we decided to do was steer toward a consistent packaging that was consistent with our brand, design standards that we call the Maven Guides as TrackMaven, Maven is our mascot so we developed the Maven guide series.

We have started publishing our e-books under that Maven guide series. And those are much heavier lift for us.
Then the third tier is a once a year state of the industry type of asset that we are working on right now that would be a what we like to think of as a game changer for digital marketers, content marketers.

We would love to get to the point where we are publishing the Bible so to speak or at least this year’s Bible on what is going on in the state of content marketing.
That is how we approached it and how we landed in terms of our tiering and our strategy.

Trent:
With respect to your everyday blog posts because there is a rhythm there that one needs to achieve. How do you come up with the ideas? There are a lot of different ways to do it but I am interested in how you guys do it.

Ian:
It’s a fairly collaborative process. We actually involve a bunch of different people in our organisation. One of the most important things we do on this is we talk to our customer success team.

They’re the groups of people who are managing the accounts for customers who are themselves looking at their own content marketing and what is working and what is not; trying to shape their strategies to improve their content marketing over time.

That is a great generator of ideas for us in terms of what are the things that some of our leading edge customers are doing and what are the questions that they are asking; when we start to see those trend over time qualitatively over regular conversations that helps us identify some topics.

Mechanically we but these through to an editorial calendar that we run with Trello and we can see ideas over time or we can comment on ideas over time. But the customer success team is one group.

Our own marketing team ourselves, we’re actively out there. We are at events and conferences and we are talking to customers and prospects and just reading a lot and seeing what are some of the trending topics but also some of the unique ideas that we bring to the table.

So we are able to surface some things. We also talk to other people in our organisation so we really feel that it is important to bring the perspective of other functions. Our target buyers are marketers but marketers interact with other groups in the company a lot. They do interact with the customer success team.

Marketers and design, there is a lot of talk really about the new not so strange bed fellows of marketers and design. So we actually work with our design group a fair amount of time in terms of generating ideas from them and sometimes we actually have some of these groups write the blog posts themselves.

“What’s new in the world of design?” “What do marketers need to know about what is changing in the world of engineering?” Software engineering in our case and some of the new technologies that our engineers are on the forefront of what do marketers need to know to sound smart if nothing else about some of these concepts.

So that is some of the ways that we generate ideas. The marketing team ourselves will weigh in on that and prioritise them and stack them up and lay them out over time to see what the right ranking is.

And of course our executives from other parts of the function, the sales team; either individual contributors from the sales organisation all whom are tasked with writing blog posts all the way up to our head of sales who obviously through his conversations nonstop surfacing ideas.

It all fuses together and we take it from there. We also have the advantage of working with some good content marketing experts on our own advisory board and we like to bounce ideas off of them as well.

Trent:
So one of the things that a fellow by the name of Neil Patelwho I am sure you heard of has talked about a couple of times on his blog is one of the best ways to get ideas to write about is look at your competitors blogs, look for articles that have been heavily shared on social or commented on.

And he says that is the full proof way to discover a topic that your audiences already demonstrated that they are interested in. Then you write your own version on that particular topic and look for ways to improve it.
Do you guys do anything like that?

Ian:
We mostly do that, I would say that. The nuance to that is we don’t like to necessarily (I know you are not implying this) copy what the other group are doing but we do source ideas from that.
We do that a couple of ways. The biggest way is actually using our own products. We have our own implementation of our product for TrackMaven called TrackMaven on TrackMaven.

We have a set of competitors and then also people who are not necessarily direct competitors but others who we consider pretty smart and pretty good at content marketing in the space that market to marketers.

And what we can identify is which of the topics, be it blogs or social media or others are really resonating the most. So what is getting the most shares, retweets, likes all sorts of channel specific metrics.

But it gives it to us in an automated fashion; we don’t have to go out manually to the blogs and look at it and either eyeball the social shares or subjectively determine if we think that this is good or not or see how many people are talking about it on Twitter or using or a social listening tool.

We actually have that in our own product so we look at it on a daily basis but things that really bubble to the top, come to our attention right away so we know when somebody publishes a blog and it is getting more than five times their regular social engagement we get alerted to that.

So we will dive into that right away. Yeah and we do look at what are the topics on a macro level that are trending either across one specific contender or across a series of companies and figure out, do we have a unique point of view on that.

Is it better for us to acknowledge a topic and write something that while drafting off of the mention of the topic, we actually take it in a different direction?

Or is it something where we go head on and talk about the topic ourselves. It is a subtle distinction but it is really, “Are we joining the fray on this conversation directly and trying to have as good or better thing to say than our competition or are we just acknowledging that this is a topic that is out there and tangentially related to that here is something else that we think is interesting or here is a different way to look at that kind of problem.”But we do a little bit of both for sure.

Trent:
So how many different buyer personas do you guys write for?

Ian:
I’d probably say, without ever having documented more than one on paper, although I know that we write for three different ones. We are writing for a digital or content marketing generalist. Sometimes we write specifically for someone who is really only focused on social.

Sometimes we write for someone who is really just focused on blogs. And then lastly we write for CMO’s and marketing executives.

So there is four there although as I admitted to before, even though we have documented buyer personas for marketing messages we have never mapped them directly against our blogging strategy. But it is a great idea and I think I will.

Trent:
For the CMO’s and marketing execs, which is an audience that I write for as well; I spent a fair amount of time in the last couple of weeks reaching out and having conversations with CMO’s of software companies in particular. That is how you and I came to talk. I asked a lot of these folks when I was doing the pre interviews, “Is there any favourite blogs that you guys read?”

Most times these guys were, “Well, not really. Nothing comes to mind.” “Who do you follow on Twitter?””Well I can’t think of anybody off the top of my head.” So the challenge that I am faced with and I would imagine that you are faced with as well is you produce this great content but you got to promote it in such a way as to get these specific people to read it.

Ian:
That is exactly right.

Trent:
So how do you do it?

Ian:
Twitter and even the tools that sort of abstract up from Twitter and other social channels as well have really changed the game on the blog because many marketers these days (there are some exceptions) but many are not actually, especially CMO’s, they are not actually coming to work and pulling up a favourite blog in the morning, right?

They are going to get alerted via email or Twitter or what have you as to what are some of the topics that are of interest to them. And if it is scanning through Twitter; you can scan through 500 Twitter headlines in a matter of a couple of minutes and you’ll find one that really jumps out at you.

So you are absolutely right, it is all about the promotion. I would say you have to approach it from the perspective of what are the tiers of ownership you have over your audience.
So not as much worried about the different personas and where they go to learn. Although that is very important but knowing that they are going to learn in a bunch of online places.

Your most owned customers or readers are people who are subscribed to your newsletter and have opted in and specifically said, “I want to you to tell me everything you have to say on a regular basis and periodically feed this to me so that it is in my inbox, I don’t have to ask for it.”

That is sort of the most owned tier. The least owned tier are the people in the “socialverse” or the “Twitterverse” who may or may not actually follow you but going to see your headlines pop up by sharing and possibly with some of the paid ads but we haven’t yet gone into the paid promotion.

I have been talking mostly about organic content. But basically when other people who they are connected to share or retweet or what have you headlines of your content; that is the other extreme. And in between there is probably two or three different levels of the people who might come to your site regularly. Or that people that do follow you on Facebook or on Twitter or what have you.

And again that is all from a organic perspective and you can apply the same level of thinking although it mostly applies down towards the less owned constituence when you talk about paid ads and placement through retargeting or content syndication and what have you.

Trent:
So if I was to feed that back it sounds to me like; and Jay Baer from Convince and Convert actually recently published an article about this and I can’t remember the name of it off the top of my head but in essence he endorsed the shotgun approach. He said what is happening with social media is the reliable reach of each particular platform is only going down, Facebook being the perfect example.

Spend all this money, get all these likes, put a post on your wall, nobody really sees it because Facebook says, “If you’re not going to give us more money, nobody is going to see your stuff.”

And his opinion was if you think Twitter or LinkedIn is going to be any different than that, six to twelve months from now, you have got your head in the sand. They’re all headed in the same direction so because of that your best approach for social media is take the shotgun approach, just spray and pray.

Is that essentially what you guys are doing?

Ian:
First of all I do agree that there is sort of a curve for each of these channels. When you enter in promoting your content on a new channel, let’s just take LinkedIn. What you’re going to see is you’re impact over the first say six months just to make an artificial time horizon is going to gradually increase to the point where you know what you are doing, you’ve learned the right content that works.

You’ve figured out the right targeting and how to really gain value off of that. At that same time you have more “competition for eyeballs” coming in every new channel. So once you hit a peak of productivity, your impact is actually going to start to decline.

If you think of planning for the impact of your marketing efforts and the return on that, whether that is through visitors or through leads or what have you.

For any given channels it is almost like a series of curves that go up and then come back down and what you have to do is assume, plan for, hope for or build your own new channels that follow on each on that you enter so that you are not out of luck in the case of my artificial six month curve another six months down from that.

I do agree that you want to put your content out across multiple channels. I think you want to not just put it out there once and forget about it.

Some of the more effective marketing organisations will promote something that they do say promote a blog post and they might promote it three times over the course of four hours and then they’ll promote it three more times over the course of the next week.

Then they’ll promote it once a week for the next six months for example maybe slowing down a little bit or revive it, go quite about it for a little while and then revive it for a bit. So absolutely I think that you have to be aggressive in how and where you put the content.

But if you really go too far on the pray and spray approach I think you are going to cause your audience to tune out a little bit. I know marketing organisations and marketers where I know that there is just going to be continuous repeated promotion of their content.

And oftentimes it is not following the rules of social marketing and social selling where some percentage of the content can be directly promotionally leading to you a lot of it should not be. That is really where I think companies go wrong and marketers go wrong. When say promoting a blog through their social channels their using their social channels explicitly for promoting their blog.

And you can’t do that, if you think about the best ways to engage either on a personal level or a company level, you have to get into the conversation. There is a million ratios out there you can just say there is three types of things you do, you either talk about stuff that is commercially leading back to you.

Second group is stuff that is in a sphere of relevance for your customers but not necessarily leading back to you all the time. And then the third thing is just engaging in the conversations so that you are a human being or your organisation talking about things that are just of general interest to your audience.

So I think spray and pray is good from the standpoint of aggressiveness and getting your content out there repeatedly and not forgetting about it. But there has got to be a nuance and subtle approach to it.

Trent:
Not so long ago I interviewed Brian Clarke from CopyBlogger and one of the things that he said in the interview; and in case anyone hasn’t heard of CopyBlogger they have been ridiculously successful it is a very, very popular blog in the world of marketing.

He said if he had to do it over again he would actually produce less content than he did initially and he would said that he would gate more of it. And then I interviewed another individual who’s name I can sadly not remember off the top of my head because it was just a pre interview for an upcoming podcast.

And they had immense success with their content marketing although their blog look like a complete wasteland. And so I said, “How is it that you are having all this success with content marketing but your blog doesn’t look like it is getting any traffic at all?”

He started laughing and he said, “Well, we take a very different approach, what our content is..” And I am giving you this because I am interested in your feedback about it. He said, “We put a lot of efforts in our e-books and we put a lot of effort into webinars and then we find people who already have our audience and we rent (for lack of a better expression) their list.”

He is actually paying them to send an email which is metaphorically saying that he is finding a way to get them to say to the audience that they already have, “Hey, here is a great e-book offer, here is a webinar offer.”

And as a result of that their own list grew to 50,000 within the first year so it seems to me like maybe fewer blog posts, more gated content and more figuring out who already has my audience and what can I do to persuade them to help promote some of my premium content offers to the audience that they have.

What do you think of that?

Ian:
I like that and I can see the value in that. If you think about really good inbound content you can have great blog posts and grow traffic to your site at a steady rate. But when you are in a high growth organisation like I am you have to grow your content universe. In my case for example I am looking at by growing it by ten times over the next twelve months.

We are not going to be able to do that just by best promotion of the best blogs through our organic channels, not possible. We are looking at the right ways to syndicate out through other organisations, other groups, promoting it.

Sometimes it is organically like convincing a different organisation how strong some of our content is and we are actually working on something with a really, really well known non-profit organisation that I can’t announce yet but they’ll be syndicating content out that we have written about from events they’ve hosted while drawing attention back to us.

But at the same time it does get back to something that you said that person talked about which is having the really good assets that are that next level down below the blog. In my earlier model of content marketing that is sort of tier two assets and getting those is really good because no-one is going to fill out a form to read a blog post.

They’ll read a blog post and if it is good enough that it convinces them to fill out a form to download that asset, then you’ve got game. And when a person reads that content asset and they think it is good enough that they want to reshare it with others then you start getting to a viral effect.

So it’s the third party organisations to promote those assets for you and it is also making it as easy as humanly possible for the people who do read the asset to share it out. One of the things we like to do in our Maven guides is insert social sharing icons that are content specific.

And I am sure that you have seen this before but you are on a page or an e-book that has a particularly compelling stat. We’ll actually put a little clickable link, it is PDF but it’s a clickable link, someone click on it and it pre populates a Tweet or a LinkedIn update with a quote from that page and a link back to the asset.

That person can actually in their own Tweet or in their own LinkedIn post actually be sharing insight that we help them do while driving traffic back to our site. And that is something that we have seen quite a bit of success with since we kicked it off.

Trent:
Yeah, I would imagine that that would work very well. So one of the things that I have been thinking of doing for our own blog and the Groove blog has been growing by leaps and bounds, twenty to thirty percent traffic growth per month which has been great.

We’ve been publishing quite a bit of content to it but when you get to say like a hundred posts is there anything you haven’t really covered.

I’m starting to wonder and wouldn’t it make sense instead of writing brand new posts per week, maybe it makes sense to write one new post per week and looking at one of your older posts that is a little deeper in the archives, got a lot of social love back when it was originally published and looking it and thinking maybe we just need a new title.

Maybe we just need a new intro paragraph to position this post for a specific persona and then promote that back to the front of the blog so that it get regurgitated so to speak as though it is a new post all over again. Have you guys ever done anything like that because we stared to do that and it seems to be working just fine?

Ian:
The way that we are looking at doing that right now is taking a couple of our higher performing blog posts as well as a couple that we have just identified and we think could do really well if they were just rehashed.

The approach that we are actually taking on that is a “revisiting approach” where we actually acknowledge that this is something that we have written in the past where there were a lot of cases, projections or predictions made about something that is going on.

So one in particular was the; there was a lot of writing about the New York Times digital innovation report that came out a few months ago. You probably remember that where basically this copy of their massive internal report about all the things they need to do to survive as an organisation from the New York Times.
That got leaked and the whole world got to see some real interesting insight into how that worked. There was a lot of blogging about that. In fact I wrote a blog post myself on it and put it on our blog.

What I want to do with that is actually revisit that in a couple of months and say “Alright here’s the take-aways that we and really a lot of others in the marketing world took from that and a lot of the predictions that we made as well as some of the predictions that were in the Times’ report itself. How did those pan out? Did those come true? Did they not? Are they going faster/slower/bigger /smaller?”

Really kill two birds with one stone. In that case you get to repurpose the content that you already created while also, without a whole lot of extra effort, bringing a new piece of content to the table at the same time. So it is almost like a two for one or a two for one plus approach.

Trent:
Going back to the comment I made earlier about this company that “rents” lists. And I don’t want people to take that literally; it is a metaphor for building relationships with people who already have your audience.

What would be some of the things that you would do or maybe are doing to find out who would be those influencers who I want to go build a relationship with because you can’t build a relationship until you know who they are so how do you go find them?

Ian:
I go and ask other marketers. Some of my co-workers will look at me funny when I am at a marketing conference or a marketing tradeshow; I will ask them questions like “Which other tradeshows do you go to? Which blogs do you read?
Who do you follow on Twitter? Oh I follow that person on Twitter. Who else do you follow? Who is particularly good?

Have you read anything interesting lately?”

And I start to see who bubbles up from that. I can go ask any marketing organisation or institution how far their reach is or how influential they are and they are all going to be really good based on the answers I get back.

But I really like to kind of stay on the ground and ask those sorts of questions of my peers. Other CMO’s, other digital marketers, other content marketers and kind of get a more unbiased perspective on what is really going on out there.
It is really interesting and it is really interesting how it changes over time too.

Trent:
Have you ever done any math to figure out what it costs you guys to produce a blog post?

Ian:
We don’t actually measure the cost of a particular blog post. We look at the cost of visitors and the cost of leads as a function of the overall cost and burn rate around having a content marketing function and using our design team to help create those.

But we don’t actually measure the cost per blog post and maybe we should.

Trent:
Is your content marketing team all internal or do you make use of external resources as well?

Ian:
It is just about all internal; we will have guest bloggers or guest posts sometimes. Sometimes from some of our advisors and things like that but for all intensive purposes it’s internal.

Trent:
How many people are on the team?

Ian:
We’ve got about three people on the team spanning writers, content strategists and design plus a little bit of my time.

Trent:
Okay so between three people and a bit of your time that is the entire content marketing department. It is all the design, it is the blog posts, the landing pages, e-books, marketing automation, workflows, follow-up emails that team handles all that stuff?

Ian:
I was not including marketing automation resources in that. We could add some of that in there although that is a function that has sort of a broad purview in terms of some of our engagement plays that are more email oriented and things beyond the blog but certainly we could attribute a portion of their time as well so maybe another third of a person kind of thing.

Trent:
What do you think your all in annual budget is for content marketing? Just a range.

Ian:
Yeah, it is certainly in the low six figures for sure.

Trent:
Okay and you are doing how many posts a week right now?

Ian:
Right now we are doing roughly three what I call full rich posts per week. We are also starting to repurpose some of the weekly customer insights that we share with our customers so our own customer success team will have a serious of snippets that they share out with our customers and what we’ll do is after our customers get a couple of week head start on those we’ll repurpose those into a blog post.

But the cost on that is very low for us. From a costing perspective it is really three a week.

Trent:
Alright Ian so before we wrap up what haven’t I asked you that would make this interview more rich and if we have covered it all that is okay too?

Ian:
We talked a little bit about the competition for eyeballs and comments from Jay Baer around the diminishing marginal returns or the diminishing effectiveness of any given channel I think one of the things we didn’t get into when talking about the different buyer personas is the interplay between the buyers themselves.

I think there has always been an assumption in traditional B2B marketing that your buyers, if you have different buyer personas that you are selling to one or the other or the other.

One of the things that I talked to my team and others in my company about is the notion of the consensus level that is needed in purchases today and how you can’t write content that is siloed or oriented towards a silo of just one of your personas.

It has got to actually speak up and down the hierarchy or across the organisation boundaries of the different buyer personas. And that is something that I think companies are getting a lot smarter about but still there is a lot of room there to go for content marketing teams.

Trent:
Alright, terrific, so if people want to come and check out your stuff they go to TrackMaven.com correct?

Ian:
Absolutely, alright Ian thank you very much for making some time to come and have this chat with me. It has been a pleasure to have you on the show.

Alright to get to the show notes for this episode go to GrooveDigitalMarketing.com/15. And if you enjoyed the episode please help me spread the word by going to GrooveDigitalMarketing.com/love. So that is it for this episode

I am your host Trent Dyrsmid.

Thank you so much for tuning in and I look forward to having you back for another episode soon. Take care, bye-bye.

About Ian Walsh

ian-walsh-interview_image0Ian Wash is CMO and Chief Marketing Maven at TrackMaven. A veteran B2B marketer, Ian’s charter is to make sure that TrackMaven is aligning with — and leading by example in — today’s rapidly changing marketing landscape.

Ian is responsible for TrackMaven’s marketing. At the highest level, this means attracting the prospective customers needed to fuel their rapid growth. Day-to-day, this means leading a talented team of Marketing Mavens to manage complex marketing systems and processes, producing and syndicating content the market values, increasing TrackMaven’s brand awareness, enabling the Sales team, and continuously measuring and improving our go-to-market strategy.

As a marketer himself, Ian faces many of the same goals and challenges as TrackMaven customers. To this end, he serves as the ultimate advocate for his customers: constantly using TrackMaven himself to ensure that the platform is delivering the right value to marketing teams.

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