Ep. 56 – Interview w/ Tom Whatley

How You Can Generate Demand and Growth with the Right Content

Developing the right content for the right audience across the right channels is a crucial component in content marketing for B2B. But how you get your content to work for you to generate positive results? In this episode, we talk to content expert Tom Whatley (Founder & CEOGrizzle) about how you can generate demand as well as organic growth using B2B content. During our conversation, Tom explains the importance of understanding your target audience and how conducting the relevant market research will help you to generate insights to develop relevant content. He also elaborates on why it’s crucial to avoid using outdated online tactics and leverage different content formats in your marketing initiatives.

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Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Tom’s view on generating leads and business organically vs. paid advertising/lead generation [1:29 | 3:30]
  • The most common mistake that B2B companies make is generating demand but not capturing it [6:47]
  • Tom explains his methodology around the content-driven demand generation approach [9:05]
  • Tom shares his thoughts on AI-powered copy, content optimization [15:19 | 16:38], and video marketing [21:14]
  • Why people should stop the old school outreach method and start creating editorial links instead [30:01]

Companies & links mentioned in this episode:

Transcript

SPEAKERS

Christian Klepp, Tom Whatley

Christian Klepp  00:00

Welcome to B2B Marketers on a Mission, a podcast for B2B marketers that helps you to question the conventional, think differently, disrupt your industry, and take your marketing to new heights. Each week, we talk to B2B marketing experts who share inspirational stories, discuss their thoughts and trending topics, and provide useful marketing tips and recommendations. And now, here’s your host and co-founder of EINBLICK Consulting, Christian Klepp.

Welcome, everyone to this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast where you get your weekly dose of B2B marketing insights. This is your host, Christian Klepp. And today we are going to discuss a subject that I would say SaaS businesses, agencies and technology brands should be focusing on and that’s generating greater demand and growing organically. And I’m joined today by someone who I would say is an expert in the field. So coming to us live from London, England, Mr. Tom Whatley. Welcome to the show, sir.

Tom Whatley  00:54

Hello, good to be here, Christian.

Christian Klepp  00:56

Yeah. It’s great to be connected, Tom. And, you know, let’s, let’s jump right in. And, you know, there’s something that you said in the previous call. And in our first conversation, I think that that really, you know, I told myself like, Yeah, that would be a great topic of conversation. So let’s just dive straight in. It’s it’s on a topic around generating demand, and organic growth for B2B. So talk to us why you would recommend this approach, and not necessarily versus other formats. But why you think that that format is so important.

Tom Whatley  01:29

Yeah, it’s interesting, because when we first talked about this, you mentioned, I think you asked why I would favorite over, for example, paid or lead generation. And actually, content is like one of the best kind of supplements or not supplements, but vehicles for everything else that you’re doing. And I think the best mindset to get into is treating content as a method, a platform for communication. And when you look at it like that, it becomes fuel for any marketing or growth initiative, right. So let’s take paid media as an example. It’s actually a really, really good vehicle for getting a message in front of an audience that may not be too familiar with you. And there’s a few added benefits here as well, like a few of our clients have been known to like, actually reduce their cost per acquisition because they using content as part of the overall customer journey. But if you look at it through that lens, you start to think, Okay, how can I use content to add value to my audience, show them that we’re the right people to solve their problems? And essentially, and this is a quote from Harry Dry, founder of marketing examples, how do I run with my audience where they’re at as well and get my content in front of them. So it’s all about using it as a method of getting in front of your audience where they are, and I think that’s what demand generation is really all about.

Christian Klepp  02:57

Well, I’m gonna, I’m gonna jump in and play the devil’s advocate here.

Tom Whatley  03:00

Please do. (laugh)

Christian Klepp  03:03

Um, I would say you make a valid point. But while it is important, and while, you know, it has been proven that you can generate leads and business organically, there are some that would argue that you might not be able to do that quick enough. Whereas if you do it with paid, that would probably accelerate the process. Now, what are your What are your thoughts on that?

Tom Whatley  03:28

I totally agree with that. Right. So but there’s only there’s a couple of avenues here, right. So first of all, your points on the fact that it does take a while to generate results. And really actually speed depends on a multitude of factors, right? Like, for example, brand existing brand equity, domain authority and things like that, how much content you’ve created in the past, and whether or not it just needs a little bit of spruce up. And that’s a completely different box of frogs, which we will, we will touch upon later. But there’s also when you’re looking at creating content for this specific goal of search, right, so when we talk about organic growth, we can be talking about social, for example, but really what we’re talking about is SEOs right, getting content ranking on the SERPs for specific keywords. When you limit what you’re creating, based on keyword research, you kind of forget about other nuances in your audience and the problems they’re solving. Right. So for example, when we work with new clients, we often get on the phone with both customer success team, salespeople as well as their existing customers, and really try to figure out what their biggest challenges are. And it’s digging deep into that process and into their true motivations and their problems that help us figure out okay, this is actually what makes them tick. This is what’s kind of keeping them up at night. And those are the kinds of insights that you don’t necessarily find through keyword research. Where coming back to your question. The great thing about paid amplification is like you can get that content and that message right and in front of your ideal audience, and basically talk directly to those pain points, which is not necessarily something you can do, just by relying on keywords, so you can’t have your cake and eat it too. But yeah, I think that more or less answers your question.

Christian Klepp  05:16

Well, that was a great answer. And by the way, I’m still not one box of frogs. (laugh)

Tom Whatley  05:22

I recently wrote in an article and an editor asked if I meant something else, and I think it might be a British thing. I definitely got it from an Australian friend. But yeah, please take it. Box of frogs.

Christian Klepp  05:33

Yeah, a box of frogs. Yeah. No, you brought up a really interesting point. And I just wanted to get back to that for a second. If I understood what you’ve been saying, in the past couple of minutes correctly, you’re talking about like, you know, not being too influenced by keyword research, but rather doing a deep dive into not just the customer journey, but their pain points and challenges. And in order to, in order to get to those insights, I hope I understood you correctly. But like, you know, it’s important to do some like, in depth customer interviews and to talk to the market.

Tom Whatley  06:05

Yeah, 100%. And obviously, there’s a data driven element to it as well, I think, if you if you focus too much, on just speaking to your customers to drive, you know, what your content strategy will look like, that can kind of box you into an echo chamber. But you do need to listen to the audience. And really dig deep into all their priorities and their problems and their challenges and what they’re trying to achieve.

Christian Klepp  06:31

Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Tell us about some of the most common mistakes and misconceptions that you’ve seen out there that B2B companies make when it comes to generating demand, and also organic growth and what you believe needs to be done to address these.

Tom Whatley  06:47

Yeah, so I kind of see demand generation as the one half of a greater whole, right, you generate demand, but you also capture demand. And I think a lot of marketers, when they think of generating demand, they forget about kind of capturing it, or maybe they get the two mixed up, right. So search is critical for the latter for capturing demand. And that’s why, you know, we think about top of funnel content and bottom of funnel content, right, so people looking for a specific solution very proactively and you getting in front of them. But I think because that’s what inbound marketing, so hold out, right, but generating demand, it’s about getting yourself in front of that audience where they’re already out, and demonstrating that you’re either the right person for the job, or that you have access to insights, so who has already solved a problem. And yeah, as I said earlier, do it in a way that runs with where they’re at, which is where kind of reverse engineer distribution approach comes from. In other words, you know, figuring out where your audience is and how they find new information and getting, getting that information in front of them in a contextual way. So I think when we talk about generating demand, it’s important to separate it into his second cousin, capturing demand as well. And when you kind of think of it in in, you know, those two different avenues, then things become a lot clearer in terms of how you create content and how you attribute it to like, the marketing funnel, or the customer journey, or however you want to look at it, and what model you want to apply to. Yeah, generating awareness, and then capturing that awareness and educating those people.

Christian Klepp  08:28

Yeah, no, exactly. And you know, that answer was a perfect segue into the next question, because just imagine, if you will, that you’re walking somebody through this through this process that you’ve been talking about, right, like, you know, walk us through that process of generating demand and organic growth through content. So what are some of the key things that you believe that marketers they need to take into consideration, look out for, and then hopefully also implement, right in order to succeed and scale?

Tom Whatley  09:01

Are you happy for me to give away the farm here, and overshare?

Christian Klepp  09:04

Please.

Tom Whatley  09:05

Absolutely. Okay. Also, I do think developing a content strategy is like the bedrock of a content driven demand generation approach, right? And developing that strategy for us. It kind of comes down to three phases, which is a couple of things that we’ve already talked about, right? Data driven research, qualitative research, and then synthesis. So when it comes to data driven research, what we’re doing is looking at the competitive landscape, but also where these people are hanging out and what conversations are having. So like other blogs that perhaps not non direct competitors are creating content, for example, but broader publications and obviously direct competitors. Podcasts like this one, right. So for example, I the ideal prospect for a software company. I’d be listening to this right now to just kind of figure out okay, what are these people talking about, what problems that they sharing because we got to be talking about my challenges later on, right? Then the community aspect as well, there are loads of communities, whether they’re kind of closed or public, whether they’re Facebook groups, Slack communities, the odd LinkedIn group here and there that actually does talk about stuff instead of sharing content blindly, right? What are they talking about? at scale, I suppose. And figuring out how to reverse engineer, okay, these are like the pain points in the problems they’re talking about. These ones may relate to what we’re selling. And these are more related to, you know, their day to day, these are problems that they’re facing, they’re trying to solve this problem, or they’re trying to achieve this. Or if we’re following our jobs to be done framework, this is what they are trying to do. And then that gives us a bunch of, you know, market driven insights.

Tom Whatley  10:47

The second part is qualitative. So we talked about that a moment ago, right? So speaking to customers, as well as the people within your organization, or your clients organization, if you do this on behalf of clients, that speak to customers on a daily basis. So that’s other sales reps, sales managers, as well, customer success teams, even like the product marketers, or the people who are developing the product, and even the founders, depending on the size of the company, right? That was a reason that they go into this market, there’s a reason they built the product in the first place. Why did they start it? What problem are they trying to solve, and if you’re a founder yourself, then you might be surprised at the reason that you started this company and aim to solve this problem. Other people are facing very similar problems, of course, right. So it’s a matter of like collecting all of that insight across the data driven side of things, the qualitative side of things, and then synthesizing it into some material that can be used to communicate everything internally. And for us, I guess, not all of it may be appropriate. But for us, it comes down to a documented content strategy, which makes sense. So talking about what your objectives are, who you are trying to attract. So this can be you know, just a brief description of your different audience segments. And these don’t include customers, by the way, these could be content advocates, these could be people who create links and distribute content in your space, got to remember to create content for those right, what you’re gonna be creating for them. And then where you’re going to be distributing that content to. And then of course, KPIs and the like. And then another thing we do as an agency is create what we like to call an audience analysis report, which is basically a breakdown of, well, it’s split into two parts. The first part is kind of observations, key observations of the audience. So like, you know, what are their headaches? What are they trying to work towards… what the true motivations underneath those goals as well. And then what they love about the product or service that, essentially we’re trying to sell with content? That’s what it comes down to. Who are we trying to persuade? And how do they get value from the product already? And as an agency that just helps us kind of, well, first of all, demonstrated to, again, that we get their audience but also just kind of keep that as a true north, you know, these are the people that we’re talking to. And these are the kind of like the pain points that you know, we’re trying to help our audience to solve. And then everything else comes down to, you know, more specific, nitty gritty stuff. So using all of that to do a ton of keyword research, and of course, to develop topics and create an editorial calendar. And that is essentially, like the strategy side of things. So that’s kind of bit in a not so small nutshell, when it comes to the strategy anyway, and the foundations.

Christian Klepp  13:32

Yeah, you know, you laid that out so beautifully,

Tom Whatley  13:34

I’m glad to hear!

Christian Klepp  13:38

Um, I hope the listeners are taking notes, as you were, as you were explaining that, because quite frankly, short of stating the obvious, there are a lot of moving parts. And I think you brought it up in the past couple of minutes, and it just jumped out at me again, it’s about like, you know, it could get overwhelming, you know, you’ve got so much you’ve got so much data, you’ve got so much information, you have so many areas to look at. But you have to, again, look towards your, as you said, your true north, right. What are your priorities? What is it that you’re trying to achieve? Right? With all with all of this, right and develop that framework that will help you to, well not just push out the right strategy, but generate the right results too.

Tom Whatley  14:19

Precisely 100%.

Christian Klepp  14:20

Hey, it’s Christian Klepp here. We’ll get back to the episode in a second. But first, is your brand struggling to cut through the noise? Are you trying to find more effective ways to reach your target audience and boost sales? Are you trying to pivot your business? If so, book a call with EINBLICK Consulting, our experienced consultants will work with you to help your B2B business to succeed and scale. Go to www.einblick.co for more information.

Okay, right. I’d like to get your thoughts on this. This is one of those thought pieces, right? Wordstream wrote an article and it highlighted seven of the largest content marketing trends to watch out for in 2021. So I’m just gonna read them to you. And I’d like to get your thoughts on them, like whether you agree or disagree with them, you think that there’s anything else that needs to be added right? So here are the seven trends, building content communities, kind of a little bit back to your point about these groups, right, and they’re posting or curating content, going live with video on webinars, improving content experience, I think that one’s kind of a given right, focusing on products and services. Here’s an interesting one. One that I’d be curious to know a little bit more about testing AI-powered copy. Doubling down on SEO and repurposing content across channels. Your thoughts on the above. Anything that you’d add anything you agree or disagree with?

Tom Whatley  15:47

Yeah. I mean, the only trends like in a traditional sense I hear are maybe like testing AI and content communities. You know, repurposing content that it feels like that’s been table stakes for quite a while. I mean, I’ve been doing some variation of content repurposing since 2012, 2013. I guess, like the way that you repurpose content changes, because channels change, you know, the way that you repurpose content for Twitter back in 2013, will be vastly different today. So I think out of that list, I think the only two trends are really AI testing, AI and maybe content communities. It’s interesting. You pulled out AI is an interesting one. Why do you … Can I throw the mic back to you? Why do you find that one most interesting?

Christian Klepp  16:29

It’s it’s probably just because, you know, they’re still…, and I’m one of them, right? I’m just one of the skeptics. That’s like, I’m not sure if… you know, AI is at that stage yet where it can replace people when it comes to developing copy. I mean, certainly, it can churn out like, let’s say it churn out headlines. It can churn out ideas for like, for blogs or articles, but for AI to like completely take over the job of developing content, I still find that a bit questionable. And will AI be doing that in the next decade? I don’t know.

Tom Whatley  17:05

Yeah. So I think to your point, I totally agree, I think it’s great for perhaps creating microcopy, right, so like, small snippets for, I don’t know, feature pages on a website, perhaps or giving you the foundational building blocks for a Facebook ad, I don’t see that it’s going to be writing effective, long form content anytime soon. And there’s a big reason for this. I think that content is suffering from a problem. Loss of fitness. There’s lots of different ways of putting it, you know, Ryan Law from Animalz, he calls a copycat content that he stops and calls it a parasite content. But essentially, everyone is using the same tools and the same sources to inform their content, 9 times out of 10, that’s the first page of Google for your keyword, right. And I’m sure we’ll get into this a little bit more depth, but that’s what AI is going to be doing to… it’s gonna it’s gonna get that insight to fuel that copy from somewhere. And so if everybody’s doing the same thing, we’re just gonna get more of the same. So that’s, that’s where my reservations come in from AI at the moment, to answer your question on what I would add to that list, content optimization. 100%. And I think you know, a lot more people are starting to refresh that old content, what I like to look at it is through the lens of an entire content journey, right? So, for example, you’re trying to increase, click throughs. from page one of Google, let’s say your position for you’re getting a boatload of impressions, but click-through rates are low, let’s look at how to optimize our metadata and our page title, perhaps we’re looking at Hot jar, and there’s a percentage of articles where nobody’s really reading past the introduction, that gives us a pretty strong indicator of maybe we need to either a, make the hook a little bit stronger, amend the headline to hook readers in or just rewrite the introduction altogether. And this comes down to kind of like the context of the channel, right. So people searching for something on Google, they’re not going to want like a super detailed introduction as to the thing they just search for, they just kind of want to know what it is they’re about to learn. So there’s a few things you can do there. And then kind of using performance data to you know, inform the rest. So oftentimes, we might see content decay over time, we see this all the time, there’s kind of, you know, you publish a new piece, it starts to peak, which is great. And then a high percentage of articles will then start to drop off in traffic, and it’s using some kind of intelligence, perhaps even monitor just monitoring your analytics on a month to month basis to catch that and think, Okay, what do we need to do in order to reclaim those rankings? Usually, it means improving the content or like a variation of the things I just talked about. I’m so bullish on this. We’ve just started kind of like creating this content intelligence tool internally at Grizzle where we literally measure all of these things I’ve just mentioned, you know, SERP performance, content engagement, you know, where our content is ranking for our primary keyword, but also, you know, you may find that a piece of content is ranking for more competitive keywords. And I’ve got a good example of this, right. So we produced an article around display ads back in 2019. It’s targeting them the… The term was “what are display ads”, right, I know, super top of funnel. But we noticed though, is kind of starting to rank at the bottom of page one for the broader term display ads, so we thought okay, what can we do to kind of pivot the content without, you know, totally rewriting it, added a few new sections. And in a month, it ranked number three for the term display ads. And then shortly after that, it was like the number one position. And I think, correct me if I’m wrong, I think it’s still there. So it’s just kind of like reacting to the data. And just looking for those opportunities, right. Like, we wouldn’t have known to do that if we weren’t kind of monitoring what was happening. And it’s just a matter of, you know, I don’t know, acting upon that data. And if it is a priority, then going for it. And obviously, increased search traffic, for sure. But we did manage to, you know, maintain conversion rates from that article as well. Which you might be surprised about considering it’s so top of funnel.

Christian Klepp  21:11

Yeah, yeah. No, no, those are really some great points. And, you know, you set something up earlier, which kind of jumped out at me. So I want to, I want to throw that back out to. Video content. I mean, like, you know, people are always talking about it. Now. What are your thoughts on that? I mean, I don’t think that videos are probably not going to replace the written word anytime soon. They are they are gaining increased, well, popularity is not the right word. But um, they have they have displayed their usefulness in many ways.

Tom Whatley  21:38

Yeah, definitely. Again, videos, not much of a trend. Actually, no, I tell a lie. I think more, more B2B firms are now getting a little bit more bullish on video. And I think that the increased popularity in YouTube, if you could call it increase, it’s been popular for years and years and years, right. But I think B2B marketers are really starting to click on to the power of, say, YouTube and using video as a supplement for written content as well. You know, considering the fact that YouTube’s the world’s second biggest search engine, right, it’s, it’s a great kind of opportunity for many industries to capture inbound, search demand, if, you know, traditional SEO is saturated, they can also help to both. We helped a client create quite a, I guess you could call it a bottom of funnel piece of content. It was incredibly competitive keywords, you know, we’re just scraping the bottom of page one. And we’ve never really managed to like bump it. But they’ve got so they decided to kind of hire some internal video production resources. And they created a video around this like keyword because it’s so you know, product driven, right? That video is at the top of page one of Google for that keyword in the little kind of video strip at the top. And it generates a lot of, you know, views from YouTube, as well. So there’s definitely like, it’s definitely at the intersection of SEO, video marketing and SEO, there’s definitely an overlap there. That’s what fascinates me about it the most.

Christian Klepp  23:09

Yeah, no, fantastic, fantastic. I’m going to do my best in this next question not to bring up that evil word. Right? I’m just going to ask you in the past 12 to 14 months, in your area of expertise, what are some of the changes that you’ve seen?

Tom Whatley  23:26

Yeah. So ok, I have two answers to this. First from like, in content marketing perspective, everybody is now investing more into it, right? No one could really do events. No one was, you know, walking around outside in the world. So you know, out of home advertising that’s gone. To an extent, right, I think we definitely saw more and more people investing in content. And that means that the competition on quality and attention arose incredibly quickly. You know, there are a few front runners in the industry who were kind of talking about this before. And it was even more important now. Similarly, from an agency perspective, because more people are investing in it, we’ve generated more interest, you know, we’ve kind of naturally grown over the last 14 months, which is great, unfortunately, because it’s still a pandemic. But similarly, the competition for acquiring talent is incredibly tough. Right now we’re finding it. Yeah, very difficult to get the attention of, you know, the right talent. And there’s, you know, there’s a couple of brands out there who are doing a really good job of, you know, developing their employer brand, just look a UK based digital PR agency called Rise at Seven. They are doing a terrific job of that. Yeah, still something that we’re figuring out. So that’s definitely something that’s, that’s changed for us. It’s not as easy to you know, reach out to someone and say, Hey, do you want to write for us? You know, that busy.

Christian Klepp  24:52

This next question I would have, I would have said, like, you know, under normal circumstances, we’d go to Hyde Park, you get up on your soapbox and you deliver a speech. (laugh)

Tom Whatley  25:03

Always wanted to do that.

Christian Klepp  25:04

Seeing that it’s, you know, not possible right now. I just like to ask you, a status quo or a commonly held belief in your area of expertise that you passionately disagree with, and why like if people tell you that and you say now that’s complete bollocks.

Tom Whatley  25:22

Yeah, okay, so mine would have to be, it would definitely have to be around how top of funnel content doesn’t work for B2B, at least when it comes to generating conversions, right? or it doesn’t work when reaching a strategic audience. A lot of that, you know, there, there are a few opinionated figures in the space, everyone has their own methodology, right? It works, of course, because if it gets results, of course, you’re gonna want to talk about your methodology. However, I don’t think it’s a one size fits all. And this one size fits all is definitely one that grates on me, which is, you know, people searching for, I don’t know, sales pitch, you know, sales managers aren’t going to be interested in content around a beginner’s guide to a sales pitch, right? There’s a couple of reasons that’s wrong. So from a sales perspective, let’s say somebody is looking for content around how to you know, deliver a sales pitch, if you’re a sales manager looking for that, you’re going to be looking at it for a couple of reasons. First, maybe, because you just kind of want to remind yourself about a few things in there. And you just want to make sure you’re not crazy, or you are looking for a decent resource to provide your reps with. So you’re getting your message in front of their strategic audience one way or another. But then similarly, you have to remember how most strategic audiences find content in the first place, like 9 times out of 10, when we’re doing these, you know, customer interviews, when we get to answer the question, you know, what publications do you read? or where do you go for new information, if it’s like a truly senior decision maker, 9 times out of 10, they say, someone shares it to me, or you know, someone in the office or send something over. And we can basically translate that to, they get information from their peers. I used to work for a C-suite marketing company, and they through roundtables. And they were so successful because you bring their peers together, right? And you’ve got to remember that those peers also include the individual contributors that report to them, they’re all working towards the same strategic objectives. So if you’re creating a content piece of content around sales pitches, and you’re covering the basics, yeah, you might not be talking directly to the strategic pain points of a sales manager. But first of all, you’re ensuring that content is going to rank because that’s what Google is looking for. But similarly, that’s a platform to speak to the strategic priorities of the entire team, you know, like in that introduction, within that content, you have an opportunity to enter their consideration span. And I use that phrase in lieu of attention spans, right? People don’t have short attention spans, they have short consideration spans, you’ve got seven seconds to show that the content that you’re about to deliver is going to help them solve their problem. Within seven seconds, you can speak to the strategic priorities of that entire team, right? If I’m a sales rep, and I want to impress my sales manager, I find an article, I don’t know on how to be a good SDR. And it’s talking about some of the headaches that I hear my sales manager constantly talking about, I’m gonna go, boss, have you read this, these guys are talking about a thing that we talked about a month ago. That’s how content is shared from a strategic perspective. Now, I’m not Pooh poohing on the fact that you should, you know, not be focusing on bottom of funnel content, you know, comparison pages, and that kind of stuff. There’s definitely a place for it. But I think the more people stray away from top of funnel content, I think it leaves, you know, a lot on the table. And of course, you know, you Google a term and you look at the content, nine times out of 10, for most of us in the B2B space, it’s not gonna be very good. Oftentimes, we wonder how it ranked in the first place. But yeah, there’s, there’s definitely a place for it. Because that’s how people kind of look for content, share content, you just got to think about the context of the audience and what they’re looking for.

Christian Klepp  29:17

Yeah, that’s absolutely right. You know, you mentioned something that grabbed my attention. So it’s not just about the, you know, the sharing of content and what have you, and, you know, referrals, or recommendations by colleagues in the industry, but it’s also going back to knowing who the target audience is, is table stakes. It’s understanding why they’re your target audience, right?

Tom Whatley  29:38

Yeah.

Christian Klepp  29:38

What they’re looking for, put yourself you know, I’m gonna use this metaphor put yourself in their shoes, right and a day in the life of right? What would I be looking for if I were in that particular position? And why? Right?

Tom Whatley  29:51

Exactly.

Christian Klepp  29:53

All right. Tom, I’m gonna ask you to like stay on that soapbox a little a little bit longer. Advice that you would give people out there, right when it comes to again, generating greater demand and growing organically. What is the one thing you think people should start? And the one thing you think people should stop doing for the love of God, stop doing this.

Tom Whatley  30:19

I think it kind of overlaps to the last question upon pet peeves. People should really yeah, they got to stop the old school outreach, the old school distribution techniques man, like I still get emails in my inbox about a piece of content I wrote a year ago that links to an article I haven’t thought about in as much time asking me to link to one of their pieces of content instead. I mean, there are still some pretty prominent I mean, I got an email this morning from an outreach specialist from a pretty well known SEO technology brand. So I guess it’s still working, but in our experience, like the results are dwindling. And it kind of comes back to embedding into your content strategy, what does get links and what does get the attention of those who can distribute content instead, right. I’ve got a stat here actually from an SEMrush, sem rush, whatever you want to call it, study. So according to I think, it was like 1500 marketers they interviewed about content marketing, and 89% of respondents say they rely on organic traffic for content distribution, but only 24% proactively create, quote, unquote, editorial links, and I think it was around the same stat maybe 22% create data driven content as well. And these two are related, right? 24%. Yeah. 24% proactively create editorial links. So everybody is like trying to create content for the purpose of generating organic traffic, but not many people are really generating links. Right. And, again, it comes back to creating the right thing for the right type of people. And I think I’ve talked about this when I was running you through the strategic process, right, you want to figure out who your audience is not just from who your customers are, but who is going to help distribute your content. And this is where I think like taking a bit more of a digital PR approach to content creation for the purpose of link building comes in. And for B2B, you know, marketers, there’s no better format than data driven content. We just did a study, right, where we dug deep into 10 of the biggest SaaS companies, and the data driven content that they created. And there’s a tremendous amount of links for, you know, across the board, you know, we’re talking about at least the hundreds, and then a few outliers in the 1000s, then we dug deeper into Buffer to create a lot of content, they rank for a lot of very competitive keywords for their editorial content. So we compared their state of social report, which was a data driven report that, you know, as it says, on the tin was the state of social media for that particular year, and compare the number of links across their top 10 performing editorial content based on keyword volume, right. So out of that comparison, that we found that the majority of content, I can’t remember the exact number, but it was around the hundreds, whereas you know, the state of sales, sorry, the state of social media report got a couple of 1000. And there was one piece of content that did get more backlinks than the stage of social media report. But when we dug deeper into that data, it was like 290% times faster, to get links to that data driven report than it was to that editorial driven piece of content. So people like linking to proprietary research and I think one, I’m just going to go into the deep end a little bit here. When people think of data driven research, they think of, you know, doing a survey, just like the SEMrush I mentioned when I mentioned, right, so 1500 people, asking them a bunch of questions and collecting data. And that takes months and months to do. However, depending on what industry you’re in, you can just access publicly available data and create a commentary around that instead, much like the data that I just talked about around buffer, you know, just a little bit of digging, we’ve created a really good piece of content. We only published it this week. So I can’t talk to you about actual results. But come back to me in a month. And hopefully, yeah, hopefully we’ll see something. So what I mean, like the point is creating that piece of content, kind of wrangling the data and creating I think there was a there’s about three smaller infographics that we can use for our kind of journalists and digital PR outreach took a week to put no yeah, it took about a week and a half to put together. So it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money and take months and months to do. So stop wasting time on old school outreach techniques and start creating stuff that people actually want to link to.

Christian Klepp  34:52

Hear hear.

Tom Whatley  34:56

Mic drop, I guess,

Christian Klepp  34:57

Yes, indeed. Indeed. No, Tom, this has been lost such an interesting, thought provoking and extremely enjoyable conversation. So please.

Tom Whatley  35:06

I have fun. Yeah!

Christian Klepp  35:07

Yeah, no, please come down from the soapbox and introduce yourself to the crowd.

Tom Whatley  35:11

Absolutely. So my name is Tom Whatley. I’m the CEO and founder of a content marketing an SEO agency called Grizzle, where we help mainly SaaS and software companies basically do all of the things I talked about in this episode, right. So developing a content strategy, producing what I like to think is pretty hot content. And of course distribute them, I mean, I wouldn’t have been doing it for five years if I didn’t.

Christian Klepp  35:21

Sure. And you’ve got your own podcast as well, right?

Tom Whatley 35:38

Yeah, it’s on a bit of a hiatus at the moment. We’re doing a lot of internal operations stuff at the agency, which is taking all of my effort, but season two will be coming out soon. The podcast is called Demandist, D-E-M-A-N-D-I-S-T on Spotify and Apple podcasts.

Christian Klepp  36:00

Fantastic. Thanks again for your time, Tom. And what’s the best way for people out there to get in touch with you?

Tom Whatley  36:05

Yeah, search me on LinkedIn. I’m also Tom Whatley without the A on Twitter so T-O-M-W-H-T-L-E-Y, because a senator took the handle “Tomwhatley”.

Christian Klepp  36:19

How dare he?

Tom Whatley  36:19

I know terrible, obviously, slightly more importantly, and you can check out my agency at grizzle.io.

Christian Klepp  36:26

Fantastic, Tom. It’s been an absolute pleasure. So thanks again for coming on and sharing. Take care, be safe and talk to you soon.

Tom Whatley  36:34

Yeah, rock right back at you, man. Thanks for having me. It’s been an absolute joy.

Christian Klepp  36:38

Thanks. Alright. Bye for now.

Thank you for joining us on this episode of the B2B Marketers on a Mission podcast. To learn more about what we do here at EINBLICK, please visit our website at www.einblick.co, and be sure to subscribe to the show on iTunes or your favorite podcast player.

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