Ep. 141 – How B2B Companies Can Leverage SMEs for Strategic Differentiation w/ Jeff Coyle

How B2B Marketers Can Build Greater Trust

Many B2B companies talk about trying to have some kind of strategic differentiation, yet they resort to creating content that is generic and not insightful. How can they turn this around and provide a perspective that’s truly differentiated and helps to build them as an authority in their space? The answer lies in how content marketers can leverage the company’s subject matter experts (SMEs).

That’s why we’re talking to B2B content marketing and AI expert Jeff Coyle (Co-Founder and Chief Strategy OfficerMarketMuse) about how companies can utilize SMEs for strategic differentiation. During our conversation, Jeff explains why “the rise of the SME” is already here and what pitfalls marketers should avoid. He also talks about how to get buy-in from SMEs, and how they can shed light on key insights that will be instrumental in creating the right marketing assets.

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Topics discussed in episode

  • Jeff explains why SMEs are key B2B assets for organizations [5:14], and yet many companies hesitate to leverage them [10:34]
  • The rise of the SME is already here – signals of Query Deserves Expertise [15:51]
  • Why you have to clean up your content – Helpful Content Update [22:28]
  • Jeff shares his experience working with AI and recommends everyone to learn about knowledge graphs [28:49]
  • Some actionable tips [37:32]
    • Retrieval augmented generation (RAG)
    • Don’t dismiss that AI can’t do something
    • Learn about knowledge graphs, semantics, and linguistics
  • Jeff’s view on Correlation SEO and zoning [41:14]

Companies and links mentioned



Jeff Coyle, Christian Klepp

Christian Klepp  00:03

Welcome to B2B Marketers on a Mission, a podcast for changemakers where we question the conventional, debunk marketing myths, provide actionable tips, think differently, disrupt the industries, and take your marketing to a new level, from improving your campaigns to making you a better marketer. These are the inspirational stories that will help us change the way we think and approach B2B marketing, one conversation at a time. This podcast is brought to you by EINBLICK Consulting, helping you to stand out in the market and drive revenue to your B2B business. And now your host, Christian Klepp. All right, folks, welcome everyone to this episode of B2B Marketers on a Mission. This is the show where we help you to question the conventional, think differently, disrupt your industry and take your marketing to new heights. This is your host Christian Klepp. And today, I’m joined by someone on a mission to set the standard for B2B content quality. So coming to us from Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Mr. Jeff Coyle, welcome back to the show. I’m gonna say,

Jeff Coyle  01:09

Hey how are you? It’s so great to be back. I’m looking forward to the discussion. I love how you added B2B, typically, I’ll say I’m on a mission to set the standard for content quality, but I started in B2B. And you know, that’s been so ingrained that now I’m doing all content but B2B has always been, you know, the sweet, sweet spot for me.

Christian Klepp  01:30

Your first love, so to speak.

Jeff Coyle  01:32

It was, it was my first. B2B technology before people were even… I was trying to convince people to have content on the internet, in the year 2000 for their products, and they’re like, Oh, what do you mean? Like, like a summary? Should I list this module? And I’m like, Oh, y’all don’t get it. You all don’t get it. That was me, 25 years ago. Wow. Now, now, like, life’s a little different, but I think everybody knows they need great content.

Christian Klepp  01:58

Yeah, no, that’s wild. That’s wild. But you know, once again, it’s a pleasure to have you back on the show. And Jeff, I was just trying to think about, I think the last time you were on the show… must have been about 2021, if I’m not mistaken. And it was interesting. And we’ve had this conversation, the things that we were talking about then pertaining to generative AI and whatnot. And it was almost as if you prophesied what is to come.

Jeff Coyle  02:25

It’s scary. You think you think that I could like, get some lottery numbers on this or somehow hit it big, right?

Christian Klepp  02:32


Jeff Coyle  02:32

No, the things we were talking about. I mean, I went back and listen to it when we were connecting on email. And I was like, oh, yeah, wow, that’s that’s a lot. And so much, even since we caught up for this show, yet again, with Google making quality standards updates, it’s, it’s pretty wild we predicted it.

Christian Klepp  02:55

Much needed standard updates, in my humble opinion.

Jeff Coyle  02:59

Well, they’re, you know, they’re always gonna go through… And if anyone’s not familiar, they did both at the same time, just to make it slightly confusing. They did a big spam update, where they identified new characteristics of what makes something, you know, pure spam, as they’re calling it. And then at the same time, they tweaked some of their evaluation of quality, just to make it a little bit more confusing for everybody.

Christian Klepp  03:25

Yeah, because why not? Right, like…

Jeff Coyle  03:28

Right. Whenever they do something like that, there’s always gonna go through periods of tweaking. So right now, I think we’re in a heavy handed moment, and there’s gonna probably be some, some tweak back on that. But it’s a, I’ve already seen that happen there. You know, a lot of people are saying, Oh, this is all about Reddit, which also happened at the same time, but all that was them. They used to devalue, and not value that type of content as much. But it’s not just them. It’s other forums and user generated content is being it’s being valued, in my opinion, appropriately, maybe a little bit too much. You’ll you’ll you’ll continuously see that get dialed to and fro as they look at the data and the activity data so…

Christian Klepp  04:13

Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, without further ado, let’s let’s dive into the conversation, because we’ve got a bit of ground to cover today, my friend.

Jeff Coyle  04:22

Let’s go.

Christian Klepp  04:24

So, you know, we’ve always had great conversations, but it was something that you said in the previous conversation that really resonated with me. So you said just for the benefit of the audience that wasn’t there, right? You said that the subject matter experts within an organization are the most important B2B assets. So for this conversation, let’s try to narrow it down to one of your professional missions. I’m going to say. I’m going to use the plural here, right. But how B2B companies can leverage their subject matter experts or let’s call them SMEs for short, right? For strategic differentiation. So why don’t we kick off the conversation? I’m going to do a two-pronged question here. So why do you think that SMEs are key to using AI? And why do you think that they’re key, like B2B assets, for an organization?

Jeff Coyle  05:14

Gosh, those are great questions. I’ll answer the second one first. They, and it’s funny, you mentioned this because I had a presentation that I gave in October, that was called “The Rise of the subject matter expert”. Right. And I was looking at it for, for one that I delivered last month, and I changed it completely. And I said, the subject matter expert has officially risen. And… Why is that, from especially in a B2B context, it’s because there is no differentiation in the generic in B2B. And so what we found was there was a, there was a correction almost to try to get templated, in B2B, online marketing, where you saw, you start to see very medium to low quality, standardized structures. And then there was silos with the content marketers, and like product, right. And so if you’re in B2B, you probably have seen a site. And it’s like, Oh, those are the product pages. And those are the blog. And they weren’t, never the two shall meet, they get… it gets interesting. And when your business has a subject matter expert, who is driving and integrated into that content strategy, you can make both of those things better, certainly. But what we find is that the teams that are most successful, are using the subject matter experts to weave all of that together, to make sense, to tell the story that they actually understand the reader journey, the prospects journey, the buyers journey, the post-purchase troubleshooting, the post-purchase champion development, building content at all stages of that buyer journey and purchase journey all the way through is something that the content strategists, and the subject matter expert, oftentimes, the same person, sometimes as a product manager, they can navigate that well. And they’re the only ones that typically can. And so when you have that subject matter expert, or the collection of subject matter experts integrated, they can see the vision that connects the “why is our definition for this topic unique”. What unique value are we bringing with this seemingly standard, generic article, we have to bring unique value. And they’ll be able to tie that all the way through the product content, the blog content, the buyer journey, the temporal, the news, and like nobody else will. And the teams that aren’t integrating or using subject matter expertise are tend to have more siloing. And the content they create. They all know it, if you ask them, what’s your good, what’s your good stuff? What’s your bad stuff, they might call some of it? The SEO content, right? It’s just not getting the same credibility as the other ones. So that’s where the subject matter expert can do the most damage is when their input is woven into the fabric of everything that we publish.

Jeff Coyle  08:26

The second piece of that that same part of the answer is they often are the origination of what I would, you know, you might hear some, some people say blue ocean, or blue sky content. It’s content that only those organizations can build. The subject matter expert, and, you know, talented marketers, they are looking at each other. And they’re ideating, on content that only we can build. So at MarketMuse, right? We evaluate content quality, we build content strategies, so content that we can build that’s blue ocean, is let’s use our data to inform content, right? Let’s actually build content, using our own product, you know, so those are things that only we can do. Right? And so for you, or whomever in a B2B context, the subject matter expert can typically drive and be the fuel in blue ocean content, like no one else, we can use… do this live case study, we can build content that only we can build using our data to inform that practice. So that in summary, I’d say, breaking down silos, making sure expertise is woven into every page. And then number two is identifying product-lead content opportunities and blue ocean opportunities. So I mean, I’ll stop there, but those are the reasons why they’ve got to get involved in if they don’t want to, even if they don’t like writing, even if they don’t like content, at least they got to start getting them involved, and I can get into some more techniques for that.

Christian Klepp  10:03

Yeah. Fantastic. Fantastic. Well, we will definitely get some later on in the conversation. I did have a follow up question for you, Jeff. I mean, this is great stuff. You’ve probably seen this more times than you care to count, why do you think there’s a lot of B2B companies out there that hesitate to leverage their SMEs?

Jeff Coyle  10:23

Well, gosh, well, you actually asked me two questions before and I didn’t answer one of them. So the answer to this question is being exaggerated by that question, right. So they hesitate, because they’re busy, honestly. But those people are typically I mean, so I’ll give you the most obvious busy person is, let’s call it a one person law firm. Right? That’s not necessarily traditional B2B. But that’s like the most busy person in the world. Imagine trying to ask them to write content for the blog, right? You have that in various shapes and formats. First of all, writing is not my day to day, typically, if I’m, if I’m going to be the subject matter expert, most of the time, that person isn’t sitting in writing every day. So you’re asking to do that they’re asking them to do something that’s not in their sweet spot. And you almost have to act like a journalist, as well as you have to champion the idea of they spending their time on this and not that, right. So you got to be very, very crafty. That’s number one.

Jeff Coyle  11:29

Number two, is… you know, shame on content marketing, shame on search engine optimization, it’s very difficult at certain business types, to make the case that this is a internal thing. This isn’t just something your agency deals with, right, that this is expertise required. And we do need this time. Have we made the business case, you know, that’s something that I’ve been working on for years is how to get more predictive with our content. So what you’ll tend to see in in an organization that hasn’t gotten sign off throughout the org, is, you know, they’re debasing the content, maybe they’re calling it SEO content. They haven’t made the business case that this is predictive, this has a valuable outcome for the whole business, right? So they’re not going to get the lead product manager, who can either spend his time his or her time doing the product work, or are they really going to spend their time writing drafts or working with doing a product interview. It’s a very, very tough time, especially now, as industries are so disrupted, disrupted, it’s tough to get people’s time in there. But what I’ll say is what what you see is teams that exhibit that signal, are also making mistake number two, which is using artificial intelligence, in ways that make their situation even worse, and not making it better. So you would ask like, why why subject matter expertise with AI? Well, it is because A) those people who are experts are being given draft content that’s generated without expertise included, and they’re being asked to review it. Oh, my gosh, that’s like asking, you know, Einstein to review something that pops out of AI, right, like, Yes, this is awful, they’re always gonna say it’s awful. And what ends up happening is they start throwing their toys on the ground, and saying, oh, AI can’t build good content, or, oh, gosh, it’s never gonna be you know, that… We just can’t use this, it’s not going to be good, right. But the reality is that they’re not using it to their best advantage. A subject matter experts input can be extremely important, using your existing product documentation, using your existing, you know, knowledge base, to inform methodologies, or create even agent driven outputs can be quick wins. And then that expert can bring their own mass, their own mastery in a more productive environment. So what you’re seeing here is, teams are kind of spinning out of control. They’re like, hey, this was so devalued. And we’re siloed. Let’s make it worse by getting…, maybe they’ll want to get involved in that. And that’s, it’s just it’s eating itself. Whereas you do see the sharp teams, they’re using their own, maybe even sometimes hidden content, assets, you know, knowledge bases, post sale documentation. Like, you know, every article, every content item talked about at LavaCon, for example, you know, like, like all of that, using that to inform, you know, and using their experts wisely and not asking them to actually draft like, figuring out how to get their voice transcribed and weaving all that together with their artificial intelligence implementation. That’s the key. I mean, that’s what I’m doing. That’s that’s the stuff that, you know, we’re building amazing content, you know, at scale predictively with teams, it will always require there’s some human in the loop that expertise. It’s just how you get them in that loop. That becomes the elegance and the art.

Christian Klepp  15:26

Absolutely, the elegance and the art, I love it, man, you almost inadvertently came up with the title for this episode. (laugh) I’m gonna move us on to the next question, Jeff, and you kind of alluded to it already, the rise of the SME. So why do you believe that that rise of the SME is already here, this isn’t something that’s happening, like 10 years down the road, it’s already here.

Jeff Coyle  15:51

It happened. And we were talking about it. And I, you know, I was seeing, I saw the trucks coming. And yeah, you know, and the shark, the content sharks did too. And the waves that I saw were, when I thought that the written, the mediocre content word was going to be, you know, …we were gonna go to infinite supply of the mediocre content word. That was when I was talking about guys, who is going to rise from the ashes, who is going to come out from this, you know, you know, and catastrophic explosion. Right. And this was, right, this was where, you know, there were entire industries rocked, you know, content, writing services, that were writing bulk, or writing, medium quality, are now zero, right, all of those businesses had to adapt. Some people haven’t come to grips with that. And they are still trying to operate and thinking they’re going to come without building great content. But the, the practice I went through was to say, who cannot be immediately replicated, who cannot be replicated ever, who can become the master operator of pipelines of these processes. And those are the people with the access to the knowledge, you know, the single sources of truth, and a subject matter expert, who has the unique experiences, they have the expertise, they understand not only how to say, hey, that doesn’t, you know, JBL, or just doesn’t look right. But they also know why and how they have that experience. What we’re now seeing is the bar for quality going up, up, up, up, up. So the only stuff that’s hanging out and living on is when it is uniquely differentiated. You know, there was a there was a update long ago, which was is that SEO is a call QDF, it was query deserves freshness, right? We haven’t had this declared. But there’s things happening where I’m seeing signals of query deserves expertise. And query deserves experience, where you’re actually… your site is no longer okay, unless it’s showing that you actually have done something right, within this construct. And it’s not just people saying naturally, they understand that if you’re talking about, you know, reviewing the best mouse, right, it’s, it’s how are you exhibiting expertise and exhibiting experience throughout all the content that you create? So we know you aren’t, you know, some sort of, you know, I’m not, I don’t say robots, because I build content with AI all the time, and I build better content than I can ever imagine with it, but where you aren’t mediocre. Alright, and the next wave after that is going to be not just defining quality, it’s gonna be defining mediocrity and sameness. And that’s what’s happening right now. So if we’re talking about what we’re predicting right now, it’s going to happen real real fast, it’s going to be announcements of almost the declaration of a requirement for being the first to act to bring information to the world. Right? Because that is going to be that the precious diamond, the precious gem, is that you brought this information to the world first, and in a way that is always going to be thumb printed to you. It’s always going to be connected with you because you brought it to the world in a blue ocean way. So I can say one plus one is two, and I can put that on a webpage. Everybody can write that. There’s no redeeming connection to me. Right? But when I bring a, you know, a content brief walkthrough of the way that I build content briefs, and part of my content brief is that I am able to show you concepts that would truly differentiate your page. Right? I’m getting a little meta here. By doing that, I’m actually differentiating myself by telling you how to differentiate yourself. But you have to come up with that, you know, I love seeing websites that are using their, what makes them special, what’s in that subject matter experts head to accomplish a task that a mediocre B2B team would accomplish generically? I’ll give you my favorite example, because I used to manage whatis.com, one of the most powerful websites in the world, right. And a definition is my favorite exam. Because anyone can write the definition for what is a Boston Terrier. Right? How is yours special? That’s the thing, the subject matter expert brings in the creative marketer brains, and creative uses of artificial intelligence can tip you to say, Hey, Jeff, when you write that definition, make sure you are picking up your dog and showing him on, right. And yeah, he for some reason, he came over there.

Jeff Coyle  21:43

He just sits here waits for me to put him on camera. But um, you know, make sure you have the dog in the picture, it might not be enough, maybe the query requires expertise, such that you need a veterinarian, you know, to chime in, maybe you need an interview with a veterinarian about brachiocephalic, which is the thing that makes those dogs breathe and snore in your face when you’re trying to sleep. And, you know, and so the, you know, what I just did was a little bit of a parlor trick, because in my response, you know, what I did? I exhibited expertise and experience very naturally, because I picked up the dog, and I mentioned the vocabulary word brachiocephalic. Right. So you got to do that throughout. And you got to do that all the time. Not allowed to have crappy content on the site. The time has now if you don’t know how HCU works, helpful content update, you can no longer silo the crappy content over there and say, and it’s okay, that’s our SEO content. It’s all of your content is working together. And the bad stuff creates a sandbag, that pulls your hot air balloon down so that even your best article will underperform. So all your garbage is no longer okay, being garbage over in the corner, you actually have to clean up and a lot of these companies don’t want to clean up. That’s my biggest challenge. Number one challenge 2024 that I’m hearing is these teams thought they were just going to get away with it, they thought they were going to get away with not having to clean up the house. And a lot of those companies, sadly, have had really bad Q1s. If you look at the traffic to a lot of the companies, you can drive a lot of it back to over monetization, aggressive affiliate, low quality content.

Christian Klepp  23:41

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I guess that’s part of your professional mission, or I should say your crusade right to fight against that mediocrity, right? …

Jeff Coyle  23:56

No, it is. I want I want to… My first thing was I wanted to give people a way to quantify it. Right? And I’m actually writing a present, a narrative right now called the evolution of content quality. And so the first wave was, Can I evaluate this solely based on the world of information? And that was what you know, our first patent, you know, and this doesn’t come score organically. I was an SEO who built a network that was generating 10s of millions of B2B leads a year, right? For a company that we got sold to a publisher. And then I worked with a company that had hundreds of writers and I had to learn how to give them recommendations and not have them shot back at me. They’re like, don’t telling me what to write… You know, I’m like, and they were the experts. But shame on me. I should have given them all hugs and love them from day one, but I wanted them to do what I wanted them to do and at the time, you know, you could get away with a lot weaker content. What I recognize now is those people, those amazing editors, those amazing subject matter experts could have been embraced and amplified and sped up because they are they’re slow. They’re slow, right? You’ve got to speed them up, especially now. Right? We just call them the SE slows, right? They might get to SEO, but it’s going to be slow, right? Yeah. And you know how they’ll do an SEO edited at the end of their process. But gosh, oh my gosh, so slow, you might get two articles out a month. You know, you gotta pump, you gotta pump and you got to be fast. And you got to be great, right? So you do need, you need the helping hand, you need the machine acting as like I mentioned, the elegant, adding the art because you know, the AI content in its current state is art. It’s masquerading as science. But there are the artistic aspects are what make this uniquely special. But the evolution has gone farther than just linguistics, farther than certainly farther than comparing to one’s competitors. It was never there, people thought it was that you know, to copy your competitors. So we go, we go through the evolution of compare yourself. Think about linguistics. Now we’re getting into extraordinarily advanced linguistics concepts. And the intangible, which is the human experience, and the human expertise, and your point of view. So when you weave those three or four things together, that’s, that’s how you define quality today, in a way, you know, 10 years ago, when I started, you know, when I was co founded MarketMuse. I was, I was actually a year late, my co founder started it and built the original technology, and I was the person who did all the workflows. So I got brought in as a late co-founder. But this was my mission, I found him. And he was already working on it amazingly. And, but the big difference in 10 years is, at one time, it was done by just competitive references and basic language modeling. Now, it’s this much more complex linguistic science and the addition of the requirement to have unique differentiated value.

Christian Klepp  27:43

Absolute Absolutely, absolutely. I love that how you brought that up about linguistics. I saw a post on LinkedIn a couple of months ago, and the name of the AI escapes me right now. But the guy conducted an experiment where he’s kind of doing something like this, and he’s saying a sentence in English. And then he has the AI translate whatever it is he said, into German, and Spanish. And I got tagged on I got tagged on the post, because I speak German. And somebody said, Christian, well, what what do you make of the translation? And I said, I can understand what he’s trying to say. But no German speak or whatever, say it that way. So I think they, the AI got the got the idea. Right. Right. It was the intention was there. It just lacked that human element that okay, this is we would never use that expression in my language. Right? Yeah, for example. So it was almost like a direct translation.

Jeff Coyle  28:41

Right. And that’s where it shows. So I mean, you can’t think of a market more disruptive than translation right now. Right?

Christian Klepp  28:48

Right. Yeah.

Jeff Coyle  28:49

And it’s it is, again, it’s another level of ignorance. And I had that ignorance when I wanted performance marketing first, editorial second, right. And we needed to be the… it didn’t need to be a severed allies. It needed to be a combined alliance. And it could have been even more magical than was. In this case, you’ve got to, if your translation and localization, you can’t be anti-artificial intelligence, you got to be the one that figures out how to use it, to do magical things. Because then that moat you create is real hard for someone who thinks they’re going to do at all with machine translation, right? And that’s where we are now maybe three years from now, two years from now, one year from now. You’ll start to get better translation. It is a… that is a beatable game. As sad as people might not want to hear it. I’ve seen it. Just like mathematics. You hear people say, oh, you can’t do complex math with AI. I’m like, Yeah, it can, just not the one You have on your phone for 20 bucks. Trust me, I’ve seen some complex, amazing AI doing, you know, college and university and better mathematics that were beyond my paygrade. And I went to Georgia Tech, you know, and I’m like, holy cow, that’s amazing. But what you mentioned, is fun because it brings you back to linguistics. language models have this amazing power to understand language, the way that language actually works. And what it brought me to do was go back to my linguistics, training and the kind of rebuild my own knowledge, I had always been focused on these things, because part of what we do is building knowledge graphs, and topic models and graph analysis. But I recommend anyone right now, learn how semantics work, learn linguistics, learn knowledge graphs. The big breakthroughs that I’ve had in the past two years, and I’ve been working with natural language generation, NLLMs, and NLMs, before they were ILL, you know, for for now, you know, 6, 7, 8 years, I’ve touched them all. I released, we released our own before GPT, around the same time as GPT3, when it took five days to make a draft, and it cost like 30 bucks, where the compute time now that can be built for you know, fractions of fractions of a penny instantly. But with the breakthroughs that I’ve had have been, where I’ve learned something about the way that language works, and then able to apply that in ways nobody else can. And so I really challenge everybody to, to learn about, and it may sound boring, but it’s not. No, it’s not if you’re me, might be to you, but how you can build structure out of what might feel like it’s unstructured, right. And that’s the future, the future, you’re going to hear the word knowledge graphs, if you’re a marketer, you’re going to hear the word knowledge graphs. So much in the next few years, your brain is going to want to throw knowledge graphs in the garbage. But you got to know what you… that’s something that’s, it’s going to be a you know, kind of a day one thing in the future, because making structure where there is no structure, it’s the way that you can control this magic that we now have on our phones. I mean, it is truly magic. I can do. You know, I personally can do about 10 times the amount of work that I used to do. I know that’s going to become, you know, 10s of x’s for the average person. And I am, I love the fact that I can do that without jeopardizing quality, but I see people all the time. And they’re doubling their productivity, but they’re they’re jeopardizing quality. And so you’ve got to be like, No, I don’t want to do that. I want to learn what it’s going to take for me to improve my velocity without impacting quality, because it can happen. And a lot of it has to do with being passionate about something and also being a subject matter expert, which thankfully, I am on SEO, kind of been doing this for a while. So, you know, I’m able to kind of have a leg ahead on that. And most times, all I do is sit around and look at search results. But no matter what you’re good at, no matter what your focus area is, you know, you can bring that to the table really creatively and magically right now.

Christian Klepp  33:52

Absolutely, absolutely. You reminded me of… It’s not an adage. But he was, he was the former CEO of a big advertising agency called TBWA. And he basically… he wrote a book called How disruption brought order. Right. I mean, you’re talking about an oxymoron, right? Yeah, but that’s but but just to your point, that’s exactly what it is. Right? It’s it’s it’s basically taking something and disrupting it to create a better version of that end result. Right?

Jeff Coyle  34:24

It’s still chilling. I mean, it’s still chilling, and it’s still horrifying. I mean, there’s entire, I mean, go to G2, you look at how many categories of software there are and B2B. Many of those are a jeopardy of being wiped out, and that…  nobody wants to hear that, right. They they don’t want to think that that’s possible, but it’s, you know, it is real. It’s happening. It’s happening as we speak. You know, teams may pivot, they may put on a happy face, they may burn a lot of cast that you can’t see, to try to fight against that disruption. And they are, some of them will succeed, and some of them won’t. But there’s entire sectors, and I’m talking, you know, mega billions dollar sectors, with Fortune 500 companies in them, were those entire sectors, you know, one major multi multimodal release, and the sector’s gone for in jeopardy, one, you know, major shift in the way that, you know, in the way that a particular branch of AI works, right, and you’re gonna have tremendous disruption again. So yeah, that’s, uh, you know, I hate to end with doom and gloom, I see it. As you know, I see it as a situation where you got to think blue ocean, where is your moat? The moat could go away. And then you got to think of another mode. Just to be blunt. I mean, I build the first content brief in software. And I let it sit around too long. And then there was 40 other briefs on the market. Right. And you know, you can’t let your stuff sit on the shelf. And so what did I do? I just built a new with my amazing engineering team, built a new content brief technology, that is a year ahead of the market. And I’m so excited about it, if you can tell. And it launches, and launches in the next few months. But I might have bought myself a year. I don’t think that I bought myself six years. And I might have bought myself a year with that. So you know, that’s why product management has changed so much because you can’t sit around and talk about something for six months anymore. Because there isn’t something that isn’t likely to be obsolete in a year. And that scares the heck out of people. A lot of times larger teams are spending that long just writing their specs. Well, that world is no longer.

Christian Klepp  37:06

Absolutely, absolutely. That’s, that’s amazing. Jeff, we get to the point in the conversation, we’re talking about actionable tips, and you’ve given us plenty, you’re gonna have plenty of these past couple of minutes, you know, but if somebody were listening to this interview, and you’d want them to walk away with three to five things that they can take action on right now specifically on this topic, right of leveraging SMEs within the organization, what would you want them to do?

Jeff Coyle  37:32

I think step one is retrieval augmented generation is not a three or four letter word. All right, even though it’s a it’s a complicated one, you’ll hear it called rag or RAG. What you need to do is learn why that’s special for you. So how can you get your experts knowledge to be a data source for an agent, or for some of your some of your advanced stuff. If you think that AI can’t do something, ask all your friends, get in a Slack group. Get in and go to an event like an AI con, or MAICON, which I’ll be speaking at it this summer, go to that event, ask people. Can I do this? And guess what? Most likely they’re going to have an answer that it can, it just might not be the way you think it is. So don’t don’t dismiss that AI can’t do something because it’s just probably the thing you have on your phone, not AI in general. And number three, if you’ve never thought about knowledge graphs, semantics, linguistics, at all, or whether you do, you’re a casual learner, go watch a few videos, read a few things about them. Just get a 101 understanding of how that stuff works. Spend a few hours, see if it’s something that you’re interested in. There’s a conference called the Knowledge Graph Conference. It’s actually in a couple of weeks, I can’t go which is terrible. I usually go. I have a conflict. It’s up in New York. And just read through and understand what those people do. See if it’s gonna help you. But if I were to take three things, it’s Rag. It’s don’t dismiss that AI can’t do something. And it’s trying to figure out who in your company cares about structured data and cares about knowledge graphs, and maybe it’ll be you.

Christian Klepp  39:43

Faster, fantastic. When in doubt, contact Jeff Coyle.

Jeff Coyle  39:47

When in doubt, jeff@marketmuse.com Jeffrey_coyle on Twitter. I give you my cell phone if I could, safely I really do. I answered everything, I answer everything I know I love this stuff. And, you know, if you are having a bad time with your website, don’t pound sand right now. A lot of people are like, Oh, content doesn’t work anymore. Crunch. It does, it’s, this time could be hard for a lot of folks. And I’m going through it with a lot of customers who maybe cut a corner here and there. And, you know, some friends who, you know, I don’t work with who have commented, is this dead? You know, and you know, my, my, my response is to say, you’re in a really tough spot, you’ve got a lot of work to do. And, you know, you got to make a decision if, if this is the path forward, if you have been wrong, though, you know, find someone you trust, who will evaluate your site and give you honest feedback.

Christian Klepp  40:51

Fantastic fantastic. Jeff, I’ve got two more questions for you before I let you go. All right. So get up on your soapbox, I kind of have a feeling you’ve been up there already, but just just stay up a lot longer, please. Oh, a status quo in your area of expertise that you passionately disagree with. And why?

Jeff Coyle  41:14

Oh man. Correlation SEO. Correlation SEO is the idea that you can copy your competitors and derive meaningful recommendations only and isolated ways, just by looking at correlations. I feel like there’s some merits in correlation, there’s, there’s you can learn a lot from it. But it is a component of the overall story. So that’s one where I tremendously struggle with it, it’s been kind of… it ebbs and flows in popularity, and every time the the beast sticks his head out, you know, I am certainly one of the folks trying to swing a blade at it. Because it can cause pain, it can cause companies to go out of business, it can be very, very devastating when done inappropriately for business, if you have an affiliate site, and you did it, you’re using that kind of snake oil, right? And it goes up and then it goes out of business. You go make a new site, try again. But if this is a 50 year old B2B brand, then no, do not do that. Another one is similar to that, but not the same is identifying zoning. So in our world, different websites get evaluated in different ways based on the concept or zone they operate in. And so one thing we see in our industry is people professing case studies, but the websites in the case studies are coming from zones that are regulated differently than yours. So I mean, as crazy as it sounds, I saw a person saying that they were going to emulate the strategy they got from a poker affiliate site case study on their B2B software site, on their B2B software site, and…

Christian Klepp  43:34

Talk about gamble eh!

Jeff Coyle  43:37

Ultimate gamble. That’s my response. Good. Oh, yeah, great minds think alike. And another nutraceuticals you know, body creams, you know, beauty products, gambling, gaming, you know, board gaming, video gaming, pornography, you know, none of those things. You can learn from them. Right, you can learn what is aggressive, you can learn what is, you know, on the edge. You can learn maybe what not to do in some cases. But watch out for those case studies. Because once those sites drop, the case studies magically disappear. And people think that there is no archive.org. But there is you can go look and see the case study, then you go find the site and guess what, it’s gone. It’s like magically gone. And so the two things really all tie back to quality. You know, there isn’t a magical, right, for you in B2B Tech. You know, it’s gonna be hard, you’re probably gonna have to clean up a lot of garbage. But AI on mass ain’t your magic bullet. And that’s what’s calm. People are advocating that right now. And that’s the new hot thing is, we’ve got the secret sweet spot for this. And this is coming from a person literally automating content strategy with AI, which is what I’ve done. Right? And I’m the one telling you do not do this unsupervised, and I’ve got all the pieces that would enable you to do it unsupervised. And I’m saying, Please drive this Lamborghini carefully. I’m really hard to be in that zone, because I’m trying to solve the problem. And but it’s to your cool point, though, who was when you said, Hey, translated German, no, German would actually say that. Right? They got that. And, you know, you don’t want to put out content that when someone or when something reads this, that go unnatural. Not an idiom in use. You know, I’m looking around my room to find out their props. But I collect I collect poker chips, in case you’re wondering. So I’m usually I’m usually, to your bank. So like, this chip is called, if only only an expert would know that’s called a fractional. Oh, what? who in the heck would know that’s a fractional, right. Who would know that this other one is called a snapper. And then other things called a lammer. These are things that only only people in the biz would know. Yes. That’s what you got. That’s what your site’s got to do. It’s got to show them, you have to show them, you know them. And that is my last word.

Christian Klepp  46:31

Fantastic. Fantastic. All right. Last question, which is a bonus question. Let’s just assume that after this interview, right, you get a, you get a phone call. And it’s I don’t want to say Elon Musk, but somebody in that caliber who’s not overly controversial, who’s got tons of money. And he says, Hey, Jeff, you know, listen to the interview, love what you do, I’ll tell you what, I am going to finance your next project. And you can build whatever technology you want, for the purpose of improving humanity. So I know that that’s super broad. And I guess that was kind of the objective of the exercise, right? If you had this mystery benefactor that said that I am going to finance your next technology project, right? What technology would you build? And why?

Jeff Coyle  47:25

Well, when you expanded it to be like, for the greater good of society? I get crazy, but until you said that, I’m going to keep my scope. My answers. Absolutely, here it is to perfect my fact checkers. The disruption, and the wars and the societal construct the chaos that’s going to come from the American election this fall, a lot of it comes from the inadequacy of fact checking. And fact checking is a very difficult discipline. It isn’t refined with technology. But I’ve shown through linguistics that it can be done. And I’ve gotten pretty far. With the right investment, a perfected fact checker is possible. And I feel like the good that that will bring to the world is very difficult to measure. But I know in my heart that and I dream about the day that somebody puts that out whether it’s me or not, because I think it’s going to make the world a better place.

Christian Klepp  48:49

Without a doubt, without a doubt. I couldn’t have thought of a better one myself. But that one, I mean, fact checking. I mean, you look at beyond you look at everything in the news now and how many times do you see a report or a video or an interview where they bring on somebody to fact check? what somebody said, Alright, congressional hearing and somebody said something, okay. Was that… how much of that was true? And how much of that was not? Right, right. Or somebody made a speech. Talk to us fact that you know, separate fact from fiction and how I mean, I lost count of how many times how many times you hear that right.

Jeff Coyle  49:26

Well, it’s not just that though. And this is the part that and I love it. So yes, everything you said is it resonates. But what I’ve learned about this, and I by the way, I’ve been building something in this space, it launches the next few months. If you want to preview of it – jeff@marketmuse.com Christian, I’ll give you a preview.

Christian Klepp  49:48

Please, please.

Jeff Coyle  49:49

Well, when, when you’re thinking about this, sometimes, things stated, can’t possibly be true. That blew my mind. Just by the way, it was stated it can’t possibly be a good qualifiable thing. There’s an entire book, I forget who wrote… bloom, maybe you’re at, you have to look it up. It’s like 60 pages, and it’s all fact checking process. It’s the manual work that people have done. Go through this process, right? Well. When you listen to or read an article, it’s interesting that we just naturally say things that aren’t great sentences, no matter what you do to them, they’re not going to be defendable. And that that really blew my mind. About a year and a half ago, I remember because I was in a, at a conference and I was in an airport. And someone said to me, what you just almost did, and they said, I’ll give you a bunch of money to do this, to fund this whenever you want, because you’re the one person that can solve this problem, because I’ve seen it. And I was like, I’m kind of already starting to build pieces of it. I don’t know if I can get it to this eclipse without you know, 100 million bucks, which is, you know what I think you would need to do this right… you’re listening. Let’s do it. I’ll ride that cyber truck around you want to drop 100 mil for this for me. But yeah, I’m a stockholder, too. But no, the, the, the, the way, what I learned was a lot of your writing, a lot of one’s writing. And no matter how good it feels to them, it’s just not good. And I never knew that. And I never knew why. So I was like, literally sitting there diagramming sentences. And like going back to elementary English to be able to get here. But just know, like, there’s there are ways that you can evaluate content that you never imagined. And it really comes back to linguistic science. So if you’ve got a linguist in your life, send them send them some, send them some, you know, a gift and tell them they teach you stuff because luckily, I have a few in my life. And I’ve learned like, immeasurable amounts from them in the past few years. So Yeah.

Christian Klepp  52:22

Fantastic, fantastic, Jeff, as expected, and this was such an awesome conversation. I hope the audience also walks away with, you know, something that they can take action on. You’ve already given us your contact details, and I’ll be sure to drop them in the notes. But I just want to thank you again for your time and for coming on the show again.

Jeff Coyle  52:42

Thanks so much. I love this stuff. And you know, we’ll get another one recorded in a little bit. We can talk talking about the what’s coming in 2026, who knows.

Christian Klepp  52:55

You got yourself a deal. Thanks so much Jeff.

Jeff Coyle  52:56

Bye bye.

Christian Klepp  52:57

Take care.


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