How to Write B2B Content that Converts and Builds Relationships
Traditionally, B2B content had a reputation for being dull, mundane, and full of industry jargon. Times have changed, and now more than ever, it’s important to inject some emotion, personality, and a high degree of relatability into the content that you develop.
Join us as we dig deep and have a thought-provoking conversation with B2B marketing expert Kathryn Strachen (Founder, Copy House) about developing content that builds relationships and converts prospects. During our discussion, Kathryn talks about how B2B content has changed, some mistakes to avoid, why creating customer avatars and conducting research is important, what metrics to focus on, and why you need both quantity and quality to succeed.
Topics discussed in this episode:
Christian Klepp, Kathryn Strachan
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 our 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 I am joined by someone on a mission to empower technology brands to challenge the status quo. So Kathryn Strachan, welcome to the show.
Kathryn Strachan 00:43
Hi, thank you for having me.
Christian Klepp 00:46
It’s great to be connected. Kathryn. And I really love how, you know, like, in our previous conversation, we started going down this path, you know, talking about where you were originally from in Maine. And that kind of led to these conversations about these different Stephen King novels. Makes it interesting.
Kathryn Strachan 01:06
Yeah, Stephen King. He’s from my home state and actually taught at the University where I did my undergraduate. So I mean, I’m a big I’m a big Stephen King fan.
Christian Klepp 01:16
Yeah, you made that very clear in the last conversation. So that was great. That was super original. But yeah, look, I’m really looking forward to this conversation, because there are so many things we’re going to talk about today that are going to be so relevant to the audience of the show. So yeah, let’s get started.
Kathryn Strachan 01:36
Yeah, let’s do it.
Christian Klepp 01:37
All right. So you’re a subject matter expert, I’m going to say when it comes to the topic of technology content across AI, blockchain and fintech, but for this conversation, let’s narrow it down to how to develop B2B content that creates conversations and builds relationships. So talk to us about the role that you believe the right B2B content plays in those conversations and relationships.
Kathryn Strachan 02:03
Yeah, definitely. I mean, So traditionally, B2B copywriting is known for being dull and dry and jargon heavy. And I think that’s mostly because it lacks empathy. I mean, if you are trying to talk to a company, as a company, and not as a human to human, then you are, you know, approaching it with a very straight back and you know, without any sort of personality or empathy, or emotions, or anything like this. But one of the things that’s happened over the last couple of years, and it’s certainly been accelerated by the pandemic, is the awareness that actually, in these companies are people and as a company, even a B2B company, you are working with a human, you know, there is maybe a decision, certainly a decision chain within the company, but you’re still working with humans who have stresses and emotions, and, you know, pain points, and you know, need reassurance that you’re the right partner for them. And I think you know, what, that’s definitely one thing that the pandemic has brought out is this awareness of working directly with humans, even in B2B, who have specific pain points and needs. So I mean, B2B copywriting, for me, should be about understanding those needs, it should be about understanding those pain points, and making sure that all the messages that go out, support your audience in the way that they want to be supported. So you know, it’s about having meaningful conversations. And by having meaningful conversations, you start to build trust and loyalty, and eventually drive conversions. So it is about, you know, creating those important conversations, and especially in the tech landscape, you know, it’s some of this emerging tech, it’s new, it’s scary, it’s unknown. People generally don’t like the unknown, because it’s, it seems risky. And you know, quite often this technology isn’t risky. It’s actually perhaps safer than the current solution that they’re using. But they don’t know that if you don’t talk to them, if you don’t tell them. So I mean, to me, if you’re not creating content, you’re basically not having conversations with your audience. And if you’re not having conversations with your audience, I can guarantee you that somebody else is.
Christian Klepp 04:26
Amen to that! No, you brought up some really great points. And you know, these are points also, but I’ve, you know, I’ve read in different articles online, right. And, you know, you talked about certain things like for example, making it relatable to the target audience. Right. And to your point of that you mentioned earlier if you’re talking about something in the field of tech and it becomes extremely well, for lack of a better description technical, extremely like, you know, filled with jargon, it’s going to really be hard to make that piece of content relatable. So to your point, it begs the question, well, how do you break that down in a way that resonates with somebody who might not be someone with a technical background? Right? Because there are. And I think this was also your point, there are other people within that ecosystem in your clients company that probably should be reading this content. And I go a step further to say they benefit, actually from reading that content.
Kathryn Strachan 05:34
Yeah, so 100%. I mean, even when you’re speaking to C suite, there’s still a knowledge gap. Because C suite, you know, CTO has a general understanding of technology. But they are not going to know blockchain, the way that somebody who built it is. And I think this is probably one of the biggest mistakes that B2B companies and technology companies make is that they think that the content should be created in house by the subject matter expert, but it actually shouldn’t, because that subject matter expert who’s been working in the field for can 20 years knows it so well, that they don’t know what other people don’t know. So they write it for themselves, they write it for somebody who’s been working in it for decades, and understands it to that degree. So they’ll use a word, a jargon term, something like that, without properly explaining it. And you know, somebody who has decades of experience sure knows what that word is, but somebody from the outside, even C suite may not. So what you get is you get this knowledge gap. And you know, one of the things I always say that we do is that we help to bridge that knowledge gap. So the value of working with an external person, like an agency, is that we can take the complex messages from the subject matter expert, and translate it to their audience in a way that their audience is going to understand. We basically help our clients be the woods from the trees, you know, and when you’re when you’re in house. And when you don’t have that perspective, you end up in a bit of an echo chamber, and you end up creating content, just for yourself. But you are normally not the audience that you’re trying to sell to, or connect with, or build those relationships. So I mean, it’s a bit like going on a first date, and only talking about yourself, even if you’re dating the perfect person in the world, they aren’t going to be interested because you didn’t ask them any questions about them. You didn’t think about them at all, you just sat there for a whole dinner and just talked about yourself.
Christian Klepp 07:32
That was the perfect analogy. And you know, certainly we’ve never come across that in our, you know, past experience with dating have we (laugh) That is well, for lack of a better description, narcissistic. Yeah, you brought you brought up such a great point. And I just wanted to go back to it about like, you know, this, bridging that gap. And I think it goes back to this, it’s an overused term, but it also highlights a reality that many companies are facing, it’s this operating or functioning in silos, where, you know, they’re, they’re moving, and operating in a world where all of the stuff that they do make sense. So because in their world, it makes sense. If they take it to market then for sure, it’s gonna make sense to everybody else, and then leads to the big disappointment when they’re like, Well, wait, hang on, how come they don’t understand it? Right. And, um, you brought up another point, which was a great segue into the next question about common mistakes. And I’d like to go back to that one about everything should be done in…. shouldn’t be done in house is what you said. Right? So I’m pretty sure there’s a camp out there that might disagree with that point. But like, just talk to us a little bit more about like, some other mistakes that you’ve seen out there when it comes to B2B content.
Kathryn Strachan 08:59
Yeah, I mean, on that first mistake, I think the best content comes from a collaboration between in house and external. I mean, we all need external perspectives. If you spent no time talking to anybody ever, you know, you the world you would live in would be very strange worlds. Indeed, you know, humans don’t exist in isolation, and neither do brands. You know, we need to have those conversations, we need to speak to others in the industry. And we need to have an external perspective to help guide us and make sure that we’re on course. So you know, I don’t want to say that there’s no role for in house because there is but it’s about collaborating with an external party who can help give that perspective who can help make sure that you’re on the right course and that the messages that you send make sense to your audience. I mean, that’s certainly one of the biggest mistakes I mean, another really big mistake, as I kind of mentioned earlier, is not understanding the audience and not delivering any emotion or personality and B2B content. I mean, B2B copywriting has a really bad rep for being that dry and dull and boring, which, you know, it doesn’t have to be and it doesn’t need to be. And I think, you know, also B2B companies, sometimes I quite often I get this this question, you know, when I’m talking about customer avatars, customer personas, B2B brands asked me, Do I still need that in B2B? And you know, I’m like, Yes, of course you do. You definitely need to know who your audience is, you definitely need to know what’s keeping them awake at night, because, you know, I can almost guarantee you that the things that are keeping somebody awake at night, are work related and aren’t personally related. Most of us, you know, the last time I was awake at night, I was thinking about work, I wasn’t thinking about my personal life. So you know, those stresses are even higher in the B2B environment. So not paying attention to emotions, not understanding your audience not, you know, thinking about it from a meeting full perspective, is a massive mistake. I mean, another big mistake that tends to stem from all of that as well is, especially technology companies will focus on the features of what their product does. So you know, and I understand, you know, if you spend years building this specific feature that you know, is the fastest on the market, you are very proud of it, so you want to talk about that. But what they fail to do is think about the benefit that it brings. So why does it matter? Why does it matter that this is a fastest on the market? What is it going to do for the user that you know, no other product can you know, is it perhaps saving them time, so they can spend more time on more meaningful tasks or even outside of work with loved ones? I mean, what is it that what value is it going to bring to somebody’s life. So I mean, that’s a massive mistake that a lot of tech companies make is, you know, they focus on the features rather than the benefits. But when you have that foundational understanding of who you’re talking to, what they need, what they’re worried about. And when you approach content from an empathetic point of view, you know, that naturally starts to shift as well.
Christian Klepp 12:14
Yeah, well, those are some really great points. And I wanted to go back to something you said earlier with regards to customer avatars of understanding who it is that you’re talking to. Right? Why do you think, um, at least also from what I’ve observed in the world of B2B? Why do you think there are some companies out there that want to skip that part? Is it because… is it a combination of them not understanding what it is? And them feeling that they don’t need it? Like, if they, you know, if I don’t know what it is, then I probably don’t need it? Or, or is it? Or is it also because of like, you know, they’re in a bit of a time crunch. So they feel that going through that process of developing those avatars is time consuming, and they need something like, yesterday?
Kathryn Strachan 12:58
I think there’s probably a few reasons, and it probably depends on the company. But you know, I think it comes from the old school way of thinking about B2B And you know, thinking about it as selling to a company, rather than to a person who has quite a new, relatively new concept to think about it as selling to a human within an organization rather than selling to a company. You know, you don’t need a customer avatar, if you’re selling to enterprises, that, you know, and only thinking about them as an enterprise and not as you know, a collection of humans, which, you know, of course, we know that they are, I think, you know, traditionally the world of work, your personal life and your professional life were very separate. So, you know, there was a very clear divide. And one of the things that is happening with the new way of working and that has been accelerated by the pandemic is, you know, this realization that we are human at work as well as at home. So, you know, you see companies starting to understand this and you know, give more flexibility and, you know, flexibility around start-end times and ways of working and, you know, all of these things and that flexibility comes from understanding that you know, your personal life doesn’t go away when you go to work, that you don’t step through the door and suddenly not have any emotions. You know, which is never been true. It’s never been true that you go to work and don’t have any emotions. But it did used to be approached that way. It did used to be seen as you know, that you weren’t supposed to have any emotions at work. So you know, why would a marketing manager need to know about the emotions that their audience might have if they’re selling B2B? But that’s, I think it’s just a very outdated, old school way of thinking and you know, the smartest companies most innovative companies are realizing are embracing the idea of the full human you know, of taking care of their employees needs both in and out in work and outside of work and you know, that should extend to your audience as well, because it is all about building relationships. And you can’t just build a relationship with the person who they are just in their specific role. I mean, we don’t do that with our co-workers, we don’t do that with our employees. So why would we do that with our, with our customers with our clients?
Christian Klepp 15:21
I love what you said earlier embracing the full human that sounds like a campaign straplines (laugh) you can propose that one to one of your clients. But, um, no great points. And I think it goes back to something a lot of people have been saying that, um, B2B, especially B2B copywriting has become, or in the past was notorious for being very dry and very, like, okay, facts and information based. And I think the end result of that is something that we’ve all come to know and avoid is that, then everything just drowns in the sea of sameness, right. And it’s just really hard for a B2B brand, if they’re in that sea of sameness then to stand out. And the way to stand out are back to those things that you were saying, right? Making it more relatable, adding that human element to it like behind that, who is behind that technology. Right? Who is working on this stuff? Right?
Kathryn Strachan 16:23
100%? I mean, I always use the example of you know, say you’re in a crowded room, there’s 1000 people in the room, and you’re going, Hey, everybody, Hey, everybody, Hey, everybody, you know, nobody will turn around and look at you. It’s a bit like the guy in the street trying to hand out flyers to every single person who walks by. How many people do you think actually take that flyer and do anything with it. But if you go, Hey, guy in the blue shirt, or, Hey, woman, you know, with the red hair, then all the people who meet that description are going to turn around look at you, because they think you’re talking to them, the guy in the blue shirt thinks that you’re talking to him, because he’s wearing a blue shirt. So by creating really hyper personalized content, content that speaks directly to one person, you cut through the noise, you know, they pay attention, because they think you’re talking to them. So they they gravitate towards your brand, you know, they’re far more likely to engage with you, you know, you stand out because you understand them, you know, what they want, and what they need, and you’re talking directly to them. I mean, that’s why we’ve seen a big rise as well. And, you know, very nice niche products and positioning, you know, long gone, are I think are the days of general service providers, you know, a general agency. I do a lot of networking, and I meet, you know, 50 people every single month. And one of the things that I’ve definitely noticed is when somebody tells me, Oh, we’re a full service, digital marketing agency that works across all industries, you know, the first thing I think, is, well, what do I do with that? Who do I introduce you to? What projects do I send your way? I don’t, I don’t know. But when somebody says to me, you know, we do content marketing for technology and fintech companies. I’m using our positioning there. You know, I know exactly what to do with that. I know who to send their way I know who to connect them to, I know who to introduce them to, you know, it’s very clear. As humans, you know, we have to make 1000s of decisions every single day. So we’ve gotten very good at compartmentalizing and making these quick snap decisions. And you know, in order to do that, you need the right information. And by giving people the right information, they can then know, okay, you are the service provider for me, or you’re not the service provider for me, and they can make those quick, quick decisions. And they can also, you know, point you in the right direction. So, you know, perhaps, actually somebody they know is a better fit for you than than they are. But it’s really about having that clear positioning and yeah, standing out from the crowd by knowing exactly who you are and what you do and who you do it for.
Christian Klepp 19:00
Absolutely. And that was such a great example. I think, back in my day, when I was on the agency side, they used to call it like Integrated Marketing Communications, which I think was industry talk for, we’re not entirely sure who we’re going after, or what we specialize in. So let’s just put up put everything under one roof. Right.
Kathryn Strachan 19:21
Yeah, scattergun approach.
Christian Klepp 19:23
Exactly. Or just, you know, like, use whatever analogy you wish, right? Like, I’m casting that net out there and then just hoping something gets caught in the net, right, and then pulling it back as opposed to like going spear fishing in the lagoon. Right?
Kathryn Strachan 19:39
Yeah. But the problem with that as well is, you know, when you throw a big net out there, you’re gonna get a lot of stuff you don’t want, right? You throw a big net into the ocean, and you know, you’re probably gonna get some garbage. But if you take that spear head, you know, you can go after the fish that you specifically want. So I mean, that’s another value of having that really clear positioning is you attract the people that you want to work with, instead of, you know, attracting people who perhaps don’t align with what you do and what you do well, and, you know, don’t align with who you want to work with and actually end up making your life miserable. Because a bad client who’s a false economy, you spend so much time trying to make them happy, that, you know, you end up losing money on that project or on that product. You know, it’s far more efficient to work with people that you can actually help to work with the people who actually get the value of what you do. And you know, that are aligned in that way. And you can only really be aligned, if you know, to begin with who you are and what you do, and who you do it for.
Christian Klepp 20:49
You are so full of great expressions today, I think you’re giving away your craft, like a bad client is a false economy. I mean, that one, that one is so true. And I think we’ve all experienced that at some point, haven’t we?
Kathryn Strachan 21:05
Yeah, 100%. I mean, they drag down your team, they make company morale go down, they, you know, drag out resources, and yeah, and costing you more than they’re worth when like, you know, you could swap them for a client that, you know, probably pays about same and is nice, and is enjoyable to work with, and that you actually can benefit from and that you actually get that value from. So I mean, why would you not do that? I mean, we quite often get rid of clients that don’t work for us who were Yeah, I mean, I always remember when we get new account managers, our account managers are always super surprised when I tell them to just go ahead and fire that client. Because they’re so used to coming from an environment where it’s all about, keep the client happy at all cost, you know, absolutely. Anything you want mister client, but actually, in reality, they are a false economy. So you know, we proactively break up with clients who, you know, don’t, don’t get what we do, or don’t fit us quite right or, you know, aren’t nice to work with. Sometimes you can get, you know, the value of the service, but aren’t a nice person. And, you know, working with nice people is important.
Christian Klepp 22:20
Absolutely but I mean, again, to your point, we are all products of the environments we grew up in, and in fact, the work environments that we were, that we found ourselves in, right, so we were, I would say, in a conventional way, we were conditioned to please the client and do everything that the client wants. And without actually having to think about like, what, what kind of consequences that kind of mindset will actually have not just to the individual, but to the company as a whole. Right. But, um, speaking of which, we’re talking about challenges. Talk to us about a challenge that you and your team have managed to solve in the past 12 months?
Kathryn Strachan 23:22
Yeah. I mean, I think the biggest challenge probably comes around creating a content machine and getting that consistency. Because you know, one of the important things about content is consistency. If you think about organic content, I always explain it a bit like packing a snowball at the top of the hill, you pack snowball really tight, and then you push it down the hill. And as it goes down the hill, it builds momentum and builds momentum until it becomes you know, a giant snowball. Now the problem is, is if there are stops and stalls along the way, so you know, if you don’t get that consistent downhill, if you are constantly plateauing, you know, it takes a lot more time to build that momentum, than if you’re able to, you know, go consistently. So one of the things that we do at Copy House is, you know, we have dedicated project managers who control the system and create the system. And one of the things that we did that I’m quite proud of is about 10 months ago, we had a big client come to us who wanted to do 100 pieces of content a month now, you know, that’s quite a, quite a lot of content. It was justified for their industry, because they are in the SaaS space. So you know, they’re competing against other big software providers like Zero or free agent who are giants and create a lot of content. So one of the things we really had to do was to create that process in a system that would allow us to consistently deliver, you know, 100 unique articles every single month. And, you know, we ran that project for 10 months sprint, and you know, the momentum that they were able to gain and the traction that they were able to get, you know, the rankings on page one, were just absolutely incredible. You know, Drew drove so much organic momentum, you know, we really put them on a very steep hill that took that small snowball because they were starting from a standstill, start and turn to end to a massive monster snowball within a very, very small space of time. So I mean, that’s quite an extreme example of how you can scale processes and systems to do something like that. But I think it’s an important message for any company, even if you’re only doing for a month. I mean, consistency is key to do one article one month, and, you know, zero the next and five, the month after that is going to do you absolutely no good whatsoever, what you need to do is to create that consistency, to constantly produce content, because that’s what you know, the market demands. It’s what the Google search engine demands. And that’s what your audience demands as well. I mean, if we go back to the example of content being like conversations, imagine if you were talking to somebody every single day, and then all of a sudden, you stopped talking to them, and you didn’t talk to them for like, two months. And then you came back, and you had like one conversation, and then you disappeared again, you know, that would not be a strong or healthy relationship by anybody’s standards. So if you think about that, as your audience do, you really want to talk to your audience, you know, only once a month or once a quarter, or never know, you don’t, you want to be consistent and reliable, you want to talk to them on a regular basis, which provides all of that. It provides the consistency and the reliability and that builds trust. So I mean, it’s so important for any brand, whether you’re doing 100 pieces a month, or you’re only doing four, to be consistent to you know, really commit to your content. And I think, you know, quite a lot of brands, maybe start with the best intentions, but then you know, get side sidetracked. And that’s, you know, another really a great example of the benefit that an agency can bring, because you have that dedicated resource that consistently delivers, where when it’s done by an in house team, quite often they get distracted by more immediate fires or bigger problems. And think only in the short term, short term and don’t think about the long game.
Christian Klepp 27:25
That’s such a really good example of my Oh, my 100 pieces of content. That’s, that’s quite a ton of work, especially like you said, in the SaaS space. You actually made me think of a follow up question. And I think it’s an important one, most, especially for SaaS, because, you know, again, if we’re talking about the sea of sameness, well, SaaS tends to slide right into that pond. What did you do for this particular client, if I may ask that help you not only to create this, this great system, and that consistency, but what was it in the content that help your clients to stand out in their space?
Kathryn Strachan 28:03
Well, I think it’s all about the strategy. I mean, we see these really great pieces of content, and we think that they just appeared, but actually all great content has a foundation, and that piece of content is just the tip of the iceberg. What sits underneath it is, you know, where the real value lies. So, you know, we handle their strategy for them as well, obviously, because that’s really important thing. One of the challenges we often see with brands is they want to keep the strategy in house. And we always say, okay, sure, but just so you’re aware, quite often that is what follows off the bandwagon, you know, they don’t commit enough time to creating a strategy, and then the content as a result falls off the bandwagon. So it always works best when we handle the strategy, as well as the content production. But for that specific client, you know, we really thought about their audience, and they were trying to target, you know, one to two people businesses, so very small businesses, and you know, from a financial perspective, so thinking about all the different aspects and areas that they would need to know about to run a business and created, you know, knowledge hubs. So we created a whole framework for that content to sit around of, you know, the different areas that their audience would need to know about, if they were to run a successful business, like, you know, their marketing, their sales, you know, basic finance, stuff, like what is that? You know, all of this stuff that you know, a small one person business who’s trying to figure it out, trying to figure out where they start, what they do, you know, what if you could be that person that they go to, what if you could be that brand that they get all of their best advice and ideas from? So you know, thinking about it from a value perspective, rather than only from a product perspective. So how do you position your company to be that go to place for your audience, and creating a Knowledge Hub that really, you know, delivers meaningful, valuable content is, you know, the foundation that allows you to do something like that.
Christian Klepp 30:00
Yeah, no, that’s absolutely right. That’s absolutely right. That expert positioning right as the position them as the go to expert or the hub within that specific niche, right. Okay. You talked about it a little bit in the past couple of minutes, but explain the importance of having the right strategy in conducting the relevant research. Because those two definitely go hand in hand. And to your point, you don’t just like, bang out this B2B content, and then wow, it’s spot on. And what about the next one? And the next one, and the next one, it’s all interconnected, somehow. So, talk to us a little bit about that.
Kathryn Strachan 30:41
Yeah, I mean, definitely, it is all connected, because you know, you need to start having conversations to figure out what the most meaningful conversations are. So I mean, the first time you go and speak to somebody is a little bit of fumbling around in the dark, because, you know, maybe a lot about them, but you don’t necessarily know what’s going to make them, you know, really engaged. So you need to, you know, create content, but then to look at, you know, how that content form. So, there’s quite a lot of research that supports doing content audits. And you know, if you’ve been producing content for a while, you should do content audits, because they show you where those missed opportunities are, they show you what you’re doing well, what you’re not doing so well. And, you know, by improving what you’re not doing so well, or, you know, what’s underperforming, can be a very quick win, you know, you already have some domain authority on that content, you already have some organic traction, so updating that content and keeping it fresh and relevant as well. Because you know, you could have, you know, an article that’s driving 1000s of impressions every month, but it’s from 2008, or, you know, something crazy, so you know, updating it so that it’s relevant, because you want your conversations to be relevant, you want your content to be relevant. And Google obviously likes that as well. So you know, one of the things that is really important to do is to do those content audits, and you know, studies from SEMrush, show that brands who are the most successful with their content marketing, do content audits, at least twice a year. And I would definitely, definitely recommend that, you know, it should be a continual, iterative, iterative process where you, you know, set the strategy, create the content, look at the results, it feeds back into the strategy. I mean, what a lot of brands, what a lot of marketing companies tend to do, is they don’t look at the results. So you know, a lot of marketing departments aren’t so comfortable, perhaps with Google Analytics, or you know, don’t know what to do with that data. So they don’t actually invest time to look at results to go back in to feed through it. But that is so important to do, because it helps you refresh and refine.
Christian Klepp 32:54
Yeah, yeah, no, that’s absolutely right. That’s absolutely right. Great. So we get to the part in the conversation, where we’re talking about actionable tips, and you know, you know how it’s like, I mean, a lot of these things cannot be done overnight. But there are some steps that people can take right now to improve what they’re doing when it comes to B2B content. Right? So what are some of those steps that B2B marketers can take to start developing content that creates conversations and build relationships? So some quick wins, and ones that they should focus on?
Kathryn Strachan 33:31
Yeah, so I mean, I guess it depends on if you’re a brand who has who’s already creating content, or if you’re starting from ground zero, because obviously, you know, the quick wins are going to be slightly different. You know, one of the things you need to do regardless is make sure that you understand your audience that you know who you’re speaking to, that you have customer avatars, and when I say customer avatars, I mean, customer avatars that go beyond just name and role, you know, that dives deep into, you know, what people are thinking about and worried about and what their psychological triggers are. So thinking about it from that perspective, you know, if you’ve been creating content, going back and looking at that content to see if it aligns with what you know, about your audience and your customers to see, you know, the qualitative as well as quantitative results. If you’re, you know, starting from ground zero, you know, just get publishing, basically, I mean, you need to start somewhere. And even if, you know, the first social posts are the first article doesn’t perform as, as you know, it isn’t the best thing you’ve ever written, you know, that’s natural. And that’s to be expected. You know, it takes probably about six months to build really, really good, solely organic traction and momentum. So you know, you have to be doing it consistently. So be patient with yourself, the first thing you do is not going to be perfect, you know, it’s going to take time and refinement, it’s going to take learning to get to that point, you know, where you have a really loyal following where you have those strong relationships where you have all those connections. So give yourself time as well. I feel like a lot of brands are quite often very impatient and you know, do one post and say, Oh, it didn’t work. Well, of course didn’t work. You know, it takes time. Be patient. So I would, I would just encourage them to start that journey. And yeah, to be really self-aware and to think about what’s working, what’s not working to look at the results, and to constantly go back and reflect and refine and review. But get going?
Christian Klepp 35:34
Well, that’s some really great advice. And I, you know, if I understood correctly, what you were saying in the past couple of minutes, it’s, it’s a bit of a combination of different factors, right? Because you’ve got to have your, your research, so understanding who it is you’re targeting. I like to call it your roadmap, or your slash your blueprints or your strategy, right? Because it’s all it’s all gonna be based on something. And going back to a point you mentioned earlier, like have that system in place, right to get this because it has to function, like a machine somehow, right? I don’t really want to use that term. But I think you know, what I’m implying, right? And also finding a way to track to see if it’s, you know, what you’re putting out there as working because it’s, it’s also about like, Okay, what kind of results are these? Is this content generating for us? Right. And I love that point you brought up about being patient because it’s, it’s almost similar to like, podcasting. Right. And it’s, you know, same story, different characters, right. Like, there’s a lot of companies out there let’s put out a podcast, and, you know, suddenly after Episode 10, they just lose steam, right? And a lot of it is also because they just didn’t really think it through or like, Okay, so who are we getting on? What are they gonna talk about? How does this fit into our overall content plan? Do you actually have a content plan, right for the podcast? Or are you just getting people on interviewing them about random topics? Right? So similar thing. So Um, no, fantastic. Those are some really great points. And it’s a great segue into what I was going to ask you next, because we were talking about like, trying to track and measure to see if what we’re putting out there is working. So are there any specific metrics and attribution that you think B2B marketers should be focusing on to check if the content is generating the right results?
Kathryn Strachan 37:27
Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think it’s important to look at, you know, how long somebody spends on on page because, you know, it shows you if they’re reading the full article, or if they’re, you know, just coming on quickly, and not finding the information that they want and are leaving. So you know, that also is shown in bounce rates, looking at, you know, organic search traction. So, you know, are you are you ranking on page, page one, page two, for these strategic keywords, because, you know, good content, as well as about being SEO optimized. So you know, while I’m never about creating content, just for SEO sake, you know, you do want to be integrating SEO, because you do want to show up in front of your audience, when they are looking for terms that are highly relevant, very specifically related to your business, you know, you don’t want them to be like, Okay, I need a content marketing service and finding a different agency, say, in my example, you know, you want you want you want them to find you, so that you can be in front of them when they need you most. So it’s about thinking about those sorts of metrics and looking at, yeah, organic site traffic and where your traffic is coming from, obviously, you know, one of the difficulties with metrics is that it doesn’t show the full picture, because, you know, a lot of content sits in the middle of funnel. So you know, if you look at last click attribution, you know, you may not see the blog article in there, because it’s about a journey, you know, they may, they’re probably not going to read a blog article and become a customer right away. But they probably would, you know, sign up for your newsletter, or visit another landing page. So, you know, I think it’s important as well, to not get completely obsessed with these metrics, and Google Analytics, and semrush shows us, yes, they are important, but you have to remember, they only show part of the picture, you know, it’s pretty difficult to use these metrics to track something like brand awareness, you know, they, yes, you could rank on page one. But you know, they’re not going to show you the full picture, because they’re not going to show you everything that kind of happens in the in-between, in the space between when they find you on the search results, and when they buy from you, you know, it’s not necessarily going to show you that full picture. So I think as well, you know, metrics are important, but you don’t want to get completely bogged down in them. You know, one thing that is important that you can’t really track and metrics is when people are saying, Oh, I’ve read that article. It was really great. I mean, how can you track that a metric like that, but you know, that is really valuable, as well.
Christian Klepp 40:05
Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, those were some really great points. I love how you brought up the point about not being too obsessed with the data. And with the metric because they only tell part of a story, right? Because how often have you read about naming names? But how often have you read those posts on LinkedIn where people are talking only about data? Right? Like, you have to understand what the data is telling you, you have to let the data guide you, let the data lead you. And that’s not to say that you completely dismiss that. But to your point, what about the qualitative aspect of this? Because especially when it comes to content, there’s a qualitative aspect of this that you also need to consider?
Kathryn Strachan 40:46
Yeah, I mean, 100%? I mean, I think we have to think about it like this. We are humans, you know, your audience is humans. And not everything a human does, can be tracked and measured. It can’t, I mean, you can track your way you can track your blood pressure, you can track some of the metrics of being human, but you cannot track all of them.
Christian Klepp 41:08
Absolutely. Absolutely. Okay. And I can’t help myself, but ask you this next question. Because you are in this field. And this tends to be the classic, like copywriters question. Quality, or quantity? Which one do you think is more important? And why?
Kathryn Strachan 41:32
I would say neither. And both. So you need both. So I mean, neither is more important than the other, you need quality, obviously, because quality is about relevancy. And it’s about creating content that actually connects with your audience, that talks to your audience and positions you as a thought leader, that’s where the quality comes in. But if you don’t do that consistently, and regularly, you know, it’s almost worthless. So if you only do one blog a year, one every other month, or, you know, you don’t do it at all, which is where quantity comes in, then you know, you’re not building that organic momentum we’ve been talking about, you’re not building that, that traction. So you need both.
Christian Klepp 42:17
That’s a great answer. And I think you know, where I was going with that one, um, you’ve you’ve probably seen this online, there’s two camps, right? Like, there’s two camps. And most people love to like, be an either or, and I love how you’re like, in neither, and you’re, you’ve basically just created your own camp right now.
Kathryn Strachan 42:35
Yeah, I mean, I’m seeing so many brands get dragged down by being too obsessed with one or the other. So you know, if you create a piece of content, and you’re so obsessed with it being 110% perfect that it takes you five months to publish it. You don’t have a content marketing strategy, you don’t even have any content marketing, because you’re not even publishing. I mean, on the other hand, if you only create content for say, SEO sake, so it’s just… doesn’t offer anything different keyword stuffing, right. Yeah, exactly. I mean, that hits the quantity, but also doesn’t help you because you’re not actually benefiting your brand, you’re just creating content, for content sake, which shouldn’t be done. Instead, you know, if you think about content as a conversation, you know, you want to have regular conversations with people you care about, and you want to have meaningful ones. You know, if you just had very surface level conversations with people you cared about, you probably actually wouldn’t care about them, you actually wouldn’t have that connection. So it’s really about if you think about it from a relationship point of view, you know, it’s really about having consistent, consistent regular communication that gets beneath the surface that is deeper than just what’s the weather.
Christian Klepp 43:49
Yeah, yeah. Oh, fantastic. Fantastic. Kathryn. We could have gone on for another five hours here. I mean, like you have unpacked so much in our conversation. I mean, that is something credible value you’ve helped to develop to break it down into its parts and make it like, and I think that was the that was also the objective of the exercise, make it digestible, relatable. And ultimately, it’s our hope that it’s actionable. Alright. So thanks again for coming on the show and quick introduce yourself and how people can get in touch with you.
Kathryn Strachan 44:25
Yeah, thanks. So I’m Kathryn Strachan, the managing director and founder of Copy House. Copy House is a content marketing agency specializing in technology and fintech. You can find me on LinkedIn. I love connecting with people on LinkedIn and find out more about some of my thoughts because I share my content regularly. Or you can visit our website, copyhouse.io and find out more about our services and what we do for our clients.
Christian Klepp 44:52
Fantastic. Once again, thank you so much for coming on the show. Take care, stay safe, and I’ll talk to you soon.
Kathryn Strachan 44:58
Thank you for having me. It’s been a pleasure.
Christian Klepp 45:01
Likewise. All right. Bye for now.
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