Shannon Morrison reveals the best kept content marketing secrets
Content marketing can feel overwhelming, there’s so much you can do, but what should you be doing?
Joining me today is Shannon Morrison, not only is he incredibly lovable he’s also a genius when it comes to all aspects of content marketing.
Whether you’re just dipping your toe into the content marketing pool or you’ve been attempting to swim in it for a while, this pod is for you.
Tune in to learn:
- What content marketing is
- How to find your audience
- What goes into creating content
- The types of content you can create
- Top mistakes people make with developing content
- Simple vs advanced content
- Planning a good content approach
- Developing a long term content strategy, including basic and advanced content options
- How SEO factors into a content strategy
- Helpful tools when developing content
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And big thanks to NatNeedsHelp for her lovely review.
Shannon is a wickedly funny and out-of-the-box dreamer who is just as likely to help you with a solution to a complex content problem as crack you up laughing in a serious meeting.
Shannon is the Head of Operations at Amplify Agency, as well as the founder of Mighty Social Word, a successful digital marketing company that he created in order to help other entrepreneurs to move their company into the digital space. He takes the reins of their online presence and conducts their content marketing, copywriting, social media strategizing, training, managing and even advertising.
His holistic approach to online marketing enables him to help companies in various industries, giving them a seamless digital experience. Not only does Shannon help you create better content, he’ll help you put in place all the necessary processes that will help increase your business awareness among your customers, grow leads, and showcase your unique value and knowledge to all current and future clients, right down to the best apps and platforms to use.
Connect with Shannon
Kate Toon: Content marketing, we all know we should be doing it, but sometimes it feels a little overwhelming. How many blogs a week should we be pumping out?
More importantly, how do we make our content stands out in an extremely busy, noisy marketing world? In this episode, we’re going to start with the basics, but also give you some really useful advanced content marketing tips, so get ready for a great episode.
Kate Toon: Hello, my name’s Kate Toon. I’m the head chef here at the Recipe for SEO Success, and online learning hub for all things, search engine optimization, and today I’m very, very delighted to have the delicious, and the lovely Shannon Morrison here to talk all about content marketing. Hello Shannon, how are you?
Shannon M.: I’m good. How are you?
Kate Toon: I’m very well. So, we’ve known each other for a little while. Shannon is actually a graduate of the Recipe for SEO Success, but also a digital marketer in his own right. I’ve got his little bio here, so do you mind if I read it out, Shannon? Are you ready?
Shannon M.: No, no, no, go ahead.
Kate Toon: It’s always very strange to have someone read copy about you. Copy that you wrote about yourself, it’s very weird. So, you’ve described yourself as wickedly funny, and an out of the box dreamer. He’s likely to help you with a solution to a complex content problem as crack you up laughing in a serious meeting.
Shannon is the head of operations Amplify agency as well as the founder of Mighty Social World, a successful digital marketing company that he created in order to help other entrepreneurs move their company into the digital space. He takes the reigns of their online presence, and conducts their content marketing, copy writing, social media, strategizing, training, managing, and even advertising.
His holistic approach to online marketing enables him to help companies in various industries, giving them a seamless digital experience.
And, I’m actually not going to read the rest of Shannon’s bio, because I’ve tried to read it now five times, but I think you’ve got the idea. He’s dead good at content marketing. So, in your own words, what is it that you do in the digital marketing space that differentiates you from other people? I mean, obviously you’re very focused on content marketing, but what is it that makes you special?
Shannon M.: So, what makes me special I guess is I’m not just about delivering that content.
Yeah. So, it’s not just about here’s a blog, or here’s a video, here’s something.
It’s about adding all of those pieces together, and looking at it from a really high level, and then working out all the processes that will make that work, and so that you show yourself off with your content.
And, then what happens next? How do you then take control of that lead, and how do you then push those potential clients, or existing clients into more sales for the business, or whatever that might be?
And, yeah, I like to think I approach content marketing from a real person point of view. It’s really about connecting with people.
Kate Toon: I think that’s so good, because I think too often people think of content marketing as, “I’m going to write a blog a week.” And, it’s like, why? Who is it for? What do you want them to do next? All those questions are actually more important than the blog itself, but we’re going to dig into that a little bit today. Before we do though, let’s start right at the beginning. Yeah, right at the basics. Imagine it’s a new business, maybe you’ve come from a completely different background, and someone’s just said to you, “You really need to improve your content marketing.” What is content marketing? How would you describe it to Joe public?
Shannon M.: Sure. So, content marketing is a form of marketing I guess that is about publishing, and distributing content that has a very specific audience in mind. And, it’s geared more towards that audience’s needs, and wants, and pain points rather than the hot cells. So, I’m the king of analogy, so I like to think of traditional marketing as your one night stand, whereas content marketing is like the long romance, or the real seduction. It’s something that happens over time, it’s not quick. The result is usually the same, I’m going to improve my business, and get sales, but it’s yeah, it’s the seduction versus the let’s go.
Kate Toon: Yeah, I like that. I like that sexual analogy. Let’s keep that going a little bit. I can’t get inside the foreplay. It’s like the foreplay before that you can just dive straight in there, and that can be satisfying sometimes. Let’s be happy at the sales page, and you’re sold straightaway, but content marketing is like the kiss in the neck, the … I don’t know.
Shannon M.: It’s the message, the roses, the dinner. It’s that, that’s-
Kate Toon: It’s all that. It’s the wooing, the wooing.
Shannon M.: The wooing.
Kate Toon: I think people in my world we often differentiate copywriting from content marketing where copywriting is a definite sales goal in mind. Content marketing can be educational, informative, as you said, solving a problem, resolving a customer pain point, but the end goal is the same. It’s a marketing that needs to sell something. So, the big goal of good content marketing is that what you produce shouldn’t be vanilla. It’s impossible to appeal to everybody, so you have to appeal to your audience. Now, how do you know who your audience is? How do you find your audience? How do you narrow that down, and really make sure that you are talking just to your people?
Shannon M.: Yeah. So, look that to me is … I mean, look if you’ve done any type of marketing while you’re in the business development side of stuff, it all starts with that same thing of what’s their age? What’s their gender? What’s their location? What do they like? What don’t they like? What are they looking for? And, that is your audience. I also think with content marketing that you can be very clear on what that is, but there’s an element of they find you as well. So, you might have in your head a particular idea about who that audience is going to be, and who you’re going to do all your efforts to. And, you can be surprised, and go, “Oh, I actually, I appeal to a whole bunch of other people that I never thought I would appeal to.” And, content marketing it lets you move, and flow with that stuff in it that you can test things out, I think over a long term, and yeah. So, that’s how I think the audience approach means when it comes to developing your content.
Kate Toon: I mean, I think lots of people stay in demographic land, and go age, income, sex, and I feel that often that it’s actually not that helpful, and I love what you just said about how your audience finds you.
So, say for example, with the Recipe by SEO Success course, people are always like, “Who’s your target audience?” And, obviously I want to say, “Everybody wants to learn SEO.” Because, to be honest, I don’t particularly want women who are 45, and have this type of business. I take it much more from a problem point of view. So, something I teach on the course is the whole BDF, beliefs, desires, and fears.
Kate Toon: So, what problem am I solving? I’m solving the problem that you’d like to have your site ranking well on Google, but you can’t afford an SEO consultant, so you want to do it yourself. So, what type of person is that? Well, they maybe a go getter, someone who likes learning, someone who likes … But, it’s not necessarily about their gender, or their income, or their age. Do you know what I mean?
Shannon M.: Absolutely.
Kate Toon: So, I think people get a bit obsessed with customer avatars. Do you do customer avatars? What’s your approach to that?
Shannon M.: So, yes I do do customer avatars, but I lay them with a whole load of other extra information. So, my customer avatarsing usually somebody that I know in real life. I have to connect with someone with anything that I do. I have to have that real connection to it, otherwise I don’t put in the effort that I really should. Yeah, it always feels stale, or it feels flat or. Yeah, it doesn’t quite work. So, I do use avatars maybe right up the front, but then yeah, I move away from them as I move to that design thing. And, I guess what you were saying as well about SEO, it’s also about the problem. So, finding long term keywords is about understanding the problem. So, that’s what you do with content marketing as well.
Kate Toon: Yeah, totally. And, I think imagining a person is such a good idea, it’s classic novel writing when you’re coming up with characters, trying to think of someone you know, because then you really can talk to that person.
So, it’s funny, because you’re actually one of my customer avatars. Can I say that Shannon?
Shannon M.: Oh, really?
Kate Toon: So, sometimes when I’m writing content, or email I will think about the people who’ve already taken the course, and imagine I’m talking to you, and what would you say.
And, one of the things in your bio that came out quite a lot was the humour, and I have quite a lot of humour in how I put things forward in a way, because I want to attract that kind of customer.
So, if you don’t get my jokes, and you don’t like my sense of humour, you’re probably not going to like my course. And, I think a big thing about all marketing, and it is a bit of a cliche, but I like repeating it is as much about repelling people who aren’t right for you is about attracting people who are.
Shannon M.: Absolutely. Oh, totally. Yeah, the repelling thing’s actually a really good point. That’s how I approach it as well, but from my own personal stuff, I’m more thinking about the person I don’t want rather than the person I do want, so I might add in a joke here or there, or I tend to write blogs, for example, like a stream of consciousness for my brain, because I know that that person over there is not going to like it. Whereas this person over here I really, really want is going to enjoy that. I’m going to attach myself to them. So, yeah.
Kate Toon: Yeah, exactly. Even being a little bit divisive, and having contrarian views, and opinions, I’ve always set myself up slightly onto some of the other SEO people, because obviously a lot of people will think that if people do my course, they’re going to get less business. Although, in actual fact that isn’t true. I make very good customers for SEO agencies, because they know what they’re paying for. But, yes, so I think that’s really interesting.
Kate Toon: So, we’ve managed to define our audience, we’ve worked out who we don’t want, and who we do. And, maybe we’ve got some customer avatars, or people that we’re imagining we’re talking to. How do we then decide what to write about, what types of content we should be creating? What’s our content creation process? Or, in agency land they call it ‘ideation’ I think. But, where do we come up with the ideas I guess?
Shannon M.: Okay. So, where do we come up with the idea? I guess that to me comes also from an extra layer that I add on to the audience. So, once I’ve got the Avatar, I then move onto something else that is something I based on a traditional marketing funnel, but I made it a bit friendlier, and more something that I can connect to. So, I have six different types of categories that I put people in the avatarsing to, so I have a stranger who is somebody that doesn’t really know me at all. Maybe he has come onto a site from a Google search, or maybe they’ve randomly come across contents on my social media for example. I think content that works for them is like blogs, testimonials work really good for them, because they’re trying to figure out who you are.
Shannon M.: The next audience site that I have is who I call the associates. So, there’s somebody that has done the research, they’re not really ready to buy from you yet, but they’ve drunk the Kool-Aid of you, right? So, they like what they see, they’ve enjoyed what they’ve got so far. Then, there’s the wannabe who is right on that border of becoming a client. What works them is probably more further end content site, books maybe a Podcast, training. Free training always works for those wannabe people that are not sure they want to jump on board yet.
Shannon M.: The next people that I talk about is the client. So, that’s someone who’s purchased from you, they like what they got. They’re not exclusive to you yet, but yeah, they’re still engaged, and they’ve started to give you some cash. And, then after that it’s the friend, and the best friend. So, the friend is someone who is, “I’m only going to buy from you now you’ve completely solved all my needs.” And, the best friend is that person out there that’s like, “You have to go, and buy from this person they’re amazing. I love them. Rah, rah, rah.”
Shannon M.: So, that’s my next step, I guess. I don’t know if it’s about getting content ideas, but each one of those people, they will dictate the kind of content they want. So, your friend for example will totally come onto Facebook lives. They’ll come, and see your presentations for example, you might be doing a conference. Whereas the best friends what really works for them is not those Facebook lives, but the online community stuff, and all of that.
Kate Toon: Yeah, I like that. So, I’m just going to go through those again, just to be clear. The stranger, they’re maybe just with you, they’re not fully aware. Then, there’s the associate who’s seen a bit of your content, and the client was that next? No, what’s next?
Shannon M.: Next is the wannabe.
Kate Toon: The wannabe, so they’re on the cusp. So, that’s free courses, and they want to try something out. Then, there’s the client, and then there’s the friend, and best friend who are like the raving fans. So, let’s maybe break those down a little bit of. Complete stranger, you mentioned a few things that work well there, testimonials, and just general blog posts around the topic of what you do. Nothing too specific, is that right? Is that what-
Shannon M.: Yeah. It can be something a bit generic, or it might be they might have say typed into Google, how do I knit a piglet jumper. And, then you’ve got a blog post that is how to do a piglet jumper. So, they’re like, “Okay, this person knows what they’re talking about. They’ve fixed that helps my need.” I might mentally check the, okay, I want to keep an eye on that person, and maybe down the line they can help me a little bit more. [crosstalk 00:15:10].
Kate Toon: Yeah. I like that.
Shannon M.: And, you try it. Yeah.
Kate Toon: Yeah, I like that one. And, an example of that for me, that’s why it’s in my business is I made a little video about how to create that Google Review Link so you can give it to people, and say, “Please give me a Google review.” Just a two minute video on YouTube, and a blog post. And, a lot of people that’s their first touch point with me, because that post for some reason ranks very well. And, so they come into that, and they’re introduced to the world of Kate Toon, and they’re like, “Oh, and she’s got other content.” So, then they’re moving into that associate mode. So, what do I give them next? They’ve had a little taster, what do I give them next?
Shannon M.: Next, so what I think works really well there is you might pop them into an email campaign, so put them into a more traditional type funnel for that. A podcast does work well there. Podcasts works a well across a lot of stuff.
Kate Toon: Everywhere, yeah.
Shannon M.: A free Webinar that you might do, they might be interested to come along, and be like, “I want to see.” What I would say about Webinars is it needs to be something that actually provides value, not something that’s just a sell. There’s a lot of those. So, it needs to actually … You’re still at the value give, you’re still giving stuff away for free, right? A conference, it’s maybe a one day, really cheap, easy to manage. That would be something that the associate would be really into.
Kate Toon: Yeah. I think obviously when you go through this, I’m mapping it against my little plan, so that that stage I have a Facebook group which doesn’t seem like content marketing, but believe me it is, because I’m placing ideas. And, I have other blog posts, I have a checklist that you can get when you sign up to my email, and I have a free three day course. I avoid Webinars like the plague, because I do feel now they’ve got such a bad reputation for being half an hour fluff, very little content, but that’s the next stage. Okay. So, now they’re an associate, they’ve tasted some of my free stuff, now I’m moving them to the next stage. So, the next stage was wannabe. So, what do they-
Shannon M.: Yeah. So, that’s probably where they’re grabbing onto your social. So, they’ve bookmarked you. So, they’re like, “I like the free stuff, and I still have problems. And, I think that you can fit my needs.” But, they want an easy way to absorb stuff. So, there if you’ve got maybe a paid course might also push them over a little bit there on the cheaper end scale.
Kate Toon: I think it’s more of the same as well, isn’t it though? I think-
Shannon M.: Kind of, yeah.
Kate Toon: So, those people on my site find it’s just continued exposure, and the consistency. So, it doesn’t necessarily need to be a dramatically different types of content. It’s maybe they’ve watched one video, now they’re going watch another one, and another one, and the next thing they read it. And, lots of people are in that zone with me in my business for a long time, two, three years before. Like you said, it’s like, I know one day I’m going to need you.
Shannon M.: Absolutely.
Kate Toon: So, I’m going to follow you on Twitter, I’m going to follow you here, because I want to be able to remember you when I need you. And, then there’s the reminders, just keep you top of mind until eventually they turn into the clients.
Shannon M.: Correct.
Kate Toon: Now, it’s funny the client, because you’ve got them. You’ve sold your thing, why do I need still keep content marketing to them now? They’ve bought my thing. What do I do for those guys?
Shannon M.: Oh, so close, so the client. So, obviously here for me is where experience needs to also be attached. So, your sales process needs to be really good, your customer service … I mean, people will probably not think of that as content marketing, but you’re actually still engaging with people, and delivering messages. So, this is where you want to massage them, right? They’ve said yes to the date, so you want to show off, you want to … Maybe you do, here’s the course that you’ve done, and by the way, I’m going to chuck in a whole load of free stuff as well on top of you that you never even thought you needed. That is something that the client … They’ve said yes, now you’ve got to woo them so.
Kate Toon: Yeah.
Shannon M.: Yeah. Phone calls work well here, one on one coaching works well here as well. What would I also say here? Mentoring, if you maybe want to pull them aside, and be like, “Hey, you know what? You asked those questions in the course that I was doing, how about I take your side for 10 minutes, and I really knock that issue out with you.” That works really well for them as well. Yeah, anything that’s the value add.
Kate Toon: I think it’s that surprise and delight, isn’t it?
Shannon M.: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Kate Toon: So, you bought the thing, and you were content to buy the thing, because you saw what was in it, and what the price was. But then, when you get into the thing there’s more, there’s things you never even thought of, there’s extra, there’s that part, and I think it’s a lot for me about personal contacts. For me, I give quite a lot away for free, but it’s nothing compared to what I give when you’ve actually bought from me, and the attention, and the love that you’re going to get once that stage comes through.
Kate Toon: So, it is continual wooing, because I mean for many people that’s the end of the line. There is no repeat purchase, there is nothing else these people come by. And, for a long time that was the case with my business, for my big course, I have nothing left. I have nothing left to give you. But, now I have a monthly membership where people can join that, and get support every month. So, and therefore I have to continually keep the clients happy forever, because of the subscription, so they can come and go. So, it’s a big commitment to move into that space, because then it’s not just content marketing its just content. Like what do you feed these people? It’s like throwing …
Kate Toon: I often feel like I go into each of our memberships, and throw some stakes at the lions. You know what I mean? I give them a Webinar, I give them a training, I give them a video. Okay. But, now I’ve got my clients, and we see all that surprise and delight. The goal of it is to turn them into the best friend, the advocate, the raving fan. How do you do that? Because, that’s a sweet spot that many people never get to.
Shannon M.: It is, and that’s the tricky one. And, the reason I go here is the friend to the best friend, because to me it’s very much along the same lines of how do you make friends with somebody? Because, that’s really what it is, it’s all personal connection, it’s connecting with people. And, so this is where Facebook groups, communities whether they’re free, or paid, if somebody is already a client, and really likes you, they’re happy to pay for that exposure with you. So, yeah it’s like asking anythings into groups, coaching calls, what else would we do there?
Kate Toon: Meet ups face to face stuff.
Shannon M.: Oh, yes. Big one. Yeah, social stuff, anything that foster the community is what works with the friend, and the best friend. It can sometimes push people away as well if they’re not … Which to me also goes back to your audience, and your branding, and what you are. Because, if you’re very sterile, and that’s what they bought, and then suddenly you’re like, “Hey, let’s go have some hogs,” you’d be like, “That’s too much. That’s not what I bought.”
Shannon M.: So, yeah, for me that’s where that really works, anything that you can make a more personal connection with. Remembering people in Facebook groups, remembering them, liking comments, responding to comments, that is where you’re going to get your friends, and your best friends across the line.
Kate Toon: I totally agree. I mean, I think that’s it I would say I’d like to say. I think that’s something that I do, and then work very hard to do. I think another part of that is recognition and reward. So, rewarding those people that do promote you not necessarily with money, or affiliate programme. So, I’ve never had an affiliate programme for my course, but I do try and give opportunities to people, and promote them, and connect them with people. And, as you said, it’s just remembering people. There’s nothing worse than when you …
Kate Toon: I’ve gone up to famous people, and you’ve been following them for years, and liking their stuff, and they’ve been interacting with you. But, when they see you, they don’t know who you are. And, I mean if that’s going to happen, but if you can try and remember who that person is, and remember something about them. God, it’s so lovely, isn’t it?
Shannon M.: It is, it is.
Kate Toon: And, I’m going to use us as an example now, because me and you have gone down this path. We did not meet in real life. So, tell me, you’ve been through all these stages with me, and I would say now, I’d say we’re best friends in real life, we’re friends. So, how did I do it for you basically? That’s really weird.
Shannon M.: How you wooed me. So, I distinctly know I connected with you first off through actually someone else which was, I was on a … I think it was a Neil Patel, or Brian Dane blog. And, one of the things that they said on there was to build up back links, because I was like, “Oh.” And, I’ve just started as a copywriter, and I was like, “Oh, I’ve got to get a back link.” It was getting to the message, the comments system that you use, because that gave you a back link. So, I jumped onto your blog about five … I spent $120, or something it was-
Kate Toon: On Fiver, yeah.
Shannon M.: On Fiver.
Kate Toon: Yup.
Shannon M.: I was like this is hilarious. But, I remembered you, because when I started the copywriting, I’m like, “Hmm what do I charge? What rates do I charge as a copywriter?” And, your blog is obviously the go to pricing guide for pretty much everybody. So, I remembered you, and I was like, “Oh, this Kate, I remember her.” And, then I was looking for Facebook groups I think a little bit later on, and I stumbled across misfit entrepreneurs, which is what it was at the time. That Facebook group, I was like, “Oh, that’s that Kate Toon. I will join them as well.” And, as well I really liked saying Kate Toon. So, I said Kate Toon all the time. So I’m like, “Oh, I’m going to go, and talk to Kate Toon, because I love it.”
Shannon M.: Yeah. And, then our kind of I guess interactions worked right on when I was looking at the next level. So, then when I started thinking about, “Well I’ve got to do something about SEO.” I think I just happened to be in the promotions for the … Or, end October last year I think it was, and I’m like, “I’m just going to jump on the big course.” So, I jumped.
Kate Toon: Quite quickly from …
Shannon M.: Beyond wannabe, and jump straight into it, because I liked what I saw in the misfits group, and I liked you as a person. So.
Kate Toon: Yeah. And, that funny because I don’t think in that misfit group for example, I’m particularly intellectual, or helpful, but it’s more of the vibe, because it’s a city group. So, it just shows the different types of … You might think that everything you have to do has to be guru level, genius SEO tips. No, it doesn’t, they can just be building a connection. And, now I think we’ve moved in the advocacy thing that you do promote me whenever you mention me, and also but equally I promote you back. I mean, here you are here. You’re here on the Podcast, and you’re going to be speaking at my conference next year as well. So, it’s that backscratching thing. We’re at backscratching stage now.
Shannon M.: Absolutely, yeah.
Kate Toon: And, it worked.
Shannon M.: Sometimes I think as well in the digital world, most people are working on their own. They’re not working in big agencies, or with people, because of the nature of the work, even if you hired an agency, nine times out of 10 they’re working from home anyway. So, online is like this big connection, and-
Kate Toon: So much.
Shannon M.: You weed out really quickly the people that are just about to sell, and it’s not about the, you know what? I’ve got that I know that if we connect that’s going to happen at some point, how about I just help you? And, that is really where that really tastes flat I guess.
Kate Toon: I think that leads me nicely into my next question about the mistakes people make when they’re developing content. And, I think the biggest thing that I see the mistakes people make, which is something I’ve just touched on is trying to be … I don’t know the … I was going to say trying to be intelligent, because of course you should be intelligent, but I guess I think people take it so seriously, and they feel that everything they produce has to be this weighty intellectual, amazing factual piece of content rather than just small little snippets of content answering one question, helping people, making a joke, sharing a meme, it’s all content marketing. But, what do you think are the biggest mistakes people are making?
Shannon M.: Look, for me, the biggest thing is maybe not having a plan. And, for a plan I don’t mean this big fleet. I mean, I’m a very plan heavy person, so I’m like the crazy side of planning. But, just having an idea of what you want to do, you need to have that idea in front of you of this is the intention that I’m doing. It’s while yes you can do the memes and stuff, and make it fun, and it’d be really fun. Ultimately, it’s about achieving something. You want to connect with people, so if you just jump into it; a. It can look really messy to people, and you can get lost really easily, and spend so much time.
Shannon M.: I mean, at the end of the day, if you’re not a content marketer, you don’t want to spend all your time creating content. You want to do your business. So, yeah. To me, having that plan, no matter how lucel for you it is, it’s really, really important. It’s something that people forget about I think. They’re like, “I’m going to do a blog.” I’m like, “Okay. How are you going to do the blog?”
Kate Toon: Why?
Shannon M.: Why? What’s the reasons for it? And, Yeah. So, yeah, a plan is a big one. The other thing is what I like to call the good and the bad content octopus, right? So, you’ve got octopus on one side that’s got one leg, sure, they’re going to be able to feed themselves, move, do all of the same things, but at the end of the day they’re not going to be as good as one with eight legs, right? So-
Kate Toon: That’s very true.
Shannon M.: Doing not enough versus doing too much. So, I would say, yeah differentiate what you want to do, approach things in a way that is easy for you to do. But then, remember that if you just blog, and all you do is blog you’re probably not going to have the same reach, or get to the result probably quicker if you say blog, do infographics, maybe turn your blogs into videos. There’s heaps of stuff that you can do that for, maybe doing a Podcast. Podcast is a great content marketing tool, you can do amazing things with it. So, yeah, so think about multiple rather than just one. So, yeah.
Kate Toon: I so agree with that. There’s a couple of points I want to make there that the plan, I think lots of people would think it needs to be a literal, a spreadsheet, colour coded with different tabs for Twitter, and for this, and for this, but I think what you’re really saying is to step back, and see the big picture, and what the goal is. And, even though my marketing probably looks a little bit haphazard, I’m very clear on what I’m doing here. I look like I make it up as I go along, but I’m not as dumb as I look believe me. And, that’s why it works.
Kate Toon: And, the octopus thing, I could not agree more. I think blogging is a super slow way to do content marketing. It’s a slow burn, and there’s so much speedier ways to get your name, and your brand out there, and as we know SEO moving forward is really moving into the space of being findable for your brand keyword, because it’s getting tougher, and tougher being able to be found for what you do. So, you’ve got to build that brand, and blogging is a slow way of doing that.
Shannon M.: Yeah, it’s very slow.
Kate Toon: Video, Facebook, Podcasting, events, guest posting, all of those are speedier. Way speedier for getting your brand out there. So, let’s just talk about basic, and advanced, yeah? So, I’m starting out, give me two basic things that I could do for my content marketing. Two things you would say are a good place to start.
Shannon M.: So, good place to start. Look, if I’m 100% honest, I would be focusing on socials to start with. So, creating some really good imagery, and jumping on Instagram. Instagram is by firm I think these days a little bit more popular than Facebook maybe if I be a bit controversial here I guess. But, it’s so much easier to consume, it’s focused, you can really play with some beautiful stuff there. You can connect with people really easily. So, I would probably be focusing on social content that would be … And, it’s relatively easy, it doesn’t take a lot of time. You can sit down on Sunday morning for three hours, and probably do three weeks worth of stuff. It’s not that hard.
Shannon M.: Another simple thing … Look, I’m a big one for audio. I do run the operations for an audio companies, so I see how amazing in connecting audio can be. So, I would say find a way to make maybe little snippets of audio that you could maybe add some images to, put it on Facebook. I think that’s probably the simple side. Yeah, and a third look if you are happy to do the blogging, do that. But, I would be saying to more long form, and make them really, really cognitive like many case study type blogs. Yeah. And, very heavy personality.
Kate Toon: Yeah. Yeah. I think those are great options. I think audio might feel advanced to some people, but I don’t think it really has to be, and we’re going to share some tools at the end of the episode that will make this easier. So, I agree with all of those. I think one of the easiest things to do, although probably the most mentally challenging would be Facebook lives, because it’s immediate, you don’t really need any equipment, and you can just go on. You can try, if you don’t like it, you can delete it, and it’s a super quick way to build connection, and authority, and trust. So, that would be my tip.
Kate Toon: So, let’s move into some more advanced things that you can do. I mean, clearly having your own Podcast, it’s not advanced in terms of technology. It’s actually really easy to set up a Podcast really, really easy, but it’s a commitment. But, as you said, I mean here we are on a Podcast, we’re right here. One way you can get into that is to start trying to guest. So, putting yourself out there for guests. Lots of Podcasts are very keen to have guests. You might think that it’s really hard to get on them, but it’s not that hard. So, other than Podcast … Well, do you agree with that first of all? Do you think Podcasting is a good advance strategy?
Shannon M.: Absolutely, yeah. Yes, absolutely. All your points that you said about Podcasts is good. And, if you did want to go down that path, my advice would be plan out 20 episodes. Don’t just plan out two, or three, plan a year. She made faces. Plan way in advance. There are so many Podcasts on iTunes, or whatever that have 10 upload them [inaudible 00:33:34].
Kate Toon: They never hear from them again. Yeah.
Shannon M.: Planning, it’s a lot of work. There’s a lot of work involved in getting it if you want to do a justice. So, aside from Podcasts, I’d probably say doing maybe tutorials, or videos.
Kate Toon: Yeah, I agree.
Shannon M.: Build up a YouTube channel. Yeah, my partner does makeup, and hair and wigs, and stuff. And, he’s been really trying to push the YouTube channel angle for himself, because he gets great … Yeah, a great interaction really works for him. Another advance, look to me would be doing conferences, so get on the speaker’s circuit, get yourself out there that way status, and attendee … Take a content marketing approach to the people holding the conferences, talk to people at conferences. Everybody is sitting there wondering if anybody’s going to talk to them, so ask how someone is, share a pin, whatever it is that I would say is probably a really good advanced.
Kate Toon: I agree.
Shannon M.: [inaudible 00:34:31] content marketing.
Kate Toon: And, it also doesn’t feel like content marketing. It feels like networking, but everything you do to go out there, and promote your brand is content marketing to a degree.
Shannon M.: Absolutely.
Kate Toon: And, just being willing. Put yourself out for speaker thing. I just got rejected from a conference today, which is obviously a bit sad, but then last week I got accepted for the one that I wanted to speak up more than anything in the world, and I got accepted to speak at it, which is … Even the speaker guy said, “I was just so pleased to see you put your name down for it,” so it was great. So, you just got to be brave.
Kate Toon: Okay. So, we were going to talk about SEO and content marketing, and I guess I might take this point really in that lots of people say, “Well, how does posting on social media really influence SEO?” And, I think there’s lots of different arguments around the fact that, it doesn’t necessarily have a direct impact, because obviously links from social media don’t count in the same way as links from websites. And, it’s more about traffic, and what that traffic does on your site. So, if you get a lot of people coming from Facebook to your site, and they’re interacting, maybe they’re going to share your content, maybe they’re going to link to your content, and maybe they’re going to write about you, and start building up that association between who you are, and what you do. And, it’s this brand awareness thing that we keep talking about. I don’t want people to be typing copywriter Sydney into Google. I want them to be typing Kate Toon into Google. That’s what I want them to be typing.
Kate Toon: So, it does help, because obviously it’s much easier to rank for your name than it is to rank for what you do. And, you must see that with your clients as well. Just building up that brand that the number of branded searches, they’re getting increases, increases. Do you see that with your clients?
Shannon M.: Yes, yeah. That’s definitely the first focus, and it’s probably the easiest thing too relatively anyway. Because, the first thing aside from I want to look for cushion covers is if they find someone they’ll be like, I want to know about them. So, you need to make sure that you’ve got a whole bunch of stuff about your story, and who you are, and why you’re different, and why somebody should come to you, what’s the experience going to be? So, yeah branding is …
Kate Toon: Everything. And, building that personal brands people buy from people not from brands, and being willing to put yourself out in front of your brand. I know it’s difficult, but as you said earlier, really injecting personality, and quirk into your content right from the get go, so that it does stand out from the crowd. But, let’s finish up with some tools, because everybody loves the tool. What are some of your favourite go to tools for creating different types of content? And, what I’m going to do is while you’re mentioning them, I’m going to write them up, and I’m going to put them in the show notes for this episode.
Shannon M.: Okay, cool.
Kate Toon: So, what would be your go tools?
Shannon M.: So, look to me I guess there are so many, so many. So, many tools.
Kate Toon: I know. Pick your fave.
Shannon M.: Crazy list. So, for me it’s about finding the ones that have the best bang, bang for your buck, right? So, you need a really good graphics source, Canva is brilliant for it. I’ve come up with Adobe Suite, so I’m a bit attached, but more and more I use pretty much Canva for everything these days. The other thing I would say is you need a really good stock free …
Kate Toon: Image stock.
Shannon M.: Source. Pixabay-
Kate Toon: So, what do you use for that? Pixabay?
Shannon M.: Yup.
Kate Toon: Yup.
Shannon M.: I love playing around in there. You probably want to use something that’s going to help with your written content, so Hemingway App is something that I love. I follow-
Kate Toon: What would you use for scheduling? Obviously, we’ve got a few options there. What’s your favourite scheduler?
Shannon M.: So, I’m a Hootsuite guy, and stuff.
Kate Toon: Yeah. So, am I.
Shannon M.: I love Hootsuite. I think it’s probably the easiest for me to manage, and work with. Yeah, that’s scheduling. What else would I do?
Kate Toon: So, the Public is a favourite of mine for coming up with-
Shannon M.: Yeah, that’s the one for ideas.
Kate Toon: Ideas.
Shannon M.: That’s a very good thing for ideas. Reddit is a really good place for ideas as well.
Kate Toon: Oh, we could go on, couldn’t we? We could have thousands, couldn’t we? I think it’s a good idea to have a good video software. I’m a big fan of Camtasia, but obviously there’s a lot of little apps you can get on your phone to make little short videos as well. The list is endless, but I think those are some core ones, rather amazingly apart from Adobe Suite, they’re all my favourites to use. We have the same feature.
Shannon M.: I do want to share, that’s actually really great for making really quick videos, and stuff like that that’s completely free, and it’s amazing. It’s great for making audio grammes, it’s headliner.app. It’s sneak, really, really brilliant.
Kate Toon: Okay. That’s a new one to me, I’m going to check that one out. Another little one that I’ve used recently is CutStory, which takes any videos that you do make on your phone, and cuts them to the right length for the social channels, so Instagram, Facebook, 15 seconds cuts them down to the right-
Shannon M.: That’s what Hemingway app does.
Kate Toon: Yeah, I love that. Awesome. Well, Shannon, that’s been amazing. I think for me the thing that really stood out, I really like your interpretation of the brand awareness story. The stranger, the associate, I really like the way that you’ve expressed that, because it’s much more human, and I think the theme that comes out of all of this is that content marketing is as much about human relationships as it is about coming up with amazing keyword, and topic ideas. It’s about the conversations you have, and the relationships you build. It’s relationship marketing. Is that your ethos?
Shannon M.: Absolutely. That’s a brilliant way of thinking about it. To me people, when you say content marketing people are like, “Oh my God, I’m going to do a blog,” and versus relationship marketing would be you want to build connections with people. You want to help people solve problems.
Kate Toon: Yeah. Beautiful. So, that’d be good. Thanks ever so much to Shannon for being on the episode, and thanks to you for listening. As you know, at the end of each show, I like to give a shout out to one of my lovely listeners, and this week it’s Nat needs help, and Nat says, “This is exactly what I need. Good practical up to date advice that’s relevant to Australia, and the small business market. Thanks Kate.” Hopefully, relevant to everybody around the globe, so thank you to all my global listeners as well.
Kate Toon: And, if you liked the show, please don’t forget to leave a five star rating and review on iTunes, or Stitcher, or wherever you heard the Pod. Your review will make me very happy, and will also help others find the show, and learn more about the wonderful world of search engine optimization. You can head to the show notes for this episode at www.the recipeforseosuccess.com, where you can learn more about Shannon, get links to all his social media, and check out those useful links that we mentioned just then.
Kate Toon: Finally, don’t forget to tune into my two other podcast, the Hot Copy Podcast, a Podcast for copywriters all about copywriting, hosted with the lovely Belinda Weaver, and the Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur. Until next time, happy SEOing.