Episode 13 – Write content for your users, not for yourself.

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Episode 13 – Write content for your users, not for yourself.

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My guest on the show today is Ronald DodRon is the founder of Visiture, a marketing agency focused on helping eCommerce businesses grow through using search engines to acquire customers. He leads the SEO team, marketing initiatives, and business development efforts for Visiture while trying to carve out time to play fetch with his golden retriever named Patriot.

Highlights from this Conversation

Related to Digital Marketing

    1. What has worked well for you?
      1. Content marketing
      2. Be content focussed
      3. Get content published in local publications and magazines
  • Focus on real content, real people and real results.
  • Write content for your users, not for yourself.
    1. What hasn’t worked well that we can learn from?
      1. Fail a lot, but fail small
      2. Buying links
      3. Hiring cheap, bad advice
        1. You get what you pay for
        2. Sometimes people just need to roll up their sleeves and learn marketing
      4. Unloading marketing on other people
        1. There must be investment by the organization
    2. What are you excited about?
      1. Future
      2. Innovation
      3. SEO isn’t shady seeming anymore
      4. There is focus on real results
  • You can’t game Google
    1. Brands are getting smarter about what they are doing and why they are doing it.

Interview Transcript

Adam: [00:00:09] Hi, and welcome to the Good People, Good Marketing podcast. A podcast about nonprofit marketing and how to make it better, so that good people and good organizations, can have good marketing as well.

 

[00:00:18] I’m your host, Adam Walker, co-founder of Sideways Eight, a digital marketing agency that specializes in nonprofit work and 48in48, a nonprofit dedicated to hosting events that builds forty-eight websites, for forty-eight nonprofits, in forty-eight hours.

 

[00:00:30] My guest today, is Ronald Dod. Ron, is the Founder of Visiture, a marketing agency focused on helping eCommerce businesses grow, through using search engines to acquire their customers. He leads the SEO team marketing initiatives and business development efforts for Visiture, while trying to carve out time to play ‘fetch’ with his Golden Retriever, named Patriot. Ron, do you have anything else to add to that little intro?

 

Ron: [00:00:55] That pretty much sums it up. It’s basically what I do. We help businesses make more money using Google, if that makes sense.

 

Adam: [00:01:00] I love that. That’s very concise. Help businesses make more money using Google. So, for the sake of this conversation, Ron, you are a Digital Marketing professional. Not only that, but an SEO professional, so I’m hoping you can kind of help push our non-profit marketers’ thinking, as it relates to search engine optimization, during this conversation. So I’ll get some good tips from you, I hope.

 

Ron: [00:01:22] Cool. Yeah. Absolutely. I’ll try to help wherever I can.

 

Adam: [00:01:25] Fantastic. Let’s kick it off. So, first question as always, is tell us something that is working well for you.

 

Ron: [00:01:35] Yeah. I’m trying to think of the best way to describe that. You know, what’s really working well in the current SEO industry, you know,you just kind of really…in e-mail content marketing, is really focusing on content marketing. When it comes to SEO, you know, back in the day…SEO…you know…people don’t know that SEO is Search Engine Optimization, basically optimizing your website to get better results on Google, so people can find you, right.

 

[00:01:59] And, so back in the day, everyone was focusing more on the technical aspects, making sure that we have the best site speed, use of [00:02:06] tags [0.3] making sure the site is indexable. But now, it’s really becoming more of this kind of content marketing focus, and you know, creating content such as, you know, podcasts, blogs, and really interacting with the community through the social media platforms, through external websites, getting content published.

 

[00:02:22] So like for nonprofits, it probably makes sense to get content published on local publications or local magazines. You know, just kind of wherever your target market decides to get content out there. And then what happens is, Google can see  that high quantity links are pointing back to your site. They can see that people are searching your brand name. They can see, you know, what we call usability metrics, which are basically ‘how do people interact with your site’. If they Google,  a search phrase, they go to your site and they leave right away…Google’s gonna give you basically a negative score, a negative connotation for that. It’s like a negative signal.

 

[00:02:57] So, Google’s really becoming a lot more personalized. A lot more personal in a certain degree. And so that’s kind of something I’ve seen a lot of people struggle with in switching from SEO and what a lot of profits do, you know, is just, you know, focusing on actually real content real people and real results and SEO  metrics follow after that.

 

Adam: [00:03:16] I love that. You said focus on real content real people and real results. That is fantastic.

 

Ron: [00:03:22] Yeah.

 

Adam: [00:03:22] I love that. So, do me favour for those that might not be aware. Give us a quick definition of content marketing.

 

Ron: [00:03:32] Yeah. Perfect, yeah. Content marketing is just pretty simple. It’s about having, you know,content whether that’s a blog, like  Ten Cutest Golden Retriever puppies, or a video of Cute Golden Retriever puppies catching tennis balls, you know. I mean,that’s all content. We consume content all day on our mobile devices on social media. And  as brands, we wanna connect with our consumers using that content, and that’s kind of what content market is.

 

Adam: [00:03:57] Right.

 

Ron: [00:03:57] People like you, they are more likely to do business with you. If you have content in front of them, they’re gonna remember you and they’re gonna hopefully buy it from you. Not advocating we needed [00:04:05] [indistinct] Golden [0.8] Retrievers are getting from our consumer’s faces. But, you know we wanna be connected with our customers through content. And when you do that, is especially if people are searching for research querying keywords, and it’s kind of a nerdy word to use, but all it means is when people are searching for answers online.

 

[00:04:21] So, if they’re searching for leading questions for like  ‘is this tax deductible’, you know, or something along those lines. Or  they’re searching for like ‘where to foster Golden Retrievers’ as a part of the Golden Retriever Rescue Association. You know, you create a lot of content set around answering questions when people search Google. You know, like ‘What’s the process like for adopting a Golden Retriever. Like ‘Where can I adopt a Golden Retriever’. You know, there’s a lot of people searching online for those kind of keyword phrases, and creating long-form written content on your blog that’s really interactive and has nice images can really go a long, in really boosting SEO results for non profits.

 

Adam: [00:05:01] Yeah. I love that. I mean, you know for me, I define basically content marketing as creating the best content on the internet, about a specific topic that serves your users the most effectively. It doesn’t serve your organization per se, as much as it serves your users and their needs. Because that…they’re gonna go to content that serves their needs not content that serves our needs.

 

Ron: [00:05:23] Yeah. You make a really great point there. I think a lot of organizations get lost in content. They think that they need to write content for themselves.

 

[00:05:30] They’re like, ‘Our users won’t think that this is good because we don’t think it’s good.’ But, you know, a lot of organizations I think, struggle in remembering that their target market are generally pretty naive to their products. And they’re not experts in their products. Like  you would be in the organization. So, a lot of content that needs to be a lot more simplified. It doesn’t need to be as technical. You can’t make assumptions in the content. So yeah. I think you hit the nail right on the head. It needs to serve the consumer and not your organization.

 

[00:05:59] Right. Yeah. That’s key. I mean the organizations, that just have a ton of content and they want a ‘content marketing strategy’ to basically manage their amount…their massive amounts of content. Like that’s not the way to go at all. It’s the exact opposite way. What do your users need. What content can you create to help them, and how can you create the best content on the internet to help them the most effectively. And once you’ve answered those questions, then you can move forward with whatever content you want. But until you’ve answered those questions, you’re not doing anybody any good.

 

Adam: [00:06:26] I love that.  All right. Question number two related to digital marketing. Tell us something that’s not working well that we can learn from.

 

Ron:  [00:06:34] We’re gonna need more than thirty minutes. This is…I love to experiment. I’m a huge believer in ‘fail a lot…but fail small’ so we do a lot of tests.

 

Adam: [00:06:45] Yeah.

 

Ron: [00:06:45] So, I mean I can just run down like a whole list, like buying links, don’t do that when it comes to SEO. They’re pointless sponsorship posts, like, you know, certain situations that works but SEO is so much more about real engagement now, if you pay for a link, I mean, are real people gonna read that article? So, I wouldn’t really suggest buying anything of that sort. Hiring bad advice that’s cheap. All that tends to set you back. I think a lot of people just wanna go get the cheapest option. You just kind of check it off the list like I haired an SEO guy- checkmark, right? But, a lot of times that can get hurt a lot more than it does good. And you get what you pay for. And a lot of times, you know, I think, probably…what’s another… just a [00:07:31] bill [0.4] too. I think a lot of people, a lot of times, just roll up their sleeves and learn marketing too. This isn’t what…this isn’t really pertaining to me. I just know that it hasn’t work for other people

 

[00:07:40] Something that doesn’t really work for a lot of people is they just try to unload their market on other people. And they just say ‘Alright, I’m going to hire a marketing agency and they’re gonna do it for me. It’s going to go wonderful . It’s going to be all rainbows and unicorns and we are going to be really successful. And that’s not the case. You always wanna learn enough to be dangerous in any part of any organization from finance…to marketing…to operations…to HR etcetera down the line. So, the same goes for marketing. You can’t just offload this on the contractors,  market agencies, whatever, and expect to be successful.

 

Adam: [00:08:14] Right.

 

Ron: [00:08:15] What else?  It’s a pretty long list.

 

Adam: [00:08:20] Well, I loved your one about, you know, ‘Don’t just unload marketing on other people’. I mean, in my note on that is, you know, there’s got to be an investment by the organization. So even if you have someone else doing some of these things, you still have to be personally invested in it, to be sure that it’s the right things. Because just because somebody is  a ‘marketing professional’ doesn’t mean they’re going to do what’s perfect for you every time. So you have to be invested in that.

 

Ron: [00:08:42] Exactly. Yeah, exactly right. You need to know what’s going on. You need to be able to lead too. You need to set measurable goals that you want to achieve, and  just basically manage the process and manage what you need out of it. I think that you’ve probably been there before, where you’ve seen a lot of organizations get burned by other marketing copies and so forth. A lot of times it’s just because they aren’t involved.

 

Adam: [00:09:05] Well, you know,and what I’ve seen, is when organizations sort of unload something on to a Third Party vendor, and don’t really pay attention to it, they tend to circle back at the end of the project, can go ‘Oh you didn’t do this the way I wanted’, and then bad things happen. And,so you gotta stay engaged the whole time. It’s critical to be engaged.

 

Ron: [00:09:24] Yeah. You know about that in website design and development.

 

Adam: [00:09:26] That’s right. So, alright, well, man this is great. So,now related to digital marketing, tell us something that you’re excited about.

 

Ron: [00:09:35] Yeah. I’m really excited for the future. I think they would probably sense that but you know, we’re just trying, at my agency, trying to be the most cutting edge, innovative that we can. And I’m really excited because in just my industry in particular, it’s really coming out of this like Dark Ages of SEOs. It’s kind of like shady dark hat practice and a lot of people are a lot more big believers. And we’re getting away from that kind of connotation of it being this shady practice and you know, all these companies are coming about really focusing on content marketing. Focusing on real results.

 

[00:10:08] Google’s been really good about hammering people for anything black hat SEO related. If you’re basically paying for very, very cheap SEO work, you’re pretty much just throwing money into a trash can, right now. Because it’s just there’s no point. You can’t game Google. Google’s way too good now. Now their algorithms is so advanced now with the [00:10:26] right [0.0] algorithm update, you just can’t game it. It is literally impossible. So, the only people who are getting really good results, are the people who are creating really good work. And, you know, it’s all about engagement.

 

[00:10:37] And I think brands are getting smarter too. Everything from advertising to SEO. It’s all just getting a lot more advanced. We’re not just creating content anymore. That’s not going to really help someone. You know, we’re not creating advertisements that are just only solely promotional. I think Facebook, Zuckerberg came out and said that ‘Hey, we’re going to work on our algorithm to help businesses that have better content in advertising. So, that’s going to be really cool. I think, it’s gonna really reward

 

Adam: [00:11:06] Yeah.

 

Ron: [00:11:06] businesses creating content that people actually want to interact with I mean, I’m sure you’ve been on Facebook on your phone. You get this…you know, the little…Yellow Ball of Death, you know, in a video like what is halfway through when you know an ad is coming up, and it’s gonna be a thirty second ad and I think that Facebook is gonna dial back a lot of that, and they’re gonna start…

 

Adam: [00:11:25] Right.

 

Ron: [00:11:25] …advertisement that users want to see and interact with. So, as I think, I think brands are really gonna have to focus on creating actual content that the users go and see. Really good video content. Really good engaging posts that’s gonna drive conversation. I think that’s just gonna make the internet better. It’s gonna make,  users experience on social media better as well.

 

[00:11:44] So, I think you know, the consumer behavior is really driving innovation with companies and advertisement and the content that they’re creating. And I feel like the businesses that really get ahead, and just, instead of thinking, you know, like ‘Hey how do we get someone to website  to convert. It’s Like how do we give someone the best customer experience possible, and the best experience from our social media platforms to our website, I think those are the ones that are going to win the most an actually get the most conversions on their site.

 

Adam: [00:12:10] Yeah. I totally agree. I think content is kind of the Holy Grail of digital marketing at this point. I mean, he who has the best content wins, according to Google. And, if we wanna get eyeballs to our websites, our websites better have really good, really compelling, unique, interesting, either entertaining or informative content. And if it doesn’t have that,then we’re spinning our wheels, I think.

 

Ron: [00:12:35] Oh, absolutely. Yeah. And especially the, you know, organizations that just go on social media and just post and check it off like “Oh we posted on social media” Check mark, done!

 

Adam: [00:12:46] Right.

 

Ron: [00:12:46] You know, it’s like what’s the point. You’re just wasting your time. You’re just posting into, a black hole of nothingness that’s no one’s seeing.

 

Adam: [00:12:53] Right, right.

 

Ron: [00:12:53] It’s literally a waste of time.

 

Adam: [00:12:55] Right.

 

Ron: [00:12:55] And so, the ones that really care about, their users are gonna like tell their friends like ‘Hey, check out the post that my company did. Like it’s super cool what we did’. They are going to share it on their personal accounts. That’s the ones who are winning. And there’s an organization here [00:13:10] [indistinct]where [0.9] they’re really getting all their community managers engaged in their social media platforms. Like they’re like having their community managers go on and post on Facebook, like, you know,’Hey, I’m with the senior. We’re hanging out together’ on their Facebook post.

 

Adam: [00:13:25] Yeah.

 

Ron: [00:13:25] So those community managers will share their content on their personal social media. And then all their friends are gonna see it. That’s just gonna create a new buzz. You know, and that’s a lot better than just saying ‘Hey, we’re a hand to hold, we do in-home care services you should come buy from us right?

 

Adam: [00:13:41] Right.

 

Ron: [00:13:42] And so it’s for organizations you have such a great pipeline of people that work inside your organization, and just tapping into them with your social media channels, and being able to get them engaged with you. Just have fun with it. Have fun working. Have fun doing what you’re doing  and share it on social media and just get your community engaged with you.

 

Adam: [00:14:00] Yeah. I totally agree. Well, Ron, let me see if I can recap what I’ve learned so far, and then you can share your final thoughts.

 

[00:14:06] It’s great man. You did great. I’ve got some good notes here. So, under what’s worked well. First thing, content marketing. Be content focused. We’ve talked a lot about that. You said focus on this was a quote. “Focus on real content, real people, and real results.” I’ve put that in bold, because that is amazing. If you take away nothing else from this podcast, take that away right there, people.

 

[00:14:28] You also said write content for your users not for yourself. Under what hasn’t worked well that we can learn from, you mentioned ‘Fail a lot…fail often…but fail small.’ I love that. Buying links and old SEO black hat practices absolutely does not work. Hiring cheap bad advice doesn’t work, because you do get what you pay for. And unloading marketing on others doesn’t work, because there has to be an investment from the organization in order to get things done.

 

[00:14:53] Under what you’re excited about. You mentioned the future innovation SEO is becoming more reputable and not so shady, which is fantastic and becoming a more integral part of the digital marketing strategy and focus and landscape. Also, there’s a focus on real results. You also mentioned you can’t game Google. That one’s in bold too. Remember that one, people. You can’t game Google. Stop trying. And brands are getting smarter and better at what they’re doing, and why they’re doing it. So, Ron,did I miss anything there ?

 

Ron: [00:15:20] Yeah, that’s great, yeah. And especially just piggybacking off the real results, you know. Like, whenever you’re looking at like the wins, the articles that get placed also you placed when it comes to SEO, your social media posts. If there’s not likes, comments, shares and  interaction and views on those posts, then it’s just really pretty much useless, right?

 

Adam: [00:15:37] Right.

 

Ron: [00:15:37] So,it takes a lot to build it up. So don’t get discouraged starting out and say “Our posts are not getting results” this is a failure. It’s gonna take years to build up a really good marketing system. But the goal is to get engagement with your posts, get engagement with  articles, you get placed on other websites. And  just really trying to drive real people to really read your content. You know, that’s kind of the winning recipe in SEO now.

 

Adam: [00:15:58] Yeah.

 

Ron: [00:15:59] Just interacting with people. And yeah, that sums it all up though.

 

Adam: [00:16:03] Ron, this is great, man. Thanks so much for being on the podcast. I really enjoyed it.

 

Ron: [00:16:05] Thank you. I appreciate you having me.

 

Adam: [00:16:08] And thank you to our listeners, for listening to the Good People, Good Marketing podcast. To get more…Oops, I messed that one up, huh. But thank you for listening anyway.

 

To get more results about nonprofit digital marketing, make sure to go to goodpeoplegoodmarketing.com, where you can find more podcasts, blogs and other fun resources. Also, if you want to find me, Adam, you can find me on Twitter, @ajwalker, or on my blog at adamjwalker.com, where I talk about leadership, productivity and the craziness of having five kids. Thanks for listening and tune in next time.

 

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