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B2B Marketing Agency CEO | Putting “Marketing” Back Into Content Marketing | Content Distribution & SaaS Focused
The value of content marketing in B2B has been proven, so it’s no longer a question of whether your content budget is funded but how much you will spend and how you’ll optimize that spend.
In this episode of Closing Time, B2B marketing agency owner Ross Simmonds talks about getting more mileage from your existing content.
His mantra is, “Don’t just create content for the sake of creating… create something once and distribute it, reuse it, repackage it, republish it, and recycle it forever.“
Ross will also share specifics about how and when to recycle content and the changes AI is already bringing to the world of SEO. Ready to level up your content marketing in 2024? Join us!
The world often views B2B marketing as the less glamorous cousin of the vibrant B2C sector, famed for its eye-catching e-commerce and consumer-focused allure. But Ross doesn’t buy it. He says the real issue isn’t with the brands themselves being boring; instead, it’s the marketers in charge of marketing them.
Ross says that reinvigorating B2B marketing starts with taking a page out of the B2C strategy book. It’s about injecting storytelling and messaging with a dose of creativity and courageously venturing into new channels and methodologies. Truly understanding the target audience—grasping their challenges, desires, and professional needs—paves the way for content that resonates and captivates.
Encouraging teams to propose ideas, no matter how unconventional, and drawing inspiration from diverse industries can unlock novel insights. This creative liberation requires a corporate culture that not only allows but encourages creativity and experimentation.
It’s also vital for marketing departments to carve out specific time for creativity, away from the day-to-day demands and deadlines. Allocating a portion of resources, even as little as 5-10%, to experimental projects can be a game-changer. While not every endeavor will be a home run, the occasional breakthrough can give a company a substantial advantage.
Think Reddit for B2B—it’s probably not a B2B marketer’s first choice of marketing channels. But for Ross at his previous company, it brought them great success. They experimented with the new idea, got banned a few times, and eventually cracked the code for success on the platform. The result? First-page ranking and increased exposure for their brand—all of which wouldn’t have been possible if they hadn’t put resources towards something new.
A significant part of a content marketer’s job is to advocate for ample budget and resources to meet their goals. Thankfully, today’s marketers have it much easier than a decade ago when fewer people bought into the idea that content can drive real ROI.
Today, we can all, for the most part, agree that content is king. Everyone knows that creating a podcast is a smart move if it’s valuable content for your audience—the same goes for blogs, webinars, and e-books. If your content can improve the lives of the people you serve, you can get ROI from it.
Ross explains that the battle is no longer about creating content; it’s about what to do with it after it’s created. Many organizations create quality content, like a blog post or a case study, but fail to leverage it fully. They might share it once on platforms like LinkedIn and then quickly move on to the next project, letting that valuable effort gather digital dust.
Ross’s advice: don’t just create for the sake of creating. Instead, focus on creating something once and then distributing, repurposing, and remixing it indefinitely.
A case study about a successful client engagement, for instance, shouldn’t be confined to a single landing page or a one-time social media post. Instead, it should be continuously repurposed, recycled, and reused. Post it to your website, but also add it to your newsletter, share it with your sales team, and include it in your email signature. The ultimate goal is to capitalize on your content marketing budget and ensure the content reaches its maximum potential while engaging audiences over time and across various platforms.
Let’s say you just ended a 60-minute webinar with your team. You might think this is the end of the event, but in reality, it’s just the beginning. What you do next can either maximize your team’s effort on the webinar or let it die.
Ross shares 11 actionable next steps to get the most milage for it:
First, you’re going to download that webinar and upload it to YouTube and a site like Vimeo.
Someone on your team is going to listen to the webinar (or proactively take notes during it) to identify what we call ‘money moments.’ The money moments are the most insightful points shared within that webinar. You’re going to clip those money moments and add them to your content calendar to be shared over the next six months as one-off assets.
In addition to that, the person who just did those clips is going to format them not only in vertical video so they can go further on those channels. They’re going to crop some of those videos to just be a good old-fashioned horizontal video so they can become a part of a blog post. The blog post isn’t just going to be a transcript (a big mistake that a lot of brands make). You’re actually going to listen to the webinar, try to identify key points. Make sure that those videos with those money shots are embedded within them, and then you’re going to distribute that as well.
That webinar was probably very valuable and some of your listeners who happened to subscribe to your podcast might find it valuable too. So you’re going to extract the audio clip from that webinar and add it to your podcast library.
At this point, you’re probably very tired and exhausted… but there are still more things that you can do.
You’re going to take that same article that you wrote. You’re going to change the title. You’re going to upload it to Medium.com.
You’re going to change the title again. You’re going to upload it to LinkedIn as a Pulse, and then you’re going to use LinkedIn’s newsletter function to distribute it to all of your connections.
At this point, you’ve probably done a better job than 95% of the brands in the market. Pat yourself on the back… but if you’re really hungry to still distribute this webinar, start reaching out to people who have a newsletter and let them know that this is something that their audience would love and share it with them, share it with your sales team, tell them to add it to their signature and let that webinar continue to spread across the Internet.
You spent 2 hours drafting a social post about a topic you know your audience cares about. It provides value and includes an engaging graphic. You confidently press publish. A few hours later, you log in to LinkedIn and are met with depressingly low engagement on your content. Do you give up on it? You can, but Ross suggests otherwise. Here’s how he recommends marketers approach content repurposing.
Timing for Successful Content: If a piece of content significantly boosted your follower count, it’s best to wait around six months before reposting it. This interval allows for a balance; half of your audience, the newer followers, likely haven’t seen it, while it’s been long enough for the original viewers that the content will feel fresh again.
Dealing with Unnoticed Content: If your content didn’t receive much attention initially, don’t be too quick to discard it. Often, the lack of engagement is due to poor timing or algorithmic quirks, rather than the content quality (find tips for mastering the LinkedIn algo here). Maybe you posted it on a holiday, or it got lost amidst other major news. In such cases, it’s perfectly fine to republish the content within a short period, like the following week or two weeks later. This approach ensures that your content gets the visibility it deserves.
Recognizing When to Retire Content: If, after ample exposure, your content still fails to resonate with your audience, then it might be time to retire it and focus on creating new material. This decision should be based on a significant sample size that gives a clear indication of the content’s reception.
In any case, intentionally timing the repurposing of your content can lead to increased engagement and follower growth, with minimal net-new effort. It’s all about understanding your audience’s response and adjusting your strategy accordingly.
At its core, AI enhances the speed and efficiency of content creation. We all know this. However, the quality of the output heavily depends on the skills of the content creator.
For instance, a poor content creator using AI will likely produce low-quality content more quickly. Similarly, a mediocre creator will produce average content at a faster pace. But, a skilled content creator can harness AI to produce high-quality content more efficiently, elevating their work to new heights.
The rise of AI has led to a saturated market in B2B, full of AI-generated blog posts and articles. Ross explains that standing out in such a competitive environment requires a commitment to content excellence that surpasses AI capabilities. Content creators must aim to elevate their work from good to exceptional, leveraging AI as a starting point but not relying on it entirely.
The key to differentiation lies in the human touch – understanding nuances, cultural contexts, and industry-specific details that AI might miss. For example, adding multimedia elements, engaging imagery, telling stories, including first-hand experiences, and crafting content that resonates on a deeper level with the audience can make a significant difference.
In practice, this means using AI to create content at scale and then investing time and energy into refining this content with human expertise. The goal is to enhance AI-generated content from a basic level to a top-tier, best-in-class standard. This approach not only improves the chances of ranking high on search engines but also increases shareability, engagement, and potential revenue.
For those looking to implement these strategies, Ross has a free checklist available to help marketers find this balance. This checklist provides practical tips for elevating AI-generated content, ensuring it not only ranks well on Google but also resonates with audiences and drives tangible results.
Recycling content. Is it lazy or brilliant?
Let’s talk about getting more from your content marketing investment
in this episode of Closing Time.
Thanks for tuning in to Closing Time the show for Go to Market Leaders.
I’m Val Riley, head of content and digital marketing at Insightly CRM.
Today, I’m joined by Ross Simmonds.
He is CEO and founder of Foundation. Marketing, a B2B agency.
Welcome to the show, Ross.
Thanks for having me,. Val. Excited to chat with you today.
I’m really delighted. I was picked for this topic to host
with you, Ross, because content marketing will always be my first love.
So let’s hop right in and talk about Foundation Marketing.
So it’s an agency that, among other things, develops content
for software companies, manufacturing companies, B2B in general.
But I noticed you also talk
about developing content for quote unquote boring companies.
So I’d like to talk a little about that. Yeah.
So when we got started in this industry, there was a lot of hate
towards B2B as being a boring space.
Everyone wanted to go into B2C
with the flashy e-commerce launches and all of that stuff.
And I traditionally got my start in a lot of like consumer packaged goods.
So I went into the wonderful world of B2B and I was like, there’s so many lessons
that can be applied from B2C and from DTC
that can be applied to be to be and unlock some amazing returns.
I believe truly that there’s no such thing as a boring brand.
I just think there’s a lot of boring marketers
and that happens on the back of a lot of marketers, seeing what
other marketers they’re doing and have done in the past
and simply replicating and trying to do the same thing
without actually trying to get creative with their storytelling,
with their messaging, and take a little bit of a risk
with a channel that they might be unwilling to tinker with and play with.
So for us, when we think about marketing, we want boring brands to be okay
coming to us and say we want to increase organic traffic,
we want to increase social.
And what we do that is different is we don’t just look at their followers
and their competitors and say,. This is content you should create.
We understand their audience.
The pain points, the problems, the things that they actually care about,
and develop strategies
and techniques that will help those people be better in their jobs.
And as a result,
they are more likely to consume the content that our partners are creating.
I heard a great I had a great mentor early in my career and he said that
the two most important words in marketing are What if?
Because if you’re in like a session and it’s brainstorming session
and you’re throwing around ideas and someone says, what if?
Usually that ends up being like,
the most amazing idea comes after those two words.
Right. I love that.
I think it encourages people to also be open to sharing those ideas.
And in a lot of teams, in a lot of organizations, the culture is
so, so restrictive where they don’t want to hear the what ifs.
But if you can encourage your team to bring up those ideas
that are a little bit more out there, that might take inspiration
from a brand that seems to have nothing to do with your space.
That’s where you can unlock some interesting insights that can transform
the story and the message that you go to the market with.
Yeah, I think it’s important to to just carve out space for those creative times.
You know, sometimes we get so caught up and this is in my to do list
and this is what I have to, you know, my deadlines, etc..
But marketing teams just need a little bit of space to be creative.
100%. I agree.
I always tell organizations like you should allocate a percentage
of your time to high risk experimentation work,
and then the rest can kind of just like keep the engine rolling.
But if you can allocate 20, 25%, even 10% of your energy of your budget
to experiments, once in a while you’re going to hit something
that your competitor would have never touched,
but ultimately becomes an amazing growth lever for you and your organization.
We’ve seen this time and time again.
Back in the early days,
we were experimenting with a channel called SlideShare.
we were uploading presentations that were much more heavily designed
and it was capturing the audience’s attention and they were getting millions
of views, millions of shares.
We did the same thing on a channel called Reddit,
and this was again like eight years ago.
We went into Reddit as a B2B brand, and brands were kind of like,
Oh, Reddit that’ll give me the hives just thinking about.
But we studied it, we experimented, we were blocked, we were banned,
but we kept trying and tinkering until we figured out the code.
And now we can get to the front page in the matter of a few minutes.
Like you have to be willing to experiment with these channels to build new muscles
and to build new distribution channels for your organization at large.
Yeah, totally agree.
Let’s flip back to content though, because yeah,
for those of us who might not be in the agency world,
are you still fighting a battle
where it’s difficult to get companies to invest in content?
Or has everyone pretty much been convinced
like this is important and there is a payoff?
You know, over the last decade,. I would say
everyone in the industry has heard some guru come on a podcast,
has heard some guru go on stage at a conference and say, content is king.
And as a result, the entire industry has listened.
And for the most part, everyone gets it.
Everyone gets that creating a podcast is a smart thing
to do, if you can create valuable content for your audience.
Everyone gets, if you can create valuable eBooks,
valuable blog posts, valuable webinars, and they actually add value
to the lives of the people you serve, you can get ROI.
So that battle is not as difficult as it used to be.
But what is difficult now, more than anything, is to shift the narrative
from this idea that we should just create a bunch of content to a new idea,
which is we should actually do things with all of this content
that we’ve produced because a lot of organizations believe in content,
but they don’t do anything with the content that they produce.
They create a blog post.
They promote it once on LinkedIn,
and then it’s on to the next blog post and that’s it.
You never hear about that blog post again.
In reality, when you create a case study about a great client that you’ve worked
with, it shouldn’t just live on one landing page, get promoted
once on X, promoted once on LinkedIn, and then it collect dust.
It should be repurposed, it should be recycled, it should be reused.
And that is what we believe at Foundation is the key.
Don’t just create for the sake of creating.
Create something once and distribute it, repurpose it and remix it forever.
So let’s say we have a great webinar.
So you’re suggesting we’re going to make it into a blog post.
We’re going to make it into maybe a quick clip on LinkedIn.
Give me some other ideas that you typically suggest.
So you just held an amazing 60 minute webinar.
You press publish on it.
Everybody who attended loved it.
They thought it was great, amazing.
Typically, that’s the end of it.
What you’re actually going to do is you’re going to now
download that webinar and you’re going to uploaded to YouTube,
you’re going to download that webinar, you’re going to also upload it to a site
You’re going to take someone on your team, is going to listen to it
and identify what we call money moments.
moments are the most insightful points that were shared within that webinar.
You’re going to clip those and you’re going to add them to your content calendar
to be shared over the next six months.
They’re not all going to go to the market in the next month, the next 30 days.
They’re going to be scheduled to go out on X,
They’re going to be scheduled to go out on LinkedIn.
They’re going to be scheduled to go out on your various channels
as individual one off assets.
In addition to that, the person who just did those clips are going to format them
not only in vertical video so they can go further on those channels.
They’re going to crop some of those videos to just be a good old fashioned
horizontal video so they can become a part of a blog post.
The blog post isn’t just going to be a transcript.
This is a big mistake that a lot of brands make.
They just download a transcript and they upload it.
You’re actually going to listen to the webinar, try to identify key points.
Make sure that those videos with those money shots are embedded within them,
and then you’re going to distribute that as well.
That webinar was probably very valuable and some of your listeners
who happened to subscribe to your podcast might find it valuable too.
So you’re going to extract the audio clip from that webinar,
you’re going to upload it to Spotify, you’re going to upload it to Apple Music,
you’re going to distribute it through your podcast as well.
At this point, you’re probably very tired and exhausted,
but there’s still more things that you can do.
You’re going to take that same article that you wrote.
You’re going to change the title.
You’re going to upload it to Medium.com.
You’re going to change the title.
You’re going to upload it to LinkedIn as a Pulse,
and then you’re going to use LinkedIn’s newsletter function
to distribute it to all of your connections.
At this point,
you’ve probably done a better job than 95% of the brands in the market.
And I would say pat yourself on the back,
but if you’re really hungry to still distribute
this webinar, start reaching out to people who have a newsletter and let them know
that this is something that their audience would love
and share it with them,
Share it with your sales team, tell them to add it to their signature
and let that webinar spread across the Internet.
I love it.
You’re just getting so much mileage out of that effort.
So you mentioned something about like coming back to it, right?
How soon is too soon to come back to older content?
So let’s say, for example, your follower count has grown significantly.
Is it okay to revisit a content piece and and how long?
Like maybe it was the content piece that caused your follower count to grow.
So your concern may be, Oh, some of those people have already seen it.
What’s your advice there?
So if you had a piece of content that truly took your followers from 5
to 10, doubled your audience, you’re probably going to want to wait six months.
You’re going to want to wait six months because 50% have seen it.
They’ve engaged, they’ve shared, they’ve loved it.
Six months is when I would bring that back to the market.
Now, if you press publish on a piece of content and it got crickets,
don’t be discouraged.
So many people get discouraged when they’re met with crickets,
not realizing that they happen to schedule it on a Friday
when everyone was checked out because it was a long weekend
or not realizing that the algorithm just happened to not work in their benefit
because there was news about a major acquisition that happened in their space.
So people missed the content.
Don’t be afraid in those moments to share it the next week, share
it two weeks from now.
Content that is met with crickets is very rarely an indicator of bad content
and is actually an indicator of bad distribution.
So get that content in front of more eyeballs.
And after you have a large enough sample size that says,
okay, yeah, a lot of people seen this, but they didn’t like it, then
it’s time to maybe retire that asset and move on to the next piece.
So you mentioned quality content and what comes to mind for me is,
of course AI,
so because I do feel like there might be a little bit of a trade off there.
Can you talk about how your agency is using AI in content development
and maybe how you’re counseling clients on their use of AI in content?
So AI is fundamentally changing the way that people create content, period.
Everyone knows that.. But here’s what most people don’t know.
If you’re a bad content creator
and you use AI, you’re going to create bad content faster.
If you’re a mediocre writer
and content creator and you use AI, you’re going to create mediocre content faster.
But if you are a great content creator and you use AI,
you’re going to be able to create great content at a more rapid rate.
So the game is still very much the same.
Mediocre content creators are still going to create mediocre content.
Bad content creators are probably going to be replaced entirely by a
AI because AI can do everything they can do.
So where does that leave you as a brand?
It leads you to a point where you need to recognize that the market
is going to be saturated with AI driven content.
This is going to lead to more blog posts that you’re competing with
that are written by AI.
So how do you stand out amongst that?
The best way to stand out is to actually make an internal commitment
that you have a bar for content excellence.
That is better than what an AI can do.
So you have to level up your entire content engine
to say, when we create content, it needs to do these things.
We need to elevate our content.
Yes, we can leverage. AI to get a starting point,
but it is just that it’s the starting point
and we need to put humans behind it
to take that piece of content from a seven to ten,
so it’s best in class and it actually stands out
and differentiates from everyone in the market.
So what we’ve been doing with partners is we’re leveraging AI to allow them
to create much more content at scale, but we are investing time and energy
in humans who understand the nuances of an industry,
of a culture, of a space, of a niche, to take a piece of content that
might have taken us a much more longer time in the past to get to an eight.
In taking that eight and trying to accelerate it into a ten.
So is there opportunities for us to include multimedia assets,
for us to include imagery, for us to create pieces of content
that are a little bit more engaging and entertaining?
We believe in elevating AI content
and taking it from that eight to a ten.
So you have best in class content across the board.
We have a free checklist, b2bgrowth.com/ai.
Everyone can access it.
You don’t have to
even send an email, I don’t think at this time to get access to it.
And it’s a checklist that we use to elevate content
that we’ve consistently see start to rank first page in Google,
but also generate shares and traction and revenue on the back of it as well.
We had Jay Baer on our show recently and he’s a marketing guru,
and he said, AI actually stands for average information
like, well, that is a good one because I truly believe it.
So I’m going to ask you kind of a crystal ball question.
And you hinted at this a little bit before, but, you know, when you see
what impact AI developed content is going to have on the practice
of SEO in your firm,
how do you see that changing?
I’m excited by it.
I’m truly excited about the future because the future
looks a lot more like 1970 than it did 2021.
Like, I’m excited by it because what is going to happen in
the future is that brand and messaging and story is going to matter
way more than it used to.
Because as everyone is able to leverage
AI to create content, the market is going to be flooded with it.
As more and more people rely on things like chatGPT to get answers to questions.
It’s going to shift our behaviors as humans,
we are no longer going to rely exclusively on Google.
We’re going to rely on chatGPT,
We’re going to rely on Tiktok, we’re going to rely on YouTube.
We’re going to rely on Reddit.
We’re going to go to all of these different sources.
So when that happens,
something special happens.
People start to connect
with more people and people start to exclusively trust people.
And when that happens,
the winners are going to be the brands that were able to tell a story
to serve their customers well, and were able to connect emotionally
with their customers in a way that makes them feel like they need to
and should talk about this great product that they’re using.
So amongst the commoditization of content, we’re going in the future
to a time in which more emphasis is going to be placed
on brand and storytelling than ever before.
And that’s scary to a lot of SEOs, but it’s exciting to the good ones
because the good ones recognize that marketing is not just about
ranking in the SERP, it’s about adding value to your customers,
whether it’s through educational content, engaging content, entertaining content,
or empowering content.
And if you can do that, well, you’ll win the game.
Well, I have to say I’m
feeling a lot more empowered as a content marketer myself with your words, Ross.
So thank you very much.
Thank you so much for having me.. I really appreciate it.
I hope that you and your listeners get some value out of this, and I really hope
that folks aren’t afraid of AI, but instead are more encouraged to use it
and leverage it so we can all elevate as an industry.
Well, hopefully we got a couple of money moments in there for our editor,
so maybe you’ll see those clipped on LinkedIn here in a little while.
I like it. I look forward to it.. Thanks for having me, Val.
Thank you so much.
That’s all the time we have, folks.
Appreciate you tuning in.
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And we will see you next time on Closing Time.