Join Andrei and our guest on todayโ€™s episode, โ€‹โ€‹๐Œ๐š๐ซ๐ค ๐‘๐š๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐š๐ง, as they will be discussing turning B2B brands into category thought leaders through little known content marketing strategies. ๐Œ๐š๐ซ๐ค is the founder and CEO of Content Callout and a successful podcast host himself.

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๐‚๐จ๐ง๐ง๐ž๐œ๐ญ ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก โ€‹โ€‹โ€‹โ€‹๐Œ๐š๐ซ๐ค:ย ย 

๐‘Š๐‘’๐‘๐‘ ๐‘–๐‘ก๐‘’: https://www.contentcallout.com/

๐‘€๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘˜ ๐‘œ๐‘› ๐ฟ๐‘–๐‘›๐‘˜๐‘’๐‘‘๐ผ๐‘›: https://www.linkedin.com/in/markraffan/

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๐‘€๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘˜๐‘’๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘ข: https://marketiu.comย  / https://marketiu.roย ย ย 

๐ด๐‘›๐‘‘๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘– ๐‘œ๐‘› ๐ฟ๐‘–๐‘›๐‘˜๐‘’๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘›: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreitiu/ย ย ย 

๐‘€๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘˜๐‘’๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘ข ๐‘œ๐‘› ๐ฟ๐‘–๐‘›๐‘˜๐‘’๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘›: https://www.linkedin.com/company/marketiuย ย ย 

๐‘€๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘˜๐‘’๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘ข ๐‘œ๐‘› ๐‘‡๐‘ค๐‘–๐‘ก๐‘ก๐‘’๐‘Ÿ: https://twitter.com/marketiuagencyย ย ย 

๐‘€๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘˜๐‘’๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘ข ๐‘œ๐‘› ๐ผ๐‘›๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘Ž๐‘”๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ž๐‘š: https://www.instagram.com/marketiuagency/ย ย 

๐ธ๐‘š๐‘Ž๐‘–๐‘™ ๐‘Ž๐‘ก hello@marketiu.roย 

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Episode transcript:ย 

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Markย ย 

They realise, hey, the investment for digital is oftentimes significantly less than the investment for conferences and trade shows, and the ROI is about the same or better. And so when you think of it from that perspective, a lot of companies, I think are still gonna go back and add in a conference or a trade show here and there. Don't get me wrong, I think they're still really, really good for a well-rounded programme. But I think that it's going to be less and you're going to see a lot more companies invest in digital, especially when it comes to content and social and trying to leverage social.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

Hi, there! This is Andrei, and you're on a new episode of The Marketing Innovation Podcast Show. Our special guest today is Mark Raffan, the CEO of Content Callout and a successful podcast host himself. He turns B2B brands into category thought leaders through little known content marketing strategies, which is exactly what we'll be discussing today. So without further ado, Mark, it's a pleasure to have you on the show, pumped to see how our discussion goes and what secrets we find from you. How are you? How's the morning been for you?

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Markย ย 

Yeah, fantastic. Thank you so much for having me, Andrei, I appreciate it.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

Pleasure is all mine. Looking forward to catching up on the geeky stuff here in the B2B content marketing? Subject line. First of all, let's start with a quick introduction so our listeners here can get to know you a little bit and for them to know you as a person, and what was your journey as a marketing leader, and then entrepreneur. As well as podcaster if not. We can talk about your podcast as well because I had to look at some of the episodes and they are pretty cool. Why not talk about that as well?

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Markย ย 

Sure. Thank you very much. So, my background is actually not in marketing. I actually come from a sales and procurement background. That's where I spent most of my career. And then five years ago started a company called Negotiations Ninja, which is a negotiation training and coaching business, which also has a podcast. And that's how we gain notoriety. That's how we built our thought leadership. That's how we grew that brand, through the podcast. And then just over two years ago, we started Content Callout, because we thought: Hey if we can do it for one brand, but we could do it for other brands, too. We started Content Callout with the intention of building that for other companies. And now we do B2B content marketing, which is basically anything in and around the content space. So if you think of blogs, white papers, case studies, anything that's written on social media, any kind of social media management, and then also any kind of video content, what we do not do is we're not a PPC shop. We don't do any kind of serious SEM programmes. We don't do full-scale demand jams, primarily focusing on content and content production. That's our jam. We've been doing that for just over two years. And we work primarily in the B2B SaaS space and the health tech space. So those are the types of companies that we work with on an ongoing basis. And we also have a podcast for that. It's called B2B Content Marketing,ย  The Content Callout. And we've had some amazing guests on from Joe Polizzi to Robert Rose to Lindsey Chip Kamma, like a bunch of amazing guests, and they've been incredible. And we've learned so much from them. And I'm really excited to hopefully share some of that information today on the show with you.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

Great stuff. And I know that a good proportion of the listeners, or a significant one, I would say, come from these types of b2b backgrounds. So whether that is services, but specifically tech and software, there's been a couple of you guys emailing lately, I know. And health-tech as well, I think would be also tech for education. I know, we had a couple of conversations last week. So really great stuff. And hopefully, you guys will be able to get some nice insights from our discussion today. And Mark, as you have this background in sales as well, in negotiation, I didn't say to you in our previous discussion, but why not go into this area as well, because as marketers, you know, negotiation happens. And every point along the way, whether you are marketing in an organisation, you need more budget, and I know you had a podcast episode talking about, you know, internal negotiations for that as well. Or whether it's, you know, negotiating with your internal teams from sales or financing or whatever else. We encountered that as well. So, you know, negotiation and sales can also be good, parallel discussion topics that we can touch upon, whenever you feel would be a good opportunity.

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Markย ย 

Yeah, fantastic. And you know what, a lot of people especially those who come from a marketing background, don't immediately see the connection between marketing and negotiation, but they're actually really really similar because both disciplines deal with influence and persuasion. And when you think of it from that perspective, we both got the same foundational aspects into everything that we're doing. Because we're trying to influence and persuade someone to do something on both sides. And so when I can break it down to its most fundamental levels, most marketers go, oh, okay, I get it. And I actually find that a lot of marketers are great negotiators. Once they can understand that there's a connection there. They're like, Oh, I can understand what we're dealing with now. So yeah, happy to get into that discussion, too.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

Perfect. Okay, so first things first. Let's start from now and then go into case studies and the past and everything else. But how do you feel the b2b space as a whole has shifted or changed over the last one to two years? I wouldn't say from the beginning of the pandemic, because some of the things were happening before in this space, you know, white papers and all that, and content marketing to a certain degree. But do you feel there has been any particular change in approach across the board, from the clients that you work with?

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Markย ย 

Fundamental shifts have been massive. I mean, especially if you think of any kind of budget dollars that were associated to trade shows moving to digital. So I think that is probably the biggest shift, although we've seen a big move back, as well. A lot of companies are reinvesting back into trade shows, reinvesting back into conferences. And that's because if you do it right, those things work, as well. So those are the big fundamental shifts. And what I think a lot of companies have found in the process of switching a lot of those dollars, from trade shows and conferences to digital is that they realise, hey, the investment for digital is oftentimes significantly less than the investment for conferences and trade shows, and the ROI is about the same, or better. And so when you think of it from that perspective, a lot of companies I think, arts are still gonna go back and add in a conference or a trade show here and there, don't get me wrong, I think they're still really, really good for a well-rounded programme. But I think that it's going to be less, and you're going to see a lot more companies invest in digital. Especially when it comes to content and social and trying to leverage social to the maximum they can, because social is like a giant conference if you think about it, right? The interaction, the engagement, all of that is a lot of similarities to the conference world. So being able to leverage that is really, really important.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

And going into the content production area. And maybe you can refer here to written content marketing. So having that SEO component. Do you feel there has been an increasing competition here, when it comes to more brands producing more content, maybe to a more professional standard?

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Markย ย 

Yeah, I think there's definitely been an increase in competition. Let me say there's been an increase in volume, maybe not an increase in competition, but there's been certainly an increase in the volume of content being produced. The upside for a lot of us in the content marketing space to that is it's given a lot of eyeballs to content marketing in general. People have started to realise the benefits of content marketing. And now there's a lot of people that realise, oh, my goodness, I've got to be playing this game. The downside, of course, is that you're now there's only one SERP right, depending on whatever keywords you're trying to rank for. So you've got more competition, potentially. So the opportunity for Category development is significantly higher, in terms of like a blue ocean strategy, I think there's a lot of opportunities there. And also, the good thing is that it's, it's allowed a lot of us to really invest in quality content, especially in the b2b space to stand out. Because anyone can throw words on the internet. But it takes really good writing and editing team, and a really good SEO platform to be able to make that writing count. So I guess there's been more competition, there's been more volume. I don't necessarily think it's hurt anyone who's been investing in it the right way, though.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

And you touched upon something which I want to be one of our core discussion points and that is becoming a category leader or creating your own category. So if you would like to talk about some of the examples that you had with clients when you were designing a strategy for this, because I think this may be relevant to this 2 people that I know are listening to us and are in that sort of startup phase where they are putting the strategy together. And I just think this would be super relevant for anybody, but particularly, I know two people that will appreciate us that in touching on this point,

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Markย ย 

When you think of category creation, right, if you think of HubSpot inbound, if you think of revenue intelligence, even Casted, which is a b2b podcasting platform, their categories amplified marketing, they basically created that category. And now everyone's talking about it. The thing that a lot of people really miss with category creation is the absolute requirement for volume. And the absolute requirement for your ability to stick with it. Because you're trying to create a category that no one is searching for right now, right? Like there are no eyeballs, right. So like, if you're thinking of PPC, there are tonnes of people searching PPC, if you think of content marketing, there are tonnes of people searching content marketing. But if you try to create a whole new category, there is no one searching for that yet. So there's no search volume, which means that you have to create a lot of the search volume. So you have to be really, really on it with PR, you have to be really, really on it with the volume of content that you're producing, you have to do things like this coming on shows to talk about the new category that you're creating, and how it's different and why it's different, and why people should pay attention. So your outbound push on what it is, you want your category to appear like to the marketplace, has to be very substantial and very sustained for a very long period of time, so that you can build up the search volume so that you can start getting inbound. Because there's no inbound, right, it's all outbound, to begin with. So that you can get all of that inbound built over a period of years. And it's going to take a period of years.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

So looking at it from a content marketing strategy point of view, this will be the long term component of a content marketing strategy. Okay, good stuff. So do you think this would be something to be considered by anybody? Or are there particular niches or types of businesses that you found this working better for in the b2b space?

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Markย ย 

It depends on what it is you're trying to achieve. If you're a consulting company, you're not creating a category, right? Let's be honest with each other, you're just not, you're a consulting company. So you have to compete on keywords that are already available, you're never going to be a Bain, you're never going to be a McKinsey, you're never going to be a BCG. So don't bother. Compete in your space and niche down, I would say be a very niche on that space. But if you're a tech company, and you have a new platform or a new product that changes the way that something is done, then it may make sense for you to create the category. And in creating that category, you've got to be really sure that that's something that you want to do because it takes a very heavy investment. And if you've got investors, they're going to need to understand that, because they're going to want to see, like a traditional investor is going to want to see ROI fairly quickly, or at least growth fairly quickly. In creating a category, especially when it comes to outbound marketing, that growth is still a requirement. And you also still have to do all of the outbound stuff with no search volume. Right? So when you think about that, it's a substantial investment that you're gonna have to make. It's not something that I would easily recommend for everyone. Now, if you're willing to be patient and invest and do the right things if you look at what Casted has done, for example, like ZACHARY And Lindsey overcast, Holly who's their VP of Marketing, they've done an amazing job, right? They've really built out the amplified marketing, the whole idea. They've built out that whole category. And now everyone's talking about it, I see Forbes articles about it, and entrepreneur articles about it. And it was really them that created that category. And it'll continue to grow more and more and more. But it was really them that created that and they're at the forefront of that category now. So people like you and I are searching, for amplified marketing, there's actually some search volume now. But it does take a lot of investment and a lot of time, so don't go into it lightly. For those of you that want to do this, just be very sure that it's something that you want to do.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

Okay, so and then of course, if we go back to the theory of having your content organised into pillars and satellites and everything else, probably, if we were to think about it from an integrated point of view, this can be a pillar, but it has to be that pillar that always stands and will be there for years as you mentioned, Mark, to ensure that you build on top of it, but it will require a lot of resources because you need that volume. And then you know having the other content pillars that will enable you to rank for some keywords or key phrases that do have search volume. So in the end, you are able to justify for the business internally, but also for the world, that the content marketing and SEO that you are doing actually gets people onto the website, the relevant people, and then proves, you know, results to the business.

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Markย ย 

Yeah, and you bring up a really very important point, Andrei, and a lot of people don't think about this is like, you still got to compete. Because there's still search volume out there for something that you probably do or part of something that you probably do. So you've still got to compete on that content, too. So you're creating content for the new category. And you've got to compete on the existing keywords of the existing categories that are out there. So those pillar strategies are essential to that breaking out a long-form 4000 5000 words, piece of pillar content and having that sort of hub and spoke model that you can create and do a lot of like internal and external links to create a lot of that inbound traffic is critical to your ongoing competitiveness. And again, it's something that you really do need to invest time and money and strategy into. And it seems like you've thought very deeply about this because a lot of people don't think about that. A lot of people don't think about the strategy that goes behind it, they think, Well, I'm just going to start blogging. And hopefully, some of this stuff gets picked up. No, there has to be a significant strategy that you put into it. Because you've got to think about okay, well, who am I trying to reach? Right? That's the whole idea of who's my ideal customer profile? Who are the target buyers within that ideal customer profile? Who are the influencers to those target buyers? What are they searching for on an ongoing basis? How am I going to reach those people? And then how am I going to differentiate myself from my existing competition who I'm competing with, on keywords? Right? So not only do I have to rank but it also has to be something that's good to read, when you get to the website, otherwise, the bounce rate becomes super high. And then what's the point? Right, like, why would you rank congratulations, but no one reads it. The point is to get someone to read it, not just to rank, we want to get someone to read it as best we can. Because when we get someone to read it, they get engaged, and then they move into our fun. So ideally, you want to get something that is really, really great readable content too.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

And of course, long term if we are to think about it, if you don't have good retention on-page and people just navigate 10% of your page and that they drop or leave, then that will damage your page authority in the long run. So okay, you may be getting a great domain authority as time goes by. But that content that you struggled for, may not rank for too long, until it doesn't anymore, because another competitor may produce a better piece of content that targets those may be key phrases like the main key phrase that you target and you rank for.

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Markย ย 

Yeah, and it's not just about production, right? You've also got to distribute. And that's the second half of content marketing that most people don't think about it.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

Let's go into this one, actually, because I think, yeah, this is very under-discussed, I think, and I would really like to hear your thoughts on, you know, you produce and then what happens?

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Markย ย 

Well, then you've got to have people read it, right? The strength of your content marketing and marketing is a function of two things. It's a function of the quality of the content that you're producing. And it's a function of the people reading that content. Without people, you could write the best piece in the world. But if people don't read it, then it's useless. Because the goal is to get people to read it. So the question then becomes, how do we get people to read it? Well, two different ways. One is organic distribution, right? SEO, social, all that kind of stuff. And the other one is paid distribution. So any kind of paid SEM, or paid social work that you may end up doing? Most people post organically, and then they're like, cool, and we're good, but they don't invest in the paid distribution. And I would argue that a big part of your budget not only has to be around the content that you're the production budget, but the distribution budget as well, if you're not spending 50% of the budget on distributing the content, you're really missing an amazing opportunity, because you're not going to get organic search like and you're not going to rank right away, right? Like you don't, it's not like you've posted and then you're automatically page one. That just doesn't happen. So you've got to start that process with the paid distribution. You've got to do paid social, you've got to do paid SEM. And without it, you're really missing a major opportunity to get people to read your stuff.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

Have you found a direct link between investing whether that is Google or social media? So direct budgets into let's say, blog posts, but let's say a long-form blog post just to be sure that we have the quality element there. So investing or not investing budgets in a blog post and the speed at which it can increase ranking.

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Markย ย 

Substantial. We ran this experiment recently with our own stuff, where we created a long-form piece, 4000 words, it was a guide on a b2b marketing for Sass companies, b2b content marketing for SAS company was the guy that we produced. And we made it ungated. And we just, we did almost like a really rough AB test, we posted on social with one post that looked a certain way, and we made it all organic, and really didn't get anywhere, and it was doing a little bit of ranking after three months, not anything substantial. And then we took that exact same post and just boosted it. Like we didn't even put an intense strategy behind it. We just boosted it on LinkedIn, because that's where all of our customers are. And the click-through rate was substantial. Like we did very, very well on click-through rate because we understand our customers. And the bounce rate went way down because people knew what they were going to read because they're coming in from social, and we ranked a lot faster. So now for the keywords that we're trying to rank for, which is content marketing for b2b SaaS companies. Was page one. And now what ends up happening is we've actually beat out what we believe is our major competitor, I won't say their names on here, but we've beat out our major competitor, and we rank higher than them. So we're number five, page one, within two months of doing that, versus three months of organic where it didn't really count. So a substantial difference that a result of paid marketing does to ranking as a result of that.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

Nice. And would you be able or willing to share the budgets? If somebody thinks about doing the same, what would be a budget that maybe you invested or thought would be good to start with at least?

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Markย ย 

Man, it totally depends on what you're trying to rank for. Because if you've got a consulting company, and you're a management consultant, let's just choose the obvious one, right, like, let's just say you have a dental practice, and you're trying to rank for dentists practice in your city, or whatever it might be, the competition is massive, right. So I would say be very, have a good SEO strategy on where you want to rank and why you want to rank there and choose less competitive keywords where you think you're going to get better quality inbound, as a result of those less competitive keywords. And don't be afraid to go longtail because you know, what a perfect customer is going to search for. So for example, in our case, we know that we really only want to speak to people or talk to people that are in b2b SaaS. And we really only want to speak to people in b2b SaaS, who are searching for content marketing. So our long tail is content marketing for b2b SaaS. And so the result of that, of course, is yes, we may miss out on a lot of higher search volume, but the search volume that we do get is better quality. And so we're able to compete on those keywords, and then do much better. Now, if you're in a very competitive industry, it's going to cost you significantly more, and your budget is going to be more now it doesn't cost us very much. I mean, maybe we spend $1,000 or $2,000 a month on any kind of paid distribution of our content. But that's because we're being very strategic about the keywords that we're trying to rank for, and where we're trying to rank in general. But if you sell cacti, and there are 1000 cacti companies in the world that are, you know, or in your area that is doing exactly what you do, your competition is going to be fierce. So, it really depends on what you're trying to do. It doesn't have to be substantial. That's what a lot of people don't understand. Like, when the people hear two grand, they're like, Oh, that's not that much money. You're like, yeah, it doesn't have to be right, like, pick out the keywords that make sense for your organisation and who you're trying to target and work with those, to begin with. Go from there.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

Great insight. Thank you. Okay, and stalking content marketing. Now I mean, one of the big differences between content marketing and PPC, for example, as we all know, is that content marketing, mainly if we talk about reason, content marketing, you need patients to see some results. I mean, they can come sooner or later. Sometimes it takes longer depending on the competition, depending on the topic as well, but it may take a bit longer, As with PPC, you can present pretty soon some initial results. What are some, I don't know, maybe funny stories, or maybe challenges that you encountered in your discussions with decision-makers, let's say, in presenting content market or getting content marketing strategies or plans approved.

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Markย ย 

Thing is, if you're working with marketers, it's never a problem, right? Because marketers get it. So if you say to them, Look, we're probably not going to rank for this for at least eight to 12 months. They're like, okay, cool. But they understand that after that eight to 12 months, you're going to as long as you're maintaining that page on a regular-ish basis, as long as you're updating, updating it, as long as your technical SEO is good. On your website, you're going to probably maintain that position or improve it over time, right, you're going to do very, very well over time. Whereas unfortunately, a lot of people who aren't in marketing, they expect immediate results for SEO. And then they're surprised when those immediate results don't happen. And I don't think it's their fault. I think it's it's I think it's actually our fault, as marketers, because we have done a poor job of communicating the differences between SEO and SEM. And we've done a poor job of communicating the differences between all of the things that we're doing within each of those major segments, and why we're doing them. And if you follow up and make a logical argument of here's what we're doing in all these different areas, here's why we're doing each of these things. Here's right why it's not an either-or situation. It's not like a, like, I would never say to someone choose sem over or over SEO, or like choose PPC, over content in there. They're not mutually exclusive, you should be doing both things. But our decision-makers are going to say to us, well, you have to choose one or the other because the budget is limited, right. And so you have to make a decision, I would much rather you take a smaller budget for both and try and do both, rather than pick one or the other. Because the SEM is going to get you the short term results that you need, in terms of the whatever sem strategy you're trying to run. And the SEO strategy that you're building, or the content marketing strategy that you're building is going to be the long term results that create all of the inbound traffic or a lot of the inbound traffic over a period of years. So it, our decision-makers don't know that. So we have to have a logical argument of why they should do something, then we have to say to them, well, here's why we should do it. And here's why it matters to our organisation. So you've got to tell them, like what's the benefit to them. And then you've got to be able to be credible enough to be able to carry that organisation. If you've screwed up the marketing budget for the last three years in a row, no one's going to trust you anyway. So just making sure you hit those three points is critical.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

With itself. Okay, so now going into or touching a bit more on thought leadership. As we saw in b2b, this is being done in a couple of ways. So what we do here, podcasts is one of them. Then we have the interviews, roundtables, and white papers as well, for SAS, this is a very common practice. What, are some of the strategies that work well for you guys, for your clients, or some of the things that you know, like the hidden secrets that you can share? Of course, not all of them that you think would be worth looking at from somebody that activates in this niche?

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Markย ย 

I think it depends on what you want to achieve. So if, if you're depending on where you think you need to hit all three major stages of whatever your funnel is, right? So awareness, consideration, and action or rare awareness, consideration and intent, however, you want to look at those big three parts of the funnel. I think a lot of people are really good at creating awareness-based content. But consideration content is where a lot of people really struggle. So white papers, case studies, all that kind of stuff, I think really comes into a lot of that middle piece of the funnel. So I would say, as a hedge, I wouldn't go a third, a third, a third, I would maybe go a quarter and then two quarters and a quarter for the bottom and have your intent content be the same sort of set and volume of content you're producing as your awareness content. I would spend more time in the consideration phase because that's where most people are going to be helped. You're going to be helping those people to make a decision. And then don't be afraid, to make sure that you're developing content for other sites as well. So a lot of guest posting a lot of backlinking, any kind of Reddit posts where you want to be available on social media be very present on social media, those are the major areas where I think you should be focusing.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

Okay. And when you say, you know, social media, do you see it just as a medium of distribution for the written or visual content that you produce? Or are there other strategies that you currently implement in the b2b space and seem to be working very well? And we can get channels as well here, like if you have insights from Quora already, that you think would be relevant.

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Markย ย 

I think a lot of it comes down to engagement, yes, distribution of the content that you have, but engaging on the comments of that content. So a big part of our, where that's where we spend, that's the vast majority of hours, the Labour hours in our business, for our clients, where we run social media for them, is based on the engagement, because that's where the quality of conversation improves. And that's where the consideration begins. So yes, you post something on social for awareness that can, that's only awareness, if someone engages on that, they're considering something, could be anything, just could be part of the conversation. But that's where the consideration begins for a lot of people. And then they're gonna say, Well, how am I gonna share this with someone on a Slack channel, or I'm gonna share this with someone on a text, or I'm gonna share this with someone on something else. And that's where you're gonna get a lot of the engagement beginning. So I would say focus on focus on engagement, more than distribution on social and try and create as much engagement as you can. So especially when it comes to social, make sure your first few lines are really, really good, right? That there's a hook. Like, why should someone read this? There's some interesting stuff that someone wants to read, we look at it through three lenses. So is it educational? Is it entertaining, as is it interesting, if you can hit at least two out of three of those, you're in a good spot. And remember that your audience is looking for something that's going to stop them scrolling. And that's what we're trying to do. So the first couple of lines have to be a scroll stopper. And then you can start getting into the conversation and then engage people on social. So if someone has liked it, where someone is one of the target audiences that you're looking for, tag them in the comments and say, Hey, I saw that you liked this. We'd love to hear your feedback on it. Whatever that person's name is,

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

the productive workers within.

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Markย ย 

It has to be its people think that social is passive, it's very active. But you have to be very, very, very active. And there's a big downside to that because it just takes hours, it takes a lot of time. A lot of time,

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

What's your experience with groups, LinkedIn, maybe even Facebook?

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Markย ย 

Not a big fan. I'm not a big fan of LinkedIn groups, I think they used to be something that was good. I haven't seen anyone being active on LinkedIn anymore. Like not for at least not for two years, three years, maybe Facebook groups, it depends on who's running the group, I find if someone's doing regular inbound into that group, meaning they're constantly building the audience and engaging the audience on an ongoing basis. And it's purely educational for that group. It can be amazing, and it can be incredible. It depends on who's running that group. But LinkedIn has really sucked for the last three years.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

Whether they are kind of following in Facebook's footsteps, or maybe if Facebook is focusing a lot on groups these days, maybe they will want to work something out. I don't know. I was just curious here. Because, yeah, we did not have a lot of success with LinkedIn groups lately.

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Markย ย 

Have you had success with LinkedIn?

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

Not much. I mean, not. We had a couple of trials, but nothing really popped out. So we were like, Okay, fine.

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Markย ย 

Yeah, I think I think where if, especially if you're creating a category, going back to that conversation, the strength of the group is, is based on the strength of the community that you're building. And there are better community tools than a LinkedIn group, right? So creating a Slack channel, for example. So if we're going to make the comparison, why have a group to create the community, in my opinion, right? That's why you have a group. So I would much rather be investing my dollars in creating a small Slack community like an active Slack community than I would in a LinkedIn group there's really no reason I would create a LinkedIn group these days.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

Okay, agree with that. Okay, another question that I had here, I'm avoiding you. So, you know, if you want to ask back here. But having your background as a, you know, more of an in the sales director, and content marketing in b2b Being a lot linked to the ability of that content to generate leads, or, you know, sales qualified leads in general. How do you or how do your clients find it? How do you find your clients? Make the choice engaging or not some of the content?

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Markย ย 

That's a good question. I don't think it's an either-or, I don't think like everyone's like, Oh, you like there's a big trend lately to say something to the effect of never gate content? And then you've got other people that are like, no, no, you should always get content. And I think it depends on why you're building the content in the first place. So if, if you're, if you're doing it to get ranked, and if you're doing it to build up as your rank overall. And if you want people to read it on an ongoing basis, and it's a pillar piece of content, I don't think you should get it. I think that's something that you need to drive traffic to that you need to constantly develop and build. But if you've got a really technical white paper, that is really important for your business, like a lot of crypto businesses, have really deep technical algorithms that they don't want to share publicly with anyone else. Because it's really important. That gating is really, really important because it gets people who are interested in learning about the technology to download the white paper, or at least to have a conversation with someone to learn more about the white paper. So I think it really depends on why you're doing what you're doing. I don't think it's an either-or conversation, I think you can have both. And I think for a lot of companies, it makes sense to have both agreed, gated and gated.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

One way that we found was working well for some of our clients was, maybe for you guys that are looking at refreshing your content marketing strategy for the summer for the second part of the year. I very much agree with you, Mark. And what we are doing at the moment is working out the content plan. What is it, as you mentioned, what can drive real SEO benefits, a lot of the subjects that we are looking to include do or are links to keywords or key phrases that have either a very targeted search volume, so they are really relevant to the business or have a higher search volume. But it's also very feasible for us to want to rank within the next three to six months. So for those ones will create content, even long-form that is not gated, but then in producing industry status reports, or these types of things that are very insightful for decision-maker, maybe, but there's not a high volume of searches on those specific keywords. Those can be gated, or you can create an excerpt, maybe like 1000 words summary, and then for somebody that wants to go in more depth, hey, you can you know, download this, if whatever. Leave your details or business info. And then we agree. Yeah. Awesome. Man, this was a very good chat, and you know, a record the amount of time.

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Markย ย 

Well, you're an interesting guy, man, you've got great questions.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

Well, you have great answers. So I think it's a match waitstaff. So what are you guys planning for the rest of the year now, to wrap up the episode and maybe get some inspiration from our discussion to our public that maybe the guys tuning in today can start to integrate and look at for the coming months?

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Markย ย 

For us personally, for our business, a big part of what we're doing is trying to make sure that our sales and our marketing engines are in tandem. And just making sure that marketing is arming sales with all of the things that they need to do their outbound work, and then inbound work, and then making sure that they're set up for success. So just that sales and marketing alignment is a big, big deal for us. For the next couple of months. We've recently hired a couple of new salespeople, so we want to make sure that they've got everything they need to be successful. And the Blurred Lines, especially in the BDR roles between sales and market, it's so blurred now where I was almost the same because a good BDR person is going to be a good copywriter and a good copywriter. generally a good marketer. And so I think it's, we're gonna see more alignment over time. And the other thing that we're really, really focused on for this year is just making sure that we're active on social as much as we can because we really think that that's going to be our long term success, at least for non owned organic stuff. That's where we really want to play very well. So that's going to be big for us.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

Great stuff. Thank you. Okay. And finally, for content, call out, tell us a bit about what you guys are doing exactly with companies if we have people in here that would like to have discussions with you, or, you know, connect and ask you questions.

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Markย ย 

Yeah, that'd be awesome. So if you, if you listen to the show, and you want to connect with me, please do connect with me on LinkedIn, you can just search my name on LinkedIn, Mark Raffin, where you can go to our website, that's content callouts.com. And I've got a gift for everyone who's listening if you are interested in pursuing content marketing, in some sort of way, and you know that your company needs to invest in this, and maybe this is something that you've already got freelancers, but you're like, hey, maybe we should try an agency. We will be happy to provide you with a custom-tailored 1000 word blog post, completely free of charge. If you listen to this podcast, and you tell us that you heard us on this podcast, so please do reach out if you have anything.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

much appreciation. Thank you, Mark. Okay, guys. So you'll have details to Mark's LinkedIn profile, as well as to the content cloud platforms in the description of this episode. And of course, feel free to reach out to mark directly if you have any questions that you think we can answer or help in bringing you guys. As always, feel free to email us or ping us on social or write to me directly. As well as any other questions or recommendations for future episodes. Mark. I feel this was a great episode. So if you're up for another debate sometime this year, yeah. Awesome. So let us know guys. Thank you, Mark, for today. This was a really nice chat.ย 

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Markย ย 

I really enjoyed it, thank you very much for having me.

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Andrei Tiuย ย 

Guys. Thank you as always for tuning in and for being with us. Looking forward to your feedback and thoughts on the episode. And until next time, hoping this got a bunch of value to your marketing plans to your content marketing activity, and keep rock rolling. Have a nice one and keep up the good work.

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