T.P.R. Episode 1 - How to Use Content to Increase Revenues
Sam: Today, we're going to be talking about how your company can use content to increase revenues. Super important! Let's start with a bold statement here, okay: the internet forces companies, regardless of size and industry, to be marketers. Mikhail, tell me, do you agree with this statement and why?
Mikhail: Yeah, I absolutely agree with this statement. Every company, regardless of whether you're mom-and-pop coffee shop or you're running a $100,000,000 factory, whatever it might be, because the internet is so easily accessible and developing content, like videos or audio or even pictures is so easy to do (you can just upload it to any platform), everybody has to do it and everybody IS doing it! So if you like the one of two people that aren't, you're going to lose.
Sam: You're left on the outside looking in. Hannah, do you think that companies have a choice whether to be marketers or not?
Hannah: No. There's a very low barrier-to-entry which means it's easy to start a Facebook page or start an Instagram account. And the strategy is a little bit more difficult, but there's really no excuse.
You need to provide value. You need to raise the brand awareness for your company. If you think about Taylor Swift, how she took everything off and basically started from scratch on all social media profiles, even on Tumblr, and then gradually posting the little snippets. The world went crazy because it's Taylor Swift. And so she has that awareness and she is building the awareness of dropping her new single in a very social-based way.
Sam: Very interesting. So not only developing content, but controlling the distribution of that content is super-powerful. So the internet is a place for companies to attract people to their company using content. They use content to convert those people into customers, and then turning those customers into raving fans using content.
Sam: Hannah, in your experience, what is the most powerful content format that companies can use?
Hannah: I think you need a really cohesive blend of all of it. So video is definitely the top choice, and it should be it's very engaging. It grabs people's attention, like if you're scrolling through Facebook. But there's still value in photos and also in blogging and in copy-writing, obviously I'm a little bit biased because I am a copywriter, but especially with infographics. So write a blog post and then have an infographic with some of the key points.
I saw a study from Hubspot that said you will have 178% more inbound links, and 72% more views, if your article has an infographic and if you advertise it as having that. And so if you have this blend of different types of content, your website will be engaging, your social media will be engaging, and you'll draw people in that way.
Sam: Very interesting. So Mikhail, do you agree with Hannah?
Mikhail: Yeah, I mean, making sure that you have the blend is obviously really important. I wouldn't 100% agree with the fact that video is going to be #1 for everybody (because what if you are a clothing manufacturer, for example). There is ways to make that really cool but maybe maybe photos would be better. It just really depends. But I think with that said. it's just important to find out what your audience is really going to respond to the most. And then do more and more of that.
Sam: Now you had mentioned, Hannah, that video content being huge as far as it being engaging and it's actually the #1 thing that people do on the internet. They're watching video more than they're doing anything. Why do you think that this is happening?
Hannah: I think it just engages you more. And I know I said that before but I think having something that's moving and that kind of grabs your attention more than just a static photo (it tells a story). Photos can tell a story, copy can tell a story, but a video combines audio and visual and it just brings it together in a package. You can release it, you can add the captions on it for Facebook, and it just ends up really bringing in people's attention.
Sam: It seems to be the most immersive content format, as far as immersing yourself in a single message. Now Mikhail, what advice do you have for our viewer and our listener about their company, what would you tell them as they're looking to scale their content marketing operations?
Mikhail: Well, you've got to find somebody, for one, who specializes in just doing that. Like for example if you're a dental office or something like that, don't have your receptionist manage social media just because they're a 20-something female, or whatever it might be.
Make sure that they understand each platform. Because, that way, they're going to be able to create content that actually makes sense on each platform. And even more so, they're just going to understand what to put out (when to put out). That's really the biggest thing, don't think that it's just posting. There is a strategy behind it.
Additionally, there are a lot of online resources. Like "how to market on social media" is a viable Google search. A lot of stuff is going to come up, probably some stuff from Replay. But yeah, there's lot of resources to really help out with that, and don't be afraid to outsource certain things as well.
Sam: So Hannah, what advice would you give to a company who's struggling with writing copy for their content or just writing content in general?
Hannah: I think a big part of it is to just take a step back, it doesn't need to be an all-or-nothing. You definitely want it to be high quality. If you can only get out two high-quality blog posts a month, do that. Don't worry about getting five out, if they are going to be shorter, less valuable oddly-written content. You want it to be engaging and you want it to be valuable for the audience.
The ultimate goal is to always provide value because then you'll be top-of-mind when that customer says, "oh I need a dentist (or something like that). I heard about this really great dentist. Let's look him up and let's make an appointment.
And so, focus on that value and focus on your strengths. Maybe you're really engaging on camera, focus on video. Try a couple 15, 30-second informational videos. Or if you prefer not to be on video, you can try some blogs. Work on it, experiment. Find what works for you.
Mikhail: Yeah. That's the thing, if you don't have resources to outsource or hire somebody else just like Hannah said, find out what you're comfortable doing. And whatever you can do well, do it often and consistently.
Sam: So how can a company use content in order to build awareness about their company, what they do, what they offer and what they're about?
Mikhail: Well first thing is first, the content that they're creating, you have to remember, you have to distribute it as well. Replay started as a video production company, right? How many times have you heard like, "oh we have the video, now what?"
Well there's Facebook, there's Instagram, there's Twitter there's blah blah blah, whatever you want to use to put it out there, so take all of the content that you have and make sure to distribute it on the channels that make sense.
Sam: Interesting. So the channel really does matter.
Hannah: Or rather, customizing it to the channel.
Sam: So it's about creating the content format that's most consumable on that platform. So how can a company use content to generate leads?
Hannah: I think it's really about being top-of-mind, like I mentioned earlier, and then also creating gated-content. So again let's go back to the dentist example, so it's "6 Ways to Help Your Children Grow-up with Healthy Teeth.
And then you ask for their first name and their email address. You put that email gate on that, then they get the content and you now have their e-mail because they opted-in. So you have their permission to e-mail. You then gradually draw them in a little bit, giving them content, and you want to serve valuable material for them. And then when you get to that certain point then you can sell them. So you want to provide that value and then ask for their money.
Sam: So back to your original point that you made is really about, first, building value for your audience. Making sure that you're able to help them solve a problem. Answer a question. Realize an opportunity using content. This concept of reciprocity, where you're giving something of value to them to help them while they're giving you information. And when they give you that information it helps you to understand that this particular person is interested in, and finds value in, having clean teeth. So that's exactly what you do. The alignment there is extremely valuable.
Sam: So how can a brand position content, to not just create a lead but, to actually move that prospective customer, that lead, into an actual customer?
Mikhail: As much as we're delivering value, and I think that there does have to be an 80:20 rule of like here is some value type of content, you have to make sure that you have a call-to-action as well. That's like the #1 thing that I think a lot of people forget. And make it bold, whatever you're offering, do $20 or free consultation (although, I think everyone is doing a free consultation, nobody cares anymore).
So I think just being aware that you do actually have to ask them to buy.
Sam: And I think that it's important too, to note, that if you are going to offer something that's free, like a consultation, there needs to be some sort of value associated with that so that people understand what value that is. So if it's a free consultation, and that's a $150 value, you should tell them "we give a free consultation, which is $150 value". So that they understand exactly what they're saving by taking the action that you want them to take.
Mikhail: And I think to your point of making sure that it's of value. I think it's important for the audience to understand too, content isn't just a video and it's not just like one article or anything like that. Content is still pieces of paper. Sure if you want to create something custom, and they actually come in for the consultation, give them something back with their name and their custom profile on it so that they know that. And it goes home with them, that is also a piece of content for them.
Sam: That's really what it comes down to, and what our viewer and what our listener should gather from this is that creating content is about building value and giving something of value to your audience. Helping them solve a problem. Helping them realize an opportunity. Answer a question.
A silver bullet, if you will. Not necessarily the whole piece of the pie, but something that can help them to progress down that path.
Mikhail: Sometimes is not a bad idea to give the whole pie away. Like if you actually told your patient how to do a root canal by themselves, you think they're going to go do it?
Sam: Well fantastic stuff, guys. To our listener- I hope that you were able to find value in the 1st episode of The Production Room. We thank you so much for joining us!
Sam: This has been an episode of The Production Room, brought to you by Replay - The Collective Marketing Agency. My name is Sam Smith, your host and the Head of Growth Operations here at Replay. And until next time, keep growing. Don't ever stop. Don't ever, ever stop.