In this episode of the SaaS Business Podcast, Ron Gaver’s guest is Nick Raithel of Content Corps. Nick and Ron discuss the unique requirements startups have for content marketing.
Nick points out some of the “dos” and “don’ts” of content marketing stressing the need to begin by building relationships with clients before trying to market their products or services. He describes road-mapping, a tool used by Content Corps to plot a client’s marketing course, delve into competitors’ tactics, and define success in advance. He discusses how road-mapping can save you time and money.
He discusses the various types of content and channels for content marketing. One of his favorite types of content is email courses. When done correctly, email courses can help you win your customers’ loyalty. When done incorrectly, they may turn customers away because they are perceived as marketing. With email courses and content marketing in general, the idea is to lead with value and avoid creating content that is nothing more than a thinly concealed sales pitch. He examines the various ways entrepreneurs can use social media to amplify their content by building relationships and increasing audience exposure. He then points out that published books are often overlooked as a marketing tool to build personal authority and set you apart from your competitors.
Nick closes out the show with the four most damaging content marketing mistakes aspiring entrepreneurs make and offers an exclusive bonus to listeners of the SaaS Business Podcast in the form of free course tools.
- Resources Mentioned in Episode
- Episode Outline
- Episode Transcript
- Disclosure Concerning Affiliate Links
Resources Mentioned in Episode
Please see Disclosure* (below transcript) concerning affiliate links on this page.
Click any timestamp on the website to start listening at the noted time.
- #AskGaryVee – Nick Raithel used #AskGaryVee (Gary Vaynerchuk) as an example of repurposing content. See the separate entry for Gary in this list for more information about him and what he does. Listen or read at [spp-timestamp time=”36:30″].
- Audible* – I’m a podcaster. I like audio. I can listen while I do other things. Audible is now part of Amazon.com. In this episode, Nick Raithel recommends Audible to those of us with busy lives as a way to educate ourselves on the go. New users receive a 30-day free trial, as well as one free story when they register. Listen or read at [spp-timestamp time=”40:53″].
- AWeber* – I am an AWeber customer and affiliate. AWeber is email marketing software. I find it to be an affordable solution satisfying my current needs. AWeber employees and (and as far as I know disinterested) third parties have told me that messages sent by AWeber end up in the Spam folder less often than some of their competitors’ messages because of their conservative approach. Erik Harbison, the Chief Marketing Officer for AWeber, will be discussing the marketing stack for a SaaS company in an upcoming episode (it is in post-production now). The episode is about the various marketing tools he has used for SaaS companies more than it is about AWeber. This is in alignment with what Nick Raithel says in this episode. Listen or read at [spp-timestamp time=”22:53″].
- Buffer – I am a Buffer user. Buffer is SaaS for social media automation. Buffer currently provides queues, schedules, and analytics for Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Integrations with the browser and smartphones make buffering a post easy. Reposting (at least on the basic plan) turns into a manual process, which has driven me to another app for reposting and may eventually lead to me discontinuing Buffer. Buffer analyzes engagements with your posts and can suggest an optimized schedule based on maximum engagement. Buffer can monitor Instagram for engagement but does not provide the capability to post to Instagram. Listen or read at [spp-timestamp time=”19:11″].
- Buzzsumo – According to the site, Buzzsumo allows you to analyze “what content performs best for any topic or competitor,” and to “find the key influencers to promote your content.” The current pricing model has the starter plan for bloggers and small teams at too high a price point for me to try at this time. Other guests have recommended it, and I hear good things from elsewhere. If is seems like a tool you need and you can justify the price, I think you should give it a try. Listen or read at [spp-timestamp time=”19:28″].
- Content Corps – Content Corps Is Nick Raithel’s company specializing in content marketing services for startups. Their services cover the gamut of content marketing. Some specific areas of focus are road-mapping the customer’s current and future state, creating an editorial calendar for consistent content production, creating email courses, helping clients publish books to enhance their personal and brand authority, and tailored social media engagement.
- Content Corps Bonuses for SaaS Business Podcast Listeners – Nick Raithel has provided two free courses as an exclusive bonus to SaaS Business Podcast listeners: “Deadly Mistakes in Content Marketing” and “The Faster Content Mini-Course.” According to Nick, the first is “a quick guide showing you seven mistakes you must avoid when doing content marketing,” and the second is “a short, actionable mini-course to help you learn faster ways to create killer content for your blog and social media.” Listen or read at [spp-timestamp time=”44:22″].
- Drip – Drip is email marketing software that allows you (according to the site) “to trigger an email, campaign or tag based on any action a user takes, be it expressing interest in a topic, downloading a sample chapter of your book, starting a trial of your software, or viewing your upgrade page.” Drip also provides a visual workflow design capability for your marketing campaigns. Listen or read at [spp-timestamp time=”04:54″].
- Gary Vaynerchuk – “Gary Vee” started out doing irreverent videos about wine. He is not your typical wine snob, and this set him apart. Add to that a fair amount of hustle and you will find Gary the author of five books available on Amazon,* videos, a podcast, etc. His books are about the things has done and how to do them. His book Crush It is about personal branding and Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is about standing on in a noisy world. Listen or read at [spp-timestamp time=”36:30″].
- Infusionsoft – Infusionsoft is a marketing stack for small businesses. They currently provide email marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) with all plans. Other plans provide sales automation and e-commerce. Listen or read at [spp-timestamp time=”22:53″].
- MailChimp – MailChimp is email marketing software. Listen or read at 22:53.
- Marcus Aurelius – A Roman emperor’s reflections on Stoic philosophy, published from 170-180 AD. Nick Raithel alludes to this work in his discussion about how personal study into Stoicism can give an entrepreneur mental toughness when facing challenges and disappointments. Listen or read at [spp-timestamp time=”43:18″].
- Salesforce – Salesforce is one of the original SaaS companies to make it “big.” Originally customer relationship management (CRM) SaaS, it is now more of an ecosystem of apps and extensions. Founder and CEO Marc Benioff has chronicled the history of the company in his book Behind the Cloud* written with Carlyle Adler. Dreamforce, their annual expo, draws more than 100,000 people to San Francisco. If you click on the link provided, you should recognize some of the speakers. Nick Raithel mentions Salesforce as the model of what most SaaS businesses are not likely to become stating that most successful SaaS entrepreneurs are more like to become “quiet millionaires” like those studied in the book The Millionaire Next Door (see entry in this list). Listen or read at [spp-timestamp time=”42:30″].
- Seneca* – When Nick Raithel discussed Stoic philosophy and its applicability to modern entrepreneurship, he specifically mentions Letters from a Stoic*. To illustrate this similarity here is an excerpt from Amazon’s webpage [preceding link] about Letters from a Stoic: “This selection of Seneca’s letters shows him upholding the austere ethical ideals of Stoicism—the wisdom of the self-possessed person immune to overmastering emotions and life’s setbacks….” I’m not sure you can get that into 140 characters. It may be a bit too much for us today. Listen or read at [spp-timestamp time=”43:18″].
- Stoicism* – Nick Raithel mentioned Stoic philosophy having applicability to modern entrepreneurship. See the entries for Marcus Aurelius and Seneca in this list. Listen or read at [spp-timestamp time=”43:18″].
- The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy* by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko – Originally written in 1998 and revised in 2010, the book presents the results of a study of millionaires and identifies seven common traits. Nick Raithel mentioned the book as a good fit for SaaS entrepreneurs. Listen or read at [spp-timestamp time=”41:13″].
Click any timestamp on the website to start listening at the noted time.
- [spp-timestamp time=”00:00″] Intro
- [spp-timestamp time=”02:42″] Content Marketing – Startups Versus Established Businesses
- [spp-timestamp time=”03:50″] Content Channels for Startups
- [spp-timestamp time=”04:09″] Email Courses to Build Relationships
- [spp-timestamp time=”04:52″] Educate and Provide Value to the Market
- [spp-timestamp time=”07:10″] Leading with Value – Avoiding the “Sales Pitch” Email
- [spp-timestamp time=”08:40″] Building an Email List through Content
- [spp-timestamp time=”09:42″] Effects of Funding on a Startup’s Sense of Urgency
- [spp-timestamp time=”10:37″] Publishing a Book to Build Personal Authority
- [spp-timestamp time=”11:46″] E-Books versus Physical Books
- [spp-timestamp time=”12:39″] Content Marketing as a Long-Term Play
- [spp-timestamp time=”13:15″] Content Corps’ Book Production Services
- [spp-timestamp time=”13:37″] Blogs and Content Upgrades – Getting Customers Involved
- [spp-timestamp time=”15:16″] Snapchat as a Marketing Channel
- [spp-timestamp time=”15:40″] Effectiveness of Facebook and Twitter as Marketing Channels
- [spp-timestamp time=”16:41″] Using Social Media to Amplify Content
- [spp-timestamp time=”18:16″] Tweeting to Maximize Engagement
- [spp-timestamp time=”19:11″] Tools for Effective Social Media Engagement
- [spp-timestamp time=”20:00″] Using Twitter Lists to find Influencers
- [spp-timestamp time=”21:15″] Measuring Success in a Marketing Campaign
- [spp-timestamp time=”22:41″] Tools for Monitoring Email Course Engagement
- [spp-timestamp time=”23:03″] Identifying Success in Content Marketing
- [spp-timestamp time=”24:27″] Road-mapping – Determining Client Objectives
- [spp-timestamp time=”25:16″] Road-mapping – Researching Competitor Strategies
- [spp-timestamp time=”26:14″] Road-mapping – Using an Editorial Calendar for Consistency
- [spp-timestamp time=”27:42″] Course Module Frequency and Boundary-less Courses
- [spp-timestamp time=”28:46″] Email Course Length – Long Content versus Short Content
- [spp-timestamp time=”29:34″] Full Content in Email Versus Linked Content on Website
- [spp-timestamp time=”30:03″] Content Corps’ Approach to Customer Research
- [spp-timestamp time=”30:19″] Identifying the Client’s Ideal Customer
- [spp-timestamp time=”31:13″] Audit of Existing Content Marketing Sequences
- [spp-timestamp time=”31:31″] Using Editorial Calendars
- [spp-timestamp time=”32:25″] Entering the Conversation in Your Prospect’s Mind
- [spp-timestamp time=”33:38″] Factors Influencing Long-Form Content Engagement
- [spp-timestamp time=”35:03″] Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
- [spp-timestamp time=”35:26″] Content Marketing Mistakes – Having Too Narrow a Focus
- [spp-timestamp time=”37:18″] Content Marketing Mistakes – Inconsistency
- [spp-timestamp time=”37:39″] Content Marketing Mistakes – Pure Creatives Doing Content Marketing
- [spp-timestamp time=”39:02″] Content Marketing Mistakes – Overly-Formal Language
- [spp-timestamp time=”40:38″] Nick Raithel’s Personal Recommendations of Influential Material
- [spp-timestamp time=”40:53″] Audible as a Flexible Means of Self-Education
- [spp-timestamp time=”41:13″] What Are Quiet Millionaires?
- [spp-timestamp time=”43:17″] Stoic Teachings to Mentally Strengthen the Entrepreneur
- [spp-timestamp time=”44:18″] Free Content Marketing Bonus Material for Podcast Listeners
- [spp-timestamp time=”45:10″] Conclusion
[spp-timestamp time=”00:00″] Ron Gaver: This is the SaaS Business Podcast, Episode 018: Learn about Content Marketing for Startups with Nick Raithel.
[spp-timestamp time=”00:20″] Nick Raithel: One tip, and one thing that we really keep in mind is to enter the conversation that’s already going on in the prospect’s mind. What that means is: what are they already thinking about, what’s already on their mind, what pains are they already experiencing? And you really want to speak to that as precisely as you can; and that really does involve research. If you can enter that conversation, then you can speak directly to them, and that’s when content begins to go from just “this is interesting” to “this is incredible” to “I can’t put this down” to “I need to read to the end of this to really find out what it is that is being put across as a message.”
[spp-timestamp time=”01:01″] Ron Gaver: Hello and welcome to the show! I’m your host Ron Gaver. This is the podcast designed to help you put the pieces of the puzzle together to start, grow, and succeed in your SaaS business.
[spp-timestamp time=”01:13″] Ron Gaver: Before we get into the show, I would like to personally invite you to visit our website. The URL is SaaSBusinessPodcast.com. When you visit, please be sure you sign up to get the FREE Resource Guide. This is a living guide that grows with the podcast. By signing up, you will always have access to the latest edition.
[spp-timestamp time=”01:30″] Ron Gaver: For each show, you will also find extensive show notes on the website. Show notes now contain ALL links for resources mentioned in a show, an outline of the show, and a full transcript. I have designed these show notes to help you quickly find valuable information. To get to show notes, just enter the base URL, a forward slash, and the three-digit episode number.
[spp-timestamp time=”01:52″] Ron Gaver: This podcast, the Resource Guide, and show notes are produced at considerable expense. They are my gift to you for your continuing growth and success.
[spp-timestamp time=”02:10″] Ron Gaver: Nick Raithel and his company, Content Corps, specialize in content marketing for startups. Nick joins us to share some of the lessons he has learned. Welcome, Nick.
[spp-timestamp time=”02:19″] Nick Raithel: Good to be here, Ron.
[spp-timestamp time=”02:21″] Ron Gaver: While I’m thinking of this, are you the CEO or the founder? What do you call yourself, as far as your position there in the company?
[spp-timestamp time=”02:28″] Nick Raithel: Our company is Content Corps (and that’s “corps” like the Marine Corps), so my official position within that—we like to joke—is Commander-in-Chief. I say that jokingly and seriously. I put that on my business card, so Commander-in-Chief would be the official title.
Content Marketing for Startups Versus Established Businesses
[spp-timestamp time=”02:42″] Ron Gaver: Alright. Reading through your information on your website, what I see is that you specialize in content marketing for startups. What’s the difference between the content marketing for a startup versus an established business? What would you see as the major difference there, and what do you see as the type of content a startup needs?
[spp-timestamp time=”03:03″] Nick Raithel: I think that the exact content that a startup’s going to have, verses a more established business, is going to depend from case to case. However, to be a little bit more specific where you can, a startup is going to have to work a little bit harder because they really are gaining traction, and in terms of gaining traction, they probably don’t have, in many cases, an email list the size of a more established business; and they’re also going to have to be—I would say—a little bit faster-moving, especially if [they’re] funded, because an established business has that advantage of just being around longer; and, when you’re around longer and you’re in the game longer, you tend to have, in most cases, a better understanding of who your audience is. You’ve worked with them more often. So, a startup just has to move faster. It has to be a little bit hungrier, if you will.
Content Channels for Startups
[spp-timestamp time=”03:50″] Nick Raithel: Now, onto the second part of that question. You were asking me about the types of content, was that right?
[spp-timestamp time=”03:56″] Ron Gaver: Yeah, for instance: what kind of channels would you recommend? A startup comes to you; they could have a podcast, but that’s probably not your first choice.
[spp-timestamp time=”04:03″] Nick Raithel: No, no, it isn’t. Although, as, I think, we’re seeing here with your own podcast, podcasts are a great means of content marketing.
Email Courses to Build Relationships
[spp-timestamp time=”04:09″] Nick Raithel: In terms, though, of specific channels, one of the ones that we tend to really like is courses—online, email-based courses—because, when you have a course, it not only shows that people are interested in the topic, but it’s also an opportunity to continually engage with them—multiple times, multiple touches, if you will. You email someone the first lesson of the course. Hopefully, they read it and get involved, but, if they don’t, you have an opportunity to send them the second lesson, the third lesson, the fourth lesson, and so on; and, really, if you’re doing your [email] course right, you’ll develop a relationship with them, so that by the time you either make them an offer or you want to pursue further contact, they’ve really begun to trust you and they’ve really begun to feel like they know you as a brand or as a company.
[spp-tweet tweet=”If you’re doing your email course right, you’ll develop a relationship. Nick Raithel”]
Educate and Provide Value to the Market
[spp-timestamp time=”04:52″] Ron Gaver: So would you call that a drip campaign?
[spp-timestamp time=”04:54″] Nick Raithel: You could use Drip (that email software) for it. So, in that sense, it would be a drip campaign; but I think that, if you’re looking at a course strictly in those terms, you might have the wrong perspective. I would concentrate more on the value up front. Think about [an email course] more in terms of educating people and then marketing from there, versus just: “We’re going to market to them.” Does that make sense?
[spp-timestamp time=”05:16″] Ron Gaver: Yeah. You’re trying to provide content that will be of value to them. Are you equating a drip campaign to a constant marketing campaign that doesn’t necessarily provide value? What’s the distinction that you’re making here?
[spp-timestamp time=”05:31″] Nick Raithel: I think that’s going in the direction of what I’m getting at, yeah. I’m talking about those marketers out there who just see it as: “Okay, we’re sending email #1. Now we’re sending email #2. Now we’re sending email #3.” If you’re just looking at it in those dry terms, that’s probably not the way to do it, compared to adding that value and really focusing on that value; and then, if that takes you three emails—great—if that takes you four emails—great—but really try to get the value out there first, and after that, worry about the marketing spin of it.
[spp-tweet tweet=”Get the value out there first, and after that, worry about the marketing. Nick Raithel”]
[spp-timestamp time=”06:01″] Ron Gaver: So, be of service or of value to the customer first, regardless of whether they’re going to buy from you or not. Hopefully, they will, obviously, or you wouldn’t be going to all the trouble; you wouldn’t be in business—you would be doing something else. I think I see the distinction there, and I think I’ve experienced both of those in my inbox. I certainly have seen a lot of courses. I’ve been reading through one on here lately on “How to Tame your Email” and “Best Practices for Email” and “How to get the Inbox Zero” and how to not necessarily unsubscribe but find a different way to dispose of it, and things like that. And it’s a day-to-day stream of modules, and ultimately, they want you to buy the product, but they’re trying to provide the value and teach you something in the process. Is that how you see it?
[spp-timestamp time=”06:44″] Nick Raithel: It is, and I would add to that that, sometimes, for some courses, you can tell when it isn’t really a course and when it really is just a very thinly concealed sales pitch. And you don’t want to be making those kinds of courses. I don’t think you do. In terms of really connecting with your audience and converting them long-term into people who are really going to want to work with you and develop a relationship, people can tell when the course is thin like that.
Leading with Value – Avoiding the “Sales Pitch” Email
[spp-timestamp time=”07:10″] Ron Gaver: Certainly, in the example I used, it was obvious that they, of course, wanted to sell you their product. They did give you alternative products as well. It was a slightly veiled, but perhaps never-the-less fairly obvious, intent of trying to get you to buy their product. How would you classify a course that diverges from that and is not just a very obvious marketing campaign?
[spp-timestamp time=”07:36″] Nick Raithel: Well, I think it comes, for starters, in the timing. Are you saying, in the very first email, “Buy from us”? Because if you are, then I would suggest you’re doing it wrong. I don’t think, in that first email—or even necessarily in that second email (depending on how many modules you’re sending out)—you want to be making any kind of explicit sales pitch. I think that something of that nature really does need to come later.
[spp-timestamp time=”07:58″] Nick Raithel: I think, in the beginning, at the very least, you should be, as they say, “leading with value.” So, leading in that first email or two or three with value; and, yeah, you can have a link to buy, maybe later on down the page. You can have some information so that if someone really does want to buy your product at that moment in time, they can; but you don’t want to be making just this blatant offer up front like that. You want to develop the relationship, develop the trust, and then move the offer in there and then move the command in there. You can still have a call to action. You can still have some of the traditional means of selling—some of the traditional means of moving in more of a business direction—but you want to be really careful with that in the initial stages.
Building an Email List through Content
[spp-timestamp time=”08:40″] Ron Gaver: You said something else about the email list. You said, “A startup doesn’t necessarily have the same size of email list that a well-established company does.” So, one of the problems for a startup is to build that list. Now, you can do that, in part, through content. How would you help a startup to build that list?
[spp-timestamp time=”09:00″] Nick Raithel: It’s certainly going to depend on the nature of the startup. Some startups, for example, like mobile apps—that’s going to be a different kind of startup; they’re going to connect with their audience in a different way than, for example, a startup that’s more hardware-based or more B2B-based. If you’re an app developer or you’re a startup based around an app, then you’re probably going to be more of a B2C focus, and so your customers are going to be interacting with you in a different way than a B2B startup where you might have more access to their emails, versus the B2C where Facebook is probably going to be one of the more dominant ways that you’re connecting with them and that you’re really interacting with them, and you might not have as easy access through email that way.
Effects of Funding on a Startup’s Sense of Urgency
[spp-timestamp time=”09:42″] Ron Gaver: You also mentioned funding, and the fact that a startup—if it’s funded—may need to move faster and may have a more urgent need to build that list as quickly as possible because they’ve got a limited runway of funding. How does that play in?
[spp-timestamp time=”09:58″] Nick Raithel: Yeah, it definitely creates a sense of urgency because, when you’re taking an investor’s money, you have a responsibility to them, and, more often than not, they’re going to want to see results quickly. They want, like anyone, a return on the investment. They want to see that return on the investment. So, whether that means building up your email list, whether that means—in the best cases—getting some kind of demonstrated success (whether that’s subscribers, whether that’s traction, whether that’s sales giving you kind of a tangible means of traction), I would say that those are definitely things that a startup is going to want to see and is going to want to be able to show their investors as they’re getting started and as they’re taking that funding.
Publishing a Book to Build Personal Authority
[spp-timestamp time=”10:37″] Ron Gaver: Alright. Besides an email course, what other types of content do you favor?
[spp-timestamp time=”10:41″] Nick Raithel: One of the ones that I think is surprisingly overlooked is putting out a book—a published book—and I don’t just mean something with Random House or HarperCollins. It can be that, and that is one of the “gold standards,” but putting out any kind of a book really cements you; and it’s excellent for authority-building. So, one of the things that I started off doing before I founded Content Corps, and that we still offer today, is doing a book. It’s almost like having a feature film, versus a TV show or versus a mini-episode.
[spp-timestamp time=”11:15″] Nick Raithel: When you have a feature film, it will give a brand or it will give an actor credibility because they have this thing out there. That’s why I say that books really are excellent for authority-building, and it’s one of the things we try to work with people and offer them when it makes sense for them—just having this book out there—because it’s a platform; it’s a platform for you to stand on. When you’re having people on your podcast, many of them, I’ve seen, have books; and they have a book because it’s this platform. It builds their credibility, it builds their authority, and, as a result, it’s a powerful means of content marketing for them.
E-Books versus Physical Books
[spp-timestamp time=”11:46″] Ron Gaver: I would agree wholeheartedly with that. Do you find that e-books are sufficient, or published, physical books are better?
[spp-timestamp time=”11:54″] Nick Raithel: Well, I think that e-books, certainly; but if you can get a published, physical book, that’s even better, because there really is—even in this electronic age that we live in, even with Twitter and Snapchat and all those great things—there really is still no substitute for being able to hold a book in your hands, physically, and look through it, not only for the experience of reading it, but also in terms of the credibility. Because people assume, correctly or incorrectly, that, when you have a book, you’re an expert. It’s strange. Even with everything we know today about branding and products, having a book out there—people just assume that it makes you the expert. So, if your brand can get a book out there, particularly a physical one, you become the expert.
Content Marketing as a Long-Term Play
[spp-timestamp time=”12:39″] Nick Raithel: So that’s one of the reasons we really advocate it as a strong strategy for brands. They’re looking to make a long-term play. I think that’s important for your listeners to keep in mind, Ron, that this content marketing we’re talking about, particularly books, is a long-term play. You’re going to have to think about it in that context and not just, “Is this going to get me sales tomorrow or the next day?” This really is something that you invest in—something you become involved in over the long-term—but if you do, and you build that vision and you build that long-term momentum, that’s when content marketing pays off and that’s when it becomes a tremendous asset for businesses.
Content Corps’ Book Production Services
[spp-timestamp time=”13:15″] Ron Gaver: Did I hear that you help clients to write books?
[spp-timestamp time=”13:19″] Nick Raithel: Yes, we do. That was something I’d started off with originally, before I did Content Corps, and it’s something that we’ve brought forward into the business now—helping clients to put together that book and to get it out there, to really incorporate it into their marketing channels and as a strong platform for them.
Blogs and Content Upgrades – Getting Customers Involved
[spp-timestamp time=”13:37″] Ron Gaver: Alright, so you favor email courses, a published book—anything else?
[spp-timestamp time=”13:41″] Nick Raithel: Yeah. I would say general email campaigns—having autoresponders, having kind of an on-going campaign like that—is definitely it. Certainly, much more traditional stuff like blogs can work. When you’re doing blogs, content upgrades tend to work fantastic where not only are you giving them information in the blog post, but then you’re giving them an opportunity to learn more and to kind of, in some cases, go behind the scenes and get that little bit extra. It’s kind of like when you get a DVD. People still watch DVDs, right? Do you still watch DVDs?
[spp-timestamp time=”14:10″] Ron Gaver: Eh, mostly Netflix.
[spp-timestamp time=”14:12″] Nick Raithel: Yeah, I kind of figured that. But, back in the golden days of the DVD, they would have those featurettes. They would have that behind-the-scenes footage. They would have all of those things that were extra on the DVD. They were kind of an incentive, once you’d seen the movie, to go ahead and buy the DVD.
[spp-timestamp time=”14:27″] Nick Raithel: That’s sort of what a content upgrade is—giving you those extra things—taking it one step further to really get you involved with the content. So, we’re big proponents of content upgrades. Whether that’s, for example, if you had an article, then having the points of the article summarized in a one-page PDF—that might be a good example. Other examples, off of that, would be another take, another perspective, more tips (that’s always a good one), if you have a blog article, “10 Ways to do X,” then having two or three that didn’t make it on the list that you think are just as valuable—having that be in the content upgrade.
[spp-timestamp time=”15:00″] Nick Raithel: So, really, just allowing your audience and your readers to go beyond and take that additional step—in exchange, of course, for their email or some kind of information that adds them to your list; but, once they provide that, then you give them that additional value and help them to continue learning about what they’re already interested in.
Snapchat as a Marketing Channel
[spp-timestamp time=”15:16″] Ron Gaver: Are there any other channels that you like?
[spp-timestamp time=”15:18″] Nick Raithel: Those are a few of the ones that come to mind. You can go crazy on social media. There’s no shortage of ways to do that. We’re still sort of looking at Snapchat. We haven’t really figured out—haven’t really worked too much to incorporate it into the content marketing we’re offering the clients—but if Snapchat continues to go, sort of, in the direction that they are right now, it’ll definitely become even more viable.
Effectiveness of Facebook and Twitter as Marketing Channels
[spp-timestamp time=”15:40″] Ron Gaver: Alright. Social media in general—how promising do you find social media to be? How effective of a channel do you find, say, Twitter and Facebook to be for your clients? It depends, of course, on the client.
[spp-timestamp time=”15:52″] Nick Raithel: Yeah, that’s exactly it. And that really is the right place to start in any discussion of social media. In some rare cases, too, a brand or a company might not really need to use it, and might not really need to make it that integral a part of their content marketing strategy. I know that sounds sort of—sounds a little bit hard to believe, especially as we’re talking SaaS companies and we’re talking much more technical, internet-friendly, if you will, ventures; but, in some cases, it just might not make sense for a brand or do very much.
[spp-timestamp time=”16:21″] Nick Raithel: But, in most cases, I would say it does; and I would say, in most cases, a company or brand does need to have that Facebook page where they’re promoting their content. They do need to be on Twitter, having regularly-published, if not automated in many cases, tweets that are going out; and really be working to engage their audience with this social media.
Using Social Media to Amplify Content
[spp-timestamp time=”16:41″] Nick Raithel: And I would say, as a general rule, when you’re thinking about social media: one of the things [about] social media that really makes it excellent, in terms of content, is that it allows you to amplify your content.
[spp-timestamp time=”16:52″] Nick Raithel: Not only are you just putting out a single blog post, but you can mention it again on Twitter. Then you can mention it again and again, in different ways, but continually mentioning it without it becoming annoying; because, what many people forget with Twitter is that, when you tweet something, there are so many tweets out there, and Twitter moves at such a blinding speed—it’s continually turning so often—that there’s a good chance many people aren’t going to see your first tweet, or they’re not going to see your second tweet, or it’s going to just get lost in the noise of the Twittersphere.
[spp-timestamp time=”17:25″] Nick Raithel: So, one of the beautiful things about Twitter is that you can tweet, essentially, the same thing, and people will tune in when they’re ready or when they have time, and then they’ll see it; and they’ll forgive you if they see the same tweet a few times, as long as it’s still engaging, as long as it’s interesting, and as long as, frankly, they get the message.
[spp-timestamp time=”17:44″] Nick Raithel: So, that’s one of the things that’s great about social media: that you can put your message in multiple ways and really get it out there; and, I would say, as well, that it’s other forms of “touch,” in the marketing sense, that don’t feel as obtrusive as a direct cold-call or as obtrusive as sending someone an email again. You can really develop a relationship. They call it “social” media for a reason, because it is social. It’s much more exploratory. It’s much more relationship-building, and it really is softer in that sense.
Tweeting to Maximize Engagement
[spp-timestamp time=”18:16″] Ron Gaver: I know that, with my tweets, I space them out. I usually have a campaign, and then I put them out at a specific interval. I may have different tweets, but they’ll be spaced out because I know that the people who see them the first time aren’t going to be necessarily the people who see them the next time. I know I can’t get through my Twitter feed most days. I can’t see what’s been put out just within the last 24 hours, usually. I just don’t have that time.
[spp-timestamp time=”18:40″] Nick Raithel: No. You’re busy with the podcast. You’re busy with your work and just life in general. So, yeah, I definitely don’t blame you on that; and there is all that noise that people have to wade through. So that’s why you’re smart to part it out. You can even go into a more advanced strategy, day-parting, where you try to figure out what specific times are ideal for your audience, and when they’re more likely to be on Twitter or on Facebook or checking their email or using Google; and then try to begin planning your Tweets around that. That’s a little bit more of an advanced tactic.
Tools for Effective Social Media Engagement
[spp-timestamp time=”19:11″] Ron Gaver: To implement that tactic, I know that Buffer will give you the engagement times for your audience and show you when you are most likely to have someone looking at your tweets or your Facebook posts.
[spp-timestamp time=”19:23″] Nick Raithel: Yeah, Buffer is excellent for that sort of thing.
[spp-timestamp time=”19:25″] Ron Gaver: So do you use that, or do you use something else?
[spp-timestamp time=”19:28″] Nick Raithel: Buffer is definitely one of our tools. Some of the other tools that we use in general—a great one—Buzzsumo, is excellent for seeing who’s sharing content, what types of content is being shared, and then really being able to hone-in on influencers and figure out who those people are that really share stuff a lot, maybe have a great social following, have a great platform, and would be the best people in the future to share more of the content. Especially if you’re writing something—creating content—that’s similar to stuff that’s already performed quite well, those would be the sort of people you’d want to reach out to.
Using Twitter Lists to find Influencers
[spp-timestamp time=”20:00″] Ron Gaver: That’s a good recommendation. I have not personally gotten into Buzzsumo and taken a look at it because I think it’s a little bit above my price point at the moment.
[spp-timestamp time=”20:09″] Nick Raithel: They’re definitely a good option if, like you’re saying, you’ve got the means, and if you really want to make an investment in finding the influencers and building those relationships; but, if not, you can always go on Twitter and find collections and people who’ve compiled a list of people on a particular topic or just a list of influencers on Twitter. If you dig in deep, you can do that; and, of course, that’s not going to really run you anything.
[spp-timestamp time=”20:34″] Ron Gaver: I’m not sure exactly what you’re suggesting there. How do you go about doing that?
[spp-timestamp time=”20:38″] Nick Raithel: You can go on Twitter and you can see, in some cases, people will have actually put together a list of things—for example, within a topic or connected to an interest (you could do that)—or you could just find, for example, an authority, and see everyone who’s following them, and then start to go through the followers. I realize it’s not going to be feasible in cases where someone has millions and millions and millions of followers—but, in other cases, you could begin to get a general idea of who their followers are, and then try to make inferences based on that or even see who would have the most followers within that subset and potentially target them.
Measuring Success in a Marketing Campaign
[spp-timestamp time=”21:15″] Ron Gaver: Now, to measure: you say that when you’re doing a campaign for a client, that you measure everything. What are the best tools that you find for measuring, what content are you measuring, and how do you do it?
[spp-timestamp time=”21:27″] Nick Raithel: One of the measurements that never goes out of style is sales. Whether you can tie that specifically to content marketing can sometimes be difficult, but if you send someone an email that does have an offer in it, and you can see who buys from that then, yeah, there’s a pretty cut-and-dry metric in most cases.
[spp-timestamp time=”21:45″] Nick Raithel: Other times what we’re looking at is, certainly, email-open rates, and there’s some fantastic email software out there that will show you exactly when the message was opened, how many times it was opened, where it was opened from. There’s many tools like that that you can use. So, I’d say that.
[spp-timestamp time=”22:01″] Nick Raithel: Certainly, subscribes versus unsubscribes. If you’re putting together a course, like we talked about, and you’re getting a bunch of people subscribing, but then, within the first email or within the second email of a five-module course, you’re getting massive unsubscribes, then that really is going to tell you something. It’s going to tell you that maybe you should change the content in the course. Maybe the audience that you’re going after with this isn’t the right one for the content. Unsubscribes are definitely going to tell you all of that, and, in some cases, they’re as illuminating as email sign-ups in that it’s sort of like the negative ends up telling you as much or more than a positive response. Does that make sense?
Tools for Monitoring Email Course Engagement
[spp-timestamp time=”22:41″] Ron Gaver: Yes, it does. What software do you recommend as far as being able to observe and monitor all of those things? You said there are some great tools out there. Are there any particular ones that you favor?
[spp-timestamp time=”22:53″] Nick Raithel: Well, you can go with the traditional, sort of heavy-hitters, if you will—AWeber, Infusionsoft, MailChimp—tend to be really great for sending out those emails like that.
Identifying Success in Content Marketing
[spp-timestamp time=”23:03″] Ron Gaver: So once you have that kind of information, you say you can glean as much from the negative responses as from the positive responses. How do you teach your clients what to do with this information?
[spp-timestamp time=”23:14″] Nick Raithel: That goes back to the clients themselves and, before we even get started in any of this, it comes down to clarifying the objectives, because we really need to know why we’re doing this in the first place and what success is going to look like; because, if you don’t have that guidance, and if you haven’t worked all that out ahead of time, you really can’t learn anything from the experience because you don’t know why you’re doing it in the first place. You don’t know what success looks like.
[spp-timestamp time=”23:38″] Nick Raithel: So we try, before we get into any of that, to work with the client and narrow down what it is that they want to get out of this and what would be success for them, in their terms. Are you trying to build the email list? Are you trying to get the word out? Are you trying to build up your Twitter followers? Are you trying to build up your Facebook followers? What is that success going to look like for you? Because, then, once we know that, then we can draw conclusions much easier. We can draw lessons from what we’re seeing, and we have much more of a foundation for assessing our progress, really.
[spp-timestamp time=”24:10″] Ron Gaver: So you first try to pin them down and ask them what success looks like for them, for this particular thing, for this particular campaign or what their objective really is.
[spp-timestamp time=”24:19″] Nick Raithel: Exactly. It comes back to that saying of: “Begin with the end in mind.” Begin with the goal in mind so then you can sort of work backwards from there.
Road-mapping – Determining Client Objectives
[spp-timestamp time=”24:27″] Ron Gaver: As far as your service to the customers, you’ve got two levels of service, as I understand it. You’ve got sort of a “done-for-you” service, but if the customer doesn’t want to go with the “done-for-you” service, do you lay out a roadmap? What are those two levels of service, and how do those work?
[spp-timestamp time=”24:43″] Nick Raithel: We’re very big on, as you said, that roadmap, because it comes back to what we were just talking about with having your objectives clearly in mind; and it’s also necessary because there’s a fair degree of noise out there, with respect to content marketing. A lot of people know that they need to do it, but they’re not really sure what it entails. They’re not really sure what it entails for them, which is the more important one. It’s sort of like they don’t know how to even get started, so that’s where the first of the plans that we offer, the road-mapping, kind of comes in; and that’s when we’re sitting down with the customer or the prospect, and that’s when we’re doing their customer research.
Road-mapping – Researching Competitor Strategies
[spp-timestamp time=”25:16″] Nick Raithel: That’s when we’re certainly looking at their competitors, and I would say that competitors are certainly something that a lot of people don’t even really consider at the onset because they just, I guess, assume that they’re the only ones who are really thinking about this or maybe they’re the only ones who are seriously doing content marketing, and, usually, that’s not the case. Usually, their competitors are in it, and their competitors are already doing things that, if you look and you really piece together what’s going on, you can learn quite a bit from; and it could turn out that your competitors are doing a strategy you would want to either incorporate yourself or you’d want to avoid, because maybe your competitors are doing a strategy that isn’t working for them, and they think it is working or they’re not measuring it, and so you can really learn from the money they’re already spending and maybe wasting on that. So, I would definitely say competitor research is something that we offer in our road-mapping point. It’s something that our clients really do get a lot of value out of.
Road-mapping – Using an Editorial Calendar for Consistency
[spp-timestamp time=”26:14″] Nick Raithel: I would say that another one of the things we do in the road-mapping is an editorial calendar; and what that counts for, what that matters for, is consistency. If you’re doing content marketing and you want to develop an audience, you need to be consistent. An example I use all the time: it’s the difference between a TV show that you know exactly when the next episode’s coming out, and one that you don’t even know if new episodes are coming out. Maybe they’re coming out, maybe they’re not. Sometimes you tune in and—“Oh, hey, there’s a new episode today.” But then you tune in next week and there’s not a new episode. Week after—no new episode. You don’t know when it’s coming.
[spp-timestamp time=”26:47″] Nick Raithel: And, if that were to happen for a TV show, I’m guessing most people wouldn’t stick around. It would just be too unpredictable, and your content can’t be like that if you’re going to build an audience. You need to be consistent. That’s why some of the best podcasts are published every Thursday or every Wednesday. It’s that consistency that people can begin to plan, begin to anticipate, and become more engaged with as a result.
[spp-timestamp time=”27:13″] Ron Gaver: In terms of what you do with your customers and what you set up with your customers, if they’re doing an email course, then you would want it to come out at a particular frequency.
[spp-timestamp time=”27:22″] Nick Raithel: You would in order to develop that relationship and to, sort of, “train” people that they can expect that next lesson, and that the next lesson is going to be coming; that it’s not just going to be: you sign up, you get your first lesson, and then two weeks go by and then you get the second one, and then four weeks go by and you get the next one. You really have that frequency and have that consistency.
Course Module Frequency and Boundary-less Courses
[spp-timestamp time=”27:42″] Ron Gaver: Have you, by any chance, found kind of a sweet spot for that kind of a course? Certainly, it would depend on how detailed each individual module is, but have you found a sweet spot for how often you should publish?
[spp-timestamp time=”27:55″] Nick Raithel: You know, I think that’s going to depend on the client. What I would say, though, is that [a] course doesn’t have to be a fixed thing that ends. There are, in some cases, courses that just kind of go on perpetually, and so it almost becomes more of an email newsletter versus an actual cut-and-dry course—where you’re providing that value and that education and that’s why you’d consider it a course, but it’s much more boundary-less, where it just keeps coming. So, in that case, you could, over time, mix up and change up the frequency a lot more because the emails are always going to be coming, so that’s when you could experiment and play around with the frequency, but if you’re just doing a five-step or five-module course then you probably need to be a lot more consistent in terms of always sending it at exactly the same point.
Email Course Length: Long Content Versus Short Content
[spp-timestamp time=”28:46″] Ron Gaver: Are there any types of courses that you’ve found that customers seem to be particularly fond of?
[spp-timestamp time=”28:52″] Nick Raithel: Yes, surprisingly. I did a course awhile back for a client, and it was in the realm of kind of life-hacking/time-management, and, for that one, we made it very short. Each lesson was really, really short and designed to be read within about a minute to a minute-an-a-half, going with the theme of time-management, the theme of hacking and sort of productivity; and that tended to perform surprisingly well. We would see many more people reading and replying and engaging with it, just because it was brief, but I hesitate to call that a rule by any means because it sort of comes back to the age-old issue of long content versus short content; and the jury really is still out on that in terms of which polls better. But that is an interesting trend that we’ve seen.
Full Content in Email Versus Linked Content on Website
[spp-timestamp time=”29:34″] Ron Gaver: For those kinds of courses, do you usually have all of the content in the email message, or do you have a link or a button on the page that clicks them through to a website? Or do you do it both ways?
[spp-timestamp time=”29:45″] Nick Raithel: We do it both ways. Sometimes an email does work better—just putting it all in there. Depending on which types of engagement you’re trying to measure, having that link can be a great resource because it shows who is willing to, not only read the email, but also take it a step further and go to the page to look at something or go to the page to watch the video.
Content Corps’ Approach to Customer Research
[spp-timestamp time=”30:03″] Ron Gaver: Back to your two plans: your plan #1 is road-mapping and your plan #2 is content promotion. Back on the road-mapping: you do customer research. How do you approach customer research?
[spp-timestamp time=”30:13″] Nick Raithel: Customer research is going to be [that] we look at, at the most basic level, who’s buying your product or your service.
Identifying the Client’s Ideal Customer
[spp-timestamp time=”30:19″] Ron Gaver: What if somebody’s just getting started and they really don’t have too many clients, or they don’t have an established group of clients?
[spp-timestamp time=”30:24″] Nick Raithel: If they don’t have an established group of clients, then we’ll still look at who their customer is, but we’ll look at it in terms of the ideal customer. So who’s your ideal customer that, once you got up and running—you got those first few—you’d want it to be?
[spp-timestamp time=”30:39″] Nick Raithel: And, with that, it also helps to do the other components we offer, which is competitor research. Look at who’s buying from your competitors or your prospective competitors, in a space, and see who their customers would be; and you can get pretty creative with that in terms of finding out who those customers are—whether that means playing prospect, which is always kind of fun, where you download your competitor’s stuff, read their newsletters, really see how they’re marketing. We don’t really do this, but I’ve heard cases where people will pose as a customer or pose as someone to their competitors and really try to get the insights with that—almost a little bit of intelligence gathering, if you will.
Audit of Existing Content Marketing Sequences
[spp-timestamp time=”31:13″] Ron Gaver: Alright. Then you do an audit of existing content marketing sequences. That’s an audit of what a client may already have?
[spp-timestamp time=”31:19″] Nick Raithel: Exactly, yeah, to determine if the messaging is a good fit, to determine if they’re on the platforms they should be on, and to determine what opportunities they’re not necessarily taking advantage of that they could be.
Using Editorial Calendars
[spp-timestamp time=”31:31″] Ron Gaver: And then the editorial calendar, you already mentioned, and that’s, I believe, pretty straightforward. You have a calendar, and you try to be consistent and you try to publish in accordance with that calendar; but, as you said, don’t drive yourself insane trying to do it. Establish something that really works for you.
[spp-timestamp time=”31:47″] Nick Raithel: Exactly. Yeah, it should be, as we’ve been saying, something that you can handle; and, not only that, but also knowing who’s doing what, I think, is another important aspect of that editorial calendar. If you’re a one-man shop then you’re probably going to be doing most, if not all, of it; but if you are a larger organization or you do have more people who can help with this, then part of your editorial calendar, part of making it, is going to be knowing who’s doing what so you’re clear on what the rules are and there’s no opportunity for wires to get tangled, if you will, within your organization—where someone says, “Well, I thought you were doing the blog post.” “No, no, no. I thought you were doing it.” There [should be] no opportunities for mix-ups like that.
Entering the Conversation in Your Prospect’s Mind
[spp-timestamp time=”32:25″] Ron Gaver: So, your company is a group of marketers, and, in your content and promotional plan, you have blog articles, email newsletters, content upgrades, promotion via social media, and monthly progress reports. As far as producing content for someone else, how do you get into the mind and market of a client and really determine what that content needs to look like? We may run into the answer, “Well, it kind of depends on the market, kind of depends on the client and the product,” but, in general, do you have any insight into that?
[spp-timestamp time=”32:56″] Nick Raithel: Yeah, I do. The “it depends” is sort of going to, as you were saying, follow us around a lot of these answers, because it does depend; but one tip, and one thing that we really keep in mind is to enter the conversation that’s already going on in the prospect’s mind. What that means is: what are they already thinking about, what’s already on their mind, what pains are they already experiencing? And you really want to speak to that as precisely as you can; and that really does involve research. If you can enter that conversation, then you can speak directly to them, and that’s when content begins to go from just “this is interesting” to “this is incredible” to “I can’t put this down” to “I need to read to the end of this to really find out what it is that is being put across as a message.”
Factors Influencing Long-Form Content Engagement
[spp-timestamp time=”33:38″] Nick Raithel: I would say, also, in terms of content: I want to brush, again, on that idea of long content versus short content. One of the things we found is that people, if they’re interested in something, they will read all of it, versus if there’s a passing interest they might just read short pieces of it; but, again, that needs to be tested, and that needs to be carefully considered for each client base.
[spp-timestamp time=”33:58″] Ron Gaver: I know sometimes I’ll encounter a long-form piece of content and just not be in the mood for it, and I’ll give it a pass, just because I’m not in the mood. So, it all depends on a number of different variables—what’s going to work at any given time.
[spp-timestamp time=”34:12″] Nick Raithel: It does. I would say an interesting example to that, if you do want to think about long-form: if someone was expecting children, and then someone informed them that their wife, or whoever was bearing the kids, had just had triplets, you could write a two thousand word article for them on the triplets and what exactly had happened in the birth, and they would probably read the whole thing because they were interested in it and they were hooked into it and it was right on the tip of their mind and it was the conversation that was going on in their head; versus if, on that same day, you had a piece of content that was on knitting or was on fly fishing, and they weren’t interested in those things. They wouldn’t really want to read anything on that because it just wasn’t relevant; it just wasn’t matching that inner conversation. So, I think that knowing that, that’s also going to be helpful as you’re producing long-form content.
Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
[spp-timestamp time=”35:03″] Ron Gaver: Alright. I’m pretty much out of questions. Is there anything you would like to talk about that I haven’t asked you about?
[spp-timestamp time=”35:09″] Nick Raithel: Yeah, I think some of the stuff that I did want to cover was just, in terms of content marketing, some of the mistakes that I’ve really seen entrepreneurs make with respect to content marketing, and things to be on the lookout for if you are considering content marketing.
[spp-timestamp time=”35:24″] Ron Gaver: Alright. That sounds great. I’d love to hear that.
Content Marketing Mistakes – Having Too Narrow a Focus
[spp-timestamp time=”35:26″] Nick Raithel: One of the things that we’ve definitely seen would be not really understanding the scope of content marketing. What that means, specifically, would be thinking that content marketing is just, for example, blogging, or just an email campaign, and sort of limiting yourself in that aspect. I would caution people against that because, when you do have sort of that limited view, you don’t tap into all of the possible channels out there; and, especially if you think that content marketing just involves a blog, for example, then, oftentimes, you sort of define it in a way that automatically ensures you’re not going to be able to do it. So, I think that a big mistake is narrowing your focus and having too narrow a focus, too narrow a definition of what content marketing is. So, I would definitely caution your listeners against not exploring all of the possible options out there for content marketing, not having kind of that wider view of it.
[spp-timestamp time=”36:17″] Ron Gaver: What you’re saying—is that also akin to repurposing content? For instance, you might have content that you could do as a video and then as a podcast episode and a blog post and maybe a white paper?
[spp-timestamp time=”36:30″] Nick Raithel: Yeah, I think it definitely is, and if you want a great example of that: Gary Vaynerchuk, with his #AskGaryVee. I believe he starts it off as a video, and then it becomes a podcast, so he’s changing the form a couple of times to meet his audience and to have multiple sources of content.
[spp-timestamp time=”36:44″] Nick Raithel: And one of the things with that, too, is you can’t assume that your audience only gets your information listening to it—that everyone is just going to want to listen to a podcast, or everyone is just going to want to read a blog post, or everyone is just going to want to watch a video. Different people take in content—different people eat it up, if you will—in different ways—in different mediums that are more comfortable to them. So that’s why, I think it’s very important (as you were saying), to be repurposing it and moving it across the mediums to ensure that everyone has a chance to interact with the content, using the forms and using the channels that they’re most comfortable with.
Content Marketing Mistakes – Inconsistency
[spp-timestamp time=”37:18″] Ron Gaver: So, one mistake that you cited was people not understanding the scope of content marketing. Are there other mistakes?
[spp-timestamp time=”37:24″] Nick Raithel: Yeah, I would say the consistency we mentioned—not having that schedule. I would say, also, not having that carefully-crafted plan in mind for what you’re going to do, an idea of how long you plan to do the strategies, and then what success looks like. I’d say that’s another one.
Content Marketing Mistakes – Pure Creatives Doing Content Marketing
[spp-timestamp time=”37:39″] Nick Raithel: And then I would also say another mistake would be letting pure creative people do your content marketing; and what I mean by that is, too often, there’s a tendency to—and I’m going to pick on them—to approach content marketing from the English major perspective; and what I mean with that is: getting content that sounds good but isn’t really written with a business perspective in mind—isn’t really written from the standpoint of, “How is this actually going to generate an ROI [return on investment], and just “Oh, this sounds pretty. These words go well together.” And you don’t want to be doing your content marketing like that. You want your content marketing to be content marketing. Don’t lose sight of that “marketing” part as you’re doing it. So, you don’t necessarily want to go down to the local university and just get an English major or get a creative writer. You want to really be focusing on the marketing side of it and “What is this going to do for my business?”
[spp-timestamp time=”38:30″] Ron Gaver: That’s very good advice. By the way, I’m an English major.
[spp-timestamp time=”38:33″] Nick Raithel: Well, the thing, though, that you have going for you is that you’re familiar with business. You have that understanding. I wouldn’t classify you—given what you’re saying with English major—as a pure creative, because you have that, not only real-world experience but that immersion in business; and, for goodness’ sake, you have a podcast based around SaaS, so you definitely know SaaS and the SaaS industry. So, you’re definitely not a pure creative. You’re someone who knows about business. I’m talking about people who have never run a business, who all they do is write pretty-sounding words. Those aren’t the kind of people you want.
Content Marketing Mistakes – Overly-Formal Language
[spp-timestamp time=”39:02″] Ron Gaver: Yeah, I understand, and I agree with you. I just had to take the jab. But as far as “pretty words,” one thing that does bother me is when people just stray so far from grammatical conventions and just butcher the language, and it leaves a bad impression on people.
[spp-timestamp time=”39:18″] Nick Raithel: Yeah. You do want to be careful of how far you go. At the same time, one of the things that’s interesting about copywriting is that copywriting, and, certainly, writing content too, is that, much of what you learn about “how to write in school,” usually doesn’t hold up. You want to, in most cases, write the way people talk. It’s going to depend on your audience of course, but having that parenthetical documentation and the formal structures you learned in school probably isn’t going to be a good fit. So you need to be careful of being too much in that camp.
[spp-timestamp time=”39:49″] Ron Gaver: Yeah, I can see that, too. As far as strict, grammatical English, you’ll find that journalism violates it. Copywriting violates it. Certainly, copywriting with an advertising flavor violates it in many cases.
[spp-timestamp time=”40:03″] Nick Raithel: Yeah, at the same time, it is important. Do you want to be spelling “the,” t-h? Do you want to be spelling “that,” t-a-h-t? Do you want to be making mistakes like that? No. You do want to proofread. You do want to speak regular English, but you can have a little bit more flexibility and a little bit more looseness in terms of how you’re stringing sentences together, provided that it is normal English and passes F7 spellcheck on your computer.
[spp-timestamp time=”40:28″] Ron Gaver: Alright. Other mistakes?
[spp-timestamp time=”40:30″] Nick Raithel: Those are four of the big ones that come to mind in terms of what we see with a lot of the people we work with or people we’re considering working with.
Nick Raithel’s Personal Recommendations of Influential Material
[spp-timestamp time=”40:38″] Ron Gaver: Okay. As far as influences in your life—things that may have made a tremendous difference to you as you’ve grown in your career; things that were formative or really made a profound impact on you. Is there anything that you can think of like that that you would recommend?
Audible as a Flexible Means of Self-Education
[spp-timestamp time=”40:53″] Nick Raithel: Yeah, I definitely would. I’m a huge proponent of books, whether that’s audiobooks though a service like Audible (which is an excellent service, if your listeners aren’t familiar with it). You can get many great books in their audio format. Just kind of pop that in when you hop in the car, pop it in when you go on the train, and you can really just educate yourself on some of the great classics out there.
What Are Quiet Millionaires?
[spp-timestamp time=”41:13″] Nick Raithel: With respect to specific titles of books, one of the ones that I found surprisingly good would be a little bit old, but it’s called The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley and William D. Danko. It’s just a really fascinating book in terms of what it actually means in America to be a millionaire.
[spp-timestamp time=”41:30″] Nick Raithel: What we see on television really is not, in most cases, the way most people who are millionaires are actually living. They’re not driving the most expensive cars they can find. They’re not necessarily wearing the most expensive suits and clothing they can find. They’re much quieter with their wealth and with their success; and I think that, for me, it was very eye-opening. And, especially for a lot of your listeners who are in SaaS who might want to become millionaires and might want to really ascend to a higher economic level in their lives, I think it’s important to have a book like that in mind to know what it’s going to look like and how your lifestyle should or should not change once you attain that upper income.
[spp-timestamp time=”42:09″] Ron Gaver: I am familiar with that book. I’ve seen it before. I don’t remember if I’ve read the whole thing. I know I’ve read parts of it. I remember, distinctly, there was one part of the book where they talked about “the millionaire next door might be a guy who has several dry cleaning shops; not the guy you think of as flying around in a private jet, but a different kind of quiet-type person—more reserved, but just kind of steady.”
[spp-timestamp time=”42:30″] Nick Raithel: Yeah, I think that’s definitely a pretty apt description for a lot of these “quiet millionaires,” and I think that, oftentimes, that fits in pretty well with a lot of SaaS people, in the sense that they’re trying to have, not necessarily the next Salesforce.
[spp-timestamp time=”42:46″] Ron Gaver: That’s a good example.
[spp-timestamp time=”42:47″] Nick Raithel: Yeah, because, Salesforce is—goodness—they’re quite big, aren’t they?
[spp-timestamp time=”42:50″] Ron Gaver: Yeah, I think that they have more people at their annual convention than most SaaS companies have for customers.
[spp-timestamp time=”42:55″] Nick Raithel: Yeah, if only we could be so lucky, right?
[spp-timestamp time=”42:58″] Ron Gaver: Yeah.
[spp-timestamp time=”42:59″] Nick Raithel: Most cases, they don’t want to be Salesforce. They want to be a whole lot smaller, and they might not even want to make too much noise. They might want to be sort of quiet—just having that MRR (monthly recurring revenue). And so, in that case, their SaaS would probably be and their business would probably be akin to having that chain of dry cleaning; it just consistently brings in revenue for you.
Stoic Teachings to Mentally Strengthen the Entrepreneur
[spp-timestamp time=”43:17″] Ron Gaver: Any other books?
[spp-timestamp time=”43:18″] Nick Raithel: Well, I know it’s popular in a lot of entrepreneur circles, and I’m still sort of wrapping my head around it, but I have gotten some benefits out of a lot of the stoic teachings that they talk about. Whether that’s sort of the Marcus Aurelius stuff* or Seneca, Letters from a Stoic*, some of that stuff can be interesting if you want to get sort of deep-down philosophical. And I mention all that stuff because entrepreneurship—so much of it really is a mental game. It really is a game of keeping yourself mentally strong, mentally agile, to be able to handle whatever challenges come your way. Certainly, you want to learn how business works. You want to listen to episodes like yours where you had that accountant on—Franks, I believe, was the last name.
[spp-timestamp time=”43:54″] Ron Gaver: That’s correct.
[spp-timestamp time=”43:55″] Nick Raithel: And you want to have sort of that technical side and that skill set, so you can handle the day-to-day business, but you also really do want to fortify yourself mentally so [that] you’re able to handle the challenges, so that you’re not emotionally fragile or easily emotionally unhinged, when things do go wrong; because when you’re running any kind of business, they’re going to go wrong. Murphy’s Law isn’t a theory. It does happen, so you need to be ready for that.
Free Content Marketing Bonus Material for Podcast Listeners
[spp-timestamp time=”44:18″] Ron Gaver: Alright. Anything you’d like to talk about? Anything I’ve forgotten to talk about or ask you?
[spp-timestamp time=”44:22″] Nick Raithel: That’s really it with respect to content. I do want to say, though, that for your listeners—to sort of take our discussion here a little bit further and to give people who might be wanting more information on content—I have put together a special page that gives them some free bonus material helping them to better understand content marketing; so, if you could link to it in the show notes, that would be great.
[spp-timestamp time=”44:43″]Ron Gaver: Oh, I will.
[spp-timestamp time=”44:44″] Nick Raithel: I can also give the URL out now. It’s going to be: contentcorps.net/saasbusinesspodcast. So, I have some bonuses up there. I have a guide on more of the content marketing mistakes we’ve talked about, and then I also have a mini-course (which is ironic, since we’re talking about courses), which is sort of breakthrough content marketing—some lessons to help your listeners see content marketing differently and get more value out of it.
[spp-timestamp time=”45:10″] Ron Gaver: Alright, thank you for that. I will, personally, check that out too, and see what you have to say. Anything else before we say “goodbye” here?
45:18 Nick Raithel: Yeah, I think I would just like to thank you, Ron, not only for the opportunity to do this, but also just for taking the initiative to really put something—a podcast like this—out there, in the SaaS community—to really just do a service and try to bring people together, educating them and helping them to grow in their SaaS careers and as entrepreneurs. I think it’s really great.
[spp-timestamp time=”45:37″] Nick Raithel: Podcasting, being what it is right now, is one of these things where there is still sort of a hobby component to it, and not everyone is making $100,000 per month off their podcast like John Lee Dumas or some crazy amount like that. And so for people to take that initiative and be willing to put in the work, just out of the goodness of their heart, I think is great. So, I really just want to commend you for having put this podcast out there into the world as content for people to use.
[spp-timestamp time=”46:02″] Ron Gaver: Well, thank you. With that, thank you, Nick. I appreciate the call. I appreciate your time, and we’ll be in touch.
[spp-timestamp time=”46:08″] Nick Raithel: Definitely. It’s been a pleasure, Ron. Thank you.
[spp-timestamp time=”46:23″] Ron Gaver: Thanks for listening to the SaaS Business Podcast.
[spp-timestamp time=”46:26″] Ron Gaver: Please remember to take advantage of the show notes and the FREE Resource Guide we have created for you. The show notes page for any episode is SaaSBusinessPodcast.com followed by a forward slash and the three-digit episode number. To get the FREE Resource Guide, just use the Resources tab or any of the forms on the website.
[spp-timestamp time=”46:45″] Ron Gaver: If you like what we’re doing, please go to the support tab on the website to learn the various ways you might be able to support us.
[spp-timestamp time=”46:59″] Ron Gaver: This has been Episode 018 of the SaaS Business Podcast: Learn about Content Marketing for Startups with Nick Raithel.
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