Masters of Content
Masters of Content

Episode · 11 months ago

Content as Utility: How to Create Useful Content


Content must be useful or it won't work. 

What makes content useful to a consumer?

In this episode, host Josh Van Dyk and Ian Truscott , Head Of Content - iManage , discuss how to create useful content and where to make it accessible to consumers. 

We also discuss:

- Why you shouldn't post content on five channels right from the start

- Marketing technology as the backbone of content

- How to make content more accessible to customers

- Staying informed about content marketing

Reach out to Ian on LinkedIn

For the entire interview, tune in on Apple Podcasts , Spotify , or wherever you get podcasts. 

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Masters of Content in your favorite podcast player.

Welcome to masters of content, where we discussed the experiences and ideas behind what's working in the marketing, content and creative operations space. Here you'll discover new insides from thought leaders with compelling stories about brand management, content production, new insights surrounding the digital customer experience and more. And now let's dive in. Welcome back to the masters of content podcast. I'm your host, Josh Van Dyke, and today I'm joined by Ian Truscott. Super excited. I've known Ian for several years and he's a great content marketer. So, Ian, welcome to the POD. How are you feeling? I'm feeling great. Thanks, just thanks for inviting me. It's great to be on the other side of the microphone. That's right. Yeah, I know you. You host your own podcast, so will get into that in a minute. You are on the not on the other side of the microphone, but you're on the other side of the pond, as they say, as I'm in America and you are in the UK. So how's it going over in foggy London town today? Well, we've got a little finny bit a please sky, which is being quite rare for our summer. So, yeah, it's surprisingly bright. You would be. You'd be surprised in London town today. Right on. Good. Well, I'll tell you what. One of the things we were talking about earlier is you're into cars and most people might think, you know, guy in the UK might be into like, I don't know, a Jaguar or something like that. And you were telling me that, you know, recently you got a car and you were super excited about it. Maybe you could tell listens about that. Yeah, I've actually, I've actually hadn't checked this, but yes, my we were talking about my two thousand and five Mustang that I am I actually imported when I moved back from the US, having lived in the US, and the fun thing about it is, you know, it's left hand drive in a left hand drive country, but it's also I don't really consider it a car anymore. It's actually the car I've owned the longest. So you were saying it's recent, but its recently. We've talked about it and it's I consider it to be my more of a drive ornament. Really it's not a practical form of means of transportation. Is Too noisy, it's too small, it's too being efficient for a family car, but I love it and my and my inspiration. I mean I've always loved mustangs and the old S mustangs. If anybody could see, I've the poster of bullet behind me. And when that model came out, that this one hundred and ninety seven, that hearts back to the Retro Mustangs, I thought I got get me one of them and indeed, when I'd the opportunity when I lived in the US, I got me one of them and I brought it back here. Dude, I love it and that's the you know, that's a dedication to get it all the way back. So that's great. For our listeners who don't know you, I maybe you could tell us a little bit about kind of your marketing journey. You know, known wakes up and rolls out of bed and just as you know, a content marketing experts. So maybe you could tell our listeners about a little bit about yourself. Of Yeah, sure. I mean, I know I've only got twenty minutes, so I'll keep it brief, as I am quite long in my career. I'm a marketing technologists really, and I've started in technology...

...and then I said I was in pre sales and I was in product marketing and I think those roles prepare you as an evangelist. Right. I always look for people that are in pre cells when they're doing product marketing because you've got that Nice technical background and you've got to tell the story coherently to broad group of folks. And so that's where my background comes from. And I've been in marketing technology for twenty years and then I've been a CTEO and then I've and then really I think all the text stuff got too hard and I'd said take up marketing, and I and I'm waving my arms and drawing for a living, became better. So product marting, product strategy. I've also been a CMO and the last few years I've been a consultant helping organizations, you know, create their create their that tell their story and create their marting teams. I know you've been a cumo it several companies. You also, like you said, you have your own consulting called Rock Star Cmo, and tell us a little bit about rock star Cmo. Well, lastart CMO is actually born as a content marketing project. So I got bitten by the Bug by my content marting mentor, is Robert Rose. I worked with him when I was at a vender called STL and we were looking to how do we reach out to our audience of not just technologists and that, how do we how do we find influence and stuff? So we create it neat's off brand and off brand content hub about customer experience and it we found it a great way to you know, as a vendor, you kind of you got a credibility and trust gap sometimes and I think if you create a place, a safe place where people can share content and where you can work with your influences, those content has really work very well. So I started into content marking with that. I'm rock star cmosted as one of those. So I was working with a vendor that you know very well and we decide to start rock star cm I as a way of reaching and marketing audience that weren't used to us and to sort of jazz up, I think, and so we started it. started it like that. I actually own the URL for ages, so I kept it going as a web publication and I and most recently as a pandemic project. We kicked it off as as a podcast and that's that's rock stars, the amount and of course, all the while, you know, we have an advisory firm behind the scenes and we provide advice to bunch of technology companies. I love that idea, of that idea of kind of creating a safe space or trusted space where people can express things and you know, but in there, I know you're creating a lot of value as well, because you need to have a police where people show up because they want to share ideas, but they want to learn as well, right, and I'm sure that's really important kind of in that space. Absolutely, and it's about trust. You know, you're building trust if you're if you're creating something useful for your audience, you're building trust. Yeah, totally. And in terms of content marketing, there's, you know, some some people that listen to this podcasts and you know, maybe they're not content marketing experts. Maybe you could talk a little bit. Why do you think content marketing is so important for a business as out there? Because I think, I mean I...

...think content marketing has been in some form or another, influencing buyers for decades. It's just we've decided to give it a name. Right. So I think providing useful content. There's plenty of examples of vendors, of organizations have done that, but I think increasingly, especially now that we're buying digitally, is people are touching so many different assets before they make a decision, especially in B to be that you need to have, I mean you may not want to call it content marting, but you certainly need to have a choose your own adventure type buffet of content that's available so that people of different personas a different places in their buying journey can consume and help inform them and moving along the journey. It's no longer so easy to predict a buyers journey and create a one size fits all kind of nurture program that's going to work. People are going to come in and and dip it, dip in and out. The other thing is that I think the content marketing enables you to do is a demonstrate thought, leadership and trust in the market. So the premise of content marketing is that you're useful, so you provide stuff that people are interested in, that's useful, so you start a conversation with them. You're not just pitching your products from day one. So I think that's the that's the importance of content marting is because it builds that trust and it gets people engage with your with you as a vendor, and you start to build you know, as a trusted vendor, maybe even a trusted advice that. So I think that's why content marks important. Yeah, you know, in a lot of companies aren't doing it so well and you know, I think it's challenging to continue to provide really good educational content where someone feels like I'm not being sold to in this content that I'm consuming. I'm getting value right. Absolutely, and the reason why, I think partly why people get it wrong, I think, is this because you've got to be in it for the long haul. It isn't a campaign that you're necessarily going to see the results in que or q two. You're building a community, you're building trust within that community and that stuff takes time, but once it sticks and once you become I mean they're great examples of people that have done this. Drift hub spot great vendors. Now the initially invested a lot of time in explaining their market, explaining the problem, creating useful content that then people then engage with and they become a trusted brand. Yeah, totally. And now animals. It challenging to create that content and create that trust and take that long term game, because a lot of companies, especially in their new maybe they've limited budget. They want to get like a quick bang. And you know, there's also a challenge outside of just taking the long term gain of like you know, hey, we need to be able to produce it for so many different channels now right. I'm gosh, there are so many different channels to consume on and I I think a lot of content markers go they almost want to put their hands on there because they're like, well, I got a Tragg oed creek content, reduon on, creek content, redion on. Create your kind of productionnel. But you and I have talked a bit in the past about like creating content once in then using it on multiple channels, and maybe you could fill in our listeners a little bit more about what does that...

...look like? How do you do that? Yeah, well, that's a big topic because part of what you've just said there is this idea of spreading yourself so thin across all channels. I think is is false. I think that we think that we need to and we don't always need to. Know you need to do some research and it is far better to do a very effective job on a single or two channels and it is the poor job across five, right. So so you've got to really look at what resources you've got available on how and where you can do a good job, and doing a good job is turning up consistently and being a really pitching into that. And I think that's where a lot of content marketing strategies fail, is that people don't think of it as a long term thing. You know, if you're going to create a podcast, for example, you're going to create a podcast, it's going to last for two years before you know. You've got to be thinking about it like that. You can't say, Oh, right, I will do a podcast this week and then next quarter will move on to a new idea that isn't going to create community and that is going to create residents, and you've go got to constantly be showing up and delivering on that. And I think when people first start up as well, I think when you've got a limited budget, you think to yourself, well, okay, I'm going to invest it all this stuff in PPC or something or one of the tactics. Right, the challenge is is spend a lot of money on PPC, but when somebody sees those ten results, just because you're at the top doesn't guarantee they're going to click on you. If somebody's got more credibility with them or they've done a better job of content marketing in their fifth on the list as on the front page right, they're going to click on them. So it's important that you think of content as part of the marketing mix and as a primary part of that. And, as you say, Josh, do a really good job, perhaps a one idea and one asset and then sweat it, you know, and really work that asset and make sure that you have you know that a lot, a lot of folks have a lot of ideas and and the thing is is, I think it's the same for personal branding as much as it is for you as a vendor, is what's the one thing that you want somebody to come away from having met you that's different from everybody else? Right, and really lean into that and think about the one, two three messages that you want to come across rather than, as you say, like beyond every channel and say everything right and and it doesn't stick and and understand. Also, you know, it's the same in its in sales. Same for you, Josh. You know in sales and stuff is you don't want to spend too much time talking about whatever the table stakes is in your category and waffling on about that stuff. You want to really differentiate yourself and talk about the edge case and things that you find groovy or that you can really contribute to and be useful at. So yeah, I'd that there's that specificy I think that you need as well. Did answer your question. Yeah, and and love that last part as well. It because it is easy to kind of fall into this like well, this is our industry, in these these are topics that are really important in our industry, in to fall into that trap of like let's create this content that is really table stakes, right. And it is an interesting absolutely. I mean, if you tell everybody, for example, close to home for you, that you're a digital accent management solution or product information manument solution, you don't need to tell people the basics of what the functionality is. You...

...need to say why you're different. Right. What's your different take on this market? What's interesting about you that somebody should have a conversation with you about this rather than, Oh, you know, it's all about the metadate or whatever. I mean, Meta date is interesting and cool to but you know the saying, you know, let's say, interesting that you can you can take a point of view on the people are going to engage with, and that's great. Yeah, and you know, you have a technology background as well, you know, coming from a preseal side, being a seat, a CTEO and then a CMO, which I think gives you a unique perspective on technology, in how technology is influencing in maybe making it more efficient to kind of speed up that content production. You know, maybe you could church share, where the our listeners some ideas around, you know, where you see content helping in creating those efficient or, excuse me, where you see technology helping and where that's, you know, creating efficiencies. Yeah, I mean technical marketing technology in general is getting a bad rap at the moment around marking automation and those kinds of things, and I think think that it's because people are kind of marketers, are outsourcing their brains and just just working the way the marketing automation tells them to write rather than what what's necessarily effective. But I think if we talk about content technologies, I don't think that you can be effective as a content marketer without a decent content backbone to manage all this stuff. Right. So you know where we've talked. You know. Okay, so we've talked about small organization. They have small budget and a small amount content, but most midsize, large enterprises have an awful lot of content. Now, how do you find that? How do you understand what you've what you've got? And so many, so many organizations invest hugely in understanding their audience, understanding where they are on the buyers journey, their persona, attributes. You know what, what that particular role needs an organization. Right, that data is excellent, absolutely excellent, but if you don't understand your content, how you're going to serve it to them? So how if you don't have a sophisticated content management solution that you can you can kind of search or inquire into and say, I need all the content that I have around. I know, early stage nurture, that's about cloud or whatever is the topic that you're discussing, and and to how you're going to reuse those assets. I mean, so many stories I hear about content marketing. When people do their audit is in very large organizations. Is People just finding it just easier to our let's commission another study on this thing. I think we've got something. But where is it? You know? So the visibility of content and understanding the context of that content. So what is it about? WHO's IT for? And that to be you know, it's not just about a content management system being like a share drive. It's about it being able to serve, serve like this and new to understand the sort of relationships between the different pieces of content. So okay, so this piece of content is about this. That's excellent. What the adjacent piece of the content that this consumer might be interested in? Well, if you're cms can do that for you, then you're halfway there right as a content marketer. Yeah, that's...

...great. That's great. You know, you and I have talked a bit more about the past. Kind of content has utility and just like you have utilities in your home or your office, you have your electric give your water me. You know, you can turn those things out and off. This concept of content as util the I think our listeners would really like maybe you could expand upon that. I will, and I should have in my last answer, mentioned sent chick be as absolutely you know, the the database model behind the centaries. It does exactly what I just describe. So I think, I think that it would be rude of me not to mention that be don't be on your podcast. The content is utility concept is really about. If you look in a dictionary and you look up the word utility, it has two meanings. The first one is, as you say, electricity, gas lighting. You know, those are utilities that power our offices. But also utility has the other meaning, which is to be useful. So I thought so, as looking as I thinking, wow, that's what content marketing is it, or content should be within an organization. Certainly content strategy should be is that content should be accessible, a bit like what we're just talking about in terms of having a really good cms that everybody can access in your organization, so that content is available at the point of demand. So, for example, I may not be in a marketing team creating a campaign in Marquetto I maybe maybe a bed who's looking too and send that next email. or it might be that I'm a service is wrap in front of the customer. I'm going to need content in each of those places. Right. There's no point in just having this content repository that only marketing can access. You want you want content to be available at the point of need, and that's why I refer to content as utility. When you're doing content marketing, content strategy and of course that, you know, the watch word of content marketing needs to be useful. So the utility of that content is important and also, if you understand that flow of content throughout your organization, that piece of content that the service REP has could be really interesting somebody who's making a choice about your product. It might be that that that I don't know, the way there's screws into something or the way the integrates are something that you think, oh, that's for post sale. Maybe maybe the piece of information somebody needs to tip them ov the edge to recommend your solution. So I think that that's what I mean by content as a utility and certainly, yeah, it's interesting to think about that at the point of need, right, because we think about people consuming it in becoming educated in, you know, almost passively, but not we don't always think about it in terms of like hey, they're right there, right now, right so and so I was talking to this person or emailing this person or doing something, and they need to be able to easily find that piece of condent that's going to help push it over the edge. Yeah, I love that. He let me ask you this. You know, how are you staying informed? You know, the marketing in general is a place that changes faster than you know. You can kind of blink, you know. So like on the on the content marketing side, you know, what do you what are you consuming? What do you do to stay informed in this in this landscape? Well, I've got a three answers that really I mean, if you shaded a photo, you'd...

...see that I've I've the have the zoom bookcase background. But I'm a very I'm a voracious reader of marketing books and I listened to a podcast called the marting book podcast, and I don't know whether it's rude or not to promote other podcasts on podcast, especially when I'm going to promote my own, but the Marting Book Cup Book podcast by a doublet the day, is excellent. I mean he's every week talks about marting book and drives me mad because I keep having to buy them. So I think there's a I think as a marketer, anywhere you need to stake here is and educating yourself, regardless of what your marketing education is, and that's my Goto, content marketing. Well, there's no finer place to go than the content marting institute. I'm I have no affiliation to them in any kind of way. Their event is, I think, next week and that they're depending on when you wear this. That excellent resource. They do a lot of research, which I think is oft quoted, especially if you're mb to be and you're kind of scrabbing around photo for those examples. They have a ton of them, and so I would, I would send people to content marting institute. And the third one is is at a host of podcastsmen, you learn so much. You learn so much. Tell us about your podcast, see in. Yeah, sure, so rock styles. CMO FM is the reason why it's called FM, because it's, yeah, another ffing marketing body, gulst right, and so it was kind of lockdown projects that I do with a couple of my colleagues and charms, and what I do is I've just been interviewing people throughout my career and the idea is the tagline is, you know, is to share a bit of Marketing Street knowledge. That the brings out the Rock stars, CMO in the listener and I found it very an excellent way of reconnecting people, learning it, talking to new people and learning about these concepts and staying informed. And it's fun. But, as you know right, there's a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes, but it's it's a fun project, you know, in terms of like things that you know to be true. Right, kind of some final thoughts on you know, leaving our listeners like, what do you know to be true? What I know to be true? Goa, that's that's an excellent question and that's an excellent podcast question. What do I know to be true? I think, if we're going to stick to the content marketing theme, I think I know to be true that if you get over yourself in terms of promoting yourself and your product and you genuinely try to be useful, you will engage with your buyer. There's no doubt about that. If you put aside your branding, if you put aside you're selling and your products, people will engage with you. I think if you provide something that's genuinely useful to them. I also think that differentiation ideas, that if you bring yourself to the conversation. Now there's a fear there that, oh, you know, people might not like that. Yeah, but they're not your kind of people. Right. So good, you're growing a tribe around your kind of people. So it's like your own your own vert censure. Right, censure has a community of people that understand...

...and dig censure and get what it does and get where you're coming from. Right. So be more like that. You know and and and you know you take the risk that other people aren't going to like you. But the alternative to that is to be great. I mean I've worked with vendors in the past where I've kind of pulled their content from their home page that describes what they do and some of their competitors d d branded it and talk to the executives and said, which one of those is yours? And they can't identify which one of these because they're all written in the same business bloody, bloody speak. So I know you only ask for one, but those are things I know to be true. Well, what I always say is beloved or heated, right, because you know if you're loved, your loved by, you know, the people that love you. They got a war for you in the people that he you. You don't care about them right now. They hate you already. Yeah, exactly, or at least they will hate or they will hate you when they get to know you. So if you think of this is a funnel, then they might as well hate you now, then later on when you've already invested time and engaging with them. Right, so, right on. Yeah, that's huge. That's huge, very cool. You know, for listeners who want to get in touch with you, Ian, what's the best way for them to do that? Well, there's a number of ways. I'm all over the UN luckily, I don't have a very common name. So if you Google I Trustscott, you find me pretty quick. But also, as I'm promoting my podcast, obviously rock star CMO on Linkedin and twitter. It's where you can find the podcast. Were Rock Star CMO DOT FM if you want to look us up on the Internet, but reach out to me and reach out to me on Linkedin and say you heard me on this podcast. I don't think it's just regular old Stam love to say hello, Hey, hey, and this was a real pleasure. I appreciate you is staying late here because I know it's about half past pint time. So it's always a fast, fine song, right. That's right, exactly. So I appreciate it and thank you so much. I left forward to do it again. Josh. Thank you very much. You've been listening to masters of content. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Like what you hear. TAP The stars to leave a reading. To learn more about marketing and tools to help you nail your digital customer experience, visit sendsharecom. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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