Masters of Content
Masters of Content

Episode · 10 months ago

The Key to Getting Your Audience to Buy is Personalized Content


Your ideal buyer is already having a conversation. They might even be having a conversation about your product or service.

That’s why it’s so important to consistently churn out relevant content, so that you’re right in front of them when they’re ready to buy.

But how do you figure out what to write about?

Shondell Varcianna, CEO & Founder at Varci Media, has a fool-proof method for finding content topics worth writing about, and she shares it in this episode along with other tips and tricks for starting content production.

We discuss:

- Why personalized writing is so important

- Creating relevant content with consistency

- Handling multiple channels at once

- Tips for starting content production

Find more interviews like this by subscribing 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 delighted to have a Shandel of our Siana with me from Varsi media. Shawndel, welcome to the POD. How are you? I am wonderful. Thank you so much for having me. Good, good, good. And you're down in Hot Lana right? I sure am. It's not so hot today, but it's still and I you know, I know you're more of a basketball fan than a baseball fan, but you got to be happy about the braves being there. I am, I am. Everyone's talking about them. I love sports all together, but I definitely favor basketball more. Yeah, yeah, I'm a huge basketball fan as well. That's something we have in common, which is Great. Now I'm I got, I've got kind of two teams close to my hearts. Ursus, the warriors and also the Lakers because that's my hometown. But yeah, so who are your team's? We're on our raptors. I will not say I'm in an Atlanta Hawks Fan. I know that's bad because I live here, but I'm originally from Toronto. I moved to Atlanta seven years ago and I love my Toronto Raptors like I it doesn't matter where I live in the world, they'll always be my favorite team. I love it so and I know that you're quite a bit of a thrill seeker, not just an athlete, but a thrill seeker. I think you've done some, you know, cool stuff with ZIP blinding and Haiti. What was that all about? Yeah, they have so real Caribbean owns this little island. It's like off of Paby and they've got the highest ZIP line in the world over water. So I did that a couple a couple years ago. That was Super Fun. I was so scared, because not scared of the height, but I wanted to videotape it was my brother and I wanted to videotape us and my brother kept scaring me saying, well, if your phone drops, you know it's like a thousand bucks video tape us going down, because we were trying to race, we were going down at the same time, and that's my only regret is that I listened to him, because I thought that that video would have just been, you know, such great memories. You needed some sort of gopro thing or maybe some sort of attachment so you didn't lose your phone. I had the attachment and I had it. I had like Amazon so well at the time. Yeah, I had the Selfie stick and I had the little rope that could attach to my arm. But he was just freaking me out because I just got my phone and I think I'd paid like I don't know. It's one of those apple phones that are like a thousand ball and I just got it and he was freaking me out, like if it falls in the water, you know you're never getting it. So I didn't videotape it, but it was it was super cool, though. I Love I love Heights, and so, you know, outside of basketball and thrill seeking, I know that you know your your content expert, but you know, in terms of content and that content journey, no one wakes up in the morning and just kind of declares this themselves an expert or maybe they do, but most people have a journey that they that they took to get there. Maybe you could fill in our audience just a little bit more about that journey. Yeah, I still don't consider myself to be an expert. I'm always learning, always reading, always taking courses. It's just but yeah, I started. So, like I said before, I'm from Toronto. So I started my career, started in the banking industry and then I and I bought two properties pretty young. I bought my first property when I was twenty and then another property when I was twenty five, and then by thirty one I paid off both of those mortgages and my girlfriend had suggested that I start helping people to pay off mortgages and, you know, by properties pay off mortgages and things like that, and I thought, you know, that sounds like a great idea. Why not? And she suggested that I start blogging. So I had never even heard of blogging prior to this, but she's, you know, very tech savvy and yeah, she told me about blogging and I...

...started a blog and then overtied and I started the blog and I had the perspective of me, as a customer, going to get a mortgage, buying a property, renting it out, and then my own property, of course, and then the flip side to that, I was also a lender because my career was in banking. So I was giving the audience both perspectives summer, as well as what the banks looking for when you come to them and you apply for a mortgage, making sure your credit is, you know, x and whatever. So my block started to get popular and overtime radio stations in magazine started to contact me just wanting to hear my story, so that really took off. Then a lady by the name of Gail Vad z Os laid wanted me to work with her. She's the Susie Orman, but of Canada, so she had fur all the just to make it easy, because what he knows she is. But anyway, she had four television shows at the time, so that exposed me to her audience. And then after that people just started contacting me wanting me to write for them, and I really don't think I'm the best writer. So my husband, who is my boyfriend at the time, suggested just get some writers and I thought that's a great idea. So I that's literally how the business started. I got some writers and I knew my strength is more, you know, closing the deals, getting the clients, not so much the writing the editing. So I got just hired. Hired writers that were really good at what they did and hired some editors and that's really how the business was born. And then I just brought the business to Atlanta, Georgia, simply because I love the city right on. Well, you know, I think what's really important in a good leader is that they recognize what they're great at right and they surround themselves with people who are really proficient in the things that you're not great at right and you know, a poor leader says I'm great at everything and you know, said I can fix it all right, so I can do it all. So I think that's really brilliant in terms of Varsi. Media. For our listeners who aren't familiar with your company, maybe you could just tell us a little bit about it. Yeah, so we write blog post for financial institutions. Just kind of made sense since I come from financial institutions. Yeah, I understand it well. So, yeah, that's really what we do. We write blog post. So really it's mainly financial writers that work for us. And we pretty much keep their blog up to date with relevant content for their audience. I gotcha. And so when you work with different companies, what are some of the main types of companies? I know it's finance, but any subvertical within that? Yes, so only banks, credit unions and mortgage companies. Gotcha. All right, huge. And so you creating some you know, we've talked before about creating some highly personalized content, you know, kind of meeting that person where they're at. And, you know, maybe you could fill in our listeners just a bit more about why personalized content so important. Yeah, because if content that speaks to everyone is content that speaks to no one. Is what I always say. Content have to be customized because if you're not answering your audiences question, clearing up any you know, misconceptions that they have, if you're not pretty much providing them with information that they need, then it's not personal life to them and then they don't care and they're not going to read it because if interested in something you see online, you're just not going to read it. Right, based on the headline, sideline doesn't get you, you're not going to read it because it's just not relevant to you, so that it's extremely important to know your target audience so that you can provide them with content that they're looking for, so that when they're ready and consistently provide them with content that they're looking for so that when they're ready, they'll raise their hands and, you know, buy your products or service. And that just comes to know you're really getting to know your audience so you know what they're talking about and you're really just creating content based on what it is they're talking about. You don't have to think about it. It's just what your audience is talking about, questions they have. Those are the types. That's a type of content you should be creating for them. Yeah, and I like that. And one of the things you just said there is when they're ready right, which often times to me means we're trying, you know, oftentimes marketers and content creators are trying to get people in an educational mode. Maybe you could talk a little bit about...

...what that means to get someone from, you know, where they are today to being ready in educating them along the way. Yeah, you can't. I think somebody being ready is not is out of your control because you don't know how long it's going to take for someone to get ready. The thing you need to focus on as a marketer is just consistently being in front of them so that when they're ready, because you don't know when they're going to be ready. It could be ten years from now, it could be tomorrow. So it's really just getting in front of them. So and get when I say get in front of them, I mean you know, if they're on facebook, joint facebook groups that they're a part of, if they're on forums, go on those forums and listen to what they're talking about. Pay attention to you know what's bothering them. What questions do they have? Sometimes they may be thinking something but that's not it. For example, an art industry, they may be thinking they have to have, you know, a minimum credit score of x, but that may not go through. So those are of content that you could be creating to clear up that misconception, because they may be thinking, oh well, I've got to get my credit score up to seven hundred, when really it only have to be six twenty, so that you can create content around that if you hear different people in your target audience talking about that. So that's what I mean by just continually, continuously staying in front of them, providing them with relevant content. And you go you only could really provide relevant content if you know them right. It's like if you and our friends, over time, I'm going to get to know you more and more and more and more, right, because we're building a relation together. So I'll know what you like, I'll know movies you're like, I know, I'll know different things you like, I'll know what you don't like, and that's kind of how you have to create those types of relationships with your target audience. No, I love that, and you know, you have to kind of be where they are. You know, I think a lot of companies get stuck in this. I'm going to tell you about us, right, and what you talked about is I'm going to listen, you know, I'm going to go on these forms, I'm going to go where you are and I'm going to listen to the questions you have, I'm going to see what things you're engaging with and then I'm going to look to create that content. Yeah, so you know, that's huge. Yeah, I think we have to remember, remember that people care about themselves. All right, that's so important. Like, if you even if you have friends right, usually long term relationships will last because you care about them, you're you want to know what's going on with them, what is happening in your life. It's kind of like it's I'm making all these similarities, because that's really how it is to gain customers. It really is all about them, it's not about you. You give first, then you get right that. That's really that's really the mindset that you have to have, and you can't, you can't give them what you want if you don't know what they want. And knowing what they want is really just being around them consistently, because, especially in the industry that we service, I mean our customers have customers from eighteen till death, pretty much right you have a bank that's credit cards, car loans, I mean it literally, they've got customers throughout the entire life. You know, you can be around them when they graduate from college, when they have their first child, when they're upgrading to a bigger house, when they're getting a minivan because they've got three, four kids. So that's what I mean by knowing, knowing your audience, being where they are and being able to answer those questions that they have and they will come to you. If you're constantly providing value to someone, you kind of feel like you're betraying someone if you don't give them business. Right, if they're always educating you and they're telling you what you want to know, of course you're going to go to them, because they're in front of you all the time. Yeah, I mean there's a level of trust. They're right and, you know, I like what you said. They're you know, it's like a it's like a relationship in real life, right, if I go hang out with somebody and I'm genuinely interested in them and asking them questions and learning about them, versus talking about myself, it's the same in business. Right, I want to know about what you have in terms of your fears or hesitations of moving forward with something and so that I can actually properly help you and address that right. And if I don't put in the time to learn and listen, and that can change over time too, and I'm focused on here's the service we have and here's here's why it should be important... you, I might not be hitting why it's important to them exactly, because you're focused on yourself. You mentioned a couple different things there that I think a lot of marketers also get nervous about, which is, Hey, are they on facebook? Are they on this, you know chat? Are they in this social media channel? And there's just so many different channels out there and, you know, I think some companies feel like they got to be everywhere at all times and they end up kind of spreading themselves too thin and as a result it doesn't really work. So maybe some tips for you know marketers out there, you know, working at a company on how do you handle so many different channels at one different at one time? You don't. I don't think you need to handle all the different there's always going to be a new trendy social media Plat, there's always there's always people creating different platforms. I think the focus needs to only be where your customers are and if your customers are on facebook and twitter and Linkedin, then you focus there. But usually there's, you know, a couple platforms that they're heavily on all the time. That's where most of your this needs to be. And then, like, let's say, for example, the majority of your customers are on Facebook, you should be on facebook several times a day. But they may also be on twitter and Linkedin. So what I would say is blast post to all three, but have more of an emphasis on where they congregate the most. So there's sites like buffer. There's a whole bunch of different sites where you can schedule post and I would say just schedule them to post on all three of the platforms if that's where they are, but if they're more on facebook, then you want to be doing even more work on facebook. So that's how won't necessarily need to physically post on all these sites. You can just have a you can just have a tool like buffer where you schedule stuff and it will send it to all of the different social media platforms and then just have a more focus on where they congregate the most. Yeah, I like that. And you know, in terms of technology, I know technology plays a role right in how you produce content, where you place the content, speeding up your content production. What are some tools on the tech side that you've seen work really well that maybe our audience could use? Yeah, like we use buffer to will our post. Our audience is on Linkedin, so that's where the majority of my time is spent and our our time is spent. So buffers the one that we use to schedule and then I'll just post videos. I I'll manually post them. Are My assistant will manually post videos on Linkedin. But there's a lot of different front scheduling APPs that you can use to to schedule your post. If you don't, cause there's will we schedule our post? I think we have post into like the end of November going. So, like we do that all, you know, in advance, and then I'll go in every day and I'll comment and like, like our audiences post, and then I'll share a video. So I may just do a live video and then share that. But buffers be the the tool that we mainly use to to schedule our post. I like that. I like that and you know you talked there about like, Hey, it's not just scheduling. I go in, I comment on things. I probably comment on somebody's comment. Right, I do my target Audi I only I don't really consume social media, to be quite honest. I'm just very strategic when I go on there. So when I go on there, I'm only commenting, liking on my target audiences post. Not Really. I can call my phone. It's because I want to get I already know my friends. I'm trying to get to know and build relationships with my ideal customers. So I want to get to know them and in doing that, I can see the post that they're posting if there's any commonalities and you know, I'll chime in. Yeah, so if someone were kind of getting started out there, maybe they were new, maybe they have a kind of a limited staff and they're saying, gosh, content production seems so necessary but so challenging and time consuming, what would you recommend as any maybe first steps? I would recommend going where your ideal customer is and just listen they're saying for like two months before or wouldn't start writing content. I would because the ideas, because a question I also get is if you how do you know what to write? This is the reason why I always say be where your ideal...

...customer is, because you never really have to think about what to put out there. Just put out there what they want. That's it like. If having a hard time coming up with topics, it's probably because you're not part of the conversation that they're already having. They're having conversations somewhere about possibly your your product or your service. So you've got to get where they are, whether that's for these book groups are really, really big. I'm such a huge apple of facebook groups because they're free and there's so many on a bunch of different, you know, different services and products. I mean there's just so many people. And if you can find facebook groups that are like, for example, we target, like I was saying, not financial institutions. So you know, their target audience would be people who want to buy a house. Well, you've got facebook groups for first time home buyers. There's a ton of facebook groups for people who are just real estate investors. So I mean, like, think about that for a second, like all of the people that you want to target are in these groups. I mean that's like everyone in there either either is buying or wants to buy. Like that is your ideal. Why aren't you in there? That's an example of just being just be a fly on the wall. You don't even have to say anything. I would just go in there and pay attention to what people are talking about and look for patterns, look for, you know, five people talking about the same things and people talking about the same thing and then, after a month or two, to once you've just and I just say, take ten twenty minutes per day. You don't need to be in there all day. And then, if you can provide value, if you can answer some of those questions, you do that. So you take you take the plan a little bit further by first you listen. If you can answer some of the questions, you do that. And your facebook page needs to be decked out, and when I say that I mean exactly what you do. Contact Information Very easy for people to contact you if they want to, and then they will when they're ready. And then you start providing content on your page, because eventually they'll start following you, they'll friend you if you're continuously providing value. After you've listened, and then you start posting content on your page based on what they're talking about the facebook groups, right, and then you add your website, you create blogs, you create videos, then you take snippets of that and put it on your social media like it's really a holistic approach. But that's just the beginning stages, and then you just keep adding on to it and it doesn't have to be overwhelming. Like I said, you could literally take just some time and schedule your post and not take, like you know, several hours every single day. It doesn't have to be whole sophisticated and complicated, but I would start with just going where they are and listening right on. Yeah, you one of the things you said there seems so counterintuitive to someone who's just getting started, but I think it's really true, which is like I just got let's say I just got started. I want to put some post in there. I'm going to join these facebook groups and I'm going to hate them up and I'm going blah, blah, Blah Blah. Right, but you're saying, Hey, wait a month or two, here the conversation station. Listen, learn. You know one of my good friends, Patrick Jordan, he's probably the best listener I've ever met, and that's that's skill, because intuitively we want to go, Oh, I heard what you just said and I'm going to tell you the solution right there, versus letting that conversation on foold and hearing really where it deepens in and where that that need can be better served. Right. Absolutely, I completely agree. That's why we got two years in one mouth. But I know sometimes it's hard, it's hard to you know, not automatically not even listen, but just you already have it in your mind what you want to say, how you want to provide that solution to, you know, someone's problem or their question. But you're you're right. You've got to we've got to just listen, and that's why I say, you know, take ten, twenty minutes per day and just go in there and be a fly on the wall. You will learn so much about your audience that you probably didn't even know, simply just by listening right on. So quick question for you in terms of once really good contents created, whether that's a, you know, Webinar or white paper or whatever, what are your thoughts on, you know, to gate that content, in other words, make sure someone has to enter their email address or their name and email, or to just let it be free flowing? And you know, I know this is a constant debate among marketer. So any thoughts there? Yeah, I mean there's I think, as long as you're truthful, I mean you can every most...

...most companies are doing that, doing it, so it's, you know, it's what is it like? PPC ads, things like that. So a lot of companies are doing that. So I don't have a problem with it, as long as it's not manipulating people into giving you know, their email addresses. But yeah, if you're providing something of value and you know you need their email address, of course, so you can add them to your drip campaign and you can constantly give them more information than I don't see anything wrong with it. It's just more of the manipulating type of ways that email I just that I'm not a fan of in terms of like you know, you've been in this industry for a while now and you see certain things and different trends and is there any kind of calmly held beliefs that you kind of question their effectiveness? There's a few. Like I think that sometimes people think that you can just post whenever you want and it will be effective. It's a long game at the end of the day and out of some mind. So you have you do have to be very, very consistent with your content, and that's several times a week. Wow, I believe every single day, but that could be a little overwhelming for some. So definitely consistency in terms of at lease several times a week. You should be in front of your audience so they don't forget you because there's just so much noise. So that's a belief that people think you can just kind of post whenever you want to and you'll get resultant. It's got to be a little bit more strategic than that. And you know, you and I had talked a little bit earlier as well about, you know, kind of hopping on that Bandwagan of the latest thing, and maybe that's not the most effective. Yeah, definitely not if you're target like all that matters is where your target audience is is. I remember when Tick Tock first came around, a lot of people were asking me if they should go on Tick Tock and my answer was always yes, if your customers are there, if your target audience is there. And clubhouse is the new now to clubhouse has been around for a year or little over a year now. And Yeah, so clubhouses the next question people are asking. Should I be on clubhouse? If your target audience is going there, then yes, but if not, no, no, because it's only miss and it's so easy. Right. You're like, oh my goodness, this is the neck the next big thing. I have to be part of it. I don't want to be late to the game because there's that that fear of missing out and whatnot, and you know, you know honestly, like maybe I'm not going to tick tock for things around mortgages or a credit union or whatnot, or maybe that client is there but they don't want to consume my content there. Even right yeah, it's definitely sitting back and even even if you're thinking about jumping platforms, take the same repoch that I had said about the facebook groups. Go there, if you're target audience is there, and see what they're talking about, because you people. The other thing too, is switching platforms. People go to different platforms for different reasons, just like you were saying. So what? Maybe working on facebook may not work on Tick Tock. So reason why it's good to be a fly on the wall to see what it is there, what it is they want, what it is they're talking about, because even if they are there, you still have to create a strategy on how to serve them there, because they may not want the exact same things they want on facebook. So keep that in mind. If your audience, if you do see your audience moving to another platform, still take the same approach that I was mentioning and listen first so that you can then come in and really serve them. Now that's massive. That's massive, you know, in terms of kind of staying in form, and we talk to just now about kind of the latest and greatest thing, right, but in in you know, the landscape does change, right. The landscape changes pretty consistently, in fact. That's probably one of the things we know is true, right. How are you staying informed in terms of the changing landscape? Yeah, I subscribe to search engine lands to help me out with the SEO stuff. I also, you know, attend conferences. I'm in front of my target audience all the time, not just online but actually, you know, facetoface, so I can hear about the different trends and there's a lot of different market updates. That's, you know, my client subscribe to. I subscribe to them as well, so it just makes it a little easy for me to, you know, keep my ear to the ground on what's happening in the industry. And then, and I just talked to them, I talk to arequives, I talked to, you know, the target audience and try to keep my ear into what's happening as much as possible. So that helps to just stay, you know, abreast...

...of the things that are happening you know, with our audience. I love that. By the way, talking to people. Yeah, we make things so much more complicated than they are and I think because we're in such a technology era that we forget that there's always people on the other side of the screens. It's not robots. So we still make sure that, you know, we've got those people skills and we, you know, aren't afraid to haul up on a facetoface call because, you know, we can get so comfortable. I've worked from home forever, even before I started my milk. I get people that are, you know, we're so we're so used to being behind the screen, but we're really just getting to know people. Speaking of connections and getting to know people, if people wanted to reach out to you and, you know, ask you some questions or learn more about you or work with Varsi media, how can listeners get in touch with you? My handle is Shaan del Varciana pretty much everywhere and, yeah, my website, Varsi Mediacom. You could definitely get a hold of me there as well, and that's V A R CI media. Shaun down. This has been really fun. You know, I love dive in into these things and getting back and forth to you. So I really appreciate your time and in serving the space here for our listeners. So thank you so much for joining the pod today. You're so welcome. Thank you so much for having me. It's been a blast. I appreciate it. Have a great one. Youtube. Thanks 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 rating. To learn more about marketing and tools to help you nail your digital customer experience, visit send, Sharecom. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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