Using Content as a Business Differentiator
Using Content as a Business Differentiator
Using Content as a Business Differentiator
- Content equals communication.
So what we're really toking about
when we tok about a content strategy
is a communication strategy.
Now, you might say, well, we have that.
We've got a communications department
and they focus in on that.
Right, they do,
but they're usually focusing on what we want to say.
What we need to also focus on is how we're saying it.
- Today, I'm very excited to be joined by Robert Rose.
If you don't know who Robert is,
he's a content strategist and founder
of the Content Advisory,
a consultancy that helps brands
develop their content strategy.
He's co-author of Killing Marketing and co-host of the,
This Old Marketing podcast.
Robert, welcome back to the show.
How you doing today?
- Well, I am super psyched to be here.
It feels like I just toked to you yesterday,
but it also feels like seven years, in the same way.
- I know, it's fascinating.
We saw each other in San Diego
at social media marketing world,
but it has been seven years since you've been on the show.
And for those that are listening today,
what we're gonna tok about with Robert
is how content can help be your business differentiator.
But before we go there, you know,
a lot's happened since 2015 for you.
Why don't you bring us up to speed
on what you've been working on over the last seven years?
Because it's been a little while
since I've had you on the show.
- Well, you know, I mean, how long is your show?
I mean, we could be here all day toking about me.
You know, it's been an eventful seven years.
I mean, not the least of which has been the last two years,
you know, which of course,
everybody knows where I was, at least, location wise.
I was right here at home.
But you know, in 2015,
things were humming along with Content Marketing Institute,
and it was a year after that, that my friend, Joe and I,
you know, sort of helped navigate
the exit strategy for CMI,
and it was acquired by a company called UBM,
and then UBM was subsequently acquired
by a company called Informa.
And Joe did his thing and rode off into his orange sunset,
and is doing all the things that Joe does now.
And for me, I still work for a living.
And so I still serve and have since the acquisition,
as chief strategy advisor now
'cause I am no longer certainly associated
with the company as an employee,
as a partner of Content Marketing Institute.
So still been doing that.
So that means, you know,
showing up and wearing orange
and working at content marketing world and, you know,
hosting webinars and helping curate the event,
build a curriculum for the training,
content marketing university
and all the things that I'm doing.
And in my side job,
which has now become really my primary job
as I've been really spinning out
and building my consulting practike, which of course,
I was doing under Content Marketing Institute,
but really have been focused on that the last seven years
and building that as a core piece of my business.
So it's called content advisory,
and I've been working with
brands all around the world
on operationalizing content marketing and content strategy
and all the things they're doing.
And most recently, I guess, you know,
I guess the news is I've been digging a little bit
into this whole web three thing
and sort of exploring building a little bit of a community,
which by the time this airs, we'll have launched.
It's called experience advisors, experienceadvisors.io,
if you wanna go take a look,
and I'm having a ton of fun and sort of, you know,
it's been a busy seven years for me.
- Well, and we should also mention that
after Joe Pulizzi and you,
well, Joe Pulizzi sold 'cause he was the guy
that really owned the whole thing,
sold Content Marketing Institute,
I believe there was a couple years where you guys
continued to do this old marketing podcast
and then you took a break and then you came back.
How has that experience taking a break and coming back?
- It's a case study in what not to do.
I'll tell you that much is, you know,
one of the things that as we, you know,
we did continue to do it for a short time
after the acquisition.
And then Joe, very deservedly wanted to take a year away
from tiknology and work and sort of explore his options,
spend time with his family.
And so, you know, we toked about it
and we toked about continuing the show
even with him on hiatus like that.
And we made a decision, which in hindsight was great for,
you know, great for a work life balance,
but not great for the podcast, which was, you know,
we said to each other, look,
what we wanna do is we wanna go out.
And if we go out and come back,
our audience will be angry with us.
But if we go out and say we're coming back,
they'll be really angry with us.
And so basically it was,
we didn't wanna promise anything.
In other words, we didn't wanna say,
Hey, we're taking a year away and you know,
we're gonna come back,
because we didn't wanna make anybody mad.
And so we ended the show, ostensibly.
We just said, we're ending the show
and very, very lovely and wonderful,
we had lots of, you know, don't say it so,
and we had lots of emails and Twitter had, you know,
posts and all sorts of things saying,
don't do it, but we did.
We basically put a, you know,
a little bit of a nail on the ground and said,
we're ending the show.
And then we had always in the background said,
we might bring it back,
but we didn't want to do that
if we weren't a hundred percent sure.
And Joe just wasn't a hundred percent sure.
But then he came back
and started getting into the swing of things again
and we decided to bring the show back and it's been hard.
It's, you know, we've now been back,
I think four years
since we reinitiated the show.
We started again slow,
we started again twice a month,
then moved back to once a week and-
- How long were you guys actually off?
For one year or two years?
Do you know how long it was?
- It was a little more than a year.
Yeah. - Okay.
- Just a little more than 12 months.
- So what's the lesson there? - tiknically away.
- What's the lesson there you think?
Is it not to give up or, yeah.
- Well, the lesson is that - Yeah.
- you have to be willing to start over.
- Yeah. - I mean, you really
have to be willing to start over, you know?
We lost probably 50% of our audience
right off the bat, right?
So it's not like everybody, you know, deleted the icon
from their iPhone or their downloads or whatever.
It just stopped. - Mm hmm.
And most people don't do that though.
You know, they sort of just leave it there
and then they just know that
the new shows aren't gonna show up.
But when we restarted again,
we got about 50% of our audience back right away.
And then it's been a long climb back up for that other 50%.
And we're just now four years later
getting to the point where we left off in 2017.
- I guess the upside is you got 50% of your audience back.
It's not quite as bad as starting from scratch, right?
I mean, that's the good news, but--
- Yeah, well, it's not bad as starting from scratch,
but it was, you know, I mean,
it was the kind of thing where
you could just feel the air sucked out of the room, right?
I mean, - Yeah.
- it was hard.
It was really hard and, you know,
were I to do it again
and I had a do over,
what I would've definitely done is
to continue the show on my own
and basically hope that Joe came back.
- Yeah. - We would've, you know,
so we would've done it that way.
And I think we would've done a lot better.
So I think that's the case study.
The lesson learned there is
if you are thinking about taking time off,
going on any kind of hiatus,
just understand that, you know,
there's a lot of competition for your audience's attention
and they will forget about you.
- Fascinating, well, I'm a regular listener
and I think you guys,
are you once a week or once every other week?
What's your configuration?
- We're once a week now, yeah. - Once a week, yeah.
This Old Marketing.
All right, well, first of all, thank you for sharing
what's happened over the last seven years.
What I wanna ask you now is there are lots of marketers
listening to this podcast that
when they think of content,
they don't necessarily think of content
the way you think of content.
They might think of Instagram posts or TikTok videos.
- And maybe that's part of
what we're gonna be toking about today,
but I would love to hear from your perspective,
those that are not really fully strategically thinking about
the value of content,
what do you wanna say to those that are
maybe not focused on content
and what it's value proposition ought to be
for them to consider?
- You know, yeah, I think it's,
this is especially true.
Like, when we look at the,
and I think we can safely say,
we're now in the post pandemic world.
You know, we are coming back to
at least what we remember as being normal,
but, you know, it's arguably changed forever
given the last two years and what we've seen.
And I think one of the accelerations, you know,
we tok a lot about the disruptions of the last two years,
but I think the true disruptions
have just been in accelerations of things
that were always coming,
and they just came faster because of the
various things that happened
during the last couple of years.
And I think what we've seen is that
content as a function in business
has become even more important
than arguably it was in 2018 and 2019.
And what I mean by that is that when we think about
the idea of all of us brands as publishers,
you know, John Battelle,
the founder of Wired said this, you know, 10 years ago,
12 years ago.
He said, "All brands are publishers now."
It doesn't matter whether you're a team of one
or whether you're a team of hundred,
we are all in the business of creating
engaging content for our audiences
that ultimately, some of them turn into customers.
And whether that's to deliver content
that drives more leads,
to drive more engagement with our brand,
to drive more loyalty with our customers, whatever it is,
a company now has to adopt a lot of those processes.
What we're seeing is that in many ways,
our strategy around social media and posts
and those kinds of things, we're all based on, yay,
we're trying to entertain, deliver value,
inspire, thought leadership, and all those kinds of things
across as many platforms as we could.
And now it's different.
Now, we have to start to establish loyalty.
And I don't mean customer loyalty.
I mean, loyalty to the content we're creating
so that people want to live and spend time
and hold their attention with that content we're creating.
In other words, it's not good enough anymore
to just sort of grab attention for five minutes
while you get somebody into the top 10 best practikes post.
No, you've got to grab their attention
and hold their attention
so that they wanna subscribe to you,
so that they want ongoing communication from you,
and so that you have that ability,
because it's just increasingly more difficult
to get attention from consumers these days,
whether you're a business of one or a business of 1,000.
- One of the questions that I wanna ask is
from your perspective, how do you define content?
- It's really simple because,
and it's funny because I get this question a lot.
I especially get it from a CFO or a CMO
or a CEO in a company that I'm going into,
where someone's brought us in
to look at their content operation
and their content strategy,
and they say, eh, isn't content too big a word?
And I sort of let that hang there for a minute
because it is.
And, but you just let that question hang there for a second
and you go, yeah, it is too big a word.
But think about that for a second.
What you're actually asking is,
is it too big a concept for us to wrap our arms around
as a business?
And the answer to that has to be, no.
It has to be that we can get our arms around content
because in their mind,
what they're thinking is content is everything.
It's everything we do.
And of course, that's true tiknically,
but what we're toking about really is just communication.
So how does the business communicate
through all of the different formats, and channels,
and types, and people?
How does it do so in a coordinated, consistent way?
And again, this doesn't matter
whether you're a small business of three or four people
or whether you're a huge enterprise business
of 57,000 people.
You have to figure out how the business is going to speak
and it speak in a consistent way across multiple channels
and multiple types
so that you're drawing in those audiences
and creating differentiation
and some level of competitive advantage.
So you've gotta get your arms around it.
And so content equals communication.
So what we're really toking about
when we tok about a content strategy
is a communication strategy.
Now you might say, well, we have that.
We've got a communications department
and they focus in on that.
Right, they do,
but they're usually focusing on what we want to say.
What we need to also focus on is how we're saying it.
What are the workflows?
What are the governance processes?
What are the methods and channels we're using?
What are the standards we're creating for our business,
so that everybody knows how to speak
in a consistent and cohesive way?
- Fascinating, you know, I remember
the very first content marketing world,
myself and Brian Clark were up on a panel and there-
- That's trouble right there, you and Brian Clark
on a panel is absolute trouble.
- But back then, it was really blogging, you know,
is what content was. - Yeah.
- And it's so much more than that now, isn't it?
- It is, you know, because ultimately,
it was good enough then
because you were very rarely competing with, you know,
1900 people who were saying the exact same thing
you were, right?
You know, blogging was a relatively new form
of looking and getting, you know,
communications from everything
from thought leaders to our news.
And, you know, posting up short artikles
in reverse chronological order
was nifty and new and novel and all those things.
And so in those days, it was all about search
and it was all about answering every question
that you could get from your customer
and just being that resource, right?
Being a resource to be found
when people were looking for a partikular thing.
And, you know, Brian made a living out of that, you know?
Copy Blogger and all of the properties that he's launched
has made a living around becoming the trusted source
of that interesting thing.
Social Media Examiner is another great example of that.
Becoming the trusted source of an interesting thing
in the way that people find things.
Today, there are a hundred other people
toking about your topic.
And so simply answering the question
isn't good enough any longer,
you have to be able to press forward
and differentiate in a way that creates an experience
that ultimately, makes you the favor,
or holds the attention, or creates exception.
And that's the real difference today.
Is that for businesses, their content, their blog,
their resource center, their website,
it's as important, and I would argue even more important
in some ways than the products and services
that they put into the marketplace,
because it is for most consumers,
the first and continual way
that they'll interact with their brand.
- So today, I think when we think of content,
I think we're toking about
long form content, generally speaking,
which in my mind is blogging, podcasting,
- Yeah. - and video creation, right?
You already mentioned one of the problems that,
or mistakes that you see a lot of marketers making,
which is to just simply answer the most common questions
that people have and call it done.
What are some of the other mistakes
that you see marketers making
when it comes to content these days,
or their strategy or their thinking in general?
- I think the biggest one these days,
and I've been on a bit of a tear about this of late is
they're not building anything.
You know, one of the, so there's this idea that, you know,
you certainly are simply answering the questions, right?
I call that settling bar bed content, right?
Where, yeah, you might come up first in the search,
but as soon as that question is answered
from that bar bed that somebody made,
they're onto something else.
There's no, what you want is for people
to hold their phone and go, oh, wow,
that did answer the question
but I'm really interested in this artikle
and either book market for later, or actually, you know,
pose with their friends at the bar and read the artikle,
where you want that,
you want to suck people into that attention span.
The key, however, is for a long term content strategy
to really work,
you have to stop thinking about content as an asset
or as a singular post.
You have to start thinking about
how am I building a universe?
How am I building something that,
where post number one is better
because post number five or six or seven exists,
and post six or seven is better
because post number one exists?
There's a great metaphor that I love for this,
which is you look at the Marvel universe, right?
So in 2008, Ironman, it was a fine movie.
It was a good movie, right?
It was a fine movie.
We would not remember it, right?
If I said name the other movies from 2008, you know,
that competed with Ironman,
you might be able to come up with one or two,
but probably not.
But you remember Ironman as a good movie.
But the reason that you really remember Ironman
is because what Marvel did was something amazing.
They took that movie and it was the first step
in a mapped universe where they created 10 years
worth of movies to make all of them better.
So Thor is better because Ironman exists,
and Ironman one is now a classic because Thor exists.
So they built this entire universe that works together
where the content raises all of the tide
for all of the content pieces that they're creating.
When you think about that from a business perspective,
you start thinking, how do I start building a universe
where people wanna come in and live and stay,
and they wanna read something else
because it's related to this other thing that I created,
instead of just one off assets,
where we treat content as a campaign,
where every day, we're sort of reinventing the donut,
where we're trying to get more and more and more out,
so we just keep doing different things?
And yeah, one of them goes viral and one of them does okay,
but we're not building any long term value
for a body of work, for a complete body of work
that differentiates us in the ways that
our consumer looks at
all the things that they can experience with us.
- I wanna dig in on this word, differentiation.
First of all, I love this concept of creating a universe,
'cause you know, we are content machines
over here at social media examiner, and
- Yeah. - we tend to create just
gobs and gobs of content about the same thing.
For example, Instagram,
we've got endless pieces of content about it.
And sometimes it looks and sounds very similar
to something we published six months ago.
But tok about how content itself done well
can be actually a strategic differentiator.
Because I feel like we should spend a few minutes
toking about that.
- I think the key to that is looking at,
so one of the reasons that I think
your platform differentiates itself,
and the reason that Content Marketing Institute
differentiates itself and some of the other businesses,
HubSpot does a great job of this.
You know, there are other tons of brands out there
that do a really nice job of it.
The secret that they have is is that
they treat their product experience, or excuse me,
their content experiences as product.
- And by doing that,
you inherently think different
about the way that you publish content
and the way that it fits into the overall scheme.
And I'll give you the contrast of that,
which is most businesses think, ah,
I'm building a resource center.
So this week we'll do the top 10 reasons
that the industry that we're in is changing.
Next week, we'll do, ah, let's see,
what do we think of?
Oh, let's do the top 20 reasons
that our kind of product makes sense for you.
Oh, next week, we'll do,
and none of them connect to each other.
They're not building a body of work.
They're just building like, just assets
that sort of speak to whatever they're thinking about
on a given day or whatever sales is asking for
or whatever the CEO says
or whatever thought leader
they can actually get an interview with and actually create
becomes their editorial strategy.
Because when brands
look at their content platforms as products,
it forces inherently to look at it
like what is our editorial strategy
and how are we building a body of work
where people wanna come in and stay?
You know, I can go into Content Marketing Institute
and spend hours looking around at different content
because it relates to each other.
There are different things there
to relate to each other with.
There are brands that are really succeeding here.
And this again goes to
whether you're a company of one or five or 10
or a company of 10,000 is where the editorial works together
in synergy with each other where, you know,
we want to build audiences
that feel like spending time in there.
And that's the key difference in how we think of content,
not as a marketing campaign,
but as a platform or a product
where we're building audiences to our content products.
- I think about the fact that we are a multimedia company,
if that word still means anything,
but we do publish, - Yeah.
- for example, this interview
is going to be an audio podcast,
which most of you are listening to,
but it's also a video that we were publishing
on our YouTube channel.
And we're also going to reverse engineer
a co-created artikle by Robert and myself
that's going to read like an artikle
with a podcast player embedded at the end of it
because we know that there are some people
that learn by watching, and some by listening,
and some by reading.
And I feel like there is a little bit of a lesson in there
because it's true that different audiences consume media
and different kinds of mediums.
I don't know, any thoughts on that?
- It, well, what I would say is it's amazing to me
still here in 2022,
how many companies big and small
don't think like that, right?
In other words they don't think about,
oh, I'm gonna do a customer story or a case study.
And so how would it, you know, exist as a podcast,
a webinar, a PDF,
an artikle on my blog, and sort of leverage it
for all of the different places
that you want to create this universe
and really provide for the best interface
for the best reuse that you possibly can?
The number of businesses that think that way are very small.
We are trained in fact, as marketers,
to think exactly the opposite, right?
How do we think of content as marketers?
The first thing we think of is what's the container?
I need an ad, I need an email.
I need a blog post, I need a white paper.
I need a TV ad, I need whatever it is.
And then we go, great, I need that container.
Now the next question is how do I fill it full of content?
And great content strategies start exactly the reverse way.
We say, what's the story?
What's the content?
What's the value that I wanna give to the audience?
And then get that done in whatever format you can think of,
and also all of the other formats
that you would want to put that in,
because what's great about what you just said is
if we think about all that stuff, a priori, in other words,
before we actually go execute the thing,
we know that we need to set up a video thing,
to have the video, you know, recording.
We know that we wanna tok about this topic,
even though we're gonna edit it out of the podcast
because we wanna have it for the artikle.
We know that we wanna actually ask for some photos of the,
you know, the person that we're interviewing
because we wanna include that as part of the artikle
that we're writing for the blog.
We start assembling very much like a movie director
thinks about shooting all the scenes they need to shoot
out of order and getting the coverage that they need,
the content that they need,
because they know they're gonna cut it up
a million different ways.
- I love this.
And I think a lot of people are connecting with this.
I would love to tok about this universe of content.
So many people I think understand
the Marvel universe, right?
They understand why Disney paid what they paid for Marvel
and how that is basically more than probably
a hundred X the value because of the way that
they've created all this amazing content,
not just in movies and comics and everything
you could possibly imagine, animations, series.
So what do we need to be thinking about
if we are to take this concept of
creating a universe of content?
How ought we consider it?
And maybe we either tok about a little bit of the process
or some examples that come to mind
so people can wrap their head around this a little bit.
'Cause I think a lot of people are like,
this sounds really cool.
Gimme a little bit more.
- Yeah, I'll give you a little bit of both because
process is perhaps the most unsexy thing to tok about ever
in the history of all business.
But the key thing that we see missing,
and again, not to belabor this, but this is true in,
I mean, it's true.
I see it in solopreneurs
and I see it in enterprise level companies, which is,
you know, and you mentioned this, you know, a bit
when you toked about, you know,
all the different ways that you're gonna reuse
this piece of content,
which is the missing link in the process
is planning and prioritization.
We just don't plan and prioritize anything as businesses
when it comes to content.
Every idea that comes in gets executed in most cases, right?
CEO wants this, it gets done.
Sales wants that, it gets done.
These people want this, it gets done.
We think of a cool idea, it gets done.
There's no planning or prioritization around content.
Thus, every content team I've ever met
has always been behind the eight ball
when it comes to getting their, you know,
getting their work done.
I call this Robert's content law,
which is the need for content directly increases,
correlated with the number of people assigned to it.
Meaning you will never scale to the need of content.
I don't care how big your business is.
This is why we see so many of these content studios
failing in large organizations
because you cannot survive as the internal Kinkos
to an enterprise content strategy.
You'll just never have as many people as you need.
So you have to start to plan and prioritize
in order to create something that is going to become
cohesive and coordinated like a content universe.
That's the process part.
The second piece to what you said is
who's doing this really well?
And the group that I continually have to come back to
is what the Cleveland Clinic does,
what Amanda Todorovich over there has done.
Now, keep in mind they do marketing stuff, right?
She's you know,
she is the marketing department
for Cleveland Clinic, the hospital.
So they do stuff like posters in the hallway,
and update the doctor's office hours,
and make sure the about us website is working just fine.
But the reason they have all of the bandwidth and resources
to be able to do that at scale is because
they treat their two main content islands,
which are their health library
and their health essentials blog,
both of which, by the way, make money,
they are revenue generating properties for them,
and they also serve as one of the chief ways that their,
you know, it's their brand flagship, right?
Health essentials blog is truly
Cleveland Clinic's brand flagship
as it generates millions and tens of millions
of page views every month.
It's one of the top health destinations on the internet.
The reason it works and the reason
that they've been able to make that content work so well
is because they created a true editorial process
and a true look at both of those things as platforms
that gave them plenty of headroom and bandwidth
to be able to do all the stuff that they have to do,
sort of to, you know, make the donuts,
which is to keep, you know,
the doctor's hours office updated, and do ads,
and do banner ads, and do you know,
new photos for the about us part of the website
and all the stuff that they have to do
as a marketing team.
And it's just truly an operation
that has scaled beautifully.
- I wanna come back to the Cleveland Clinic
after I go back to this planning
and prioritization of content.
I wanna dig a little deeper on this.
- I would imagine, like give us some thoughts on like
some people like have no idea where to start
when it comes to planning their content and prioritizing.
Like, what exactly does that mean?
Like, I would imagine there's gotta be
a little bit more to it than that because
especially in a bigger organization,
there's gonna be so many competing interests.
So how do you decide
which content is the prioritization, right?
- Yeah, yeah.
Well, let's be clear.
If the CEO wants it done, it gets done.
- Right. - So I mean, that's, you know,
there's that part, right? - Right.
- They have special dispensation to ask for things.
You know, mostly what we find is that
when you put in a planning process,
there are two things that really help.
One is giving a group,
whether it's your content person
or your content team teeth, right?
The ability to say no.
And what we mean by that is that
we just have to recognize that
not every idea that goes into an intake form
or the idea box or the email to our content people
or whoever is actually, you know,
responsible for creating all this stuff,
not every idea is the best idea,
and nor should every idea
be its own unique little unicorn as well.
And so the first step in doing all of this
and getting sort of unoverwhelmed by the thought of again,
content, oh my gosh, content, you mean everything?
No, let's tok about just first maybe thought leadership,
or maybe let's just tok about marketing content,
or let's tok about PR content,
whatever sort of segmentation makes the best sense for you,
let's just get our arms around that.
Second thing is I often use the metaphor of
air traffic control.
The first step of air traffic control
is just to know all the planes in the air.
So it's really,
can you create a process with your team
so that you at least provide visibility for everybody,
creating that content calendar, if you will,
of all the planes in the air,
of everything that we're doing?
Literally documenting everything
that we are responsible for doing currently.
That list alone will make your leadership like go,
okay, all right, we see the problem now.
And so once we have visibility into all the planes
in the air,
now we can start toking about
how do we direct them in the best way?
How do we actually start saying no,
combining these projects, making this better?
And the pushback to all of that,
and I've just watched it happen is your sales people,
the people who depend on you to produce this content,
all these people that depend on you to produce this content,
what they're gonna immediately say is, wow,
sounds like you're really gonna slow down
the creation of process.
And the spoiler alert answer is yep, I sure am.
I'm gonna slow down the creation
by adding planning and prioritization
to the creation of content.
I'm gonna more than exponentially, make it up
in all this content reuse
and the ability to populate multiple channels
with multiple versions of content.
Just exactly in the example that we just toked about
with us in this interview,
by being able to say before we even started this interview,
that you knew that you wanted it
in four different or five different formats.
Now we've got population,
now, an editorial calendar for the blog, that's set.
Now we an editorial for our podcast, that's set.
Now editorial calendar for our YouTube channel,
that's set, great.
We now have assets for that
and we've thought about one piece of content
and how it's gonna get created in multiple ways.
Getting all of those airplanes directed to the right runways
is the second step.
And once you start doing that, then it's like, okay,
we can move beyond thought leadership.
Now we can move to marketing content and advertising and PR,
we can sort of expand out our flower
as it were to bloom across the whole business.
- One of the things that I've been experimenting with
many people know that I have multiple shows.
So we've got this show, the Social Media Marketing Podcast.
I have a crypto business podcast.
Now we have the Social Media Marketing tok Show,
hired someone full time to take over
the Social Media Marketing tok Show.
But what I decided to do with the crypto business podcast is
it's an interview show.
But one of the things that I notiked is
I have been learning a lot, just like you have, Robert,
about what's going on in the world of web three.
So I went to my team and I said,
what do you think about me just doing a behind the scenes
what I'm learning,
because I've got these interviews scheduled out
a month to two months in advance and I'm learning rapidly?
And I said, what if I just share what I've learned?
Like for example, when we launched our own NFT,
and it's not super scripted.
And the key to the whole thing is I am going to actually
bypass some of our normal processes.
We're not gonna make an artikle out of it.
We're not gonna make a video out of it.
It's only going to be audio.
I'm gonna push the button and I'm gonna tok
and it's not gonna be perfect.
And I'm gonna tell everybody that it's not gonna be perfect
and there's no show notes.
And I put it out there literally today, Tuesday, April 26th,
but I asked my audience a very important question.
I said, if you want me to continue with this raw,
authentik, behind the scenes content,
you must message me on Twitter or Instagram.
And boom, they've been messaging me all over the place
saying more and more and more please.
So what I've done is I've given myself permission
and given my team like an off,
like they're out of the difficulties, right?
Like we're going minimum viable
to get this content out there,
and we're gonna see if it works.
And if it works, we're gonna do more of it.
But we're still gonna make it direct
just for the audio audience.
Of course, I'm the CEO,
so I can get away with this kinda stuff.
But is there anything to this experimentation strategy
that I just threw out there
- Of course. - Any comments on that?
- You know, I mean,
there's a wonderful interview that I heard with,
this is back when John Stewart
was still doing the Daily Show,
and he was being interviewed by Terry Gross from NPR
for her show.
And one of the things that she said to him
that has always stayed with me is she said,
"You do a daily show about the news.
"How do you, you know,
"it must just be made up as you go, right?
"Because the news is coming in
"literally as the day is progressing
"and you're writing this show in real time.
"It must just be chaotik there."
And he said, "Absolutely not.
"In fact, it's exactly the opposite.
"It's as regimented and ordered and filled with process
"as you can possibly imagine."
He said, "What that does,"
he said is "we have down to the minute,
"we have it timed for various things that we're doing
"throughout the day to put the show together."
He said, "but what that gives us is flexibility."
He said, "because now we can break the rules.
"So if something comes in, something wild comes in,
"something we wanna news jerk,
"something we wanna absolutely take advantage of,
"we have the ability to, you know, to improvise,
"to actually break the rules.
"Because there are rules, we can break them."
And that experimentation is just something that I've seen
happen so many times with brands.
Once we know all the planes in the air
and can organize ourselves and really have a good sense,
and visibility, and transparency
into our content generation, prioritization,
and production process.
Well, now we can go, yeah,
I got time to try this new, weird thing that you wanna do,
or yeah, or I don't have time
to try this new, weird thing.
We should outsource and bring in somebody new to do that,
or at least we can make much more solid business decisions
about how we actually can improvise.
So I've seen, I've just watched it work.
So great process builds flexibility
in a very sort of unintuitive way.
- Perfect, now, the key is prioritization.
So you helped us really figure out a great process.
And you toked about this air traffic control analogy
and giving your team teeth to be able to say no.
But there's gotta be a little bit of analysis going on here.
How do we decide when a new idea comes in,
whether it should,
or let's assume it's not coming from the CEO,
but it has a lot of merit.
How do you decide when to create some new form of content
on top of what you've already done?
Do you have any wisdom as far as properly prioritizing
what should be accelerated versus what should be put to bed?
- Yeah, the mechanism I like for that is,
this is especially true in larger organizations
that are by nature, gonna be more matrixed, and siloed and,
you know, lots of dotted line reporting structures
and all those kinds of things,
and where there is an, you know,
there is buy-in necessary for prioritization.
And the mechanism I really like for that is
some form of group.
Now, whether you call it an editorial board
or a center of excellence or a leadership council
or whatever it is, that whoever leads content as a function,
as a strategy for the business helps to facilitate.
And again, whether that meeting is monthly, quarterly,
once every six months, you know, the cadence is really,
you know, independent of your partikular business.
But I really like that looking at it as a group effort,
as a team effort to say,
here's all the planes in the air, let's as a team decide,
what's, you know, what are the priorities and what are the,
plans for each of these and where we can, you know,
where we can do some horse trading and figure out,
okay, I'll wait on that.
If you wait on that, great.
And be able to sort of put all those things together
so that everybody's bought into the plan,
just like we would a marketing of sales plan,
a content plan should have the same level of buy-in
from that group.
And if we can do that as a separate meeting, fantastik.
If we can do it as a, you know,
as a collaboration online and slack, great.
Whatever the mechanism for you to do that.
I like that cross functional leadership committee
or whatever you wanna call it.
- Well, and I would imagine sometimes
it's really important to figure out
what are we going to stop
to make room for what we wanna start, right?
Because this is,
- Yeah. - This is really important.
- That's exactly right, yeah.
- We all, I mean, we often, I mean, at the,
one of the things that I close my workshop with is I,
as I say, you know,
as you go forward from these days
and you start thinking about
all this content you wanna create now
and all the things you wanna do,
what I want you to do is stop for a minute.
And I want you to ask yourself a question, which is,
let's pretend on Monday morning, you stopped everything.
I mean, no more social posts, no more, you know, updates,
no more blogs, no more website updates, no more emails,
no more, you know, clubhouse,
no more Twitter spaces, nothing.
No more content, full stop.
Who would call you and say that they missed it?
Like, who would literally call up the, you know,
or email you and say,
oh, I miss your Friday afternoon Facebook posts,
or, oh, I miss that cat hanging from the tree saying,
hang in there, baby,
or I miss you on your show on clubhouse or whatever it is?
And if the only answer to that is our boss,
then we know that we can stop for a minute and take a moment
and start planning and prioritizing
because we're not, you know,
we're not creating content that people will miss.
And that's what we have to be.
You know, it goes all the way back to our top of the show
where we toked about our podcast.
One of the main reasons we brought it back, Joe and I,
is because of the level of response
that we got when we ended the show.
That was the one positive thing that came out of it.
Was the fact that we got hundreds of people
who emailed us, called us, and badgered us to say,
we really missed the show.
That was our Canary to say, we should bring this thing back.
- Cleveland Clinic, just gimme a couple of minutes on
what is their health library, and why is it working so well
versus their health essentials blog?
Just help everybody understand this,
just so, I mean, obviously everybody can Google it,
but from your perspective,
it sounds like you understand it pretty well.
What is it?
What's the differentiator there?
- Yeah, I think that the true differentiator
for what they've done there is to
add in uniqueness, right?
So this takes a little bit of explanation.
But basically in that field,
there are services out there that have grown up
over the last, you know, going back
to what we were toking about,
even, you know, 10 years ago, eight years ago,
seven years ago,
where what you were trying to do was answer every question.
So when people Googled what's diabetes?
Or when people Googled what's asthma?
How do I deal with asthma?
You wanted your hospital, if you specialized in that,
to come up, right?
So natural sort of SEO strategy.
So what ended up happening was there was a lot of companies
that started creating very commoditized,
sort of how to, FAQ types of answers
on everything that you can imagine existing
in the medical field.
And many hospitals sort of opted into that.
Others copied that idea.
They basically started building in FAQs and artikles about,
okay, what's it mean to have diabetes and how many,
you know, what does high blood pressure mean?
And how does I quit smoking,
and all the health related things that you might,
you know, you might expect to see.
And again, driving traffic, driving engagement,
driving findability for those partikular ideas
in driving a brand.
So Cleveland Clinic took a little bit of a different
approach to it in addition to their health essentials blog,
which is much more proactive health, dieting, and exercise,
and all those kinds of stuff
they wanted to create a differentiated library
of what it was, you know,
what you were dealing with.
Really go compete with the Web MDs of the world.
- And so they started creating that kind of content,
originally getting medical professionals,
getting subject matter experts,
and really going deep and well into these subjects
to differentiate on the quality of that content.
That got them, yes, good SEO.
But even more importantly,
when they started sharing it across social
and they started sharing it, generally speaking
and people experiencing it,
they capped those people because those people were like,
this is now better than Web MD.
This is better than this other health information
I'm getting and it's different.
And that was what really differentiates them.
And now, because they're so good at it,
they're getting paid to do that.
So they can do ads, and they can do sponsorships,
and they can do things that are helping them
monetize that content.
And guess what?
That feeds the quality of what they're able to invest
in terms of developing even more.
So they've really built their own
sort of mini Web MD business
into the Cleveland Clinic content strategy.
- Absolutely fascinating.
Robert, if people want to check you out
or your business, you know,
do you have a preferred social channel?
And also, where would you want them to go
as far as the website side of things?
- Well, the reason I'm smiling is because,
you know, Twitter?
- Question mark?
My two preferred social channels are Twitter.
Robert_Rose, I'm on Twitter.
And then LinkedIn,
I'm a huge believer in LinkedIn.
Would love to connect.
I'm a big connector on LinkedIn.
So love to connect on LinkedIn.
Those are the two places I spend the most time.
- Well, and if people wanna check out your consultancy,
where do you wanna send them?
- That's my website, which is wonderfully just new.
Well, you know, the funny thing is
we actually decreased the size of it,
but actually polished up our rock a little bit.
So suffering a little bit of cobbler's kids there,
but now we're back
and shined it up.
- Awesome, Robert Rose,
thank you so much for coming on
and sharing all your insights with us today.
I know we're way better because of it.
- Oh, well, thank you for having me.
I mean, let's not make it seven years the next time,
but this is, I mean, as always, is so much fun to hang out.