Owned Content Marketing

Featuring best-selling author, David Meerman Scott.

 
  • - Hey, everybody, Kyle Jepson from HubSpot Academy. I'm joined today by David Meerman Scott, the renowned sales and marketing strategist, keynote speaker and author of 10 books?

    - 10 books, Kyle, how are you doing?

    - 10 books. Good how are you?

    - I'm awesome, thanks.

    - I'm happy to be joined by all of you who are coming in today. We have some questions that were asked from advanced from Linked in. We'll be going through those. But if you have any questions you'd like David to answer, drop them into the Facebook comments. We are monitoring those and I'll pass them along.

    - Excellent.

    - But just to get a start, today we're talking about renting versus owning your content marketing. What does that mean?

    - Oh, my God, renting versus owning. So broadly speaking, the idea is should be paying for access, paying for advertising, which in my world is kind of renting space. You can literally rent a billboard space. Or you can rent space in a search result. Or you can rent something on a television station. Or own an asset that belongs to you. So, you know, a blog post, or a video, or a website, or some other form of content that you personally own or your organization owns. And there's big differences between how you use those things. And we're a little provocative by saying versus rent, versus own. I think maybe the right answer might be some combination of the above, but I'm a huge believer in ownership. I own two houses, Kyle.

    - Oh, wow!

    - I own three cars. It's way too many, but I try not to rent them. But every once in awhile, I jump in an Uber, 'cause I need one. So it's okay now and then to do the rental thing, but big believer in owning.

    - Awesome, well, that's actually an interesting point to me, because I feel like long term proponents of inbound, not so very long ago, would say, "You don't buy ad space."

    - Exactly.

    - It's all organic. But even we at HubSpot have sort of been coming around to this notion like maybe it is okay sometimes. What has caused that change?

    - I think because HubSpot was so early in the idea of owning content, inbound marketing. Gosh, the Inbound Marketing book came out almost 10 years ago. I wrote the forward to that book. And so the idea was so new and so unknown in the early days. We had to bang the idea over people's heads and say, "No, no, no! "It's all wrong to be buying advertising. "You don't wanna do that. "It's not the right thing!" And it kinda be to be provocative. And now I think we are coming around to recognizing that there are times, even when the people who have been expousing this, and being evangelizing this idea, who wrote the book on this idea are now saying, "You know what? "There are few occasions even I will buy advertising." It's kinda rare, but it happens. Just like I own cars, but I wil grab an Uber sometimes.

    - So when do you do that?

    - That's interesting, 'cause there's a lot of different strategies on when and how to do it. I'm a huge believer in real-time marketing, so the idea of striking when the moment is right and being either newsjacking, drafting off of what's going in the news, Or if something is happening right now, if there's a reason that right now is important. You know, your biggest conference is going on at this moment. What does that mean? Oh, my gosh. Maybe there's an opportunity to use strategic Facebook ads or Twitter ads, or maybe it's a strategic way that has particular set of keywords might be valuable for us right now. And you could run a campaign that has a very short shelf life to drive something at a particular moment. So the idea of newsjacking, of course, is when you find something going on in the news that you have an expertise around. And then you can say, well, shoot, I'm going to to comment on that because I know something about that topic. And so you do a video, you do a Facebook Live, you do a blog post, something that gets your content out into the marketplaces quickly, but then you boost it. And I don't mean boost necessarily in the sense of Facebook boosts, but it could be a Facebook boost. You push it out even further than it would go naturally by buying targeted ads, because it's important right now Give you an example of that. So at last Inbound conference. As anyone who knows when, because it was such a weird timing. It was the day after Election Day. The conference opened the day after Election Day. I actually gave a talk on the marketing aspects of the Presidential election. And my talk was Clinton, Bush, Trump, Sanders, Marketing lessons from the Presidential Election. And so at the time I was writing the talk, I thought, see, I'm 90% sure Clinton's gonna win. I wrote it as if Clinton was gonna win.

    -Just assume that.

    - But I had gone to, I mean, everyone was saying, the polls were saying, the pundits were saying, it's just that's what it felt like. What everyone was thinking was going to happen based on data. But I had gone to multiple Trump events and multiple Clinton events and had done lots of blog posts, and videos and talks about all the candidates. So I was prepared. And at four o'clock in the morning, like, oh, my God, I gotta rewrite my blog post, I gotta rewrite my speech, which I did. And really quickly did. And then I pushed out a blog post that went out 4:30 in the morning, so literally just three or four hours after they called the election for Trumpp. And I said the best marketer was elected President. And then four, five hours after that, actually it was what? Seven hours after that. I'm on the stage at Inbound, with couple thousand people watching me give this presentation about why Trump won. And then I thought, well, this is a great opportunity to use some real targeted advertising. So I just created the headline, pushed it on Twitter, pushed it on Facebook, and just said, "The best marketer was elected President." And then pushed then pushed them to my blog post. And I just ran it for a day, couple hundred bucks. And then that drives more traffic, because that blog post had a half life. It was a really, really important blog post for a couple hours and it was like everyone has moved on and drawn their own conclusions. And, in fact, it sold... I ended up getting speaking inquiries as a result of doing that.

    - Nice.

    - And I ended up booking some paid speaking gigs, from people who anted me to give presentation about it, All becomes I combined owning content with buying content. So that was an example in my own life how even the guy who wrote the book about how to create content is still sometimes renting it.

    - Right, that makes a lot of sense. And that makes me think of your analogy with Uber. It isn't that you use Uber for your commute every single day, it's just occasionally you're in some spot.

    - I know I'm gonna go out drinking, I don't wanna drive home.

    - Right.

    -So that's when I rent a car, thank you very much, not actually physically rent a car, but rent a car and a driver to get me home.

    -Yeah, sure. And so with paid ad pushes, when you've done that, is it always just that short couple hours, one or two day window?

    - For me, personally, that's typically how I use it. Yeah, 'cause I combine, I use it as an amplifier to real-time marketing. So that's how it works for me, because I think that marketers who paid too much, it's all subjective, I understand, but my perspective, who use it too much, it becomes kind of like a crack cocaine, where you gotta keep paying to keep getting your fix, to keep the result that you're looking for, whatever that result might be, people who raise their hand and become a leader, whatever it might be. You know, the salespeople are breathing down your neck, "We need some more leads." Like, oh, my God, so you look in you budget, another thousand bucks.

    - Quick fix.

    - You know that if you spend another thousand bucks, you're likely to get X number of more leads, or X number of more views, or whatever it is that you use as your metric, so you're like kinda, people kinda become addicted to it. And the more you end up doing that, the less resources, both time and money, you're capable to push to the ownership side, of creating something valuable, whether it's an infographic or a blog post, or a YouTube video, something that will generate results forever in perpetuity. I've got blog posts that I wrote, I started my blog in 2004. I've got blog posts I wrote more than decade ago that are still generating search results traffic. And Google's sending me traffic as a result of these ancient blocks posts. And sometimes it's embarrassing, like, oh, my God, what did I write in 2007 about this topic?

    - Yeah, Internet was a different place then.

    - It was, like, oh, yay, Second Life. It's like, oh, God.

    - Yeah, so it's funny you should mention. Here, I actually printed out our LinkedIn questions. On the topic of crack cocaine. Sam Balter says, "Ads are an attractive "and seemingly addictive demand generation play "for corporate marketing teams. "If they have an ad budget, "how can they use it to supplement "their content marketing efforts?"

    - Yeah, so I think that that ad budget becomes a way to amplify the things that you're doing around content creation. That's a very clever way, I think, of using an ad budget. And so every time you have a new blog post, maybe experiment with how can we push people to that blog post? Or a video, or the CEO's gonna give a speech somewhere, could we maybe attract attention to the livestream of that CEO speech by maybe amplifying that a little bit. I think that's kind of a clever use of advertising. And, again, it's the whole idea of you get, I think that's questioner said, addicted, right? Yeah, you do get addicted to it. And there's something else that's so important, which I don't think we're gonna solve, but I wanna push it out there, I wanna push it out there. Okay, so marketing budgets are all done on a monthly, or quarterly, annually, marketing budget. And so, therefore, advertising and content creation, what not, is accounted for by the smart numbers people, the CPAs and the MBAs, and all those very smart people, unlike me. Those people are counting for marketing on a expense basis, a monthly expense basis. So how much did you spend this month? I spend this much amount of money this month. How much did you get this month? Oh, I got this number of leads, I got this number of sales, I got this number of results. The problem, when you tie a marketing expense to a marketing result on a monthly or quarterly basis, it's giving you false data. So I'm on a tear to change that. I want content asset. I want content to be accounted for as an asset of a business rather than an expense of a business. It's not gonna happen. I just don't see it happening. But, you know, we're filming right now in this wonderful spot here at HubSpot, and the camera that we're filming with, and the lights that are shining on us, those are assets and accounted for in a different way on a balance sheet than a marketing budget. I believe a blog post is also an asset. I believe a URL with a website on it is also an asset. I believe that a video is also an asset. And I think a collection of all of those things, I think HubSpot University, which is an awesome, huge set of content, is an asset for the company that is wroth potentially millions of dollars and should be accounted for in that way. Some of the equivalence, like we talked about, the cameras and the lights right here in the studio, but a trademark or a patent in a balance sheet is considered an asset. I don't see any difference between a patent and a website. HubSpot.com, all that content on it, or HubSpot University, all that content on it. And so I wonder if there's any, and if anyone out out there is doing this, I'd love to hear it, but if any forward looking companies are actually accounting for content as an asset, because that content that you create today, it's not just generating leads today, or this month, it's generating leads next quarter, or next year, or 10 years from now.

    - 10 years, as you just say.

    - 10 years from now And so I think that because advertising and marketing has been exclusively rentals for the longest period of time, it made sense for ages to just, you know, marketing's an expense, marketing's an expense, , but the creation of content, I believe, should be accounted for on a balance sheet in a different way. And that would allow us, I think, to psychologically get ourselves, as marketers, but also our bosses. To come around to the idea that you're dealing with an asset. And maybe it allows us to be able to talk to them in a different way about what it is we're doing as marketers. In the same way that a scientist can talk about the patent that they're creating that could potentially be worth millions, hundreds of millions or billions of dollars. A certain patent can be worth huge amounts of money. And you pay lots of scientists to invent that patent. Same thing's true with marketing content, I absolutely believe that.

    - Yeah? I love that.

    - It's not, it ain't just gonna happen?

    - I hope so, eventually.

    - I don't know accounting rules. I'm sure that the Association of Accountants, whatever it's called, General Accepted Principles Gap probably, accounting principles would not allot content to be an asset. But I would like to see it perhaps on a phantom outside what it looks like. And even if it can't be done from the perspective of the legality of it.

    - Yeah, I think as time goes on, as companies catch up to those sorts of ideas that people like you espouse, things do change. You've been blogging for more than a decade. You can see, like, yeah, if I had just accounted for those pieces of content 10 years ago, I would be very shortsighted. The companies that didn't start blogging 'til five years ago, haven't had that realization yet. And eventually as time goes on, as the bleeding edge becomes the old, outdated, I don't know what to call it, the exiting edge, maybe.

    - Maybe they'll be thinking

    - Maybe they'll figure it out.

    - And I'm just thinking out loud here. I wonder if there's some kind of way that you could figure out that two sets of data cross, that in an early stage of your company's life, maybe advertise a little bit more, because you're not as well known, to generate leads, spend a lot of money on ads. Create original content, but that's gonna come up shorter.

    - [Kyle] Yeah.

    - But, then, over time, couple years, you're gonna start to invest a lot more in original content, a lot less because the content you created in the beginning is gonna continue to work for you.

    - Right and as it ramps up, and you build 10 year track record of being a trusted resource, the advertising becomes less necessary.

    - Perhaps.

    - Perhaps.

    - Yeah, I mean, I know I'm still getting visits to my site and links to my stuff and people who look at my social. I'm getting way more on stuff I created in the past than I am in the current stuff. Maybe that means my current stuff stinks, I don't know. No, actually it's because there's so much of the older stuff. I mean, 1500 blog posts, each one of them is the search results driving people.

    - Yeah, so coming back to this idea of ad spend being an addition, what are the signs of trouble? When does someone need to admit--

    -Signs of trouble.

    - Get themselves in a 12-step Admit there's a problem

    -The advertiser's 12-step program.

    - Yeah, when is it time for that?

    - I think it's time for that when external pressures cause you to do something in your gut you don't feel is right. What I mean by that, the Vice President of Sales banging you over the head, "I need leads, I need leads, I need leads." And you're like, "Oh, my God, what am I gonna do? "What am I gonna do? What am I gonna do?" I'm gonna take some more money, I'm gonna crank it at some form of advertising, because generally I can expect I'm at least gonna get enough that the salesperson doesn't beat me over the head. So that's certainly one of the signs. I think it does come partly from the gut. I do also think that, people have told me, I don't advertise enough to have the data myself, but people who advertise a lot and have a lot of data have told me that in the beginning when advertising networks get started, generally, there's some great results. Like I know when I first started advertising on Facebook, some Facebook targeted ads, I had great results. When I first started advertising, when Twitter first opened up their paid advertising program I had some great results. And I've experimented with it occasionally, here and there, ever since they started. And I have not had great results recently. So--

    - It really is like a drug, then?

    - I mean, yeah--

    - Early on, get a great high.

    - Early on, you just you don't need very much and just you spend 10 bucks, you're fine. So maybe Twitter and Facebook are both figuring out how much they can feed you based on your pricing, I don't know. I'm not an expert in the algorithms, and I don't do enough of it myself to be an expert and have enough personal data to be able to know what I'm seeing, from a data perspective. But, anecdotally, from dozens and dozens of people who I've spoken with at events and through social, everyone, without fail, has said it is becoming less effective. So that means I would say another sign that maybe you need to go to that 12-step program, is that you're spending more and more and more money for the same result. So if you need, whatever, 50 leads a month, whatever it is, and all of a sudden you're realizing you're spending way more per lead to get those things on a paid program, a renting program, then I think then you probably have to be thinking about whether this is a right approach or not.

    - Got it.

    - So those are two I've thought of. You must think of some other. What are some other ways that you think you need to get on a 12 step?

    -Well, just based on what you said about what you've done, where you're ad spend is for a very limited amount of time, for a very specific, when you have timely content, you wanna get ahead of the curve, whether you're newsjacking, or whatever. It seems like if that's what you're doing, if that's your whole ad spend plan, then you never get enough to need the 12-step program. Like I feel--

    - Maybe, yeah, maybe.

    - You're not in any danger, doesn't sound like, of ad spend becoming a monthly expense that is increasing and increasing.

    - For me, personally, that's correct. For me, personally, that's correct. 'Cause I use it as a supplement

    - Right.

    - And if I have a blog post that, "Wow, that's doing pretty, well, there's something there." That might be one that I might put a little juice against as well. I also will sometimes do it when I have a new book or a new speech, or something new to me that is worth pushing a little bit.

    - Yeah, you keep emphasizing this is what you do. Do you think it would be different for other companies?

    - I don't know. Yeah, I don't know, because I think it's probably pretty similar and I always suggest to people that if they do something like this, and the people who have shared with me the data that they've experienced have said to me that when they do rent as supplemental, it's like, "Whoo, this is, okay, this is a different "kind of marketing than spending a lot of money on ads."

    - Yeah.

    - So, kinda just getting back to the idea that it's not either/or. And if it were either/or, it's like I'm all, way down, coming down on the side of owning.

    - Yeah, for sure.

    - You know, create your own content and push it out there, absolutely. And it took me awhile to come around to the idea that a hybrid is a good approach. It really did take me awhile to do that.

    - What made you turn the corner?

    - So many people were saying it was working and so I saw it working for myself.

    - Ah, there you go. Can't argue with results.

    - And then also... Exactly, can't argue with the data. But then also recognizing that there is a strategy to put the two together, that you can say, okay, we need to get 500 people to our conference or we're launching a new product, we wanna get as much people to know about that new product as possible. Or there's this news story where our chief scientist has a very particular and important take on that news story that we wanna get into the market quickly. Those are all good reasons to spend a bit of money and put it behind amplifying what you're already doing in the content creation space.

    - Yeah, and that all feels really inbound-y to me, because you're contributing to the conversation. You're not trying to get around the... Shortcut your way through the effort of making content. You're timely and you're relevant and you're just trying to increase the reach.

    - Yeah, and I know there's people who've done extremely well with product creation and sales around things in the news. And 100% of that comes from paid.

    - Yeah.

    - So, for example, if there's some meme that's trending, create a t-shirt around that meme. There's companies that you can make those instantly, have them made instantly, and you can have a storefront within seconds to sell that t-shirt with the meme and then you advertise it through Facebook and Google and Twitter, whatever else. And all of a sudden, that meme on a t-shirt, you know, people have told me they've made lots of money by doing that kinda thing. So there's ways, there are things that you can do that make sense.

    - Yeah, moving onto another question from the LinkedIn. Our friend Stephanie Cat Stevens.

    - Hey, Stephanie.

    - Actually commented three separate times. So she says, "Oh, man, I love this topic. "I think paid can definitely help when done right. "But, man, keeping up with all the constant changes "and paid promo, especially social, is tough."

    - It is tough. _ "How do you recommend keeping up with a best practices "for social ads, like Twitter's new $100 a month format, "so you don't get caught wasting money "in a set it and forget it situation."

    - Yeah, wow, Stephanie, that's an amazing question. It's tough, it is tough. And I saw that $100 a month thing come through. And I investigated it, I haven't tried it myself. I think follow people who are a lot smarter than I am around that, that's for sure. I mean, I think it's really, really important to figure out where those are best spent. And I don't have the right answer to that. But I think that creativity and experimentation is an interesting way to do it. And I tend to be sort of, I tend to go counter to what a lot of people say around things like that and just try it and see if it works. And, yeah, I wanna hear what the experts have to say, that's important. And what I mean by that is, for example, I remember when search engine marketing really first became really big and important and popular, maybe a decade ago. And everyone was saying, "You have to do this. "You have to do this, you have to do this." And I looked at it, and I'd say, "I don't wanna do any of that." I'm gonna do something completely different, because people were advocating all of the under the cover stuff. You know, it's about taking this word and tweaking it this way and putting it in this little tag and that sort of.

    - [Kyle] Hiding it in the background.

    - Yeah, and doing this and doing that. And, like, all right, but I'm just gonna create an e-book up on this topic. And then like a million people saw it. It's like, well, that's pretty nice.

    - [Kyle] Yeah.

    - So let's try that again. That kinda thing. And so I don't have a brilliant answer to this question, but I do feel that experimentation and cleverness goes a long way, but I also thing you have to follow the experts. No human can now understand how those Google algorithms work. So trying to re-engineer search is really tough. You gotta follow the people who are living and breathing that 24/7 to figure that out. And I would say that probably the same thing is true about understanding how those different ad networks work. How does Facebook Ads work? How does Twitter Ads work? And LinkedIn Ads? I don't know. I think you have to figure out from people who are very, very smart and do that all the time what you can learn from them. Hopefully, those people who are experts in renting content are also creating content that we can consume. so that's an interesting question. Do people who are experts on renting content also create content? A-ha!

    - [Kyle] We can hope.

    - We hope so, right?

    - Second question from Stephanie--

    - Would that mean that they were going counter to their suggestions, I wonder. If you're an expert on advertising, paid advertising, but you create content to generate your leads through your paid contents. Never mind. We're going down a rat hole here.

    - Yeah, but I mean, I think the experts on content creation are advocating some mix of paid.

    - Right, right, right, right.

    - I don't trust anyone who leans to either extreme on any issues, so--

    - No Republicans, no Democrats.

    -Yeah, find the people in the middle.

    - Because some of this stuff actually is just like the political world. Global warming is caused by humans. Global warming is not caused by humans, right? Whatever, the different arguments, or the different arguments around creationism versus, I mean, Republican versus Democrat, whatever, in other countries, the same thing around politics are sometimes arguments you can't win. So partly this topic is discussing arguments that you can't necessarily win.

    -Yeah, well, and when we started out, at the beginning, and you were talking about how when inbound marketing was first introduced, it had to be as extreme as possible to get through. As you were saying that, I thought of the dance politicians do when they're courting one party, they have to be sort of extreme, left or right, on the issues. And then once they get the nomination and they're a candidate on the national scale, they have to like come to the center.

    - Move towards the center, yeah.

    - And I think that may be where inbound is right now.

    - It might be right, yeah. I think that probably is right, 'cause I think most people I run across understand... They may not know the term inbound marketing, but they understand the concept of inbound marketing.

    - Yeah.

    - They get it, they realize there's something going on in social, there's something going on in search, there's something goin on with the ways that people are buying products today. And because of that, they recognize, for their business, that they have to understand this stuff.

    - Yeah.

    - That was not true 10 years ago. People did not recognize they had a problem. They just spent money on ads.

    - Cool, well, anyone who's watching, be sure to drop some questions in for us in the comments there on You, no, Facebook, the formatwe're using. I'm gonna continue on our LinkedIn questions here.

    - Yeah, please.

    - Another one from Stephanie. "Would you suggest waiting until something is performing well to pay to promote it on social? Or do you recommend specifically creating things to pay to promote?

    - My strong preference is to see if something works and then promote it. That's what I prefer to do. That's what I recommend that people do. Just get a sense of whether it's working, and see how... Is this worth putting a few hundred dollars or a thousand dollars around, or not? And see how it performs in the beginning. Or put a small amount on it, look at the numbers, and then decide whether you're gonna put a bigger amount against it.

    - Yeah, it sounds like, to me, based on what you're saying, that's a necessary component of any strategy. Even those people you were mentioning who put memes on t-shirts. If a meme isn't making it to the front page of Reddit, maybe wait a minute, and see if it goes the distance before you start selling t-shirts

    - Right. But at the same time, you wanna be quick, because by the time other people figure it out, it's probably not gonna sell as well as a t-shirt. I dunno, I mean.

    - I dunno.

    - Like things happening so quickly now. You're watching a live television show and someone makes a funny mistake and you can smell it's gonna become a meme. It's like now is the time. Right, now is the time. And by the time it hits Reddit, it might be too late to me. 'Cause you're gonna make thousands of dollars in a day or it's not gonna happen with that kind of approach.

    - Yeah, that's true. You're watching the Olympics or Presidential Debate, or whatever, someone makes some embarrassing error. People are gonna be immediately looking for the t-shirt or the--

    - Binders of woman! I wanna take

    - Yeah, exactly right, yeah.

    - Yeah, exactly.

    - Cool, final question from Stephanie. "One more. "Any recommendations for paid promo of content "in a typically non-social industry "or where your target persona's in the industry "aren't typically active on social?"

    - Yeah, that's a tougher one. I don't have a strong suggestion there. But I did have a very interesting conversation with someone who's a marketer at a very traditional B2B kind of business. They sell things. I mean, machine-like things that small numbers of people and company. You know, there's only like three or four people in an entire big company that would want one of these things. Ane there's only certain industries that buy these things. I mean, they're a lot of money.

    - [Kyle] Right.

    - You know, hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy one of these things. And so what he was telling me is that they've had huge luck going way retro old school and sending physical packages through the mail. Actually, I think they use FedEx, but through some kind of physical delivery box. And then when you open it up, there's like a gift and then a invitation for them to have a consultation with their expert. And that's the stuff that we used to do when I started in marketing a long time ago, 'cause we didn't have the web. And I was in B2B marketing. And it was like, how od you reach these people? And it was really hard. And every once in awhile, a couple times a year, we would do these physical direct mail things. And they kind of went extinct for a long time. With many marketers because of the web... It's like why would I spend... And this guy was telling me he was spending $100 per package. When you add the FedEx fee, buying the list and--

    - The stuff that's in the box.

    - The thingamajig that was in there, you know, there's like some device that was in there. And then, you know, the whole thing. And they were sending it out to a lot of people. So it's a pretty big... But he said he was getting amazing hit rates. You know, like double digit response rates.

    - Wow!

    - Right? Double digit response rates.

    - Yeah.

    - So I would say that I would call that paid advertising. And it's in the same bucket of the conversation we're having here. So my answer for Stephanie would be go old school, maybe. Go way old school. And I remember hearing somebody give a talk once about the value of thank you notes, written thank you notes. So everyone dashes off an email, "Thanks very much, "that was great." But a written, physical thank you note on a nice piece of stationery that's mailed with a stamp. Do you lick them? I don't even know, a stamp? What's that? And it goes off and then people open it, "Wow, that's a real, physical thank you note. "How cool is that?" So maybe we're going retro as the approach with your rented things, I don't know.

    - That is so interesting. A caveat I would actually put on that, a company I worked out probably 2010, 2011, was a SaaS company, but in an older industry. And we tried that. And I think if you've got a digital solution. Like this old school model is just not a good--

    - I probably wouldn't try it in a new technology, in anything that uses the web. I think probably wouldn't try it. But if you're selling air conditioning systems, or you're selling carpeting, whatever it might be, some really physical in an old style B2B kind of a business, then, hey, maybe it's worth a shot, 'cause everyone else is trying to do something different.

    - Yeah, well and--

    - Maybe.

    - Once again, probably start with experimentation before you just decide, "Yeah, we're gonna spend "$100 per lead on this list of a million leads." or whatever.

    - Exactly.

    - Yeah, always experiment. So Lauren Hence says, "Social Media Marketing "seems to have become a pay-to-play channel. "How can I get reach in Facebook and Twitter "without paying for it?"

    - Interesting. So a lot of people have been thinking of it as a paid channel. In terms of Facebook. We're doing Facebook Live now. And I've spoken with dozens and dozens of people who've had very good luck with Facebook Live. So I would suggest to, it was Lauren, right?

    - Yep.

    - I would suggest to Lauren that if you haven't already experimented with Facebook Live as a way to get attention of Facebook that's certainly worth doing. And also Facebook Live is an interesting thing to then put a little bit of ad juice around to boost the Facebook livestream after it's been out, it's something that's a good approach. And then with Twitter, I've found that a great way to generate attention on Twitter. Is to use it as a way to link to other content that's already out there. So the main content would be, say, a blog post, or a video, or an infographic. And then Twitter becomes the place that you're pointing more people to that content. And those sorts of approaches can help to get away from whole crack cocaine thing, of just spending money, spending money, spending money, on those sister channels. One of the challenges here is that those companies keep changing their algorithms, Facebook, Twitter, and whatnot. And I used to be able to predict pretty accurately, with a Tweet or a Facebook post, how many people would see it, just based on experience of you know when I post this kind of thing, it might be I'll get about this much. I have no clue anymore. Because if the Facebook algorithm doesn't decide you're worthy, it doesn't put you in, and I'm not expert, again, I'm just going from experience, but they won't put you in a place that you need. But Facebook Live tends to, has tended, although, some people told me it started to change a little bit, but has tended to be surfaced more, video is surfaced more readily on Facebook.

    - Especially native video.

    - Native video, exactly. And by native video, we mean video that was actually was uploaded to Facebook, either as a video that you already created that was uploaded or a video stream that you're making within Facebook, tends to get more juice through the Facebook algorithm than if you were to point to a YouTube video. 'Cause you're basically... And that's another answer to Lauren's question. The social networks are all these islands, right? And they don't like each other, they don't play nice with each other. They're like separate entities. And soon as you go from one social network and try to point to another one. And I'm including Google there as a social network, even though not technically, although G+ is, I suppose, YouTube, I suppose, is considered a social network, but when you go in Facebook or Twitter and try to link to a YouTube video. They're like, "No, that's YouTube. "That's "We might put it up there a little bit."

    - Yeah.

    -And I'm not, again, I'm not an expert in all the nuances of the algorithms, but that's my So I would say, Lauren, push out video in Facebook, see if that works. And then use Twitter to point to other content.

    - Great, let's take some questions that are coming in live here.

    - You can read that?

    - I can read that.

    - Oh, my God, I need your glasses.

    -No, you probably need your glasses.

    - My glasses are for reading but I think I would have to, oh, I can read it now.

    - Simon says, "I'm curious to hear how Mr. Meerman Scott," Mr. Meerman Scott.

    - Makes me sound important.

    - "Listens to his audience "and explores and experiments with new editorial lines."

    - That, my friend, who's that come from? Simon?

    - Simon.

    - Simon is a very clever man, because that's exactly how I figure out what my new books are gonna be about. Here's what I do. I pay very close attention to my social networks. I pay very close attention to the questions I get. Like this is a great question, the questions that come up when either in a blog post, let's say, or people asking questions on my social networks, or doing something like this, or if I'm on a stage and people ask questions. And if I see patterns come up, I say, "Wow, there's something going on in there." There's a lot of people who have asked me about this, or I'm seeing, I'm not noticing a lot of things around that, or I'm seeing a pattern emerging that other people aren't seeing. I wonder what that's all about. That's happened to me all the time. And then I start to triangulate the ideas that I'm hearing and seeing in these different places. And then from there, the next thing I'll do is I'll... I might experiment a little bit on Twitter. I just tweet out some things and see if anything happens. But sooner or later, and usually it's soon, I'll do a think piece blog post. And, in fact, that's why we're here, because I wrote a think-piece blog post that was owning versus renting content, right? And so I just kind of explore an idea and then if I get a lot of comments, it's like, wow, there's something going on there. And I might do another one. And then if I find myself geeking out about this and writing more and more about it, I might take a five or 10 minute slot in a one hour keynote and see if I can riff on it.

    -Just--

    - In this presentation.

    - Put it in there.

    - Put in in there and at lunch, you know the lunch after I speak, does anyone mention it? Is that something people reacted to? And then from there, if all of those things are kinda lining up, I've got a book And I've written 10 books and almost all of them emerged that way. The book that became The New Rules of Marketing and PR, what I saw, so clearly, like in huge bold letters, was that marketing is not about advertising it's about content creation. No one was talking about that. No one. This was in 2005.

    - Yeah.

    - And even before that, my first book was on that subject, came out in 2005. So this is more like 2002, 2003, I was thinking about this topic.

    - Wow.

    - And it was like so clear, "I gotta write about that. "Gotta write about that." And then that happened to me over the years a couple more times. And I'm struggling with it now, Simon. I don't know where I am with this, but--

    - Don't know what's next.

    - I gotta figure out what the next one is and that's... I have a couple of ideas I'm sniffing around. I never tell people that I'm thinking about a book.

    - Oh, no, no, no, absolutely not.

    - But it's a great way to come up with content is to sort of figure out what's on people's minds.

    - Awesome. Thank you, Simon. I learned a lot there.

    - That was great question. Oh, and I do the ladder approach, too. I call it the ladder approach. Tweet leads to a blog post, leads to longer form, which could be part of a speech, could be a video, could be a long form medium post, could be an ebook or a slideshare. And then the final top of the ladder becomes the book.

    - The book, interesting.

    - And they all have to... You have to have people who wanna go higher on the ladder. Right? And like that Tweet just fell flat. Nothing happened. Well, I guess I'm not gonna keep going in that direction.'

    - 'Kay, so Janney, Janey, says "What is the next big thing happening with Inbound?"

    - Next big thing happening with Inbound.

    - You're feeling clairvoyant?

    - There's two things that's been going through my mind. And you and I talked about one of these when we first got into the room. I'm a huge believer in the convergence of inbound sales and inbound marketing, where marketing, we marketers generally, in the past, have been responsible for creating content at the top of the funnel. And then generally the content for the top of the funnel generates leads and the leads go, and this is a very simplistic approach. But then the leads go to the salespeople and the salespeople are responsible for signing, getting the individuals down to the point where they're ready to sign for the business. And in a consumer market, to drive them to a store where they go to a place and buy something. Or an e-commerce site, where they push the button to buy something. So I think that those lines are totally blurring. And that marketers have a role in the entire buying process, all the way down to the point where they're ready to sign a contract if it's a B2B business or they're ready to push a button if it's an e-commerce space business. So thinking about, oh, we're marketers, or, oh, we're salespeople, I think, is an artificial demarcation in the world today. And I wonder how to break down those silos, because, if you think about it, if you create a video, or you create an infographic, or you create a blog post, that's awesome content that serves as marketing. In other words, many people are seeing that piece of content. So it's marketing. You're reaching an entire market through that content. But then also an individual salesperson, I, as a salesperson, can use that content by curating it to you as my potential customer. I can send that same video that 10,000 people saw as marketing content. I can curate that to you if I'm a salesperson and say, "You really oughtta check out this video. "It's really important for you "based on the question you just asked, "because there's a dialogue in this video "where we talk to a customer "and you should check it out." So I've curated that video to you, because I think that's going to help you to get driven down the sales cycle, down the sales process. Maybe you're gonna close the deal as a result of that one video. And so that convergence is, I think, fascinating. So that's the first thing I've been spending a lot of time thinking about recently. I've written a couple books on marketing. I've written a book on sales and kinda wish I had put them together, something like that. The second thing I'm thinking about is the whole thing about how artificial intelligence is going to be a driver of marketing. And we spent part of our conversation today thinking about, I'm using the various ad platforms to generate results. And I think that conversation we probably wouldn't even have in a few years, that a lot of that will be in artificial intelligence, through them.

    - Yeah, definitely.

    - And you basically, and I'm sure that there's lots of smart companies that are working on this. But how you can take data based on what you've got, put it into a black box of some kind and then have that generate the right kind of ads that you should be pushing out Well, you don't need to use your brain power to do that, you just trust the machine to be able to not only figure out what to do today, but to learn what to do tomorrow or the next day.

    - And to allocate funds appropriately.

    - And allocate funds accordingly and change headlines accordingly. And, with Google AdWords to test headlines behinds the scenes. You don't even know what the machine is testing in terms of headlines. And then it decides this is the best headline. And that kinda thing, I think we're... It is happening, and I think that it's pretty cutting edge now. But I think many of us will be doing that soon, if we're not doing it already.

    - Yeah, I believe that, too. I hope so. I think it's exciting.

    - It's exciting, a little bit scary, but I think that's always been a great thing about new technology is that it does feel like often the newest stuff is a little bit scary. But I think that's good. I think that means that people who get a little scared, many of them won't try it. So if you're the first one out of the deck trying it, that might give you an advantage.

    - All right, and Scott says, "When starting off on inbound content creation "as a marketing/sales strategy, how long does it take "to start seeing result, ie, leads coming in to replace outbound approach?

    - Yeah, good question, Scott. It's hard to predict that with any certainty. But it is a gradual approach unless you have a bit hit. And that is not as unusual as it might sound. If you have just a great idea for an infographic, and you can visually represent, in an infographic, some complex data that you or your business or the scientist in your company, whatever it might be, helps you to create this, and it just does a fantastic job of describing something that people are struggling with. Like, right now, AI, we just talked in a moment ago about artificial intelligence in marketing. There probably is an infographic out there that explains that. But I wanna see it. If anyone knows what it is, please send it to me. 'Cause I will re-tweet it. But that kind of thing could mean that all of a sudden you've got hundreds of thousands of people visiting and downloading that infographic, which is sharing who you are and maybe some of them will be interested in learning more and maybe they will become leads. So you can have these content hits. I've had maybe six or eight in my career. So how often do they come? I don't know. It depends on what you really mean by hit, but I'm talking about like a million downloads kinda thing, I've had six or eight in roughly 15 years that I've been doing, on my own, with my own business. So what does that mean? One every two years? Doesn't sound like very much. But these are for mega-hits. I've had a lot of like minor kinda did pretty well things, but ones where a lot of people saw it was maybe one a year. So I think it's important to shoot for that.

    - Yeah.

    - And I would recommend that you use the same philosophy as a venture capitalist does. So, Scott, what I mean by this venture capitalist thing is that a venture capitalist doesn't invest in companies because they think every company is going to be a massive hit and get acquired or go public on the stock market. They know that not every company will. They expect maybe five or 10% will, whatever their internal numbers are, depending on how they invest. And they know that some of the companies they invest in will go bankrupt. And they know some of the companies that they invest in might return a little bit of money, but it won't be a massive amount. I look at content creation the same way. And I look at it as like a portfolio of content. So I've got a couple of infographics. I've got a couple of slide shares, I've got some videos, I've got some social streams, I've got some blog posts. And combined, I'm like a venture capitalist with all of these different bits of content that I spend time creating. And maybe over the course of the year I might produce, not including things like tweets, but I might produce 100 pieces of content in a year, just me, personally, for my own stuff. And I'm hopeful one becomes a mega-hit, lots of people see, millions of people see, a few of them, oh, 10,000, 20,000 people see, 30,000 people, that's great, good solid win, you know, from the baseball metaphor. Singles, right? That's great. Doubles? That's great. One grand slam a year and then a few of them, you know, I'll put them out and like, nothing, crickets. I mean, I thought this was gonna be a great blog post. Nobody cares? Right? Nothing happens, like nothing.

    - Happens to the best of us, I guess, that's good to hear.

    - Oh, man it's brutal. It's like oh, is it that bad an idea? Like no one tweeted, no one commented, it was like just 30 views of just sitting there. So that's how I would look at it. And I think you always shoot for the hit. I think you always hoot for the hit. And I think that you make it timely, the newsjacking things we talked about earlier. And then I would expect over a period of months, Scott, that those leads will come in. And here's one more point. We haven't talked about this at all, just a content strategy point. Don't talk about your company, don't talk about your products, don't talk about your services. 'Cause a lot of people who are used to the paid approach, the renting approach, come from a background, or at least they learned around a model of hyping product. Because a lot of advertising is product based. Buy our product, 20% off, Click Here, you know, whatever. That's what advertising typically has been, broadly speaking. But generally content creation is more about understanding your bio personas and then creating content that will be valuable for them, helping to solve problems for them, helping to create the information that they will find interesting as they're going through buying journey about deciding what they wanna spend their money on, or what company they wanna do business with. So another important aspect of that journey, from paid to owning, is that when you're creating content that you wanna own, it's not just about your products and services. It's very little about your products and services. Which is mostly about the things that will be important for your buyers, the things that will help them as they're thinking about the problems that you might be able to solve for them.

    - Yeah, and then if a million people download it, they'll find you.

    - There you go. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, exactly right.

    - Great, whoo, coming in at the end here, and we're getting a whole bunch squeaking here at the deadline. Carrie says, "In terms of creating engagement "to your audience, how would be the best practice "to select a platform for a business "that is not very acquainted with digital marketing?"

    - Okay, good question. So I would look at two things, two important things. The first one is where are your buyers? What platform are your buyers likely to be on? And that's something that you really need to figure out. You need to interview representatives of your buyer persona. You just need to understand are they on LinkedIn? Do they participate in any particular LinkedIn groups? Are they on Facebook? Are they on Twitter? Are they on Snapchat? What are the places that they're likely to be? And depending on the industry, or the business, or the buyer persona, the job function of the people you're trying to reach, they may be more active in one social network than another social network. That's the first point, actually, I'll have a third one. The second point is what type of content does your business lend itself to? I recently interviewed a guy called Gary Kohner, he runs a surf school. And he's built his entire business on Instagram, because it's very visual. He takes shots of surfers, pushes them out, and people love to see shots of surfers. And it drives people to his business. He runs Nantucket Surf School. And so there might be a particular social network for Carrie based on the type of product or service their company provides. And the third point, I think this is probably the most important, and that is, what do you like to do as a marketer? I mean, this is fun, we're doing a video here right now. This is great, I'm actually working here. Sounds more like fun, right? So some organizations and some people naturally enjoy the medium of creating a video, which we're doing right now. Other people podcasting, other people, I mean, I love to write. So and it was a struggle, but I've gotten okay at it. But not everyone likes to write. So a lot of times people are reluctant to go down the own side of the house because the automatically think it means they have to write. It doesn't mean you have to write, Content creation can be video, it can be podcast, it can be infographic, it can be photographs. Lots of other forms of content besides the written word.

    - Yeah, great. We have about three minutes left here.

    - Oh, okay, let me do a lightning round.

    - Okay, so this one, "David, how in Heaven's name "do you keep up with the questions and answers "you receive on social media?"

    - So I really try my best to answer everything that comes through. And normally I'm reasonably good at that. And how I do it is that I do it in downtime. So if I arrive a little bit early to a meeting, I arrived a little bit earlier here at the HubSpot offices. I just sit down, grab my phone, see what happenings on my social networks, I can bang off a couple answers, I can retweet a few people, bang, we're done. If I'm waiting in line at a store, waiting in line to check out at the supermarket or something and I got a coupe of moments. I flew back from Colorado to Boston yesterday. I was sitting on the plane, had a few minutes before they closed the door, you know, checking my social feeds. So I don't carve out, "Oh, here's the two hours I'm gonna do." But it's more like five minutes here 10 minutes there.

    - Great, from Laurent. "If you have a thousand followers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, you don't have a thousand followers. How do you know the amount?

    - I don't understand the question. Does that mean there's overlap?

    - Yes, that's my guess.

    - Okay, I don't know. Don't know the answer to that question.

    - There you go. Bettina--

    - Oh, oh, the other thing that's interesting about Laurent's question is that some people go dormant. So I've got 100 and something or a thousand of followers on Twitter. But I know that some of the people who followed me in 08, 09, and 2010, have not kept their Twitter feed up. And so are they a follower? I don't know, they chose to follow me one day, but they haven't used Twitter in five years. So good question, Laurent. There's lots of nuances to that question.

    - And, finally, this is gonna be our last one. Bettina, "In a B2B company, what would you suggest "would be a rational percent of owned content "versus rented content?"

    - I don't like to put real percentages like that. It's really tough, but I would want to see that get to the point where it's 90% owned. I don't know that you can do that cold turkey. Can you stop taking the drug cold turkey? I'm not sure. But that's where I would want to point to. _ Yeah, and well, based on what you said, it sounds like it'll vary from business to business and industry to industry--

    - It will vary,

    - And experiment.

    - It's really hard to put a solid answer on that. But I would wanna aim towards that. And then see where it goes.

    - Great. Well, that's all we have time for, thanks so much for joining us.

    - You got it. Thank you, Kyle.

    - If anyone wants to hit you up, what's your favorite platform?

    - Twitter's probably the easiest, DMScott. A long time ago, I hit Facebook's limit of 5,000 friends, so I can't--

    - Oh, interesting.

    - Seven years ago or something like that, I mean, I hit the limit, so please don't send a friend request on Facebook, 'cause I can't accept it. Happily become a contact on LinkedIn, though. So LinkedIn me, no problem.

    - Cool, thank you so much.

    - Thanks, everyone, it was great.
  • Kyle Jepson
    Kyle Jepson
    Inbound Sales Professor, HubSpot Academy
  • David Meerman Scott
    David Meerman Scott
    Best-selling author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR

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