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A little bit of a different video for you today. One topic I have become very interested in, because it’s something I’ve been working through at Credo, is making sure you are producing the right content for your audience. I know it’s Marketing 101, but sometimes it takes time to figure out who you best serve and then double down on them.

I’ve been working on this for the last few months at Credo, and because of that I have paid special attention to the content being created by my peers and other companies.

And I worry about it. So here are my thoughts on “beginners guides” and how I think mindsets need to shift.


Hey, what’s up everyone?

This is John Doherty at coming at you with some thoughts on content marketing today. One thing that I see a lot of businesses do, such as yourselves, if you’re doing SEO, you’re doing content marketing, you’re trying to grow your business, is you’re writing a lot of content. Sometimes it’s high in volume and super short content, sometimes it’s more consistent, once a week, once every two weeks but it’s long and it’s in-depth, and that’s the content that actually ranks of course.

But what I’m seeing is a lot of people don’t actually understand their audience.

They don’t understand who the person is, their main personas that is going to actually hire them, is actually going to pay them money. So if you’re in the SEO industry, you’ve probably seen Rand Fishkin’s, “The Beginner’s Guide to SEO.” This was written 10-ish years ago and it is the go-to place, it’s where everyone starts when they’re learning SEO.

And so, I see a lot of agencies writing beginner’s guides, beginner’s guide to SEO, beginner’s guide to content marketing, beginner’s guide to link building, which is all well and good and there absolutely needs to be beginner’s content, but what I wanna ask you today is, is that beginner’s content actually what your audience is going to read.

If you’re thinking about the decision maker, who’s actually the person pulling the strings, right? Then is that actually the content that they’re gonna read? Is that the stuff that they care about?

And if you look at history, especially B2B, if you look at business history and who actually controls the strings, is people like VPs, directors of marketing, that sort of thing. And I gotta tell you, they’re not reading beginner’s guides, they’re actually not reading a whole lot.

What they’re interested in is:

  • trends,
  • how to build a business,
  • how to make (the business) more money,
  • what SEO or content marketing or whatever can do for their business.

So they’re actually looking at numbers, they’re looking at all of these different things that’s not beginner’s content because these people are more senior. They’ve been a beginner before. They’ve started off in PR and they were a beginner there and they grew up from there, and now they’re CMO. They started as a paid acquisition person, you know, doing AdWords and Facebook ads and now they’re a CMO, right? Or they’re a VP of marketing reporting to a CMO.

Maybe they’re digital VP of marketing reporting to a more traditional CMO. And so they need help selling it into their boss. Hopefully, they have their own budget, though sometimes, especially if you’re talking to a marketing manager, they don’t really have… they don’t have their own budget. They have to go and they have to ask, right? So you can target those people but then you’re gonna have to help them sell it to their superiors, and those projects didn’t have a much lower close rate.

So, I guess my question for you today is, are you actually creating the content that your audience is begging you for? Are you doing that research? Let me give you a quick tip. One thing that I’ve done here at Credo over the last few months is really hone in on who are the people that control the budget strings, and how should projects that are coming to us actually have originated.

Should it be a content marketing manager or an SEO manager? Or should it be the director of marketing that’s asking the SEO manager to come talk to us?

One thing that I did was, I went to Followerwonk, which yes, still exists, and I searched VP of marketing, director of marketing, and I found about… I don’t know. I found probably a few hundred profiles of people who are directors and VPs of marketing, optimally at tech companies. And I looked at their Twitter profiles. I opened up the T tabs. I did it manually but you can use URL opener or something like that. And I went through their profiles and looked at what they were sharing, and guess what?

They were sharing trends pieces.

They were sharing stuff on business wire, and, and, and TechCrunch, and all that.

They’re thinking about mobile.

They’re thinking about the future of marketing.

They’re thinking about marketing technology.

They’re not the ones making the decision on, “Do we use this technology versus that technology?” but they’re trying to think forward so they can ask their people that are working for them to investigate which one is best for them.

So that’s the thing. Are you actually creating the content that your audience is going for? Or are you simply following what someone else has done that worked for their business, which is a very different business from what your business is? So I encourage you to go away, think about that and then let me know privately, [email protected], publicly @dohertyjf on Twitter. I’d love to hear what you’re thinking. I’d love to hear what this made you think about. Peace .