Guest Interview: Lacy Boggs
All right, I would love, at this point to bring up Lacy Boggs, who has been sitting lovely in our audience. But really, she's a ringer here for your benefit, and mine, I get a break. (laughs) So Lacy, why don't we just start off by making sure everyone knows who you are and what you do, and where they can find you online.
Sure. My name is Lacy Boggs. I'm a content marketing strategist, and also a copywriter and ghost blogger. I help businesses stop blogging out into the void and praying for results, and actually start connecting their content to sales. And you can find me at lacyboggs.com.
Do you see what she did there, too? Blogging into the void? That's an unaware thing.
And then you gently guided them to the solution.
Yes, I love it.
Okay, so Lacy is here because, and it's specifically in this segment because Lacy geeks out on customer awareness as much as I do, and all of the fun things that it can do for your business. So let's first off start by defining...
content marketing, because it's something that people talk about, but don't really know what it means, like so many other things in marketing and just business in general, it's one of those fun words, fun phrases that we throw out there. So what does content marketing mean to you?
To me, it is any time you are engaging in a conversation with your potential audience, with the idea of building a relationships that ends in a sale.
Okay. Lovely. Make sense? Okay, cool. So for content marketing, customer awareness is really key because content marketing is kind of the best way we have for walking people through that section, or through that spectrum. And I know one of the things that you do with your clients, with your agency's clients, is actually help people make better use of the content ideas that they have. You can take a single topic or a single idea and actually explore it from all of these different angles. Can you walk us through your thought process, when a client says to you, okay, this topic really resonates with my audience, I'd like to use it in as many different ways as possible.
How do you approach that?
Sure. So first of all you can use the same piece of content or the same message across many, many different channels. So you were talking about channels earlier today. You can use that same message in different snippets or different forms across all those channels. So for example if I have a podcast, I might have a great message that I want to share on my podcast, and then I definitely want to put that on my blog, maybe with some additional insights or a synthesis of what's going on in the text underneath the podcast, and then I might put that on Facebook and go do a Facebook Live and say hey, if you have questions about what I talked about on my podcast, I would love to do that in Facebook Live, and I might put it on my Instagram, or whatever. There's a zillion ways you can keep reusing it over and over again, because the people who are following me on Instagram aren't necessarily watching my Facebook Lives, aren't necessarily reading my blog. You know, there was a day when you and I started this, that people followed blogs obsessively. They had their RSS feeds.
They would read all those, all the time. And nowadays, you're very lucky if they open your email. If they actually come to your blog, whoo, you've done something good, because the days of people obsessively reading your blogs are over. So you need to, you were talking about meeting people where they are. That's one way of doing it, is showing up and sharing that message across multiple channels.
Perfect. So if you were to take a topic, then, for multiple different channels, thinking through for podcast, for the blog, for Facebook Live, for Instagram stories, whatever it might be, would you want to, or could you, use different levels of customer awareness to kind of create some variety there, and how would you do that?
Yeah, absolutely. Because different channels are naturally going to be more aware or less aware, right? So somebody who's on my email list is naturally more aware of me, they know what I'm doing, they know who I am, they know what problem I solve, probably. They probably even know what solutions I offer. Whereas somebody who just finds me on Facebook or hears me on somebody else's podcast, they're totally unaware. They're completely different levels. So when I'm, for example, writing, let's say I start with a blog post. I might promote that on Facebook a little differently than I promote it to my newsletter. Because my newsletter people already know who I am and what I do. They want to know, what's in it for me, right? Whereas I might step back out, promoting it on Facebook, which is a less aware audience, for me, and talk more about like, here's the big picture, and I'm going to tell you the solution. Okay, your marriage thing is a great example. So on Facebook I might say, "Your marriage sucks, "but I can tell you why." And in the blog post I'm telling you why, and in the newsletter I might be mentioning that they can get on a call with me to explore it some more.
Yeah, awesome. And kind of to take that even one step further, I think a mistake that people make is assuming that everyone on their email list is very aware.
That they know what the problem is, they know what you solve, even who you are. Just because someone signs up for a webinar doesn't meant they made a real genuine connection with you yet, right?
And so one of the ways I approach this is like I'll send the same email three times. I'll send it to unopens, right? So I'm not sending the same email to the same, I mean technically I am, but they're not seeing it, they're seeing different things. And I'll take a subject line, and I'll adjust the subject line, one to make it unaware, one to make it problem-aware, one to make it solution-aware, so that I'm getting as many opens on that based on different groups of people. And you kind of mentioned the same thing with Facebook. You can do the same thing with Facebook ads. You may have one page that you're taking people to. We do this with CoCommercial. One page, one place you're taking people to, but the ads, I might have a long-form ad that's an unaware ad, I might have a medium-length ad that's a problem-aware ad, and then I might have a super short ad that's solution-aware or product-aware that's just aimed at people who already are looking at that thing.
Yeah, retargeting, exactly.
Well, and also you can get a lot of data from that. So in your email example, if you have three different subject lines that are going to different stages of awareness, you can look at those open rates and say wow, they were all totally unaware.
That's where we got the most opens. So therefore I need to do some more education around that, or whatever. That message really resonated.
Yeah, that is a super great point, too, because even if your people are kind of problem-aware, but you find that they're much more responsive to an unaware message, that means they're more motivated around the itch than they are around the real problem, and so that means you need to do more to educate them on why they should be motivated to solve that real problem, too.
Okay. When you're thinking through a content campaign, kind of walk us through the steps. What are you doing to make sure that by the time you get to that pitch, to the place where you're trying to close the sale, that everyone's on the same page as you, that they're thinking about the solution the same way that you're thinking about the solution so that they're most prone to buy?
I love this, because I do it exactly the same way you do it. I work backwards.
Because that's what you have to do. You have to know what the goal is first in order to get people there, right? So you have to do this walking backwards with the awareness, or walking backwards with what's the goal and how am I going to get there, before you can plan a blog post. You can't know what the blog post should be until you know what you want them to do with the end of the cycle, right? So I look at all the pieces, and I also try to think about just in general how those channels are going to play together, right? So if I know that my lead generation strategy is to get somebody to opt-in for a content upgrade on my blog post, what do I need to do after that, right? So then I have to have emails that no only deliver that content upgrade, but then probably follow up and continue that message, so that message is a little bit different from the people who haven't opted in. So the next blog post maybe assumes that they haven't opted in, and so the email message is slightly different. So I'm kind of considering how do all those channels play together, and where do they diverge?
Yeah. Okay, so that's all starting to sound very complicated.
Yes. (laughing) I realized it as I was saying it.
And I'm really, this is a place where because we like to really geek out on this stuff, it's very easy to over-complicate it, and it doesn't have to be that complicated. So give me your simplest approach to a campaign, where you're not necessarily segmenting your audience completely, but you're taking them step by step through the journey.
Sure. So very first is, when you step back to unaware, I'm thinking where am I going to get those new eyeballs?
How am I going to get in front of new people that are unaware? And a lot of times that's not going to be my blog, right, because people are not just discovering my blog.
Doesn't happen that way anymore, unfortunately. But it might be a podcast interview, it might be a guest post somewhere else, it might be Facebook ads. That's not working as well anymore. But there's lots of different ways you can get in front of brand new people, right? And then how am I going to lead them, so I'm probably going to have content of some kind that's going to lead them from unaware to problem-aware. I'm going to tell them what that problem is, and then I might have another piece of content or a webinar or an event, something that's really juicy, to get them from problem-aware to solution-aware, and that's where I'll make my pitch.
And that's the lead generation pitch.
It leads into conversion.
Into conversion. And so then that's where I'll make my pitch, and then I'll have followup in my email. But it's kind of like that traditional, oh God, that word you don't like, funnel.
But it is, you're going from the bigger audience, smaller and smaller and smaller and talking to the people that you've led through that.
Yes, yes. So you don't have to do lots of fancy segmentation to make this work. The way we're talking about campaigns in this sort of up and down cycle and leading people through this process, that is segmentation. This is sneaky way, really, of talking about segmentation. So don't want anyone to stress out that oh God, this is too complicated, this is like I can't keep track of all the different things that need to be going on. You only need to keep track of one campaign at a time. That's the campaign you're currently working on. And you need to focus on finding the new eyeballs, getting them to opt in for the problem or the solution that they're looking for, and then actually closing them on the sale. Right?
Okay, great. What are some of the big mistakes that small business owners make when it comes to content marketing?
Yeah. The biggest one is not making the plan.
Because I hear that all the time, is that oh, I have a launch in two days, what can I do with my content?
Well, nothing, good luck. I hope that works out for you. But really, the further out you can plan our marketing messages, the better off you'll be, because the more time you have to lead people through that sequence, the more likely you are to get them to that solution-aware, I mean product-aware, and raving fan stage. So planning things out is a big one. Also, like you were saying, they focus on one stage as opposed to many. As opposed to leading people down the path. My junk food story that I tell is about rocks in the river. So if you imagine your customer on one side of the river and your product on the other side of the river, you have to put the rocks in, and that's your content. And if you don't have enough, they can't make it.
Yeah, they're going to get wet.
If they're all over the place, they can't make it. If they're too small or too slippery, they can't make it. You gotta make it super, super clear how they get from one place to the next to get to the other side of the river. Otherwise they fall in and they're gone.
That's worth the price of an opt-in right there. (laughing) I'm just going to turn the rest of my slides over to you, enjoy, I'm just going to be in the audience. Yeah, exactly. You need the right amount of rocks, spaced the right amount so that they cannot fall in the river.
Because guys, they fall so easily. It's very dangerous out there.
And they get distracted, or whatever. (laughing) A bear, who knows.
I mean think about, right, oh gosh, bears, Montana, okay. Yeah, think how easily we get distracted, right? And we're focused on our own stuff. They are not nearly as focused on our stuff as we are, and we still get distracted, so yes. You have to make it just so easy for them to get to point A to point B. Any other big mistakes you're seeing right now?
You know, you were talking about social listening. A question I've heard recently is how do I know which content goes in which channel? And that's actually kind of the wrong question to ask because your content should all be playing nicely together, and you have to think of it as a big web, or group, because I think a lot of people silo things, so they think, here's my podcast, and here's my blog, and here's my Facebook Live.
And even worse, here's my newsletter.
Oh, yeah. Right? And so they don't realize that even though you're reaching people at all these different touch points, you need to have a similar message. So the podcast needs to also live on your blog, needs to also be emailed out to your people, needs to also be promoted on your Facebook Live show, and so on and so forth. So you're hitting that same message in many different places.
Yeah, and that is super duper key.
What is also awesome about that is it's less work.
Because you don't have to come up with a marketing plan for each channel. It's all the same plan.
Yes, have a marketing plan, and use the channels as assets to your advantage.
As distribution, yes.
Yes, you don't need a plan for each. Notice how we're not talking about any kind of specific, like here's what you do in social media, here's what you do on your blog. We're talking about marketing your business, not any particular channel. Brilliant. Do we have any questions for Lacy from you guys? This is a golden opportunity to get some free advice from someone I find very brilliant on this subject. No questions for Lacy?
Don't be shy.
Seriously? You guys all have amazing blogs and content marketing strategies? Yeah? Okay.
Can I ask how many of you are still blogging?
Okay, so what's that about, half, maybe a little more than half?
A little more than half, I think.
I think that people believe blogging is dead. I alluded to this earlier.
It is not dead, but how we are using it is changing. So if you're blogging the way we were blogging five years ago, you have problems, because it's not converting, it's not doing what it used to do. And so that's why I've started talking about content as opposed to blogging, because blogging is really just one piece of it. Even if, like me, you love to blog, and that's the way you communicate, you still need to be using those other channels too to make your message heard as widely as possible.
Yeah, we talked about stories earlier, and that's kind of how I'm thinking about things too, is I may have one story that I want to tell in different ways on different channels, and so yeah, again, it's content. It's marketing. It's not blogging or podcasting or Facebook Living, It's a story, it's a campaign. It's a path that I want to take people down, and that's going to go all over the place. Lisa?
Okay, you opened up a can of worms for me, because--
I love cans of worms.
Maybe I'll just tell you a little bit what I do, which I think is probably old school.
And you can maybe give me some tips around it. So there's, I write a couple articles a month, and I have for years, and I enjoy it, but I don't really think a lot of people are reading it, nor am I driving a lot of traffic there intentionally, so other than keeping my site active and it ranks higher because of it, I wouldn't mind some tips on how can I get my content out there? Like should I be doing shorter articles, longer articles, should I be boosting posts, like maybe just a quick and dirty, like if I'm doing two decent-size blog posts a month, how can I optimize them, or how can I do them to take less time, even? Either optimize, or maybe spend less time because I'm not sure that that trade-off is really working right now, and I think maybe because that's just old-school blogging, because it's just like, I'm writing two articles.
Yeah, that's super common.
I mean, not that I'm a blogger, but I don't think I've actually thought about much more than just keeping the site active with a couple posts a month.
Right, right. I understand. I hear that a lot. So you're not alone. Don't feel badly about that. So just to answer a couple of your tactical questions right off the bat, length is more important these days, especially if you're optimizing for SEO. So Google is giving preference to longer form articles, and when I say longer form, I mean two thousand words, 15 hundred words. So the days where we could publish 300 words a day every day of the week are over. Okay?
I still do that.
Right? I mean it was a thing. It worked back in the day. It doesn't work anymore. So emphasis on longer form, more informative, more useful.
Is a thousand considered, because two thousand's kind of pushing it.
It's a lot, right? It's a lot.
A thousand's kind of long though, right? Without being...
Right, so for those of you who just freaked out when I said that, the flip side of that is that you don't need to be publishing as often. So if you can be consistent, if you can be useful, and you can be really delivering a lot of value, you can publish less often. So I like to say that consistency's more important than quantity, so people are getting away with once every two weeks, even once a month. I wouldn't go less than that, because people will forget about you. But if you're delivering a really valuable piece one a month, you're doing okay. So then the next part of that is, how do we optimize it, right? So if you're really going to delve in and write a two thousand word article, even once a month, you want to get the most out of that, right? That's a lot of work. So really it's about promoting. So you said at the beginning that everybody knows they should be marketing, but we're not spending very much time on it. I think it's the same with promoting blog posts. So it's not enough to just write the post and hope that somebody will find it, anymore. Nowadays we have to be deliberately promoting and almost marketing our blog post, right? So it's about figuring out where am I going to put this that more people will see it? And you mentioned boosting it on Facebook. That can work if you have the budget for it. It's also maybe not the most budget-friendly anymore. The way Facebook ads are working is changing, again. Everything's changing right now. We're sort of in this shifting time period. So I would say figure out how can I do this that's free, that's also going to engage more people. So something I'm trying, and I know you're trying is Facebook Live. So even just hopping on once a week to say hey, I'm going to expand a little bit on this part of my blog post is a great way to get people to then come to the blog post to get the rest of it. So there's other, there's lots of other little techniques and tactics you could use, but really putting some effort and energy into promoting that amazing article will help get the most out of it. And then the third thing is to repurpose it. So what we were just talking about. So if you can make an audio and turn it into a podcast. If you can turn it into slides or an infographic that you can post somewhere else. If you can post it on Medium or LinkedIn. If you can share bits and pieces of it on Facebook, put it in graphics on Pinterest. I mean, think about all the different ways you can share that same content so that you're using that content as much as possible and reaching people where they are.
So even, that makes me thinking, those are great suggestions, and even taking, because I know that sometimes I put my whole post in my email, and other times I don't, and I can't figure out what is working best. But if it was really long, I couldn't do it, so I suppose you could every six months, almost repurpose with a different lead-in on your email to the same article, which would then make it worth it, because you're driving more traffic to less effort in a way.
Yeah. I mean, even not over six months, in the course of a week, I've written different lead-ins, different tie-ins, different followups to the same podcast episode that's leading people back to the show notes on my blog that's different emails going out in the same week. So I might write three emails about one podcast episode, but it's all from a different angle, it hits a different pain point, it hits a different point of the customer awareness spectrum, different people are going to see it. The fact of the matter is, people aren't opening up email the way they used to either. So sending three emails isn't overwhelming. It's getting more opportunity for the right people to see your content. So yeah, you can do that as well to optimize things, but if you're writing one post a month, you might write your weekly email. It's just a different take on that same post, and they can go there for more information, for something more in-depth.
Did I see we had one more for Lacy? No. Yes. Let's do one more, if we have time for one more.
You just basically answered my question.
Oh, perfect. Melissa.
So as you know, I'm making this transition in my business, and I have a podcast. I alternate between monologues and guest conversations. The monologues I do a written version and an audio version. So podcast and blog. And now that I'm making the transition in my business, that's going to be a completely different audience. So I'm trying to figure out like how do I do the content marketing for this completely different audience, or do I even do content marketing for this completely different audience? How do I even approach that?
Well, so the first question is where are those people hanging out? So the corporate people that you want to talk to are probably not listening to a creativity, maybe they are, but probably not. Because they don't know that's their problem yet, right? So they're way unaware. They're like super unaware. So we have to figure out where are they hanging out and how can we communicate and move them down this spectrum? So I think we were talking about LinkedIn at lunch. Like that's probably a really great prospecting channel for you. So I might consider putting up an article on LinkedIn once a month that's aimed directly at those people, and then make sure you have a strong call to action, how to get in touch with you. But focusing on where those people are hanging out and how you're actually going to reach them. Don't try to split your podcast and do like have the episodes to your individuals and half the episodes to corporate. That's not going to really work, because I don't think they're listening to that podcast. But on the other hand, like if you interview somebody awesome, you could run Facebook ads or LinkedIn ads targeting people that would hire you for your corporate services, and you could use that awesome corporate interview you did on your podcast as the piece of content to draw them in. So you can kind of double dip, but not as much as you might think.
Well I was going to say, so I completely agree with what you said, and I think often people try to keep them so separate that they forget that there might actually be someone who's super tuned in listening to that podcast, and it just takes one mention. It doesn't have to be a whole big thing.
It's just one mention could get you a gig.
And the common denominator is you, right? So you're the product in this scenario, and the common denominator is you. So if you can mention it on your podcast that I also corporate speaking, or interview somebody that makes it clear, you're marketing yourself there, too.
Okay, cool. Thank you.
Lacy, thank you so much. You've dropped so much wisdom for us. Let's all give her a round of applause. (applause)
Thank you. And again, you can find Lacy at lacyboggs.com, and her agency really helps people do exactly these things that we've been talking about. Taking topic ideas and helping them hit as many new people as possible and create this content marketing strategy that puts the little rocks across the stream so you don't fall in and get washed away in the whitewater, right? All right, awesome. So hopefully you've seen over the course of this lesson how you can really start to bring more people not only into your audience, but into that inner circle where they're actually going to be willing to buy. This is key. If you're not using customer awareness yet, implementing what we've just talked about is really going to take your marketing to a whole new level. You're going to see doors open for you that have never been opened for you. And again, I don't want to oversell it, but really, guys. (laughing) This is game-changing stuff. All right.