Episode 7, Season 2
SEO for Content Optimization – How Josh Spilker Creates Effective Content Strategies for Startups
- June 7, 2021
In this episode of How It’s Done, we tap into the mind of SEO and content strategy expert, Josh Spilker, on how to create content that converts, ranks and sparks growth for startups.
Josh Spilker is the Head of Marketing at Friday.app, an asynchronous operating system for working from anywhere. But before he was making waves for tech startups’ content strategies, Josh was a Healthcare Marketing Manager, a Journalist and a Writer. In this conversation, he walks us through his pragmatic and opportunistic journey into content strategy, explains how he leverages past experiences in his current role to drive SEO and marketing impact and provides insight into creating a content strategy that’ll get your company found on Google.
In this episode, we discuss:
- Josh’s journey to becoming a content strategy expert.
- Impactful changes organizations can make to increase organic search traffic.
- What is an editorial mindset, and how do you break out of it?
- How to make sure you’re not just spinning your wheels when creating content in the face of limited time and resources.
- Tools and free templates to kickstart your content-growth strategy todayH
More From This Episode
(2:44) Josh talks through his journey to Friday.app and how he became a content strategy expert
(5:40) Josh explains the difference between SEO and content marketing
(7:49) Josh and Kriste discuss ways organizations can increase their organic search traffic and the importance of setting expectations for your content
(11:05) Josh defines the editorial mindset and reveals how to break out of it
(13:17) Josh and Kriste discuss best approaches for creating meaningful content in the face of limited time and resources
(19:05) Josh sets expectations for when companies can expect to see results from SEO and content efforts
(21:58) Josh and Kriste discuss the importance of starting at the bottom in terms of keyword research and SEO
(23:31) Josh and Kriste tie in PR and media relations to content strategy
(25:20) Josh dives deeper into how to get started with keyword research
(30:28) Josh gives advice to companies pursuing a content-driven growth strategy
(31:29) Josh discusses companies, tools and podcasts he follows that are winning the content strategy game
[00:00:04.820] – Kriste
Hey, welcome to How It’s Done, a podcast for curious marketers. I’m Kriste Goad, I’ll be your host and I’m really glad you’re here.
[00:00:16.610] – Kriste
Today, we’re talking to Josh Spilker, who’s head of marketing at Friday, an asynchronous operating system for working from anywhere. Welcome to the show, Josh.
[00:00:26.390] – Josh
Thanks a lot. Glad to be here.
[00:00:27.920] – Kriste
I’m really glad to have you here. OK, so listen, will you tell us a little bit more about Friday and your role there and then maybe just kind of your journey on becoming a content strategy expert?
[00:00:41.540] – Josh
Yeah, sure. So I’m head of marketing at Friday, Friday.app, and we’re an asynchronous remote operating system. And you’re probably like, what does that mean exactly?
[00:00:50.810] – Kriste
I am. Yeah, I was. OK, can you just tell me what that is? Because I don’t really know.
[00:00:54.680] – Josh
Yeah, what we say is we glue your most important things at work together. And so it’s kind of like a smaller size intranet, but with a remote-first mindset. And so it would be a great place for your goals and your company handbook. But we also focus on asynchronous meetings. And so think about if you have like a daily check or our daily stand up or a weekly check in, a lot of that is just information sharing. And we really believe that you could do a lot of that asynchronously and not necessarily just replicate everything that’s happening like in a traditional office.
[00:01:28.010] – Josh
You don’t have to jump on a Zoom call or whatever to do some of those meetings. You could just do it asynchronously. And so we put all that up together. We roll it together. And you have those reports along with some other features as well, like a planner and like I said, goals, company handbook.
[00:01:43.370] – Kriste
That’s cool. Now, is this something that has really taken off like covid times, work from home, this kind of stuff? Or was it already taken off before that?
[00:01:53.540] – Josh
Yeah, our founder kind of already had that mindset before covid and had worked remotely for several years, as I have as well, and kind of saw this as a need in the marketplace. And so he developed it. It’s gotten a lot of steam since covid. We’ve raised one round of funding and we’re actively looking for others here in the future.
[00:02:16.640] – Josh
And so our user growth and monthly active users, all of that, is increasing.
[00:02:20.674] – Kriste
[00:02:22.760] – Josh
Yeah. And then I’m really focused on content strategy, and that’s kind of our main channel that we’re deciding to go after.
[00:02:30.680] – Kriste
Ok, and so you guys would be considered a startup?
[00:02:33.230] – Josh
Yes, for sure.
[00:02:34.190] – Kriste
Awesome. OK, tell us a little bit about your journey to now. How’d you find yourself in this place of being such a content and content strategy expert?
[00:02:44.780] – Josh
Yeah, sure. So I first kind of got into content when I was at a healthcare company here in Nashville and I was a marketing manager, kind of a generalist doing a lot of different things with a focus on writing. And then I started just exploring more about the funnel and different buying and lifecycle marketing and all that and buyers journeys and really thought more about how I could use my background as – I was a journalist in the past and an editor and writer and all those things – and how I could kind of bring those in and use my skills a little bit better in a marketing function.
[00:03:17.280] – Josh
And so I kind of stumbled on content marketing and SEO and I really was looking to use those skills, and at the company I was at, that wasn’t quite the direction that they were headed in or interested in as like a main channel to focus on.
[00:03:33.020] – Kriste
They didn’t get it.
[00:03:36.280] – Josh
Well, we could talk about that later. Looking back, I don’t know if it would have been the right fit for that strategy or using that as a marketing channel. So then I went to a project management company called Work Zone and started building out their content strategy. Really learned a lot there from their VP of marketing and then went to a company called Click Up, which is now evaluated at a billion dollars. They just raised their series C. When I was there, it was 10 or 12 of us and I was the only marketing person. So really dove into content marketing there. Saw, I think it’s like a thousand percent year over year growth in organics.
[00:04:15.590] – Josh
And then I went to another remote first company called Top Tal, which is a remote talent marketplace where you could hire designers and different things like that. And they are world wide. And so I really got a taste of what a remote first company would look like in that environment. And so now here at Friday, I’m kind of marrying some of my productivity background with remote first mindset and with a focus on content strategy.
[00:04:43.540] – Kriste
So it’s been a little bit organic and I would say pragmatic, opportunistic and your own curiosity for maybe a lot of just sort of teaching yourself as you’ve gone and had different experiences along the way.
[00:04:58.300] – Josh
Yeah, for sure. And having a little bit of room to fail along the way is always important. But yeah, I kind of discovered it myself and kind of jumped into it and, of course, used a lot of online resources to try to put some stuff together along with just practical application.
[00:05:16.270] – Kriste
That’s cool. So how would you say SEO really ties into your current position and how are you approaching that? What are some of the kinds of things, if you’re allowed to tell us, that you’re doing for Friday in that regard?
[00:05:30.220] – Josh
Yeah, sure. Well, I consider myself more of a content marketer than just purely SEO. And those two things kind of get mixed up a lot of times.
[00:05:38.910] – Kriste
Can you talk about the difference?
[00:05:40.120] – Josh
Yeah, for sure. SEO, you know, stands for search engine optimization, and it’s usually more, from a technical perspective, like making sure your website runs really well and has all these different things for Google, and your site architecture is set up, all of those type of things. It’s called more technical SEO.
[00:05:58.660] – Josh
And then there’s what we call “on page SEO,” as far as meta title, meta description, how your page is kind of formatted, that also helps with ranking.
[00:06:07.390] – Josh
And then content marketing plays into that, but it could also encompass more than just search. For example, your social strategy could fall into content marketing, your email nurturing campaigns could fall into content marketing, your landing page design, things like, that could also fall into content marketing. So I kind of choose content marketing for search. It’s how I usually phrase it and what I’m mostly focused on.
[00:06:33.760] – Kriste
That’s awesome. And did you say you have a team there that you’re working with or you’re kind of coming up with the strategy as well as the direction as well as execution?
[00:06:44.740] – Josh
Yeah, I’m doing a lot of strategy and execution right now. I’m the only marketing hire, but we have some freelancers some part time folks that I’m able to work with to put that plan together and to execute on that. So I do a lot of the strategy and optimization parts. I do a little bit of writing, but a lot of times I’m giving that out and then editing it myself, and that’s when my writing background really comes in handy.
[00:07:11.000] – Kriste
That’s awesome. So I noticed on LinkedIn you have some really impressive stats on there around how you’ve grown organic search traffic in the past. And I’m just curious, in your experience, what are some of those most impactful changes that an organization can make to really increase organic search traffic? And I think it probably ties back to some of that overall kind of content marketing also that you’re talking about. But can you talk about that a little bit?
[00:07:42.880] – Josh
Yeah, sure. I mean, that’s like a huge question.
[00:07:45.120] – Kriste
It is a huge question. Well, you can feel free to dive in on, like, a singular thing.
[00:07:49.990] – Josh
Yeah. I mean, I think that’s a goal for a lot of folks. One of the things that I always talk to people about is just knowing what the job of the content is. And what I mean by that is, is this content meant for search? Is it meant for thought leadership? Is it meant for your ABM sales support? Is it meant for social?
[00:08:13.690] – Kriste
This is so important, right? Answering those questions.
[00:08:16.780] – Josh
Right. And so it’s it’s a huge mistake to expect a piece of content to do all of those jobs. And then when you put the wrong expectations on a piece of content, it’s going to fail. Your evergreen, what is healthcare marketing piece, probably isn’t going to close the deal for you. I mean, it could get you there, but it may not be the piece to land a million dollar account or something. It could be a step on the journey.
[00:08:46.930] – Josh
So if you’re expecting that piece to be your sales support, then it’s just going to fail.
[00:08:52.080] – Kriste
It’s really that upper funnel.
[00:08:54.460] – Josh
[00:08:55.840] – Kriste
Top of the funnel, really, lead gen sort of content.
[00:08:59.620] – Josh
[00:09:00.700] – Josh
And so if you kind of have that different… If you’re putting the wrong expectations on your content, then it’s going to fail.
[00:09:07.990] – Kriste
I love how you say that. I haven’t heard someone really use that term before, putting the wrong expectations on your content, it’s sort of like a relationship.
[00:09:19.390] – Josh
That might be a different podcast. I don’t know.
[00:09:22.090] – Josh
But I think that’s a huge mistake. And so people just start putting stuff on the blog with no purpose and not really looking at, hey, what do we want this to do?
[00:09:35.000] – Josh
Because, do you want it to rank, are you just trying to go for a very limited audience, are you just trying to raise awareness around a certain issue, are you just trying to fill in your email newsletter? And all of those things are fine and have its place, but just don’t expect it to do everything for you.
[00:09:55.310] – Josh
Realizing, for example, your email newsletter audience is going to be a little bit more engaged, probably a little bit more knowledgeable.
[00:10:01.160] – Kriste
They’ve raised their hand. They’ve put their email on a list.
[00:10:04.880] – Josh
Yes. And so what you send to them is – should be, in my opinion – different than maybe your top of the funnel or even middle of the funnel people you’re still just going after.
[00:10:16.580] – Josh
And so many times, because of efficiency or whatever, laziness, too, and I’ve done it before, kind of throw all those things together. And so I think it gets really muddled sometimes.
[00:10:28.460] – Kriste
So what’s your advice on how to really look at it strategically? And I know there’s sort of this editorial mindset. There’s sales mindset, everything you’ve just talked about. So what advice would you have for thinking about the big picture and the different kinds of content and their different kinds of roles?
[00:10:50.930] – Kriste
I mean, maybe it’s easier to even think about, OK, we’re going to create one pillar piece of content and here’s all the different ways we are going to use it and leverage it and each way we treat it slightly differently.
[00:11:05.480] – Josh
Yeah, I mean, I think that’s a good way to frame it, is you probably have one topic or several topics and then you can kind of break them off into the different channels.
[00:11:13.370] – Josh
Usually I think of content as brand / sales, so to speak, or kind of product, then thought leadership and then your evergreen type content that is answering top of the funnel and mid funnel type questions. And evergreen is what I look for when I’m trying to rank and to raise my organic search traffic.
[00:11:34.520] – Kriste
[00:11:34.520] – Josh
Thought leadership is more just about industry news or putting your opinion on things and sometimes that can rank. But that’s the type of stuff that I’d probably be sending out to my email newsletter, to my engaged audience.
[00:11:49.220] – Kriste
And is that what you would consider the editorial mindset, more of that thought leadership?
[00:11:54.320] – Josh
Yeah, I would consider that more as the editorial mindset, whereas the evergreen, because if you’re trying to get it to rank, when I think about that, I came from a journalist background..
[00:12:04.476] – Kriste
Yay, me too. I have a soft spot in my heart for journalists. Not all of them, but in general.
[00:12:14.570] – Josh
Yeah, but with that mindset, it’s kind of like, oh, I need to publish two times a week or three times a week or four times a week, or however many times a month, kind of no matter what. And that is good to keep your audience engaged, but if you’re trying to rank, that isn’t necessarily the approach that you would need to go for organic search. Sometimes you just need to publish as fast as you can, which is kind of in the mode I’m in right now.
[00:12:40.370] – Josh
Other times you just need to have a little bit more thoughtfulness about, like you said, building out that pillar page or that topic cluster and really kind of do your research and kind of free yourself from being like, hey, I need to publish on the blog, you know, every Wednesday, because if you do have a good direct audience who’s coming to you, like a website, news website or something like that, then yes, you need to do that.
[00:13:06.380] – Josh
But if you don’t already have that built in audience, sometimes, and I’ve found this for myself, that can be a little limiting and can kind of hold you back in some ways.
[00:13:17.150] – Kriste
So in my experience, almost every organization that I work with, there’s that sense of urgency. There’s that, “yeah, we just got to get some stuff out there.” So what’s the best approach to take when you’re having to do that? You’re in the middle of doing that right now. It’s like, OK, perfection is the enemy of progress. So how can you make sure that you’re not just spinning your wheels, but you are meeting that urgency and that need, but you’re also being as strategic as possible based on limited time, limited resources, whatever the case may be.
[00:13:53.390] – Kriste
Definitely in startup mode there’s always that urgency in kind of creating things for the first time.
[00:14:01.310] – Josh
Yeah. So one of our values at Friday is trade offs, recognizing that there’s different seasons for different things. And sometimes you have to trade off those those priorities.
[00:14:13.700] – Kriste
I like that.
[00:14:14.630] – Josh
Yeah. And realizing like, hey, sometimes it is good just to make progress and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Other times you need to trade off that time and spend a little bit more time on refining and polishing or whatever in that regard.
[00:14:29.110] – Josh
So right now I am in a publishing season because I’m trying to expand our footprint, looking at organic search. And so there’s been weeks in the past month or so that I’ve published like five posts a week and some multiple times a day.
[00:14:45.800] – Kriste
Like how long are those?
[00:14:48.740] – Josh
Like 1,500 words.
[00:14:50.080] – Kriste
OK, all different topics or same topics?
[00:14:53.110] – Josh
Some of them on the same topic, some of them on different topics, just going down my calendar and my plan of topics I want to cover. Because, again, going back to my expectation, is I know the faster I get that foothold on Google, the more likely I’m going to rank, or the faster I’m going to rank, or the possibility of that chance, increases.
So I’ve done all my keyword research..
[00:15:15.640] – Kriste
So you know what your target audience is searching for. You know how you need to be found.
[00:15:20.830] – Josh
Yes. And if I already know that stuff, it just helps me the faster I get that up. So then I can assign out five to 10 posts all at one time. I’m spinning my wheels making creative briefs to my different freelancers, and if it all comes in at the same time, great, I’m just going to, if I have the images..
[00:15:39.520] – Kriste
Just publish it as you get it ready?
[00:15:40.180] – Josh
Yeah, exactly. Because I know I don’t have a built in audience. I’m not doing it for an email newsletter right at this moment. I will in the future. But it’s just like, hey, this is my goal. And so I’m publishing as fast as possible because I know then I’ll have a better chance of ranking faster.
[00:15:58.840] – Josh
And that’s what I mean by breaking out of that editorial mindset. Because, I mean, I’ve been guilty of this. I’ve been guilty of it at Friday and my CEO was like, hey, we need to speed this up. And I was like, OK, I can speed it up. And started publishing a lot faster because we knew that was our main channel.
[00:16:13.480] – Josh
But if my goal is to have a weekly touch point with my audience, then yeah, maybe I just publish once a week on a thought leadership topic. And then the other thing too is I’m also publishing a lot of not, I guess product pages would be the way to do it, so people aren’t looking at my calendar or my blog, so to speak, for that. I’m just publishing relevant pages on topics that we know people will look at and buy on.
[00:16:45.370] – Kriste
So are you running paid search ads on those pages as well?
[00:16:50.140] – Josh
No, not right now, because I’ve done my Google research and my keyword research to know, like, hey, these pages are going to rank too. I look at the search results, can kind of see this type of page fits better as well, like a product page fits these results. And so that’s also part of my my publishing strategy.
[00:17:13.270] – Kriste
And so, for those pages, are you taking the blogs that you’ve published and you’re just grouping those together on topical pages? Is that how that works or is that something different entirely?
[00:17:24.280] – Josh
No, that’s a good question. I can do that. But what I’m finding is I can kind of make these, I guess, product pages would be the best way to put it or bottom funnel type pages. And so for your case it may be “healthcare marketing agency Nashville,” “best healthcare marketing agency Nashville” or something like that.
[00:17:49.030] – Kriste
Oh yeah we should totally do that.
[00:17:53.020] – Josh
And then that’s not like a blog post, but that could be something somebody’s searching for. And so you have that landing page to where it’s like, oh, OK, here we go. So then you would capture some of that demand that way, too. But yes, those are the type of pages that you could also run ads to.
[00:18:09.580] – Kriste
So you’re building, like you said earlier, you are literally building those pages based on what the search research has told you.
[00:18:18.170] – Josh
[00:18:19.880] – Kriste
[00:18:21.170] – Josh
I’ll give you an example. One page I just published I don’t think is ranking yet, is for staff meeting agendas. Because, like I said, we have this asynchronous meeting builder. And so one of the things we’re looking at is people are asking questions around what should I include in my staff meeting agenda? What should I include in my all hands meeting agenda?
[00:18:43.070] – Josh
And so I looked at some of the results and decided to create a certain type of page based on that. And that could be a blog post, but it could also be what I call a template page for our product. So I kind of frame that as more of a product page. But then I could have other blog posts that link to that and kind of interface with that post as well. Or with that page.
[00:19:05.220] – Kriste
Awesome, that’s super fascinating. How quickly should people expect to see results from this kind of approach? Do you have to, you know in terms of setting expectations for your content, and your CEO’s like, “hey, we need to get going,” and you’re like “OK, dude got it. But, you know, this is going to take six months” or “it’s going to take six days.” What are you finding there?
[00:19:26.400] – Josh
I wish it took six days.
[00:19:28.170] – Kriste
Six days would be awesome. You probably have to have like three times the content, maybe 10 times the content.
[00:19:35.640] – Josh
Yeah. There are so many factors that kind of go into that. And I can talk about a few of those, but usually six to nine months is what your expectation could be, which is why a lot of people don’t do it.
[00:19:49.110] – Kriste
They just don’t have the patience?
[00:19:50.730] – Josh
Right. It’s more of a long term investment in your 401k or something like that. I mean, there are ways to kind of speed it up. One of those is running paid ads to it to help increase some of that initial engagement and get some traction as a social signal. That’s kind of what a lot of the people I’m following are doing now, is they’re not just running ads to their home pages or specific landing pages. They’re actually running very targeted ads to their blog posts because then they’re hoping to capture that audience a little bit faster and to engage and interest people.
[00:20:28.650] – Kriste
And that can help drive up the ranking, as well if you got more people going to that particular content?
[00:20:35.370] – Josh
Yeah, exactly. And so that’s kind of a mindset shift. But if you’re trying to do it without paying for it or if you’re not really involved in communities like, I guess Facebook groups are kind of the classic, then yeah, I would say like six to nine months. And that’s also publishing very consistently. And there’s a lot of factors that kind of go into that. But that’s a good benchmark I would say.
[00:21:01.740] – Kriste
That’s great. And a lot of companies, they just might not have that kind of, like you said, patience or buy in at the top to be able to execute that kind of a strategy. Do you think that’s accurate?
[00:21:15.960] – Josh
Yeah, I mean, because most people, like we’re already blogging already and we’re not really seeing results. But it is, like you mentioned at the top, like taking that keyword research, understanding your potential to rank for that and then doing the research along with the time.
[00:21:36.930] – Kriste
That’s cool. And so how long have you been at this for Friday so far?
[00:21:41.120] – Josh
Oh it’s been, what, since beginning of February.
[00:21:48.350] – Kriste
You’re a newbie.
[00:21:49.300] – Josh
[00:21:49.830] – Kriste
It sounds like a lot of fun.
[00:21:50.820] – Josh
Yeah. It’s been fun for sure. And again, like the content marketing channel is what we’re definitely focused on.
[00:21:58.650] – Kriste
So when you think about starting from the bottom and working your way up, is everything you’ve been talking about an example of that in terms of thinking about search and ranking?
[00:22:09.750] – Josh
Yeah, so there’s this term called domain authority or domain ranking, which is basically how big your website is, for lack of better term.
[00:22:22.420] – Josh
So think of a site like, I don’t know, CNN or something like that. They are huge, have a lot of money, have been on the Internet for a really long time. And so they’re probably – I haven’t looked it up – but they probably would be like a ninety five out of one hundred on using some of these domain rankings.
[00:22:40.210] – Josh
And so everybody else is way below that usually. And so if you’re a new site just starting out, like if you went and bought a domain right now, it would have zero to one. And all of these things are influenced by what’s called back links, which is what people linking to you. Which is what you want.
[00:23:04.510] – Josh
If you have CNN linking to you, then Google then looks at that as a signal to say like, hey, this site must be saying something interesting or important and then you kind of build that up over time.
[00:23:16.510] – Josh
And so the more of these higher ranking links you get, then your site, quote domain authority, starts going up. And then once it starts going up, you have a better chance of ranking for keywords that you’re going after.
[00:23:31.360] – Kriste
So is that an example of, at our agency we also do PR media relations, so we call that earned media. So is that an example where an earned media piece is really going to help you out if that earned media piece is linking back to your site?
[00:23:46.720] – Josh
Yes, and coming from where I’m coming from, I only look at PR as good for links these days. Which I know you’re not going to like that.
[00:23:56.890] – Kriste
Hey, I mean, no, I don’t have a problem with that. Again, I think it’s about setting expectations to clients about, hey, what’s the job you’re actually, what are you trying to do? Because what I find a lot of times people say, “hey, we want to do a press release.” I’m like, ok, why?
[00:24:09.520] – Josh
It’s the same type mindset. What is this piece? What are we trying to accomplish here with it?
[00:24:19.980] – Kriste
I tell people “yeah, let’s do a press release,” as a way to get everybody at the company on board with what’s the message you’re trying to convey around this. And then let’s view this as, at a minimum, you know, this is going to be a piece of your digital footprint and something that the sales team can use to open doors or have conversations or, you know, nudge someone along.
[00:24:41.820] – Josh
But your phone is probably not going to ring off the hook with people ready to buy right at that minute.
[00:24:46.770] – Kriste
The media is probably not just going to start banging on the door.
[00:24:52.520] – Josh
And so that’s kind of what my expectation is out of PR and the links I’m looking for. So you start getting those links, like we just got a link from Vox.com, which is a media site.
[00:25:05.880] – Kriste
[00:25:07.320] – Josh
Yeah. And that was, I think, a 90 something domain authority. And so they link to Friday.app, which then Google is like, oh, this is a site that’s doing something interesting or they’re reputable.
[00:25:20.940] – Josh
And so all that to say is the higher that number is, the more likely it is that you’re able to rank. And then that can even change your strategy. And so at first you’re going to want to do what we call longer tail keywords. So “best healthcare marketing agency in Nashville, Tennessee,” you have a better chance of ranking for that than you do for “healthcare marketing agency,” right? Because you narrowed it down.
[00:25:45.930] – Kriste
[00:25:49.710] – Josh
No offense on your capabilities. I’m sure you’ll get to best healthcare marketer in the world at some point.
[00:25:55.050] – Kriste
That’s just next year, its right around the corner.
[00:25:58.500] – Josh
So you have a better shot at that. And that’s probably more of your target target audience anyway of ranking. But as you get bigger and as all of these bigger sites start linking to your agency because you’re doing awesome work and then even your clients start linking to you because you work for X, Y, Z, huge healthcare insurance company, then Google will start looking at you as more reputable and stuff like that. So then that helps determine which keywords you can go after.
[00:26:31.380] – Josh
So that’s one way to start. And then really what you want to look for is these bottom funnel words that are also usually longer tail words that show buying intent. So how do I get, let me think…
[00:26:48.990] – Kriste
Yeah. What’s an example of buying intent? How do you think about that?
[00:26:53.670] – Josh
You know if I’m thinking back to my healthcare days, which I don’t necessarily think would be a good fit…I don’t even know the words anymore.
[00:27:07.170] – Kriste
“Best telemedicine partner.” How about that?
[00:27:08.340] – Josh
Yeah “best telemedicine partner,” thank you. “Best telemedicine partner with revenue cycle.” I just threw those two things together.
[00:27:17.700] – Kriste
“Identity management in rev cycle.”
[00:27:19.890] – Josh
Yeah. Yeah. So the farther down you get, the more specific you can get. But those also show a higher informed buyer with probably more intent about what you’re doing.
[00:27:30.660] – Josh
And then that brings up the question: is your buyer even searching for those or are they going to dial up your rep to talk to them? And again, that’s the strategy and the channel type of thing. If you see some opportunity around there, you may want to go after those words. And one way to figure that out is looking at some of the paid metrics which are called cost per click or CPC.
[00:27:54.300] – Josh
So if we know that a large, Blue Cross and whoever, is running keywords against some of these longer tail phrases, if they’re paying to be on those pages, then that lets you know, like, hey, this could be a good word for us to go after, even if it doesn’t have a lot of volume. Because sometimes you just need to capture that CEO of whatever company to close the deal or to get interested in your product as a lead and then that could be all that matters.
[00:28:25.410] – Josh
So sometimes what I call that the CEO search or the zero search could just be the CEO searching for it. And then that’s very valuable. So a lot of times those bottom funnel words, even if they don’t have a lot of volume, they could have a lot of buying intent.
[00:28:42.900] – Kriste
Got it. That seems like it might be a little bit harder to get at or am I misreading that?
[00:28:47.520] – Josh
Those are usually easier because people don’t..
[00:28:51.060] – Kriste
Oh they are? OK, see, what do I know?
Because people don’t usually create content that is that specific. So if you do your research, and again, even if it’s not showing up but you know your customers are asking for it and you look in Salesforce and a bunch of different people mentioned this topic, then like, hey, write a blog post for it. It might show up.
[00:29:14.190] – Kriste
Is that where it would be really helpful just to tap into your sales team and be like, hey, you’re out there. What are you hearing? How are people talking about this? What are they asking you for?
[00:29:23.850] – Josh
Yeah, so then you’re building from the bottom up. Because then the competition is lower, but the buying intent is a lot higher. And so then if you just start answering those questions, you may get some search from it. You may also help your thought leadership. And so some of that stuff I said at the top could start to blend together a little bit as long as you have kind of the right expectations and kind of thinking about what the purposes of it is.
[00:29:48.120] – Kriste
So it may be a good idea just to even, you know, a quick poll of your sales team.
[00:29:52.470] – Josh
Yeah, and that’s where you’re going to find a lot of your objections and things that you can respond to on features or price or whatever. And so you can repurpose some of those other things that you’ve done, maybe for your blog or not even for your blog, just another post on your website or page on your website if you don’t want to mess up your blog in that way, to help people find information.
[00:30:15.930] – Kriste
That’s awesome advice. Do you have any other advice that you might give companies pursuing a content driven growth strategy, anything that we haven’t necessarily talked about or things to look out for? What not to do?
[00:30:28.080] – Josh
Yeah, I mean, I would not start at the top of the funnel. I would try to start at the bottom. And what I realize is even when I think I’m at the bottom, I’m not always at the bottom. And so it’s like those longer tail keywords are really important and, you know, look into “best of” or “how to” and kind of append some of those words to your search terms to go another level deeper.
[00:30:55.470] – Josh
And then when you start at the bottom, you can start to get some proof of concept, see how it’s working, see if you get a few conversions off of there and then you build on top of there and then you can start linking down to those bottom final pieces. And eventually you’ll get to the “healthcare marketing,” bigger type keyword.
[00:31:14.400] – Kriste
That’s good advice. Is there anybody – and by anybody I mean, like, a person or a company – that you’re like, oh man, they’re the Holy Grail. They’re doing such a good job at all of this. And you kind of keep an eye on. Is there anybody out there like that? For you.
Yeah, sure. One of the groups I learn from is a content marketing agency. They’re called Animalz with a Z. So it’s A-N-I-M-A-L-Z-dot co. And they’re a content marketing agency and they have worked with some very notable large companies. But I kind of look to them for thought leadership, at least around the content marketing space, and I get a lot of tips and help from them. So that’s definitely one company I would look at.
[00:32:00.840] – Kriste
[00:32:03.020] – Josh
And then one person that I’ve learned a lot from on LinkedIn, his name is Chris Walker. Just like it sounds. And he runs a company called Refine Labs, which is an agency. And he used to be in, I think it was medical device sales. And he was running very traditional plays like, you know, the trade show route, running paid ads and kind of doing the normal healthcare marketing type thing. And then he kind of took a step back and was like, hey, how can I take some of these dollars and see where we can improve our leads and conversions? And so he moved more into like paid and demand generation.
[00:32:42.410] – Josh
So he has a lot of good thoughts on the current circumstances around, I would say, ABM and some of those larger enterprise type deals. I’ve kind of moved out of that in my experience. Now I’m more like freemium type subscription models.
[00:33:02.480] – Kriste
Can you tell our audience who might not be familiar with that, what that means?
[00:33:05.640] – Josh
Oh, yeah. Freemium is a version of what’s called product led growth to where you use a product for free and then you eventually maybe opt into a monthly subscription for that. So Trello, Asana, I think Dropbox kind of has that method as well, and then hopefully invite your team and then they start using it. And that’s the model that we use at Friday.
[00:33:38.610] – Josh
So I’m trying to drive people to sign ups and starting accounts, over like signing up for an email list, for example. And that’s more of my priority. I’d rather people get into our product than just sign up for a list, even though there are some benefits there. But that’s usually what my calls to action are, to “start now,” “sign up for an account,” free.” And I think that works pretty well with content marketing.
[00:34:06.390] – Kriste
[00:34:08.760] – Kriste
So I know we need to wrap it up here. So I got a couple more questions for you if you’ve got a few more minutes.
[00:34:16.470] – Kriste
So we kind of talked about just now, folks that are doing it really well that you look to, but in terms of different tools that maybe are good and that you use. So we recently discovered the power of an editorial calendar specific to SEO, I would say, and have become slightly obsessed with something called Uber Suggest and another site called Answer the Public. And I’m curious if you have any favorite SEO or keyword research or content strategy or creation tools that you’d like to share.
[00:34:53.550] – Josh
Sure, I’ll give a cheap one and then an expensive one, is that good?
[00:34:58.797] – Kriste
[00:34:59.850] – Kriste
Is it free or is it cheap?
[00:35:01.020] – Josh
I think it’s $10.
[00:35:02.970] – Kriste
I had a boss that always said free is better than cheap. And I’m like, I just don’t really believe that.
[00:35:08.670] – Josh
There’s a chrome extension called Keywords Everywhere, and what it does is it overlays on your Google searches. And so when you type in any words, it will give you the volume and then a competition score and then it gives you that cost per click, the CPC costs that I was talking about earlier. And I think they just pull it from Google ads or Google Keyword Planner or whatever, but it’s really nice to have it in that interface.
[00:35:37.080] – Josh
And then they give you some related words and some other suggestions on the side. And I think it costs 10 bucks a year, something like that.
[00:35:47.360] – Kriste
That is basically free.
[00:35:49.370] – Josh
Yeah that’s what I’m saying. It’s a cheap one. So that’s called keywords everywhere. And you can find it on the Chrome store.
[00:35:55.890] – Josh
And then the other one, I would suggest that is more expensive – and there’s a couple tools like this – it’s called Market Muse, market and then M-U-S-E-dot com.
[00:36:05.040] – Josh
And what it does is it takes – it has its own algorithm, but it’s basically natural language processing – and it surfaces frequently used words that your competitors and other results on the search page are using for certain terms. So when I type in, for me, “asynchronous meeting,” I want to write a post about asynchronous meetings and how that can benefit you, they’ll show all of the other results and the words that are most frequently used within that post or within those results and say like, hey, maybe you should include these in here as suggestions.
[00:36:43.020] – Josh
And then it also gives you suggestions about how to rank for that phrase or for that word. And so it’s not quite keyword stuffing because they’re not just putting the full list in there. You do need to include it in a more natural way of writing, but it helps.
[00:36:59.340] – Kriste
And keyword stuffing -I talked about this on my recent Spark Session – that’s not a good thing, right? That’s a bad thing.
[00:37:04.440] – Josh
Yeah. It’s almost impossible to do anymore. And that is back from 15 years ago where people literally just have a list of words kind of hidden on the page and you couldn’t figure it out. This is about trying to use these words naturally in your paragraphs and in your headers and things like that. But it also helps you think about the perspective of the piece and say, like, how are my competitors that are already ranking approaching this piece?
[00:37:34.120] – Josh
Should I approach it the same way or should I do it differently? And that’s kind of up for the topic and for each individual marketer and writer to decide. But Market Muse helps surface some of those insights. And so I use that a lot. They have a scoring system to let you know where you fall compared to the competitors for that.
[00:37:57.810] – Kriste
That’s for the serious marketers.
[00:37:57.810] – Josh
Right, I have it up. I mean, they have plans from like eighty to five hundred dollars a month with different functionality in that range.
[00:38:09.730] – Kriste
[00:38:10.620] – Kriste
That makes me think, you mentioned just natural language processing. Are you having to take into account anything different these days with voice search? Does that really matter that much at this point in terms of the way people might, “hey, Google,” you know, “where’s the nearest ice cream store?” versus maybe what they might type in to their phone or their computer?
[00:38:31.320] – Josh
Yeah, that’s a good question. I’m not as familiar with it. And I do think it depends on your product because you’re probably more likely to buy movie tickets or clothes or whatever household goods using Alexa.
[00:38:44.910] – Kriste
Probably not like searching for an asynchronous operating system.
[00:38:48.270] – Josh
[00:38:48.270] – Josh
So that’s more like desktop, potentially mobile, searches. So I can see that being more in play for e-commerce stuff, for sure. But that’s like a whole other world to me that that I can’t even really speak to at all.
[00:39:06.150] – Kriste
Yeah. Like, OK, just let’s not even go there.
[00:39:09.060] – Josh
Yeah. I haven’t seen a lot of results from that or interest from my end.
[00:39:17.670] – Kriste
So final question. We’ve talked about people or organizations that are doing this we, tools, and now what about maybe are there particular podcasters or people you follow, like Neil Patel or Seth Godin’s podcast, Akimbo – those are a couple that we keep our eye and ear on. Are there others that you’re just obsessed with?
[00:39:41.760] – Josh
Yeah, I mean, I think that guy I mentioned Chris Walker. He’s doing some interesting stuff. He has a podcast called State of Demand Gen, which is really good. Another person that I like is named Dave Gerhardt. He’s from a company called Privy, which is actually an e-commerce company. He used to be at Drift. He’s really big on LinkedIn now. He has some interesting stuff as far as broader marketing.
[00:40:06.630] – Josh
I think the head of search at HubSpot, his name is Kieran Flanagan, he also has a podcast. You can probably search for him. He has really good forward thinking advice as well.
[00:40:22.090] – Kriste
[00:40:23.230] – Kriste
We’re going to put all of these in our show notes so that our listeners can have all these really handy if they want to go check out any of the things we’ve been talking about. Any of the things, the people, the tools, all the stuff.
[00:40:36.820] – Kriste
Well, thanks, Josh. I really appreciate it. This has been super enlightening. I know I’ve learned a lot. Hopefully our listeners will learn a lot as well. I really appreciate you taking the time. And before we sign off, assuming you would like people to get in touch with you, what would be the best way to do that?
[00:40:55.390] – Josh
Yeah, I’m on Twitter, just twitter.com/joshspilker. I’m on LinkedIn at that same. I do blog sometimes about content marketing at growthcontent.io. It’s a really bad looking site but I’m trying to update it and put some new stuff on there.
[00:41:14.110] – Kriste
But great content. Awesome. OK, well thank you so much.
[00:41:19.870] – Josh
[00:41:20.470] – Kriste
Well folks, that wraps up this episode of How It’s Done. My guest today has been Josh Spilker. For more awesome content on this and other guests, please head over to our podcast page at growwithfuoco.com/podcast. You can also subscribe to How It’s Done and get all the latest wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for joining us.
[00:41:46.726] – Kriste
That’s it for now. Thanks so much for listening. We’re looking forward to keeping great conversations coming your way as we grow this podcast. There’s even more great content from our conversations on our blog. Be sure to check it out at growwithfuoco.com. That’s grow with fuoco–F-U-O-C-O–dot com. Stay tuned until next time. And no matter what, stay curious.
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