content marketing

Content Marketing All-Stars Q&A: Chris Smith of Curaytor

By NativeAI / May 8, 2016

What
is the difference between good and bad content? How can you develop content
that converts? Which metrics should you use to judge the success of your
content?

There
may be no one better out there than Chris
Smith

to answer these questions. Chris is the co-founder of Curaytor, a multimillion dollar
marketing and software company; author of The
Conversion Code
, a bestseller about capturing Internet leads; and a frequent
(and awesome) keynote speaker at conferences around
the world. He’s a true visionary in the space who has helped companies of all
sizes improve their marketing and sales strategies.

Recently
we chatted with Chris to get his thoughts on some of the biggest issues that
content marketers face, and to find out where he thinks the industry is
heading.

Check
out the All-Star Q&A below:

Q: What is the
difference between good content and bad content?
 

A: In my opinion the
difference is that good content creates awareness and sales, whereas bad content drives awareness or sales. It’s such a simple difference,
but a big one.

With
content creation we have to take this this jab, jab, jab, jab, right hook
approach, to quote Gary Vaynerchuk; we need to make a contribution before
asking for the business. 

The best content drives awareness and sales at the
same time, but bad content either only drives awareness and no sales, or it is
so sales focused that no one is going to read or share it.

Q: We talk with a lot of
marketers who say they struggle with creating content that produces qualified
leads. What’s your advice for them? How do the insights from your book,
The Conversion Code, apply to digital content specifically?

A: One of the big decisions
that marketers have to make is where to put the line in the sand and decide
what to give away online and what to require registration for. That is
something everyone needs to think hard about, because often businesses that are
struggling to generate quality leads are giving away every bit of possible
information and they don’t leave anything behind the cloak.

What
we’ve found to be an effective way to get people to register is to offer something
above-and-beyond what you would normally find on a site. For example, provide
the ability to download a five-minute demo video versus just reading about a
product. So you take away the exposed free information but then offer something
even more useful with registration.

That’s
one little hack that works well, because there is a lot more value to the consumer
in getting that deep, unfiltered to look at your product, versus just seeing a
basic landing page.

Q: As a follow-up to
that, what are your thoughts on not making the registration barrier too high?
How much information should you ask for?

A: That’s always a tricky
balance. One way to think about it is that you want to grow your list and you
want to grow your leads.

Your
list is going to be the people who subscribe to your blog, the people that
follow you on social, the people who might register to read interesting
content. Your leads are going to be the names, phone numbers, and emails of
people that you want to sell to.

So,
if you look at your list as a way to get leads, and don’t look at your list as
the leads, it can be very helpful. The barrier to entry can be really low to
grow your list; then use tactics like email marketing and retargeted marketing
to turn those people into leads.

Also,
one mistake we’ve seen a lot of companies make is to only offer the option for
a one-to-one meeting with a salesperson. There is a huge opportunity that’s
being missed to provide group demo webinars. A lot of people just don’t want to
be in that one-to-one situation with a salesperson but they will sit in a group
environment.

Q: We love the blog of your company, Curaytor; how do you approach programming
it? What are the goals?

A: Thank you. We have put
so much work and time and money into it. Today it does look pretty damn good,
but it began with just a free WordPress theme and me up at midnight trying to
change some of the colors. So, I totally get some of the roadblocks when you
start.

What
we found to be a really simple thing to do is to first identify the type of
content, and then the categories within that type.

For
us, the type of content we always want to create for our blog is actionable
advice. No matter what the category, we want to write something that will help
your business. Then we say: What are the buckets within actionable advice?

So,
we always make sure that: A) the article is actionable, in the sense that the
person can read it and then do something to help their business; and then B) we
think about whether it can fit in one of our of four main categories: content
creation, advertising, blogging, blast messaging, and sales. If it is
actionable and it fits into one of those categories then we get excited about
publishing it and promoting it.

Another
thing we did is that we went out and hired two professional writers, one who specializes
in narrative storytelling to do client pieces and one who specializes in how-to
advice. These are two amazing writers, not bad writers off Craigslist. Now our
blog that used to get 50,000 pageviews per month is getting 100,000; and that’s
even if the company principals are too busy to create content.

Q: What are the metrics
you look at the judge success? Which metrics should other marketers be paying
close attention to?

A: Lets start with the
metrics that are a mistake to focus on. Almost everyone starts with how many
pageviews, how many shares, how many likes, how many tweets, etcetera.  You have to go beyond that. What we’ve found
is that some of the articles we publish that got the most pageviews don’t
produce any leads or sales.

So
what we’ve done is employ tactics like user tracking and mapping to the leads
already in our database. If we write a new article we can see if it generates
new leads, or re-engages existing leads. Then every Friday we meet and look at
how the content is mapping to sales. We love that, and the writers do too, they
want to drive revenue.

Of
course, to do this properly you have to have the right CRM, and tracking and
tagging; that technology layer can be a little tricky.

Q: Which brands do you
think are doing a good job of creating content that is converting?

A: A lot of start-ups are
doing content really well, and I think that’s because they get venture capital
and so can afford to do more than small businesses that aren’t funded.

A
few blogs that I really like are from Baremetrics, Groove
HQ
, Envision, and Intercom; they have some of the
best in the world. As somebody who has blogged, and who is focused on actionable
content, I love that these blogs are sharing truly useful tactics and advice.

Q: Final question: are
there any marketing trends that you are watching closely right now?

A: There are two really
exciting trends that I’m watching because they’re not just buzzwords, but can
move the needle: retargeting and messaging.

For
retargeting, I mean a very hyper-focus. So in the way that Amazon knows that
you looked at these two books and this DVD and those three things appear in an ad
on Facebook. We all know how powerful that is but we are not all doing that.

A
lot of people are doing retargeting where if you visit their website you will
then see more ads about that brand, but I like the idea of taking that to the
sub-page level. For example, there’s a hack on Facebook where you can say:
retarget this ad to people who visit URLs on my site with this particular word
in them.

For
messaging, I love the idea of bringing context to live chat. So in the past it
chat boxes were just sort of down there on sites in case you had a question.
What’s really exciting now is that you can customize the chat prompts based on
what you know about the user and which page they are on.

We use Kissmetrics
Engage
 to
target our chat messages based on the sub-page that a person is on. When we are
relevant with our messaging to the page we get a 30% - 50% click-through rate
on our pop-ups, compared with a 10% CTR when we have the same broad messaging
across the site. That’s a huge thing to keep an eye on.

Written by NativeAI / May 8, 2016

The NativeAI & News360 team curates this blog with valuable insights and interviews from content publishers, marketers and analytics experts across industries. We are committed to provide the best possible Content Intelligence tips and tricks you can find on the web to boost your digital media publisher business.