Keep A Quick Reference Of Completed Content Assets
As we set out to overhaul the Audience Ops website—it goes live for final QA today, so if you check it out and notice something, tell me! (if there aren’t super cute illustrations, it’s not live yet)—I discovered that examples of our work were stale.
Cue a new project: Reviewing more recently published work and updating the samples (plus making more of them accessible without requiring an email address).
It was easier said than done.
We soon realized that pulling together finished work for multiple clients would require several steps per client. We trudged through it, but decided to never do it that way again. Now, we have an automated way of pulling links to finished assets into a spreadsheet and a plan to review them monthly. It uses a Google Sheets feature that connects select columns from multiple spreadsheets into one.
If a new prospect asks for a specific type of example, we can quickly find more recently published strong examples to share. Plus, we can update the samples on our site when a new piece comes along that should absolutely be included.
How does this apply to you, though? Especially if you’re in B2B SaaS marketing?
Use the same approach to build an easy-to-navigate repository of assets for your sales team to pull content you’ve created to share with their prospects. It should never be a headache to find these assets. A good sign your current approach isn’t working is if sales frequently asks marketing if you have something on a specific top or if you’ll create something that already exists (because they didn’t know).
Figure out a way to help everyone in the company navigate the incredible content you create so they can find and share it without feeling like they’re on a treasure hunt without a map.
If you work with Audience Ops, we’ve been adding those links to your content spreadsheet and can help you figure out how to get them in front of the rest of the company.
Supercuts Are Super
Guess what happens when you record video case studies / testimonials with happy customers?
You build up enough footage to create a “supercut.”
Seth Morris and Sara Robinson are working on something pretty cool for Audience Ops, and I’m looking forward to seeing the final product.
For now, I’ll explain the concept:
Take 4 or more interviews you’ve recorded with customers (ones they’ve agreed can be used promotionally, of course) and create a video that combines the best stuff.
It can be used on a homepage and purposed for social media, YouTube preroll ads, you name it.
I helped with some of the revision rounds for the prototype last week and we discovered that it’s really fun (and impressive) when you group the problems solved / results achieved bits from each customer together.
4 back-to-back quotes about high ROIs makes a strong case for the brand featured, and I’m betting you’ve influenced results that would stack well this way, too.
The best part?
If you’ve already recorded and produced individual videos, the content is already there, ready to be spliced, diced, and reframed as part of a larger whole... PLUS you’ve spent enough time picking the best parts to know which bits will resonate strongly in this new context.
Think of it as going from several albums to a greatest hits album.
Stay tuned for our first client supercut.
I’ll share it when it’s ready.
If you’re interested in video case studies / testimonials, the amazing team mentioned above at Audience Ops can help with that.
3 Critical Podcast Launch Tasks
Today’s insights are courtesy Sara Robinson, Director of Operations at Audience Ops, whose team has shouldered the overwhelming bits for our podcast clients over the years.
“We’re in the process of handling the heavy lifting for Ashley Amber Sava’s soon-to-launch Unpopular Opinion podcast.
Our job on the production side is to make it as easy as possible for Ashley to do her thing and produce content about something she’s passionate about:
Actual unpopular opinions (not the ones that many people claim are unpopular, but really are as common as peppermint in the winter time).
So what 3 tasks make it run smoothly?!
1️⃣ Get everyone on the same page and get clear on responsibilities.
Having an initial kickoff meeting helped Ashley and I get clear on what she wants to create. We discussed the production help we can give and what she wants to own in the process.
A second kickoff call with the creative team allowed us to be clear on who’s responsible for what, but also let them hear directly from Ashley what she wants to create. This is super helpful for our designer so that we can start developing show artwork.
2️⃣ Create shared documents for the process.
After kickoff call #1, I put together a doc that outlined call #2, what we’d discuss, and what people need to come prepared with.
I also added in a tentative timeline for the kickoff phase so that we know what to expect, but also so that everyone can compare this against their other projects and we can decide if this first phase’s timeline is realistic (good news—it is! Looks like you can expect to hear Unpopular Opinion Podcast in early 2023!)
3️⃣ Use a project management tool.
Docs are great, but when it comes to a project that has multiple people, tasks, and mini-projects, you need to keep it all organized. We’re using ClickUp for this, but I’ve used Trello for kicking off podcasts as well.”
What she’s learned over time
“The early steps of a podcast launch are critical and help create momentum for the show. Getting organized at the start helps you keep track of critical details (like getting your website set up!) which means you’re more likely to hit your ideal launch date.”
Having A Writer Help Build Article Briefs Can Be Better Than Going It Alone
In a former life, I was a passionate assignment editor. I spent my days building detailed outlines for magazine articles. I discovered something: the more time I put into clearly communicating exactly what I wanted, the closer to “print ready” a piece would be when it was submitted.
But these days, it seems anyone running a content strategy for a brand—much less a portfolio of brands— has less and and less time to spend building assignments (aka creating really good briefs). Or is it just me?
I’ve found a process that lets me share pieces of the task, though. And I’m now 100% sure that involving the writer who will also be drafting the copy in the brief creation process yields stronger content than if I’d spent my own time building everything, the way I once did.
To understand the customer’s perspective using Audience Ops, I’ve contracted them to write blog articles for ARPU. When Sara, Director of Operations, suggested I add on article briefs, I agreed. Instead of going from a few bits of info (title, headers, resources) to a first draft, they add in an article brief review phase.
What this meant for me: I could give goals, context, research materials (in this case links to moments in recorded conversations that I know would be great to include), suggest an article framework, and indicate if and how the product should be included, but I don’t have to create the outline.
Instead, the writer creates an outline and I have the opportunity to review it and add comments in the Google doc to my heart’s content BEFORE ANYTHING IS ACTUALLY WRITTEN.
Our workflow (if you’re curious)
Every 16 weeks I take a day and draft summaries of 8 articles I think we should publish (based on conversations that occurred during our live series, Subscription Ecommerce Live, on questions our customers have been asking, and on feature releases that are coming down the pike).
Then, 2 weeks before work on an article begins, I receive a thorough outline to review. I assess the order of ideas, the examples and proof that will be used to back each idea up, answer questions the writer has left for me about the product or the audience’s familiarity with specific topics, and add requests (like, “Please add something about XYZ here. This resource would be good to link to.”).
Two weeks later, I review an article that is 70% “ready” (which I consider really great for outsourced work) and add revision requests. And a few days later, I have a draft that needs only minor tweaks before I hand it back off to Audience Ops to set up in our CMS and send me a preview of the scheduled article, which I also approve (or hop in to make final revisions to) before it publishes.
What I’ve found
The mental load this has lifted off of me is huge. I keep my focus on overall strategy but stay “in the content” without doing all the heavy lifting.
And because I work with the same talented writer week after week, he is both learning my preferences and building his knowledge of how our product works and how to highlight it in noninvasive ways when appropriate.
The collaborative approach has established a stronger relationship than the usual assignor/assignee relationship. I like to think that the process of planning, giving feedback, and going back and forth in the early phase of creating content is keeping us more accountable to each other, which benefits ARPU’s target audience in the long haul.
Interested in testing out this brief collaboration process for your content? Contact Audience Ops.
Earn Your Audience’s Trust—And Google’s—With A Hub And Spoke Strategy
A hub and spoke strategy is a powerful way to organize content around a specific topic. This interlocking structure serves readers far more than a mish mosh of traditional blog articles might. Your audience can easily navigate to additional, related resources and you’re signaling strong, helpful topic authority to Google.
The hub and spoke strategy employs 2 types of content: a hub article and spoke articles.
From our hub blog about the hub and spoke approach (meta, I know):
“The hub is a comprehensive resource center that addresses a broad topic. It targets a short-tail, competitive keyword and links to a series of spoke articles.
Spoke articles are sub-topics of the hub. Each spoke targets a long-tail, less competitive keyword that relates to the hub’s keyword and dives deep into that sub-topic. These are the “meat” of your content library.”
Moz: The Beginner’s Guide to SEO
Podia: How to Create, Sell, and Profit From an Online Course
Zapier: The Ultimate Guide to Working Remotely
Audience Ops: The Hub & Spoke Content Marketing Strategy: What Is It and How to Build Your Own
What we’ve found
This article is one of our highest performing pieces of content. It ranks in the first and second spots for the searches “hub and spoke content” and “hub and spoke strategy” and has held those spots for a long time without decaying.
Perhaps part of the reason is that using the hub and spoke structure to plan content forces brands to do what Google has been urging us to do with its recent update: BE MORE HELPFUL.
Also from the referenced article:
“The main goal of the hub and spoke strategy is to pack more value into your content than a traditional blogging strategy provides.”
The prompt to create a batch of articles around a topic and intentionally organize ideas for the reader to navigate, consume, and return to, helps a marketing team produce more helpful content than they do when they hop topics for the sake of consistent publishing. It’s as if the hub and spoke approach causes us to think “How helpful could we be?”
Need help creating hub and spoke content (or restructuring some of your existing articles to adopt the hub and spoke model)? Contact Audience Ops.
Video Testimonials Are More Compelling Than Written Ones
Customer testimonial videos are incredibly powerful because there's way less skepticism about whether the brand made up what the customer is saying.
It’s not a text quote.
Or a written story your brand polished to perfection.
It’s a real person who spent their valuable time being recorded explaining why they love your brand.
It’s compelling proof a real person like your prospect has had success using your product or service.
What we’ve found
Part of what we love about the work as a content creation partner is that interviewing a brand’s customers for these videos really helps us understand their ICP and strategize additional meaningful content. It’s a wonderful first project for us to take on for new clients for that reason.
When we plan additional content after working on these testimonials, we have specific people in mind, and we can create especially FOR THEM because we have a much better understanding of what challenges and motivates them.
Not only do videos resonate really strongly with buyers in a consideration phase, they can also work to increase brand awareness and help buyers understand what you sell.
Repurposing shorter versions of these videos as paid ads means they’re no longer just capturing demand, they’re creating it by delivering a micro story with the best details to educate right in the social feed (no click required to learn).
Interested in video customer testimonials and case studies your audience will love? Reach out to Audience Ops and mention Case Studies.
Better Blogs Start With Quotable Conversations
I’m introducing a new newsletter section today to share insights from the team at Audience Ops, a new core focus for me within the Simple Focus Software portfolio. This first one is experimental, so reply and let me know what you think.
We’re piloting a creation process with ARPU where we’ve been strategizing blog content based on topics that came up during a live expert Q&A series we run, instead of running audio transcripts or recap-style articles.
Focus on the brilliant moments in these interviews that really resonate with the ARPU audience and build out articles on the most interesting / helpful ideas and topics. This allows us to bring in multiple, authoritative voices, and opinions, with direct quotes to round out the discussions.
Should Your Ecommerce Shop Default to Subscriptions?
This topic prompted some strong responses from a few of our guests, so we had the Audience Ops team evaluate those and create a pros and cons guide to making this decision if you’re the ARPU buyer (a subscription ecommerce merchant).
The workflow we use (in case you’re curious)
What I’ve found
So far, these articles feel much more researched and less experimental than a typical blog post because we’ve already established that the topic resonates with the brand’s ICP.
Interested in something like this to turn your recorded sessions (podcast or live shows) into written content your audience will love? Get in touch with Audience Ops and mention Conversation-led Content.