So you have your marketing strategy, but do you have your assets? In this episode, Tami and Joe talk about the best ways to prepare content for all your marketing. They discuss the importance of creating content per stage in the marketing funnel, understanding your target audience’s pain points, creating strategy briefs, and more.

Episode 11 Transcript:

Tami: Welcome to High Energy Marketing! A podcast with us, the digital marketing agency Ajax Union, where we interview our CEO, Joe Apfelbaum, on key marketing topics and we share everything you need to know to properly grow your business online. This is a question and answers podcast where I asked Joe questions about different topics and trends in marketing, based on his book, High Energy Marketing. You can get the book at ajaxunion.com/book to follow along with us. 

This is the 11th official episode of our podcast about High Energy Marketing and today we are going to discuss the best way to prepare content for all your marketing. But first, a little housekeeping. You can find us wherever you get your podcasts. Go ahead and hit subscribe if you’re listening to this right now. And if you’re on Apple Podcasts, you can also rate and leave a review that would really help. 

And now let’s jump into our inspiration of the day. Joe, do you want to hit us with a quick inspiration minute before we get started?

Joe: Yeah, so today’s inspiration is about listening. Communication is about listening first. Are you really listening? Or are you listening for a way to prove your agenda or for you to formulate a response? Often when we communicate with other people, we by default, communicate through the lens of what’s in it for me? How can I make sense of this to help achieve my own goals? 

Try to listen, to understand, before listening to be heard. I think it was Stephen Covey that speaks about this in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” But often our ego doesn’t allow us to hear what’s being said outside of the context of how it applies to us. Even being told, don’t make it about you, or it’s about me, or don’t make it about me, it’s about you. Often we get lost in our own thoughts while somebody else is talking to us or even when we’re reading a book or listening to a podcast. Well, you can think about how this podcast as “what’s in it for me.” The reality is, don’t forget that you are there to hear out other people. First, you have two ears and one mouth. So listen twice as much as you talk. Your ears are for hearing. But don’t just hear what you want to hear. hear what’s being said.

Tami: Amazing. Thank you so much. So let’s jump into it. First, a couple of questions. So today we’re talking about the best way to prepare content for all your marketing. So what things should we keep in mind before preparing content for our marketing needs?

Joe: When it comes to preparing content for your marketing needs, there are quite a few things that you want to prepare. And the main thing that you want to prepare is to keep your strategy in mind. A lot of times people say “I need a blog post”, but they don’t have a brief or they don’t have a strategy. What is the strategy? Well, think about what your goal is first, then think about who are the people that you’re going to be talking to. Then think about what is the messaging that you need to be telling those people.

When preparing content, don’t just think about what you want to share, but think about how people are going to take it. We recommend establishing goals for your content. And also thinking about who is the most ideal person in the audience that’s going to be getting the content so that we can prepare the content that is aligned to them. Once you understand your target audience, you can keep their pains, their goals, and their fears in mind when creating your content. 

Now, content is not just written content, like copy content. It could also be podcasts, like this one, content could be videos, content could be images and graphics, creating content will allow you to be able to get your business out there. But it has to match your plan. It has to match your target market. And it has to contain the right messaging to help you in your business.

Tami: Okay, so what’s the difference between the top-of-funnel, middle-of-funnel, and bottom-of-funnel content? We’ve talked about the funnel in the past. And now we’re talking about content for marketing. Let’s say I have my funnel set up, what’s the difference between the content and each of these layers of the funnel?

Joe: Well, you’re creating content for the top-of-funnel. And if you don’t know what the funnel is, you should definitely hear the previous episode that we did on what is the marketing funnel. And we also have a 20-minute presentation on our homepage at ajaxunion.com that explains what the marketing funnel is and each stage of the funnel. But the top-of-funnel is all about educational content that adds value to new prospects and engages them even if they’re not ready to buy. 

A lot of people create bottom-of-funnel content and they display it to top-of-funnel prospects. You’re giving them content that’s in the wrong stage. Take, for example, a top-of-funnel tool for your business, you want to be able to give people tools for their business information, you read it, and you learn a few things. And you might be compelled to reach out to the company that put out that top-of-funnel content to set up a call, or to start doing business together. But the key is that you’re not selling yet, you’re just getting to know. It’s like, know, you trust you like you. 

So, on the top-of-funnel, it’s all about getting to know your audience getting to know their problems, what problem you solve with the content that you’re creating for the person that’s consuming, and that would give them value. 

Now, in the middle-of-funnel, it’s more about building trust, it’s someone that already knows you. So, you don’t necessarily have to keep educating them entertaining them, and engaging them, it’s more about going a little bit deeper, and showing them how you have added value to other people, how they can trust you. And you’re also kind of educating them there as well. 

But you’re going to the second level, you’re going to a place where you don’t necessarily need to introduce yourself anymore because they know who you are. They’re already in your funnel, they’ve already consumed content from you, and they already were educated and entertained by you. 

And then if you’re moving to the bottom-of-funnel, the bottom-of-funnel is more to get them into your world, getting them to like you telling them about your core values, telling them about your company, telling them about what you guys are doing. 

The top-of-funnel is about education and getting to know you. And the middle-of-funnel is getting them to trust you, by sharing case studies and sharing some of the more information related to like how you are successful with other people, the bottom-of-funnel, it’s more about how they can get started working with you how they can book a demo, or start a strategy call. And at that point, you already earned the permission through education and trust to get them in the door. So if you’re writing content, that’s the bottom-of-funnel content, and you’re displaying at the top-of-funnel prospects, that’s a big mistake.

Tami: Yes, it’s a big mistake, because they are not ready for that bottom of funnel messaging and they are going to be scared, right? They’re going to run in the opposite direction. That’s exactly the opposite of what you want them to do. Can you give examples of each type of content?

Joe: Yeah, so the top-of-funnel is education-based content. So for example, you want to figure out what the problems are for your clients. We have a client that’s an engineering firm and one of the big problems that their clients have is they don’t know the different codes for their buildings, what are the different codes, so they might benefit from producing a video or an ebook about the different codes building managers need to know so that they can protect their buildings. 

So, you go to their website, and you might see an ability to download, what we call, a lead magnet to be able to capture the person’s information. But at that point, they’re not selling them anything. They’re literally just educating them. 

A middle-of-funnel would be maybe a case study of how they helped the building be able to remove violations. And people are super interested in that because they want to see what the process was to be able to get that done because maybe they have some violations in their building. Or if they get a violation, as a property manager, they need to be aware of how to be able to get those violations removed, how quickly it works, and why they should be using that specific company to get their violations removed. 

And then finally, at the bottom-of-funnel, it’s about getting them to have a phone conversation with you. So maybe you’ll talk about how fun it is to work there. And why the clients, why employees and clients want to work with that company. And you can talk about your personality, you can talk about what you guys do for a living and getting people in the door. 

So, whereas the top-of-funnel is about education, the middle-of-funnel is about trust, and the bottom-of-funnel is about getting them to know you and hopefully buy from you.

Tami: So this is great information. But it can feel overwhelming when you’re trying to create the content, right for each level of the funnel. You know, you’re not only thinking about what to say you’re thinking about, “Oh, this message needs to build trust.” And “This one can’t sell too much. I’m just educating them at this level, and it can become really overwhelming. 

Do you have any tips for making content that’s appropriate for each level of the funnel that’s appropriate for your company to make that content quickly?

Joe: Any marketing director or even business owner can often get frustrated, like you said it could get really complicated to create content. And so when you have clarity, you have motivation. Creating content is about having clarity about what you want to share. There’s no way to be able to spend 100 hours writing a book if there was no roadmap for the book. 

I always start with like a table of contents when I’m writing a book. Understanding where you’re holding and what you need to do next is really helpful in making sure that you have progress. The same thing applies to all your content creation for all your marketing. 

At Ajax Union, our team produces a marketing brief that helps our content writers be able to understand what they need to accomplish. It includes, what is the plan? What is the goal? It includes, who is the target market? What is the messaging to include? What is the style, and what is the tone of the client? Having a written strategy that you can review before you begin writing content will be really, really useful. 

Knowing all your content is in a library of assets is the key to knowing where everything is. With our clients, we use Canva and we organize things properly.  If we need to create a great image for like a cover of a YouTube video, or for a cover of a podcast, or we need to create a social graphic, we can quickly do that we understand where we get our stock photos, where they are, are in a file, in a folder, we understand where the logo is, and where all the right formats are. 

We understand and have a style guide and presentations and templates that are branded for your company. So this way, it makes it really easy for us to create social media updates, stories, emails, blogs, and articles, using tools like Canva, to set everything up correctly. Which will allow not just our team, but also your team to be able to log in quickly and produce quality content with a few clicks of a button.

I highly recommend getting organized and planning your campaign in advance in order for you to be more successful.

Tami: So why is planning and organizing so important when it comes to creating content?

Joe: Well, what’s gonna end up happening is, if you don’t plan and organize your content in advance, you’re going to be excited about it now, but once you get busy in your business, you’re going to stop marketing. And if you stop marketing, you’re no longer a business. Now you’re not for profit organization or a government organization. Because marketing is what makes a business a business. 

If you’re not marketing consistently, you’re going to have lulls. And you’re never going to have that consistent growth. Our clients want to keep growing. And if you want to keep growing, you need to have consistency in your marketing. And so having content with a strategy will make sure you have that consistency. 

So I want you to ask yourself the following question, What content do I need to be creating for my business? What are my assets? Are they in a library? And where are they? Do I have a content calendar that describes my plan for the next 90 days? And do I need to contact Ajax Union to help me be able to create all this, so I have that consistency? 

For some of our clients, we create evergreen content, which allows us to always have information at our fingertips that can be used, if a client doesn’t approve something, we can create a whole library of evergreen pieces that can be used anytime in the future. So this way, if we’re waiting on approval for something, and we need a social post to go out or an email to go out, we already have content that’s approved. 

And this also works particularly well in regulated industries like financial services. We have several clients there as well. So whether you’re a manufacturing firm, whether you’re a professional services firm, whether you’re selling products and services, make sure that you organize your content correctly, and have the right tools and strategies to help you be more consistent, more organized, and ultimately more effective to be able to drive more bottom line to your business.

Tami: Thank you so much, Joe. That was amazing information. I hope everyone listening got as much out of this as we did. In next week’s episode, we will be talking about the benefits of a style guide and marketing briefs that will really help when creating your content. So, make sure to hit that subscribe button and catch the next episode. 

You can follow us on Instagram @AjaxUnion and basically everywhere and find Joe everywhere @JoeApfelbaum, and follow him on LinkedIn at Joelinkedin.com. If you didn’t catch that, check our description for all of our social media links and go to ajaxunion.com/podcast to find more episodes and learn more about High Energy Marketing. 

If you have any questions shoot us an email at amazing@ajaxunion.com Our music is by Michael Suarez. This podcast is produced by Sarah and Shannon and edited by Sami Matitelu. Thank you so much. See you next time.

Joe Apfelbaum: LinkedIn

Tami Schlichter: LinkedIn

Ajax Union: LinkedIn