B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 1716 · 4 months ago

Create Content Your ICP Needs, with Nicole Bump

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Benji talks to Nicole Bump, Fractional Content Director at Bump Inbound.

A well-defined ICP should help inform the content we create, yet many organizations struggle to define their ICP beyond title and size of company. Today, Nicole provides helpful questions and direction to hone in and create content that matches what your ICP both wants and needs.

Conversations from the front lines and marketing. This is be tob growth. Today on B tob growth I am joined by Nicole bump. She is the fractional content director of bump. In bound, Nicole, welcome into be tob growth. Thanks so much for having me, BEN J so, Nicole, how long have you been working in content marketing? I know it fractional content director. So just give us some context there to the the work you do and your work in content marketing. Sure, I've officially had a content title since, I guess, about two thousand and fourteen, so about eight years, but I have always been in some sort of mark common writing role my whole career. So I tend to say that I've been in content marketing before it was really called content marketing. MMM, and by fractional content director, I kind of created that term because I saw a lot of CMOS starting fractional offerings. Yep, so I thought it probably made sense to people that it's a little bit of strategy, it's a little bit of execution, it's kind of whatever you need to have someone come in and, from a fractional or part time sort of consultative perspective, take a look at what you're doing in your content and help out getting you to the next step of the game. It's actually why I think your voice is going to be so valuable for our listener, is because it can be a lot easier to spot trends when you're working with different clients, different marketing situations, right, whereas for and I'll just say like I'm guilty of this, I'm my head is down in the project I'm currently in in my company, and so I'm excited to tap into what you're learning in all the different situations and scenarios you've been put in, and that's maybe where we should begin, is when it comes to content creation with specifically with your ideal customer in mind. You've put out some great content that I wanted to chat about here. Let me pose this question at you first, Nicole. What do you see many content marketers kind of, time and time again, get wrong when it comes to content creation and their strategy? I'll say that by far a lot of marketers or creating content for content sake without necessarily understanding their audience appropriately. So so a lot of people will understand their audience in terms of say, titles or rolls or industries or firmographics, but to create good content you really need to know more than that. Right, need to go a little bit deeper and sort of secondly, somewhat as a result of this first problem, I see people jumping around a lot from project or project or the next big thing, or riding the trends, if you will, rather than committing to those foundational elements of good marketing. So it really is my opinion and that a lot of be tob marketers could greatly, you know, or make big gains by just simplifying their efforts rather than going after that next shiny object. If there was ever a time we needed this, like stop and consider why we're doing something, I do think it's right now because, like you said, I love that you see people chase trends. I love how you said that. Or there's just these options, endless platforms that we can be on and kind of feel guilty for not being on, or these avenues for marketing that you see someone else have success with and you go Shiny Object Syndrome. I need that too. But why? And so why do we need to do certain thing? What's the hoped desired outcome? Right, it almost feels like you're going to give us permission to be like beyond less channels or do less? Is that what's going to happen today? Nichol? Well, I mean I'm certainly not the arbiter of how many channels any brand should be on, but in general, yeah, I think that most fetb marketers would do better if they focus their efforts on fewer...

...projects, fewer channels and really tried to nail master the ones that they are on, really tried to own their space and own their conversation on the channels that they're on. Yeah, I think before we can even get to what channels are appropriate or all of that conversation, you mentioned something around Icep and understanding who were trying to talk to that. We have to start there right when you're working to create a content strategy, you have to get the order right. So when you're thinking of that, like, what would you say is most important to have an order first? Yeah, at its simplest, you really need to understand what you want to accomplish from your content, not just putting content out there because you think you should or because somebody asks you to. You want to know why you're doing it as a business, what your goals are. But the next step is understanding why your audience should engage with your content. You know, what are they looking for, what are they trying to accomplish as it relates to what you offer, and it's the intersection of these two things that's really going to be your sweet spot. So you can kind of think of it like a ven diagram, right, like what you want to talk about, what they want to hear about, and then there's a hopefully a little bit of intersection there. Yep, it's interesting how often we know what we want to talk about, and so that's what starts the content strategy, that's what starts the blog, that's what starts the webinars. That's how you see people get linked in, wrong, often right, because this is what we want to talk about or even from a business perspective, this is what we need to talk about, like we need to host this Webinar to educate the market. So it's almost hard to like get out of that once you've gotten into that cycle. Right. Do you see that happen often with some of the clients you work with and when they're trying to figure out their strategy? Yeah, so a lot of them, not necessarily the marketers, but the other stakeholders, because there are a lot of other schoolholders content marketing right. So, whether it's the sales team or the product team or the executives, they don't always necessarily understand the end game of content is often about education and solving challenges for your clients. I think it's about pushing your agenda right, getting your product in front of people as much as possible, and that's not necessarily the case. There's a place for that in content marketing, but you really need to understand what your audience is trying to accomplish and where they're struggling so that you can create the content it's going to matter to them and then we'll start to build trust with them as they interact with your brand. MMM. So when you think of what your customer wants, it seems like, okay, if you had just a well defined ICP, that could really begin to just inform your content. But a lot of times what happens is we think we have a defined ICP, we think we understand our customer, but you'd say we don't really write beyond maybe title in size of company. Yeah, and so for a lot of functions and marketing that's okay. Right. So if you're, you know, targeting for advertising or whatever it might be, those are the kinds of things that you need to know. But when you are trying to create content, you have to understand them deeper than how you're going to find them on facebook or whatever it might be. So I specialize in Martech and attack, for example, and a lot of companies will say like, well, I want to target CMOS in the retail industry and you know, maybe we know that they're struggling with ECOMM right, but if you just if that's all you know, then you're going to sound like everybody else that's trying to reach them. So you have to go a step, a step beyond those typical firmographics, industry title etc. It's kind of what we have a lot of complaints about how noisy the marketing space is is because we've all gone like two inches deep and it's the easiest information to get. So it's the easiest information to give to a...

...team to say, Hey, go after this type of person. But once you get beyond that it can get a bit complicated. So it's like we're not even blaming anyone right now. We're just talking about the stressor that we all feel right as content markers were like we wish we understood our ideal customer perfectly. We all wish that, but actually getting there does take some extra work. So I wonder for you, like what do we need to know about our audience to create great content, like in Nicole's mind, if you're just saying this is the ideal situation, what do you feel like we need to know to create that that great content? That's a good question. So obviously the more you know about your audience, the better and the more you're going to be able to create great stuff and it's going to be highly relevant and what not. But when you're just starting out or you know you've got a blank page, I try to tell people there's a minimum of couple things. You want to know who you're talking to, so that's probably the stuff you already have. You know their roles or industries, that sort of thing. But secondly, you really want a firm grasp on what these people are trying to do and what they're trying to accomplish. So this is sometimes referred to as their job to be done, if you're familiar with that language, and these jobs should be related to what you offer, at least tangentially. You're probably not going to create content that helps themselves totally unrelated needs to what you do, even though this might exist. You want to understand, you know, what they're trying to do, what they're trying to accomplish, and then the next key piece is what is getting in their way of those things. What are their pain points, again as it relates to how you can help solve them? You you may help them solve related pain points, you know, with your content, but you always want to be again trying to find that intersection of what what their life is like and what you offer. Okay, jump back to jobs to be done for someone that might be unfamiliar with that language. Can you just give a hyper practical example real quick of what that looks like? Sure. So this is based on the idea that whenever somebody buys something, a product or a service, they're looking to get something done, they're looking to accomplish something, and so that term job to be done just refers to what they are trying to accomplish. So it might be, I'm trying to think of an example from my own life here, a being be marketer, they're just trying to plan their editorial calendar. You know, that might be their job to be done, or maybe that's even a step you know, maybe the actual job to be done is connect with their audience or m but what they're trying to do is referred to us a job to be done. Hey everyone, if you've been listening to be to be growth for a while, you know that we are big proponents of putting out original, organic content on Linkedin, but one thing that's always been a struggle for a team like ours is easily tracking the reach of that linkedin content. That's why we're really excited about shield analytics. Since our team started using shield, we've been able to easily track the reach and performance of our linkedin content without having to manually log it ourselves. It automatically creates reports and it generates dashboards that are incredibly useful to determining things like what content has been performing the best, what days of the week are we getting the most engagement and our average views per post. Shield has been a game changer for our entire team's productivity and performance on Linkedin. I highly suggest checking out this tool if you're publishing content on Linkedin. For yourselves or for your company. You can get a ten day free trial at shield APP DOT AI, or you can get a twenty five percent discount with our Promo code be to be growth. Again, that's shield APP DOT AI and the Promo Code is be the number two be growth. All One word for a twenty five percent discount. All right, let's get back into the show. A being to be market there's...

...trying to plan their editorial calendar. You know, that might be their job to be done, or maybe that's even a step. You know, maybe the actual job to be done is connect with their audience or but what they're trying to do is referred to as a job to be done. Yeah, that one piece is often, I think, what's missing, because we can go like who they are and we can go what's in their way? That seems like the traditional I don't know, at least for me, I heard that all the time. What's the problem in their way? But I never a core missing piece was going, okay, what do they want to accomplish, like what's the job that they need to get done? They want to get done, because if you can speak to that, like the desire that they have, that is fantastic marketing and the way that you create content shifts not just from here's a bunch of problems that you have, but hey, here's what we know you want to accomplish and here's how. We're essentially the guide to help you get there. Yeah, so it's you know, what are you trying to do and also where do you want to be? So Donald Millers from story brand calls this aspirational identity. Like why do you want? What do you want from all of this? So if it's the kinds of things you can understand, what are you trying to accomplish? What are you trying to do? They all help you get better at connecting with your audience and creating the stuff that's going to stand out when you're creating content, because you can talk to them more, more relevantly, more at their level. aspirational just sounding like like everyone else? Yeah, yeah, aspirational identity. Think you, Donald Miller. That is a good phrase and one that we definitely should be using more. So. Okay, one of the things that I saw you post on Linkedin that actually might have prompted my initial reach out to you is that you gave some really helpful questions that we could be asking that help us lock down what some of the needs are of our ICEP, helping us really define this. What are some of the questions that we can ask to help accomplish this? I think at the end of the day, you can ask all the typical questions about you know, what are you responsible for? You know what's getting in your way age you're trying to do it. What is your boss Holes you accountable for? You know, that sort of thing. But I've heard some really great prompts in the past like, for example, Diane at lion words. She's a conversion copywriter. She provided this advice saying that you should ask people, if you can only ask them one question, ask them to take you back to the day when you first got online, googled something and found our website, like what were you facing that caused you to do that and end up on our property? Yeah, because that really gives you an idea of like Ah, what is that? What's that struggle that they're in right now? So if they can remember that, that's great insight there. And one of the things that I found really helpful, if not a little awkward while you're doing it, is asking five wise so as you're trying your floor, you know these things with your customers. When someone tells you what they're trying to do. Yes, then why? Well, they'll say, oh, okay, well, it's part of my job or my boss thinks it's important, or well, why? You know, ask them again and you I've done this and it feels really silly and I've had to provide some like I'm done. I'm trying. I have a point. I promised you tell I was going to say. Do you preface this with I'm going to ask this a lot of times, because I could do that being so awkward at first? Yes, and I'm I don't even know if I got to five because I was feeling a little silly. But the point is that when you keep asking, it helps people sort of dig into their real motivations for things, and that's when you start to get at some of that emotional stuff, some of that aspirational stuff, and so you can uncover some really interesting nuggets that you wouldn't get if you just accepted their first iteration of your answer. HMM. I wonder if when you ask the why five times, does it clarify some of like the content marketing win like what that actually looks like for them as well a little bit.

I think it can, and sort of personally for them, not necessarily for the company or yeah, but so one of the I've done this for myself. Okay, so it's been a couple of years since I've actually done any person interviews from my company, but I did talk to you a few clients a couple years ago and one of the interesting things that I found was that some of the clients were worried about making an impact pact on their company. They're worried about proving their worth as a content marketer and they felt like maybe other people in the company didn't really understand what they did all day. And so that were really unique insight, right, like you can create content about content performance all day long. There's lots out there, but if you can create content that teaches someone how to prove your worth as a content marketer, like that's a very different angles, right, and that was a unique insight that came out of my own interviews and of course I haven't I haven't written it yet. So that's sort of the what that wind can look like if you start uncovering those sort of emotional what's really driving people, what's getting in their way, and then you can use those to create. You can use it to create an individual content piece, but in that case I think you really could create a whole pillar around them. Hey, beb gross listeners, we want to hear from you. In fact, we will pay you for it. Just head over to be tob growth podcom and complete a short survey about the show to enter for a chance to win two hundred and fifty dollars. Plus. The first fifty participants will receive twenty five dollars as our way of saying thank you so much one more time. That's be tob growth podcom, letter B number two, letter be growth podcom. One entry per person must be an active listener of the show to enter and look forward to hearing from you. What's really driving people, what's getting in their way, and then you can use those to create. You can use it to create an individual content piece, but in that case I think you really could create a whole pillar around the yeah, that's where I think it gets interesting. is you'll start to again what I commended you for at the beginning, is you begin to spot trends. Right if you were doing enough of these interviews. You would then be like, oh, this isn't just like a oneoff maybe content piece, because this person has this issue. It's like this has been brought up several times. We could take it from several different angles. Now we have several different content pieces across several different platforms because you dug in at a deeper level. Absolutely. Yeah, HMM. Okay. So let's say someone needs to just go back and maybe better clarify, for content purposes, their ICP. They have the title, they have the kind of the things we were joking about earlier. Probably all know, like company size and title, but they're going because of Nicole and Benji and this BB growth episode, I want to clarify a bit more around my ICP for my content. Where do you think they should start? Where do we begin with this? Nothing beats a good chat with a customer or two, and I'm not sure why there's such a barrier to this in so many places. I don't like the phone, so I kind of get that, but you really should just talk to a few customers every now and then. I should like, I said, do it again myself soon. But if you can't get on the phone with customers, for whatever reason. There are some other places that you can get at the voice of the customer. So, for example, you can look at online reviews sites like GTO. I actually one time went to GTWO for a client project and looked up one of their competitors and just got off the complaints about the competitor and then we write a cool blog post about like how we overcome common challenges in the space and it was actually written right to some customer complaints about the competitor. That's a little bit different than what I'm...

...talking to here, but my point being that there are customers online talking about solutions and so you can hear specifically from their voice what they're struggling with, what they like. From finding some of those reviews. You can also listen in to sales and demo calls. Sometimes companies actually have those recorded so you can just peruse at your leisure. HMM. One of these are perfect fixes, but they're better than nothing. Like I've seen some criticism on linkedin lately of sales calls aren't customer interviews and like no, they're not, but if you can't get a customer interview it's better than nothing. Yeah, and then finally, you also have a lot of people in your company that probably have some great customer knowledge to so, especially anyone that interfaces with the customer, whether that sales or product people or customer service, they're talking to your customers and they probably have some good insights as well. So if you can start to curate those from around the company, that can also be a really great place to start. Yeah, if you have an account manager or someone that has to has some sort of check in, I know I've worked for two different companies that that they did like essentially in the onboarding process there was continual check in, but then there was also like reviews, and that's a pretty typical practice. That person is interacting and a lot of times those calls are even recorded. So it's not a sales call, it's a check in call, but you're asking some questions, you're learning some things about how they're interacting with your product, but they're also you're also learning about hopefully they're some of their stuff, they're going through their aspirations, their problems, and I think that's great. I do think it would make for some really interesting content. What you said first about going and looking at some negative reviews. That also that might have sparked some some inspiration in some of our listeners. But okay, yeah, whenever you can do creative things like that, it usually works to your benefit. Like metadata. Has that post about, you know, seven reasons you shouldn't buy METADATA, right. And Yeah, I mean it's perfect because it helps them narrow down who's reaching out to them. So they're actually, you know, helping get the right audience coming into their their content. But but yeah, that that's the perfect example of you can do funny things by going out and looking at the online reviews and seeing what people are saying, positive and negative. All right, so, as we start to lay in this plane, you have any content creation, let's say, tips or tools that you use with your clients that you'd want to highlight here for us as we continue to try to get better at this? Well, a little bit of a shameless plug, I actually have a new course out called the content strategy quickstart, and it actually walks people through documenting these foundational elements that you need in a good content strategy. I mean, I've seen that this is a challenge for so many companies. So finally worked with a few few brilliant marketers over or fuel to make this happen. There are just there weren't good resources for it right and I think that is one of the biggest barriers to why people maybe don't have a great content strategy documented. Just don't know step by step what they're supposed to do. So that is available. You can find it on my website, a bump and boundcom. Can also find it on gum road. Yep. I think that's great that you've cansolidated this too, because we need more of those types of voices. One of my favorite things is just following people on Linkedin, even a lot of times they end up creating courses. I think of like a Justin Simon, but like there's different people that are really thinking through content strategy and we need more resources and tools Justin's course. Is Great that it's like the content repurposing roadmap. I've Kis that and I've been using some of his tactics or promote my own content. He's great. Yeah, when it comes to content creation, I am a big fan of semurishes, content writing assistant. It's, you know, seos not everything. I know not all content should be optimized for search, but if you're trying to rank for something. This is an add on for Google docs and it will actually score your content based on where you know how well it thinks. It will do the search based on what's there,...

...and then it gives you actionable things to do to improve it, like think about adding these keywords, think about adding or cutting length, simplify your language and these specific spots. So that's a really useful tool if you're looking to rank in search. And I also really love Advanced Marketing Institutes Headline Analyzer. They have this some algorithm that scores your content headlines by emotional marketing value. Oh Wow, and yeah, I find it really I gotta check this out. Yeah, I find it really interesting. It's Ami's headline analyzer and I use it all the time to help me create more powerful headlines. So those are a few of the tools that I'd recommend. I like that. Okay, so I think the best thing we can do leaving this conversation is ask some core questions, specifically going back to what you were saying, not beyond just who they are, but like what are our customers or what are potential customers? What do they want? What's the jobs to be done? What's in the way right we start there and then we can always be improving on tools and and that sort of but I'm leaving with I need to talk to customers. I need to go deeper than I typically would go, which means maybe a little bit of extra work, but it's worth the time to put in. And I'm going to leave to remembering that you brought up Donald Miller and aspirational identity, because I think that's just something we gotta we got to walk away with. Anything else you want to add, Nicole, before we close this one out? Yeah, I was thinking about you know, what would be? That one thing I'd suggest to people, and I would challenge be tob marketers to just stop for a second today and ask themselves what is one thing that they can just stop doing? Like, what's one thing you can take off your plate? You know this. All kinds of expectations people have of us and lots going on, but not everything's equally important and effective, right. So, if there's something you can cut and then reallocate those resources to spending a little time documenting what you do know about your customers, making sure you've got it all written down and like one place, and then work on filling those gaps. You know, you probably know a lot right within your company, and if you just were to document it all, then you could start making your content a little more audience focused right away. That's great to leave us with. I think we're so easily dictated by the waves and man, this is something that someone else is doing some maybe we need to do it, we need to be on that thing, we need to try that and a lot of times experimentation is fantastic, but if it's eating at all of our time and we don't have margin leftover, we're never going to really thrive in a specific area. And so thanks for essentially coming on be tob growth to give us permission to quit something. I think that that's absolutely true. This okay, Nicole. For those that want to stay connected, what's the easiest way? I know you mentioned your website, but I know you're active on Linkedin as well. Just tell us different ways we can connect with you. Yeah, absolutely, Linkedin is probably the easiest way to connect with me. There aren't too many Nicole bumps, so I should be easy to find and if you did want to reach out via email, it's just Nicole dot bump at gmailcom. Perfect. Well, I would say for all of our listeners. If you've yet to connect with me as well, you can do that over on Linkedin. Talking Marketing, business in life over there, and would love to hear from you. If you have yet to follow be to be growth on whatever podcast platform you listen to us on, go ahead and do that so you never miss an episode. Thanks for listening and Nicole, thanks so much for being here and being with us today. Yeah, thanks so much, fungie. We're always excited to have conversations...

...with leaders on the front lines of marketing. If there's a marketing director or a chief marketing officer that you think we need to have on the show, reach out. Email me, bene dot block at Sweet Fish Mediacom. I look forward to hearing from you.

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