The Next Frontier of Content Marketing: Performance Tracking

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Olivia Hurley talks to Joe Hanson, Senior Content Marketing Manager, at Observe.ai

Mhm Hi everyone, welcome back to be to begrowth. I'm Olivia Hurley and today I'm joined by joe Hansen who's the contentmarketing Manager at observe ai joe, how are you doing today? Good Oliviaand really excited to be here and talk content for a little bit. Oh awesome,Well I'm super excited to you have a perspective on content performance andhow people engage with content after it's been downloaded that I'm curiousabout and I want to kind of poke into a little bit and see what we find there.You specifically have your eyes on getting insights from how content afterit's been downloaded and how to take action on those insights. Can you bringus all into your world a little bit and talk about the current state of content,performance tracking? Yeah, yeah. And the content specifically um that I wantto talk about is pdf assets, which you know, traditionally we've always putbehind a gate, someone's downloaded it and then we sent him an email and theyopen it and that's it, You're, it's really a black box on the assets thatwe're spending tons of money creating and tons of money distributing. Soeventually I realized that there is an answer to this and there's actuallyways to track, not just many times downloading a piece of content oropening it, but also how are they actually engaging with it and that'swhat I'm going to talk about today, which is kind, it's opening up thatblack box of content we have today and going deeper into it and you can do allthose insights you get from that so currently and I think you might havementioned this but just to clarify currently what can you do with theinsights that typical pdf's deliver? Yeah. Yeah. So really like in the pastit ended at download that was it and now we're really able to look into notjust what people are downloading but...

...how they're engaging with it. Sothere's a couple really powerful use cases that stem from that. The firstbiggest one that your C. R. O. Is going to care about is how can we pass theseinsights onto sales? How can we arm sales with valuable information aboutthe accounts that they're spending lots of time working to say this is thecontent that both the people you know what that company and the people youdon't know at that company are engaging with. You know about the topics thatthey're reading about what kind of assets they're interested in. Thecustomer stories that they're reading. That's a really powerful tool to passon to sales. The second one is knowing what resonates beyond just your landingpage and the title of your e book. And that's back to the black box that Italked about. You know a lot of conversations that you're having withyour digital team is like make more e books about this specific topic becausepeople care about this but then you dig into it and you might realize that yeaha lot of people download that asset but no one's actually reading it and that'snot doing your business any good Or they hop into it for five seconds andthen bounced there. You have the conversation is that it is a designthing, is it how you know you only have five seconds to attract their attentionand is it a navigation issue? And then the last thing is near and dear to yourmarketing teams heart, which is how can we use this for both our marketingnurture and our lead scoring that we're doing. And that's where it startsgetting really quite complex and sophisticated. That's where you startlooking at how long are people spending on these certain assets And does thatchange their lead score from being cold to hot or can we put them in specificnurture campaigns based on the content they're consuming. So those are somereally really powerful use cases. Once you start diving into your contentinsights beyond just the stuff on your website and the stuff on your blogwhich you're already looking at today. Talk to me about the limits now though.So those are three powerful things you...

...can do but they have clear end zonesand that's all that you can do with them. Tell me about the limits of thedata. Yeah. So one of the major ones and anyone who is in marketing hasprobably had a conversation with their executive team on them asking who'scoming to our site and who's reading our content. This is actually gettingharder and harder to answer. As cookie policies change web browsers aregetting better at tracking or at blocking the tracking on contacts andvisitors coming to your website and then work from home too has changedeverything with enriching anonymous leads because the IP addresses don'tmatch to the company anymore. So these are major challenges and it's onlygetting harder. So that's that's still a major limitation if an unknownvisitor comes through and an unknown visitors basically they haven't givenyou their email and the system isn't able to match them to being the visitoron that content. So that could be someone has forwarded a pdf to ateammate that's an anonymous visitor. That's still a bit of a black box. Theother big one is yeah. Id'ing those users and de anonymized them enrichmenttools are only so powerful at matching. But back to what I said earlier aboutnew cookie policies and work from home. That's really hard to so you get theinsights on the activity but you might not be able to pinpoint every singleactivity to a specific user and that's just something to keep in mind. You'llfind new ways to do it. But those are the the geniuses who are actuallybuilding these marketing technologies to figure out was there a moment or aproject or a part of your strategy where you realized that you needed moredata from the content and that kind of spurred along the rest of yourphilosophy and strategy of performance tracking. Yeah, I guess they were kindof two defining moments. One of the one was looking at our, we did a deep auditbasically of all the demand generation...

...campaigns that we ran over the year. Soand we were just looking at blunt conversion rates on the landing pageand I found that that didn't tell a true story because there were certainassets that were pulling in really low cost for lead, really high clickthrough rates and conversion rates. But if you went down funnel and you lookedat the actual deals that were closing and the content that was influencingthose deals, it told a very different story. So I started thinking like maybelooking at just the content that's being downloaded isn't painting a truepicture of the content that's actually being consumed. I didn't have answersthough into how much that content is being consumed. I couldn't directlycorrelate the activity taking place on the content to influencing the dealdown the road from both the known visitors and the anonymous visitors. Sothat was like a big thing for us because there's a lot of money ridingon this decision, your digital team needs to know how much money to putbehind each asset that you're rolling out or each campaign that you'rerolling out. So That was 1, 1 big defining moment. I would say. The otherone was looking at, at a major challenge that we're having observedwas um, we're driving a ton of content downloads. A lot of em que els, butthey're stopping there, that people aren't converting to SQL, which in ourcase was raising the hand and saying I'd like a demo and then that we set upfor leads coming through. So from there, I said, why are we driving so much, somuch attention? We're getting tons of people into the door. But what's goingwrong with the content where they falling off? And that's where having adeeper analysis of the content consumption outside of just blog orclicking your emails comes into play. You can start seeing the drop off pointfor people on the static assets. So those are two kind of defining momentsfor us where we started to think, hey,...

...maybe we need to start investing incontent experience technology and then using all the deep insights you getfrom that content experience platform to actually make better decisions onthe content you're creating and how you're serving it. So how then do youbuild content that is trackable? Yes. So it does require picking a certaincontent experience platform. Most of these, there's all sorts of differentvarious offerings. You can get some of them are like rip and replace yourentire website and it becomes your new CMS. Other ones are lightweight and siton top of your website. We decided to go light away with one called Pathfactory, there's tons of other ones out there and that's where we saw that itserved our purposes in both building these content experiences. So that'slike a content track where you just put together, you know, any number of pdfassets. It can be one or it can be seven. You put them in a content trackthat you might base around use case your product offering industry personaand then you build these tracks and then you put them as part of demandingcampaigns or you blanket them across your website, you put them in yourresource center and then you dive into the analytics on those specific tracksand that's where you can see the source of people coming into the track andthen all the engagement metrics. And then normally most of these solutionswill also have integrations with you know, your salesforce and that's howyou connected to the sales team and get them the insights so they start gettingalerts and it says like four or five people from Nike have looked at havelooked at this track and then they can be like, oh well Nike is interested inobserve ai whereas some other account that I'm just like Grinding to get incontact with hasn't looked at anything. I should spend my time there. And Nikeis a big company, maybe not the best example in this case probably want togo down. What's kind of cool is like if...

...you're looking at like a 50 personcompany and five people look at it, you can kind of assume who those fivepeople are and have better insights going in. But that's a conversation forlater. If we're talking about the connection to sales. But overall, yeah,that's how you do it. You build content tracks, you analyze the content tracks,build content tracks, analyze the content tracks and maybe we've justplanted the idea of observe ai and Nikes head and no, yes. Nike if you'relistening, check us out, they'll come to you and think it was your idea, thewhole thought their their idea of the whole time. Oh my gosh, I ruined my ownpunch line. Oh, I guess. Okay, so you have these insights, You talked alittle bit about how they impact sales and then we rerouted. I'm curious aboutwhat you do with these as a content marketer. Yeah. So you know, justrecapping on the sales, use case you set up the alerts and you let salesknow when their accounts are engaging with content. This is also reallyvaluable for your pre sales BDR activities. You know, they're hungry,they're sending out hundreds of emails a day to too low intent, whether it's alow intent, outbound message or following up with an inbound that'sreally valuable information to them because they know can I refer toobserve a, because this person has spent five minutes in the asset andthey're at least moderately familiar with observe or is it a complete coldoutreach and they've never heard of us even though they've downloaded an ebook. So that's kind of the sales use case. There, there's a lot of ways youcan integrate that with nurture in particular. This is where you can getreally sophisticated because you can set up rules to put people in relevantnurture tracks, not just based on what you think is relevant to them, but whatthey've identified as relevant to them. So you have to say you're targeting aspecific persona and you're dropping that person into title, but meanwhilethey're consuming tons of content...

...related to different use case. Ifyou're say putting this in marketing terms outside of call center technologybecause we're all marketers listening to this podcast. You know, I'm acontent marketer and I'm reading a ton of stuff on demand generation and usingcontent in paid campaigns. Maybe that's more relevant to the problems I'mhaving today. So drop me in that nurture drip that you have versus onethat's focused on Ceo for instance, because I'm focused on paid atacquisition, that sort of thing. And you can get as deep as you want. Like Iwas on some webinar I think of his path factory, maybe another and they weretalking about, they had 27 different nurtured drips and I'm sitting therelike, you know, we have like five and observed which they have 27 becausethey have crazy sophistication in there address, right? It's getting it's onpeople and putting them in their relevant drips. And then with scoringit's not just based on top level activity. So this person looked at fiveblog posts like but they only 10 seconds on those five blog post bybecause they're just clicking, clicking, clicking and drop vs one person, maybeOne asset. But they spent 27 minutes on it because they watched the fullwebinar or read the entire e book cover to cover. Which would be sweet. Thatperson is higher intent even though they have much lower count of activity.So when you're thinking about lead scoring you can go beyond just toplevel quantifiable activity and actually go deeper into the engagementmetrics. And then there's some other things built in where you can say likelooked at three assets on a specific track and these three assets areactually very high value because it's a one pager and like an R. O. I documentthat person is going to be higher intent from your lead scoring model. Soit's really powerful. But just like a sidebar. Word of advice don't try toboil the ocean with lead scoring or...

...nurture like start small and test andmake sure that you're not leaving any gaps gaps in your nurture becauseyou're getting really sophisticated with one specific nurture track. Butthose are, those are some really powerful ways outside of outside oflike you as a content marketer. And then the last thing which I I should'vecovered first is it lets you know what to write about and what not. Do youneed to look at the topics that people are actually reading, not justdownloading through digital ads. So those are kind of, I guess the four forhuge values you can get out of analyzing your static assets. I want togo broad picture for a second and talk about how how this information in thisnew technology and content performance in general has changed your contentstrategy. But before I do that I'm curious based on what you just lastsaid, has this data affected the volume or quality of your content? Yeah what'sinteresting is you actually find that it might decrease the volume thatyou're creating because you're not using the content itself or like tonrolling out tons of new content and doing tons of volume to test what'sresonating with people and what's not. So hey, it holds your content to ahigher standard because I can't just produce an asset or have an outsourcedteam produced an asset and then handed off and then say my job's done, it'sactually measuring the success of the content itself the same way you wouldlook at a blog post and say, you know, people spend 12 seconds on this blogpost and it has a really high bounce rate. Maybe that's not the mostpowerful blog post. Same goes now with your pdf asset so it holds the contentto a higher standard and you start revisiting that content, say how couldthis be improved? We don't need to reinvent the wheel, create new asset,we can improve the existing one and here's how and that's based on theinsights. The other thing is, is definitely like the reusability. So ifI'm looking at a track and a specific...

...actually real life use case for this iswe build tracks around industries and had launched a number of industryspecific white papers that were focused on copies for these differentindustries and the KPs are radically different for the different industries,but it follows the same how we're presenting this information. So builtthose tracks. Built five white papers for five industries and then put it outthere and tested it. We found that in all five industries this resonatedreally well. So that tells us and by resonated, I mean the people actuallyread it, they didn't just download it and they even would skip down to thepart that said how observing I helped you with X. So that's showing like, heynow we're onto something, it's tested and we can reuse this over and overrather than if we had just put those pdf's out there. Yeah, we would haveseen that the ads resonated really well, people care about copies but wewouldn't have the reinforcing insights that say like this content is actuallyread. These are the most important parts of it. So reusability is huge andbeing able to test it so you can make the right decisions and then holdingyourself to a higher standard looking at the content and knowing that it isactually high quality and not just you know, a good click baby catchy piecethat doesn't actually provide the reader like any sort of information.Hey everybody Logan with sweet fish here. If you're a regular listener ofGDP growth, you know that I'm one of the co hosts of the show but you maynot know that. I also head up the sales team here is sweet fish. So for thoseof you in sales or sales ops I wanted to take a second to share somethingthat's made us insanely more efficient lately. Our team has been using lead I.Q. For the past few months and what used to take us four hours gatheringcontact data. Now takes us only one where 75% more efficient were able tomove faster with outbound prospecting...

...and organizing our campaigns is so mucheasier than before. I'd highly suggest you guys check out lead I. Q. As well.You can check them out at lead I. Q dot com. That's L E A D I Q dot com. Allright, let's get back to the show. So now take community high level how ofall these tactics, impacted your overall strategy. I think the biggestthing is thinking of content in like a journey rather than an individualcampaign and that's what I like about the idea of bucket ng content into,into tracks. So in bundles and actually thinking now that's why the thirdreason that I started looking for a content experience platform, I like puttogether a bundle of content in the most bootleg way possible, just likemashing it together using hubspot landing pages and hosted links. Had noinsights on how this bundle performed. I said there has to be a better way tocollect your PDFs and put them together. So we definitely now think of contentas journeys. So putting together tracks of content that serve a specific stagein the funnel and then connecting those different tracks together. So I canconfidently say in this industry, I top of funnel bundle, a middle of funnelbundle and a bottom of funnel bundle and then determine how we're going todistribute those tracks. Whether down funnel, it might be a salespersonpassing that content along top of funnel, it might be a lead generationadd or living organically on our website, but it's no longer justcampaigns, it's not, here's an e book, go market it driver lead and then givethat SQL to the BDR s and my job's done. It holds us more accountable forthinking about how content influences a deal from start to finish. And then theother piece is just, is just the...

...standard of the content, which I talkedabout earlier. It's actually knowing, knowing what works and what doesn'tfrom an engagement standpoint, not just a click standpoint. I'm curious aboutthe results you've seen. Can you talk to me a little bit about that And sothere's a couple of high level results that we've seen and it's cool to beable to as a content marketer, start quantifying your influence on theoverall marketing metrics. So the same way that a digital marketer can saylike I lowered cost per lead. I it's not just I shipped six blog posts overthe week and drove this much traffic and it's like that number doesn'treally doesn't really speak to the business. Whereas if you say, you know,looking at engagement metrics, here's how much I improved the time on siteand this is how, how much, how much it influenced deals pass SQL like you cango really deep on your influence and that's powerful as a content marketerbecause for a while, like you could never quantify your your impact. It wasalways around influence. So in terms of results, there's a couple of ways tolook at it, but one of the biggest things for us was keeping people on ourhomepage and we switched out our sita's from just being like a product videothat shows up. If you click a button to a attract like the overview bundle andit has different stuff for different intent visitors, someone might want towatch the two minute video, someone might want to read the R. O. I.Document. So we put that on and we found that one in three people who hitthat button looked at more than one asset in that track and that that onein three is people we would have lost if we just had a video, we're givingthem other things to look at and consume based on where they think theyare. So that was powerful. That one in three because and then the other thingis actually increasing time on site. So...

...you create these strong contentexperiences. It hooks people in and keeps them on site. So we found that ifsomeone clicks through to a content track At five ext their time on sitebecause we're hooking them in with relevant content, there's differentstuff. They don't have to go looking for it. We've curated that experiencefor them and now they're just in the reading experience and they can go attheir own pace. So those are two strong results up front. The sales use casesnewer for us. So we're going to still see how that nets out. But that's, thisis an example of like not trying to boil the ocean with a full salesrollout and a full organic website rollout and a full demand gen rolloutso patiently awaiting results on that too. But those are the two like rightoff the bat five X increase on site. And people consuming more content onthe home page and keeping them from bouncing what you said about consumersare then go to your website, have a curated content experience and are ableto consume at their own pace. Read at their own pace. Makes me think aboutjust another conversation happening in our space right now, which is all aboutpersonalization. And we come back to this idea and I had an awesomeconversation with Lynn Capozzi recently and she was saying it's like netflix,people want an experience like netflix in that they want to have totalpersonalization and total control at the same time. And it sounds like youhave situated that website experience right in the crux of both of thosethings. So kind of like a whole way too. Now bring content performance into theworld of personalization to is kind of interesting how it fits together. Yeah.And I feel like, you know, as as these like enrichment services for example, Iwas talking earlier about the d anonymous izing the anonymous visitorsand overcoming the challenges of cookies and work from home. But ifwe're able to better enrich those leads...

...coming through, then you can serve amuch better personalized experience. And there's certainly intelligencebuilt into all these platforms. So you can personalize it whether you want todo the company name on the content or say, we know that Fedex is in shippingand logistics, let's serve them the shipping and logistics track. Sothey're not getting stuff on financial services and retail for example. Butthat is a really, really cool use case and that's also like where it fallsinto the nurture personalization we need to try to get, it's like trying toget that right message at the right time to the right person. This sort ofinsight lets you do better personalization as well. Too brilliant.So if somebody wanted to take your advice, use technology to support theseendeavors and essentially do what you are doing at observe ai what would bestep one depending on how you like to because they're really, it's like thisisn't really a build verse by situation. You could try to build something likethis yourself using existing technologies that you have today, butreally you want to, if you want to get the most bang for your buck Wellbecause you're paying, you need to look for some sort of content experienceplatform, there's tons of them various prices. So once you've done that andyou're like, okay I need to start looking for this. You use the varioussources. G two blogs read about it. But the second thing you need to say islike how much do I want to do up front and when we're going through our searchfor a platform. I found like radically different platform offerings from likelike I said rip out your whole CMS, you run your blog on this thing, your wholeresource center, everything lives in that content experience platform. Or doI wanted to just sit on top posted in there and people can quickly comethrough and consume this stuff. But I'm still running my blog separately, stillrunning my web dev separately. So...

...there's all sorts of various offerings.But that's the second thing you need to decide. You know, that's going todepend on how big your dev team is, how big your marketing team is, how goodyour ops are, all things to consider. But you know, like I said, don't try toboil the ocean because this is too much to try to do everything up front slowlyaddress like the biggest gaps that you had. I talked about our gaps earlier,which was like that lack of insight into lead generation results on on thecontent. So I'm like that's the first thing I'm going to do. I'm going to getanalytics on this and build a process with our digital team and our ops teamand then move on to the more advanced use cases which are going to be nurtureand lead scoring and then how am I going to work with sales? But that'sthe second thing just no, don't try to boil the ocean and then you probablyhave a good idea of what your gaps are, whether it's sales, whether it's funnelconversions, whether it's organic or whether it's actually people engagingwith your site and like conversions on your website. So as marketers, we knowwhat those gaps are and that's where that's where I would recommend startingand then slowly add more and more content experience features as you dealwith those gaps. That's kind of like step 12. Oh and also like don't beafraid to copy. It's like look at other people's content experiences and try torecreate them as your own. I'm always doing that and you know, I'm not playdressing. I'm just using them as inspiration, but that's another reallystrong way. That's awesome. Yeah. I also love that. I think yourorganization just came through, you're just like your ability to organizebecause you just gave me like an itemized list of priority for where tostart this process. I absolutely loved that. That was like so generous of youdid not only give step one but to give all the way out to 45 I'm living. I'mliving in it. I love that. It's near and dear to my heart. I absolutely lovethat as somebody who's not necessarily that clear kind of analytical talkingbullet points type of person. I like...

...yes. Talk to me like that, understand.And there's a nice example of like an insight you might find on a piece ofcontent, you might see like no one reads the wall of text that you providethem in an e book, but people do spend time on the page that has a table or abullet point list, this kind of thing. You need to think about it the same waywhen you're communicating with someone in person, it's like, recreate thatwhen they're reading because they might not have time to read eight pages ofjust text, they're there to just quickly bounce, bounce through skinthrough. So you inspired me there, there was only one thing listenerscould take away from this episode if you were, there was just something youwere like, above all else try this or think about this, what would it be? Iwould say the biggest thing is just like invest in content experience, notjust volume of content, putting out more isn't always better and insteadlook at what you already have and use that to help determine future pieces ofcontent that you're putting out and improve the stuff that exists today. Ialways say two things don't boil the ocean, which I've said like eight timesalready and then don't reinvent the wheel, which I think I've also saideight times, but those are the two really valuable things that at leastI've done with content to actually put out better content, not just morecontent, but that's what I would say. Think about content experience. Thinkabout your readers experience in there. You know, this stuff might be veryfascinating to you and you might have spent days and days writing Eight pagesof text, but but they only have 30 seconds, so give them something quickerand easier to digest. And think about the experience of them reading joe, howcan listeners connect with you and...

...learn more about observe a I, you know,I'm on linkedin, you can find me there, my name is joe Hanson and observe a Iyou know, go to observe dot Ai and that's our Ural and and you know, don'tmess up, see if you come and don't convert, it's gonna make me look worse.So don't convert on my landing pages if you don't want to buy our product,please. Oh my God, it would scuttle this entire conversation. Oh cool. Wellit's been so great to talk to you. Thank you so much for joining me on BTVgrowth. Thanks for having me. This was fun. Yeah, at Sweet fish. We're on a missionto create the most helpful content on the internet for every job function andindustry on the planet for the B two B marketing industry. This show is howwe're executing on that mission. If you know a marketing leader that would bean awesome guest for this podcast, shoot me a text message. Don't call mebecause I don't answer unknown numbers, but text me at 4074 and I know 33 to 8,just shoot me their name. maybe a link to their linkedin profile. And I'd loveto check them out to see if we can get them on the show next lot.

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