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 be growth. I'm Olivia Hurley and today I'm joined by joe Hansen who's the content marketing Manager at observe ai joe, how are you doing today? Good Olivia and 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 and how people engage with content after it's been downloaded that I'm curious about 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 after it's been downloaded and how to take action on those insights. Can you bring us 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 want to talk about is pdf assets, which you know, traditionally we've always put behind a gate, someone's downloaded it and then we sent him an email and they open it and that's it, You're, it's really a black box on the assets that we're spending tons of money creating and tons of money distributing. So eventually I realized that there is an answer to this and there's actually ways to track, not just many times downloading a piece of content or opening it, but also how are they actually engaging with it and that's what I'm going to talk about today, which is kind, it's opening up that black box of content we have today and going deeper into it and you can do all those insights you get from that so currently and I think you might have mentioned this but just to clarify currently what can you do with the insights that typical pdf's deliver? Yeah. Yeah. So really like in the past it ended at download that was it and now we're really able to look into not just what people are downloading but...

...how they're engaging with it. So there's a couple really powerful use cases that stem from that. The first biggest one that your C. R. O. Is going to care about is how can we pass these insights onto sales? How can we arm sales with valuable information about the accounts that they're spending lots of time working to say this is the content that both the people you know what that company and the people you don't know at that company are engaging with. You know about the topics that they're reading about what kind of assets they're interested in. The customer stories that they're reading. That's a really powerful tool to pass on to sales. The second one is knowing what resonates beyond just your landing page and the title of your e book. And that's back to the black box that I talked about. You know a lot of conversations that you're having with your digital team is like make more e books about this specific topic because people care about this but then you dig into it and you might realize that yeah a lot of people download that asset but no one's actually reading it and that's not doing your business any good Or they hop into it for five seconds and then bounced there. You have the conversation is that it is a design thing, is it how you know you only have five seconds to attract their attention and is it a navigation issue? And then the last thing is near and dear to your marketing teams heart, which is how can we use this for both our marketing nurture and our lead scoring that we're doing. And that's where it starts getting really quite complex and sophisticated. That's where you start looking at how long are people spending on these certain assets And does that change their lead score from being cold to hot or can we put them in specific nurture campaigns based on the content they're consuming. So those are some really really powerful use cases. Once you start diving into your content insights beyond just the stuff on your website and the stuff on your blog which 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 zones and that's all that you can do with them. Tell me about the limits of the data. Yeah. So one of the major ones and anyone who is in marketing has probably had a conversation with their executive team on them asking who's coming to our site and who's reading our content. This is actually getting harder and harder to answer. As cookie policies change web browsers are getting better at tracking or at blocking the tracking on contacts and visitors coming to your website and then work from home too has changed everything with enriching anonymous leads because the IP addresses don't match to the company anymore. So these are major challenges and it's only getting harder. So that's that's still a major limitation if an unknown visitor comes through and an unknown visitors basically they haven't given you their email and the system isn't able to match them to being the visitor on that content. So that could be someone has forwarded a pdf to a teammate that's an anonymous visitor. That's still a bit of a black box. The other big one is yeah. Id'ing those users and de anonymized them enrichment tools are only so powerful at matching. But back to what I said earlier about new cookie policies and work from home. That's really hard to so you get the insights on the activity but you might not be able to pinpoint every single activity to a specific user and that's just something to keep in mind. You'll find new ways to do it. But those are the the geniuses who are actually building these marketing technologies to figure out was there a moment or a project or a part of your strategy where you realized that you needed more data from the content and that kind of spurred along the rest of your philosophy and strategy of performance tracking. Yeah, I guess they were kind of two defining moments. One of the one was looking at our, we did a deep audit basically of all the demand generation...

...campaigns that we ran over the year. So and we were just looking at blunt conversion rates on the landing page and I found that that didn't tell a true story because there were certain assets that were pulling in really low cost for lead, really high click through rates and conversion rates. But if you went down funnel and you looked at the actual deals that were closing and the content that was influencing those deals, it told a very different story. So I started thinking like maybe looking at just the content that's being downloaded isn't painting a true picture of the content that's actually being consumed. I didn't have answers though into how much that content is being consumed. I couldn't directly correlate the activity taking place on the content to influencing the deal down the road from both the known visitors and the anonymous visitors. So that was like a big thing for us because there's a lot of money riding on this decision, your digital team needs to know how much money to put behind each asset that you're rolling out or each campaign that you're rolling out. So That was 1, 1 big defining moment. I would say. The other one was looking at, at a major challenge that we're having observed was um, we're driving a ton of content downloads. A lot of em que els, but they're stopping there, that people aren't converting to SQL, which in our case was raising the hand and saying I'd like a demo and then that we set up for leads coming through. So from there, I said, why are we driving so much, so much attention? We're getting tons of people into the door. But what's going wrong with the content where they falling off? And that's where having a deeper analysis of the content consumption outside of just blog or clicking your emails comes into play. You can start seeing the drop off point for people on the static assets. So those are two kind of defining moments for us where we started to think, hey,...

...maybe we need to start investing in content experience technology and then using all the deep insights you get from that content experience platform to actually make better decisions on the content you're creating and how you're serving it. So how then do you build content that is trackable? Yes. So it does require picking a certain content experience platform. Most of these, there's all sorts of different various offerings. You can get some of them are like rip and replace your entire website and it becomes your new CMS. Other ones are lightweight and sit on top of your website. We decided to go light away with one called Path factory, there's tons of other ones out there and that's where we saw that it served our purposes in both building these content experiences. So that's like a content track where you just put together, you know, any number of pdf assets. It can be one or it can be seven. You put them in a content track that you might base around use case your product offering industry persona and then you build these tracks and then you put them as part of demanding campaigns or you blanket them across your website, you put them in your resource center and then you dive into the analytics on those specific tracks and that's where you can see the source of people coming into the track and then all the engagement metrics. And then normally most of these solutions will also have integrations with you know, your salesforce and that's how you connected to the sales team and get them the insights so they start getting alerts and it says like four or five people from Nike have looked at have looked at this track and then they can be like, oh well Nike is interested in observe ai whereas some other account that I'm just like Grinding to get in contact with hasn't looked at anything. I should spend my time there. And Nike is a big company, maybe not the best example in this case probably want to go down. What's kind of cool is like if...

...you're looking at like a 50 person company and five people look at it, you can kind of assume who those five people are and have better insights going in. But that's a conversation for later. 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 just planted the idea of observe ai and Nikes head and no, yes. Nike if you're listening, check us out, they'll come to you and think it was your idea, the whole thought their their idea of the whole time. Oh my gosh, I ruined my own punch line. Oh, I guess. Okay, so you have these insights, You talked a little bit about how they impact sales and then we rerouted. I'm curious about what you do with these as a content marketer. Yeah. So you know, just recapping on the sales, use case you set up the alerts and you let sales know when their accounts are engaging with content. This is also really valuable 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 a low intent, outbound message or following up with an inbound that's really valuable information to them because they know can I refer to observe a, because this person has spent five minutes in the asset and they're at least moderately familiar with observe or is it a complete cold outreach and they've never heard of us even though they've downloaded an e book. So that's kind of the sales use case. There, there's a lot of ways you can integrate that with nurture in particular. This is where you can get really sophisticated because you can set up rules to put people in relevant nurture tracks, not just based on what you think is relevant to them, but what they've identified as relevant to them. So you have to say you're targeting a specific persona and you're dropping that person into title, but meanwhile they're consuming tons of content...

...related to different use case. If you're say putting this in marketing terms outside of call center technology because we're all marketers listening to this podcast. You know, I'm a content marketer and I'm reading a ton of stuff on demand generation and using content in paid campaigns. Maybe that's more relevant to the problems I'm having today. So drop me in that nurture drip that you have versus one that's focused on Ceo for instance, because I'm focused on paid at acquisition, that sort of thing. And you can get as deep as you want. Like I was on some webinar I think of his path factory, maybe another and they were talking about, they had 27 different nurtured drips and I'm sitting there like, you know, we have like five and observed which they have 27 because they have crazy sophistication in there address, right? It's getting it's on people and putting them in their relevant drips. And then with scoring it's not just based on top level activity. So this person looked at five blog posts like but they only 10 seconds on those five blog post by because they're just clicking, clicking, clicking and drop vs one person, maybe One asset. But they spent 27 minutes on it because they watched the full webinar or read the entire e book cover to cover. Which would be sweet. That person 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 top level quantifiable activity and actually go deeper into the engagement metrics. And then there's some other things built in where you can say like looked at three assets on a specific track and these three assets are actually very high value because it's a one pager and like an R. O. I document that person is going to be higher intent from your lead scoring model. So it's really powerful. But just like a sidebar. Word of advice don't try to boil the ocean with lead scoring or...

...nurture like start small and test and make sure that you're not leaving any gaps gaps in your nurture because you're getting really sophisticated with one specific nurture track. But those are, those are some really powerful ways outside of outside of like you as a content marketer. And then the last thing which I I should've covered first is it lets you know what to write about and what not. Do you need to look at the topics that people are actually reading, not just downloading through digital ads. So those are kind of, I guess the four for huge values you can get out of analyzing your static assets. I want to go broad picture for a second and talk about how how this information in this new technology and content performance in general has changed your content strategy. But before I do that I'm curious based on what you just last said, has this data affected the volume or quality of your content? Yeah what's interesting is you actually find that it might decrease the volume that you're creating because you're not using the content itself or like ton rolling out tons of new content and doing tons of volume to test what's resonating with people and what's not. So hey, it holds your content to a higher standard because I can't just produce an asset or have an outsourced team produced an asset and then handed off and then say my job's done, it's actually measuring the success of the content itself the same way you would look at a blog post and say, you know, people spend 12 seconds on this blog post and it has a really high bounce rate. Maybe that's not the most powerful blog post. Same goes now with your pdf asset so it holds the content to a higher standard and you start revisiting that content, say how could this 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 the insights. The other thing is, is definitely like the reusability. So if I'm looking at a track and a specific...

...actually real life use case for this is we build tracks around industries and had launched a number of industry specific white papers that were focused on copies for these different industries and the KPs are radically different for the different industries, but it follows the same how we're presenting this information. So built those tracks. Built five white papers for five industries and then put it out there and tested it. We found that in all five industries this resonated really well. So that tells us and by resonated, I mean the people actually read it, they didn't just download it and they even would skip down to the part that said how observing I helped you with X. So that's showing like, hey now we're onto something, it's tested and we can reuse this over and over rather than if we had just put those pdf's out there. Yeah, we would have seen that the ads resonated really well, people care about copies but we wouldn't have the reinforcing insights that say like this content is actually read. These are the most important parts of it. So reusability is huge and being able to test it so you can make the right decisions and then holding yourself to a higher standard looking at the content and knowing that it is actually high quality and not just you know, a good click baby catchy piece that doesn't actually provide the reader like any sort of information. Hey everybody Logan with sweet fish here. If you're a regular listener of GDP growth, you know that I'm one of the co hosts of the show but you may not know that. I also head up the sales team here is sweet fish. So for those of you in sales or sales ops I wanted to take a second to share something that'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 gathering contact data. Now takes us only one where 75% more efficient were able to move faster with outbound prospecting...

...and organizing our campaigns is so much easier 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. All right, let's get back to the show. So now take community high level how of all these tactics, impacted your overall strategy. I think the biggest thing is thinking of content in like a journey rather than an individual campaign 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 third reason that I started looking for a content experience platform, I like put together a bundle of content in the most bootleg way possible, just like mashing it together using hubspot landing pages and hosted links. Had no insights on how this bundle performed. I said there has to be a better way to collect your PDFs and put them together. So we definitely now think of content as journeys. So putting together tracks of content that serve a specific stage in the funnel and then connecting those different tracks together. So I can confidently say in this industry, I top of funnel bundle, a middle of funnel bundle and a bottom of funnel bundle and then determine how we're going to distribute those tracks. Whether down funnel, it might be a salesperson passing that content along top of funnel, it might be a lead generation add or living organically on our website, but it's no longer just campaigns, it's not, here's an e book, go market it driver lead and then give that SQL to the BDR s and my job's done. It holds us more accountable for thinking about how content influences a deal from start to finish. And then the other piece is just, is just the...

...standard of the content, which I talked about earlier. It's actually knowing, knowing what works and what doesn't from an engagement standpoint, not just a click standpoint. I'm curious about the results you've seen. Can you talk to me a little bit about that And so there's a couple of high level results that we've seen and it's cool to be able to as a content marketer, start quantifying your influence on the overall marketing metrics. So the same way that a digital marketer can say like I lowered cost per lead. I it's not just I shipped six blog posts over the week and drove this much traffic and it's like that number doesn't really 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 site and this is how, how much, how much it influenced deals pass SQL like you can go really deep on your influence and that's powerful as a content marketer because for a while, like you could never quantify your your impact. It was always around influence. So in terms of results, there's a couple of ways to look at it, but one of the biggest things for us was keeping people on our homepage and we switched out our sita's from just being like a product video that shows up. If you click a button to a attract like the overview bundle and it has different stuff for different intent visitors, someone might want to watch 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 hit that button looked at more than one asset in that track and that that one in three is people we would have lost if we just had a video, we're giving them other things to look at and consume based on where they think they are. So that was powerful. That one in three because and then the other thing is actually increasing time on site. So...

...you create these strong content experiences. It hooks people in and keeps them on site. So we found that if someone clicks through to a content track At five ext their time on site because we're hooking them in with relevant content, there's different stuff. They don't have to go looking for it. We've curated that experience for them and now they're just in the reading experience and they can go at their own pace. So those are two strong results up front. The sales use cases newer for us. So we're going to still see how that nets out. But that's, this is an example of like not trying to boil the ocean with a full sales rollout and a full organic website rollout and a full demand gen rollout so patiently awaiting results on that too. But those are the two like right off the bat five X increase on site. And people consuming more content on the home page and keeping them from bouncing what you said about consumers are then go to your website, have a curated content experience and are able to consume at their own pace. Read at their own pace. Makes me think about just another conversation happening in our space right now, which is all about personalization. And we come back to this idea and I had an awesome conversation with Lynn Capozzi recently and she was saying it's like netflix, people want an experience like netflix in that they want to have total personalization and total control at the same time. And it sounds like you have situated that website experience right in the crux of both of those things. So kind of like a whole way too. Now bring content performance into the world 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, I was talking earlier about the d anonymous izing the anonymous visitors and overcoming the challenges of cookies and work from home. But if we're able to better enrich those leads...

...coming through, then you can serve a much better personalized experience. And there's certainly intelligence built into all these platforms. So you can personalize it whether you want to do the company name on the content or say, we know that Fedex is in shipping and logistics, let's serve them the shipping and logistics track. So they're not getting stuff on financial services and retail for example. But that is a really, really cool use case and that's also like where it falls into the nurture personalization we need to try to get, it's like trying to get that right message at the right time to the right person. This sort of insight lets you do better personalization as well. Too brilliant. So if somebody wanted to take your advice, use technology to support these endeavors and essentially do what you are doing at observe ai what would be step one depending on how you like to because they're really, it's like this isn't really a build verse by situation. You could try to build something like this yourself using existing technologies that you have today, but really you want to, if you want to get the most bang for your buck Well because you're paying, you need to look for some sort of content experience platform, there's tons of them various prices. So once you've done that and you're like, okay I need to start looking for this. You use the various sources. G two blogs read about it. But the second thing you need to say is like how much do I want to do up front and when we're going through our search for a platform. I found like radically different platform offerings from like like I said rip out your whole CMS, you run your blog on this thing, your whole resource center, everything lives in that content experience platform. Or do I wanted to just sit on top posted in there and people can quickly come through and consume this stuff. But I'm still running my blog separately, still running 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 to depend on how big your dev team is, how big your marketing team is, how good your ops are, all things to consider. But you know, like I said, don't try to boil the ocean because this is too much to try to do everything up front slowly address 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 the content. So I'm like that's the first thing I'm going to do. I'm going to get analytics on this and build a process with our digital team and our ops team and then move on to the more advanced use cases which are going to be nurture and lead scoring and then how am I going to work with sales? But that's the second thing just no, don't try to boil the ocean and then you probably have a good idea of what your gaps are, whether it's sales, whether it's funnel conversions, whether it's organic or whether it's actually people engaging with your site and like conversions on your website. So as marketers, we know what those gaps are and that's where that's where I would recommend starting and then slowly add more and more content experience features as you deal with those gaps. That's kind of like step 12. Oh and also like don't be afraid to copy. It's like look at other people's content experiences and try to recreate them as your own. I'm always doing that and you know, I'm not play dressing. I'm just using them as inspiration, but that's another really strong way. That's awesome. Yeah. I also love that. I think your organization just came through, you're just like your ability to organize because you just gave me like an itemized list of priority for where to start this process. I absolutely loved that. That was like so generous of you did not only give step one but to give all the way out to 45 I'm living. I'm living in it. I love that. It's near and dear to my heart. I absolutely love that as somebody who's not necessarily that clear kind of analytical talking bullet 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 of content, you might see like no one reads the wall of text that you provide them in an e book, but people do spend time on the page that has a table or a bullet point list, this kind of thing. You need to think about it the same way when you're communicating with someone in person, it's like, recreate that when they're reading because they might not have time to read eight pages of just text, they're there to just quickly bounce, bounce through skin through. So you inspired me there, there was only one thing listeners could take away from this episode if you were, there was just something you were like, above all else try this or think about this, what would it be? I would say the biggest thing is just like invest in content experience, not just volume of content, putting out more isn't always better and instead look at what you already have and use that to help determine future pieces of content that you're putting out and improve the stuff that exists today. I always say two things don't boil the ocean, which I've said like eight times already and then don't reinvent the wheel, which I think I've also said eight times, but those are the two really valuable things that at least I've done with content to actually put out better content, not just more content, but that's what I would say. Think about content experience. Think about your readers experience in there. You know, this stuff might be very fascinating to you and you might have spent days and days writing Eight pages of text, but but they only have 30 seconds, so give them something quicker and easier to digest. And think about the experience of them reading joe, how can 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 I you know, go to observe dot Ai and that's our Ural and and you know, don't mess 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. Well it's been so great to talk to you. Thank you so much for joining me on BTV growth. Thanks for having me. This was fun. Yeah, at Sweet fish. We're on a mission to create the most helpful content on the internet for every job function and industry on the planet for the B two B marketing industry. This show is how we're executing on that mission. If you know a marketing leader that would be an awesome guest for this podcast, shoot me a text message. Don't call me because 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 love to check them out to see if we can get them on the show next lot.

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