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Content Marketing That Matters – Transcript

Brace Yourself  – It’s a Big Wall Of Text!

Jon:                      Okay, let me know if I start speaking too quick, I have a tendency to just go a bit too quick. I’m from an agency called Render Positive that I started five years ago with my brother, I’m not going to do any sales spiel, you can read a little bit about us here.

The best thing I ever did in my life was 2006, I was depressed and I decided to move to London and within two weeks I did it. I got an interview, got a job and then I moved down, and it was the best thing I have done in my life. I worked for other agencies for five years and I learnt a lot of good things, but I also learnt a lot of the bad things that they do. Marketing and advertising is only tangible when it works and a lot of the time it doesn’t, there’s a lot of crap out there.

I wanted to have an agency where I didn’t have to be duplicitous and I could always be honest with clients and really do great work. The reason I stepped in to do a speaking gig is this is not something I do regularly, but there’s a guy called Rory Sutherland who’s the Vice Chair of Ogilvy, one of the biggest agencies in the world, and I saw him speak and I want to be that good, so I’m outside of my comfort zone a little bit. I’ve done lots and lots of sales pitches in my time but not many gigs like this, so I will do my best, I can’t promise to be as entertaining as him but there will be substance.

So let’s get to it. We don’t like to admit it in advertising and marketing but creativity is a small part of a puzzle of why something works and why something doesn’t. Some people have a knack for being able to create stuff that just works, but for everyone else there are these processes. What I’m showing you today is what we’ve learnt over the last few years, when we started doing content marketing we sucked at it. Through hardships and adopted learning from various different influences and various different techniques and strategies we’ve put together something that works and is guaranteed to work.

What I want to show you is why content marketing rocks, why you should be interested in listening to me today, the benefits of it, the principles of success and then how you can action it. Also, this is an email I got yesterday, I don’t know if you can read it, should I read it out? Yes, okay, “Hi Jon, how could I not respond?” This may not make any sense by the way because you can’t see the email I’ve sent, “I mean, who ferret’s wins, right? I would normally delete unsolicited emails before reading past the first line but I was captivated by your prose. I’m afraid we don’t have anything at the moment that would peek your interest or even get you out of bed, but that’s not to say we might not have something in the future. So please, stick me on your database and link to me on LinkedIn, please keep in touch and fingers crossed our paths cross again at a time when we’ve got healthy pockets and some good old fashioned digital marketing campaigns to deliver. Congratulations on writing the very first unsolicited email that I’ve ever read, let alone responded to. Good luck with everything, you deserve to do well, all the best, Jo. PS, it was Colin that sold it for me.”

So I get a lot of these emails, again, a few years ago, say two years into Render we were growing and we hit a point and stopped. I always want more, and I always want to keep growing and getting better, drunk one night I wrote an email, a sales email, and it’s really ridiculous and I thought, “I’ll give it a go.” I started sending it and I started getting compliments and sales meetings every time I sent this email. The more people I’ve sent it to the more compliments and the more sales meetings I get.

This is relevant because today I am going to talk about content marketing, but along with it you’re going to master a skill that can be life changing if you get it right. Here are some of the things it does for me, I can get sales meetings on command whenever I want them, I can guarantee my clients coverage if they stick to my processes. My girlfriend in a month needs a job, I will get her as many interviews as she wants. I’m writing a novel at the moment which is a lot more work than I thought it would be, if it’s good I know that I can get meetings with literary agents, so basically I’ve learnt the ability to get more people to say yes to my reasonable requests.

So let’s talk about content, but within this you’re going to learn some pretty cool stuff. So we did get into content marketing because we started really as an SEO agency, there’s a technical part to SEO which I won’t go into, it’s still vitally important. A lot of people do the technical stuff really well, not many people do content marketing and link building well because it’s difficult. So that’s why we got into it, but we found out there’re a lot more benefits to content than just links and SEO.

So the benefits, if you do this well, and don’t worry, I’ll show you examples in a bit, it generates increased brand affinity as people enjoy engaging with your outstanding content. it provides consumers a reason to actually want to follow your social media profiles and they’re going to be more engaged, you can increase your opt-in mailing list databases, you can acquire digital PR coverage in authoritative titles, so newspapers, blogs and huge publications, acquire high quality links, that delivers traffic and improves your Google positioning so you get more traffic from Google, acquisition of mass voluntary media sharing of your outstanding content and your brand, and it positions you as an innovative company.

Finally, it’s the only form of marketing that I think, correct me if I’m wrong, that appreciates in value without any further investment. Although there is a peak initially where you get a big spike of traffic, it’s going to get shared and found more and if it starts ranking in Google it’s going to get more links and more traffic so it can appreciate in value over time.

So the first benefit is the one I’ve spoken about, the why we started doing it, it helps your SEO. So Wikipedia for example, because there are so many links pointing to Wikipedia, if they build a new page it will outrank everything else because it’s one of the strongest domains on the internet, Google considers it very important. If you do content marketing regularly and you acquire links from large newspapers, blogs, etc, you will rank higher for all of your terms in Google because they are the links that Google wants.

It used to be that you could do kind of nefarious techniques, which is why the SEO industry has kind of a bad reputation at times, Google now penalises you. If you don’t do it genuinely and get editorially granted links you can be penalised or you can be banned. This is the only form of link building, other than traditional PR, that gets the links that makes a difference.

I’m going to go through some principles of how you make your content successful. Sorry, I get a dry mouth so I drink quite often. Shareworthy content, you can’t really see, oh, you can, it’s the big circle, you need that to appeal to as big an audience as possible and I’ll show you an example of this where we didn’t do this and it failed. Basically the more people that you interest the more types of blog or publication will be interested in it. There’s an example later on, it interests people that are into both science and technology and history, if you basically expand the big circle then the two other circles will expand too and those are the important ones. So your content is going to get seen by a lot of people who won’t be customers, but by doing that you’ll get seen by more customers overall. When I pitch this to clients they disagree with me, but they’re wrong.

So stand out, there are not a lot of people that I look up to in the industry but one was Rory Sutherland and the other one is Dave Trott and they’re completely different characters. Rory Sutherland is super charismatic, speaks really well, hilarious guy. Dave Trott is really crotchety but he does know what he’s talking about, he has a lot of substance.

Consumers are bombarded with content just like they are with advertisements, so the brain recognises patterns. I’ve stolen this from Dave Trott, I’ve got his permission, he does it on a flip chart and he just sketches it and we’ve done nice graphic versions. I said, “Do you mind if I steal those?” and he was like, “You’re not stealing, Jon, you’re paying homage,” so I’ve stolen them. This is about TV advertising but it’s relevant to content if you think about, let’s show you the image anyway, how many ads do you see every day and how many do you remember? I think you’re shown about 1,000 ad messages a day, is the line that he uses, and how many do you remember and how many do you remember positively?

Think about that, how much money is wasted by experts creating crap? You can be that one in the middle there that stands out, but if you do that your share of mine goes from being a face in the crowd to being remembered, or having your content shared. This is the difference between wasting money and making money and it’s one of the big reasons that most ads and most content fails. The client will take you to one side, they want to create something that’s relevant, but it will be invisible. Us creative types and agencies will take you to visible but relevant and they will rightly rein us back in and we’ll meet in the middle. I’ll show you an example of what I mean by this in two slides.

The first one, this is infographics, they can be fantastic, it doesn’t work if it’s just sales, if it’s an ad disguised as an infographic. It may be wearing the clothes of an infographic but it’s an ad and you have to pay for advertising. Unless you’re Google or someone offering something spectacular and really innovative, journalists and bloggers are not going to pick it up. You can create these but you have to pay to get them seen and we want organic coverage. I’m just going to check my phone just to make sure that I… Okay, it’s decent.

What doesn’t work? This is a client of ours, Sofa Workshop, the history of the evolution of the sofa, they insisted that all that content has to be about sofas. The problem with that is there is no community of interest in people just interested in sofas, there’s no-one going to share this. It’s like when I was at i-Spy, they tried to get me to sell Topps Tiles a £10,000 a month social media retainer, I was like, “They don’t need to invest that much, there’re not that many tile lovers on the internet to look after.” I refused to sell it, I was rebellious like that, that’s why I started Render anyway, but that’s off topic.

So this, we’ve convinced them now that if you think about sofas it’s about relaxing, watching movies, there’s an element of interior design, and now we’re getting somewhere where there’s a topic we can talk about. You can’t force things down people’s throat, you’ve got to write about what people are interested in, so you have to think a bit more laterally than just what your brand is about.

So here is what we’ve found works, and I’m sure there are other things, I’ll list them but then I’ll go through and show examples. These are not case studies, all I’m going to do is stick to what we did, what the results were and why it worked. That’s a very good question, if anyone hires a marketing agency, the question if they show you an idea… I had a client, MSC Cruises, and he said to me, “My agency did this blog outreach campaign,” and he told me about it and I went, “It didn’t work, did it?” He was like, “No, it got one link.” Always ask when someone pitches an idea to you, “Why will that work?” and I’ll show you that now.

The first thing is monitor the news cycle, I’m just going to list them and then I’ll go through the examples to show how they apply, monitor the news cycle, make difficult topics easy to digest, optimise headlines for emotion, innovate visually, make data exciting and create a story, prove someone’s point, pick a contentious issue, have a spectacular prize, appeal to the majority, and then there are two big ones here, use persuasion science and premarket your ideas.

Okay, so here’s the first piece, ITN Source, this is the archive footage division of ITN and they just wanted as much exposure as they could get through PR, social media and improved SEO positions. We created the science and technology that has changed your life, an interactive video timeline. Working with their video archivists we put this together and the results were it got coverage in the Independent and Channel 4 News online, massive social media sharing, 1,000s of times, it’s used by their sales team and it ranks for some of these search terms, which is not massive volume in terms, but all of their other pages will start to rank better as well.

So why did this work? It’s interesting to lots of different people, people interested in science, technology, history, people who want to waste ten minutes learning something new, and educators, educational technology is a huge sector. As I say, this is a case study, but it got a mass amount of coverage and that’s why it worked, it had a wide set of interest groups.

This was just for links, the client is really not relevant to property but they just wanted links. What we created was an interactive graphic showing how London house prices have increased by borough from 1995 to 2014 but also included data on media and salaries and how many new residential builds per area. So combining three data sources made an interesting interactive graphic. It got featured in the Times and London Loves Business, great links that helped their SEO, but also each borough has its own local paper and we provided them just with that section of data so it was of interest to their readers. So a massive increase in social media sharing and an increase in Google traffic by 34%. If you usually wait a few months, like two months, for the links to kick in and then we track if traffic has gone up.

The same, this is for Flexioffices, okay, I’m going to speed through. Flexioffices, the reason this worked was London skyline is generally talked about quite a lot, it got mass social media shares, 1,000s, and got them lots of links.

This one I like, we persuaded journalists to publish our infographic on how to influence and persuade people using the very techniques mentioned on the infographic, I wondered if any of them understood what was going on. It took me a while, I did not get the irony of that until very recently putting this deck together. I’ll speed through, the reason this works is the cost of living is always a topic that’s discussed, we made something that was slightly interactive, all of those London publications picked it up. Why did it work? It’s of interest to anyone who talks about the cost of living and Londoners and that’s why it works, it increased their Google traffic, got PR etc.

Symantec, the biggest client I ever worked with, the first piece was on BYOD policies, not a sexy topic but we managed to get results, it trended on LinkedIn. I didn’t know that was a thing, I was just bragging that I’d got on Venture Beat and it said, “You’re trending on LinkedIn,” and 330,000 people follow this group. It was top news on Twitter and featured on Venture Beat who get 5 million views a month, and lots of other places. I don’t know why they’ve changed it to a PDF, it’s not the format we used, but they rank number one for that search term.

The reason that this worked is something called premarketing, we ask journalists and bloggers if our ideas are good before we proceed and if we don’t get yeses then we don’t make it, so we never fail.

Quark Expeditions, this one worked, great results, but the reason it worked is we were giving away the chance to win a trip to the Arctic. So I would love to take credit for those 30,000 entries, but if you offer a spectacular prize you’ll get coverage and you’ll get results.

Also, if you think you’re in a boring industry anyone can create content that’s good. Blendtec offer blenders and they made it interesting with, “Will it blend?” They put iPads and iPhones in, they put them in to see if it will blend, and he has got there nearly 18 million views, so even if you’re boring. I know there are designers and developers here, and a lot of this may look hard to do, but you can get away with just good writing.

So how to get a job in digital marketing, we wrote a blog post on that and we ranked top for it. The guy I spoke about, Rory Sutherland, who I look up to, he’s a very influential, very busy man, I managed to get an interview with him. I emailed him with the techniques that I spoke about and I said, “I’ve got three goals this year, one is to get a new massive client, two is to get mainstream press coverage and three is to have a video interview with Rory Sutherland.” I said, “I don’t think you can help with two but you can definitely help with one,” and he went, “Okay.”

Okay, so I am getting to the juicy bit now, this is the process. The first thing you do, if you go to our website you can get a spreadsheet here and you put URLs into it, so any competitive content, your own content, articles that are in your industry, and it will pull in how many times it’s been shared across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. So you can see what kind of stuff people are interested in and what they’re not, and that will inform this. Brainstorming, this is get people in a room, anything goes, get a white board and then you narrow it down later. If they’ve been the content audit you’ve got a nice place to start to see what works and what doesn’t.

Headlines, optimise with key terms if search positioning is a goal and use the curiosity gap. There is tonnes more that can be done here, it’s something we need to do better, but I’ll show you an example of the curiosity gap, you see Upworthy Buzzfeed doing it all the time, “Her job didn’t exist before. Now it’s changing her whole town.” It’s an example of getting people to click.

Secondly, my favourite one, which will probably be useless to you but it’s my favourite.

Okay, so influence of research, you’ve got your ideas, you need to find journalists and bloggers, these are some good places to look. So Google obviously, Blogrolls, if you find a blog it will often have a section on the right hand side that will have links to other blogs that are similar. Pinterest is great for searching for content in your sector, so it Twitter. FollowerWonk is a site where you can find social media power users on any particular topic, competitor analysis, which I’ll show in a sec, and databases.

BuzzStream is a great tool you can use for managing your relationships with bloggers and journalists so you can see if you’ve worked with them before, if you’ve got coverage before, if the relationship is strong, it’s a great tool for managing those relationships.

This is open site explorer, you put your competitors in or a particular piece of content and it will show you who links to it.

That’s agility, I’m going to rush through, I usually go too quick but there’s a lot of content here.

Prioritising influencers, you want to prioritise the big sites over the small ones, if you get coverage in big sites the smaller ones will cover you too, so aim for the big ones.

So here’s the most important part, and all I care about is showing you this, this is the most important, if you can learn this you can make content work and you can get sales meetings on command, etc. So reciprocity, you have an obligation to give back what you’ve received from others. So if a waiter leaves mints they get more tips, if they leave two mints 14% increase in tip, if they leave one mint and then come back and say, “For you nice people, two mints,” the tips increase then to 23%. So it’s not influenced by what was given, but how it was given, so the main key point is to be the first to give and make sure it’s personalised and unexpected.

The second one, scarcity, people want things, when British Airways stopped offering the twice daily Concorde flight demand sky rocketed.

Authority, people listen to experts, so another reason why the influence and persuade graphic worked was it was based on real, credible research. Examples here are physiotherapists using diplomas and people on the phone actually saying how many years’ experience people have got, so authority is another one.

Consistency, I love this one, once, in a street, few people were unwilling to display and unsightly board in their front gardens to support drive safely campaign. In a similar street four times as many home owners were willing to display the board. Why? Because a few days ago they had agreed to place a small postcard in the window of their homes to support the campaign. That small card was an initial commitment that led to a 400% increase. When seeking to influence the consistency principle the influencer looks for voluntary, active and public commitments and get those in writing.

And finally, liking, people like to do business more with people they like, so in a series of studies people that were giving the time is money approach reached a deal 55% of the time. The people that exchanged some conversation for a while, for a few minutes, 90% were able to reach a deal, so liking is important.

And finally, consensus, basically if you show that lots of other people are doing a certain behaviour more people will follow suit.

So I’ve spoken about what content works and how to reach people, I can’t give you my email template, but if you experiment with those principles in emails and send them to the right people, not only can you get coverage and always succeed, because you’ll get feedback, but also it works in sales, it works in anything where you need to get the response of yet.

So getting noticed, I am nearing the end now actually, I’m kind of happy that it’s fitting in. So use the science and persuasion in your email copy, there’s a book called Influence by Robert Cialdini, if you’re really interested in that buy it, it’s changed my life. Premarket ideas, the wrong way of doing things is agencies and clients create stuff and then try and get it seen. The right way is ask people that you want to get coverage off if it’s a good idea, if you get enough yeses create it, and many times they make the idea better because they’re knowledgeable. Be genuine, show journalists and bloggers that you know what they write about, follow up on the phone, and remember you’re not doing anything unethical, journalists have targets for traffic, page views and social shares too so it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Paid social seeding, don’t rely on that, but it’s a nice add on.

So really hopefully this has been convincing enough that you should do this, I love content marketing because it has benefits to PR, SEO, branding, and it’s the most fun work that I’ve ever done and I’ve learnt so much else through doing this.

So I will sum up, perform a sector audit using the Google sheet on the Render Positive blog, great content doesn’t need to be visually beautiful or interactive, but it does give you an advantage. Our rules of thumb work for ideas but there will be others, use persuasion science in your emails to busy journalists and bloggers or anyone you want to reach, actually respond and respond positively to your messages. Something we don’t do that we’re going to do, I need to follow my own advice, write at least 25 headlines per content piece and decide on the best, and premarket all ideas.

If there are two take-aways from this that you’ve learnt from me yabbering through this, it’s persuasion science and premarketing. If you take that away and do both of those and get good at being able to persuade people it will help your entire business, but it will also mean that you can do content marketing correctly. And that is me, and that is a genuine picture of me saving babies and kittens from that fire, that happened.

I hope that was useful, I will share the pressie link on Twitter, anyone who gets in touch I will reply to if you’ve got any questions or need any help. I know that I’ve gone through a lot of stuff there very quickly, just get in touch and I’ll help you out, thank you very much.

Facilitator:          A lot of amazing information there, so we’ve got a good ten minutes for questions so get those hands up and this big gentleman here will hand you a mike. When you do get mikes make sure you speak into it, because we’re filming these and if you don’t it’s not going to be on video and then it looks like he’s just got lots of awkward pauses between sentences.

Male Voice:         Hi.

Jon:                      Hi.

Male Voice:         Jon, fantastic talk.

Jon:                      Cheers.

Male Voice:         Probably the best one I’ve heard for an extremely long time and I know you’re nervous so thank you very much, I’ve learnt a lot. You said, “Do something unexpected,” so here’s my card.

Jon:                      Thank you very much.

Male Voice:         You said you were depressed and within two weeks you found yourself in London, me, that’s not [unintelligible 00:26:52] big leap, what made you make that decision?

Jon:                      I put myself out of my comfort zone a lot of the time and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, that one did. I just had an inkling, London, I know marketing because I used to have a business before, I didn’t go to college or uni, and I just had feeling and I just went on the inkling and I emailed the first site that came up when I typed in, “Online marketing agency, London.” I didn’t have a CV, I sent a bullet point list of my skills and they gave me an interview and I went down and I nailed it and I moved down, I sold my business to a friend. The same with Render, I got promoted to head of social media and then two weeks later I quit, which seems ridiculous, but I’m so glad that I did because I started Render and that’s the second best thing that I ever did. The reason I wrote that email is again a spur of the moment, “I’ve got to sort this out, I’ve got to get more sales,” so I’ve always found that the worst times in my life have led to the best.

Male Voice:         Have you read Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer?

Jon:                      Sorry?

Male Voice:         Have you read Who Moved My Cheese?

Jon:                      No.

Male Voice:         Look it up.

Jon:                      Okay, I haven’t got a pen but I will do.

Male Voice:         Hi, excellent talk.

Jon:                      Cheers.

Male Voice:         So the question is, when you say premarketing, how do you do that with journalists because they’re quite busy and it’s hard to get any feedback from them? Let’s say very specifically, if I want to write about WordPress and I want to write at work about WordPress a lot, how would I approach this to my premarketing efforts?

Jon:                      There are a few different things, one is the type of influencer, so there will be… WordPress there are going to be design communities and tech communities, big tech publications that will be interested in that. If you want to get that featured in a national newspaper then that’s where the brainstormer comes in, how can we angle this? So one story could be you could see how many large corporations are wasting money on bespoke, crappy CMSs when WordPress is free, there’s an angle there, there’s a story there that’s relatable to their audience. So you have to think about how to make it relevant to that journalist and you have to think do you want coverage in certain publications. Obviously you want as much coverage as possible, but wouldn’t it be better to focus on more relevant publications? So Venture Beat, for example, tech publications, your audience is looking at that, I would target those people. I don’t know if I answered your question there.

Male Voice:         It’s good enough.

Jon:                      Cool, good.

Male Voice:         Hi there, at the end of your slide you said, “Don’t send press releases.”

Jon:                      Yes, some print journalists still expect it but I have never sent a press release in my life and I don’t intend to. I send probably the complete opposite of that, what’s funny is PR agencies have taught corporations to speak in this ridiculous jargon filled way and now people like us are being paid to tell them to speak like people and that’s hilarious that I’m getting paid for this. So what I send, and I’m giving a bit of the game away, the two principles that I use are reciprocity and liking, and I would say sometimes authority. I would love to give you my template but I can’t bring myself to do it, it’s made me too much money, I can’t do it, but I can tell you the rules and if you use those it will work. Sorry, what was your question again? I haven’t been repeating the question, sorry.

Facilitator:          No worries, they’ve all been speaking to the mike.

Jon:                      Okay, that’s okay.

Facilitator:          Do you want him to repeat the question?

Male Voice:         It was basically don’t send press releases.

Jon:                      Yes, I send the opposite of that and it’s worked for me, I don’t think I’ve lost out.

Male Voice:         Something like an introductory [unintelligible 00:31:04] here’s what we’ve found out and [unintelligible 00:31:08].

Jon:                      Okay, I’ll give a little bit more away, first I don’t introduce, here’s how I’ll put it, I don’t know if you get spam emails as businesses, they all say the same thing, “We offer this,” or, “We’re the best at this.” My subject line is weird and strange and my first line is ridiculous, the first line of my email for sales purposes admits that I bought their data off a list, so admitting a fault upfront, and no-one sends a spam email where they admit that upfront. As well, if you admit a fault upfront everything else you say has more credibility, Warren Buffett does that in every one of his presentations, he starts with bad news because everything else he has to say has more credibility, so I start with something like that.

One of my favourite replies to one of my emails was, “My colleague forwarded me your spam email and we would like to meet you to discuss opportunities,” which I’m sure has been said zero times in history. So be surprising, you’re going to need a subject line, I still only get a 30% open rate and I’ve got ideas of how I’m going to change that but I’m not going to go into that. You need to surprise people with the subject and get them hooked in the first line, and be informal, and eventually you can get to the meat of it, but make them actually read and like you, that’s one of the principles and want to reply. A press release, they get hundreds of them.

Male Voice:         Hi, Jon, you started off speaking about creativity and saying it’s obviously important but not that important in the [unintelligible 00:32:53] process. Obviously you’ve covered a lot of information in a short space of time, this may be too boring a question, but can you say more about your process and what that involves in the chronology side?

Jon:                      Yes, I would say it starts with content audit, the spreadsheet, so think of what your business offers, look what’s already out there, so what are the trade publications, what are the blogs on the subject talking about, what are competitors doing? You’ll see what people are interested in and what they’re not, and what the rules of thumb are. Then you do the brainstorming, you’ve got an anchor point of, “Here’s what we know, we’ve got intelligence,” and then you just develop lots of ideas. It is up to someone to narrow them down, that’s hard, there’ll be a lot of crap ideas and there’ll be some gold in there.

Then the real and most important point I would say, is using persuasive emails to get journalists to tell you if the ideas are good or not, and bloggers, and with that you only proceed and make something until you’ve got enough yeses. If they’re emotionally invested from the start they’re going to promote it later, rather than just, “We think this is good, get in there and make it.” That’s why there are so many embarrassing corporate games, like a company that sells window cleaner has a Facebook app or an iPhone app, who’s going to download it? Premarket ideas to people who have got an audience and it will work. As I said, the two most important parts of the process are getting good at persuading people to say yes and premarketing.

Female Voice:     Hello, Jon, I’m actually a journalist and I get all these press releases that you’re telling me about, and you’re absolutely right, the best thing to do is to stand out.

Jon:                      It looks like I’ve got plants, I’ve got someone come up and say it was, “The best ever,” and then you’re saying, “You are completely right,” they’re not plants.

Female Voice:     You’re right, the best thing to do is to start in a quirky way, but then you have to follow up with real substance.

Jon:                      Oh, we do.

Female Voice:     Which I’m sure you do, without having to divulge what you actually say, but something that is also incredibly important, because I get so many press releases, I tend to classify them into stuff that I’m going to follow up on, stuff that’s complete rubbish, which I actually send to my friends because it’s so pathetic, and then press releases who I feel a little bit sorry for because they’re obviously not very good at their job. Anything, something I’ve wanted to point out is you have to be absolutely spot on with things like grammar and spelling and I did notice one or two instances.

Jon:                      I know, I looked through and there are errors in there and I realised today.

Female Voice:     I noticed them immediately and my mind was telling me, I really should have a word with him.

Jon:                      The thing is, I started writing at the end of last year again, I wrote a poem and I’ve never written a poem in my life, and I sent it round and loads of people liked it. Then I thought, “I’ll start writing this novel that I’ve wanted to write for ages,” and obviously I’ve been practising and writing 2,000 or 3,000 words a day, pumping it out. Now I’ve looked and even my email that’s made me all this money, I’ve looked at it and I’ve gone, “I can improve that so much.” I know that there are mistakes in this and it’s weird actually because I don’t come from that background, but now I’m really interested in it, I’m starting to notice some of the mistakes and my emails have got better in business even because I’ve suddenly decided that I’m going to do this huge task.

Female Voice:     They’re quite small mistakes like missing apostrophes and things like that, but as a journalist I do notice these [unintelligible 00:36:33].

Jon:                      My defence is I did this in a rush.

Female Voice:     Fair enough.

Jon:                      But I take the point.

Female Voice:     The other thing I was going to ask you was I really want to read some of the information on the slides that you went through quickly, would you be able to share [unintelligible 00:36:51] email or something?

Jon:                      Sure, I will share a link, I will put it on Twitter and I’m going to send it to these guys so they can send it out as well.

Female Voice:     Okay.

Facilitator:          This is also being videoed.

Jon:                      I’m glad of that after these responses.

Male Voice:         So are we.

Jon:                      Thank you.

Facilitator:          I think we’ve got time for one last question if there is one? If not we’ll wrap up now. There is.

Female Voice:     Hi, can you hear me?

Jon:                      Yes.

Female Voice:     I just wanted to clarify, you said at the beginning how important SEO is and getting people’s attention is also really important in that. I might have misunderstood but you said something about that you don’t have to be entirely relevant to what your business does, could you clarify that because Google is always banging on about how relevancy is the thing.

Jon:                      Yes, some industries have it easy, like fashion, that’s easy, that’s sexy, their job is a lot easier, there is a communitive interest. The same with tech, there are loads of tech communities and food, a huge community of interest there. So businesses that are in those sectors have it much easier than say the blender company, although that’s related to food, if you sell toasters that’s a lot harder. If you were to do an infographic on the history of the toaster you’re not going to get that much coverage, but there are other things you can write about, what do you do with the toaster? You use it in the morning, it’s about morning routine, can we do something on that? So you start to think about how your product is used, what can we talk about that is relevant to our product but you don’t have to just talk about toasters or sofas, there are ways that people use and interact with those things and it’s part of people’s lives, there’s the interesting story. So the history of the sofa graphic failed but the piece we’re working on now, which is actually more about interior design, it’s about colour pallets through the ages, that will still get Sofa Workshop promotion and they’ll still be mentioned but it’s not actually super on topic. Although Google goes on about relevancy, that’s still relevant, you can stretch relevancy to a degree, I mean it shouldn’t go to absurd degrees. This is a ridiculous example, but if you manufactured toasters and you did blog posts on morning routine and different breakfasts and things like that, that’s still sort of relevant and I think it’s fair enough, I don’t think they expect you to be super rigid. I’m not saying you should go completely irrelevant but you can stretch relevance, definitely.

Facilitator:          Okay, wow, well, it’s a really heartfelt and informative talk so thank you so much, Jon.

Jon:                      Thank you very much.


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Jon Buchan
Hannah Brown
Jenny Longmuir
Tess Bowles
Lee Buchan
Asher Baker
Bree Van Zyl
Sam Reynolds
Aida Staskeviciute
Laura Reddington
Dipak Hemraj
Jess Collett
Gemma MacNaught
Laila Khan
Gary Buchan
James Hackney
Stuart Lawrence

Jon Buchan Chief Executive Officer
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Hannah Brown Creative Yet Technical Manager
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Jenny Longmuir Content Marketing Editor
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