Talking Content Marketing with Jeff Julian

content marketing jeff julian

Talking Content Marketing welcomes Jeff Julian, co-founder for AJi, Squared Digital, and Enterprise Marketer. That’s two agencies and one marketing community.

Jeff is a firm believer that the voice of the practitioner has not be at the core of our industry in a long time. As Jeff says, “Just look at the list of educational articles released this week. Shallow topics that seem to be on repeat.”

“9 Killer Social Media Tips for the B2B Marketer will be a topic that someone is going to write today. And it will be written tomorrow, and the next day… You get the point.”

Jeff is in the “do something about it” camp. He launched Enterprise Marketer, a community for the marketing team. They share the insights of the practitioners, in text, audio, and video format.

I really buy into Jeff’s focus on building community, so I wanted to delve deeper into this.

Six questions, six answers….lets go.


I see the building of community something that you endorse. Is this the nirvana that businesses should aim for, that goes beyond having an audience that recognise what you do?

Screen Shot 2017-03-01 at 21.10.03Sort of. It has to be in your blood.

What I mean by that is, you have to be passionate, influential, charismatic, and willing to sacrifice your voice to empower the voice of others.

Now, don’t get me wrong, you can create a community with none of those and with the intent to profit from them all along. However, I believe that if you are going to build a community, it is better to build it as a movement that is bigger than you and will live long past your involvement.

So for business, if you are passionate about the line of business you are in, and you want to empower others who are in it, then, by all means, build the community! But if you are in business to just make money and you don’t have a love for the industry and the folks inside, or you just want to make a name for yourself, please refrain from moving forward.

 

You are prolific on podcasts, video, writing. If I said you could only use one medium from next week, what would it be?

Video. Out of it, I get audio and text and still have it all! (insert evil laugh)

In all seriousness, it would be video, and the reason is not that far off. I like video because it is the most adaptive of all the mediums. People watch them on the tube, in the air, while their spouses are forcing them to watch another cooking show or sporting event, and at work.

But let’s pose the question, if technology progresses and we move into a world with more augmented and virtual reality, what content will you consume with your glasses on?

Not text, because that would be annoying. A 1,500-word piece on Content Marketing in scrolling “Star Wars” text doesn’t have the same effect.

What about audio? Maybe, but something else will be in front of your face and will be fighting for the attention of the audience.

Now let’s consider “video.” Whether that is the rendered images placed in a sequence that we are used today, or a holographic and interactive image, these experiences will be far superior to the other two.

Just like everyone is staring at their phones in one decade since the release of the iPhone, I believe this will be our reality in the 2020s.

I still remember having conversations with my super nerd friends while at Microsoft for a conference in 2004 talking about how the Internet is being misused by pushing HTML and JavaScript to deliver web pages. Instead, the transmission of instructions and data to be assembled on the device to deliver out-of-browser experiences with vectors graphics, audio, and video would be a far more amazing. We are getting there with modern apps, but the progression has been slower than I wanted it to be.

Sorry, got way deep and nerdy there, but you asked.

 

If someone is thinking, ‘I want to jump into podcasting/video this year’ what is the biggest mistake people make?

Uttering the words, “I will just use my phone and …” Just like we don’t have masterpieces in art museums that the artist used crayons, we don’t consume content that has been poorly produced. If you can’t invest in the equipment you need, don’t do it. It is too hard, the results are too limited, and if you do get someone to listen, they will likely stop because it is too bad to consume.

Now, those who are still with me, there are two questions I would have to ask yourself, and if the answer is yes, then you have my blessing to podcast away.

One, do you already have an audience that if 10% of them listen to your show regularly, you would consider it to be a success. So, you have 1,000 people on your email and 100 of them would listen. If yes, then these will probably be the statistics after the first year, then I say do it! If no, then move to the next question.

Do you have the passion to be consistent, week after week, to produce the show without concern of the results? If yes, well buckle your seat belt and get ready for the fun but emotional rollercoaster that is podcasting or vlogging. You will be faced with more work than you have ever had to do creating content, more doubt and anxiety about the quality of your content, and more stress about getting the show out the door on a schedule.

I hope the answer is yes, but if it is not, keep on posting articles and whitepapers.

 

Does creating more content, equate to greater credibility?

Yes.

Well in the eyes of the machines and the metrics of the world, more is always better. One fantastic article on your site won’t deliver search engine results, the engines want more links, more pages, and more media before they give you their traffic. And your boss will look at you funny if you say you spend 6 months on 10 excellent blog posts. However, if you say we did 100 posts, they will be impressed, no matter if you have the conversion data.

Why is this, because we are all shallow and want to measure up greater than the person next to us. More views that are not the right views will present better in a board room, that is just the fact of life.

But, and a big but. Will you be able to create more business because of more? Maybe. Since most of the content never gets read and customers have been programmed to believe more is better, the approach can still be effective. Think about it, if you have a LinkedIn connection that publishes fantastic headlines and shares them daily or a vendor that sends you great looking email newsletters that look attractive and you never read either, you will still have a higher affinity for that person or brand. Heck, you might have even liked the post or shared the email even.

But that success is not guaranteed, so I suggest the middle. Is the content good? Are you getting better? Can you keep up the pace? Are you testing with your audience to see what they like and don’t like? If you can answer these questions with a yes or are working towards it, then you are on the right path.

Back to my original point from the first question, if someone else is and will continue to produce the content you are creating, then make something else.

 

What measurement matters most for Enterprise Marketer? Is it leads, sign ups, deeper conversations?

Cash in the bank!

The more I have, the more I can disrupt. New cameras, new equipment, new types of events, more opportunity to pay contributors, just more ways to build the community. My ultimate goal is the make the online ecosystem for marketing education and information better, so everything I measure has to be in through that lens. I was blessed to learn the lesson early in my life that more money in my pocket doesn’t make me as happy as the impact can have in the lives of others with the money I have.

To get there, I have a few vital metrics to help me gauge if I am on the right track.

First, am I helping my customers win? Can I show real ROI for their investment? I must sit down with my sponsors and ask them about what metrics they have and determine a plan to make it a win-win. If they need leads, what can we do to get them leads? Maybe they need customer insights, and a few pointed questions on the show to potential clients would pay back that investment quickly.

Second, do we have contributors joining and producing content? I want to know that we have an impact in the lives of those who are a part of the community. These are my friends, and I want to help them build up their own brands and feel rewarded for their commitment. This means that I am spending time working with each of them in the group and one-on-one conversations and trying not to let anyone slip through the cracks. Tough work and as the community grows, I must teach this to a new group of ambassadors to ensure everyone who is a part of Enterprise Marketers feels heard and loves being a part of our team.

Then I keep my eyes on the traditional health stats and viewership numbers to see if I can see a consistent trend of growth in the right places to attract the audience.

 

How do you learn?

As a modern day renaissance man, I always have a primary interest that I am investing time into daily.

At 13, I started investing into learning how to build websites on the Internet. This was 1994, and no one else was doing it, so I had to dig deep and work really hard to meet the challenge.

At 23, I started investing into learning the craft of photography, writing, and audio production. I created my first online community for developers, called Geekswithblogs.net. I bought my first expense camera and took photos everywhere I went. And I started my first podcast with my business partner in 2005 that we ended up losing our jobs over and started our agency after, AJi Software.

And at the age of 33, I began investing in the production of video and telling stories will all the mediums I use. This is when I set out to write the book on Agile Marketing and incorporate video into the audio podcasts. Now it is hard to find me anywhere without a video setup and producing shows.

At each stage, I have used books, podcasts, and videos from others in and out of the industry to help. For video, I watch podcasts from filmmakers and buy books written by screenwriters about storytelling. For audio, I hung out of the local music store and ask a bunch of questions about the logistics. For writing, well I bought books on how to be a better writer and took classes on sentence structure and non-fiction writing.

The main lesson is I always am learning something new and challenging myself to be uncomfortable and attempting something few others have.


Huge thanks to Jeff spending some time and sharing a perspective from his world.

To find out more from Jeff:

Jeff on Twitter: click here

Enterprise Marketer: click here

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