Authors Posts by Mark


Author of The Content Revolution. My focus is to encourage businesses to adopt an owned media mindset to build leads, visitors and sales. Companies can now have total control of the spaces that they have ownership of. It's time to make a stand and create content that makes a deeper connection with your audience.

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tailoring your message to your audience

The message you deliver has to be curated for the medium you are using and the person who is breathing it in.

I know it sounds simple, but to make that impression you have to be tuned into the space you are distributing and wearing the shoes of the person who is consuming.

We all have access to a media channel at the fraction of the cost it used to be. You can build a YouTube series, find a voice with a podcast, or throw thinking bombs every day on Twitter. With so much available, the battle for attention is only going to get harder. In the words of Mark Schaefer on his {grow} bog (from Monday 20th), ‘content is intoxicating.’


Tailoring Your Message To Your Audience

The medium you deliver has to be respectful to the audience who consume.

tailoring your message to your audienceLet me explain.

I was on the tube in London this week and whilst waiting for my train, I started to wander off reading the tube ads and the longer form content that was on the platform. The story being told to me by Jack Daniels kept me locked in for at least a minute and whilst the screen said the next train was coming in three minutes, I had time to drift.

You have to tune your message to who is consuming and the format they are engaging.

Let me explain.

You are reading this blog now. This is how it becomes dissected for different media:

  • An edited version of this article is sent to the You Are The Media email subscribers (on a Thursday morning). I found that people wanted to read what was in front of them, rather than being teased to click to read more. People said they were happy reading within the format they had received.


  • The main points (meaning sentences) are shared throughout the week on Twitter and Linked timelines (normally accompanied by an image created from Canva).


  • During the monthly You Are The Media Lunch Club, I provide a round up of the main points from the articles produced during the month. I don’t stand and read out the blog, but share 30 seconds of what the article was about.


  • I’ll give it a bit of ‘oooomph’ on the Marketing Homebrew podcast and in the ‘our world’ section I will highlight some of the main points raised in my article.

Everything had started from the seed of an idea that took shape in different places, but was tailored to the medium someone else was consuming. The breadcrumbs always lead back to a centre piece (an article, a video, an audio) and it is the experiences that are shared always have a starting point.

This is why I am an advocate of an owned media approach as you have a main message that is then cut and tailored for different spaces. It isn’t an advert that broadcasts and you run out of steam because the focus was just the product. It is a point of view that is shared and is just as relevant from a tweet to being shared in front of an audience in the form of a live blog.


Story And Intention

You create a story and match the intentions of the message with the medium that is being used.

The themes, concepts and the way you deliver have to be adapted to the canvas that is in front of you. For instance, a tweet that is cut off halfway as the original message was from somewhere else is just lazy.

Tailoring Your Message To Your Audience

In the words of Mitch Joel in a Talking Content Marketing interview, “The thing to realise is that every channel has its own type of culture with an unwritten role of engagement and connection. Most brands go into channels to sell from them instead of learning to become part of the culture.”

This is all about getting to people where they are and then get them to come to you.

Tailoring Your Message To Your Audience

Discovering The Opportunity

When you understand your audience, you are also seeking an opportunity. This could be to encourage them to make a commitment such as subscribing or get in contact to enquire.

It is not just about who your audience is but why they are there. Is it to be entertained (such as a podcast)? Is it to be educated (reading your blog)? Is it something to pass the time (standing on the train platform).

The media that you use has to be relevant to your audience. I received a printed newsletter last month from a financial planning company. What could have been an opportunity to use as a way to inform, with articles of depth that had relevance to me i.e. the need to plan better for my future, took a route to promote the virtues of the business.

This was their moment, I was a captive audience and the opportunity ended up in the bin. There are some great articles created from their blog, so some of the best articles could have appeared in printed format. When print is used properly it is when it is relevant to your life (I still subscribe to having Campaign delivered every week, I don’t read the online version).

Here are some key pointers for you to take where someone has to be interested in the format that is in front of him or her.

  • Respect the medium. The world is not a cut and paste effort to be seen everywhere because that is where everyone else is. Time to take a breather and understand whatever channel you are looking to distribute, appreciate how other people use it. For instance, would you cut and paste a blog from Medium and put it directly into your Facebook stream? (I really hope you don’t).


  • Don’t waste time and money on pure product information or feeling noble because you made a school visit and then posted it everywhere. Does the channel you choose come from a place of being useful, challenging, entertaining, informative and above all else, a bit different? Wherever you appear, you have to be meaningful.


  • Less doesn’t have to be more. I realised that we don’t need to tease people, if it is good they will read/watch/listen to it. The most listened to Marketing Homebrew podcast, which was our last show of 2016, is just under one hour (the normal show length is 30 minutes). To say that people’s concentration is dwindling is an absolute misnomer, if the content is being created is relevant to someone else and they enjoy.


  • Understand the environment the content is going to be part of. If it is part of a Twitter stream of consciousness it is gone within seconds, compared to an email that is received every week and sits within an inbox waiting to be acknowledged. The difference between what is deleted or clicked is when the message sticks and fits with the reader.


  • An original idea can be adapted for a host of media. You don’t have to stick with one message residing one place, if you have an idea it can complement where the consumer is.

Lets Round Up

The companies who are successful are those who are relevant to someone else’s life and the stage they are at. It is up to us to understand the unwritten etiquette of the media channels that we use and who is taking the time to be a part of what we create and believe in.

The places where people interact with you and your message is not just about using a digital channel to distribute but complementing who they are and the time they are willing to spend with you.

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Better Sales People Before Content Marketers

Whilst creating value becomes the magnet to persuade, taking a wholly altruistic angle where you just say, ‘lets help’, is never going to win.

An approach with a big heart, but no strategy, will not create a positive outcome.

You cannot just inform other people and not align this with what you do. This will result in failure.

To attract customers and bring peoples attention to your side is not just a case of standing up and saying, ‘lets create content,’ it all relates to how you can build a rapport so others will align, interact and buy from you.


My Biggest Issue With The Show Don’t Tell Mantra

When it comes to creating content for an audience, lets just recognise that we are not professors or heavy weight academics whom have spent decades mastering a profession (by the way, this is why none of us are experts).

These are people who get paid by a university establishment, not a predominantly B2B customer base.

We all represent the voice of businesses and whilst we have moved on from pure product benefits fanfare and heavy self-promotion, we are still here to create profit from the work we produce.

I am 100% behind the role to educate, inform, challenge and entertain others, but it has to align with your business so others find an attachment.


It Takes Time

It may take time to convert a prospect to a customer. If it’s over two years, that’s ok. The way you take on board a content marketing/owned media approach is by allowing others to join your content stream at different periods. However, everything is geared towards an audience where there is a clear focus for who they are, the role you provide and the value you want them to take from it.

There is nothing wrong in selling where the objective is obtaining a stronger customer base (as long as it’s not the hard sell). It does become blurred when there is a relentless approach to inform, unless it comes from a deeper approach that ties into the nature of your product/service.

The focus has to be on isolating that thing where people choose your business over someone else, once you have communicated that message.

To become a good content marketer, you need to appreciate what it takes to sell what you believe in. If marketing relates to the message you share, sales links to the exchanges you own.


Proof When It Just Didn’t Align

digital first mindset

Here is an example where I have wasted a lot of time on an initiative but it did not connect and I failed.

I wholeheartedly informed, but in no way did I align.

During 2014 to 2016, the Once Upon A Time (with my good friend Matt Desmier) event took place in Bournemouth where business owners and people of influence were invited to the stage at Shelley Theatre to share their own story and the varied paths within their marketplace.

This event included brands taking part such as Ted Baker, River Cottage, Saltrock and more local to home Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, Organix and LV=. At the time it was a perfect vehicle to invite a face from a business in front of others and to be 100% honest with an audience.

It was a place where, for an afternoon, we all stood shoulder to shoulder. People left lifted, buoyed and there always a real buzz when looking at the Twitter timeline throughout the evening. Even people who attended wrote great write ups (see what I mean), sharing what they took and helped with the reach.

However, what it became was a very time intensive project to put together with no return (by this I mean, no conversation was ignited after the event by guest or audience). This included traveling to meet up with potential speakers and chunks of the day spent getting to know people (which I have to say was brilliant). This wasn’t a case of a one off, but six events over two years. It provided no path to build on. Why? It did not align with what I do.

I put this down to the fact that whilst there was an abundance of value, it didn’t necessarily connect with the undertones of what my business does and the approach I take (focused on ownership with a content marketing approach).

There was no way to maintain the dialogue or explore further. With all the hours spent to get people in and then dedicate an afternoon to present, looking back it makes me realise that if you give back with no purpose to what you do, it is not good for business. It just becomes a huge drain on the most precious of resources, time.


Here’s A Formula

Creating a deeper connection that shares business interest alongside value creation plus the ability to build a network/community leads to a better business.


Better Sales People Before Content Marketers


Taking Shape

So, what’s the answer?

There has to be a balance between linking to your objectives and the value you create for others.

We all need to become better equipped at connecting deeper with others first to reap commercial reward.

It is better to link back to the purpose that you have, rather than an ego driven to collect but not convert.

Before you think it’s time to commit to a content driven approach, there has to be an appreciation for the longer-term return.

Here is what you need to do when it comes to aligning others with what you do, rather than the belief that you have to create content to just inform.

  • Wisdom over information

Anyone can create and distribute the same tired messages with no real perspective. An article related to ‘content is king’ was the fail safe to write about in any marketer’s toolkit in 2012 (still a hefty 41.3m results).

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 15.14.48

This has now moved to ‘how AI will impact business’ (with a growing 15.3m results).

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 15.18.37

A better sales process is centered on providing insight that takes on experiences gained rather than other articles read. The wins, losses and openness that is shared with others, has more ability to connect on a personal level when there is some form of lesson learnt, that no one else can take away. Why talk about AI when it is something that you have no first hand experience to talk about in the first place?


  • Evidence over opinion

Providing evidence that stamps individuality beats stating ‘I believe.’

It is easier than ever before to make a statement and share it with the world. The word fake news wasn’t part of our vocabulary less than a year ago.


To present an approach to someone else there has to be enough familiarity that is backed up with proof for others to resonate with you and what is in front of them.


  • Resource over search

When you create for people who want to read/listen/watch what you put out into the big wide world, is much healthier than hoping someone is going to take notice just because you got the SEO seal of approval from Yoast.

If you are talking to decision makers, write from a detailed level about how a process works and how factors influence decision-making. You can’t paint everybody with the same brush. If your audience is those people getting to grips with social media, it is wrong hitting them with the virtues of live video from the outset. You have to write for people who will build enough trust that when the time is right to talk, it becomes much easier.


  • Nurture over speed

When delivery is centered on a customer/audience it takes time to build. The answer is not by throwing money at a Facebook campaign as the answer to quicker acceptance.

Instead of gambling everything on the one email to that database you bought last October, it is time to spread the message and variety of angles over months and years. The difference between the one email blast and nurturing what you are creating by finding new angles and conversations is that you are selling over a longer period of time, not as a result of one piece of creative that is sent to a mass audience.

Create your centre of gravity that is the asset that you have control of (your website). People spend too much time thinking that when a new website goes live, it is time to sit back and take the applause. When a new site is live, the journey has only just begun.


  • Community over collection

The default measurement should never be the collection of eyeballs. When working on the Once Upon A Time event, the focus was on people buying tickets, not looking at ways to deepen a relationship or ways for other opportunities for people to buy and creating additional services.

If you start from the outset to create connections rather than chasing numbers, you can cement better relationships. Working side by side to help create something better, rather than creating conditions that feel dictatorial and forced ie. the auto DM response when following someone on Twitter to then follow them on Facebook will never feel right.


  • Target over creation

During the early days of the Marketing Homebrew podcast, in 2015, the focus was more on getting shows done and broadcasted and understanding how a medium works (still learning though).

When I record the Marketing Homebrew podcast today, I always imagine I am talking to someone else, who I know. When I talk at presentations, if there are people who I know in the audience, I will always mention them.

When you know who you are creating for, it makes a difference over creation to fill a space because it’s there.


Lets Round Up

Lets get real and recognise that we are not established academics but businesses who are looking to align ourselves with others, based on what we believe in an how our products and services can help others.

If you can deliver what you believe in and build relationships with those who matter it all comes back to the old mantra of we all buy from people we trust and believe in. Alignment isn’t what you say in a blog post, it’s something you do when there is more than one business involved.

Everything you do as a business is built on relationships, so people feel comfortable when buying from you. It just so happens that you have the channels to stand up and be counted within.

To become better content marketers we have to understand the role we play, the value others will take, how this aligns with what we do and how this turns into profitable action.

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creating additional services

When you build solid experiences with customers, flexibility allows you to start creating additional services for others.

The services/product that you offer your marketplace can go beyond that one thing you sell to everyone where they pay. You can package together additional services that come back to your core belief. It all comes down to the relationship you have with other people.

Creating a range of content services can go way beyond the products and services that have been product x to audience for y and the way we have all behaved ie. one product for one audience. You now have the ability and right to provide education, entertainment and continuous learning, as long as people are familiar with your core product.

It is possible for the B2B world to adopt the approach from the likes of Amazon Prime, Spotify and YouTube.

YouTube have just launched their new TV subscription service (launching in the US with 30 cable channels). This will be a paid for service where the customer doesn’t require a contract just unsubscribe at any time (for $35 per month). The world of being comfortable with video content at the drop of a hat, just got more interesting (considering we’re now watching over 1 billion hours a day of YouTube videos). A huge opportunity for YouTube, the audience is already there!

It is a case of how a brand evolves but with the customer always in mind and a package that suits them. With the democratisation of media, you can now break down what you at various price points.


Be Patient & Build

Amazon owner Jeff Bezos said, “We’ve had three big ideas at Amazon that we’ve stuck with for 18 years, and they’re the reason we’re successful: put the customer first. Invest and be patient.” From buying books, to ordering a granite bench, we then moved to streaming films via Amazon Prime. Amazon are now looking at distribution to a colonised moon. The deliveries of gear, food and equipment to the lunar surface is intended to be by mid 2020. You could say the one word that Amazon completely stand by is distribution.

The creation of packages are all intended for an audience who believes.

Spotify, who have just reached 50 million paid subscribers, are about to expand the selection of their podcasts. Last month (February), Spotify announced that they will feature more original podcasts to go head to head with iTunes.

Spotify have also announced, in the past week, the option for higher quality lossless streaming, for a higher monthly fee. It is going to be called Spotify Hi-Fi (so an extra £7.50 option could be on its way to you). Further proof of a brand creating different options for an audience who are happy to pay for access.

Film studios are now sharing their skills for others to learn from. Want to explore the art of storytelling for your business? Perhaps it’s time to take this free course from Pixar, click here. When it comes to creating packages for your audience, education and training services as a content platform have a key role to play.


Moving To Your Arena

Creating packages is not just something centred on the big brands from the B2C arena.

I highlighted in an article from November 2016 on creating new streams within your own ecosystem. The focus was on Crimson Guitars who had not rested on their laurels as a guitar manufacturer.

Crimson Guitars are a team of 17 people who understand how guitars work. Owner, Ben Crowe, is one of the most persistent people I have ever met. They have new shows on YouTube six days a week, this explains the 80k+ audience they have built.

This is Ben Crowe

What is fascinating is not just the commitment to provide value outside from the core business but creating additional services for their audience. They have created separate revenue streams from guitar making, teaching (online or offline) and tool making. People have options for how deeply they want to connect and to become involved.

find your niche

If you can bundle together packages that suit your audience but fall under the same overall topic for your business you start to grow legs and head in a new (but clear) direction. It is all centred on finding the right package for the right audience.


What I Have Done

As my business has changed tact over the past year, everything is focused on three areas, creation, strategy and learning.

They all sit separately but come under the banner of ownership with a content marketing approach. Just to explain: the creation service is for customers on an ongoing basis; the strategic side is to get companies up and running so they have a purpose to then build momentum; learning is in a group environment for businesses to learn together, such as the You Are The Media Lunch Club and the You Are The Media Strategy Day.

Harvard Business School, in 2012, created a paper titled, ‘The Dynamic Effects Of Bundling As a Product Strategy.’ One of the findings was that success with a variety of products is where one piece of the bundle is produced at a lower cost. I am finding this true when selling a higher ticket item alongside a lower ticket equivalent.

Let me explain. The monthly You Are The Media Lunch Club is priced at £10 and has been active each month since June 2016. I produced a survey at the end of last year asking people what they would want to learn more about.

Over 60% of people wanted to learn how they could apply a strategic approach to their business. Basically, from what they are hearing, how can they put into practice.

I recognised that this couldn’t be covered in a single lunchtime session (Lunch Club is from 12.15pm to 1.45pm), so I introduced a Strategy Day at the end of April for a smaller, more intimate audience but at £195 (or £250 for non You Are The Media subscribers). By breeding familiarity with the Lunch Club, selling spaces for the Strategy Day has been far easier than originally anticipated and sold 75% out with a month to go.

According to the Harvard research paper, Assistant Professor, Vineet Kumar highlighted, “ideally you should be bundling products that have a positive synergy together.”

“Bundling is a rather easy way of putting new product offerings together to complement the product line. There’s more potential to get it right than to get it wrong.”


Introducing Your Side & What You Need To Consider

If you are looking at creating packages that complement your main product/service, here are some points to think about.

  • Allow people to familiarise themselves with not just your product, but also your message. For instance, can you create and distribute to a subscribed audience on a frequent basis that shows your proof and commitment such as a regular email round up that has to be relevant and of interest.


  • There has to be a clear correlation between your products and services. For instance, you cannot just chuck anything in and think it is going to be credible. If you are a gym instructor, a personal fitness programme, accompanied by a healthy eating meal plan and then selling blenders and supplements becomes overkill.


  • Survey your audience. You cannot just put together a package that you think other people will need. What you think is different from what they want. The main reason for the April Strategy Day is because people highlighted that they believed it would useful for them (here’s the survey results). This allowed me to explore deeper.


  • People associate the value being presented. In order to move from a £10 lunch, to a £195 day and then to a monthly package, I have to make sure that people grasp the value and see everything in context and not the world I once was in by considering anyone and everyone as a customer. There always has to be ways to deepen a conversation. From sharing articles such as this, to being present in someone’s inbox every week, to inviting someone to be part of a much wider network of people on the same wavelength, an objective has to become a trusted source.

When you can find a way to create packages that are bundled together you have direct access to an audience at different stages of their life cycle. For instance, a new business is more than likely to invest in the monthly Lunch Clubs than a monthly creation retainer package.


Lets Round Up

You now have the ability to create and batch services together, and take control of online and offline channels as a way to complement your overall product offering.

It all comes down to widening and deepening the relationship with people who want to be onboard, so when you reveal new additions in the future, it becomes easier for people to buy in.

When you package experiences to an audience who are already familiar, people are ready. The need to spend and allocate budget on promotional tactics to raise awareness becomes minimal when you already have an audience who are already locked in.

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MarketingHomebrew (3)

Your weekly Marketing Homebrew breaks 30 minutes into what’s happening in the big world, our world and your world.

BIG WORLD: Waterstones have just been rumbled (27th March) for setting up stores that look authentic, but have no reference or branding that represents the book store (

Is this is a brand that is pretending to be something they’re not and appearing false as an independent book shop, or is it ok as long as people see something that is compelling to interact with?

Perhaps they could have been a bit subtler with a, “Southwold books bought to you by Waterstones” approach.

I think the message for us all is that we need to be consistent with how we present ourselves to others. When your product and your message do not match up, it causes conflict. It doesn’t become believable.

OUR WORLD: Ian found an interesting article on Medium ( that looks at the fact that user research is overrated.

When it comes to research, lets not get bogged down that it slows the whole process down and becomes chore. A live lab is a great approach where there is consistency in learning. Maybe it’s time to create and share, rather than keeping everything in a box?

YOUR WORLD (or YOUR ROUND….see what we did)

This weeks question comes from Gordon Fong. Gordon asks, “Does there come a moment when you have to take this offline?”

Simply publishing in the digital space may not be enough anymore.

Whether online or offline, it doesn’t matter which side of the coin you prefer, if you are relevant to someone else, you mean something.

Taking it to a more personal space where someone has committed to find out more, you have elevated the whole experience to an audience that are ready, committed and prepared for what you have to say.

Don’t forget to ask us a question from your side, or highlight what is working with you where you are building audience. Send to

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Copy of Why not trusting is a good trait to have (5)

In order to deliver value so others come on board with you for the journey, you have to be disciplined. To some this is never going to work.

Once upon a time everyone watched the same TV shows (24.35 million people watched an Only Fools and Horses episode in 1996), we all watched the same ads and we received our news from a handful of sources. We now live in a time where anyone can create content, for free and distribute globally.

A Turkish butcher can flamboyantly sprinkle salt on meat and achieve global fame

A social media star seeing how far he can take 54 million subscribers to a very dark place with anti Semitic controversial content (I’m talking about PewDiePie here).

The companies who are seeing results are those with a defined point of view and have the ability to deliver this on a consistent basis to a targeted audience. In his latest book, Known, Mark Schaefer highlights that people ‘became known through commitment, constancy and repeated practice.’

However, I have seen where it doesn’t work where a content driven, owned media approach will just not deliver a return. I am breaking this down into three areas focused on care, rhythm and knowledge. Within these pillars is where a host of factors reside.

When this three legged stool starts to become wobbly is when problems arise. When you start to become the opposite of what they represent, it is time to safely say that this approach is not going to work for you. A mud slinging exercise with no soul or purpose is never going to work.

Those companies where content marketing efforts will not work can be broken down into:

CARE – do you have ability to pay attention and challenge the marketplace you reside and the problems that you can solve for others, not on the products you sell. Does what you create matter to others?

RHYTHM – can you stand for something and deliver on an ongoing basis? Can you never skip leg day and become the mouthpiece Adonis for your industry? Can you create and come back again?

KNOWLEDGE – can you take your experiences, the facts and your opinion and shape this into a way to say something different? Can creating real value make not just a difference to your audience, but to you as well, in terms of being hungry and challenging how the world is shaping around you?

The failures and weaknesses can be found within these three walls. When a content marketing/owned media approach won’t work, is when you start to stumble within any of these three pillars.

Let’s take a closer look.

Copy of Today's Word Is ALIGN

It’s my ball, I’ll do what I want with it – why start to look deeper when everything is just your opinion with no validation from anyone else? Life would be so much easier.

The Dropbox Business Blog centres their stories on others but with a focus on greater connectivity and creating collaboration networks. Whilst there is the occasion to bang the Dropbox drum (such as how Dropbox is helping scientists speed up the university research process), it all comes from a place of creating a deeper purpose to enable people to work together for more effective solutions.

Those companies who are one sided where the megaphone is pointing inwards (no depth, just a solitary voice), will eventually run out of steam. Have a read of my last article on why you can’t do all this on your own.

A small timeframe to commit to – the biggest change for businesses is to take that leap from ‘we’ll give it a go for a few months’ to one where there is a commitment. Why should you care about something when it is only a fleeting pledge?

This isn’t a five-month tour, it’s a Rolling Stones 50-year rolling thing to experience. The last three Rolling Stones tours grossed around $1 billion. This has come from continually saying ‘we’re in.’

The person who asked for FAQs or really limp content – this is content that doesn’t trigger anything. It doesn’t challenge and doesn’t come from the heart.

Why should someone spend time reading/watching/listening, when it comes from a place where it has been passed from one department to another to approve and stirs nothing. It also reflects poorly on your business if a message is consistently average where the focus is just to publish to have some meagre company presence.

No one ever worked in a dull industry, as long as there are buyers, there is a demand. Even Virgin made their safety video, something to watch, not staring at people throwing suitcases into a plane.

Copy of Today's Word Is ALIGN (1)
A change is as good as a rest, lets have a rest – to produce is one skill, to show up, continuously is another. When you start skipping beats, you lose momentum. Sending my weekly email on a Thursday morning, people are expecting this in their inbox. It becomes a routine, otherwise something is wrong (I once received three emails asking if I was ok when I sent an email late on a Thursday afternoon two years ago).

Before Lady Gaga became a household name, she was writing for other acts. She has composed hits for Britney Spears, New Kids On The Block and Pussycat Dolls. She persevered by writing music, not by having a big break on a talent show. It took writing for other people before she got a hit.

You’re going too heavy – this has never been about producing more, no matter what Hubspot says. On the one hand businesses are being told to publish 16+ blog posts per month. On the other hand, people are unsubscribing from email lists because they are receiving too many emails (according to MarketingSherpa). The preferable amount of emails to receive from a company is one per week, according to the research.

The chopping and changing is getting confusing – when you are constantly changing tact, it becomes confusing. One month you could be highlighting the problems customers have in your marketplace, the next you’re loving showing the photos from a networking event.

Imagine you own a restaurant and it is always busy. The reason people come back is because you can deliver great meals and there is a menu that people really love. This is the same with the themes of your content. There are rules for how everything is played out. If you are a vegetarian restaurant, why start adding the mighty meaty pizza?

Everything has to come back to the core space that you believe in. Have a read of the spark and the framework.
Copy of Today's Word Is ALIGN (2)

You have lost what it is you believe in – whatever you create, curate and distribute has to have a different angle from the rest of your industry. You can’t just jump in and think that just because it’s easier to start using Facebook Live that it is going to drive audience to you.

Why should anyone care that you are starting to go heavier on Facebook Live/Snapchat/Medium? You have to find the one word that you stand for, click here to discover.

Only 40% of businesses in the 2017 Content Marketing In The UK survey by Content Marketing Institute, highlighted that they have a documented strategy that sets out a path to follow. A business has to look beyond collecting numbers and have meaning to others where there is a clear structure based on owning a space. By the way, publishing content is not a strategy.

content marketing in the UK

You love SEO…a bit too much – it is still out there, the businesses that love the fact that they are writing for search engines and not a person. Have a look at this example from a homepage (below).

Can spot the key word they are rooting for?


When you become fixated with SEO, according to Mark Schaefer, ‘you become just another dog fighting over a bone. It’s a battle you’ll probably never win unless you are the biggest, meanest dog in your industry…forever.’ Doesn’t it feel better when there are familiar people who are willing and prepared to share your stories, rather than hoping that a stranger will amplify reach?

It just sits there…yawning – you can’t just fill the quota bucket of 16 articles (as HubSpot mentioned above), publish and stand back with a sense of achievement. Just because you have produced the B2B blog equivalent of 1984, doesn’t mean that people are going to magnetically be drawn to it.

You have to fight for your right to draw attention to it (and encourage interaction). In an article from February 2016, I highlighted that, ‘distribution plays a pivotal role in audience growth, not just the dogged pursuit of content creation.’ The biggest distribution for my business has been embracing email to the brim.

In Talking Content Marketing interview that looked at distribution, Brian Honigman highlighted that, ‘distribution channels really only work once you have something to distribute. Make things that connect, consistently put them out there and make friends with people that talk about it, and word will get out.’

When you approach with no care, rhythm and knowledge, the initial enthusiasm dies quicker than joining a Slack group.


Lets Round Up

Taking on board a content driven approach is one centred on building trust, awareness and being worthy for others to pay attention. Attention does not happen in bursts of paid exposure anymore. Once the pot runs dry, you are forgotten about. Businesses and people are impatient as they won’t invest in the long term to build familiarity, closeness and the trust of someone else.

There are enough of us to go round today. We are all fragmented in a world that is at our fingertips. The masses that once sat to watch Only Fools and Horses aren’t there anymore because there are too many choices.

The opportunity today is to find those people who care and you can find a rhythm. The knowledge is in abundance to soak up.

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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?


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 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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MarketingHomebrew (1)

This week, lets look at a broader theme of being relevant to others. All filtered from the big world, to our world, to your world.


Emarketer recently published an article that looks at why people unsubscribe from emails.

One in four people unsubscribe because they receive too many emails in general. The next most popular answer was that they just aren’t relevant to someone else.

Looking further the DMA have recently released their 2017 Marketer Email Tracker ( Lets just say it gives marketers a bad name. One in ten marketers believe that all their emails to customers are relevant to them. Two in five said that ‘at best’ some of their emails were relevant to consumers.

It’s important for a brand to understand their new role as a Publisher. When it works, you have a direct relationship with an addressable person.


Are marketers getting above their station? Rather than this grand purpose, what is wrong with being level headed and building closer relationships?

This is about brand vision verses brand reality.

There is greater success when you share your ideas and approach when you reach a smaller audience rather than casting a wide net.


Thanks to Chris Jackson from Architecture In Motion, a CGI company based in Bristol (

Chris looks at the theme of running out of ideas.

If you say you are going to be committed to creating, will there be a point

when you burn out?


If you have any question to share with us, call it free consulting, we’ll make sure we’ll answer for you. Send to

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You Can’t Do All This On Your Own

To be good at what you do, you have to realise that you can’t do it in isolation.

When you create and collaborate with someone else you can generate 100 little solutions for others, rather than gunning for the glory of the ‘I AM THE INDUSTRY ALMANAC, AREN’T I CLEVER?’

There are far too many people that want to grab onto something and say ‘mine.’ Whether this is a company that is just publishing everything within it’s own insular four walls and no voices from outside, or the belief that thought leadership is ripping off a quote from someone else and claim as their own to an applause on LinkedIn. Lets just slow down.



The Focus On The Singular, Not The Plural

People and businesses are striving to be heard where we are detached from everything else but puff our chests out to look good in front of others.

The focus is still very much on the singular (look at me), rather than the plural (let us make this better). We are all guilty of it.

Everything I have done is by associating with other people in order to build a rounder knowledge of how something works. The ability to share this and facilitate creates immense payback.


Fight, Fight, Fight

It is ok to acknowledge that we don’t have to know everything; sometimes it is good for others to ‘come down’ with us.

When I was at Leicester University, during the 90s, there was one evening where a friend and myself walked into beating from four other men.

Admittedly it was my fault. I provoked with the shouting across a road. Next thing I know we were being chased. I thought I knew the way home via the car park of Homebase but we came to a gate that was locked.

Whilst my friend managed to skip with only a kick in the back, it was three others and me. Whilst I don’t consider myself as ‘handy’, what I did was hold onto one of the men and brought him down with me; this meant that when kicks were being thrown, I didn’t necessarily take the full brunt. We shared the load for a few seconds. I think I managed to get up and run away.


What does this mean in a business context? You need to bring others in with you and bring them down to your space/place in order to be stronger with the message you communicate. We don’t have all the answers, but we might have 100 little solutions, where others ‘come down’ with us.


The 100 Little Solutions

You need to associate with the best people within your world (rather than the world) if you want to create something that is unique and interesting to others.

I had no idea how to do a podcast, so I partnered with Ian Rhodes so we could find out together.

I wanted to publish a book, so I approached LID publishing.

I didn’t know how to put on an event, so I partnered with Matt Desmier for the Once Upon A Time theatre events.

I want to know more about the discipline of content marketing. I asked nearly 100 of the best marketers in the world today and the Talking Content Marketing series grew.

I want to find out how people can take control of the spaces they have ownership of, so I invite businesses that are doing this at the monthly You Are The Media Lunch Club.

When you find a teacher or a learning partner, you learn 10 times faster.


Moving From Beyond The Four Walls

Why learn new disciplines and practices that are relevant to your field? This is why people stick to what they know. It is far easier to talk about your business and what it does, rather than looking to solve problems that other people might have and then bring in the best people to solve it.

For instance, ExperienceUX are a company who specialise in UX research, they document how other brands are finding their way; have a look at their interviews. They are getting other brands to share their perspective, on their platform.

No one has the definitive answer to the problems within their marketplace and be seen as the oracle. However, you can create pockets of knowledge where you can propel forwards and bring in others to help shape and build. These pockets of knowledge are everything from the interview series that sits on your website through to the audio and video content that is published on a regular basis.


Aligning With Others

By finding different ways to communicate a message with a content marketing/owned media focus, I aligned myself with others. This has its roots in taking what Napoleon Hill demonstrates in Think & Grow Rich where you surround yourself with talented people (known as The Mastermind).

These are people who share your vision and are happy to participate. When you align yourselves with a host of smart minds, this is more powerful than one ‘battery’ as Hill explained.

Today allows ease of access to an audience than we have ever had before, so if others can understand what you believe in, it provides scope for new areas, such as taking the message from online to offline.

The key is not to have the answer to everything, but to have 100 little solutions that enables a better outcome for someone else. For instance, the Marketing Homebrew podcast has just started the 2017 shows (click here to listen). The plan for this year is to have more of a flow by breaking down the thirty-minute shows into three sections.

The first part of the show is what’s happening in the ‘big’ world of marketing in relation to what’s topical on an industry scale. The second is ‘our world’ and what’s relevant to Ian (Rhodes) and myself and ‘your world’ is intended to share the questions and work from the ‘homebrewers’ who listen to the show. Each week is not the definitive answer to marketing today, but someone listening may pick up the thread to an idea and hopefully progress (this is the 100 little solutions).

Back to ExperienceUX, they don’t have the answers to the industry, but by participating with others in the UX discipline, they are creating their own 100 little solutions. They have also just delivered their second UX Bournemouth meetup (Tuesday 21st January), where 100 people came to listen to a host of speakers.


Sharing What Has Worked, For You To Take On Board

When someone else can help contribute to your 100 little solutions it gives you a sense of belonging and encouragement to achieve something.

Ian and myself are still learning our podcasting trade, but this is what spurs us on in order to gain the recognition as solid podcasters. We will never reach the status of experts, we’d rather be seen as a useful resource to listen into each week.

If you are looking to find your allies and help create the small solutions for others, here is what I have found. This starts with accepting that you have to step out from beyond the screen and find others to magnify what it is you believe in.

Lead with enthusiasm – rather than pronouncing that you swallowed the book on your industry, you have to lead with your passion rather than just your professionalism.


You deliver (and do it again) – why would someone want to co create and participate with you, if all they see are a few sporadic blog posts? You don’t have to think that delivery is spending more on a Facebook campaign so people come to your homepage. Delivery is someone else acknowledging that you are present (and doesn’t binge on Sneaky Pete on Amazon Prime).


You have a defined voice – whether introverted or extroverted, it becomes easier when someone else can associate a voice. When you have a defined voice, this is what makes you stand out and build your own character traits. This then becomes the glue for someone else to collaborate with and easier to stand beside you.


There is a channel already in place – to build trust and someone else recognising that collaboration is worthwhile, there has to be a place where people can see consistency. This makes it easier for someone else to say yes. For instance, when I started the Talking Content Marketing series in 2013, I went straight for the jugular in terms of the most recognised marketers/content marketers in the world. From Joe Pulizzi, Robert Rose, Jay Baer, Chris Brogan, Mitch Joel and others, they are all here. This made it easier for others to say yes. If you want to know why they said yes, have a read of this article.


You create themes not goals – If I had a goal to become a leading content marketing practitioner in the UK, I would be left disappointed most of the time. Instead, I break things down into themes, this is where the small success are. These are to help businesses with a content marketing approach (what the business does), work towards businesses finding their own confidence (the weekly email and podcast) and highlighting the success of other business to make it easier for others to interpret (the You Are The Media Lunch Clubs).


Create a sense of unity – it is easier when you work with someone who has the same values. Every project I have worked on with someone else is where there is a shared enthusiasm. Who wanted to work on a project that took time, became laboured and no sense of momentum.


Never become distant (or what’s in it for me) – the whole purpose is to contribute and create a stronger force that is bigger than one person, the moment someone starts behaving distant, then the relationship is over. This is what I found with the publisher of The Content Revolution, but we are always learning.


Understand the history of your space – in order to have a clear voice, you have to learn as much as you can about the industry that you are part of and not just assume that everything is how it looks today. If you can understand how things were put together in the first place, then you can challenge it.


Lets Round Up

When you facilitate a different way to communicate, that you’re not familiar with (interview, audio, video etc) over time, it helps provide a rounder knowledge. When you do it with someone else (in partnership or invite to participate), you learn a lot faster.

Creating 100 little solutions acknowledges that you may not have the defined answer, but there is an option B, C, D and E to take on board. Sometimes, it’s not about the answers but creating the momentum for a different action.