Can you imagine a world before content marketing was such an essential pillar in every companies marketing efforts?
Well, that time existed, and Doug Kessler and his agency Velocity Partners were at the forefront of helping to educate companies on why content marketing was a worthwhile investment.
In this jam-packed episode we cover:
- Why growth is so much easier when you focus on your ideal customer vs. everyone.
- A lesson in what makes content go viral
- How hiring made a significant impact on Velocity's success
[4:00] Doug tells us what it was like being a remote worker in the days before we had Slack and Zoom.
[5:00] We talk about how difficult it is to do sustained work on one activity without interruptions, and why remote work can help with that.
[6.50] Doug and his co-founder Stan freelanced for 6 to 7 years before they decided to create an agency. Initially, they didn't describe their agency as content marketing, but it wasn't long before they started using that term.
[7:45] One of Doug's earliest aha moments was in the clients they targeted. Very early on, Doug realized the ideal fit for Velocity were people who were early adopters of content marketing, people who got it. Instead of targeting the entire world of B2B marketers, Doug and the Velocity team specifically targeted these early adopters.
[11:15] Growth is a lot easier when you work with people who get the value of your product. It's ok if your marketing alienates the people who don't feel that way. The people who don't see that value are going to be a lot harder to work with.
[16:45] Doug felt like content marketing increased in popularity very rapidly, whereas something like marketing automation took clients a lot longer to grasp.
[18:40] One of the things Doug learned from the success of their Slideshare - Crap: A Content Marketing Deluge, is putting words to something that's already in people's heads but hasn't been described yet. Crap hit a nerve with marketers who all believed one of the biggest dangers to content marketing was content marketing itself.
[22:40] Design is a critical part of the content marketing process, and it's something that is often undervalued by most people. Doug thinks of every piece of content as an app who's job is to deliver ideas into people's brains. The design and UX of that content is a big part of its success.
[24:30] Doug talks about their new content marketing format - 'Content Strings' and how they develop them to be like a self-contained app.
[27:30] Over the past ten years, content marketing has now become table stakes. It used to be publishing content was a competitive edge, now it's expected from companies. Doug feels it's become harder to grab people's attention through content, but it still rewards those who work hard at it.
[32:05] Doug disagrees with the advice that you always need to be positive in your marketing. It's ok to tap into emotions like hate, fear, disgust, anger if you do it in the right way.
[34:00] Most marketers gravitate towards 'best practice.' The best marketing comes from people who deviate from those practices and does something different.
[37:45] One of the most critical things Doug and Stan got right in the growth of Velocity is to hire great people and let them do great work. Those people stuck around at Velocity because Doug and Stan deeply cared about the mission of the company and that shone through to their employees.