Content Marketing and Brand Story
Jesse and Rich talk with Tim Osborn, the resident content marketer, about how to get started with content marketing.
You can meet Tim in this Ecwid video:
- Brand Story
- Video Creation
- EAT Score
- Sustainable Content Strategy Social posts and boosting to your audience.
Jesse:: What’s going on, Richard? Happy Friday.
Richard:: Happy Friday. It’s not so sunny this time though.
Jesse:: Not a sunny day.
Richard:: We have a season. The season going on out there.
Jesse:: It happens in most of the world. It happens in San Diego too.
Richard:: Four times a year.
Jesse:: We’ll persevere somehow. We’re gonna get through this.
Richard:: It’s going to be a busy day. We create content here. And we’re bringing in the content creator for Ecwid.
Jesse:: Yeah. This is kind of like a day off for me and we brought in… Well, instead of using our own words, especially some stumbling over them, we better bring in the content writer here, Tim Osborn. Welcome to the show.
Tim:: Hello everyone. And might I say, well done on the playful banter. Yeah, it’s playful. It was bantery. I loved it.
Jesse:: There was a couple of missteps there. But we’re not redoing.
Tim:: I was really feeling it.
Jesse:: Yeah, that’s good.
Richard:: And it’s your word guy which is mostly right. So the pressure is on you today.
Tim:: The pressure, I feel it.
Jesse:: We’re pretty much just going to turn our mics off and let you spit out content because that’s what you do for a living.
Tim:: That’s what they tell me.
Jesse:: Word guy, content guy. So for people wondering who is this Tim guy. You might know him from such famous videos as 4 Steps to Start Selling Online. It’s a new YouTube video out there and also the backwards hat wearing skateboarding guy from the Facebook pixel video. You had your first troll.
Tim:: I did. That was that was a big day for me. He’s in the UK too. Like wow, people in the U.K. really hate me. It’s awesome.
Jesse:: He did not appreciate your video.
Richard:: You know you’re onto something when you get your first troll.
Tim:: I know, I was genuinely… There were positive comments, likes, all those things. And this guy took the time to get on my video and troll me. I’m honored. I really am.
Richard:: You should be. We need to hit a cord somewhere. He paid attention and he took the time to write to your point. If you didn’t hit something in him, by the way, I don’t want to go into the troll part, but that actually adds to… I mean we saw an election one because of people trolling stuff too.
Tim:: We’ll get into contact pretty soon but it’s engagement. Engagement is awesome. Good or bad, you want people to engage with your content, you want to elicit a response.
Jesse:: You did that. He really did not like you. So other people listen and hear that out now…
Richard:: They’re going to get a lift in there by trying to figure out what did he say.
Jesse:: Everyone’s going to go to our Facebook page and look for the Facebook pixel video. Tim, prepare for some more engagement, hopefully, some more trolls.
Richard:: Maybe you’re going to get some support from the Ecwid community. Backing you up too.
Tim:: I will respond to the best troll. I will personally respond.
Jesse:: All right. I like it. All right. Tim, now it’s time for me and Rich to just let you take over here. So you’re the content guy. What is content?
Tim:: That is a good question, Jesse. People think content is a lot of things. Oh, it’s a blog. Oh, it’s a video. It’s all of those things. Your content is your story, it’s your brand story, it’s your brand experiences. It’s how you communicate, who you are as a brand to your audience.
Jesse:: OK. So for somebody that’s a new merchant looking to sell some stuff here. What does that mean to them? Does that mean like… they don’t have a story. Maybe they need to develop that story. What do they do?
Tim:: Yeah, I would say if you’re just starting out you want to make your first piece of content. The key is to really know who you are as a brand and who your audience is. I think those two things are really closely tied. A lot of who you define yourself as a brand is going to be dependent on who you see yourself as you see as your audience. I believe you had Miller Machines, shout out to Billy Miller on the show a while back. He has a very
Richard:: So would you say back to Jesse’s question, if they’re just getting started and they’ve never really thought about that before. You’ve told stories growing up but you’re not like Let me tell you a story. They just creating things. So would you almost define that as what do they stand for? What are they trying to accomplish? Is it their mission? They might not even know their audience at the beginning.
Tim:: Yeah. It’s kind of an ethereal thing. It’s the essence of who your brand is. What’s your personality, what do you stand for? What do you like? Basic things like what do you sell. It’s all of those things that make up the personhood of your brand. And a great place to start is just defining your About us. You don’t have About us page. Start there, start saying. Let’s say you’re in a bar and you’re talking about your store. What are you going to say to someone about your store? How it came to be? All of those things.
Jesse:: Makes sense. And if you can’t tell that story maybe you go have another drink at the bar and that story will somehow develop. But yeah, I think that’s probably a good tip for people that are starting out. You have to have a story about your store. I know, Tim, you have your sample store out there, Pickle Pete’s Sundries. What is the story of Pickle Pete’s Sundries?
Tim:: Pickle Pete’s Sundries is just a project store that gets no traffic. I just did it for fun on a weekend but it’s all branding. The whole store is just branding and the essence of it is just a sarcastic play on an
Richard:: I almost went to look it up and I’m curious did you hook it up to a Printful store to see if someone would actually buy it?
Tim:: I did. I made the logo myself. It’s a little pickle with arms and a face and it’s just the most crudely drawn pickle you’ve ever seen.
Richard:: The most average pickle you’ve ever seen.
Tim:: Yes. And I just went for it and that is the essence of branding. It’s just like this is my niche, this is who I am and then I go for it and every aspect of the content that I create, everything that I do, speaks to this brand.
Richard:: So you prefer writing?
Richard:: Jesse and I like talking. Some people like vlogging and you as a content creator probably do a bit of all the above. How do they decide how to tell the story, where do they tell the story? There’s lots of places to put the story. Where do they start?
Tim:: Yeah. That’s a great question, Rich. It really all comes back to knowing who your audience is. If you know who they are then you know where you can find them. So maybe you want to be on YouTube, maybe you want to be creating videos because that’s where your audience is. Maybe your audience is teenage boys who watch gaming videos. They’re gonna be on YouTube or they’re gonna be on Twitter or whatever it is. And it just comes back to knowing your audience. It really depends and maybe you want to do a variety of things, maybe you want to be on Facebook and Instagram and YouTube or maybe you just want to be on Instagram. But yeah, you really have to know who your audience is.
Richard:: And if someone’s just getting started? Should they be concerned as to the quality of this content? Because I could imagine someone for the first time. They’re sitting down there, trying to run the business, like Oh great, now I get to make stuff in addition to my product and watch the family. Is there a certain level of production value they have to have? Or can they scale that and change that or does that still come down to the audience?
Tim:: I think there’s always going to be a level of scalability that has to happen as your store grows. But do the best with what you have. Don’t just slap something together because you want to get it done. But if you’re just starting out don’t pour 10 hours into a blog. Set aside an hour to make a good Facebook post that you can use on Instagram and Twitter or whatever your social channels are and repurpose that content. Start small. Do something that you can do consistently. That’s really important, when you’re starting out. Set consistent goals for yourself. I want to make two posts a week. That’s something I have time for. And do that as well as you can and go from there.
Richard:: When you say repurpose, do you mean specifically take that same piece or do they tweak it a little bit for the different platforms?
Tim:: I think it’s definitely to depend on what platforms you’re using but there will be some tweaking involved. For instance, we’ve got our pixel video that we just did. So Jesse and I launched a new vlogging program for Ecwid. This just all tips and tricks for new merchants there. So we’ll say our new merchants are just starting out, they’re a little apprehensive. They don’t really know what they’re going to do with their store or how they’re going to do it. These videos are designed to come alongside them and say: Hey, here’s from our experience some of the things you can be thinking about and doing it to keep your store off smoothly. And so we’ve got this pixel video and we’ve got it on YouTube it’s a full length video. And then we’ve chopped it up for Twitter, and we’ve chopped it up even more for Instagram. But we have one main body of content that we’ve been able to use and repurpose in different ways. So we essentially get four or five pieces of content out of it.
Richard:: Yeah that’s awesome, I like that. Especially, if you batch those and do those over time you could really just be like This is my creativity day. And then back to work and then if you’re lucky enough to have other people chop it up, and if not there’s all kinds of programs out there.
Jesse:: And by the way, all the pros out there they batch. So when you see all these different brands and you like Man, they seem to have time for social media every single day. But it seems like it’s always at the same time. No, they wrote all those one day in a couple hours and they set it up and away they went. So that’s how things work.
Tim:: Yeah, absolutely, and there are tons of programs out there that you can use. Some free, some not, to help you start setting. Even Facebook, they have a post scheduler where you can go in a week before, a month before and setup all of your posts. It’s just one day and it makes it a lot easier to do, it’s more sustainable. The key is to find a process that’s sustainable and repeatable for you when you’re starting to create content.
Jesse:: Now it makes sense and I think also when we talk about creating content you mentioned a post. So people are probably saying: I don’t have time to create content. But what did you post on your personal Facebook and tell people about your kids and things like that? You do have time for a post. So like this is your business. If you want it to grow, there is a certain amount of time requirement and but it’s not that bad.
Tim:: And I think a big thing too is just being cognizant of opportunities. There’s so many opportunities that you have to build content. We do a little bit higher production value videos. But maybe you’ve just got your cell phone in your hand and you want to shoot a quick video for your audience on Facebook and Instagram. Just pull your phone out find a good background. Maybe I don’t know stand by a river, buy up a plain black wall or whatever it is and just shoot a quick video. It’ll take you two minutes. Yeah, two minutes.
Richard:: So how concerned should people be about the number of views? You should even be thinking about that or produce the content regardless of how many views should they be judging? Does that mean it’s a good piece of content if I get a lot of engagement.? Does it mean it was a bad piece of content if I didn’t get a lot of engagement? Should they expect it to be low in the beginning?
Tim:: I think there’s a lot of responses I’d want to have to that question. Obviously, you want your content to be trending upwards in terms of views as your followership grows and as your viewership grows. Maybe get more subscribers or you get more followers on Facebook or whatever it is. But yeah, watch the trend, don’t look at the specific numbers. And yeah, it’s gonna be low in the beginning. You might have some video that somehow somebody shares and it finds the right person and that one goes viral. That doesn’t mean that that video is better or worse than your other videos. It just means the right person saw it, they shared it and the right other people shared it. That’s the idea of viral content marketing.
Richard:: Should they keep that in mind? I sometimes think about that when we say the word content. I get it and I get why we say it but it’s such an unemotional word. Create content. And should they be thinking I’m creating content? Or or should they be thinking I’m going to be creating this cool thing that engages this kind of emotion or are they overthinking it? When they do that or do they just…
Tim:: No, I don’t think that’s overthinking it because I think when people think content traditionally, they tend to think of words but content is so much more than that. It’s pictures, it’s videos, it’s creating an experience for your audience. Yeah, you want to, and again it comes back to knowing what your brand is, but you want to have an experience in mind for your customers. Like I want them to feel this way when they watch this. And if you’re speaking to your audience correctly, there’s a much better chance that your content is going to go viral because you’ve had that in mind. You’ve had how you want them to feel and mind, how you want them to think and react to your content.
Jesse:: Tim, we’ve talked a lot about video and social media content in general, so I want to take it back a little bit to people’s website. Because of course, creating videos and creating emotions and things like that, that’s awesome, but for people just getting started, they might just need… We talked a little bit about the About us. So for people listening. Go look at your site right now and read more About us section. Does that deliver an emotion.? Does that really tell your story? But beyond that too you’re also creating content for Google. I say that with a little downbeat but this is a fact. This is a reality that you are going to need. You need to create content for Google as well. How can we get people in that mindset, giving some tips there?
Tim:: Yeah, I think one obvious thing is just knowing the keywords that you’re playing to. Maybe you have a Google Analytics account set up, do some research to see what keywords you want to hit. And Google has a way that they rank content called their
Jesse:: For more actionable tips for people listening. The names of your products, and not the name that you have in the back of your head. But what people are searching for on Google… You need to use those keywords in your content, being on the product page or maybe it makes it to the About Us. When we talk about content for your website specifically it is words. And sometimes you have to write content that is maybe not the most exciting.
Tim:: And I think that’s a great point. It’s not always going to be fun content. Sometimes you just need to say what you need to say. If you’re selling a chair, you need to say it’s a chair. You don’t want to come up with some crazy name for it. It’s a chair, it’s a wooden chair, it’s a metal chair, it’s a foldable chair. But something I like to keep in mind speaking to a product specifically, surprise and delight is my thinking. Maybe you want that content to be 90% SEO content but then peppering something fun, something that speaks to your brand. Maybe you use a different word or you vary your sentence structure a little bit. Something that keeps it interesting but you still feed the Google monster.
Richard:: When they’re thinking about a name in this, I totally get, name it wooden chair but do you keep in mind a pain point maybe that your customers going through? Because probably a lot of times they’re not looking for the solution as much as they’re looking to solve a problem. Do you create content sometimes around almost the keyword structure being more How do I fix this? or What would alleviate lower back pain? This particular wooden chair alleviates. You know what I mean, I know it’s a strange word in question but…
Tim:: Absolutely. Absolutely. Again it all comes back to knowing your audience, knowing how they’re searching for the spike. Maybe it’s someone searching for
Jesse:: You don’t need to just repeat lower back pain in every single sentence either. There’s a there is a fine line to it where people think that Oh, I have to use this word over and over and over. A little bit. Yes, you do need to use that word but don’t be ridiculous. Google is getting pretty smart, if you just use that keyword in every sentence, you actually get penalized for it.
Tim:: It’s a fine balance because you’re balancing feeding Google, getting the SEO rankings, and you’re also balancing writing to real people. Yes, you want to rank well but ultimately you’ve got human beings that are coming to your site and they’re reading your content. So it needs to be written in such a way that yes, you’ve got your keywords in there, but it’s something that a person wants to read.
Jesse:: I think we can even use a
Tim:: And I think you bring up a good point. Be willing to spend a little bit of extra time on your website to make it good. We talked about making your social content sustainable and something that you can do consistently. Your website is your foundation, it’s your tent pole and you want that to be really good. That’s where your customers are gonna go buy your products. If you need to spend some extra time doing that balancing act of how do I fit the keywords and also make the sound good, do that. That’s really really important.
Jesse:: And then you can do the fun stuff like go into making videos, do Instagram videos, that is way more fun. Tim got to skateboard in a video, that’s way more fun than writing 500 words on a wooden chair. Totally understand. But when you make this cool video and people come to your site, you want to make sure that it stands up to the new cool videos.
Tim:: Absolutely, do first things first. And the very first thing is your store. Make it good. Make it really good.
Richard:: How do you help people create content? Because the ultimate goal is to sell stuff unless you’re just altruistic and you’re just writing things to help the world. We’re talking to
Tim:: Yeah. I’ll start with the last portion of the question because that’s the one I remember the most.
Richard:: All right, we’ll come back to it.
Tim:: Yeah, amplifying your content. We’ve seen a trend over the last 5 to 10 years, where maybe 5 or 10 years ago you would post something on YouTube or you post something on Facebook or Twitter and you got pretty good organic reach. Organic reach means you didn’t put any money behind it, people just saw it, they liked it and it got spread around naturally. Since that time a lot of these big guys the Twitters, the Facebooks, and Instagrams of the world, they switched up their algorithms so that organic reach is maybe only 2 to 3 percent. Even your entire followership, they might not see all of your posts.
Tim:: Actually, 98% are guaranteed not to see it basically. To put that in perspective. They’re really not seeing it.
Richard:: And I have a sneaky suspicion it’s right around the time they
Tim:: Rich, I would be inclined to agree with that one. It’s their businesses. They want to make money. And you’re a business. They’re going to make money off of you. And the way they do that is by ad revenue. And so one great thing you can do is to boost your posts, it’s not very expensive to do. You can do it for a dollar a day or maybe a dollar every two days or whatever it is. And it’s going to be even less expensive if you know who your audience is. If you have a very
Jesse:: It used to be a little bit harder. You had to log into the back, into Facebook and do these ads, but if you want to just boost it to your followers, you can do that from your phone once you have a credit card in there. And trust me Facebook will send you a message like Do you want to boost this? You will get these emails, I guarantee it. And you can really literally just click a button and say Yeah, I want to spend 20 bucks. It can be that easy and it’s only 20 bucks but your followers that are already following your brand are gonna hear that. You can get way more complicated as Tim was alluding to, like using pixels. You can do way better targeting in that. But if you just want to make… you’re on the run and on your phone you get an email from Facebook that says Do you want to use this.? You click the button, boom, you spend 20 bucks and all of a sudden your followers heard that message. You definitely look to that, if you spend all this time creating content, unfortunately, you need to spend a little bit of money. Hate to tell you. That’s just part of the game.
Tim:: Yeah. You’ve spent that much time on the content, you’ve put a lot of effort into it, you’ve made it great. It’s such a shame to see great content go to waste.
Jesse:: I’m gonna boost our video out there. Just everybody knows that if you’re listening to podcasts and you noticed the video of me and him, that’s because I boosted it. That’s how you’re gonna see it.
Richard:: I’m going to swing back around to the second part of the question since it was the first part and we didn’t cover it. The second part of it is do they need to… if they’re specifically saying I know I want this to be an advertiser. It’s slightly different, it’s not the About Us page, it’s not letting people know about the community, it’s not let me know what you stand for but now maybe it’s a funny piece. Let’s think maybe like a dollar shave club or something like that. In a situation like that when they know they’re going to be specifically advertising this to get, let’s say, top of the funnel awareness campaign. Do you have any good ways to help them maybe come up with creative ideas? Because they might be super focused in on their product. Oh my gosh, now I’ve got to be creative too. I got to come up with, I don’t have an ad agency that’s working with my business yet. How can they drum up some good creative ideas for actually advertising?
Tim:: I worked in that I worked in the ad agency world for a while and I would be remiss to say that I didn’t watch a lot of other people’s content. I think that’s a great place to start. It’s just like see what’s out there, see what other people are doing and it’s OK to borrow ideas from other people. People have been borrowing ideas and they’re content and they’re moving their literature for hundreds and hundreds of years. And if you do it, it’s gonna be just fine. Just see what’s out there, see what you can do. And then taylor some of those ideas for for your products. Yeah, indefinitely. Yeah, no the kind of things that your audience is already engaging with. I was chatting with an
Jesse:: All great ideas. I think if you’re listening right now and it seems like that’s too much, it’s not just go find similar competitors and basically go watch their videos. I think is what you’re saying.
Tim:: Yeah, absolutely.
Richard:: Feel free to borrow. You’re gonna make it your own. I can’t remember who said it, talent borrows, genius steals, or something. There’s a lot of platforms out there where you can literally even look and see what the competition’s doing. I would recommend definitely making it your own with your own unique twist in the way you’re not literally stealing and doing the exact campaign. But it’s funny, it’s amazing how much the mental mind game will make you not want to do that, you think you have to do your own thing. And I was talking with my wife about this. When it comes to our daughter, she’s only six and a half now but we were thinking towards the future and I thought to myself: wow, isn’t it weird how in school if you had someone else do your homework, you’re cheating. But when you own a business, if someone else did it, you’re outsourcing or you’re delegating, it’s sending mixed messages. But I get it. That’s what I really want to get out there to the listeners is you don’t always have to start from scratch. There are other people that have done this, that are in front of similar audiences.
Richard:: There’s a lot of Tony Robbins out there, some people just need to hear it like Tony Robbins. Some people need to hear another motivational speaker. You need to stick to be you. But there’s definitely things to learn from the competition.
Tim:: Yeah. Jesse and I are not the first people to create an
Jesse:: But none are as good.
Tim:: None of them are Jesse and I. Jesse and I put our own flair on it, our own spin on it. If you really don’t have time, there are stock images and there are stock video and there are all of those things.
Jesse:: There’s a ton of different apps out there too actually. They’re all not really free anymore. I think once called Promo, you can take different, Loom and Five as one out there too, where it takes different stock video and you can adjust it and play around with it. You have to put a little bit of time into it but you don’t need fancy cameras, you have a phone and some other apps and you can build some pretty cool content, some pretty cool videos.
Tim:: It’s all really attainable. It sounds like it’s a lot but it’s really attainable.
Richard:: So, in a nutshell, for people what would you say the best way to actually get started? We covered a lot. We cover different platforms. We covered writing, we cover podcasts and we covered blogging. How could someone listening right now get started today and have something done by the end of today?
Tim:: Pick one social media platform, just pick one. Maybe it’s Instagram, maybe it’s Facebook, maybe it’s Twitter. Plan out two weeks. Say I want to have a post that goes out every two days and write those posts. Set aside two hours today to write those posts. Snap a couple photos or maybe you’ve got some stock photos and just schedule them.
Richard:: It’s a combination of probably a little bit the way you like to create the best meets the way your customers like to consume and where they’re at.
Tim:: Correct. Absolutely. Again comes back to knowing your brand, knowing your audience.
Jesse:: I like it. So for everybody that’s looking for their Tony Robbins of content. I think Tim Osborn is your Tony Robbins. A little shorter, just saying.
Tim:: Yeah, he’s a big guy.
Jesse:: So Tim, what other pieces of content are you working on for Ecwid here? Let’s give a little teaser for anybody out there. What do you have in the works that you can share?
Tim:: We’re always creating new blogs and newsletters and all those great things. I think the biggest thing these days is this new blog series that we’ve started, we’re really excited about it. I’m really just trying to support our new merchants and help them be successful. We really want you to be successful. And so we’ve got a video coming up here pretty soon about Instagram Shoppable posts. It’s how you can use Instagram, the social media platform, where you’re already creating content, you can use that same content to actually sell your products, tag products and promote sales.
Jesse:: We’re doing videos on that. See, I didn’t even have to do a plug for Instagram Shoppable posts today then. You did it for me.
Tim:: You’re welcome.
Jesse:: All right. I like it. All right, Rich. Any last questions for Tim here?
Richard:: No, I just I want to get to create more content. That’s the beauty of what just happened with us just having a content or content party right here.
Tim:: This is content. We have created content just sitting here talking.
Richard:: Yeah. Don’t underestimate that. That would be the one thing that I would probably throw out there and that additional pieces. Don’t underestimate the idea of just documenting your story. Literally, there are people that are being successful out there, saying I suck at this right now but this is what I want to do and this is what I stand for and I’m building this thing and sharing it. Some of those people are having more success than people that are trying to produce highly produced things.
Tim:: Yeah. There are so many just low hanging fruit content opportunities. All you need to do is take them. Maybe you’re at an event you snap a picture, maybe you’ve got a story of how you failed that day and you just want to post a video. Snag that low hanging fruit and get it out there.
Richard:: I love it. I love it. Well, let’s get to work.
Jesse:: All right. Let’s do it. I took a video, made more content, double dipping. Tim, thanks for being on.
Tim:: Thanks for having me.
Jesse:: All right everybody, get out there and make it happen.
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