Webinar ·

How to Build an Integrated Content Marketing Program by Tracey Wallace of Klaviyo

Travis Dailey

Webinar recorded on July 28, 2022

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Tracey Wallace of Klaviyo stopped by the Clearscope webinar to share how she builds an integrated content marketing program.
She provided a fantastic framework that you can apply to your content program today.

Tracey covered:

  • Why follow an integrated content marketing approach?

  • How to lay the groundwork: Content triggers & content types

  • How content processes flow for integrated content marketing

  • Why you need to earn internal trust to lay this foundation

  • The content team (and skills) you’re working toward

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Watch the full webinar

Tracey graciouslly shared a copy of her slidedeck. You can check it out here. And check out the resources Tracey shared below:

About Tracey Wallace:
Tracey is the Director of Content Strategy at Klaviyo, where she works to educate ecommerce marketers on the future of brand building, data ownership, and owned marketing in general. Previously, she was the Director of Marketing at MarketerHire, and the Global Editor-in-Chief at BigCommerce.

She also writes a weekly newsletter called
Contentment on how to run content marketing teams without burning out. She is a third-generation family business owner, and lives in Austin, Texas with her wife and dog.
Follow Tracey on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/TraceWall

Read the transcript

Travis:

So we're excited to have Tracey join us. I've been a big fan of Tracey's work ever since her time at BigCommerce, and I'm thrilled to have her on today to discuss how she recommends building an integrated content marketing program. We're going to jump straight into things and get started, as Tracey has a lot to cover. A quick reminder, use the Q and A section of Zoom to drop in your questions and Trace will do her best to answer them at the end of today's webinar. Tracey is the director of the content strategy at Klaviyo, where she works to educate eCommerce marketers on the future of brand building, data ownership, and owned marketing, in general. Previously, she was the director of marketing at Marketerhire and the global editor-in-chief at BigCommerce.

Travis:

She also writes a weekly newsletter called Contentment, on how to run content marketing teams without burning out. She is a third-generation family business owner and lives in Austin, Texas with her wife and dog. Tracey, the floor is yours, if you want to please share your screen.

Tracey:

Amazing, yes. Awesome. I will go ahead and share my screen. A lot of this integrated content marketing ... first of all, can everyone see my screen?

Travis:

You're good.

Tracey:

Okay. Amazing. Perfect. Hi. I am very excited to be here. A lot of what I'm going to cover today is part of how you build a strategy so that you and your team don't burn out. Integrated content marketing is pretty much the only way I've figured out how to do that, and I'll say this, I don't like to ever call anything the only way. Sorry, I'm like playing with this shell here in my hand. I don't even like to call anything the only way to do something just because that's rarely true, context and marketing advice matters a lot. Context and any advice you're given matters a lot, but when it comes to integrated marketing this is my kind of tried and true, most proven way to make sure that you can get everything you need out the door in a way that is efficient for you and your team.

Tracey:

And there's a lot of things that you can mean with efficient, but for me, it means that you can plan properly ahead so that folks can make sure that they have enough time of vacation, super important, to avoiding burnout and the ability to feel like you can take a vacation and not think about work in that time, but also beyond vacation, beyond mental health for your team, every content team needs to produce results for their organization. Content teams everywhere seem to use a bunch of different KPIs. Some focus may be only on SEO or organic search. Others may be more on leads generated, maybe MQLs, whatever it might be. In my experience, content teams have typically done both of those things, which is what you need to drive an ever-increasing amount of organic search traffic.

Tracey:

And you need to convert that traffic into leads and MQLs, and integrated marketing strategy, integrated content marketing strategy is my best way to do that again, ideally without burning out. So over here on the right-hand side, as was mentioned a little bit ago, I have started a weekly content marketing newsletter. It is mostly for content marketing leaders on how to think through setting up content programs and a variety of things that I kind of wish I would've known maybe earlier in my career. I do ask in that intro email though, as folks sign up to let me know what their biggest problems are, kind of struggles, or challenges in content marketing.

Tracey:

These five here are some of the like biggest ones that I hear, which is we need to generate revenue from content, which means we need to be able to track, we need to convert people from content to leads, to MQLs, to like paying the company money. That is super important, especially right now as an economy may be going into a recession, and a lot of organizations, especially a lot of larger tech organizations are laying people off. A Good way to avoid that for you and your team, but also to progress in your career is to make sure that the work you're doing tracks back to revenue foreign organizations. It's a capitalistic society and we have to abide by that at least in our jobs, maybe not so much inter-personalized, however, if you want to live.

Tracey:

Awesome, my biggest challenge in content marketing is content promotion. So that's content promotion and distribution. Biggest challenge is ... for small teams, how do we just keep up with the sheer amount of content requests and ultimately then show ROI? So that one is a mix between mentally, how do we remain stable and make sure that we aren't stretching capacity, but then also, how do we also show that it's actually working. Amplification, how do we get in front of more people that is also distribution. I do tend to talk fast and we got a lot of slides to go through, so I'm going to try to pick that up. We will have questions at the end. You can always ask me questions over at, @TraceWall on Twitter.

Tracey:

Cool, and you will get these slides. So as I move through things really quickly, just know after this, you will get these slides. Of course, then the biggest challenge is how do I build a framework, principles, a baseline that might not seem as related to everything else here, but here's the thing with integrated marketing, and I hope my next slide says this. Yeah, perfect. Here's the thing with integrated marketing. Integrated marketing, I have a little bit of a definition here, but ultimately, it means that anything that's integrated means that you are working with other teams that are not your own and seeking your timelines, that things are going live at the exact time that other people also need them.

Tracey:

That is not easy to do for a marketing team, for just human beings, in general, I know we are a very social species, which is great and amazing. In order to be social effectively, we need really, really great organization, especially within companies and within organizations, especially to do any type of integrated marketing and integrated content marketing, especially, principles and frameworks by which you create and sharing those out with larger teams so that they understand the processes behind what your team does. Super important and we're going to walk through a lot of that today. Ultimately though, integrated marketing is just making sure that every single piece of content that you produce is used by one or several internal teams to hit their goals also.

Tracey:

That means that you are basically never ... okay, rarely because it's never good to use absolutes, creating content that another internal team hasn't already said that they need and/or will share or will use for their own purposes. Typically, in my experience, content marketing teams have control over one distribution channel for the most part and that is SEO. At some organizations you don't even have full control over that, because SEO might live in a different part of the organization. So SEO, you should always consider as part of ... as a distribution channel, but you're going to need far more than that, especially because we know that SEO can take time to ultimately show results, and we'll cover all of this in a little bit here too.

Tracey:

So really integrated marketing is about distribution. It is also about team productivities that you were essentially doing with these kind folks over here, recommend, which is you create once and distribute forever. We'll come back to this in a little bit. I have long been very confused by this idea of great ones distribute forever, and I have come to an internal happy place on like what I think this ultimately means, and we'll talk about that in the closings. We'll wrap back around. Okay, cool. This is great. Not just for you and your team in terms of like, "Yes, Tracey, we want to drive more organic traffic and we want to turn those leads into ... or we want to turn that traffic into leads and MQLS and show ROI," all while being mentally happier and not having our capacity stretched and being able to take vacations.

Tracey:

Your marketing team wants this too, though. I should have put your content here in the middle, but your website is content, but every single organization or every single marketing org, marketing department within your organization needs content. Marketers need things to say to their prospects, to the leads that they're trying to nurture into MQLs, SQLs, customers, in terms of retention, whatever it might be, your team needs content. As a result, a lot of content marketing organizations end up as service organizations within their orgs. I don't think that is necessarily the right way to think about that. We'll talk about it here too. Keep in mind, your marketing team will also benefit and will also like an integrated content marketing approach.

Tracey:

So if you are not following one right now, start to lay the foundation for setting it up, again, this whole presentation and we'll walk through that. Great. So content marketing should exist at the center of your marketing organization. Not every single place sets it up that way and then, here's what I was just talking about, which is sitting at the center does not mean that the content marketing ... or that content marketing is a service only organization. Content marketers are strategists by nature. And here's a quick list of the skills that content marketers ultimately need. So typically this is what I use when I'm hiring as well, which is if I'm hiring more junior folks, really want them to have some of the stuff that's up here.

Tracey:

Then, as you scale all the way up to maybe VP, of course, as you scale up, you need to have the ability to do the one before and within each of these, there's different levels in there as well. Ultimately, content marketers are strategists. They need to be domain experts, that skill builds over time. They need to be kind of marketing generalists. They need to have a good understanding of how every other marketing channel works and functions the type of content that perform well there, the formats that that content performs well in there so that those content strategists can then make strategic decisions for their own calendars and for their own teams, and honestly, for the larger marketing team in general, in order to build these integrated marketing plans.

Tracey:

So again, just because content typically sits at kind of the center of a marketing organization that does not mean that your content marketing organization should be a service only organization. It is not a ticket in, content out kind of thing. There needs to be more strategy involved. Again, we're going to walk through that. Great, so where do you begin in integrated marketing? Sorry, I have an awful cough right now. I'm trying to spare all of you. Integrated marketing requires internal trust and collaboration that starts with a departmental organization. That for me, starts with how you define ... how you create content, which I like to call the content compass.

Tracey:

This is mine. My number one thing. My team, my content strategist, my writers, our number one goal are to be advocates for our reader. Of course, what the heck does that mean? Cool. In order to be advocates for our reader, we want to have very clear definitions on who our content team is, which is basically why we create, what our content tenants are, which is how we create content? Then ultimately, our content priorities, which is the order in which we create content. We share this information out with the larger marketing team so that they can understand essentially what gets like a faster yes from us. So again, you can see here, blog content is created when it passes through the eye of this content compass.

Tracey:

This is how I define this for myself or my teams. You can take this and reuse it, or you can create your own. That also works. Cool, so who we are ... I got to move this. Okay, perfect. Who we are or why, and a little bit of how? So, you want to establish a founding principle for why you create. Remember, while content marketing teams work within marketing organizations, if you were being a true advocate for your reader, you were technically working for your readers. So what can you do to be an advocate for that reader? Number one, you want to be your reader's researcher for hire or researchers for hire, which means you and your team have access to because of the company that you work out, a certain amount of customers and their anonymized data, experts within your organization, influencers in the industry, partners.

Tracey:

You have a bunch of people you can go out and talk to when your readers are probably really busy doing a lot of other things. I work in E-commerce tech. My readers are busy running their E-commerce businesses. They don't have a lot of time to go out and look up data, analyze it, figure out what it means, interview all these other people to figure out how they are ultimately putting strategies and whatnot together. So our content needs to always answer those questions for them. If the reader has a question, you should be able to find the data and answer it concretely faster and better than anyone else in our industry. Of course, it's not just about the data. It is also about the people.

Tracey:

So we're looking for aspirational brands. Everybody wants to be better than they currently are for the most part, that is like the basic philosophy of marketing in general. So I consider our job to connect those brands or to connect with those aspirational brands, understand what it is that they're doing, that is working, what isn't, what advice they have. Then, ultimately share that with our audience with permission, of course, especially if you have a large legal department, of course, you need to go through that. We are audience has access to people who otherwise wouldn't be approachable or whom they wouldn't have time to talk to. It's not just about the brands either. It is of course, about people and experts.

Tracey:

So we want to talk to the influencer. So we want to talk to the creators. We need to gather those insights and present them in a way that is easy to read, easy to digest and actionable ultimately. That's the goal of being an advocate for your reader is you don't want to waste anyone's time and wasting someone's time is not giving them something actionable to do once they leave, or some kind of learning that they have ultimately received from these. Then, finally, how we present is just as important as what we present. Our content has two seconds, to convince someone to continue reading, watching, or listening, the way we present our findings communicates through our audience, our level of investment and seriousness about our goals.

Tracey:

Our content must inspire and educate without overwhelming in both the design and the readability. We'll cover more of these in detail, here soon. Perfect. I love this slide. This is just like who we try to never be, which is 90% of marketing articles that you find on Google are regurgitated content written by people with no firsthand experience. Writing for SEO only has created this experience on the internet. The internet is polluted by marketers and SEO content like this. Integrated marketing helps to make this not be the case, and I hope that every single one of you as good arbiter of publishing content on the internet are trying to not continue to ... continuing to pollute it or polluting it at all, because I've certainly polluted it myself a few times, but always trying to move away from this.

Tracey:

Never trying to just regurgitate other things that you find for click wins. Cool. Why people read our content? What makes our content world class and stand out again? This is the stuff that I use. You can use something similar or create your own. This is shared again with anyone who wants to write for us, with our partners, with our internal teams. So what makes our world class content stand out? Well-researched, highly actionable. The way we see it, a lot of mediocrity in the world. There's a lot of noise out there. No one needs more of it. Growth tips from our industry, not the folks marketing to them. This really highlights our prioritization on focusing on brands.

Tracey:

We want to talk to ... because we're an E-commerce tech, we want to talk as often as possible to the brands who are actually doing the stuff there. We love our tech partners. We love our agency partners. They have a lot of really great information to share, but they shouldn't be the only people that we are prioritizing in our content. We need to be making those connections again, as advocates for our readers, we need to be making those connections. Then honesty always, we don't want to do anything cheesy, like make a million dollars overnight or how to launch a big business this week. The kind of content that's written to trick customers into a story that 99.9999999% of the time will not happen for them, besides there's not a lot of actionable content that applies to the general public at large.

Tracey:

Instead, we need to be honest about how hard it is to build a business, how hard it is to do the thing that you were trying to teach people how to do that is part of being an advocate for your reader. Content requirements, as a result of this is all blogs must add a baseline, have at least three customer examples or quotes from customers. We also need to use images that show those brands doing what the content is describing or recommending, whether that is through screenshots, how to walk through those videos. We also need to pull data from around the web, properly cited or from customers with case studies that prove why we recommend the strategies that we do. We do not want to make things up. We are not trying to just push like the company that you're working for, strategy.

Tracey:

You need to back all of this up with numbers and data and examples so that people know that this is a real trend, a real thing that works, so ultimately, you aren't wasting their time. Cool. This starts laying the foundation for your integrated marketing strategy, which is how we decide importance and priority. This is how we decide in this order product and partner roadmap, anything that is going to be launched by the company or by partner teams and need some type of content piece to support, whether that is an announcement or whether that is kind of a larger SEO strategy around it. That is one of the first things that is prioritized, brand campaigns after that, so these are campaigns run by maybe if you have an integrated campaigns team or PR team or a brands team.

Tracey:

You want to make sure that you are aligning your content efforts with what it is that they are doing. SEO gaps and opportunities. Of course, typically SEO gaps and opportunities can be covered even in product and partner content or brand campaign content as well. Aspirational customer stories. These are really profiles of customers. Some content teams are responsible for case studies, not all are. If you aren't or even if you are, I suppose, try your best to repurpose case study content or really any aspirational customer content into more storytelling pieces. They do really well. They do not have as much SEO value, but the brands love them, and brands who look up to those brands love to read them.

Tracey:

It really just helps to build really great trust with your audience. It's also great stuff that you can use in email nurture streams and a variety of things to move customers into different parts of the funnel. Industry highlights, so whatever your industry is in, your company should create content to educate folks on it, with your company's unique point of view. So these are critical to you becoming a thought leader in your space and they can also be used for ... always on content campaigns and in nurture streams. Then finally, our trending topics, trending topics come like last in this like hierarchy of needs because I have ... In my experience, I know a ton of folks who have run very successful content programs without ever touching on any trending topics in their industry.

Tracey:

You could say industry highlights might be a little bit of trending topics, but really what this is saying is that like, unless you have a large enough team and have covered all the ones prior to this, you don't necessarily need to be running like a news website for your industry. You got TechCrunch, if you're in the tech industry, that's doing that for you to an extent. Cool. So I call those content triggers and they signal to the content team and the larger team in general that a piece of content should be created. It is the beginning of integrated content marketing. More importantly, if something does not trip, one of those content triggers, if something falls outside of all six of those, it doesn't get created, right?

Tracey:

The more content triggers a piece has, of course the higher its priority. This is your framework for saying no and prioritizing without emotion. You can use a tool like Airtable. We use Monday over at Klaviyo and you can start to score pieces as requests come in. Of course, you want to give ... we can go back and look at this, you want to give higher scores to ones that have this, so on and so forth, and then say there's like ... I don't know, say it fits all four of these. That's probably a pretty high priority piece, and maybe it gets more prioritized as a result. In comparison, maybe a piece that is only talking about industry highlights and trending topics. I hope that makes sense. We'll open for questions at the end. Okay, great. The content compass, this is just a wrap up of all of that.

Tracey:

Ultimately, this philosophy helps to create consistency, builds reader trust and builds reader trust and loyalty over time. What it also does though, is set a very clear philosophy and foundation for your internal team in terms of how your team works, how people can get things in front of you, how you think about creating, all of that jazz. Super important for building that internal trust and ultimately, building an integrated marketing program. So now, that you have your, "Who we are," your content compass built out, now, you want to build and define a content timeline, a content process, and stick to it. This is a decently basic one that I've presented here for you all. Klaviyo actually has 16 different active steps in ours. I think it's like up to 24 kind of left, but when you add our less active stages, like brainstorming or canceled and things like that.

Tracey:

These are them in general. So very first is ideation, which is a content marketer is assigned a topic, a problem, a goal set or projects, and begins to work to ideate on a cross team integrated content strategy proposal. Collaboration is of course, when that content marketer is working with those teams, to update the proposal for unforeseen needs, they pitch the idea and then, of course finalize the content, go to market plan for the larger team. Then of course you get approval. This is important. Content marketer is required to get cross team approval of the project and ensure that it is prioritized effectively for teams to hit their goals. If it isn't, start over. That means if other teams are not prioritizing this piece of content, you're back at the ideation stage. Why don't those teams care about this piece of content anymore? Why is it not crucial to what it is that they are doing?

Tracey:

Whether it's an email campaign, a paid campaign, a PR campaign, whatever it is, how can you make the piece of content that you are creating more important, more relevant and assuredly will be distributed by that channel when they launch whatever they are already working on. You want to make sure that your content is a crucial part of their success so that it is included in what they are doing so that your piece of content can ultimately get distributed, get seen and drive results back for the larger organization, but certainly for your team. Production, of course, content marketing ... the content marketer is the project manager for their strategies, working with an external freelancer, which is what I recommend unless you have a team that's large enough to have strategist and dedicated writers.

Tracey:

We'll look at that here in a second. As well as internal teams get the project produced at a high quality and on time, so you're likely working with writers, designers, stakeholders, a lot of different moving parts there that is the content marketer or we call them content strategist at Klaviyo, job. Cool. Then you move into staging content marketer stages. The content works with internal teams to properly stage the content. So that's CTAs the UX functionality to ultimately convert readers. We want to make sure that the reading experience is good, ensure proper search SEO, essentially all of that jazz. Also, on the content marketer, then you launch it, of course, announce it to the larger marketing team, link to all assets.

Tracey:

If you have a content repository and you likely should. Unfortunately your blog can't serve as one. I've never 100% understood that myself, but it can't, I guess. So just build it in a Google sheet. That's where I have this, to share out with everybody. Then, this part is really important. Thank everybody who helped work on this in a public visible way, like internally at your team, helps to build trust with your team. It wasn't just you as the content team or content marketer that got this across. So you want to be thinking the writers, the designers, the stakeholders, anyone who had like literally even the lightest touch on this project, make sure that you were thinking them in a decently public way within your organization for their help on getting something like this slide, so they're helping on getting it distributed.

Tracey:

Make sure that it is clear to other organizations where else this content will be used, whether their teams will be using it, the customers that are featured all of that jazz. Distribution, of course, content marketer does want to work with external freelancers, the internal teams and other content team members, to make sure that the piece gets the agreed upon distribution. That's what this whole thing is about. The agreed upon distribution that those other stakeholders said that they were going to get across and then, of course you want to measure that. Measurement works for a few different reasons. One, make sure that your internal stakeholders kind of held up their end of the deal in terms of where this was going to go, how it might convert.

Tracey:

Two, can teach you and your team quite a bit about content format in those specific channels, and maybe you shift your strategies in the future to make sure that things work out a little bit better for everyone. It should probably take time. Okay. Awesome. So to follow through on such a timeline, an internal change will likely need to take place. The content team must earn internal trust along the way. There are a few things that I like to do that ultimately help me with this, which is one, you want to move for me again, do as you wish, or as your resources allow. I like to move the majority of writing to freelancer services unless I can afford in-house writers beyond what I'll need for content strategy. It just helps things to move faster, frees up content marketing and strategy time for integrated work.

Tracey:

Integrated work is not easy all the time. There is a lot of project management. You can even see a peer who've said, you need interpersonal skills. You need presentation skills. You need project management skills. You were dealing with a lot of different stakeholders. You need everyone to come together on an agreed upon thing, that can take a lot of time. It is possible to do all of this on your own though, with you also writing. I did that for four years, but then I burned out. So this is why I'm recommending not to do that, but it is possible. So do that at your own risk. Build strong relationships across the marketing organizations that you can understand what is happening when, where, and why, and work to build comprehensive content programs, before people ask for them.

Tracey:

You will get better at this over time, if that doesn't make a ton of sense now. The more you work with other teams, the more you better understand what it is that they are trying to solve. The more you can kind of build those solves into content that you're producing, basically all the time so that their jobs are easier. If you can help make their jobs easier, they're going to trust you more, going to be far easier to work together. Part of building strong relationships, you want to have deep knowledge and understanding of various content types formats, where they live, what the teams produce to map content strategies effectively across multiple touchpoints. Again, good interdepartmental relationships will help you understand this. We'll get content next here in a little bit.

Tracey:

Then, of course, works to improve the UX and overall reading experience of your content in whatever format. We were going to look at UX stuff here in a little bit because content quality matters yes, but design matters first. That's what gets people interested. Cool. So this is what you are trying to do. Your foil is this higher presentation down to one side that is this. You are trying to build collaboration and distribution into absolutely everything before you add to the editorial calendar. Okay. Fantastic. Content basics to define them. One, after you have your content compass ... sorry, the cough is coming, I feel it. You want to identify your types of content. I just kind of dropped these in. These might not be what worked for your organization.

Tracey:

These are some pretty common ones for a lot of different organizations. Be sure that you were adding to these different descriptors, like what the piece is. Keep in mind also that it is not helpful to define a piece of content ... I'm like double checking that I didn't do this. It is not helpful to define a piece of content using the same word. For instance, I know a lot of people know case studies and I was almost very guilty of being case studies, case studies are 500 to 2000 words. Be sure to define these properly for people so that you and your entire team can be using the same language when people are requesting different content assets. Always be sure to include work counts in there as well.

Tracey:

Longer pieces take longer time and are often more expensive, both from a freelancer perspective, but also from an editing perspective and turning pieces into white paper perspective or gated content, which we'll look at in terms of repurposing. Again, identify your types of content. Send those out to your team, get everyone on the same page that everyone is using the same words. Next, identify your content packages. Your three examples, for instance, in these content packages, you also want to define timeline. How long does the stuff take? So at this point you were combining your types of content into here. The timeline that I presented earlier and using both of those to create overall content packages.

Tracey:

Again, you want to share this out with your team and get everybody using the same words so that like people can basically like order from your team. Also, really helpful though for you and your organization to know and understand exactly what needs to be created from day one, in order to get everything created on time. What I've also found is really helpful is then visualizing those content packages. So this is how we've done them. Again, this just helps people get on the same page. I found this to be especially true, one for teams that aren't content teams, but like still within the marketing organization. They may not have a lot of experience with content marketers or they may have a lot of experience with content marketers and that different organizations have defined all of this stuff very, very differently.

Tracey:

Help people get on the same page by defining, getting agreement on the defining and then also visualizing. Cool. That's how we do it. Okay, great and then, you want a cohesive content experience. So this is the design side. I have some stats that I like to use often here, which is six in 10 people share content without clicking on it or reading it. They see the headline, they see the meta image that pulls through and they like share it with somebody. I do this literally all the time, 79% of readers scan content rather than read word by word. That is also me, 38% of people stop reading content simply because they don't like the layout of the site. 75% make a judgment on the company's credibility based on site design.

Tracey:

Now, I know a lot of you might be saying that a lot of this is kind of out of your control and to an extent you're right. Yes, but content teams, especially if you're building an integrated program, you need to work really, really well with your design team to help change these things, to help make that reading experience better. Share these stats with them. All of this essentially means that the look and feel of our content matters just much as if not more than the quality of the content. The quality of the content needs to be there, but people are going to look at the design first and it's going to like push them into a decision funnel and you have to even read your content. So you got to capture them with the design first, you've got to build for the way people read on the internet, not some like idolized way that you want people to read on the internet. Cool.

Tracey:

Identified content UX features. So these are the ones I like to have. You may have more, you may have less. I do have a full list here that you can look at, that have examples of ... across a variety of different sites. Again, you will get this deck, so you'll be able to see it all. Cool. I'm not going to run through them. Great. Then, addressing ongoing content decay. So super important, and this is just SEO in general. Identifying when content is old, losing value or is not resonating with the audience will ultimately help drive better decision making as to what type of content should be created when and how frequently, it's about relevancy and conversion here. So this is the chart of a typical content, the case cycle, but of course this isn't a content on ... or this isn't a presentation specifically on SEO because each one of these has so much more that we could go into.

Tracey:

All of this is really important for you and your team to be thinking about. So content decay cycles, of course, but also cannibalization, slug strategy, interlinking strategy, republishing, repurposing, redirecting, partner backlinking, partner tiering in terms of which partners get back links and where and why. Regional differences, and internationalization, if that's important for your brand competitive analysis and monitoring, and of course, keyword gap analysis, beautiful. We're good on time. Perfect. Visualize your content repurposing plans because one piece of content can and should live in a variety of formats for distribution purposes and for reader intent differences. So we're going to get into content repurposing here a little bit. The charts that I have made are not the prettiest. I didn't have designer help on these and you'll see it, but we will still look at it.

Tracey:

This is super important though. You do not always need to create content from scratch. When people say, create once, distribute forever, this is what I think they need distribute in a variety of different formats, in a variety of different channels, basically the exact same content. So let's look at repurposing a pillar piece of content. This is what a long form piece of content typically about 5,000, 6,000 words. Awesome. So you want to update that big boy annually. Then, you have the pillar piece of content here. So you want to get some back links from partner post, PR support if applicable. So that's typically if you're doing like a survey or some kind of research report. You want to get some kind of downloadable executive summary or presentation on the page, that folks can download a variety of things.

Tracey:

This means that ultimately you could do a webinar because you're putting it into that proper kind of deck format earlier on, so folks can reuse it later and also be used for a presentation deck at events, all of that jazz. Of course, you want a CTA to subscribe to your newsletter and then, organic social support. Video creation from this stuff, so you can turn those pillar post into explainer videos for YouTube, so on and so forth. So constantly be thinking, how can you take a single piece of content because you spend a lot of time on it, six weeks to eight weeks, maybe even longer, depending on how far in advance you're planning your content calendar. You spend a lot of time on it. Be thinking about how you can repurpose those pieces of content again and again, and again, to hit different teams' goals.

Tracey:

Also, listen carefully, as you start talking to stakeholders across different marketing teams, how the performance team describes a piece of content they need, versus how the partner team describes a piece of content they need. They might ultimately be talking about the same thing just in slightly different formats or a variety of different things. So listen very, very carefully and think always first about what you have already produced or what you are in the process of producing and how you can repurpose that for a variety of different teams' needs rather than always just starting from scratch. Cool. This is how you do the same thing with a regular blog post, so I have this here, which is like downloadable blog on WordPress.

Tracey:

We did this over at BigCommerce where you could like literally click a button and the blog could be downloaded on the site, worked wonders. We had like 2% of people coming to the site and we had a million people coming to the site a month, downloading that content. You could also turn this into white papers. I like the button on WordPress. We custom built it because it means your design team doesn't have to design every blog post that you do into a white paper, which is how you make good friends with this, by finding ways to scale them too. Cool. I also, want to get people subscribed to that newsletter. You can have organic social support, really a lot of the things that you're doing for pillar pieces over here can be applicable depending on how long those blog post is.

Tracey:

Okay. Content distribution or integrated content UX. This is the last section, and then, we can open it up. I think we'll be perfect for questions if we have them. Okay, cool. If you publish, they may still never come. Publishing a piece of content means absolutely nothing. Distribution is a primary determinant of content marketing success. Without it, the team may as well not have published anything at all. Distribution channels include ... though, this isn't necessarily an exhaustive list, SEO, social media, email and SMS, partners and influencers, repurposing content, in a variety of different ways, which we'll look at here. PR, the performance team. Let's look at a few of them. Okay. Content distribution begins before writing. Content distribution must be built into content, not added on.

Tracey:

That is what this entire presentation up to now, has been on. We've already covered these stats. First impressions and scanability matter on and off the page. So say your piece gets in the performance marketing team's flow and they are now sending a bunch of paid traffic. Maybe back to your blog, super important that your blog is able to convert. UX matters so much. Again, you want to make sure that you get it in front of people. You want to make sure you have great UX. You want to make sure that the writing is quality. Those three things matter a ton because you are ultimately trying to win trust, convert people and over time, grow your organic search traffic.

Tracey:

This is just a regular, like visual of what a blog should have. Cool. SEO is not a type of content. It is a distribution channel. Google search engine is typically a content team's best way to get in front of high intent readers, year round. To succeed with SEO, you're going to need thorough optimized content on proper keywords or key phrases, optimized images and size and naming convention, proper header tags, interlinking, back linking, clear table of contents, a strong brand consistent point of view, breadcrumbs, clickable assets, ideally downloadable assets, but clickable for the point of SEO, quick page load speed, as well as all those things over there too.

Tracey:

Social media is another place where content can be shared, as you all know and it does require strong creative because six in 10 readers, browse headlines and images, your content needs to be able to stop them in their tracks. It's about attention and social capital. So you want a custom animated, ideally just meta image that pulls through on social media, when folks share your content. Blog hero images must be similar too, but different enough from the meta image to capture attention, keep readers on the page. Ideally that is custom, not stock. All data and graphs should be redesigned in your branding and in a size usable for social media for proper repurposing over time on those channels.

Tracey:

And then, any partners or influencers quoted in the piece you ultimately want to be building out kind of quote cards for them, making sure that you send them an email after the piece is live with their quote card, thanking them for their participation and encouraging them to help share. Fantastic, more emails. More segmentation, more testing. So email is one of the most effective channels for distribution and all of us should be using it as such some good strategies here. So consistent owned list, AB testing to improve your unique open rate and your click-through rate. What I mean here by owned list is your newsletter list. Hopefully, you and your team own that, and you can test it and see what readers care about more and kind of figure out how to grow that, all of that jazz.

Tracey:

Also, helpful to do that with maybe your customer list or whatever other list that maybe your internal email marketing team might be willing to help you do some testing with. Again, this is about integration and partnership here. Your team does not need to be the only one to own this, but content can play a really important, crucial role, especially in the funnel converting leads from one part of the funnel. One part of one stage down to the next. So, be sure to work with your email marketing team there. Improved owned list segmentation. So making sure that you are sending specific types of emails to customers versus prospects versus different GMVs, improved owned list creative. Do people engage more with GIFs? Is there a certain kind of formatting that seems to work better with which audiences?

Tracey:

For partners you want to work with partners for content. Then, of course get agreement that they will share those content pieces in their emails. Same thing for influencers. Same thing for freelancers. Webinars are really great way to do that, but while social, I feel like so many companies, so many places are really good about sharing content over social, which is great. Ultimately, if you're doing webinars or partner content with people, you really want to figure out how you can get your content featured in their emails, out to their larger list, there's higher clickthrough rate there, higher visibility, higher trust from their audience. You're going to get more visibility that way. Partners and experts and influencers. Great. You want to create co-branded content with agreements for email social and backlinking distro. You want to gather regular quotes from all of these folks so that you can use it in content and they can help you then promote content when it goes live.

Tracey:

For proprietary data, you want to give those folks early access to the content and the findings so they can build their own blog post on their own sites so that everything can go live. I mean, this is integrated partner marketing, partner content marketing at this point. Ideally if you were launching a really long form piece of content, that's super meaty with a lot of data, you really want to give your partners and folks early access to it, so that they can again, build all of their own blogs, their own email streams, whatever. Let them know the date that you're going to publish, you publish yours first. Then, like have everybody else launch theirs. Really helps to create kind of a momentum and wave within the industry.

Tracey:

Cool. Repurposing for a specific channel, use cases. I have a Klaviyo example here, which is we launched a long form blog post on customer first data and customer first marketing. The partner then reached out, wanted us to do a webinar with them about it. So we turned that post into a deck, and then we presented the webinar, the authors presented the webinar because they knew the content so well. Then, now we have turned that deck into a downloadable asset that is driving hundreds of leads for us every month. Cool, cool, cool. Same content, a million different ... I mean not a million, three different worlds, I guess, which is helpful. Cool. Then, all of this means that when we create content, we want to make sure that we are thinking first, about distribution and then create content made for distribution.

Tracey:

So that means you're going to want a custom hero image, ideally not stock. A custom meta image, ideally a GIF. Redesign data points and graphics, maybe usable for social and email teams, content organization, systems for images, a content repository for your larger teams so that the internal teams can use content and kind of filter by content they might need. So they can use in a variety of other things. An SEO Publishing checklist. That's really more for your internal team, or if you happen to work at a company where other teams also publish on the blog, make sure they're following that SEO publishing checklist, partner, customer and/or expert quotes in every piece, aspirational customer examples in every piece and then, of course, clear project management.

Tracey:

We use Monday over at Klaviyo, but you could use Airtable, Asana, even Jira. I've used them all. Cool. This is a lot. So I want to go back to the skills that you need to prioritize on your content hires and yourself. Again, these are from like the more junior skills all the way through what I consider, the more VP skills within each one of these, which I don't have included here. I have like three to five different kind of levels, but take a screenshot of this. You're going to get the deck, whatever, but this is the kind of stuff that you're looking for from folks as they maybe start, maybe more as a writer, somebody who can like ideate, help get things across the line, more into a content strategist, content marketing manager role, senior director, so on and so forth.

Tracey:

Once they start getting into those more mid-level roles and up, you're really looking for strategy component to this so that they can follow through on the integrated marketing piece, and that includes great interpersonal skills, presentation skills and project management skills, which are expressed in here in a variety of different ways. Okay, cool and almost finally, you will not get this perfect the first time. Even once you get like really, really good at this over time, you will not get it perfect every single time. This kind of integrated work does take practice. You'll build the muscle over time. You just want to start small by building those strong internal relationships.

Tracey:

Then, you can build things out from there. This does require a really deep thinking about what it is that you want your content program to do, who your audience is. What kind of content you're trying to create for them. Then, of course working really closely with stakeholders across your organization to really understand what their goals are and how content can help them hit those goals more effectively. You can't solve it overnight. Again, also way back there that ... at Klaviyo at least we take six to eight months to produce any type of content, much less if it's like a really big, huge piece that might take us even longer. So, this stuff can't happen overnight, but you can start laying the foundations right now. That's it. We have ended with 14 minutes left for questions.

Travis:

Awesome. Awesome job, Tracey.

Tracey:

Okay.

Travis:

A lot information, it was perfect.

Tracey:

Okay, great.

Travis:

We do have a couple questions and if everyone else has more questions, drop them in the Q and A box in Zoom, but they kind of kick it off. Do you have a process for collecting ideas from other team members across your business, like a form or a document template?

Tracey:

Yes. Yeah. We use a form in Monday at Klaviyo. So it's a request form, essentially. We do ask that folks have like a one pager in there that describes, what is the general idea, what is the goal, who is the audience? Now people can include a lot more. We have some people who submit like actual blog post to us that they've written on a topic, just because they're passionate about it, which is beautiful and great. We have other people who just submit something. That's like, "Hey, I'm working with X, Y, Z partner. We're trying to like drive leads on this specific kind of topic. We're hoping to have it live by this specific date." And at that point in time, the conversation really begins, right?

Tracey:

Because if that date is before six to eight weeks, we're going to need to have a real conversation with them about timeline and feasibility and how that's not going to be able to fit within our current timelines. I have had those conversations a lot and those conversations usually go really well. People do well with bumpers on things. They can always communicate that back to whomever they're trying to work with so on and so forth. So yeah, so we do use forms. I do request some kind of one pager that gets us just baseline information on what it is that they're trying to do. Do you keep in mind just because someone makes a request does not mean it gets created. That is what that content compass is for.

Tracey:

It needs to fall properly within the prioritization. Maybe if ... I don't know, maybe it's sometimes of the year, we don't have as many requests from folks and as a result, a lower priority request can get through, but often it's typically those higher priority requests that are prioritized and a lot of other things get pushed back as a result. We are the largest content team I have ever worked on over at Klaviyo, but even we can't do everything. So you do have to say no, sometimes.

Travis:

I like that, so you kind of set expectations from the get go.

Tracey:

Yes.

Travis:

It makes lot of sense, and then kind jumping over to kind of distribution and promotion. I've noticed over the past couple of months, you've created short kind of like one to two minute videos.

Tracey:

Yes.

Travis:

Kind of teasing posts. How has that kind of panned out?

Tracey:

Yeah. Well, so love this question. I've been doing that since I was at BigCommerce. So probably since like 2015 and I think they're just getting noticed now. So, how have they panned out? I don't know, if people are just noticing that I'm doing them. I like doing them. Look, for my personal brand, they seem to work really well. I'll tell you a little secret on like how they got started. The BigCommerce brand at the time, wouldn't share my blog post on their socials for a lot of reasons AKA they had a lot of other stuff to share, that wasn't my blog content, and I thought my content was really good and that it deserved more eyeballs. So I just promoted my content.

Tracey:

So sometimes you could be scrappy like that. I've continued doing them just because I find it fun. Those videos can also be reused or I have reused them actually on like gated landing pages where you're giving a little bit of a preview into what the content is, that does improve conversion rate. I haven't ever actually used them like on a blog post, but I do think it's helped to grow my personal brand, at the very least. Our social teams do say that they get promoted more. People internally get excited about them. I've had so many people across the industry ask me how to make them. So, I mean, I think there is a lot of interest in them and so far as do they drive a ton of traffic back from social? I don't think so, but I still think they're worth doing.

Travis:

Got you. Makes sense and then, you mentioned design being crucial to attracting and keeping readers on the page. What are some good examples of design other than of course, Klaviyo's website?

Tracey:

Yeah, well, I mean. Klaviyo's blog, not a good example. We're working on that. Good examples. I do really like BigCommerce's blog. It is very simple. If you all hop over there into like an individual article page, that's typically what I prioritize, because those are the pages that will get most seen by organic search users versus homepages, category pages, that kind of stuff. You'll hop in over there and see ... I know sometimes it breaks, but they have table of contents on there. They have the like reading scroll bar. They have a downloadable piece of content. Again, it's pretty simple. I think I stopped it. Yeah, so I do like that one and then, I would really encourage folks ... let me see if I can go back here, right here.

Tracey:

This, which everyone will get with a deck, includes a ton of examples from a ton of different blogs on what I think works well for each one of those individual features.

Travis:

Nice and then, kind of last question that I have right now is you mentioned using a lot of outsource writers, what are some kind of quick wins around managing multiple writers and multiple projects are kind of ongoing and do you invite them to your own project management tool?

Tracey:

Yeah, I do invite them to our project management tool. So in project management tools ... so again, we use Monday over at Klaviyo. We use a calendar format and each piece of content goes through at the very least, 16 stages. Sometimes they can go through more each stage, kind of correlates with ... there's like a briefing stage. There's an outlining stage, which at that point goes to the writer. Anyways, writers can see all of that as it is happening. We educate and train them on that. Essentially, the way it works for us is a content strategist will build out or a content marketer will build out a brief based on a specific topic that we're trying to go after. They will then assign that brief out to a writer.

Tracey:

We do give writers two full weeks to write content from the moment that they get the brief or essentially, from the confirmation that they received the brief. We like to think that first week is for them to create the outline of that piece. Most of our freelancers send outlines back to us prior to writing and we'll go in there and kind of edit that and they can then revise it and then get to creating. Then, that second week ideally would be for creating. We do have longer standing contracts with our freelancers. So if you don't already have freelancers on the call and ready, you probably shouldn't just assume once you send a brief that it will only take them two weeks. We can only do that because we have a set number of articles that we have told a certain amount of freelancers, that we will send them each month.

Tracey:

So, they know that that's coming. Yeah, so they have two weeks to do that. Then once they get the draft back, it'll go into our editing process. We give ourselves a week for editing. So yeah, I mean, at that point in time, I mean, it's not too bad, managing multiple writers. I will say one thing, actually, that I didn't include in here or in this presentation, I try really hard to make sure that our content team is publishing no more than two blog posts a week, which really helps to, which just really helps with capacity. Again, teams can't do everything. Most content, at least content that we're producing is really long form, super high quality. A lot of work goes into it, adding even one additional one is a really big ask and request.

Tracey:

So, that's kind of another forcing function, another bumper that we have for the larger team on how much content we can ultimately produce. That isn't to say that we aren't also doing webinars or turning existing pieces of content into decks or to gated assets, but we're limiting ourselves to tops to a week.

Travis:

Awesome. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, and we actually had a couple more questions rolling. So Josh asked, what would be your revised for identifying metrics that communicate progress to leadership as you build out your marketing playbook?

Tracey:

Metrics on the way ... I mean, one building out just a content ... like content stages in general, I think will be really helpful in educating the larger team on what those are. Metrics on the way to shipping. I mean, you can report out on the amount of content you've published, the amount of white papers you've published. I'm telling you, you all start getting just like downloads, CTAs to download stuff on your blogs, to like decks or white papers that you've already published. You will start seeing leads and folks come through that has always been at Klaviyo. Same thing at BigCommerce. That was my earliest Proofpoint to folks that yes, people will download long form content that is completely free on the internet because nobody likes to read long form content on the internet.

Tracey:

So even doing that, reporting out, even if it's just a small numbers, the amount of leads generated from that, how many of those leads are turning into MQLs? You want to as much as possible, really focus on the metrics that are most important to the business, which in my experience has always been leads and MQLs, but if you can't get to that point yet, if you're earlier on in the process, building out a good content strategy, which would include your content compass, the timelines and processes by which you work, identifying the types of content, building out the content packages and then, getting stages of content and the calendar setup so that you can share that with everyone, that is fantastic content progress, I think for any leadership team to see.

Travis:

I love it. Yeah, and then one more question, how do you source your writers, and if you're going through the process of briefing outlining, do you care if the writer has formal SEO experience or just hire writers that can simply write?

Tracey:

Yeah, I don't care if somebody has formal SEO experience. I am looking for writers who have domain expertise in particular. Domain expertise to me, it means that they are able to connect the dots on a specific topic relevant in my case, to the E-commerce industry. In a way that people who do not have domain expertise would not be able to do, so that they're experts. And if they aren't experts, maybe they can research enough to momentarily become one. You can read content and know if somebody is a domain expert and what it is they're talking about. I do work with some writers who also do a little bit ... who do additional SEO on top of the SEO work we do for them.

Tracey:

That's fine. I don't mind that. I will say I have started to more so, move towards writers who actually don't have a ton of SEO experience in particular, because they seem to be a lot more focused on the craft of writing. We do a lot of work pre, giving them the brief and post, giving them the brief. One of the stages of our content is an additional SEO review in which we send it through Clearscope and a variety of other tools to make sure that we're optimizing it the way that we want. Of course, you want to be an advocate for your reader, and a lot of times being a really good advocate for your readers, of course, telling a really good story and folks who come from a writing background, like I've started using a lot of people who have come out of like MFA programs.

Tracey:

God, you all, they are such good writers. They can turn stuff that to me, just seems like the most boring topic that we did. We just wrote a WooCommerce migration guide and it's one of the best stories I've ever read. I'm like, why, how? Those are the kind of writers I want to find. I can SEO it after that. That's fine.

Travis:

Awesome, and it's a good time for one more question. This is actually ... Bernard, just chatted this over. How does Klaviyo decide what an MQL is and then how much nurturing or touches does an email lead captured from like content go through?

Tracey:

Yeah. So content downloads are considered leads and they get one automated email from me, which delivers the piece of content that they have downloaded. Then, they get put into a lead to MQL nurture stream. That stream differs of course, based on their GMB and a variety of other ... if they're a customer, if they're not a customer, all of that jazz. I'm not exactly sure how long that lead to nurture flow is, but we do not treat content leads as immediately act upon leads, if that makes sense. Sales people aren't calling you from us when you download our content, nor should they be. People who are downloading content are interested in the content and now, it's the larger organization's job to help move them further down that funnel.

Tracey:

Leads are still really, really valuable, even if they don't immediately become MQLs. MQLs for Klaviyo are defined as folks who are signing up for demos or who are trialing the product.

Travis:

Fantastic. Awesome. Well thank you for your time again, Tracey. Really appreciate you taking the time to share everything with us today.

Tracey:

Of course.

Travis:

And if you don't already follow Tracey, definitely follow her on Twitter and let her know how much you appreciated her today and also, subscribe to her newsletter contentment, and we'll include all the links in our recap email tomorrow, along with the recording of today's webinar. Tracey, anything you want to share before we jump off?

Tracey:

No, this is great. Thanks so much you all, appreciate it.


Written by
Travis Dailey

Director of Marketing, Clearscope

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