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Promoting Your Content With Ben Dell

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Your content is one of the best ways to show your expertise. However, creating great content alone is not enough. Getting people to actually see it is a skill unto itself. Benjamin Dell has some advice, and a tool, for you.

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Check out the four sales fundamentals every top performer masters, how to use value-based selling to increase your leverage, and how to improve your remote selling skills as the world becomes more virtual. 

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Promoting Your Content With Ben Dell:

Full Transcript

Liston Witherill:
Welcome to Modern Sales, a podcast for entrepreneurs, business owners, and salespeople looking to have more and better conversations with their perfect clients. You’ll get a healthy scoop of psychology, behavioral economics and sales studies to help you create win-win relationships. I’m your host Liston Witherill and I’m pleased to welcome you to Modern Sales.

Liston Witherill:
Hello there and welcome once again to the Liston.io Show. My name is Liston Witherill where I encourage you to stop selling, start serving and we talk all on the show about consulting business. How do you market it, how do you get more leads, how do you sell effectively? And today I’m really excited to bring to you Ben Dell, who is the CEO and founder of Missinglettr and what they do is social marketing automation that automatically creates 12 months worth of social content for each blog post you publish.

Liston Witherill:
Now I have to confess I’m a user, Ben is not a sponsor of the show, I have used the product and I do recommend it if blogging is part of your inbound or marketing strategy. Now before he did Missinglettr, he previously owned a web agency for over 10 years, which was acquired so this guy is the real deal I promise. During this time, he also launched a number of SAS startups, two of which were acquired. I don’t know how he sleeps or has time for his family, but he tells me he does and he’s passionate about empowering businesses and brands with tools that help them succeed. Ben, welcome.

Ben Dell:
Hey, Liston pleasure. Well we were just talking about family there and just off air we were chatting and my son ran into didn’t see with his iPad playing Minecraft so it is very much a juggling act, that’s for sure and that’s one way of putting it.

Liston Witherill:
Absolutely. Another conversation for another time surely.

Ben Dell:
For sure.

Liston Witherill:
So tell me a little bit more about Missinglettr. What is it and why do people need it?

Ben Dell:
It fundamentally comes down to really getting the most out of the blog posts that you’re writing and publishing so that you can drive traffic back to your site, increase engagement, and ultimately start engaging with your prospects. As you mentioned in the intro there, I ran an agency for the last 10 plus years and during that time we saw and worked with a huge number of clients. We didn’t do some of that softer side marketing, creating the front end WordPress sort of sites. We actually did the high end sort of web apps and everything else but invariably they would always come with a blog because they would always need that blog add on. So we would build it for them and we pretty much saw that all of our clients were fantastically expert at talking about their industry and their product or their knowledge within it.

Ben Dell:
And so they would churn out these blog posts and they were high quality, but very few actually even knew how to then promote that blog post or were capable of actually sticking to a consistent plan. And as you know, when it comes down to marketing, the biggest thing that you need to get right is the consistency aspect. There’s no point coming up with a killer plan doing it for the first two days of the month and then forgetting about it for the rest of the year, you just won’t get any of that value. And ultimately when it comes down to blog posts, which is such a crucial part of pretty much every businesses marketing strategy. It’s just such a waste of time if you’re not properly marketing it. So we thought there’s got to be a better way to help people stick to a plan that is as low touch as you could hope for and that’s where Missinglettr was born from.

Ben Dell:
It’s pretty much as you described it in the bio. For those that haven’t heard of us before, we basically monitor your website and when you next publish a blog post, we detect that automatically, we run some clever technology over that long form content and we’re looking for interesting quotes and phrases. We’ll recommend hashtags and we create branded images for you as well and we turn that into a sequence of social content that will last for a full 12 months. And so really as a user, all you need to do is review our campaign, our social campaigns, make sure you’re happy with it.

Ben Dell:
Cycle through different options, maybe upload the odd extra image, whatever it is you might want to do, click go and we’re now marketing it and pushing it out to your social accounts for the next 12 months. So essentially each blog posts you publish gets a full 12 months worth of social media content. That really frees you up to get back to doing whatever else it is. Either getting out of the office and actually just meeting with customers and delivering that real high end value that really we should be doing a lot more of.

Liston Witherill:
Well now before we get too deep into promoting the content, and I do want to go there Ben because I know that’s the focus of Missinglettr. And I always say if we’re not promoting the things that we’re doing, we’re just a tree falling in the forest. Did it really happen if you don’t hear it right? So the promotional aspect is enormous, but before we get to that as you know, everybody listening to this is either in the consulting business or they’re very interested in selling complex consultative sales, high ticket items or services. They may be wondering these blogs, they’re everywhere, there’s millions and millions of new blog posts published every day. Is it too late to blog?

Ben Dell:
Oh, definitely not. I mean, it is an incredibly buoyant market and in fact, I think we’re going through a funding round at the moment, so I’ve had to have had to swot up on some of these numbers, but it’s something like it’s worth about 150,000 pounds worth as a global industry. So A billion pounds, I should say today and it’s projected to be worth double that in three years. That’s like sort of the content marketing space and blogging is really the majority of what makes up content marketing. It’s absolutely still the right time to be doing it. There is a huge opportunity. It’s a no brainer, but it does require that thought.

Ben Dell:
It requires for you to really think about your market, your core demographic and what of these that actually what would be interesting to them? It’s an opportunity for you to build that trust show that you’re actually an authority or a thought leader in that space. And as we know, when it comes down to doing business particularly at those high touch examples you were giving there with when you’re it’s high end consultancy or whatever it might be, if you can offer that olive branch to show that you’ve got some real trust and credence in the space that’s going to really put you in a good position and writing blog posts is a great way to achieve that.

Liston Witherill:
Yeah, so one thing I tell a lot of people, because I get this question a lot, or is it too late to fill in the blank. Start a LinkedIn presence, to start a YouTube channel, to start a podcast to email people like whatever it is I often look at that as an excuse. Now I think a better question is, is a blog the right thing for your business? And that’s a decision that I think people need to make individually based on what they’re especially good at. But I think that a lot of people look at the channel of blogs in particular, a little too narrowly. So they think, “Oh, this is a great way for Google to send me traffic.” And because there’s so many blogs out there, maybe it’s too late to do that. Well, it’s also a great way to meet objections or to give more thoughtful answers to questions you always get in the sales process.

Liston Witherill:
It’s a great way to reach out to people and say, “Hey, you mentioned this the other day and I wrote this and I thought of you,” and now you can send that to every other person whoever brings it up. So there’s all of these different uses of your blog beyond just attracting new traffic or net new leads. It’s also a nurturing process, it’s also a process for you to think about what service and value you offer and distill it in such a way that anyone can read it and understand it. So I could go on about this Ben, but I will spare you and everyone else listening, but I would encourage everybody to have a bigger view of what it is that content can do.

Ben Dell:
You’re absolutely right when you start putting the time in to create this content, the things you can then do with it beyond just giving Google that SEO sort of juice, if you will. When customers arrive at your website, you’ve got an opportunity to then show blog posts on the homepage and then even if you’re not updating the website and you haven’t done for maybe a couple of years by adding fresh blog posts that helps show that the website is alive and dynamic and living. You can also start sending out newsletters to getting people who cast your net a bit wider and start creating a weekly newsletter on curated content for your particular industry, and that can be a really powerful way to get people through the door as well.

Ben Dell:
You can list it on product hunt and other sort of sites to announce the fact that you’ve got this new newsletter. When you’ve got your blog posts being turned out once a week or once every couple of weeks you’ve got material to funnel through that newsletter as well. And there’s a huge number of reasons why you might want to be doing that.

Liston Witherill:
So let’s say now then everybody’s bought in, they’re either going to start a blog or they’re going to keep doing their blog. The question is how do I get more people to see what I’m doing? So I know your product does a lot to solve that. So again, the product is Missinglettr, it’s lettr.com, correct?

Ben Dell:
Correct. Yeah.

Liston Witherill:
Again, if you Google it, I’m sure you’ll find it. But in terms of promotion, so what do you recommend is the best way to amplify the reach of your content?

Ben Dell:
So there’s a few things you can do. One is more the long tail and I would suggest just riffing off my point a second ago, start thinking about creating a newsletter because you can start sharing other people’s blog posts but also your own and that could be a great way of casting the net. Two, you really want to be dripping it out, promoting each blog post out to your social accounts over a longer period of time and that’s directly where Missinglettr can help. Because the reality is that when you click publish on a blog post and then you send out that first tweet or whatever it is, the half life of the engagement and traffic that you will get for that single blog post drops off almost immediately after a day or two and pretty much just stagnates. So by promoting it over a longer period of time, you’re keeping that engagement and traffic up and just keeping it flowing through, so you need to be doing that as well.

Ben Dell:
Those are the two main things I would say. Something else that we’ve started doing that other people have found useful, even outside of Missinglettr is repurposing that content in other mediums. I’ve seen this guy through Baremetrics. He would for each blog post create an audio version as well, which I’ve seen to be quite effective. You can also repurpose blog posts on other platforms like Medium, which can be quite effective. It doesn’t affect the SEO, but it means that you’re just getting it out onto another platform. And for those that don’t know Medium, it’s a blog framework and engine just like WordPress on the one side, but it also doubles up as a discovery engine. So much like an online magazine. People can discover your content simply by reading someone else’s who happens to be talking about the same subject.

Ben Dell:
So they recommend other content that people might want to read at the bottom of each blog post. So it can be a really great way of having your content discovered. Really the possibilities are endless but it does start, as you were saying at the beginning about just taking that decision to start the process of writing blog posts in the first case and then going from there. And once you’ve started building up that content, getting out into the entire world is easy once you know what the steps are. And I’ve also seen people after a year’s worth of creating content and looking at themes that they’d been talking around and topics, just wrapping it up into an ebook. And again, that’s a really powerful way of showing your authority in the space because you can then maybe send it out to your top prospects or clients as a little gift. It’s an ebook form, but it shows a level of thought and attention and professionalism that really money can’t buy.

Liston Witherill:
Well and one thing I hope that you dear listener take out of what Ben just said is that creating the content is only a small piece of what needs to happen. In order for people to consume it we have to spend quite a bit of time promoting it. Now, Ben I want to make a confession. I pretty much suck at promoting my content other than the things I post on LinkedIn. I could definitely do a better job of it, but there’s the making of the content and distilling of the ideas but there’s also getting it out to the world. So I send a newsletter every week, I do a lot of the things that you mentioned, but I do think people need to be aware that, it’s one thing to allocate four hours or eight hours to write a blog post, but it’s another thing entirely to then double or triple that amount of time you put into creating the content in order to get it out into the world.

Liston Witherill:
One thing I would add to what you said is going onto your social channels, I prefer LinkedIn primarily and inserting yourself into conversations that are already happening and then maybe if it’s appropriate and totally organic, sharing some of the content you’ve created there. And linking people and saying, “Hey, I actually wrote an article on this. If you want a longer answer you can check it out here.” And that starts to bring more eyeballs. Now here’s the problem with that Ben, it takes time. Which I’m sure everybody listening to this would acknowledge is like, “Oh crap, I don’t know that I have time for that.”

Liston Witherill:
The thing about content is it’s an entry point into your world, your thought process, your values, the way you think and operate as a consultant in particular. Basically people are paying you for your expertise in the way that your brain works and content does a great job of displaying that but the other piece that’s really crucial there is the relationship. And so one thing that Missinglettr does a great job of is putting your content in front of people who are already following you, but to get to net new people short of our posts being shared to a different audience. We’re also going to have to go and insert ourselves into new conversations.

Liston Witherill:
The last thing I wanted to mention is you mentioned repurposing content and one pointer I would give everybody listening to this is I’ve found and I’ll be talking a lot about the role of video in my business here on this podcast. But I’ve found that video has been amazingly helpful in building relationships quickly and overcoming that trust curve that just comes with selling consulting services. You know the Ben it’s like, “Okay, you say you could build web apps, prove it. How do I know that’s true?” So there’s this trust gap that needs to happen. Video’s been crucial and one thing that is also true is Google is now giving a lot of preference to pages that include video on them.

Liston Witherill:
So I actually do the reverse of what you said. Rather than writing a blog post first these days I’m writing a video script, filming my video, publishing my video and then turning that into a blog post where the video and the post live and that gets promoted. And so I agree with you really thinking about how do I leverage each piece of content I create in multiple ways is enormous. So then I’m going to shut up for another two minutes, I promise. Which channels are you finding, whether it’s for consultants or anyone else, which channels are you finding are better or worse or trickier, or which social media channels do you really recommend people focus on?

Ben Dell:
It’s a it depends answer which is a bit of a cop out, I guess. But-

Liston Witherill:
How dare you.

Ben Dell:
It really does though. I mean it always surprises me how talking to one customer, they will shout from the rooftop about a particular channel and showing how effective it is for them and they will say that the other one is just not working so well at all and you talk to someone else the next day and it’s the complete opposite. And you yourself have just a minute ago said that your go to places, LinkedIn. On the one side, it’s whichever one you’re most comfortable in because each one has a slightly different style behind how you talk about and share content. So LinkedIn can be a bit more conversational through group posts or things like that in slightly longer form I guess. Twitter is obviously shorter, although obviously lengthened or increased the length now, but it’s still a bit more femoral.

Ben Dell:
Doesn’t necessarily live in the feed for quite as long and so you maybe need to post more frequently. So there’s actually quite a few factors that come into it. How often are you looking to or are you willing to share content? If you’re the sort of person that likes to keep your Twitter feed open while you’re working on your desk and you’re posting things multiple times a day, then Twitter is probably the perfect place for you because you’re just very active in that space. And that’s generally how people in that community like people to be acting and behaving. Whereas, arguably LinkedIn and Facebook are a bit more thoughtful or you need to be a bit more thoughtful in those with a lower frequency of posts with slightly more long form, not quite just literally just sharing something, but maybe creating a bit of dialogue around it and maybe sharing something within a group or a page within those respective platforms.

Ben Dell:
So think about first of all what you’re trying to achieve and then the style of communication that you favor or that you feel most comfortable with. And then of course the frequency of or the volume of content that you have to share. And then that will help align you to a particular social channel rather than taking someone’s advice and saying, “Oh, you must be on this network,” and going to that first and then trying to shoe horn your language or tone, your style, your frequency and everything else into that platform where it might work. And then the shorter answer really which is probably the most advisable, it’s just experiments because it’s so easy to just get out there and just try out whether it’s Google plus, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram if it’s more visual, whatever it might be. Maybe spend a week on one at a time and just see how you behave and how you enjoy and the reception that you get from those networks.

Ben Dell:
Because I find that you’d much rather do that than try and communicate and be active on say four of them all at one go and then really not be effective on any of them. So start off with one and then either go deeper once you’ve worked out that it’s working well you or pull back and then experiment with another one afterwards. But it leads me on to another point which follows on actually from a point you were making just before this, which was around the fact that you, which is fantastic by the way, you shoot a video and then from that you will create a blog post. If you can do that, if you have a routine that enables you to do that, that’s fantastic because you’re getting video and audio. But I’d flip that on its head slightly and just say as a challenge almost for those who are listening to this podcast and have been for many, many episodes and who know that they should be taking the advice and actually just getting out there and creating the content to build up that authority and that sort of dialogue with your end user and the customer, but haven’t done anything about it yet.

Ben Dell:
I would challenge you to think about how you feel or what medium, less channel, but just medium, which medium you feel most comfortable communicating through. Whether that’s audio, video, or written. So blog posts, video or podcast. Think about that first. Just take it a pause, think about which one you feel most comfortable working through because it’s quite interesting when I raised this with the people before, back through the agency days, but also existing customers and actually get them to stop and think about that. They actually don’t always say blog posts even though they were halfway through battling with their own minds and procrastination and everything else, trying to knock out these long form blog posts. When you get into the pause and actually get them to be honest with themselves, they go, “Do you know what? Actually I find it tough writing this content. I’ve got stuff to say but it takes me a full day to write a blog posts.”

Ben Dell:
And yet here they are talking to me and they’re free flowing, they’re very, very lucid and very, very captivating with their language and everything else and I’ll say, “Okay, tomorrow shoot a 30 second video,” and it is literally a 30 second video that is jam packed with knowledge and value and they post that on a YouTube channel. They create a YouTube channel and post it on there. Or like in your case, they will create a quick blog post with the video at the top and then they’ll quickly transcribe it. And what they’ve understood through that exercise is either that they just are terrible at video or speaking off the cuff or perhaps through scripted.

Ben Dell:
Or they’re actually in most cases, they find it to be really effective and crucially saving them time because quite often people in those situations would have previously spent, as I said, maybe a day writing a blog post and just sort of really trying to squeeze blood out of a stone. Versus now in a situation where they can shoot a 30 second video, maybe an hour for transcribing afterwards and they’ve still got essentially the same material at the end of it. They’ve just come at it from a slightly different approach.

Liston Witherill:
I think that’s good advice. The one thing I would add to it though is it’s probably going to be hard for you to determine the first time you do something if it’s going to be something that you’re any good at or enjoy doing. I’d probably encourage people to stick to it maybe three, five times and see how it lands, but the spirit of your advice I totally agree with. Most of us, way over complicate everything that we’re doing and it becomes this enormous obstacle and so if it’s a matter of any type of marketing you’re doing, but especially content marketing, just get it out there, hit publish. The more you can do that, I think the better off you are. Now, Ben I have a curve ball for you are you ready?

Ben Dell:
Go on then let’s do it.

Liston Witherill:
So you ran an agency, a very successful agency for a while where you sold consulting services, people sold their expertise in order to solve your client’s problems. What is a lesson that you learned through your time selling your agency services about sales that you would want to leave other listeners with?

Ben Dell:
It’s a bit of a [ballky 00:21:26] Phrase, I suppose. Excuse my English phraseology there.

Liston Witherill:
That’s okay. I think we know what it means.

Ben Dell:
Because we are often told people do business with people and that is what I’ve just learned through the years that you can try and squeeze a deal out of something but when it comes down to it, that person will not do business with you if they think you’re an idiot or if they think that you’re trying to speed the deal through or if you’re just not a right fit for them. So spend the time actually just being human, be authentic and it will see you through. It’s a bit of a wishy washy sort of answer and also it’s a longer tail strategy because if you’re not being out and out hard nosed, but actually playing the long game and actually trying to build a trusted relationship, you’re not necessarily going to see results in the first few weeks.

Ben Dell:
You will see them over, much like with content marketing you will see that snowball effect. But through those years, it always surprised me how often I would get a come back from someone that I met six months ago, inviting me out to a dinner or getting me out to a networking event because they enjoyed speaking with me and they want to introduce me to other people. And it’s the gift that keeps on giving. It’s something that I do to this day, I wouldn’t do it any other way. So I’m not sure whether that answered your question exactly, but that’s always been my approach.

Liston Witherill:
It did. And maybe just to illustrate this, this moment that we’re sharing right now Ben. You and I met six months ago when I bought your product and you were kind enough to answer a few of my questions about it and I’m also going to be on your podcast and so I would just summarize what you said as play the long game. This game doesn’t end, it keeps going. So thank you for sharing your experience.

Ben Dell:
Okay, pleasure.

Liston Witherill:
Awesome. So if people want to either connect with you or learn more about Missinglettr, what should they do?

Ben Dell:
Cool. Well they can catch me on Twitter @Bendell or they can check out Missinglettr at missinglettr.com. It’s missing the e at the end. We do actually have the full domain name as well, Missingletter the traditional spelling, but there’s no fun in that. So try and be like the cool guys and hunt down the spelling without the e much more fun that way.

Liston Witherill:
In hip hop and in startups, the words must be misspelled.

Ben Dell:
Exactly. There’s no trendier way today.

Liston Witherill:
Well, thank you so much for being here, Ben. I really, really appreciate it.

Ben Dell:
Okay, my pleasure.

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