In this article, Natalie Furness from RevOps Automated reveals how she leverages the power of content marketing workshops to bring the most value to her clients. We’ll cover:
- Q: Could you introduce yourself and share what inspired you to get into content marketing?
- Q: What is your process for bringing the most value to your clients using content marketing workshops?
- Q: Can you share with our audience what is your process for personal development?
- Q: What are your steps to help your clients plan out the content?
- Q: How long should people design and plan the content? For three months, six months, or for one year?
- Q: What do you see that some writers miss in their process that would make their content more effective?
- Q: What are some of your advice for startups? What should they do for content marketing, and how should they do that?
Q: Could you introduce yourself and share what inspired you to get into content marketing?
I am Natalie Fernandez. My original journey into content marketing probably wasn’t the same as others. Initially, I didn’t come from a marketing background; I come from a science background. I used to work in healthcare, but I also have experience in performing arts, and I’ve always had this idea in my head that I wanted to do a TED Talk one day.
I wanted to do something big, good enough, like worthy of a ted talk. I finished college and decided to get involved with TED Talk somehow, so I practiced a lot of scriptwriting and storytelling, and eventually, I ended up on the curation board of the TED Talk team.
During this time in ted talks, many organizations submitted their talks for themselves, and many technology companies submitted briefs. They didn’t get in because the curation team found their stories boring.
They said this is not inspiring, and TED audiences want to be inspired. Unfortunately, we had to turn them away because they weren’t compellingly telling their story.
One company that wrote in that was a blockchain for healthcare companies, and I loved what they were doing. But again, they hadn’t told their story amazingly, so instead of just saying no, I rewrote their story for them, and I sent it back to the CEO just for free because I loved their technology.
Then the CEO rang me up and asked me what I was doing, and one of them asked me if I wanted to become their head of marketing. I helped them write, and we raised 27 million dollars in funding. So I ended up getting into content marketing because I wrote TED Talks, and people thought I could tell stories, and that’s how I ended up getting into content marketing.
Q: What is your process for bringing the most value to your clients using content marketing workshops?
We have an entire content marketing strategy module that everybody goes through, and it’s broken down into five strategic content marketing workshops. First of all, we look at the business goals; what businesses want to achieve by working with us? We often work across marketing sales and success.
We work across the whole customer life cycle, not just demand generation. We bring in all three teams to discuss the high-level business goals and then department goals. How we are going to measure that, that’s important from the beginning. How we are going to measure success, and then at that time, we talk about who that ideal customer is, and we like to have marketing sales and success there.
Because what success thinks is an ideal customer and sales are often very different. Sales are looking for new business things and converting quickly, whereas you want to understand who the lifetime value people are. Usually, you have to bring success in to talk about that. So we start building up what attributes these people mean? That’s the big question from that first session.
In a digital marketing workshop, we do another session that focuses on the whole customer journey, all the different touchpoints across the digital experience. We map out all the touchpoints and look at the entire point of looking for areas in which we can better automate systems to have more time to spend with customers.
Then we do an employee experience and process workshop because we all know that if your employees are happy, they’ll treat your customers better. This means your customers will be satisfied, so we look at all your employees’ processes.
We map out all the touchpoints and look at the whole point of looking for areas in which we can better automate systems to have more time to spend with customers.
Then we do an audit of CRM and automation software systems to look at how well they’re using them, and finally, we use all the insights from those four marketing workshops on audit to deliver a scope of marketing work effectively.
So what are we going to implement? What’s important? What needed to be done yesterday? What needs to be done this month? What needs to be done in the next six months or a year?
So we build that with our clients first, so they implement the stuff that needs to be implemented. I see many people rushing into implementation without understanding their problems first. So we do a lot of that with them.
Q: Can you share with our audience what is your process for personal development?
There are a few ways in which we do it in content marketing work. The first step we take is to understand who the stakeholders are within the organization with whom we do marketing work. It is never as simple as we have a customer. There are usually customers, partners, referrers, and suppliers, and all of them are customers in a sense because they might be distributing the project or they might be helping direct sales.
They might be referring to inbound. So the first step is always to understand the different types of customer relationships they have and then with each of those customer types that they are trying to acquire depending on the goals.
I always break down customer persona building; I look at ideal customers or attributes mainly because the word persona fails, and success doesn’t recognize it. It’s quite a marketing word so talk about ideal customers and their attributes. I look at demographics, psychographics, and behavioral graphics.
These are the three key things we look at, so the first question in terms of demographics, people are always quite comfortable talking about demographics; How old are they? What’s their job title?
But surprisingly, people don’t always have the answer to that, or people will say, “oh well, we sell lots of different job titles.” And within b2b, it’s more complicated because you will need to sell at least five different titles and have them all on board. So then the question becomes, what are the job titles of the people who need to be involved? Or like How would you rank these job titles?
I think I take a very scientific approach to building personas. We tend to use Mirror software. We use a diagram drawing collaborative system to build blocks and put the essential job titles at the top. We build those out to look at other countries, their quantifiable things.
So we understand what kind of ideal is and then what is not ideal. We start with demographics, then psychographics. What is it people are motivated by? Are they highly ambitious? Are they likely to buy your product? How do they feel about risk?
Because if you are a brand new product going to a brand new market, you will need to work with people who are okay with being the first to use your tool. But suppose you are a risk management software trying to get every last person out of a market.
In that case, you might need to sell to a very different person because the ambitious person who wants to scale a business is very different from the person who wants to buy risk management software to stop any form of risk in their business.
Then behavioral graphics are where these people behave, live, and watch? What do they read? What do they listen to? What are their interests? What types of holidays might these people go on?
Drilling down all the opportunities and the reason we do that is to build this identity around this person and understand what channels we should be focused on. So understanding how people behave helps us realize what channels you might want to put articles, what blogs they might read, and that kind of stuff.
So we use all of that information to build the personas then off. So the whole point of that is that we make quantifiable personas that can be used.
Q: What are your steps to help your clients plan out the content?
Many of the businesses that we work with for content marketing often have in-house marketing teams. If they have an in-house marketing department, we work with the marketers. If they don’t have an in-house marketing department, then yes, we would do their content marketing work.
So that’s where I have my sister’s marketing agency focused on building all of the content and the demand generation. We have an entire content team that does that as well.
Recently, we have done a few things for Atlassian partners who are trying to sell apps to people who have Jira, for example. So after a lot of exploring, we identified that their crucial target was focused on project managers and program managers.
So we brainstormed what would add value to these people and what they would open if it came to them. What are their needs? What do they need right now?
We identified that they needed to understand how to leverage Jira better to get a promotion, to get a job, and all those kinds of things. To know Jira better, they needed to understand how to use it better, so why don’t we create a series of blogs that add value to these people.
That would be project management of program management tips for people using Jira. Once you understand the persona, you need to think about the need for our top persona. Then we design the content to address that need without necessarily a direct call to action.
Q: How long should people design and plan the content? For three months, six months, or for one year?
It depends on the persona, campaign, budget, and goals. If you have a refined audience, know who you are going for, and have big ambitions and a reasonable budget, planning something out for six months to a year to capture that audience is entirely fabulous; however, if you are slightly earlier on in your journey and try to understand your audience a bit better.
If you don’t have much data on them, you might want to go for a little bit more of an experimental cycle where you put three months of content out. Look at that content, evaluate that content, bring that back, refine it, and consider if that’s the direction you want to go or if you’re going to change directions.
There is no point in doing a content campaign if you don’t put at least three months of effort into it. Because not only do you have to write that content, you also have to distribute it like that’s the important thing with content marketing.
Q: What do you see that some writers miss in their process that would make their content more effective?
That’s such a great question. I reflect on this because I have had a few freelancers work on projects that have only lasted one project. After all, they somehow missed the mark. Sometimes they don’t spend enough time understanding who the audience is. A brief content marketer needs to understand who the audience is that they are writing for.
Q: What are some of your advice for startups? What should they do for content marketing, and how should they do that?
You are the perfect time to build content at the customer interview stage. I would love for people to do that to turn every conversation into a piece of content. For example, this conversation; we are having right now.
I can go and write about it on Twitter or LinkedIn. I can say, like hey, I met this lady Sophie, and she just did the best interview with me. We talked about this. So basically, I am writing up the interview, which becomes a piece of content.
So, of course, if people to who you are speaking want to remain anonymous, that is completely fine. If you are doing a customer interview and are getting to know people, first thing when you are on customer interviews, please don’t use leading questions.
Ask the question, sit back and listen. I would highly recommend having it recorded so then you can transcribe it. You can use the software Otter to transcribe it. Then you can copy that into a google doc; you can turn it into a piece of “I met thought leaders in this area,” which they told me.
There is your content piece; you developed a piece of content from that person. Then you can reach out to that person and ask them if they would like to be featured as the person, and most of the time, they’re going to say yes. Because people love being featured in articles. It’s just a thing they love.
We all like it when people write about us or talk about us, and usually, when you write about other people or talk about them and add their names to it, they share it. So there is your distribution system.
You turned a customer interview into a piece of content, then put their name on it, so they shared it with their friends. You didn’t pay for it; you have to pay for any ads. So then you’ve got your distribution sorted, and then other people are interested in what you’re doing who are also in your perfect customer target.
Because your customers tend to know your other ideal customers, referral is the most potent source of inbound marketing. That’s my tip.