Business Bites Episode 105: Quitting Content Creation Without Sacrificing Results

Quitting Content Creation Without Sacrificing Results

Episode 105 on the Business Bites Podcast

The Gist Of This Episode:  Quitting content creation doesn’t mean you never have to post anything ever again, but it’s about reusing and repurposing content you already have.  In this episode, Rachel and Hailey Dale from Your Content Empire discuss how to use the content you have in the most effective ways you can. 

 

What you will learn:

  • What a content bank is and how to create it
  • How to use a content bank to set up email sequences
  • How funnels help you control the information people are getting and when
  • How to evaluate your campaigns to see what is or isn’t working
  • and more!

Expand To Read Episode Transcripts

Rachel Brenke: Hello friends. Welcome to episode 105 of the Business Bites podcast. I am your host Rachel Brenke every week and this week I am joined with Hailey Dale and we are going to be talking about quitting content creation. You guys have heard me talk about repurposing of content, not creating new stuff when you’re sitting on mountains of stuff. So Hailey, I’m so excited for you to just come in as another voice and also preach this to the listeners also.

Hailey Dale: Oh, I’m so excited to be here. I love the Business Bites podcast. So this is such an honor.

Rachel Brenke: Oh well thank you. Now guys, she is a certified content strategist and the founder of Your Content Empire. She partners with small business owners who are ready to build their content empires, but in their way. Through her programs Agency and award-winning Tello blog. She has helped thousands of entrepreneurs create smarter content on a consistent basis that also delights them and their customers while growing their bottom lines. Hailey, I think we are twins. I think I’m going to love this episode because I already love everything about this. Before we dig in guys, don’t forget, you can find all of the show notes at rachelbrenke.com/epi105. I’m going to put all of Hailey’s stuff on there, her website, she’s going to have a little fun stuff to go with this episode and you can find all of her stuff. So Hailey, I’ve given the bio, which is like the PR bio, right? That everyone kind of talks about. But I want to hear from you how you got into entrepreneurship and got to where you’re at now.

Hailey Dale: Yeah, so I started, I finished my masters in communications and I went right away into a government job thinking that public service was my dream job. As it turns out, I loved what I was doing, but I hated the environment that I was doing it in. And so while I really enjoyed communication strategy and marketing strategy, I prefer like breaking down those big high level things into like small sizes, which are perfect size for small businesses.

Rachel Brenke: I love it. So if there was one thing you could tell yourself back when you first started, what would it be? What would you change in your business?

Hailey Dale: Treat your content like an asset. So Rachel, you kind of alluded to the fact that you might be sitting on mountains of content. So that’s not the time to be creating a ton more unless you truly need it. But really make an effort right from the beginning and right from the get go to catalog it and archive it and treat it with the respect that it deserves as such an important asset in your business.

Rachel Brenke: So let’s flush out this cataloging and archiving. What does that tangibly look like in implementation?

Hailey Dale: Yeah, so for myself, and one of the things that I teach people is how to set up a content bank. So making sure that we use something like Trello, you can do it in a Asana, Airtable. It doesn’t really matter where, just as long as you can categorize it and sort it. Something like Trello is great cause you can also integrate it with either Dropbox or Google Drive. But literally every single piece of content that you create, all of your blog posts, your juicy sales emails, all of your videos and freebies, just so you can go back to that library instead of going back to the drawing board to create something on the exact same topic. So it avoids duplication of effort.

Rachel Brenke: I love that. I’m scribbling notes guys because as my podcast assistant is going to tell me after she listens to this episode, we need to have a better content bank because we’ve kind of taken and just linked podcast over here, blog over there. But we don’t really have everything in one place that you can easily dig into. Man, all right, let me finish scribbling that down. Because now I’ve got tons of work to do when we get off of here. So after you realize you have this content bank and you create the categories and you’re able to sort through it all, what do you do with all that?

Hailey Dale: Yeah, so I think if you’re in a place where you want to maybe take a bit of a break from the consistent content churn and get off that wheel of creating consistent content, because I preach consistent content, like you need to be staying top of mind with your audience, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs to be brand new content every time.

Rachel Brenke: That’s exhausting, thinking about it. [crosstalk 00:04:23].

Hailey Dale: Totally. Especially if you’ve been at it for two to three years, you have a lot of juicy topics and juicy content that you could be repurposing into new blog posts or not necessarily new blog posts, but get it in front of people. Right? Get it in front of people because your audience has a turnover as well. So likely your audience today hasn’t seen your content from a year ago, even.

Rachel Brenke: Man, by the way, I just want to interject here to say if you’re listening to this and you’re thinking, Oh my gosh, I don’t have content. Well, that’s probably where you need to start. You guys have heard me talk about on other episodes, whether you’re a brick and mortar local location or you’re online, content is King. You hear that all the time. But it’s true because it helps to create the credibility, authority, and relationships with those that you want to buy into you. And I think even more so these days in this world of social media, you have to, like Hailey said, you have to constantly be putting content out there. It doesn’t necessarily have to be fresh content. But let me ask you this before we dig into more of how to kind of repurpose and dig into this existing content, how do you make the determination if, should I go digging into this big mountain or should I create new? Because what if you see your audience having a specific question, but you don’t have any thing to meet their needs?

Hailey Dale: Well that definitely means that you should create a new piece, right? If you see questions being asked. I think so, I see so many of my audience members, struggling with imposter syndrome and thinking that they have nothing useful or helpful to provide or say. And yet, if you can bring it back to being of service and simply finding questions, answering questions, rinse and repeat. By the end of doing that, you’re going to end up with that content bank full of juicy topics.

Rachel Brenke: And I know it’s hard if you’re sitting there thinking, Oh my gosh, I don’t need one more thing to do. But how I really even started blogging in my own journey is I was asked the same questions all the time over and over and creating a blog, and at the time we didn’t have Instagram but are putting out a social media post on it was My Space or on Facebook it was to be able to not have to repeat the same thing over and over. It was more of an efficiency thing than a connection thing, which just evolved and brings us right back to this whole repurposing your content. The forever funnel strategy. So tell us what does that mean exactly?

Hailey Dale: Yeah. So this is a way I’ve been doing the strategy with my agency clients since around 2016 but it’s a great system to put into place for clients who happen to have a lot of content already. But if you are getting started, you can build this from the get go. So it’s basically a way of theming your content so that you are creating these sequences that bring people through a journey through your email service provider. So setting up these mini sequences that lead to an offer. So basically in practice it looks like, say I want to sell my mastermind and it is about, I don’t know, live video, how to do live video, whatever it is.

And so taking at least like five to six blog posts related to that, structuring them in a way so they bring people through a journey and then culminating in like a week to a week and a half of sales emails. Then you have a sequence that covers six weeks of time in your email service provider and then you can stack another one and another one. And so by the end of doing that nine times, you have a full year of content covered and your content is essentially on autopilot, especially if you think about your content in terms of like internal and external. So internal would be that email service, email sequence that goes to your existing community. But externally you can choose one of those posts per week to focus on publicly to promote and provide a theme for your outward facing communications and messaging.

Rachel Brenke: You know what’s funny is I was resistant to this forever funnel type strategy in the very beginning because I had it in my mind, my audience needs fresh content right now and I have to post it or email it rather, every Tuesday at 10:00 AM or they’re going to be disappointed. And I’d got to starting to realize, and this is the same thing of how social media works now, is everyone’s going to come in at a different time. So if I’m posting week by week, wasting my time, and I say wasting because you inherently end up wasting time and energy on sending out a dated timed email, that’s not unlike these funnels that we’re talking about.

If I start doing this January one only the people that were actually on my list January one are going to get everything because those that come in July 10th are going to have missed like seven months worth of content at this point and by having a funnel I can start the July people at the same first email that the January one people received and it was when I finally realized that my audience didn’t really care if it was a quote unquote brand new fresh email, that I could share the same email one month with someone and one month and another it freed up so much of stress for me and it brought down that wall of resistance to creating these funnels.

Hailey Dale: I think it just allows you to be so intentional with the journey you want to take people on. I think it also allows you to monetize your content a lot quicker and get offers in front of people far more regularly, which only helps to see a higher ROI from your content. I know that can be one of the biggest complaints is it feels like this is taking up so much time and I don’t know that the ROI is there, so this is a way of solving that issue.

Rachel Brenke: Let me ask you this. We’ve been primarily saying email through all of this and funnels typically are email driven. What is your opinion on the use of bots and I don’t know what the, I don’t know if there’s a terminology for it, but like the way that Facebook ads work where you can include and exclude people based on activity and show either ad one, then they see ad two, then they see ad three and it’s kind of a funnel-ish. Do you think that email is still going to reign supreme?

Hailey Dale: I think like still email marketing is the most profitable marketing out there. I think it’s also the most effective in terms of conversion rates compared to something like just website traffic or even like email, like per impressions, right? Because they’re a warmer audience. Now I think that bots and I think that retargeting ads, I think that’s such a brilliant functionality and they can really compliment being part of your funnel, especially if you have an automated way like active campaign, which allows you to like put people in an audience and take people out of audiences that you can be retargeting.

I think that’s just a way of getting your message in front of people just in another way, right? You hear of effective frequency where people need to see a message, they used to say like 21 times before they’re ready to take action. So now it’s much more right with all the ads bombarding us. So I think of Facebook ads and I think of bots and I think of social media as just another means of getting it in front of them and not just relying on email.

Rachel Brenke: Yeah. I love how you said that Facebook ads and you can insert any other ads in here guys, and bots and usage are supplemental. They’re not primary. And Hailey just touched on something that’s a truly sophisticated way of approaching this. And you mentioned with active campaign we use Klaviyo and they do the same thing where you put one person in a funnel, you can attach a custom audience and that will push to Facebook or wherever else you’re doing advertisements and then it can feed them different ads. But it’s supplemental. It’s not so that you’re turning around and putting 500 bucks solely into a funnel and hopes it works. It’s allowing for your audience member, your potential customer, getting the email, they’re clicking on it so it’s triggering stuff because they’re going into your blog. And then when they click over to Facebook to check out what gifs their friends have posted that day, they see a supplemental ad. I love that strategy.

Hailey Dale: Well, I think it comes down to the fact like as great as social media is and as great as paid advertising is, gosh, if I could go back to when leads were like a dollar a lead, I’d put all my money there.

Rachel Brenke: I know. Those were the days.

Hailey Dale: Those were days, but you never, you can’t rely on that like in perpetuity. I wouldn’t put all of my eggs in that basket. Whereas your email list is something that you own and yes, there is like it’s a bit tumultuous like we see GDPR come in, we see these new laws in California come in, but right. Our email lists in general are something that we own and we can rely on versus who knows what’s going to happen with the cost per conversions down the road.

Rachel Brenke: Which by the way, I’m going to link if you’re sitting here going, I have no idea what GDPR is or what California things Hailey’s referring to. I have episodes on both of those, so I’m going to link them in the show notes. Rachelbrenke.com/epi105. That way you can just click over and listen because if you are sold and bought into this whole thing that Hailey’s talking about and I’m going to tell you what, my life and my stress got so much better and my stress reduced when I got into these funnels and flows. If you are going to be doing that, you need to understand the legal privacy concerns and the legal requirements. GDPR is for EU based and the California obviously is California, but we’re seeing it move amongst all the States. And guess what? If you’re not living in either of those, but your email address or website’s accessible to either of those locations, you still may be subjected to the legality.

So make sure you click over, listen to those episodes, because I don’t want us to dig into that here. I want to hear more about Hailey’s great information about utilizing this content. But yeah, just know you got to get those legalities. You guys know me, I’m not going to let that pass. So Hailey, they’re sold on this idea. I’m going to create these funnels so that everyone gets my content. I’ve categorized it into a bank, but how do I get from this categorized neatly done bank that I’ve slaved over and done many hours, how do I fit that into this funnel? How do I determine which content needs to go into it and how do I use it?

Hailey Dale: Yeah. This is where the fun part, at least for me comes in, is where you get to start combing through that bank that you’ve created and start bundling topics and themes together based on the offer that you’re leading up to. So for every content campaign and you want them to be about six weeks long. So five weeks of value content where you’re having weekly emails direct back to blog posts on your website. We want to be sending traffic to your website, not to something like Instagram or something like that. [crosstalk 00:15:24] So five weeks of value content and then your sales email. So for every single campaign, you’ll go through the process of number one, let me decide what it is that I’m promoting and selling at the end of this campaign.

Number two, what are the blog posts that relate to this theme that I’m going to approach this offer from? So say, let’s go back to our example of say you’re selling a course on live video, which I don’t even do live video, so that’s definitely not me. But, say your theme was like video competence or something and you could pull all of your blog posts to do with video confidence and being prepared and feeling prepared, right? And then you, so gather those in, you have those emails, you likely have some promotional copy all ready for those blog posts and your emails are pretty much written there. And then you can add in the sales emails for your offer.

Then you can go and automate it, set up your automation and then think about your publicly facing thing too. So even though, you know Rachel, you said it right, like someone joins in January and then they join in February, they’re not going to get the same posts unless there’s an automation like this in place. But publicly facing, you can assign one blog post per week on your calendar to promote on all of your social media channels. So there is a theme there as well. Even though someone is going to start with email one, not email five with this strategy in place.

Rachel Brenke: I love that and what I find, my structure and approach is very similar that when I start doing, for example you gave six weeks, if I start going through my blog posts and I’m like, I got to fit this into six weeks, I start realizing where there’s holes in the content that I’ve put out, and you’re trying to walk them down this path. You’re trying to hold your potential customer’s hand, you’re going email one, email two, I’ll go, how the heck did we get from two to five, [inaudible 00:17:16] steps three and four in here? And it shows me, you’re talking about this public facing blog posts and such, it’s showing me what content in messaging is missing.

Hailey Dale: Yeah, that’s a great way to think of it too. Because chances are you are going to need to fill some holes, but using the strategy, it’s going to at least point out what those holes are and what those topics should be.

Rachel Brenke: Let me ask you this. It’s easy for us to look at our own content and go, Oh it’s so good, I’m going to stick it into six blog posts into six weeks with a call to action on email six. When in the process do you encourage people to evaluate objectively by analytics or having someone else look at the flow, when should they… I guess what I’m trying to say is, at what point should I go to Google Analytics first and see which blog posts were the most interacted with or how do I determine that?

Hailey Dale: You could, but I think some of your, I think some of it, if you’re having trouble deciding between two, I would recommend doing that.

Rachel Brenke: Okay.

Hailey Dale: But in most cases, your earlier posts haven’t gotten as much traffic as the posts you’re creating now just because your audience has grown. Right. And so one of the things I have one part courses in my business, one part agency, and in the agency we build sales funnels for people. And what’s really unique about our process is we have a testing protocol, which I think you could use in this case too. We do use this in this case too. So what we will do is we will actually divide a person’s email list into quarters. We’ll run a quarter through at a time so that we can go back and optimize the funnel.

So we’ll know right from there, if we’re using this testing protocol for the forever funnel strategy, we’ll be able to tell which posts were duds, right. Especially if there’s an outlier there or on the opposite spectrum, which ones were complete smash hits because the click throughs and the open rates were a lot higher. Also gives us an opportunity to fix those things, right? Like add different call to actions or try a different subject line. And then by the end of that you’ll also know what your conversion rate is in terms of how many people ended up purchasing this offer I was focused on for this particular content campaign in my forever funnel.

Rachel Brenke: So one thing that we use internally for our e-commerce sites, were woo commerce sitting on WordPress and we have it integrated with Klaviyo so we don’t have to sit there and do the math of this many purchases during this time, compared to total amount of purchases, some of those might’ve been outward facing. It directly tells me the amount that that email value is.

Hailey Dale: That’s so smart. Yeah. I use something called Funnelitics, where we can put codes in to our clients’ funnels as well as our own, which kind of tracks that as well. And also lets you build out some projections. So there are so many great tools that is going to take out like the time consuming part of measuring this for you.

Rachel Brenke: But I guess if you’re somebody listening that is not using online e-commerce stuff like this, what can we recommend to them, how to figure it out. I guess initially I think, well if you have a call to action, have them inquire. You could have a specific inquiry landing page that’s specific to that email.

Hailey Dale: Yeah. Well if you’re a brick and mortar store, I think it’s, you have the extra challenge of, you don’t necessarily know where your traffic is always coming from, but if you’re online, you will be able to track this stuff manually by just looking at your open rates and your close rates. In addition, if you’re brick and mortar and sending out email campaigns, you’ll be able to track those as well.

The conversion rate will be a little bit tricky unless you have a good habit of asking people, where did you hear about us or having your salespeople do that. So I think as much as possible, just thinking in terms of what was the reception of this particular blog post and or email in terms of what was the open rate, what was the click rate, what was the traffic, where did that traffic come from, and then the conversion, right. Same thing. What was the open rate? The click rate, the purchase rate and where did that traffic come from?

Rachel Brenke: That was a lot. You guys, if you are someone that is not able to track it online, you need to pause and rewind a little bit and rewrite all that down. We’re also going to have it in the transcript for you and notes. I want to ask you Hailey, there is then, a lot of people talk about email funnels and such, and they all have different recommendations and I always hear conflicting advisement between put the whole blog post or content in your email and leave it at that, versus have an email that only has like an introduction and then link to like a blog post. Which would you recommend?

Hailey Dale: I am a personal fan of making the email different. I think that you want to, like your email list should feel like your inner circle and so they should feel like they’re getting a little something extra from saying yes and being in your community. And so I always like to take the approach of writing a behind the scenes or sharing a helpful resource or telling a story of what’s going on that week. Something that makes it feel a little bit more timely and a little bit more personal.

Rachel Brenke: I love it. Do you, so you said for like let’s say these six week campaign example, it’s five weeks of content and one week of call to action, which would be like, buy this, inquire to me. But in those five weeks before that last CTA email, do you have any sorts of CTAs, like share this with a friend, forward this, reply to me with your embarrassing story or something?

Hailey Dale: Yeah, you could totally work that in. So working in more of those micro-commitments, right, before you get to the purchase, I would save those for those value emails and not the sales emails. You don’t want to have too many call to actions, especially when it comes to a sales email.

Rachel Brenke: One of our best performing emails has been one, because I teach legality stuff, so we talk about like horror stories. And so the email goes out and it says reply back and tell us your horror story. Well I just did that, thinking well let’s see how many people read them. Our email, that’s like our number one email that we get from our, in reply to any of our funnels because people want to share their horror story that they’ve had with their own clients.

Hailey Dale: Oh, I love that. I love that example.

Rachel Brenke: It’s super cool. I’m much, I just stumbled upon it. It wasn’t some mastermind strategy thing. I was, Oh, I want to see what other people have for pain.

Hailey Dale: I do something similar. I think working with clients is that, like one of the benefits of it. I always love that I don’t just probably the same thing with you. I love that I don’t just teach a strategy that worked for me. No, we’re in the agency rolling our sleeves up every single day, testing these new and latest strategies with our clients and then able to bring that the info into our content and the stories into our content as well as share it with our students. And I think that just adds such a well rounded experience and you have those stories to share.

Rachel Brenke: So let’s circle or maybe cap this off with you say evaluating the content and doing analytics because we’ve done this content bank, categories and sorting, getting it into a funnel, you’ve given us the structure for the campaigns and, but how do you evaluate really to see what’s working and not. I mean obviously it’s easy when I see that a lot of people are responding to what’s your biggest pain point email, but how can you tangibly track this and when should you, I mean you mentioned doing like quarters, but is that too long? How does someone decide what’s best for them?

Hailey Dale: Oh no, when I mentioned quarters, I mean when we’re running the testing protocol for client, we divide their email list into quarters, and run a quarter through at a time or give a quarter a two week headstart. I think you should be measuring, I think you should know the difference between your leading and your lagging metrics. So your leading metrics are the things that are going to determine the outcome of your goals. So say your goal as most people is that their funnels, right? Let’s make more sales or let’s get more inquiries or let’s get more console calls booked wherever your point of sale is for your particular offer. So that becomes like the end goal of your funnel.

Now what are the leading metrics for that? Is it the number of people reaching the sales page? Is it the number of people booking a consult calls? So is it the number of personal outreaches that you need to make? So those ones you can be measuring on a weekly basis. So for instance, I run sales, I run Facebook ads as well as promoted pins for my funnels. And so I want to know the number of leads that are coming in every single week so I can determine what my sales are going to be based on my conversion rate.

Now the conversion rate and the open rate and the click rate, I don’t think you should measure that more than once a month because you need to have enough time in there to let things level out because you might just have a weird group in there that’s super responsive or a weird group in there who like don’t open emails. So it kind of depends, like weekly for your really important leading metrics and then monthly for those lagging metrics, those results and those smaller things that you want to be tweaking.

Rachel Brenke: I love it. That is upping my anxiety of more things I need to do, but it’s so important because I think one of the traps that people fall into, and hopefully you guys have had your minds changed. If this is how you came this episode, of set it and forget it. Because I think some people who teach this quitting content creation funnel stuff, you never have to think about it again, but that’s not true. I always think of it like a huge boulder, almost like Indiana Jones style, right? It takes a lot to get it going. You’ve got to create the bank, you got to bundle the topics, you got to get them in the campaign, but once it’s going, you still have to do little tasks to keep it going. And for me that would be like the analytics and reviewing and adjusting of things.

Hailey Dale: Totally. I have a lot of clients who, the reason they come, the reason they want to do this forever funnels because they want to switch to doing something else in their business or they want to start up a micro-business and have their content taken care of, but it is not set it or forget it. You have to constantly be coming back and measuring, but it can take a lot of time off your plate and allow you to have more time for the things that are important for you in your business and life.

Rachel Brenke: I love it. So Hailey, can you let them know, actually before we get into where they can find you and all of that, one last tip that you have relating to this quitting of content creation.

Hailey Dale: Set up your content bank as soon as possible because then you’re not going to need to go and find all those pieces. They’ll all be right there for you.

Rachel Brenke: And that’s the most inundating portion I think, especially if you’ve been doing this for five, 10, 15 years, pointing at myself and you don’t have a solid content bank in the way that I think you are recommending to structure it. But it’ll save a lot of time in the future.

Hailey Dale: And I’ll provide a link to a blog post, which I just put out about doing a content audit and it’s how to automate pulling some of that content for you so you don’t need to manually upload everything.

Rachel Brenke: Yeah, I’m going to need that link ASAP. [inaudible 00:28:21] Well, Hailey, thank you so much. Guys, don’t forget you can get all of the links and stuff to reach out to Hailey at rachelbrenke.com/epi105. Also jump into the Business Bites Facebook group. We’re going to be talking about funnels, quitting this content creation and you can be sharing some of your content bank stuff with the other listeners of the Business Bites.

Sponsored by Big Picture CPA

Featured Guest & Resources

Hailey Dale, MA is a certified content strategist and founder of Your Content Empire, where she partners with small business owners who are over the shoulds and ready to build their content empires – their way. Through her programs, agency and award-winning, tell-all blog, she’s helped thousands of entrepreneurs create smarter content on a consistent basis that delights them and their customers while growing their bottom lines.

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Hi, I’m Rachel Brenke

Rachel Brenke

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