Your audience already uses an array of voice-enabled devices including smartphones, digital assistants, tablets, computers, cars and the Internet of Things so the types of content they need changes.
So, you must think about how, when and where you deliver information to your audience. Should you create podcasts? Video? Chatbots?
While voice changes the needs of your audience, it also poses increased challenges to information not only from marketing but also from systems across your entire organization.
Heidi Cohen, CMO of Actionable Marketing Guide, and MarketMuse Co-Foundre Jeff Coyle discuss the voice ecosystem and how to become voice-first. Get some easy-to-implement tactics to help your business test the audio-first landscape.
Click to view the entire conversation.
A More Robust View of Voice
The big benefit with voice is the additional information and context it provides. Heidi points out a couple of advantages, one is that “you can tell what kind of device which gives you where I am, what time I’m doing it, how I’m using it, it gives you a lot of information that provides context, which you didn’t have before.” Plus, as she puts it, “voice carries more information than any other kind of content.”
Heidi suggests we need to “think about content, not just from a content creation perspective, but even from a search perspective. She sees content as “being what starts happening when you start thinking about voices that you need information across your entire organization.” She’s quick to clarify that content isn’t just an article, white paper, or video, “it’s product information, it’s cost information, it’s sales information” that needs to be incorporated and combined. As Heidi puts it, “those kind of Lego blocks to answer that question, which kind of changes and expands the role of an SEO in my opinion.”
Back in 2019, Heidi already believed we were undergoing a “seismic content marketing shift” due to the confluence of three factors – voice-first search had reached a tipping point, the rapid rise of marketing artificial intelligence, and the continuation of content saturation. The key to overcoming content saturation is to focus on creating high quality content and publish that in a way that trains your audience to consume your content. Heidi mentions that a newsletter can be an ideal vehicle for establishing that relationship but cautions against excessive promotion as that can easily “burn your list.”
There Is No Buyer’s Journey
According to Heidi, she doesn’t “believe there’s a buyer’s journey.” She cites a Gartner study of B2B buyers that found the journey to be anything but linear. Heidi goes on to explain that buyers “have six processes and a group of six to 10 people that have to go through those processes” and that “each time they have a conflict [due to conflicting information], it increases their buying process by about two months. And guess what the most common type of conflict is. The content created by two different companies.”
Getting Content Consumed
While Heidi is “not advocating that you need to do voice everywhere or all the time,” businesses are already doing voice in some shape or capacity. As she points out, “they have phones, they have web chat. They are now using video conferencing like we are, and they have IVRs (interactive voice response), which are now IVAs (intelligent voice automation), they’re collecting lots of information and they’re doing it.”
Chat Bots and Voice-First
Heidi is quick to point out that chatbots are nothing new and that they “have been out for a while.” The way she sees it, “[chatbots] are a form of voice because it’s conversation.”She uses Drift as an example of what constitutes a good implementation. According to her, “they got rid of all of their forms. They increased the number, the amount of traffic, and they were able to not only increase sales [but] decrease time to sale. They key, Heidi explains is to “ involve not just your marketing department or your content department, but someone who understands conversational, conversation, such as linguist or conversational AI person.”
Getting started with voice-first can initially seem overwhelming. Yet Heidi’s confident it doesn’t have to be this way, “everybody here can do really simple stuff and you don’t have to worry about how hard or difficult it is, you can talk to your phone or your computer and read all of your articles.”
She offers an example of Jay Baer, who back in 2019, was taking this approach. She goes on to say that his editor told her that “having voice on there kept people on their site longer because you’re listening to the whole thing. You’re not reading. You’re gonna take longer, even if you do it at a higher speed, but there are people who wanna listen because they’re just walking around. They wanna save it so that they can do it when they’re doing something else that goes back to how people have changed, right?”
However, Heidi cautions marketers not to “do this in a vacuum. You can’t just do it by collecting data on your business. You have to actually understand how people have changed.”
If you liked listening to Heidi Cohen, get her marketing goodness by subscribing to her weekly AMG Newsletter:
Heidi Cohen, Chief Marketing Officer, Actionable Marketing Guide
As the Chief Content Officer of the award-winning Actionable Marketing Guide, Heidi Cohen simplifies the complex concepts behind today’s evolving marketing challenges.
Heidi built her marketing career at well-known brands for major international corporations including Citibank, Bertelsmann, and The Economist. Her consultancy, Riverside Marketing Strategies, combines creativity and analytics to aid established firms like The New York Times and startups.
Voice-first offers both some unique opportunities and challenges. As people change the manner in which they consume content, it offers the possibility of breaking through the noise in an already saturated market. Most organizations are involved in voice to some degree although they may not realize. Getting started does not have to be difficult. Start small by doing simple things like reading your blog articles into your phone. Then update the post to include that file in an audio player. As Heidi points out, “give people options. You don’t know if your audience wants to use voice, if you don’t.
Seismic Shift Marketing: What You Need To Do Now. (This updated article contains important charts regarding how consumers have changed.)
Seismic Content Marketing Shift: How These 3 Changes Will Make You Fail (This is the original article related to my 2019 CMW presentation) It has good charts for content marketers.
The New B2B Purchase Process: What You Need To Know Now. (This updated article includes the Gartner and McKinsey charts that every B2B marketer needs to be competitive.)
The Ultimate Branding Checklist: How To Create Your Branding Strategy. (This article supports my point regarding branding being critical and easy to accomplish.)
SparkToro (Rand Fishkin)
The Tilt (Joe Pulizzi)
Jeff Coyle: Hello, and welcome to another MarketMuse content strategy webinar in our content strategy, webinar series. So excited to be joined with an amazing guest. Who’s gonna speak about voice, speak about different types of content and thinking about content and not just content. I’m Jeff Coyle. Like I mentioned, the co-founder and chief strategy officer for MarketMuse a few housekeeping tips.
We’re going to be sending this recording the next couple days. Make sure to grab that while you’re at a go check out our entire webinar archive. You can also access that from the top navigation of the MarketMuse site. Look at our webinar archive. Second please go check out all the stuff at our guest site and we’ll get into some more details and sign up for her newsletter.
Also ask us anything throughout the discussion. Almost anything, but if it’s relevant to our discussion, we’ll weave it into. The discussion as we go, if not, we’re gonna leave some time for Q and a at the end of our call. Again, we’re gonna be talking about how to get businesses heard and how that can really change our content strategy.
And joining us today is Heidi Cohen. She is an amazing person who I’ve had the luxury of working with. She’s got visual aids galore. I met Heidi from, I met Heidi years ago at multiple conferences but for the past three or four years of collaborated on everything about from AI to voice search.
And I’ll let her tell a little bit more about how actual marketing and what she works on every day and the mission of the work that she’s doing today. Thanks for joining us, Heidi.
Heidi Cohen: Hi, I’m Heidi cone CMO of the actionable marketing guide. You can find firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love it. If you subscribe to my newsletter.
Heidi cohen.com/subscribe makes it easy. We cover a wide range of topics that today’s marketer needs to know, including voice and content. So enough of the ads let’s dive into it. So should I, can
Jeff Coyle: I, yeah, no, I really love to know, tell everybody, with the one thing that I love about the work that you do and about the media that you put out is, there’s always a tilt, there’s always an angle, whether it’s something really fun with the, the taxi cab as we just saw how do you think about doing something that makes you stand out?
I like AI too. There’s your AI robots? What are, how does that go into your strategy for yourself and for clients? Do you bring that, before we get into the voice search, do you bring that to the table? And I know you’ve given us, and me personally, a lot of advice on messaging and such, and I think I find it to be.
Very helpful and successful. How does that go into your messaging is making sure that, the teams that you work with are really differentiated.
Heidi Cohen: Okay. So the easy, let me just let me go through some of the basics that I, how of how I approach this. First of all, I look at marketing in a Peter following Peter Druckers that the aim of marketing is to create a content and fulfill their needs.
And the business, your business has two goals. One is to market and two is innovation. Okay. Content market, the way I look at content marketing. So in other words, contrary, especially for B2B, what marketing does is it should run across your entire organization. That is a very rare thing in today’s world. I think with the increase in use of AI and different kinds of tools as we approach web 3.0, this will become more important.
Two is let’s look at how I look at content marketing. And this has evolved over time. I don’t look, I look at content marketing in more holistic fashion. It’s not just the information that you put out and how you put it out and what it looks like, but is much deeper, is much broader. It looks at the underlying structure of your content.
How much information is around that data and the governance for changing your content. And I got into a matter of fact, I got into voice back in 2019 when we met at Macon and then later at content marketing world. And I went to a show on voice and I that together with AI changed my view. And I would say that now we are in a, what I would call phase web 2.0, I originally started calling this seismic marketing shift and we are between we’re in this change phase.
It has been accelerated by the period of. Okay. So then, and lastly, let me just say what I what, how I define voice. So there’s, there are three ways of looking at it. One voice marketing is using voice and audio at any point during your contact with your audience. And I use audience more broadly than just customers, buyers, and end users.
It’s so it’s everybody, it’s your prospects, your influencers, your employees, and your local community. Okay. So it is used anywhere. It usually is a device and people been using it’s like you’ve been using it since you had a traditional telephone or radio all the way up to, voice assistant, smart watches, et cetera, and hearables, those are the earbuds. So those are all. Voice first devices. You can talk to them. They, and you can listen. Voice in terms of marketing includes can come in three ways. One, it can be voice only. So you’re just listening. And I call this listen on demand, but it could be a podcast, right? We’re all used to doing, it’s listening to radio talk shows.
It’s not new, but some podcast, it could be any other kind of content. It can even be a video without the images. Two is you ask a short question, that’s easy. Hopefully the machine understands what you’re saying. And I don’t say that, to be funny, but it, that is actually hard getting machines to understand humans.
They have to be roughly 95% plus accurate to work. And third is so the first one is you’re driving easiest one, right? You can’t see, second one is, you’re doing something. You can look, you might, you can talk and you can look, but you can’t, your hands are busy, right. Such as cooking. Lots of people have tablets in their kitchen, or they might have a voice assistant that has a screen.
And thirdly, is that you have a voice. It uses both and is interactive, right? So there’s a conversation that takes place that is actually the most difficult kind of voice to implement. It requires more work. So those are the three ways that I look at it. It really changes how you look at your organization and what you wanna
Jeff Coyle: get at.
So you, that’s a really great breakdown. I think a lot of times people are, especially if they come from the search engine optimization world, they’re limiting their perspective of voice to someone asking voice search engine or the equivalent of a voice translation a question. And they wanna be the person whose content is sourced for their answer.
But when you think about it from a. How can you publish? So that, that happens is one, but the other is, what you describe based on lifestyle changes based on being where somebody is, it can really change your approach. Right?
Heidi Cohen: So let’s just take one more, one more piece to that puzzle, which we, you alluded to.
So as marketers in general, we’re used to, and I’m not, I’m sorry, I can never get these screens. But we have one access going up, which is like our traffic versus our content. And we’re trying to get more people to visit or whatever your goal is. What voice does so that that, so traffic’s your Y the, a number of articles or pieces of content are your X axis, and now you have a Z or a Z that comes out and that’s context, because the difference, once you add voice, there are two things that happen.
One I’m using a device, and you can tell what kind of device I’m. One of, if you can gather, as long as you have the right contract, you can tell what kind of device which gives you where I am, what time I’m doing it, how I’m using it, it gives you a lot of information that provides context, which you didn’t have before.
And additionally, which I’m not using as part of this explanation, I just wanna make the point that voice carries more information than any other kind of content. So that changes it. You now have context right? And people use voice across the range. I’m not sure if we’ve mentioned that, but voice is no longer.
I’m either at a computer or I’m on a tablet or I’m on a smartphone. I could be anywhere, voice recent research from MP. I can’t not Edison shows that people where the two big places, people use voice in their home, no surprise. And in their car. And a lot of cars have various voice devices where you can use your.
phone so that gives you way more information and therefore, even if you’re search, so what happens is this has to ch this means that there’s a ne a need to change how we think about content, not just from a content creation perspective, but even from a search perspective. So search right search.
We’re trying to, you’re trying to get your information to be the top. Research from spark Toro, which is the new Rand’s new company shows that there’s almost zero. There’s very little search that goes someplace, right? It’s not just the Google be website. It stays there. It could be. And there’s, it’s not, when we think about, most people think about search, they think about a search engine.
It’s not just a search engine and it’s not just YouTube, which is the second biggest search engine. It’s anything. I want to search. I could be on your site and wanna do search. That is really a huge change. And I might not like here’s, this is the biggest change. I believe if you are for both content and SEO, especially the strategy part of it is that you, I like if I’m going to buy a refrigerator, which is common purchase for a household, it’s a big purchase, a high consideration, meaning that high consideration consumer products are like B2B products, right? It takes a lot. Everybody has something to say, but in a kitchen you usually have a very well defined space that your refrigerator can fit into unless you’re starting from scratch.
So you wanna know, let’s say you gotta, you don’t really care, beyond how many cubic feet of what you know of refrigerator space. You wanna know how big the box is. You don’t necessarily care how big the box is. Harder to get into that kitchen space. What you wanna know is how big is the kit? How big is the refrigerator?
How far out does the door come? And these, this is data that every company has, right? You built the product. It’s making sure that data is findable. And because if I say, how big is the refrigerator, if you tell me the box is X feet by Y feet, that doesn’t help me because I got this space I have to fill out.
I don’t want it to be too small and I don’t want it to be, I want the Goldilocks of refrigerators. So that data has, that’s why I say you have to start thinking differently. I look at content as being what starts happening when you start thinking about voices that you need information across your entire organization.
And from when you say content is not just, I wrote a wonderful article or great white paper or amazing video. It’s that information it’s product information, it’s cost information, it’s sales information, and it has to be able to be gotten and combined. So I call those kind of Lego blocks to answer that question, which kind of changes and expands the role of an SEO in my opinion,
Jeff Coyle: no, I think that, I think it brings the teams together too.
Just what you described, the person responsible for product descriptions. If they’re not in lockstep with the SEO team. One of those sections, some of those pages in the way that they can get consumed, aren’t gonna get consumed in the way that, they’re supposed to get consumed.
Are you expecting to get consumed? I think it requires synchronicity in the various content, maybe silos that might.
Heidi Cohen: well, this is not a matter, it’s a matter of breaking down silos across your organization. And I can tell you that I, in addition to consulting, I’ve worked in major corporations.
I’ve been on the business side of technology products. It’s incredible. Mostly any business I’ve ever been in has always had what I call dinosaur systems and the number even like even Amazon at age 20 or 25 has dinosaur systems. Let’s just put it out there. What has to happen is it goes back to what I say about marketing.
You have to change the view that all of this information now has to talk to each other it, and what I would say that’s happening. It didn’t matter so much in this web 2.0, which is, the fact that you could have video you, we had better, we have better connectivity. You had social media, you had various formats, right?
What we’re looking at now is a more interactive engage while there has been interactive. content is not the way that it’s one to one. And therefore you need to think across your entire, the data has to work across your entire organization. Your content. You need to start thinking about your content, not just as a white paper, but as chunks so that each section is broken out.
So I can find, let’s say I’m in my car and this has happened. I hate to say this has happened more than once. I don’t have a brand new car, but I get in the car and there’s always a paper version of what to do. If your car something happens to your car some light goes on, right?
Invariably in the cars I’ve been in, it says, they all say the same thing. Call your local dealer. Now let me see. I’m in a rented car. I don’t even know who the dealer is. What does this mean? I’m in the middle of, I don’t know where, but if I had a, I knew that I was in a, let’s say a Toyota Corolla, which is what we rented recently.
I could put in and get permission to access a more in depth handbook that could gimme better information. That is a very, that’s an easy pro that’s an easy one and I can talk to it. But therefore you have to start thinking about how that data goes across your organization.
So I would say that there are two things in, so one, web 2.0, we got all this great fancy stuff and we can rank in a lot more places. We’ve got mobile app, we’ve got mobile, we’ve got mobile apps. The reality is there’s two D two key factors that make a difference. And they’re really important if you’re doing content.
Doesn’t matter if you’re STO your strategist. Every business has to understand these two differences, cuz they’re significant. One is that you need to have the information across your organization as well as you can. And it’s gotta be well defined. You need that metadata around each of the chunks.
It’s not just at the top level, because my question is at the bottom, I could still be the only one answering it, but it doesn’t show up in search. Okay. So you need the metadata. For example, NPR radio station has always cuz they’re they don’t wanna go out of business. They don’t wanna be the dinosaur of the radio business.
They actually, at one point hired librarians to go through all their past shows. They have audio shows. Great. For listening and for podcasts. But they went back because they didn’t have the right information. At the time the old show said, I have a show on August 10th at one o’clock it’s right.
And it doesn’t necessarily say anything else. It has the length of time or whatever. So they had librarians break it down. So they had those chunks. CBS radio has done that, but they’ve done it in a more. Strategic way. They went back to strategic historical issues. So that, for example, if you’re doing a film and you want it to sound real during world war II, you could have FDR gimme his, speech about this day will live in infamy and it has his real voice and they get money for that.
As a business, you have to start thinking in those terms, and it’s an expensive switch over two. The other change is that, and you don’t have to do it. Here’s my thing. As I don’t believe you have to do this all at once, but this is the second one is a huge change. Where in web 2.0, we distributed content.
We distribute it like over time. That was the, the drip method. If it worked the first time, then we kept amplifying it and you put more money in you. Change it, go more places. Change the format in web two, five going into web three. What has to happen is you need to create all of the formats. at the same time and they must be distributed across all of the content formats, all of the platforms and all of the devices at once.
Now, you don’t have to do this. This can be this distribution. Some transformation can be done outside, especially for things like voice. Cuz there are a lot of different versions.
Jeff Coyle: I think you’ve described. Exactly. So many businesses because of the way their legacy structures will have, like you mentioned content collections that aren’t accessible, whether through wayfinding through categorization, metadata, and it can provide a huge win when those things are evaluated again.
The other angle here, which get into with that part two is if you have content only in one format, you aren’t thinking about repurposing, you, aren’t thinking about turning that into other formats. There’s you are so far behind you’ve gotta start incrementally figuring out all of the contexts and the channels that are appropriate for the content you’re creating.
First of all, it’s a huge missed opportunity. But second, as you’re speaking about, the transition of, we are in web 2.5, that means, experiences are going to be different. Internet of things changes those, intelligent assistance, that’s, different styles of browsing information.
Thinking about how to be in as many places at it wants is critical. I’ve worked with podcasts, I’ve worked with people with large voice archives and even getting content into transcriptions that can be modified chunked and broadcasted is a massive. Amount of work, but it’s a huge win.
So however you can manifest that. You might go from audio to video, you might be going from video to audio. You might be going from text to audio, text to video. You might be going to some other mediums. The all formats at the same time message needs to be the carrot. You have to get there, you’ve gotta get to that situation.
Is that how you feel like, is that why you tend to say we’re in 2.5 or 2.4.
Heidi Cohen: Okay. So you’ve got like several questions there, so let me break them down. So let’s start with 2.5. Okay. So actually back in 2019, after I saw what was happening with the early days of marketing, AI and voice, I really saw that there was a shift happening.
I called it the seismic shift. I called it the seismic marketing shift. You go onto my website, heidi.com. seismic shift. You’ll find the article. And I looked at it as having three factors, which help you understand And I’m talking about this, not because it’s, because this really explains web 2.0 two and a half.
What it says is that we’ve got deep content saturation. It’s a huge problem for anybody. Who’s, whether you’re a search, you’re doing content strategy, whatever you’re doing, content saturation is huge and it’s not, it wasn’t a new problem. Back in 2019, it was fi 2014, mark Shafer wrote on business grow, about the word content shot, but it’s gets harder and harder for your stuff to get through.
So it doesn’t mean, and many people out there, many content Mar well known content, marketers like Andy. CREs would say, it’s not a matter of how many articles it’s how many good articles you have. I would rather have a hundred good articles than a thousand, right? So it’s not a matter of qu here’s the key.
It’s not a matter of quantity. It’s a matter of quality. And when I look at content, I think of it in three different buckets. One is your foundational content. Two are your FAQ questions. That’s what Marcus Sheridan author of, they ask you answer. It’s really answering every question about your content.
And three is what I call consistent content, which means that there’s no longer appointment, tele television, no more appointment media. Google has to go to the movies. I can get it on streaming, et cetera. So what you have to do, and this is research done at Northwestern is you need to do some form of content.
It does not have to be all of these things. It could be an, I do a newsletter. It could be a podcast. It could be a video. It could be whatever works for your business either once a week or once every two weeks. Because you need to build a content consumption habit. It’s not right. So just because I’m not there, in the old days, yes, I have to watch this TV show.
It’s only on, at nine o’clock on Thursdays and I’m gonna sit there and you’re gonna keep me for there. But now there’s no reason to watch or listen to anything. I wanna build up this habit. And ideally, you’re looking at three different kinds of content. This is, your pillar, pillar, foundational contents your points in the sand, your FAQ talks about everything you need to know about your products and answer every question and possibly at the head of that, we’re now looking at more landscape structure to content.
You want those to be as high up as possible. So they’re easy to find by search engines. And lastly, you’ve got this consistent content that comes out weekly or every other week. That keeps you, that builds a relationship. It, the best example of that I know of today, other than I definitely believe my newsletter shows what to do, but instead of pushing Heidi Cohen, I would say that LVE, it’s spelled E L E vest.
It was started by it is an investment company started by what the former chief investment officer at Citibank focused on helping women. Their goal is to help women make more money, save more money and invest more. And what they have is they have a weekly newsletter that says here’s what’s going on.
They have promotional ones because out of the, in addition to their investment business, they now created what Joe PUI, who is now head of the tilt. An author of content Inc, would call they call created content products, such as training to help women do this. And occasionally Sally. Crankshaw I think, I don’t know her last name, but the CEO will chime in with her feelings about what’s going on.
It shows you the difference in the kinds of letters. You do not wanna keep going promotion. If you do that, that in email terms is called burning through your list. And every time you send out a promotion, you’re gonna lose people. And in today’s world, it’s harder to get. So that’s how I look at the content.
So we had going back to, the seismic. shift So first is content shift. So one of the ways of breaking through is to build this list and have a relationship with your customer. Two is how that information, you get that information and therefore they’re gonna pay attention. So if you send a, once in a while you send a promotion, they pay attention or they think of you when they go to
Jeff Coyle: before you move on to the next phase. I think that something, as you broke that down, I think for everybody on this discussion, that is a very actionable content strategy. You can go on to part two about the building of the rapport, but where, if you want to be the authority on a concept, you have that guide, that comprehensive overview for whatever audience you’re targeting, you are answering all the most important questions at all stages of that information or learning, matrix.
Then you’ve got decisions to make, your, are you delivering like micro moments with the rest of your content? Are you exhibiting expertise? Or are you promoting right? Cause the way I always look at that is that then becomes your overt, understanding of your audience. Like you said, if you keep smashing them with promotions, what’s gonna happen.
So that guide. Question. Yeah. Guide questions, journey moments, exhibition of expertise can turn into training support champion developments for your followers, right? Progression in some way through that buyer journey, which certainly isn’t linear. I just love the way you describe it because what you in seven steps, you basically describe the goal of most marketing teams is to establish and maintain that relationship.
And I love how succinct that was. I think that you could turn that into a graphic that says here’s how all content works and it would pretty much catch the whole net. Does that,
Heidi Cohen: so what I would say to that is, first of all, this micro, I’m talking about having something consistent, whether it’s a newsletter, the most obvious ones are newsletters and podcast.
Some people like drew Davis who’s well known speaker. Talk has a video loyalty loop video. And he grew up doing television. So his video’s super high quality. You wanna see how to do it? Watch his videos. Okay. I’m not in that class. He gets three and no matter where he speaks, because he’s grown up around television, people, television people, and actors.
Let me tell you if you know any actors in your circle of friends or broader group of people, they are the people you should be talking to how you’re gonna present this and how you’re gonna do this. And I don’t say this lightly. So going back to your point, cuz you mentioned the the buyer’s journey.
So here’s another one. I don’t believe there’s a buyer’s journey. I know this might sound like heresy, but 2019, it’s not Heidi Cohen. It’s Brett Adamson of Gartner. He’s really well known in the B2B space. Gartner interviewed, instead of interviewing marketers, they interviewed sales buyers and they found that there was no longer a buyer’s journey that people had in the B2B space.
They have six processes and a group of six to 10 people that have to go through those processes. And if they get conflicting information, it increases each time they have a conflict, it increases their buying process by about two months, pretty dangerous. And guess what the most common type of conflict is two the content created by two different companies.
Okay. So that said the combination of the, so that says it about that. There aren’t things, but what has happened during what happened during and post COVID is that people have changed how they do things, it’s not just, and there’s been a blurring of B2B, especially with people working from. There’s been a blurring between B2B and B2C buying.
I think that they’ve often been the same because you’re always selling as Brian framer would say it’s human to human. So there’s a blurring. I do not believe that the funnel, the buying trip exists in its old format. There are still stages customers go through, but they never went through ’em in a straight line.
Anyhow, they bounced around. So they, so there is still the, I have an initial need. I do evaluation. I purchase I onboard, which is some, a part that many businesses forget. I wanna work to retain those customers. And then I want them to buy again and keep buying. Okay. That’s the lo the McKinsey loyalty loop says you can’t call someone a customer until they’ve bought a second time.
Okay. And I would say the research by people who do retention, such as Joey Coleman would say it’s about, I say, it’s 90 days, the people I talk to say 90 cuz it’s quarter right 90 to a hundred days. If you do not get the buyer or the end user, like the B2B, there’s a bigger disconnect, the buyer or the end user to use your product in 90 days.
Alright. And they may return it. They may argue with you on price and you’ve got even add even worse. They might go online and say something. So I consider onboarding the, where the battle for the customers went one or lost. That is actually where voice comes in really handy because some of the things you need to onboard customers are exactly the content you created already to win them over.
And I was talking to a co, a friend of ours, moved out to a small. Tech company. And he wound up being in charge of onboarding. And I said you use the same content that your marketing team uses. And no, we don’t use the same. We talk about the same things, but we don’t use the same content.
I’m like, you realize you’re spending more money that way. So it’s things like, and and what you wanna do, because there can be handoffs, your end user may never have been part of your buying process, which is a problem, but you go then get a handoff. Cuz the sales guy is a sales guy. He’s off. Bye bye bye.
And you get some new customer success team or something else like that. And there’s no, if it’s the same customers, it’s like all of a sudden I got a new person, who’s this no contact. So this continuation with onboarding and voice and video. you can have those people all be together and participate in the same piece of content.
The howto content becomes really important in onboarding, anybody ever get a package from AK? Akea now has, they have star people that go and they, their recommended people for putting their stuff together. You tried doing it. One of my friends did this during COVID.
He had a picture of him trying to put together swing set for his kids. So here he is, he orders the swing set. He does his research, and he’s got his phone and he is trying to put the thing together. And this is whereas if he could talk to his phone and say, can I get this piece of information about the swing set?
It would’ve been, and they say, yeah, we got this video here. Would you like to see it? That’s where your voice works. The best. And then it keeps going. Your retention really is that ongoing newsletter and you may need more than one, right? I’m not saying it is one, depending your end users may have different needs.
Jeff Coyle: I love the Ikea. I love the Ikea onboarding example. A lot of businesses will. I, CX customer experience is the forgotten stage of the funnel. If you still believe in the funnel, no one’s writing content that makes its way through the funnel and helps people during their onboarding. And plus prospects want to understand the onboarding process.
They wanna understand what that experience is going to be. When you’re building content for the buyer journey, if your post-sale docs, they call ’em post-sale docs, an enterprise, if your post-sale docs aren’t even remotely close to the production value, the quality as your pre-sale docs.
You have a serious problem. And I love the example you used of the buyer. Isn’t always the end user and I’m stealing the Ikea example because yeah, you go to the showroom, you sit on that comfy couch and you’re the buyer. And then you, what lands is a thousand pieces and some Allen wrenches and you hand that to your team of end users.
And you’re like, Hey, figure this thing out. That’s miserable. And if you’re not having that, if they don’t have that experience of sitting in the couch, they’re not gonna become quick winners, all B2B technology that sells to teams needs to take that advice. That is a huge internal thing at MarketMuse as well.
And it’s something that we consistently, work on. It’s making sure you sell to the decision maker, but you’ve got a team of writers. You’ve got a team of search engine optimization professionals that are gonna be using this every day. And the last thing I’ll mention that I really love that you highlighted was almost like I, I tend to call it shadow consumption, right?
It’s. Consumption that will never make its way into a report. It’s the, you printed something out is the, that mean? I used the cookies at night. Yeah, it’s basically right. You ate the cookies at night. You listened to the thing in the car. You somehow got it to be in a different format and that’s not trackable for one reason or another.
Believing that you have all the analytics on your consumption. It is just a critical flaw. And that’s why I struggle so much with folks who are deleting content without understanding whe when it’s consumed and by who, what, if it’s the most important thing that customers read, and you don’t even know that.
And that, that, that is such, such a big thing. And I love the way you described it. The last thing which made me smile is when you highlighted actors, your actor, friends, your comedians, the other entrepreneurs, people who have been on stage a lot. Yeah. Let them give you feedback. Hey, because yeah, I do it too.
I, you’re probably not natural. You’re probably not unless you’ve, worked on it unless you’ve done improv for 15 years, you’re probably not natural at delivering this message. So getting feedback is ultra critical. One thing I wanted to mention, ask and follow up and certainly any feedback on what I just said.
But what do you think about providing content that could be very different depending on situations or contexts, one origin page turning into a lot of different outcomes. Do you consider that duplication? Do you consider that ever to be redundant? I know a lot of teams and they write great content and it only ever takes one form.
It never gets morphed into something for a different industry, et cetera. Are they just making a critical error by. Thinking about context first, it would be a question.
Heidi Cohen: So first of all there’s two ways to answer that there’s there, like each of these things there’s too much to unpack, even going back to what you said before.
So let’s start with this one now. Do I have duplicate content? I am not an SEO. I don’t practice one. I young pretend to be one, I know, but I do know a fair bit about search cuz I’ve been around this industry pre web one. Oh, so so here’s what I would say. Let’s look at some examples, right?
We chose David Meerman Scott. Everybody, most people know who he is. He wrote the new rules of marketing and PR it’s his latest editions come out. It’s now gotten this thick, but he publishes articles on his site first and then we’ll publish on LinkedIn, the exact same article. Right?
By contrast Chris Penn, who is a well known marketing analyst. Doesn’t always speak English, but he he has a weekly newsletter. Usually the only way you can get his newsletters is to subscribe. And I strongly recommend that everybody subscribe to it because however, as Chris, if there is a technical way of doing it, Chris will do it.
So he’s got really good data. You don’t have to read the whole thing. What he does is he does a us, he does the spin on Marcus Sheridan. He does a ask, I answer every week and he does a video. He then strips out the images, creates an audio file and then does a he just has a machine generated transcript.
Personally anybody taking a video or an audio and doing a machine generated transcript, that is probably the easiest way of cheapest way of doing it. You then need human editing. We’ve talked about that before you need human editing. Otherwise the reader doesn’t know what is happening similarly. So those two do all of that.
At the same time, they break it up and they chunk it and it’s delivered, across the board. So do I know whether it hurts you or not is not the same as if, and I’ve had this happen? I, for a while I worked for click Z and there was a reporter for one of the DC newspapers who invariably copied my stuff, literally copied it because I could never figure out how much the gorilla, whether it’s a 900 pound, I always call ’em 900 pound, but I did 800 pound who cares, but this guy copied it.
And it was very obvious cuz it was one of my writing ticks. Do I know the question the, I would actually turn it around and say, what matters to me more is more and more. You’re gonna be, have to have that personal relationship. Yeah. Therefore, what do your consumers want? And the one thing most marketers don’t do on and businesses should do this across the board.
Cause that needs to be integrated is that conversations with people at a bus, particularly at a business, right? Where like the sales people could be talking to certain buyers and your sales enablement, people are talking to people and your end users, it needs to be brought together and collected and people, your employees need to be incentive to do that.
Because basically most old fashioned sales people, every time they went home, all of their client lists went home with them. I had built a CRM at Citibank and I always thought it was the funniest thing because no banker didn’t have a copy of all of their. That’s where that’s why they got lured away by other banks.
All right. So if you don’t think your salespeople are doing that I have a little reality for you, but the other part is which your content people will love more. Is that data from McKinsey, which I presented at last year’s MarketMuse event has actually been, they’ve done it over three, six months periods.
And it shows that B2B buyers that across the board, they use three different forms of purchasing one third, use sales people. One third used voice in terms of phone, video call, or online chat, because online chat is voice and the third go digital, and it’s possible that they use a mix of them. McKinsey’s report goes across.
They don’t go across the entire buyer. They do identifying needs, evaluating purchase, and reorder. Reorder is probably the easiest thing to take off of a salesperson’s piece. If you’re a salesperson you use should be reading. McKinsey has a number of articles about how the sales, the B2B sales is changing.
Jeff Coyle: I think I, what you just said, the manifestation for a, a marketer or a search professional is you need to know where your prospects or your customers, what are they consuming? If you can see that maybe all of your end users only, or they tend to only consume these end documents or these types of documents that you have tracking on maybe you then have to ask them, are you consuming MarketMuse content?
Are you consuming other content about this from other mediums? From other sources. Then what about the people who are making those buying decisions? What did they consume? What were they exposed to? And I think that gets you smarter about almost like building a dossier of all the places where you need to be.
As you say, where people want their information, how can they get it? Making sure you meet them where they are. With that content, I’ve seen so many situations where end users aren’t consuming any of the content. But
what I say is the end user might not know that there’s content to be
Exactly. And the buyer
Heidi Cohen: Here’s the other part is that the companies may use onboarding as an excuse to sell other services. Or you think broader? What I would also look at is because this is something that many, particularly many marketers overlook, particularly small businesses businesses and marketers is branding.
It gets short shrift because people think, oh, that’s something just big fortune 100 companies do. I don’t have to worry about it. Actually it is the least expensive thing you can do. You can come, I’m not saying go to five or I’ve got articles on brand checklist, how to create a brand because you create a brand that you cast a bigger shadow and you’re consistent and people know who you are.
If I just go to brand, fiber, and they tell me to just do a big V or a big HC what’s that mean? But you need some kind of logo that has right. You want a logo? You’re gonna use it everywhere. You’re talking about it. You wanna be where people are, what does it mean for your content? It means that you’ve gotta think about, whereas people talk about brand voice.
When they talk about content. , there’s two kinds of brand voice, right? Once you start adding voice and audio, you’ve got two types of brand voice, right? You’ve got how the, how your talk where you’re from, nobody’s gonna get, make a mistake about me. I’m a new Yorker.
I talk fast. I use my hands a lot, right? No, one’s gonna mistake me for being from like South Carolina. But the fact of matter is you also wanna know who’s going to give you the audio content. Who’s doing the podcast. How do they represent it? Who is on your advertising? Who’s in your videos who reads your articles?
Is it just the machine? You can have a machine read your articles. Because. A matter of fact, if you have a mobile app, it works with voice, it’s just the voice of your telephone. So it’s Siri or Google or Samsung or Bixby, which is Samsung, right? These things people don’t think about, what voice are you gonna do?
How does that relate to your brand? What do I say at the beginning? Maybe, after we have this conversation, you may change how you do the opening to your webinars. These webinars could be broken up, right? There are questions. You could have taken my pieces and say, this is what we’re gonna do to answer that question.
So I’m not advocating that you need to do voice everywhere or all the time. All right. Every business is already doing voice. They have phones, they have web chat. They are now using video conferencing like we are, and they have IVRs, which are now IVAs, they’re collecting lots of information and they’re doing it.
And with. IVAs well done. Most people hate it, right? Planes wait, and hit one. If you wanna speak to Jeff, hit two. If you wanna speak to Heidi, hit three. If you want another set of options. Okay, good. Another set of options. Oh, you made a mistake. We gotta go back to the beginning. Right? Nobody likes it for that.
But during COVID a lot of companies got much smarter. They said, okay, Heidi cone is calling. She’s got a subscription to our streaming device. She calls up every year and wants to have her original price. Let’s just offer her the original price. Get rid of the problem. And it’s cheap, right? I’m not talking to a human.
It’s done. Everybody’s happy. So I’m saying, give people options. You don’t know if your audience wants to use voice, if you don’t.
Jeff Coyle: And I gotta get great question from the audience. And so I, and I fits perfectly well with what you just said, and earlier you had mentioned voice is chat bot, and I know that’s a no chat
Heidi Cohen: bot is a
Jeff Coyle: form of voice chat.
Bot is a form of voice was your thing. And I know that to add color from Jeff’s brain, when you spoke about the seismic shift, one of those things being voice-first approaches to building that collection of data, or that frequently asked questions, the questions and answering all of that goes into that actionable strategy.
So the first question was why Heidi, why do you think voice chat bot are one is the other, and then second is that a does that connect to voice first as a concept?
Heidi Cohen: so first of all, chatbots have been out for a while, drift up and run by David cancel former founding member of HubSpot runs it.
They have amazing content, their uses of them of their chat bots actually brought down gating, cuz every B2B company wants everything like including, your children’s social security numbers RA . And so it do depends. Chat bots depend how they’re used. They are a form of voice because it’s conversation.
That’s why there a form of voice. It’s an interaction You wanna know, which are the major in order to have when it works well is to know what the major questions are, the easy answers on each page of your website, where you’re gonna collect the information and at a minimum, you want them to sign up or talk to a where drift made their major input is that they were able to speed up sales.
They were, they got rid of all of their forms. They increased the number, the amount of traffic, and they were able to not only increase sales and decrease time to sale. So that’s web chat has to be done well, that also should involve not just your marketing department or your content department, but someone who understands conversational, conversation, or, such as linguist or conversational AI person.
And that’s not my area of expertise. The second part is, do I believe that everything is voice first? No, I don’t believe you have to have everything be voice first. I think you have to be cognizant of it because voice gets asked, first of all, in certain, first of all, it’s easy in certain circumstances, right?
If someone’s in your store and there’s a kiosk there that they go up to and instead of typing in, they wanna talk to it, let them talk to it. And what kind of questions they’re gonna ask, where is blah, blah, blah, do you have this in stock? These are really not complicated questions. If you have good tracking and which is what good current versions, latest updates of IVs and IVR stats, the biggest problem with IVRs IVAs.
Is the, and that actually requires better knowledge of your customer, which doesn’t mean you sit there and check off the boxes on your marketing persona. You actually have to do the interviews. The expert on that is Google’s Wally Brill is like brilliant on this subject, grew up doing, telephones and stuff in the nineties.
The key there is, have people sit in a customer service, here are the questions, your customer service agents know what the most questions are, right? Like around ordering. The biggest problem is that between order and receipt, what happened to my package really simple, you can do tracking that’s where that comes.
Do I think they, and contextual placement where, you have a kiosks someplace, you know what the questions are there? I remember recently I saw somebody go up to one of these kiosks in the New York subway. I always wonder what they were for. And the person was standing there, hit the button and said, okay, I’m on this track at 59th street.
How do I get to this train going in this direction from this station? Okay. And it worked right. I was like, really? You didn’t wanna look at the signs. no, no new Yorker would’ve done that. But so this
Jeff Coyle: must have been from Jersey. And right. The the the, no, I love the way that you describe that.
And I think that it goes into the, the search engine optimization professional’s view of what content needs to be created in order to offer an answer. I think, internal search queries that we are getting traffic from, that we might get in our Google search console. Those are.
Versions of the customer or prospect’s voice. And so thinking about, it’s not, when you’re saying voice, it may be, literally voice. It may also be other formats of the customer’s voice that you’re maybe not being very attentive to. And I, like you said, the customer being on a call with a customer service agent, if you translate that call into, text intelligence you were being thoughtful it already.
Heidi Cohen: Here’s the thing about those service calls and I’ve sat in customer service centers. I’ve seen the, I’ve been responsible for, products worth, a budget of sales of 90 plus million dollars. You know how they answer the question. What they’re supposed to say, what they do say how you deal with people, it all, it, you really need to make everybody go through every job, which I believe is what happens at Zappos.
But when you’re talking about it, first of all, most people don’t have voice. You don’t know what someone’s gonna ask. So do this simple. Here’s the thing, everybody here can do really simple stuff and you don’t have to worry about how hard or difficult it is. I’m sorry, I don’t have my phone with me.
Cause I would say here’s how you do it. You can talk to your phone or your computer and read all of your articles. Jay Baer who’s well known marketer, content marketer. He started doing this back in 2019 and then they stopped. All right. What his editor told me is that having the listening, the voice on there kept people on their site.
longer Because you’re listening to the whole thing. You’re not reading. You’re gonna take longer, even if you do it at a higher speed, but there are people who wanna listen because they’re just walking around. They wanna save it so that they can do it when they’re doing something else that goes back to how people have changed, right?
You’re you can’t do this in a vacuum. You can’t just do it by collecting data on your business. You have to actually understand how people have changed, right? With work, from home work butts up against personal life. There’s no more drive time that they’re gonna do it. You’re gonna put it somewhere else.
The easiest thing, the biggest thing about voice and audio, it is the only one where you have dual consumption, right? So I’m doing something that I don’t need to think about. I’m doing the laundry, I’m driving, whatever, where I can’t talk and think about it, but I can take the information in that’s easy.
I’m cooking dinner. I’m doing, menial things where I have to get them done. I can listen and, read your article, see what happens. You don’t have to do everything. What has to change is I don’t need a whole SEO team. I know we’re getting close to the end. I don’t need a whole SEO team to decide what, where everything should go.
What I need is a better CMS. I need a CMS that can break down the article into different questions can say what formats is in and where it is. I wanna know where all that information is in your user manual, because here’s the thing you talk about getting rid of old data. Here’s the thing, especially for expensive products, right?
If I have food or something, that’s not a big deal, but for expensive products, I might own it for, I buy a refrigerator. I’m gonna own it for 10 to 20 years. When something breaks, I wanna be able to figure out how to get a new. I wanna know how to get the new handle. My mother’s and my mother had an age who broke the knob on her washing machine on a regular basis.
I don’t wanna buy a new washing machine. I want that handle. So I do actually need what I, what Jeff ROS called legacy content. And that becomes for companies doing those kind of products that becomes another revenue stream.
Jeff Coyle: Exactly. And also, where you have this collection of insights that is ammunition for pre-sale content, post-sale content.
You’ve gotta take that collection of content. If you’ve written a book, how does that book take shape on your site? How is that take shape in your email marketing? Are you using all the insights? Because I mean I’ve taken books, I’ve taken 500 page books and turned them into 2000 page website.
It’s about that many to one. I’m sorry.
Heidi Cohen: Are they your books?
Jeff Coyle: No, not my books. I haven’t written any books. I know that’s, it’s wild. But no other people’s books for them and, generated traffic at
Heidi Cohen: AI. You don’t have to write
Jeff Coyle: I why you were getting there. We’re getting there. The the,
Heidi Cohen: I was say to that is right.
You’re talking about how do I transform this information? That is another way to think about your voice. You don’t have to start. My thing is you don’t have to start big. The part about getting voice distributed, that there are lots of places because you want somebody else to do that distribution.
There’s lots of podcast networks. There are, you want it on YouTube. You want it on a number of plate. You want it in apple store. And there’s a bunch of other places that can be distributed by a third party that, and it’s not expensive. You can even do translations and things like, some of this stuff can be done.
Like you can have it. I, to transcribe, I have a audio I wanted to go into, be work on Amazon. I want an Amazon Alexa, Google assistant, etcetera. The that’s those tools are, that’s not very expensive. The key is who does it upfront and the one, and who owns the content and their voice.
Because going back to actors and actresses, you’ve gotta make sure your legal team figures out who’s doing that. But the easiest thing I would say is to have, and you can have anybody read it, you could have your CEO read it. You could have your, I, I would look at Edelman’s trust barometer, I’d get my, the scientists there have them talk about it right.
In, in, in easy plain English.
They’re right. That’s totally appropriate.
Yeah, and what I’m saying is that before you start doing it, you wanna think about having CMS that can carry these different formats. Not all of them can’t because nobody’s thought about it. And if you start thinking about this gets even more complicated when you get into true web free
Jeff Coyle: Oh yeah, exactly. That’s a great summary, repurposing and distribution. Aren’t optional at this point, you have to have them as part of what you think about both for now.
And then plus whenever it is that Heidi agrees that we’ve all gone to 3.0, I don’t know when that’s gonna be. But it go check out.
MarketMuse book a demo. If you wanna see our content platform also please go check out Heidi’s newsletter. Anything else you’d want to plug from an actual yeah.
Any of these topics I’ve discussed are all on my website, Heidi cohen.com and newsletters, Heidi cone.com/. you don’t like it unsubscribe, but it’ll show you how to write a good newsletter.
No, I’m not being funny. No,
The best newsletters have the biggest unsubscribe buttons like Chris is in yours, right?
yeah. I don’t care unsubscribe, I, it won’t, I only hear from people I get, I don’t have, the level like Chris is just to be clear, most people don’t realize that Chris has been doing podcasting since 2003 to 2006.
He and Chris Brogan did the first podcast in 2006, so right. It’s you’ve gotta stop being afraid and say, that’s something else that someone else is gonna do because otherwise you’re right. Someone else will do it. And your ability to rank anywhere .
Are you at any, are you at any shows or conferences in the next few months?
Heidi Cohen: I will. I am presenting at voice summit 2022 in DC the second week in October.
Jeff Coyle: Awesome. So thank you again, Heidi, for joining us. I wish I was in DC. You said that’s in DC. Yeah, I’m in
Heidi Cohen: New York
Jeff Coyle: city, so if you’re in New York DC for voice summit, go check out Heidi and go check out her newsletter.
This has been really awesome, really fun conversation. Thinking about ways that we can, position, maybe what’s a text only boring marketing plan into kind of getting more content in the right places at the right times. That’s always been your mantra and it’s what I really appreciate about your message.
And thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate your time. Cheers. Bye.