Knowledge, Research And Content: Is The Medium The Message?

Knowledge, Research And Content: Is The Medium The Message?

Show Notes

Today we welcome Lisa Gerber of Big Leap Creative, marketer extraordinaire and the holder of the title for Most Articles Shared With Ralph’s College Students. Every semester a fresh class of marketing hopefuls is introduced to some of the amazing content that Lisa creates because really, everyone should be reading and learning from Lisa’s content.

Why Do We Like Lisa So Much?

Well, that’s just one of the questions we ask her, but the answer becomes pretty obvious: Lisa is hot, smart, funny and has great taste in chocolate. She also lives in Idaho, which makes her the first person we actually know who lives in Idaho.

We also cover so much marketing goodness, from content creation to SEO to planning, that you’re going to wish this episode was six hours long.

Is Giving Away Your Knowledge A Good Thing?

It may sound counter intuitive but the more stuff you give away, the more you’ll get back in return. It’s not really a karma thing, it’s just good relationship building.

If you share your knowledge with your prospects and customers it will bring in more business for you than if you take a “hoarding” mentality.

Lisa tells us that we have to constantly be thinking about how to help people so that they are more likely to become paying customers in the long run.

Still worried about giving stuff away, especially what you know? Chew on this, then: whether you produce and give away great content or not, some people are never going to hire you. It’s not your content, it’s you. No offense. And that’s not a bad thing! It just means that not everyone was meant to be your customer.

But What About The People On The Fence?

You’re probably worried about those people who would have hired you, except they learned so much from your free content that they don’t need to hire you anymore.

Well, that’s totally possible but there are other possibilities that make giving stuff away pretty compelling.

For starters, those on-the-fencers may decide to use your knowledge and do their own thing with it. Maybe it’s fixing their refrigerator. Or installing some software. Or doing some business thing that you really want to be doing for them.

When things get tricky or broken, who do you think they’re going to call to get them out of their mess? NOT the guy who kept all his ideas under his hat!

Plus, never underestimate the power of referrals. Someone who turns into a totally competent DIYer thanks to you may still have less proficient friends and neighbors who really need your service. Who do you think they’re going to suggest their friends and neighbors call? NOT the guy who was stingy with his help.

Can You Cross The Line And Give Away Too Much?

Sure. But finding the line is a balancing game that only you can play. You need to understand the difference between sharing your knowledge through content, and just plain old “giving away the farm” by way of free consulting and one-on-one time.

Most Marketing Fails Because…

Not because you didn’t have the money. Or the time. Not even because you ran a pretty bad ad or said something dumb on your Facebook page.

Most marketing fails because of lack of planning.

Lisa is a big fan of marketing “discovery” and we love that word, too. It means that you don’t get started doing a bit of marketing until you’ve done your research.

And this doesn’t have to come in the form of expensive focus groups. Actually, all you really have to do is talk to people.

Talk To Who?

Everyone who touches your business – customers, vendors, suppliers, stakeholders, employees.

Asking the right questions will help you dig deep into what people think about your business, your product or service. It will give you amazing insight into your strengths and weaknesses.

Talking to your customers will help you learn about their lives and the problems they need solved. The funny thing is, you are probably selling a solution but there are lots of times that your prospects won’t be looking for a solution because they don’t even know what it is. They just know they have a problem. If you can tap into that you can speak directly to their needs.

But You’re Still Going To Hate It.

Let’s face it: pretty much everybody wants to spend money doing. Not thinking about doing.

Research and planning can be frustrating because it will feel like nothing is happening. There won’t be pretty charts and graphs and metrics to show results. It’s all this blah blah blah.

But it’s the single most important thing you can do to lay the foundation for your marketing success. And in the long run it will help you choose the right places to spend your money for the best results.

Your Helpful Staff Was Very Helpful.

Do you know what that is? It’s a direct quote from a testimonial that one of our clients received. Yikes.

Doesn’t exactly inspire, does it?

If your testimonials are sounding a bit generic (“Great job!” “I loved working with you.” “I’d recommend you to anyone.”) it’s time to get some new ones. But simply asking your customers isn’t enough.

Get someone to interview them and ask specific questions that will get to the bottom of why your customer is so happy. A story with a happy ending sells better than all the marketing copy in the world.

Storytelling Meets SEO

If SEO freaks you out or if it sounds complicated or if you’re endlessly obsessed with being on the first page of Google, take a breath.

Lisa reassures us that good SEO is pretty much all about good storytelling. And Ralph decides that instead of talking to our customers’ pain points, we should talk to their happy endings.

I thought he had the quote of the day but Lisa one-upped him with this gem: “In brand stories there are no mysteries. Start with the happy ending.”

Did we mention how smart she is?

Should You Publish Content On Other Platforms?

In the last stretch we tackle the thorny subject of publishing on other platforms outside of your website – whether Medium, Google Plus or LinkedIn’s publisher.

Lisa published an article on Medium that got over 500 comments. Compared to the 14 she got on her own blog, that’s a big gold start for Medium!

But what does that mean for your business? We’ve warned you plenty of times not to build your house with someone else’s bricks…

But as we finally conclude, you can build your own house and still visit other people’s houses from time to time. Just make sure you bring dessert.

Lisa can’t think of any reason not to publish elsewhere, as long as you’re including a good call to action.

The bottom line? Go where your audience is.

Lisa Also Saved A Bus Full Of Children.

It was scary. The bus was half on and half off the edge of the George Washington Bridge and about to plummet over. The only thing that could save it was Lisa’s marketing action item.

Did she pull through?

If you asked that question, you’re obviously not paying attention. Lisa is hot, funny, has great taste in chocolate and…. SMART!

Lisa’s Marketing Action Item

Look at your website home page and ask yourself if your marketing copy solves a problem.

She used Evernote as an example – one of our favorite tools. Their selling point is: Remember everything.

They don’t go on and on about their amazing product and all the cool features even though you can geotag notes so you know where you were when you took them, even if you live in Idaho.

Evernote makes it about the solution.

So… are you doing a good job of that on your home page?

If not, get busy fixing it!

Find Lisa Online

You can connect with Lisa, read all of her great content, learn from her and even hire her to help you with your marketing.

Links & Resources

If you’ve got a sec to reheat your cup of tea, take a few minutes to read the articles we reference in this episode.

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Carol Lynn Rivera

Carol Lynn Rivera

I'm a business owner, content creator, podcaster and marketer. In 1999 I founded Rahvalor Interactive, a web and creative services production studio, with my husband and business partner Ralph. In 2011 we created Web.Search.Social, a consulting and marketing service line for small businesses. We also cohost the Web.Search.Social Podcast where we challenge the status quo of marketing and the Carbon Based Business Units podcast where we talk about the human side of being an entrepreneur. On any given day I wear the hat of project manager, consultant, social media manager and content marketer. My true passion is writing and in my spare time I'm busy planning my early retirement to Barcelona as a famous and wealthy novelist.
Carol Lynn Rivera
Carol Lynn Rivera
  • In response to Ralph’s comment about happy endings, instead of saying “there are no mysteries in brand stories, start with the happy ending,” I should have said, “there is no foreplay in brand stories. Start with the happy ending.” Thank you soooo much for having me. It was the most fun I’ve ever had on a podcast.

    • oooo good one! Don’t think the whole “happy ending” thing didn’t occur to me (too long in the same room with Ralph I guess) but I figured if he didn’t notice I wasn’t going to go there! We had a blast and you and so full of awesome stuff that we’ll have to do this again!

    • Totally loved your interview and guest appearance, Lisa! Your laugh is infectious. 😉

      Hope you’ll come back again.

  • “Storytelling and Marketing and a Bottle of Corona”

    Always begin your biz stories with a positive outcome
    Remember there is no foreplay in brand storytelling
    Be sure to include the conflict, resolution, and heroes
    Smart marketers know happy endings are compelling

    SEO and your quality content now walk hand in hand
    Cultivate better relationships and extend your reach
    Always bring dessert when you visit someone’s castle
    A bottle of Corona is magical transport to the beach

    And in case you missed the memo: “Doohickey” is a technical term. 😉

    • WHOA that was some serious verbiage 🙂 You rhyme like a master! Now I know why I always save reading your poems for last. Because after all else is said and done, you always add the cherry on top and make my day. I totally agree, doohickey is a very important scientific designation.

  • Why am I suddenly needing to be in a tiki bar? Great Episode… I love that each and every week you guys remind me that I need to get myself back on track and focus on all I have to accomplish this week. I have my goals in place and am working towards all of them. Lisa was an awesome guest and I thoroughly enjoyed her visit and her challenge with my pages.. I know that is an area I have to work on soon.. It is on the list..

    • Tammie, there are always way more things to do in a day than there are hours to do them. The plight of the entrepreneur! But as long as we keep making progress that’s a good thing.