When it comes to growing awareness, creating demand, or generating leads for B2B businesses, content is critical.
But too often, companies get caught in a cycle of publishing mediocre content that doesn’t say anything different.
So how can you publish compelling content that stands out, week after week?
Where do all the ideas come from?
In this episode of the B2B Rebellion, Andy speaks with Lindsay Tjepkema, CEO and Founder of Casted, to discuss how to create great content.
Andy Culligan: Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of the B2B Rebellion. Really, really happy today to have actually a very close friend of mine on today, Lindsay Tjepkema. So Lindsay is the CEO and Co-Founder of a podcast company called Casted.
Myself, and Lindsay go way back, we used to work together way back when it was actually in the first job that I had in the tech space at Emarsys, myself and Lindsay worked very closely together, I was the head of demand generation there, she was the head of content.
So not only did we work alongside one another, we also worked against one another every now and again, but it was... We had some great times together, we were just reminiscing on some of the times that we've had over the past couple years as well, but I'll let Lindsay give herself an introduction as well as give us an overview of what Casted do, please.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, you know that we're friends when you can actually say my last name, it just rolls off your tongue, so.
That's how far back we go, and there was no conversation beforehand about the like tell me how you... No, no. That's how you know. But... Yeah, to sum it up, me and Casted, really, as you know, when we were at Emarsys, launched podcasts as a lot of brands more and more are doing lately, and quickly realized a couple of things.
One, I was really happy with the way that we were able to connect with our external audience in a different way and our internal audience in a different way, but then also that there was no technology that existed at all to support us, to support me and my team and to be able to work together with you and your team to use conversations, to use a podcast in a way that would help us to collaborate internally and externally with agencies and whatnot to use that content in-house other marketing channels and to measure its impact on the ground.
So that's how Casted was born. We actually went out and created that platform, to help brands and the marketers behind them to leverage conversations, podcasts, as a center of the marketing strategy. So that's where we're today, we help marketers manage, activate and measure their shows as part of their comprehensive content strategy.
AC: That's really cool, I mean the one thing that... You know how I think, Lindsay, like in terms of brand, and I had to measure brand and I'm very lead generation focused, it's just in me. This is where we've had some clashes in the past.
AC: But it's I really see that need of being able to measure the effectiveness of the podcast on your brand and also on your results of the company, that's amazing to be able to match that back, so I find that really cool. That's really cool.
LT: Yeah. Yeah, it's true. And I think when you're... We'll get into all this, but when you're doing it right and it being marketing and then branding is it, it serves brand and demand, they go hand in hand.
AC: Absolutely, absolutely. We spoke about this the last time that we spoke, so. I was also on your podcast there, a little while back and, yeah, my position on things have changed slightly... Been very demand focussed, demand... And you know, I really need to pay attention to brand. Like, why won't you listen to me I was like, "no numbers!" But now I'm in the position that demand I need to do both.
So I need to be very focused on both the demand side of things and on the brand side of things and the brand should field the demand actually.
LT: Sure, and you know, actually, as the CEO of a company, I would say I'm that much more in-tune with the demand side of things, I think it's one thing to be in a very large company overseeing brand and saying, "We need to beat this drum," but when you're running a startup, it has to do both, so, look at us.
AC: There you go. This all sounds like mirrors. It's like a mirror. Nah, it's good, I think both of us actually have experienced a lot even in the tech space over the past, maybe five or six years, and you get a rounder view when you move into different positions, you get a better overview of things, it's cool.
How are you finding the CEO role by the way? How different is it to be in a marketing focused only role, is it massively different? Is it...
LT: It's a good question. In some ways it is. It's completely and totally different. And in other ways, it's not, I mean, you take with you yourself and the things that are foundational to who you are and how you work and how you work with people, and that's such a huge part of it. And I'm sure that you've realized that too moving into a CMO role is that it's so much of it is the people in the team and empowering them and supporting them to do what they are uniquely talented and poised to do.
Hiring the right people, bringing them onboard and that rings true for any leadership role that you're in.
One of the weirdest things has been... Obviously in a startup, everyone's doing everything, so yes, I've been, air quotes, "doing marketing", and especially being in a company where we're marketing marketing to marketers, there's a lot that I'm doing that's specifically marketing, but I'm not the CMO and I'm not the marketing director and I'm not the VP of marketing.
In fact, we have a very brilliant marketing director that we've both worked with before, Holly Pels, who does a brilliant job. And so I was just getting out of her way, I think that's probably been the weirdest part, is not sitting down and sinking in my teeth to marketing campaigns and content strategy, but it's still obviously it's a huge part of my job, so probably the biggest change.
AC: That's a challenge as well, I think, when you're so used to being voice of it a little bit, you still can be the voice, but it's difficult because somebody else is taking your message almost and transforming it into their own thing, it's a tough thing to do, you know, it's a tough bit of... It's tough to give that to somebody else, I find, you know.
LT: I think so too, and I think specifically for me, and we're setting out to create a category, I mean, there is no other B2B podcasting platform or any software that serves brand marketers. And as we do that, there's a lot of thought leadership, actual legit thought leadership, not just somebody saying that they're thought leader, but actual going out there and educating and saying, this is the thing, this is why you should be thinking of it, this is how you should be thinking of it. And so that's the big part of what I'm doing is going out and saying, this is why we created this company, this is a challenge, this is an issue, this is a thing that should not be a thing anymore.
And a lot of that is being taken by Holly and by Zachary and... Who's one of my co-founders and taking that and turning it into brand messaging, which is a cool and weird thing when you're speaking out really passionately about things that you care so much about, it's like, "Cool, that's thought leadership," and then that quickly becomes product marketing and product messaging and brand messaging, it's cool and weird.
AC: Yeah, it starts to sound like you start in one area and then it just starts to spider-web. That's the thing about being in a startup. You're like, "I'm just gonna focus on this one thing," and this one thing turns into a million things. But it's a million things that you can categorize in different areas of the business. So then at the end of it, you sit and you're like, "Oh, I failed the business."
LT: Oh. Yeah, here we are.
AC: Yeah. So yeah, no, I fully understand and sympathise with that.
AC: But... No, that's cool. So, let's go to some of the key takeaways that we can give people that are listening today. And, what has worked for you, generally, in your career? It doesn't have to be at Casted. It could be at Emarsys, could be anywhere, but what tips would you give people... Things are a little bit different at the moment due to the COVID situation and whatnot, but it's... It depends where you're based.
It's certain to lift a little bit and whatnot. But generally, what tips would you give people from a sales and marketing perspective in order to get to the next level?
LT: So this is super big picture but also an actual tactical thing. And it's something that I think worked for you and I in our past lives. And that is when you focus, it's walking the line of having conversation, right?
So that is my big takeaway. Go have conversations. Here's why. Because it happens way too easily at a very small company or a very large company, where everybody gets into a room and you say, "What do we want to say? What do we need to say?" And it becomes a one-way, talking at your audience, saying, "This is what we need people to hear, this is what we need to say... " And you're talking at people, and then you look at the numbers to see if it worked.
And sure, okay, that's one way to do it. But the way that I have found to be much more effective and actually the way that I believe is the next generation of marketing is, instead of doing that, go have conversations.
Go talk to industry experts, to subject matter experts, to your customers, to your partners, to other people in the company. Start there. Have conversations. Actually listen, listen to what other people are saying. Listen to common themes. And it's so simple. But you and I both know that doesn't always happen. Like that's... We don't have... We feel like we don't have time for it. And so instead, we get a bunch of people in a room and we say, "Okay, what do the four of us know that we want everybody else to know, and that's gonna sell things?" And said, "Go have a conversation."
So that's the first takeaway. If you can manage that, record them, right? Record the conversations. Do what we're doing right now. We're having a conversation, recording it, and you're going to leverage it to hopefully start more conversations. So in any way that you possibly can, record it. And then if you can do that, if you had them... If you have conversations, and you can start recording them...
Third, publish them. And don't just publish them, but use them as a basis to publish even more. So you could go publish this video, and then you could run a transcript of it, you could pull... You could see what we said in actual writing. And you could pull some blog posts out of it, and you could pull some clips, and you could share those on social media, and you could send out an email saying, "Hey, it was great to have a conversation with Lindsay Tjepkema of Casted. Here's a clip from it."
And so, what else can you do with those conversations besides just have them, record them, and publish them as is? How can you pull them apart and use them across other marketing channels? And yes, that's what Casted does. But for good reason. I think that there is both connection and relationship building in conversations. And there's also conversion, because when other people listen in to that conversation, and they're interested, and they're engaged, they want more. And so they're gonna be more likely to say, "Hey, that conversation that you had with Lindsay, that was really interesting. You guys talked about X, Y, and Z. I'd like to learn more." So those are my two things. Have a conversation, record it, and publish it, but not just as is. Across other marketing channels as well.
AC: That's really good advice, by the way. Seriously. Because I've been having this, well, since I've been doing these type of one-on-ones with people and recording them and so on, so many ideas have popped in out of it. And we had thought like even with the webinars that we've been running lately, it's been like, "Okay, let's take this one part and chop it into something else and then reuse it for something else." So what you're actually doing is taking one piece of content.
This is just like... You didn't even know it was base content. So, if you're having an interesting conversation with somebody, as you said, just record it. Then with that one piece of content, you can make 20 pieces of other content. The thing that people end up stabbing themselves in the foot with is like coming up with this massive content plan with 30 different topics on it. And it's like, "Okay, well, how am I gonna go and go away and create all of this content?" You know? If I'm just a small team?
LT: Right. Well, that's... You just said it. Is how am I going to go away and create all this content? And that's what we get stuck into those... I, not subject matter expert, but content creator, am now going to go sit at my computer and just pour it out, magically become a subject matter expert and get it all into a compelling blog post that's not only going to connect with my audience but convert them. That's a massive job, that's a massive expectation for a content creator, when you could just instead, go... And anyone can do it, go have a conversation with that person who is the expert. And they can be internal, they can be whoever they are, and use that. And then, then, your content people can have the resources. They have a transcript, they have a recording that they can listen to, and turn it into a much more compelling blog post, email, social media post.
AC: Yeah, I fully agree. I think, look, it's funny, because today, I've had a similar conversation this morning, and with another friend Alex Olley from Reachdesk. Reachdesk is a direct mail company. He's doing a video series similar to this. And he wanted to interview me for it, so we had a chat. And one of the things that came up was like, he asked me about the webinars that we're running here and each lead and we've seen good success in them. And one of the things was... He said, "Okay, so what tip would you give people for driving traffic to a webinar?" And I said, "Well, it's about getting the right people on. People that will be able to drive an audience." Okay?
And I've said this a couple of times on other podcasts and different things, and people have called bullshit on me, being like, "Oh, of course, it's easy for you to do that because you've got a well-established brand and whatnot. Right? And you obviously have the network yourself." And I was like, my first thing was... Most of the people that I've been adding onto the podcast or onto the the webinars, I don't know those people at all, at all at all. I've had to put on like a sales hub like an SDR. And I've been dropping them like voicemails and like leaving WhatsApp messages and like, seriously like do a video and send them on LinkedIn. I've had to be selling, right?
So to go for your point, when you're... If you want to get interesting people on and record those interesting people, you need to put in the hard yards to get them there. So to add to the point that you just made there like in terms of getting great content and content that will travel further, get the right people on. Get the right people on by selling your brand to them. That's like 100% from my side. That's that's how I've managed to get all the people on. I've had to sell. Right...
LT: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And that's... And so that's the external side and you're 100% right, and I think... Go back to any company you've worked with, there's always those just nuggets of... There's people that just know all the things and quite often they're engineering or they're like head of product or they're like VP of, you know, solutions. They're deep in the company and they're very, very busy. And they don't always want to go out and speak or do the thing. Get five minutes of their time.
That's actually how we used to write a lot of the content at Emarsys. We'd be like, "Hey, Daniel." I'm gonna drop Daniel Eisenhut's name. He's brilliant. And, you know, if I could have, and we would do this once in a while, we would have a conversation, we would record it not for the purpose of publishing on our podcast, but just to get a transcript that we could turn into content and so why not do that in this way, and get more of it.
AC: That's right. It's really good advice, Lindsay. Really good advice. Okay. Before we finish up, what would you advise people not to do? So this is typically the harder question to ask? It's like do all these things, you know, but then it's like, okay, you really need to dig deep and say, "Okay, what have I done that's like not worked and I would not do that again?"
LT: I would say kind of the opposite of what I just said. Don't be tempted by the... Oh, we need to go crank stuff out. We know what to say. We need to go create more. Don't be tempted by the pressure, the quick relieved pressure of like, we just need to go create more. We just need to go create more content. We just need to... I have done that. I've absolutely done that. Here's this one thing. Let's go and create 12 blog posts about it next week. And let's see how fast we can crank stuff out. There is a lot of pressure.
We all feel like we're up against some imaginary clock, right, to win eyeballs and ears and to get to some imaginary finish line first. And so avoid, avoid that. Stay away from it. And don't go away and create content by yourself. Don't create your team... Don't tell your team to go away and create content by themselves. Slow down, have conversations because when you do, the content that you create, as a result will be that much more effective. And the other way might feel like you're doing more because you're shipping more. But if it's not effective, it's gonna be... That is a fast road to burnout.
AC: For sure, for sure. That's really good advice. Lindsay, thank you so much. It's been really interesting chatting again.
LT: Thank you.
AC: And I already look forward to the next thing to do together, yeah?
LT: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. This was a lot of fun.
AC: Cheers. Where can people find you by the way?
LT: Oh, yeah. Come to casted.us is our website. On Twitter, you can find me @CastedLindsay. You can find our company @gocasted publishing stuff all the time. And then our podcast, you can find there too. It's called The Casted Podcast.
AC: Sweet. Perfect. Thank you so much, Lindsay. Take it easy.
LT: Thank you.