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#83: Jess Cook – B2B Content Marketing that Drives Demand: Strategy, Process & Tips from the Best in the Business

Episode 83

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Content marketing comes down to standing out and building trust.

But it’s easier said that done more than most things in our B2B marketing lives!

So this week we got a true expert in Jess Cook to tell us all about what successful content marketing looks like. There’s so much value in what she says about how to start and where to go from there to keep scaling, even how to use those pesky AI tools that’s everywhere all of a sudden!

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George: Welcome back to the B2B Playbook. This week’s interview is [00:01:00] with the ever popular Jess Cook.

Jess is the head of content at Lasso and is also the co-host of the podcast. That’s Marketing Baby. Now Kev, aside from giving away a ton of value online through her own channels, she also shares with us some great gems of wisdom. In this interview on our own podcast.

Kev: Yeah, George. Great job getting you on. And I feel like we’re starting to get fame. Miss with all these very famous people coming on the podcast. But look, listeners chief among the points that she made that were really standouts and real gems is you need to have a point of view to stand out.

And that’s true with AI tools coming out as well with more content coming out as a result of those AI tools and often, really only those subject matter experts that we’ve talked about with a human touch can provide that point of view. That will help you stand.

George: Kev, I think what was so great about Jess is she said yes, like a lot goes into running a successful [00:02:00] content marketing engine. Uh, But the awesome part was that she went into great detail into sharing that with us and hers with us. So really, helps when you’re doing that to first know the goals of the.

that you are trying to hit with your content like that. It’s just such an important thing to

Kev: Yeah. And really use that to help you and your team to figure out what to do and what to prioritize because every other. Part of the marketing team within a small business. As our listeners, I’m sure know there’s a lot going on and there’s 1,000,001 things that you can do at any given moment. So it really helps to know the goals that you’re driving towards, and also to start with your customers, just like what we say and be ready.

She’s all about starting with understanding your customers well and maintaining that channel of insight from them throughout your process. This will really ground your content creation going.

George: And finally, Kev. I love how Jess reminded us that. Content is absolutely [00:03:00] crucial to fuel a demand gen engine and vice versa. I mean, I think it’s really blurry where demand gen starts and content stops. But look, just make sure that if you are a content person or you are a demand gen person, make sure you align really closely with the other in your organization.

We speak to mostly marketers and small teams, so there’s a good chance you are the same person, even better, but know, make sure that there’s great alignment.

Kev: Yeah, and definitely a much better tie in than we usually do when we try and jump into the content of an episode there. Really great to see that connection between content and demand generation from Jess as a content marketer. All right, listeners, it was another fantastic episode and we hope you enjoyed this conversation with.

George: welcome back to the B2B Playbook. Listeners, as you know, we rarely have guests on our show. Instead, we select a few true experts who really align with our view that B2B marketing is more about people, not platforms. [00:04:00]

Now, today our special guest is the wildly popular Jess Cook. Let me tell you, there is a reason people love her and look up to her so much.

Jess is a content marketing machine and all round great marketing. She’s currently the head of content at Lasso and has done so much before that role that I can’t wait to dig into. She’s also the co-host of the podcast. That’s marketing baby. Jess gives a ton of value away every day, and I know she’s gonna share some gems with us on all things content marketing.

Jess, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Jess: Thank you so much for having me, George. It’s such an honor.

George: Oh, I’m so excited to have you here. As I said, we were just saying it’s funny. You see these people around, you’ve been following each other. I’ve looked up to your content for so long. I’ve learnt so much from it. I’ve had your earmarked as someone who I wanted to have on the show, and it’s just so great that we could make it work.

Jess: Oh, and likewise, I’ve listened to the podcast for a long time and , so it’s very exciting and like a big moment for me to be here.

George: Oh, that’s so [00:05:00] awesome to hear. Thank you so much.

When did it start for Jess?

George: All right, Jess. I want to kick off with talking about that moment that you felt in love with content marketing. Can you pinpoint a time that you got that feeling of holy crap, this stuff is really exciting and it matters.

Jess: Yes. So I accidentally fell in love with content marketing because my background is really in B2C copywriting and creative direction. And so I made a total pivot and came into SaaS marketing. Thinking it was more like what I had already been doing to be totally honest and realizing that it was completely different. And so I think, that first year of my SaaS marketing career was just like trying to learn as quickly as possible, like figuring everything out. How do I build a business case? Like how do I like, take this white paper and turn it into a blog post? They can’t be the same thing. Okay.

All right. I gotta figure out what that means. Like [00:06:00] seo okay. All of those things. And I was at a company called Fastly that was my first job in saaS marketing and I was, I started there in September of 2019. Just a few months in Covid hit and , Fastly is , like a huge part of the internet infrastructure.

If you look them up I don’t know, 10% of the internet runs through them or did at the time that I was there. And so they’re they have a lot of insight. how the internet was performing when everyone was at home and everyone was online every minute of the day trying to figure things out, like what’s happening. And so I ended up writing this blog post about. Is the internet gonna be okay basically with everyone at home? Are, is the internet going to be able to withstand all of this? It was a huge piece. We looked at data all over the world because we had it in our system and, we were talking about in Italy when Covid was getting so bad and everyone was at home and we were plotting, Covid spikes again against internet usage on these [00:07:00] crazy graphs.

And we did this whole huge blog post of this global view of, is the internet gonna continue to work? And that piece performed so well because, again, people were just voraciously looking up information about what’s gonna happen to the world. And I think it was that moment, about six months into my time there where it. Whoa, this really works and it really matters and people are looking for this information. And that was really exciting to , have helped author that piece. And that I think was what really helped that was like the bug bite for me. Like where it was like, I just, I gotta have more of this.

This is really fun.

George: it’s so cool to be able to pinpoint that moment. And look, I think we’ll get into this a little bit later, but there are so many components to that piece that you just spoke about, which leads to great content marketing, and I want to talk about what makes great content marketing. But before we do that, I want to find out a little bit more about your roles before this.

You just. A little bit there, but you actually started out as a [00:08:00] copywriter, right? You were writing copy for McDonald’s national Billboards, then you became a creative director. You were working with huge brands like Kellogg and Kimberly Clark. And when I was doing my research, I, you listed like a whole lot of characters and names that I know I should recognize, but just cuz here in Australia, like I, I wasn’t fully across.

Jess: Yes. That’s alright.

George: I would love to know, what are the biggest things that you learned from these roles that you feel gives you an advantage as the killer content marketer you are today?

Jess: I. I think the biggest thing is like leading with story and emotion and not with benefits of a product, right? I think B2C is all built on. Rice Krispies for example, which was a brand I worked on, is all about nostalgia, right? That’s a cereal you eat. Is it called that in Australia or is it Rice Bubble?

George: rice


Jess: Okay. Yeah that is all about everyone eats that as a child, the [00:09:00] sound of it, right? The snap and the crackle on the pop. And then you grow up and your kids eat it. You make Rice Krispies treats out of it. It’s all about

memories, right? And like starting there first, rather than. it’s, it’s made of rice and it makes a cool sound, and it’s this many calories, right? No one cares about that part. It’s about, this was what I ate at my grandmother’s house when I was like five. And I would go there and we’d watch cartoons together, so I think that was a, that’s probably the biggest thing of just starting with a base of emotion first and foremost.

George: Yeah perhaps B2C is just realizes from the beginning, I don’t know if B2B is working up to the fact that pretty much everything’s a commodity, right? The barrier to entry for everything is so low. Like that’s really happened in software the last five to 10. In b2c. That has been true for such a long time.

And so these brands have realized that they’ve gotta actually start with emotions, start with creating memories if they’re gonna stand out, because you know what, [00:10:00] no one really cares about the features at the end of the day. Of course in B2B later on when someone is evaluating the product, the features do play a more important part.

But to make that impression, to stand out from the competition, like you’ve gotta start with a motion to begin

Jess: Yeah. And I do think, SAS is really starting to see this. If you look at Airbnb, they made an announcement last year that like they’re siphoning all of their money only into brand efforts. And they get it. They know that they aren’t gonna be able to sell on, whatever features are part of the app. They’re selling on what adventure are you going to go on, because of us. And so I think we’re gonna start to see more people more SaaS brands move, move

that way.

George: Oh my God, I’ve loved their advertising lately. All around storytelling, like really feels like user generated content and they’re putting it on billboards. They’ve gone back to tv. They’re invading my space, but I like it. I can’t help but like

Jess: Yeah, it feels better when they’re invading your [00:11:00] space with something interesting and cool and emotional than it does when they’re just barking features and price and things at you.

What separates average marketing from great content marketing?

George: Yeah. Oh totally. And look, you might be able to say your response to this next question is the exact same thing. It might be, emotion, but I would love to know is there anything else that really separates average content marketing from really great content marketing?

Jess: A point of view I think you can have. a good piece of content that is a, let’s say a guide that tells you how to do something. A really great piece of content would tell you why. That’s the only way to do it. And so I think there’s like this missing piece that, or this, leap that not every SaaS brand is willing to take, which is like putting a stake in the ground about how things should be done, how you should think about this thing. And that is all that should all come from. [00:12:00] a, a place of what your brand provides, for instance lasso is a software platform for event production companies. And our point of view is like you should have one piece of software to do everything you do in your event production business. Because if you don. This person’s not gonna know that this person got booked on this job and the sales guy’s not gonna know that. This camera’s already been rented out because none of your systems talk to each other. And so like our point of view is, there was only one right way to use software to produce events. And everything we create is built around that idea. And so I think there, there’s something to be said for getting buy-in on that point of view to create great content instead of just good


George: Yeah, our point of view is so crucial and I, it just, Occurred to me then that, we talk a lot about marketers should really think about the hero’s journey, right? If they want to sell a story. And [00:13:00] as part of that, we always tell our listeners your role in that hero’s journey.

You are not the hero of your story, it’s your customer. Your role is the guide. And the guide. If you think about every big blockbuster, they actually have a really unique point of view. They have something that they stand for, they have morals that they stand. And they’re not just presenting like the same path as everyone else.

Otherwise their path wouldn’t be interesting at all.

Jess: Yeah, absolutely.

Why is it so important to involve subject matter experts in content creation?

George: so Jess, I’ve also seen you say that when trying to get your content to have that cut through, you really want that content to be created. Subject matter experts, why is it so important to become friends with your subject matter experts in your organization as a content?


Jess: it’s really important. It’s becoming more important with this advent of, AI tools. And I think it’s important because there’s, there is nothing. That can create really valuable content, quite like lived experience and [00:14:00] understanding the pains of a certain, role job title or thoroughly understanding the importance of this one step in a process, right? And so I. You, you can’t be relied upon as the content marketer to know all those things there. There’s just no way you can know. You know the tip of the iceberg. Yeah, here’s the angle I wanna get at. I think this feels important, but what you have to then do is seek out the person who really knows why it’s important.

The little nuances around its importance the mistakes that you can, frequently make when you’re trying to solve this problem, right? And that can’t really be found in an AI tool or just by trying to wing it and try to create, content. You think answers that question. I always, that is one of my things.

It’s go on a friend making tour. Like figure out who your experts are internally. Just talk with them, have coffee with them. Figure out what they are experts in so that when it comes time to talk [00:15:00] about that subject, you know exactly who to go to. They’re, they’ve already opened up to you a little bit.

They know who you are and you can get a lot of really great information and insight out of


George: I totally agree that having that information come from subject matter experts is definitely going to set you apart from that commodity content out there, that AI is just making it way easier. Like now with ai, anyone can create the how-to information. Normally, those like evergreen pieces of content that you knock out as your content pillars for seo, whatever it might be.

Like anyone can spit them out now, but I feel like you’re right. You’ve gotta have that subject matter expert at the top of that content creation process. And yeah, you can use all the wizbang AI tools after that to help you, but it’s gotta start with the expert at the.

Jess: absolutely

George: Okay. Look, you said that you can go on a friend making tour, but I hear from so many marketers that like, they really want to be making content with their subject matter [00:16:00] experts, but they just struggle to get their buy-in.

Tips to get subject matter experts’ buy-in

George: Do you have any other tips for our listeners on how to get that buy-in from subject matter?

Jess: It is hard because you’re basically, you’re asking them to add another to-do to their. Already lengthy list and to do it consistently. Hey, I’m gonna come back in a couple months. I’m probably gonna have another idea. Or Hey, you’d be great on the podcast to talk about this thing.

We just did a blog post, that you helped author about. And so you are, you’re adding more to their plate. I think what’s helpful for them to see is the impact that it makes. Something I really like to do is if you have, a pretty strong pool of SMEs is to, create a slack channel with all of them in it and all of marketing and. every time something, brings in a new qualified lead or, be jumps into that top five blog posts or, hits a threshold of podcast downloads. Make sure that’s known to the people who are contributing. Show them like the [00:17:00] difference they’re making that, hey, you’re helping us bring in pipeline.

You’re helping us grow the company. Like we’re not just doing this to create content for content. It’s working, and that usually gets people fired up and really excited. And usually what that will do is it will get others who maybe were a little bit reticent to start or hesitant to help you be like, okay, all right.

Yeah. Hey, I have an idea too. And so they’re much more likely to jump in. And so I think just showing them the impact that they could possibly make is really powerful.

George: That’s great advice. Marketers. Stop keeping everything you do in a silo. Please take the time and the effort to feed that back. Like it Something that I like to recommend to our marketers is, So many of them send out like a weekly or a monthly update. Sometimes it’s company wide. Sometimes it’s like to the executives and very few people actually get to do that, but for some reason the marketer gets to do that.

Use that as an opportunity to pump up that expert’s tires, give them a shout out.

Jess: Yes, [00:18:00] 100%. Shine a spotlight on those people. Yeah, company wide if you can. That recognition really goes a long way.

George: Awesome. I love that. , I know you’ve been going around and making friends at Lasso, but you were also awarded the Golden Horseshoe, and I’m sure that’s not what it was. Just for your colleague Drew Brucker. He listed a, an enormous list of things that you accomplished in your first 90 days there that included in depth voice of the customer research, podcast, hosting, video production, new product messaging, product announcements, product launch, brand styl.

I don’t know if I, I think we mentioned video production, but I saw that you just launched like another ad for lasso. First of all, how the hell are you getting all of this done?

How to get so much do so quickly in content marketing

Jess: That was a really good question. Okay. Fir. First of all, I think experience helps. Experience Absolutely helps. So that video that you’re referencing I had the idea for that book, the shoot shot [00:19:00] it and had it live. Okay I’ll say the live part happened a couple weeks later, but had the idea pitch, the idea book the shoot had the shoot. And that all happened in a week. But that couldn’t have happened if I didn’t have my background of that was what I used to do, was like, I would come up with an idea for a commercial and we would go shoot it, right? And so I just knew what had to happen. I knew what. Absolutely necessary to have in that video and what we could forego and have it still do the thing we needed to do. I think that definitely helps. My team is incredible. Team structure wise, we have Drew, who you mentioned, who is, who’s my boss. He’s VP of growth myself, and then we have Kristen Trainor who is rev Ops genius who build. All of our dashboards does everything for us in HubSpot. Beneath me, I have a woman named Rachel Alti, and she’s fantastic, amazing, like day-to-day in [00:20:00] individual contributor. She’s, getting all of the podcasts produced and put up on the site and. Turning those into recaps and, all of the things that have to happen day to day.

And then we actually just hired a customer marketing manager, Mindy Hansel who is gonna take on some of the customer side of the house because we do a ton of upsell and kind of expansion type marketing. And we really needed someone to head that up. So having a team is very helpful.

I don’t think I could have done all of. And kept everything else going at my previous role where I was the only person. I think that’s helpful. And then I would say ruthless prioritization is really important. So there are things that people are going to come to you with that don’t ladder up to company goals, and you are gonna have to say no.

And maybe someday they will ladder up to a company goal or a personal goal, or you’ll have time to actually fit it in. But right now, this is the goal and this is the thing we’re focused on. And so I think knowing. Knowing what those goals are and knowing [00:21:00] that, that’s why you’re saying no. And helping communicate, like this is why I’m saying no.

It doesn’t really ladder up to this thing that we’re all working toward right now, so we’re gonna have to put it on the back burner until that’s accomplished. Learning how to say that it. Is a tough lesson, but it’s a learned skill and something I used to have a really hard time with and have gotten much better as I’ve, gotten more experience and frankly just gotten more on my plate, right?

There’s a point where you can’t do everything and you have to say no, and so you figure out very quickly how to do that strategically.

George: you’ve done an unreal job. It sounds like it was really three key things. It was prioritization, the team and experience. And I want to go a bit more into that experience side. I suppose with that experience, either consciously or subconsciously, you’ve probably built like processes and framework.

And if they are conscious, and I’m sure they must be conscious I would love to try and deconstruct those a little bit more just so our listeners can [00:22:00] try and apply the Jess Cook Framework to their own company. So where should our listeners begin as a content marketer when they start at a new company?

Where to start in a new company as a content marketer?

Jess: Start with your customers. I think that is the most impor important place to start. And anything else will lead you astray. So start there. And it doesn’t have to be, you don’t have to get on a call with a customer day one. I’m sure there are, with the, with Gong and all of the kind of tools like Gong there should be some sort of, recordings or interviews, things that you can dig up and take a look at, and just hear how your customers talk, hear what their challenges are understand the pain points or the things that they really love about their job, things that they wanna know more about, that they’d love to, up-level their skills in.

And those are the things that you can start to. Form some pillars around or some content themes. some thought leadership. Hey, do we not? Then you’re going back to your SMEs, right? Do we have an [00:23:00] expert in this area that we could talk to? Because I, I just listened to three calls and I heard two people talk about X.

So let’s dig into that a little bit. Who do we have internally that we can talk to about that, so I think it’s definitely starting with customers and starting to pick up on things. You hear multiple people. In so many ways, they’re, they might not say all the exact same, but you can start to pick up on themes of ah, this is a recurring pain point that I hear a lot about.

Let’s double click on that a bit with some content.

George: I love that advice of you don’t have to go and speak to those customers directly, initially. Let’s be real. You’ve just joined a new business. Like no one wants you to go and talk to their

Jess: Nope.

George: customer straight away. You probably don’t even fully understand what the hell the business does ,

Jess: You won’t even know what

to ask.

George: Yeah.

Yeah. You don’t even know what to ask. Like a good friend of mine he describes everyone who works in the city as people just walking around in suits trying to explain to each other what their jobs are and justify what they are. But it just really [00:24:00] hits home the idea that, look it, just take the time to settle in, understand what the business does, lean on the resources you have internally, and then look, absolutely.

I think there’s no replacement for hearing those. From the customer, but you’ve gotta know, what to ask. And you’ve gotta understand the business to have that context. So I think that voice of the customer research is really important. And do you have a cadence like as to how often a content marketer should be getting those insights from the customers?

How often should you be getting insights from customers?

Jess: I think if you have a recording software, like jump in there once a week, grab one call, take a look, or ask your sales team if you’re, if you’re buddies with somebody on the sales team, Hey, what was your best call this week? I’m gonna, I’m gonna go jump in and listen to it. They’re never more than, 30 minutes.

Usually you can listen to it on one and a half speed, and you can get a lot of really great information outta that. So I, I would say doing that at least once a week. And talking to a customer at least once a month I think is super important, if not more often depending on the role, right? Like customer marketing [00:25:00] manager, she’s probably gonna be talking to customers once she gets ramped up all the time.

And, as she should. So I think you. Definitely try to build in some sort of cadence and shoot, block that timeout on your calendar so you make sure you get it done. For a while, I’m, I need to get it back on the calendar, but for a while I was blocking out an hour on Fridays to watch two calls just to start to, get back into it every week and then come back on Monday and be like, oh yeah, I heard that thing.

We should write about that. So if you can just make a consistent habit of it I think that’s really helpful. It’s just gonna make you a better.

George: I love that. Comes back to Priorit.

Jess: Yes. Yep,

George: sure you block that time out and you stick to

Jess: that’s


George: important. Jess, you strike me as a fairly organized person. I don’t know if that’s true. I don’t, I really don’t know you all that well. ,

Jess: you should see my, my, my desktop is a mess. Screenshot. Screenshot. Screenshot,

George: actually to be fully honest, I feel like we have a little bit of similar energy. I am [00:26:00] constantly trying to rein myself in and force myself to be planned. That’s where my business partner comes in and he’s really helped me just get my stuff together , so we

Jess: that’s great.

George: to the cadence of everything that we need to do so we can keep the wheels turning.

I would love to know for you, how far in advance do you plan your.

How far in advance do you plan out to keep the content cadence up?

George: content

Jess: so we’re about a month out give or take, with podcast episodes, with social posts and the blog. Something I will do though we just had this. Product announcement come up. And so everything got, really intense for a while. It was kinda like, we’ve got that going on and we have to keep everything up.

And drew, actually, drew Brucker said this to me. He was like, you know what? Just lengthen the time between the things a little bit, right? So for instance, we were posting on LinkedIn every day from the lasso account, and he was like, just do every other day. That right there cuts the amount of work in half, but you’re still out there, right?

Like you’re still out there. Posting things and so that was really helpful, just like having that permission to like, [00:27:00] ease up a little bit on some of the day-to-day stuff so that we could really focus on like the next big announcement or the next big product, a release. So sometimes you do, you can be a month out, but you might then need to increase the space between the cadence a bit, and that, that’s okay. Actually, I posted on LinkedIn today that was like, I don’t know who needs to hear this, but it’s okay if the cadence of your blog, your social post, your podcast, whatever, falls off because of any reason. Honest, honestly. Strategic work, vacation, mental break. Sorry. Mental health break. I think we get really tied up in this is a weekly podcast, or this is a, I post every day.

And we’re not curing anything. There’s so many more important things. Like you can find ways to expand, your bandwidth. Just by doing simple things like we’re gonna post every other day for a little while until we can get back to posting every day. And that’s,


George: That’s such great advice. Something we’ve been thinking about lately. We’ve committed [00:28:00] to doing a podcast episode every week, and we’ve done that for at least a year and a half. So we’re 77 episodes in, and like we prepare a lot and we repurpose every single bitt. But I’ve just been thinking to myself lately,

Look, I know that we do have radio listeners who tune in every Monday morning and they look forward to it, and they tell us, but like the amount of content we get out of one, like we could probably just do one every couple of weeks. Even one a month. And we would have more than enough content.

And so then we just don’t feel that pressure to keep going and going and going.

Jess: built such a nice library, you could go back and be like, grab one that was like you’re most downloaded and be like, Hey guys, we’re redo. We’re gonna publish this one again. Cause it was so great, and here it is again. For all the new listeners. There is nothing that’s smart repurposing.

That’s not lazy at all, kudos to you for doing that for 77 weeks in a row. That is incredible. That takes some stamina. But yeah, I think, as marketers we have [00:29:00] to find ways to go back and use the greatest hits and either remix them or straight up reuse ’em the exact same way we originally published them.

You know that is okay. No one is thinking about you. the way you think they are thinking about you, or they’re not like, where’s George’s latest podcast? They might not be, they’re busy and then when they see it pop up, they’re like, oh, awesome. Another one. So I think we can just give ourselves some breathing room.

George: Oh God I totally agree. I think once you realize that we all suffer from that spotlight effect that I do, that we think the whole world is looking at us, and then at some point you just grow up and you realize no one gives a crap about me. No one really cares that much. Sure, you’ve got your friends, you’ve got your family, but no one really cares that much.

It’s very liberating,

I have

to say.

Jess: It’s freeing.

George: Something you touched on was the idea that we could like just repurpose so much of the content that we create. What [00:30:00] percentage of effort do you put into creating new content versus repurposing and distributing existing content?

Content creation vs repurposing existing content

Jess: So honestly I think it’s pretty evenly split, like 50 50. We’re creating a weekly podcast episode. We are Creating blog posts a few times a month. We don’t have a really crazy cadence. We’re only creating content if it feels like something we really need to say and put out there. But then repurposing wise, like we’re like you like to say, we are. Squeezing that lemon, like we are squeezing that fruit dry. And so for instance we did a survey with our customers about their project management challenges because we had a new project management tool coming out and we got all this great data from it, these really nice statistics about the challenges and the pain points and we started creating graphics out of those and we seeded those out.

In social media, week over week, we built a blog post out of that. Just today, I, we posted a [00:31:00] carousel of all of the statistics that we found together, right? And so it’s the same content. But not everyone sees it every time. In fact, very few people I think, especially on LinkedIn, I think it’s 1% of your audience sees it every time you post.

And so no one is gonna get tired of you telling the same story because they don’t even realize you’re telling the same story over and over. They see one piece of it and you know that it strikes them, right? But I think the thing that is really nice about repurposing is it ensures that you are telling the same story. Over and over across all of the channels that you’re in. And that’s how you get, that’s how you become known for something, we get really sick of hearing ourselves talking about the same things over and over way faster than our audience even catches on to. What we are trying to stand for.

I think repurposing one gives us a bit of relief. Like we don’t have to always be creating all the time. We’re a relatively small team, so it helps us feel like we’re bigger than we are because [00:32:00] we’re still pushing things out all the time, even though it’s built from the same information or same piece of content. And two, it keeps that story really consistent. And I think that’s important for building a brand.

George: Oh, I’m so glad you said that, and I think that’s so true about. The fact that it actually keeps you consistent. And in a way, I think that gives the small teams who are taking this repurposing structure actually a huge leg up over these huge teams who are constantly creating original pieces of content that really no one is consuming.

But yeah, e exactly like you have that original piece of research and you’re just repurposing it. You’re telling that story a bunch of different times in a slightly different way, in a way that really matches how that consumer wants to consume. . And I think that’s a huge advantage, that it just matches that point of view that you wanna get across to the world.

Yeah so powerful. Alright, let’s get onto, we’ve put that content out, we’ve repurposed it. How are we judging the success of our content [00:33:00] marketing? I think that’s something that like a loan of marketers really struggle with. Are they leading indicators? Are they lagging indicators of success that people need to look for to see if they’re on the right.

How to judge success of content marketing?

Jess: Yeah. So we have a, we’re in a world now where we just have so much data. We can look at a million different data points and three of ’em will tell us we’re doing great, and two of ’em will tell us we’re failing the, and it really. Goes back to what is the business trying to accomplish?

And so something I’m really thankful for at Lasso is that we have very clear revenue goals demos, booked goals, and then we each set individual goals for each quarter. And those individual goals ladder back to the demos, booked goals and the demos, book goals ladder, back to the company revenue. And so it’s. Motivating to know that like the things I’m focused on each quarter are gonna help drive the business. And so we’re really focused on the metrics that [00:34:00] ladder back to those goals. We’re always looking at who is booking demos and we, we have very specific target audience that we are crafting content for.

So what I would expect to see is that number of that job title, booking demos to just continuously go up as we. create content, repurposed content for that title. I am very carefully looking at branded search and branded search clicks or organic branded search and branded search clicks. Is the number of people going up over time that are searching for lasso, meaning I’m doing my job and getting more people to hear about lasso month over month or quarter over quarter is the, are the search results that they’re seeing from those branded searches, giving them what they’re hoping for, meaning they’re then clicking on them and coming to the site, and is that growing over time?

So tho those are a couple really big ones that I like to look at. Repurposing multiplier, which is something I just a name I made up of a stat that I [00:35:00] once saw someone presented a at a conference which is really like, How many more people are getting their eyes on your content through your repurposing efforts? So for instance with the Lasso podcast, we’re able to, clip that up, put it out on different social media platforms, put it in our newsletter, and we’re getting like a 16 x multiplier on the number of people who are actually like downloading the podcast versus. People who are just seeing content from it because we repurposed it.

So can we, can we up that in any way? Can we find some of the best pieces that performed really well that repurposed and go back and use those again. So those are the things that I am that I consider success. they don’t always ladder back directly or quickly to revenue, but they will, right?

They’re longer term. And I think that is just a key aspect of content is it’s a [00:36:00] longer term play. It’s a trust building exercise. And luckily I’m in an organization. Understands that and values that. And that’s not true everywhere that’s a difficult thing to sell in that I’m gonna write a blog post and hopefully in six months we’ll get some people to sign up.

Not everyone is very excited by that. So yeah, I I’m thankful that I’m somewhere that gets that and values


George: there’s a few things there. First of all, the repurposing multiplier. I love that. I think I’m gonna borrow it, if


Jess: Go

for it. Do it.

George: I’m pitching a potential collaboration to a brand and I think I’m going to use repurposing multiplier in my pitch. That’s a killer. I love that. Because you are right, like you can just 15, 20 x the number of eyeballs, the more you repurpose.

Compared to that original piece of content? Especially like a podcast, right? It’s notoriously difficult, especially in an with a niche topic to get those listeners, growing and growing and have huge numbers that are gonna impress people. But when [00:37:00] you amplify it by repurposing it, I mean you can see the huge impact that it has.

the second. Thing that I wanted to pick up on was so many of those leading and lagging indicators that you touched on, they actually really seem to tie to business outcomes and tying themselves to business outcomes is something that I think demand gen marketers really harp on about. Look, let me be real personally, I just think like demand gen marketing, I think it’s like good, sustainable B2B marketing that has largely been rebranded.

And yes, there’s a focus on pipeline and revenue. You know what, Jess, I’m not here to redefine a category, so I’m leaning into it. But I feel like being business outcomes focused is something that demand gen marketers really try and pride themselves on. And from what you’re telling me, there’s something that a great content marketer should do.

How much overlap do you think there is between what a content marketer does and a demand gen marketer?

How much overlap between a content marketer and demand gen marketer’s work?

Jess: That’s a really that’s a good [00:38:00] question. I think there’s a, there is an amount of overlap in that demand. Gen marketers are always in search of what is the thing that I’m gonna put out there that’s gonna generate the demand? Like they need the content. There is no demand gen without some piece of content, right?

And so the overlap I think is in like the thing content provides is the thing, demand gen needs, and. just like you have to go on a friend making tour with your SME is you have to be very close with your demand gen folks because you know they’re the ones who are gonna be distributing what you create.

If all you’re doing is publishing on your blog and publishing, your podcast episodes out to Apple Podcasts like. odds of people seeing it are low, and so you’re gonna have to be very close with the folks who are in charge of distribution, who are in charge of, who are responsible for a number.

A lot of times of they’re responsible for those leads that [00:39:00] come in, right? And they have a target they have to hit and you should want to help them. Cuz again, it’s it’s going back to that business goal of hey, that’s gonna help me hit that demo number. So I think there’s some overlap.

I think I think there is. Okay. You mentioned the podcast that I that I host is that’s Marketing Baby. And my co-host Susan, she was, my media kind of demand gen counterpart at Mar Pipe where we both work together. And she and I were very close in terms of I would let her know this piece of organic content is doing really well.

You might wanna let’s figure out a way to boost it or promote it in some way, or build a campaign around that idea. And then she would come to me and be like, Hey, this ad that I’ve been running for so long is doing, has been doing really well, but it’s starting to wane.

The performance is starting to drop a bit. Do you wanna sit with me and we can come up with something else we can do to replace it? And so I think there’s just a partnership there it’s symbiotic. Like I needed her to get eyeballs on the things I created, and she needed me to create the thing to get eyeballs [00:40:00] on.

And so I think you have to be able to go back and forth and figure out, come to a really good middle ground of, the content you wanna create that’s gonna help build the brand and build trust and the content that’s going to, ultimately get people to the site, click book a demo or start a free trial or whatever that is, and drive the


Demand gen is so reliant on the content side of things

George: I think that’s the part that people really miss about demand gen is like how reliant they are on the content side of. If you don’t have a good content marketer, if you aren’t creating that original content, like you can’t persuade people to be from like problem unaware to problem aware. And if you’re not able to do that, I would argue that you can’t really do demand gen, like I, that’s just what I would argue.

So I think you’re completely right. I think that there’s clearly a lot of overlap there.

Jess: Yeah, absolutely.

George: I feel at the moment that we spoke about AI tools just in passing earlier. I’ve played around with them. I’m sure you have. I feel like [00:41:00] things like chat, g p t mean that it’s just gonna be so much pressure on content marketers to do more with less. Do you feel that AI is gonna be a good thing or a bad thing for content?

How does AI impact content?

Jess: I think it depends on people’s expectations of it. So if you expect that it’s going to allow you to not hire a content marketer, I think you’re gonna be really disappointed. I think if you look at it as a tool that’s going to help you. Generate new ideas come up with some interesting ways to, write three or four different social posts or get you your ideas going on three or four different social posts that you can repurpose a piece of content. If you can look at it as Hey, I have this. Transcript, and I just wanna get like the big bullet points down, like use it as a tool for that, right? [00:42:00] If you look at it as a tool that’s going to help you scale, then I think you’re going to be very happy with it. I think it’s gonna be a good thing. So I think it’s all in, in how you look at it. A again, like I think when we talked earlier about like good content versus great. AI can’t form a point of view. only humans can do that, right? And so I think it’s really important to understand that. And yes, you can absolutely use AI chat, G P t, whatever tool you want to generate some new ideas or, help you bulk up this section that you might need a little extra kind of thinking around. But you’re not gonna be able to get that really differentiated point of view without having an expert in the area who clearly must be human. Yeah I think there’s good and bad. I think it’s, they’re on, the tools are only gonna get better, so that’s exciting. I’m excited to see where we can go with them in three to five years and what they look like. [00:43:00] But right now they need a heavy human touch.

George: I think you answered my next question there as well, Jess, which was, everyone has access to the same AI tools. Like how can you get your content to stand out from the competition? From what I’m hearing you say, you’ve gotta have that subject matter expert. You’ve gotta have that human touch at the beginning of that content creation.

Jess: yeah, absolutely. I think that’s, Ma’am, we’re gonna see just a ton of content get produced because it can be so quickly now and I think it’s gonna be really good for the brands who. put a lot of thought and value the credibility that their internal experts can bring to their content because it’s really gonna start to stand out that, oh, this piece of content, really, there is some thought put into this.

This is not AI generated. It’s very clear, right? And that’s gonna start to stand out more. And so I think. The brands that are gonna get rewarded are the brands who use AI tools strategically to scale but still rely on their experts to[00:44:00] build credibility and


George: I couldn’t agree more. I think those brands that are putting those hubs first, that are putting like a face behind the brand, or at least have a really strong point of view, they’re the ones who are going to really benefit in the next five to 10.

Jess: Yeah.

George: Jess, I want to now get into this amazing personal brand.

I dunno if you like calling it a personal brand. I’m gonna call it a personal brand that you are building LinkedIn, other platforms. I guess I just wanna start by asking, have you applied your own content strategy to your personal brand?

Building your personal brand

Jess: Yes. I do a lot of repurposing. I do a lot of looking at what’s performing well to know what to write, continue to write about, or what other people wanna hear about. I’ll reuse my, best performing posts. I’ll go right back and grab ’em from three months ago and repost ’em again because hey, there’s, a couple thousand people now that didn’t see it the first time around that, that might see it now. And I [00:45:00] think just the whole idea of. Human content feels really important to me on LinkedIn. So I do share a lot of, personal stuff in, in, in the realm of Hey, this was a struggle for me, or I always had a hard time with this, or, this is the way I used to do something and now that I know better, here’s the way I do it.

And so I think people gravitate to that. we all make similar mistakes in our learning to become a better marketer. And so it’s really, I think, helpful and refreshing to see people talk about their kind of failures or their misses as much as they do their wins. And so I, I think those are the things that, that I have gleaned from, content marketing strategy and you, and applying it to, to what I post on linked.

George: I personally, I find it like incredibly insightful. I find it very human. What you post, which I think really cuts through the noise. Just leaves me every time I read it. I don’t know, I just feel a little bit happy, a little bit warm and fuzzy inside and that’s a [00:46:00] real skill.

Jess: Oh, that’s So. nice for you to

say. Thank you.

George: I’d love to ask about that’s marketing baby. Tell us a little bit more about, that’s marketing baby. Great title for a podcast, by the way. I really love it. Yeah. What led you to.

Jess: So Susan and I, Susan’s my co-host, she and I worked together at Mar Pipe like I had mentioned, and we hosted the podcast, the Mar Pipe podcast together, and we had so much fun doing that. And actually the reason that podcast started the Mar Pipe podcast started was because, She and I would just hop on the phone and talk about stuff.

And every time we’d get down we’d be like, we should have recorded that. That was really good. And so we were like let’s just start doing it and see how it worked. So we did the podcast there and then when we both left, we were texting each other and we were like, man, that was fun.

We need to do that again. Let’s just try it out and see if we can fit that into, our lives. We’re both moms. We both work full-time and it was kinda like, let’s just see, let’s just see can we do weekly? Let’s try it. And and so yeah, so we just [00:47:00] started it out and we were like, we, she has a great follow, a huge following on Twitter.

I have a good one on LinkedIn and so we use those channels to promote it. And we have a lot of fun. Like she and I are just friends. We love talking about this stuff, which I hope, I think, comes through in the podcast itself, that we just have a lot of fun talking about it, and it does what I liked about it. There are a lot of podcasts out there like B2B marketing that are, that feel a little they feel like

B2B marketing. They feel a little

stuffy, and I didn’t want it to feel like that. I almost wanted it to feel like to be honest, my favorite True Crime podcast, which is called My Favorite Murder, But they are just two friends talking, and you l you laugh, you know as much as you can in a podcast about murder. And I was like, I want it to feel like that. I want it to feel like you’re just listening to two friends who you could jump into the conversation at any moment. And I feel like we’ve done that.

It’s been really fun and we’re gonna [00:48:00] keep it going. It’s, we’ve had some, a great reception so far and we, we love doing it. So we’re gonna, we’re gonna keep

doing it.

George: awesome. Look, that’s exactly what it feels like to me. It’s like you, you’ve walked in on two friends who are experts really chatting about what’s on their mind when it comes to marketing. It’s really high energy. I encourage all of our listeners to go and check it out. That’s marketing baby.

Jess, you’ve been so generous with your time. Thank you so much for letting us into your brain and for sharing so much of your practical advice and experience with. Before we round out the conversation, is there anything that you’d like to add or direct our audience’s attention to?

Jess: I love hearing from folks on LinkedIn. If you’re listening to this, please, connect with me, reach out to me. I love meeting new folks there and and learning about what you’re doing in your marketing role. Yeah.

Come find me,

George: Awesome. That’s just Jess Cook guys. Pretty much spelled exactly how it sounds. We’ll put it in the show. It’s not the same nightmare that I go through when I have to say George [00:49:00] COOs .

Jess: Yeah. Little simpler.

George: Jess, thank you so much for your time.

Jess: Thank you so much for having me. This was a blast.

Kev: listeners, I hope you enjoyed that conversation not just for the energy that Jess had which both George and I really enjoyed me listening back in editing, but also the real gems of content marketing wisdom that she dropped in that conversation with George.

She’s someone that really knows her stuff and it’s yet more proof if you need it, that although it’s a longer play, businesses that lean into helpful content and amplifying it really come out on top all the things that we’ve talked about in the five B’s framework so far.

George: Kev, some of the few key ideas from Jess and I absolutely loved. Let’s run through The first one I really love, Kev, was listeners, you need to start with your customers and maintain that insight from them for your content.

Just like what you and I say, Kev, in be.

Kev: That’s it. And then you need to have that point of view that Jess [00:50:00] emphasized that really leans on subject matter experts who understands the nuances and the pain points that your potential customers have, and they understand that personally. They’ve gone through some of that themselves. that shows through in the content and creates that truly helpful and impactful content that really resonate.

George: And Kev, when it comes to actually measuring the success of that content and content marketing, it really goes back to company goals It might just take a less direct route there, but it certainly helps when the business understands the value in content marketing in the long run, because content marketing is a long-term play, so you need that buy-in.

Kev: Definitely a long-term play, George. And I think we understand that from personal experience listeners. Jess also mentioned that AI tools should be seen as a scaling tool for your content strategy, but to still ensure that your content is led with your subject matter experts, human touch, and also make sure that, again, your content and [00:51:00] your demand generation functions are working together as a team, whether that’s separate people or the same person and different functions for a business, because that’s exactly what they are.

They are different functions within the same team, within the same process.

George: All right, listeners, go and connect with Jess on LinkedIn so you can see her daily dose of gold. And make sure you check out our podcast. That’s marketing baby. It’s really great. I listened. As always, Kevin and I are so stoked that more and more are joining us every Monday by listening to the podcast or watching us on YouTube.

And if we can ask one thing, it would be to please pass this show onto someone that might enjoy and get value from it. It’s a huge help to us really, really appreciate it. If you’re watching on YouTube, go ahead. Give us a like, give us a comment. The algorithm likes that. It feeds my ego. Um, Kev does a little dance every time It.

Uh, So please go ahead and do that. Thank you very much, listeners. Thank you, Kevin. Thank you to Jess. Take care and see you next

Kev: Thank you to Jess. Thank you to you, George, and to our listeners. Take [00:52:00] care and see all next week.

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Episode 83