Angel Marie and Dani Stewart joined us to talk storytelling, lead gen, marketing to creators, ebooks, podcasts & video, and more. Angel was kind enough to also give me a demo of convertkit, which you can check out here. Okay, let's do this!
Dani: I can talk about the written side of our content. We are SMALL when it comes to in-house. Its actually just been me for the last few years and we just hired an in-house SEO manager in the last few months. For the most part, I work with a fantastic team of contractors (many of whom are around here) to create the content for our blog. And when it comes to content for our marketing needs (feature pages on the site, emails, etc), we’ve recently transitioned to our full-time team members taking the first round of writing into their own hands and then I take over editing to make sure everything is cohesive.
Angel: So there’s 3 sides of the ConvertKit content we create: written, audio, and video. Dani manages the written content, and I manage much of the video content.I’ll let Dani speak for written, but for video content we focus on:
On the video front, it mostly consists of a team of 2: me and our associate producer who aids in the back end work to get it up and running.Our main goal with video content is to educate our customer base in an engaging and informational way to help inspire them to take action + leverage our ConvertKit product while doing it!
Our goals for content are to support marketing, product, brand, and company goals. Currently for me that means focusing on traffic to the blog and accounts created from blog articles.
Yes! We love it too! We always want creators to be the focus of everything we do. We believe that the future belongs to creators (you'll see that tagline all over the place for us).When it comes to content strategy, we believe that the more we put our creators as the focus of our pieces the easier it will be for other creators who are in similar fields to connect and understand how they can use our tools and features in their own business.As far as tips go- We are currently trying to create more case studies that connect to our bigger Creator Story features. That way readers can get that fuzzy inspirational vibe and then get a solid deep dive into a specific strategy that the creator uses.
Dani: Solid question. We've gone back and forth on this as well. I think where we landed is a great balance of "make everything available for any creator to use and if they want to take it a step further, then let's ask for an email. I think that goes back to the beginning when we started creating these guides. We wanted these to be like a curriculum for a creator to find success. They weren't product-facing so that any creator no matter what email marketing platform they were using could find them extremely useful. It was more of a brand play at that point than for SEO.
Angel: Yes! So we always prepare 6-weeks worth of webinar content ahead of time (at least 3 weeks prior to the 6-week start period). Our formula for creating the webinar topics is to:
Based off all of the above, we use that to generate a list of webinar topics to teach on for the next 6 weeks
Angel: At times, we will repurpose the webinar topic into a shorter YouTube video. Right now, we expire the webinar trainings and will teach on similar topics in the near future since we have many new customers coming into ConvertKit on daily basis. However - in the future, we're working on a plan to recycle many of our webinars into on-demand trainings on our trainings page: convertkit.com/training
Angel: My biggest advice would be to focus on building trust with your email list as it continues to grow. This means focusing on providing tips on your niche, advice, giving valuable freebies (guides, video trainings, checklists), letting them know more about you and your story, and opening up the digital door for them to build a relationship with you (hopping on a 1 on 1 call to discuss their needs, Q&A's, AMA's, etc). This by far is the best thing you can do when starting out in order to build up enough trust with your small list so they can become your customers, give you positive testimonials, and refer you to others!
Dani: It sounds like your situation is that there are just too many great ideas to focus on and you don't want to squash anyone's excitement for their work, right?I think it needs to come back to the very top of the company leadership there to set solid company-wide goals. Our exec team sets company-wide goals each year (creator types we want to go after, GMV, etc). This way when a project idea comes up we have a source of truth to look to. Does that new idea drive us to our company goals? If not, put it in the parking lot for later. That way it's not personal to say No to a project.
Dani: It maybe be my oldest-child mentality, but I've LOVED figuring out how to organize and repurpose our content. And to be honest, I'm just now really figuring out what our content flywheel is and how we can operate more with cross-team collaborations.I think the most difficult part is the blue sky of it all. One piece of content can do so much and just figuring out all the different ways we can use it right now is the overwhelming piece- how-to videos, onboarding videos, knowledge base pieces, funnels, testimonials, etc.My biggest tip right now is probably what I'm in the process of doing myself- Figure out that flywheel. How does your content fit in the bigger picture of your overall strategy? What types of content needs are you looking to fill? Basically, how can your content create more content?
Angel: I 100% agree with Dani here. I'll also add that maintaining a consistent schedule within cross-team collaboration efforts was a bit difficult to move towards to, although absolutely worth it. For example, when I'm responsible for a content channel like webinars, I'm used to a schedule and cadence that both align with my time and product updates/releases. However, when you involve other team members across the team in order to repurpose or create specific pieces of content, it's important to maintain timelines across each other + all the to-do's to get the work done in order to complete the "flywheel" we're wanting to eventually get to together. It's worth it, though - due to the consistent flow and system you're putting into place.
Angel: So we have someone on our team that manages all the email nurture sequences we create. Something that helps him achieve this, was to configure what we call a "creator type" survey in our product. So when a new customer creates a ConvertKit account, they're brought to answering a question that asks something like, "what kind of creator are you?" (see the screenshot of the list of answers they can choose). on the backend, we collect that data and are able to group our customers into the creator type they choose (this is just one of the ways we're able to do so). This helps us create the right nurture sequences, activation sequences, and send the right kind of content promo to the right group of people (like specific webinar topics) in an organized fashion so that it's not such a tangled web.To help us not go overboard with this, it was important for us (as a company) to fine tune who our target audience was FIRST. Getting specific with those details including:
Based off the above, we can format specific sequences that focus on the goals that the team is all aligned with, rather than trying to be "everything for everyone".
Dani: We have a fantastic data team who spends all their time connecting things that I don't quite understand. We use a tool called Sisense and I get to just pull up charts and graphs based on how our team has created attributions.
Dani: Back in the day (I've been with ConvertKit for 5 years now) he often did. But when it comes to our blog, he really doesn't anymore. He focuses more on his own content under his name as a lead gen/brand opportunity for us. And I definitely agree that that is a more useful way for him to spend his time for our company than for him to be creating content for our site. and here's a little plug for nathan's podcast that's he's been putting a lot of time into these days
Angel: On the video front, Nathan was involved in creating a few on boarding videos. But yes as Dani mentioned, he is now more focused on his own content creation - which also helps us live out our claim for being a company that's "built for creators, by creators."
Dani: We promote our case studies like any other piece of content at the moment- social media, our newsletter, paid ads. I need to be better about setting up a system to help our featured creators share their stories as well. I think they are closed to the bottom of the funnel. A creator is looking for an email marketing tool, they've found us and are seeing specific ways they can use us to connect with their audience/grow their business.
Dani: We look at accounts attributed to the pieces and traffic.
Dani: Creator Stories actually came first! These are purely brand awareness and are handled by the brand team. Those stories don't necessarily have to mention email marketing or our tool unless they come up naturally. They are purely created to make our creators the hero. And then the ball is passed to me ( on the Marketing team) to take that inspirational story, figure out if there is an interesting angle to how they use our tool and create a quick guide to show how other creators can find similar success.