We had Justin Champion from the HubSpot Academy join us last week for an exclusive Ask Me Anything (AMA) with the Austin HUG Slack team. There were so many great responses that we thought we’d share them so you could access these key insights on content creation.
Q: How’s the road trip going?
A: Amazing! My wife, Ariele, and I left Front Royal, VA two weeks ago – since then we’ve traveled through six states, and we’re currently in an RV park near downtown NOLA. A few days ago we were on the Gulf Shores of FL. My on-demand wifi made it possible for me work from the beach. Wow, just wow.
Q: That sounds wonderful! What is your favorite brainstorming method for coming up with new content ideas?
A: Going on a walk with a notepad. I like to brainstorm ideas on my own first, then review them with people – ideas become stronger based on the feedback of others. Also, leave time to reflect on your ideas. It can take me up to 1-2 weeks to fully flesh out an idea. This is because I have time to refine and challenge an idea to make sure I’m not selling myself short.
Q: That’s great advice! Any tips for how to write/produce in-depth content for a client in an industry you don’t work in? How do you go about immersing yourself in the correct jargon so that your content resonates with people in that industry?
A: Great question. Identify thought leaders and pick their brains. Not only will you get great content, but you'll build a promotion path by including others in your work. Inbound links FTW!
Q: Piggy backing onto that question- Justin, what are your thoughts on writing content in which you are not a subject matter expert?
A: Research, research, and more research. Definitely connect with others that have the knowledge you're looking for. That's a great starting point. Know enough to be dangerous (i.e. asking the right questions, putting together an outline). You don't have to be the subject matter expert, but you have to know enough to get the content you need.
Q: On that note…. about how many different ways do you try to repurpose a piece of to get maximum value? For instance, let’s say I wrote a long-form blog post, which I then turned into a series of blog posts, which I then turned into an ebook… how many more ways should I aim to present that same content before it becomes redundant?
A: Think of repurposing as telling the same story through a different lens. I go for impact. For example, repurpose a blog into a video and post it to youtube. There's no limit to the amount of repurposing content. I use the ACE method which we'll talk more about at the workshop. (Get details on the workshop here)
Q: Great stuff! So what are some of the SEO benefits of pillar content?
A: The biggest benefit is it solves for the human (website visitor) as well as the machine (search engine bot). Search engines love quality content – their job is to provide the most relevant answers for what people are searching for. If you take the time to consistently write and connect like-themed content together with links, then it’ll pay off in the long run. For example, I created a comprehensive guide on creating a DIY truck camper and connected all relevant blogs to this page. The result? My organic traffic doubled in less than 5 months and I’m on the first page for the broad term “DIY truck camper”.
PS: that truck camper is coming with me to Austin
Q: How do you come up with the names for your trucks and campers?
A: My wife and I are Southerners. We both grew up in rural areas of Virginia. Our truck is named after George Strait, the king of country. Before I worked at HubSpot, my wife and I worked on the digital team for VF Corporation, and Wrangler Western was one of our clients. After going to numerous rodeos and country western events, the culture grew on me. Even with this, the names of our fleet came to us. We didn’t rush. We waited until the right name came to us, reflected on it. If it stuck, then we kept it. Dorothy (aka Dot) is named after Ariele’s grandmother – she was a sassy and sweet lady, just like our Airstream.
Q: If you’re a George Strait fan, you need to visit Gruene Hall when you’re here next week!
Do you use tools like HubSpot page performance report and blog analytics to help you find topics that are resonating and can be further expanded?
A: I’m in! I do [use those tools]. HubSpot makes it easy to do initial research for content I'm looking to create. I also do research on Google to see what content exists on a specific topic as well as buzzsumo to understand the engagement of that content. HubSpot is releasing a content strategy tool later this year, which I'm super excited about. It's a solution to help research and organize content creation.
Q: My business partner and I have just started (last week) down the path of content creation. One of our biggest challenges -- we think that we have a decent idea of who our buyer personas are, but honestly don’t have good enough data and intel at this point to make well-informed decisions. We’re debating whether it’s a better idea to write content to a broader audience at first to try and find out who specifically is out there (and paying attention), or if we should get tactical and narrow our focus based upon the information we currently have.
I realize it’s tough to speculate with such little context; we’re most curious about your thoughts on writing for a broad audience vs. getting tactical.
A: I definitely understand that pain point. Before you create content you need to determine 1) content mission statement (why you're creating content), 2) buyer persona's (who you're creating content for), and 3) buyer's journey (what does a buyer persona experience from not knowing who you are to becoming a customer)
Try talking to the sales team to get a sense of the people who buy your products/services and who don't. Knowing this could give you a starting place for content creation as well.
Q: In the content marketing classes you talk about spending as much or more of your time promoting content as creating it. So, you've just published a blog post. Now what? What are your typical next steps for promoting that content?
A: Oh, boy, we could go on for hours on this topic. To start, focus on the channels where your audience spends their time. There’s no use in posting to LinkedIn if it’s not a valuable channel for you. A few of the strongest places to start: 1) create a series of valuable snippets for pre-defined social posts, 2) send an email to your current relevant contacts or include the blog in your next newsletter, 3) find ways to connect that blog to your content via links, 4) repurpose the content into a new format, like a video (not only will this help enhance the blog post experience, but it’ll also help claim another search result if you post the video to a channel like YouTube), and 5) comment marketing – be helpful on other people's sites by answering questions. Then plug your content when you feel you have the opportunity to (don't just insert the blog post initially as you need credibility).
Q: Any idea when Hubspot will get instagram integration for analytics?
A: I'm not aware of a the timeline at this time. It depends on the API integration with instagram. I do know we're making progress though on social integrations.
Q: What's the future of content? Will it always be blogs? What else is emerging?