Podcast | How to Create Compelling Research-Based Content

| | Time to Read: 23 minutes

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Episode topic: How to Create Compelling Research-Based Content

In this episode, host Shahin Hoda chats with Andy Crestodina, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Orbit Media, about the approach marketers can take to create compelling research-based content. 

Using one of his existing reports as an example, Andy walks us through his content creation process step by step. Right from how he selects topics, carries out online research and conducts surveys. 

He emphasises the importance of identifying gaps in existing content and then using intelligent survey techniques to answer a problem that can be addressed better via quality content. 

Andy concludes by advising marketers to understand the sales processes further and shares some of the influencers he follows in the marketing space.

This episode’s guest

How to create compelling research-based content

Andy Crestodina, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Orbit Media

Andy Crestodina is the Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Orbit Media, an award-winning 40-person digital agency in Chicago. Over the past 20 years, he has provided digital marketing advice to 1000+ businesses. 

Andy is a regular speaker at various marketing conferences and writes for renowned marketing blogs. 

He’s also the author of Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing and has written 500+ articles on content strategy, search engine optimisation, influencer marketing, visitor psychology and Analytics. 

Connect with him on LinkedIn

Conversation segments on this episode:

  • [01:45] Content creating approach - publishing on-hand data or finding a missing statistic
  • [03:33] 10 hours- average time to write a blog; time for research-10X; results -100X
  • [05:10] Example of how to pick a topic - “what are the standard features in a website?”
  • [08:30] Good sources of research data sets
  • [11:16] Ways to carry out human-based research via surveys
  • [11:38] Partner with research firms to gather quality responses for a survey
  • [12:07] Reach out to influencers for survey-based research
  • [12:50] Seek help from friends to promote surveys
  • [15:25] How to partner with other firms when it comes to surveys?
  • [17:38] Don’t have long surveys - 8-10 minutes is a big ask!
  • [20:00] Launch surveys at the beginning of the year.
  • [24:02] Content promotion - create a headline - have numbers, names or bust a myth.
  • [26:26] Have a strong opinion or do good research for good content.
  • [28:58] Advice to B2B Marketers - understand sales!
  • [31:11] Exciting thing about B2B marketing

Resources mentioned on this episode:

About the Growth Colony Podcast

On this podcast, you'll be hearing from B2B founders, CMOs, marketing & sales leaders about their successes, failures, what is working for them today in the B2B marketing world and everything in between.

Produced by Shahin Hoda & Alexander Hipwell, from xGrowth

Get in touch!

We would love to get your questions, ideas and feedback about Growth Colony, email alexander@growthcolony.org

 


Episode Full Transcript:

[00:14] Shahin Hoda  Hello everyone, welcome to another episode. I'm Shahin Hoda with xGrowth. And today, I'm talking to Andy Crestodina, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Orbit Media Studios, about how B2B marketers can create bespoke research-based content which is going to serve as a source of traffic, backlinks, and leads. We're going to pick one of Andy's recent reports and dissect the process of crafting it. I'm super excited. Andy, thanks for joining us.

[01:03] Andy Crestodina  Thanks for having me. I'm excited about this conversation. And I love this topic.

[1:07] Shahin Hoda  All right. Well, you know, I'm very excited about as well. And recently in our community, as well, multiple people have said, hey, how do you go about creating research-based content? How do you speak to customers? How do you get the information? So I think it's relevant on so many different levels. And what I what to start with, is to get a better understanding of the overall, the big picture, right? Your process when it comes to creating these research-based content. What do you go through? What does that process look like?

[01:43] Andy Crestodina  Well, there are examples when you're just being opportunistic. And you look and say, I have a bunch of data here, I could just go inside out, I could publish this, I could get results from this because there's something that I found internally that I could get traction from and be useful about on this topic. In other examples, you're going to be digging, because you're realising that there's a gap in the information on the internet, and you're gonna fill that gap. You find a missing statistic, you ask yourself, what are people frequently saying, but rarely supported with evidence? Or what are people often asking me that I could support with evidence? 

[02:17]Andy Crestodina  So one way you may be actually doing like a big survey where you have to do a lot of outreach, which is tricky because it's, surveys have to be promoted. And then you create content that has to be promoted. So there's like two rounds of promotion if it's a survey. And one of the examples that we talked about is one that was a bit more opportunistic, where we just simply found access to some information. We have a lot of Google Analytics accounts. And so we logged into those accounts and found that you know, in aggregate, we could publish an interesting stat. And they worked very, very well.

[02:47] Shahin Hoda  Well, I definitely want to talk about that, which is, if anyone's wondering, we will have it in the show notes. And the article is called What Is A Good Bounce Rate. We asked 500 analytics accounts, here's the average bounce rate for a website, which is a really interesting thing to read about. Because all marketers are dealing with their own website, and they're on the GA cam and everybody would be like, I wonder if we're above or below average. So let's pick that piece and go with it. Let's first talk about what is the overall difference? Would you say that there's a difference between the usual blog posts that people would write and something that is heavily researched for you, for example? You know, from a time perspective, how much time do you allocate to some of these content pieces?

[03:32] Andy Crestodina  Well, an average article for us takes maybe eight hours to put together, sometimes 10 hours. And some of the research pieces we've done are literally 10 acts that. There's an annual survey we do of bloggers, we get 1000 bloggers to answer 12 questions each year. That's more than 100 hours of work in the outreach and the analysis and the creation of the graphics and the promotion of it. So it's a bigger job. But it is categorically different. It puts your website and your brand in a completely different space because suddenly, you are the primary source for information.

[04:06] Andy Crestodina  Step back and think about that for a second, ask yourself, is there anything on your website for which you are the source of that information? Most brands know. If I was doing a content audit for someone I would ask that question while looking at their content. Anything here that's new, anything here that's novel that's original? So people often ask, oh, how can I make content that breaks through the noise? It's too hard, you know. I can't produce anything original, it's all been written? 

[04:27] Andy Crestodina  No, it hasn't. It's not as if all the research has already been finished in life. And you know, humanity has discovered the truth and we're sciences over. No, you can publish original research, and literally, make yourself categorically different from all of your competitors. I have, I can show you examples of where our competitors frequently cite us in their content. Impossible? Not at all. You just made something that's useful that everyone's using. So that's, it is a completely different approach that leads to completely different outcomes.

[04:57] Shahin Hoda  Okay, so let's start with and you've touched on this a little bit already. But let's start with how you go about picking a topic? You definitely touch on a few things, but let's dig a little bit deeper into that.

[05:09] Andy Crestodina  If someone's asking you a question. So this happened to me once. We built a website, we were a web design company, built a website for a guy comes back and says there's no search tool on my website. I said, No, it wasn't part of the scope. I wouldn't even recommend one. You've got a narrow and shallow sitemap. It's a smaller site, why have a search tool? Your navigations descriptive, right? He says, but isn't that standard? Great question. What standard on websites? Didn't know. Does anyone know? What are the most common features on websites? I know how to figure it out. 

[05:43] Andy Crestodina  I go download a list of the top marketing websites and give it to a virtual assistant, virtual assistant fills in this spreadsheet showing which sites have which features, contact in the top left, calls to action, value proposition high on the page, slideshows, search tools, send me back the spreadsheet. And now suddenly, it's fun because there's this moment Shahin again, just imagine this. There's a moment in your day when you are the only person who knows something, right? There's like new information and you're learning while creating content.

[06:15] Andy Crestodina  So at that moment, I was the only person right I had this new information. So that, so we published this little chart that showed what features are standard on websites, according to these like whatever 100 sites, optimise that article to rank for web design standards. It's gotten 200,000 visits over the last six years. It's attracted 200 links from other websites. It ranks number one or something for web design standards. It's a link magnet, it's a power, it's a topic in meetings, you know. I explain it, I use that to explain things to people. Another one, how long does a website last? No one knows. There wasn't a good answer.

[06:48] Andy Crestodina  What's the lifespan of a website? Grab a list of top websites gives it to a virtual assistant, virtual assistant looks at these sites in the way back machine, records on my spreadsheet that the interval at which they do major redesigns. The answer to that question is two years and seven months. It's new information. No one knew, it didn't exist before, right? To find the missing statistic, ask yourself what do people frequently say, but rarely support with evidence, and then go create that. it's to create and promote that statistic, and you will win the conversation for the day. It's dramatic, the impact is dramatically different from other typical articles.

[07:22] Shahin Hoda  I love that. I love thinking about it that way, that just keep an eye out for things that people say and be like, is that supported by anything? Because a lot of times it's not. A lot of times it's not. And we take it for granted.

[07:37] Andy Crestodina  Yeah, the one we're most famous for is like blogging takes time. Oh, really? How much time does it take to write a blog post? That's when we have to reach out to 1000 bloggers to get them to fill out a survey. There's literally no other way to have to answer the question. You have to ask people how long they spend writing and then average a bunch of answers together. So the answer is four hours. And we know that because we've asked for seven years in a row. We've asked 1000 bloggers how long they spend writing blog posts, and that's the average.

[08:06] Shahin Hoda  That's the average. Okay, so that's interesting. Let's talk about that. Let's talk about that first in the context of what's a good bounce rate, right? In terms of the approach that you have to research, right? How did you, you mentioned you went into the analytics dashboard, and you kind of extracted that information from there. Is there anything else on that front that you think we should touch on with regards to the extraction of the data?

[08:35] Andy Crestodina  Well, it was first a matter of like asking the question and looking for the answer and trying to find a credible, credible answer other places like, and we found some answers from very small data sets, and eventually concluded like, no, this really hasn't been answered very well. What's an average bounce rate? What's a good bounce rate? Don't see a good answer. So at that point, we knew that we had an opportunity to answer the question because we have access to like 500 analytics accounts. 

[09:05] Andy Crestodina  So I just granted access to you know, share the login with a virtual assistant, who again, looked at all these analytics accounts, and then filled out a spreadsheet showing the overall bounce rate, the bounce rate from each different traffic source, categorizing each website as being either b2c b2b or hybrid, listed what categories they're in, is it eCommerce, is it what industry? And then the, you know, found the answer, it's 62%. The average bounce rate across these 500 different websites was 62%. And then I broke it down to like by industry, eCommerce or lead gen by traffic source. 

[09:42] Andy Crestodina  You know, bounce rates from social or higher bounce rates from search are lower, but that was really just sort of discovering data that you have very common for people to do this kind of thing. SEOs are always doing this by creating interesting research-driven infographics, usually using things like cents data, you know, or Google Trends data, like, you know, what's the most popular car in every country or something, you know, they make these, like infographics and people link to them all over the place. I mean, it's a, it's a consistent win and well-trod ground for so many SEO companies. It's a classic link building tactic. But you know,

[10:18] Shahin Hoda  Yeah, I totally, I've definitely seen those. But I think one of the challenges is not all organisations have that benefit of what the SEO companies have, or companies who are in the digital space, who might be able to get information off the web, and then put it together and aggregate and have resulted from it. So a lot of people would result would go towards doing research, whether that's with outreach, or, or directly speaking to people, what are some of the tips that you found that found over, you know, your, your span of the work that you've been doing, in the past years, that works best when it comes to human-based research, as opposed to, you know, going through the web and getting that information easily, if you when you have the data, and when you don't have the data, that's, that's what I'm trying to get to?

[11:14] Andy Crestodina  Yeah, it's a, so if it's a survey piece, you're in for a big job. It's gonna take a lot of work, especially the first year you do it. You're going to get better results at a lower, at a smaller effort every year that you repeat the survey. So a lot of, one of the most effective ways to gather insights and get responses from surveys, you can use a company that will build a panel for you. So for example, like, you know, Survey Monkey has a tool called an audience, you know, you can just pay to put your survey questions in front of an audience, they'll even let you pick specific audiences by segmenting different people to respond to the survey. That can be effective.

[11:54] Andy Crestodina  Also effective, choose a research partner, get several companies together, non-competitive companies, right? Find some friends, and you can co-promote this thing together and both try to get responses, it'll, you know, it's like a little force multiplier. Another way, reach out to influencers and ask them to give insights on the survey, right? Not just a short answer, but some like a contributor quote, they're going to be happy to do that. And then ask them nicely, if they wouldn't mind sharing the survey to speed up the response. 

[12:24] Andy Crestodina  So the annual blog, new survey I do, I always get, like, 12, you basically, you know, say make friends with famous people in your category. I mean, celebrities, I mean, influencers in your industry. And then, when, you know, ask them for a contributor quote, they're happy to provide and then let them know that they can help speed up the process if they would drop this link into their social streams. That can be really effective. Really a social media post is not going to attract a lot of survey responses for you.

[12:49] Andy Crestodina If you have friends who are willing to send an email about it, that's going to work great. You're going to see a spike in survey responses if you can get someone to put it in an email. And some of these things, honestly, you might have to let them run for a while, you know. We send the bi-weekly email, and for the month and a half, while we're gathering blogger responses, you know, that's like a PS in every email we send. This is a great tactic for not just survey responses, but anything. A PS campaign, right? Friends can help each other by putting a PS link to something that someone else is promoting at the bottom of the emails, right? 

[13:22] Andy Crestodina Let's like, let's just co-promote each other's content or something. The PS campaign, I sort of love that idea. But that is a job. It's a slog, it's brute force. And I have done it myself manually, where I'm sending hundreds of individual messages through LinkedIn, typing them one by one, asking all kinds of friends. And then if you want to get fancy, or we could say sketchy about it, you can actually use those LinkedIn outreach tools that will send semi-personal messages through LinkedIn to first degree connections, not really that spammy if they're already your connections. But there's a lot of ways to speed it up. 

[13:56] Andy Crestodina  The first year is the hardest because one of the survey questions will be if you'd like to see the results, please enter your email address, you're going to build a list specific to this survey that will grow a little bit every year. And every year, you can send that lists, the new survey and say, hey, we're repeating the annual research, it's a very short survey, we'd be grateful if you take a minute. But it's you're asking the best question because it's the biggest job. It's the hardest thing. Big point, though, it's worth it. It's 10x effort with 100x the results. 

[14:25] Andy Crestodina  That blogger survey I mentioned has been linked to like 2000 different websites. How do you compete with me now? I'm dominant in search because we have just built up so much authority, how? I'm literally telling everyone how. I produce research-based content in collaboration with influencers. Those are both the key ingredients for attracting links, insanely high-quality content, as in research and relationships with people who make links, content creators.

[14:51] Shahin Hoda  Very interesting. Let's go back to partnerships. You mentioned partnerships. How do you approach partnership with other organisation? Is it usually just for promotion? Do you sometimes, can you ask for as in, what are some of the things that are common? Can you ask for a financial contribution in terms of hey, you would, you know, it takes this much time and hours to create this, so maybe financially they will contribute? How are the kinds of contributions you've done in the past when it comes to a piece of content?

[15:23] Andy Crestodina  Well, sometimes it just starts with a beer. I'll give you an example. I'm at a conference, I'm with a friend. We were coming out of a bar and we're standing in this hotel lobby before we just went up to bed. It was like late. And I'm talking to my friend Michele Linn from Mantis Research. This is what she does all the time and a few other people about thought leadership. Is that, what is it? People use that term to mean all different things? A lot of people aren't really talking about thought leadership. It's like no one agrees on the term. 

[15:51] Andy Crestodina  Hey, Michelle, why don't we get together and come up with a better answer, like a research-driven answer about the definition of thought leadership? She's like, sounds great. She reaches out to her friends, friends of ours at Survey Monkey, pretty soon orbit and her company, Mantis and our friends at Survey Monkey are collaborating on a research piece about thought leadership, two or three calls into it. We've got a really polished survey, great questions, we all contributed to the survey questions. And then a month after releasing it, we're all pushing hard to get answers.

[16:19] Andy Crestodina  I think 480 marketers answered 10 questions about what thought leadership means? The piece is awesome. It like lays it out. It's like, what are the required things? What are the nice to have things? And we each write about it? I'm an SEO. So I optimised mine for like, what is thought leadership marketing? And it ranks for that. It attracts visitors for that. It attracts links from that. Those links support our rankings, our ranking supports our lead gen. So yeah, it's weird that people don't do this all the time. It's weird that people just pump out medium-quality blog posts, but the world is not waiting for another medium-quality blog post. Step it up.

[16:55] Shahin Hoda  Very Sure. Very true. Let's talk about questions. You've mentioned multiple times, you said, You know, I send maybe talk questions out here, 10 questions here? I've been part of research pieces that there's like, I have to answer 200 questions. What is your take, have you done research pieces that require a lot of questions and ones that are shorter? What's your take on that?

[17:22] Andy Crestodina  I think it's pretty insensitive, actually, to have super long surveys. There's a friend of mine who like just before we got on this call, it's like the agency content creation survey. I love these guys, I want to help them, they asked me to promote their survey, I'm happy to do it. But I opened up the, I click the link, and I land on this page, and it says this will take eight to 10 minutes. That's actually kind of a big ask, right? So I'm happy to promote this. But no, I can't right, take this super quick survey. If you, if the questions are short enough, right? If it's a quick answer, the survey tools, like Survey Monkey will show you how long it takes people on average, to fill out your survey. 

[17:56] Andy Crestodina  So it's like if there's a report that shows you if this thing's a beast or not. If that number is low, then you can make the call-to-action, please take two minutes to fill out this short survey, it's just 10 questions, we'd be super grateful. They're all multiple choice. You know, it's the call to action to take the survey is different if the survey is in fact, brief. If you make a really onerous thing, it's going to be, people are going to bail out, they're going to be partway through, they're not going to be done before the next call starts. And they're gonna, it's just not, I don't want to create a heavy lift for my respondents, 

[18:34] Andy Crestodina  I'm trying to get them involved in this content. And let's not forget, the more responses you get, the closer you are to statistical relevance. But also, you're building a list of people to promote it to. You're going to send them all this link after it's done, right? Like, surveys are a matter of building the audience. It's collaborating with your audience on the content. You're building the audience for them. You're building your readership while you're gathering the data. So if you make the thing 100 questions, don't ask any questions unless you have a strong idea of what kind of analysis you'll do from the answers.

[19:06] Shahin Hoda   Got it. Don't just yet don't just shoot in the duck.

[19:10] Andy Crestodina  Nice to have, oh, let's ask about this too. And like, oh, you know, why are you, that's, uh, I don't gather any data unless I know how I want to use it. That's not what good analysts do. You don't just compile data for its own sake. I do not need data for its own sake. I don't need reports. I need insights. 

[19:30] Shahin Hoda  Got it. Got it. Okay. All right. Let's go to the next topic and the big one, promotion. And we've touched on it a little bit, how do you approach promotion? We've talked about partnerships, we've talked a little bit about SEO, is there anything else that you think we should explore there is that to explore? 

[19:52] Andy Crestodina  Sure. If so, let's say you're gonna repeat this every year, which I highly recommend. It's going to be more valuable for longer if you launch this thing in January or early in the year. Because it's gonna be, if it's an annual thing, its shelf life is tied to the year. And so if it goes live in November, your 2021 survey is not going to look as new for as long. If you launch it in January, February, it's going to look newer for longer. So then, so plan the timing of it if you can. I did not take advantage of this the way I should have. Another option, so all of your survey respondents, you know, get the email. All of your contributors will get the email. All of your survey partners will get the email for the opportunity to promote. 

[20:37] Andy Crestodina  So it's unusual in that way. It has more opportunity. You're reaching out to more people about it. Any kind of collaborative content has a social media advantage. In fact, I would argue, content is not optimised for social media unless it includes collaborators. Content optimised for search includes keywords, content optimised for social media includes people. That's a social means you got people in it, there are faces, there are names is other people's insights, different points of view, perspectives, like it's better. Journalists don't write articles without sources. Why do content marketers keep writing articles without contributor quotes? I would never write an article without a contributor quote, especially not a piece of research.

[21:10] Andy Crestodina  So anyway, that's the social side. On the SEO side actually, there's a magical opportunity if you create data because people often search, some people search for a topic, plus the word statistics. If someone's searching for, yeah, so my annual blogger surveys optimised for the phrase blogging statistics. Think about this. Why do people search for blogging statistics? They're literally trying to find something to link to. That is a magical key phrase, that is a link intent. This will- I love it- is damn sure who told me this and it blew my mind. Oh, there's three types of intent for queries, right? There's navigational, transactional, and informational. No, do, go this is like everyone says like these three kinds of keywords.

[21:55] Andy Crestodina  Actually, there's more than that in this type of linking intent. So if you rank, if you have a piece of content on your site that ranks for, you know, whatever, or the Dodgers statistics, chewing gum statistics, whatever it is, that thing's naturally going to attract links all day because people who'd want something to cite, they're creating something that needs support, right? Why do you search for that? You're trying to find something to say. You're making a presentation or you're writing a book, you're trying to find evidence to support an assertion you're making. So that's a big promotion opportunity.

[22:26] Andy Crestodina  It's maybe a long road, you might not rank for that the first year. It takes time sometimes. But yeah, it's chopping up the survey into social media-friendly visuals, super, super powerful. If the survey produced an insight that was counterintuitive, or goes against the common narrative, that journalists love that, you're going to be reaching out to a couple of editors and saying, look at this weird thing we found. I did one. I did a survey of, I did parallel surveys of B2B marketers and b2b buyers. And I asked them what they want to find on websites compared to what they want to put on websites.

[23:02] Shahin Hoda   I've seen that report.

[23:04] Andy Crestodina  Yeah, it was fun. Yeah. So gated content. People hate gated content, marketers are all freaked out about adding, you know, gate in their content. Surprisingly, website visitors don't really care. They'll give you their email address if the information is useful. I was shocked. I'm like wow. They strongly disagree. A lot of marketers strongly disagree that gates are, you know, important. 0% of our B2B buyers said that strongly disagree, right? They're fine giving their information. 

[23:33] Shahin Hoda   Wow. 

[23:34] Andy Crestodina  So just imagine what I can do with that now, right? Now, I've got something newsworthy. That's another way to think of this. Is there anything that you're doing in content marketing that is actually newsworthy? Most people know. right? But the researcher, yes, they are. You're making something that's newsworthy.

[23:52] Shahin Hoda  When you're thinking newsworthiness? Are you thinking relevance or are you thinking this is a new piece of information that will be relevant at any given time?

[24:01] Andy Crestodina  Well, the journalist or editor is looking for a headline because they want traffic. So let's just align with what these people want, right? What is the news, how does the news survive, right? How does another blogger, all of us, right? Every content marketer is basically like a media outlet, in no minor way. They want traffic, they want something unusual, they want something different, they want something that will catch the eye, they're thinking about the headline. So is it a number? That helps. Is it a counter-narrative position? That helps. You know, is there a famous name involved? That helps.

[24:31] Andy Crestodina  They're trying to attract visitors. So same as any marketing, think about the point of view of the person you're, you're pitching to, the person you're marketing to, the person you're selling to. So yeah, it is new, inherently newsworthy if it busts a myth. If it's a if it's some surprising bit of data. Here's a fun example. This was an SEO company that did this on behalf of a client. The client had some software to help food delivery services like a GPS app or something or tracking thing to optimise food delivery, I don't even know.

[25:04] Andy Crestodina  They reach out to a bunch of drivers to say, have you ever tasted the food you've delivered? It's like 65% said, Yes, let's write the headline. They're eating your french fries. Yeah. 400 news outlets picked it up the first day, the client was shocked by the demand for this new information, wanted to shut it down. They couldn't shut it down. It was too late, right? New York Times is running it. It was going, is already out there. So that was that, right? They're eating your french fries. You know, two-thirds of delivery drivers have tasted the food they've delivered. It is a shocking thing. It's a funny thing. It's a timely thing. That's what PR is. And I've never really thought of myself as a PR person.

[25:43] Andy Crestodina  I've heard before, like, wow, you're really good at PR, never even thought of it in that way. But fundamentally, that's what you're doing. You're creating something newsworthy and try to do that without something original. Try to make something original without research. You've really got only two options, original research and super and like strong opinion. Strong opinion, almost no one wants to do that. That's really tough. Yeah. I'm not the person to talk to about that, because it's not my strategy. But that's thought leadership. I could give you the names of marketers that do that very well. They crush it on social media. Strong opinion is the other format for content that outperforms consistently.

[26:18] Shahin Hoda  Got it? Got it. I love it. Strong opinion, research that's just so simplified to think about if you want to put worthy content out there, have either a strong opinion or do research? And be careful about the strong opinion component because it could backfire in a lot of situations.

[26:41] Andy Crestodina  Yeah. You're purposely being provocative. It's amazing when you see it done well. It's but nobody wants, I mean, it's a just ask people. It's like, if you're a content strategist, right? Talk to a client and ask them, what do you believe the most people would disagree with? Most people can't really, don't really have a good answer to that. Or what are people in your industry afraid to, what question are people in your industry afraid to answer? It takes guts. That's hard. What questions are people in your industry afraid to answer? Very hard. You could imagine, you can, people, all the listeners to this can maybe already begin to imagine how hard that would be yet how effective that would be. Anyway, we're digressing. We're talking about research, but okay. That's one point of view, super powerful.

[27:26] Shahin Hoda  Got it. Got it. Okay. Now, Andy, I have a few rapid questions that I want to ask you. But before we go there, is there, you know, is there anything else that maybe I didn't ask, or you think we should cover when it comes to research-based content, creating recent research-based content?

[27:40] Andy Crestodina  I'll give one tip again, from Michele Linn. And she does this for a living. It's all she does. And she works backwards from the outcome trying to think of the soundbite in advance to work toward that. You know, she would have thought in advance like, yeah, they're eating french fries, I'm going to come up with a shocking statistic. So she says that if you really wanted to make something newsworthy, don't just create research like the average website lifespan is two years, seven months. She wants to bust myths. She wants to come up with a counter like a surprising statistic. She's a fantastic content strategist. I'm consistently producing interesting research, but what she's doing goes far beyond. Check out Mantis Research. They're fantastic at this.

[28:18] Shahin Hoda  We'll definitely check them out. Definitely, and put the link in the comments. Okay. Let's do some rapid questions. The first one I want to ask you is what is one resource, it could be a book, it could be a podcast, it could be a TED talk, whatever it is, that fundamentally change the way you work or live.

[28:35] Andy Crestodina  I'm the millionth person to recommend Atomic Habits. That book was very helpful to me. It's helped me set personal goals and meet those goals. It's about being 1% better every day. I really liked that one, I recommend it. It's a quick read and can be a good, you know, big impact.

[28:54] Shahin Hoda  Thank you very much. Question number two. If you could give one advice to B2B marketers, what would it be?

[28:59] Andy Crestodina  It would be to read sales books, go to sales meetings, listen to sales calls, do some sales. Because what a lot of B2B marketers fail to do is to ever publish any bottom of funnel sales enablement content, you know. What is the piece of content that would help you close deals? We've had a lovely time talking about the top of funnel, research, tracking links, you know, visibility, brand awareness, but I wouldn't prioritise anything we talked about before you publish, you know. Polish your sales pages, polish your service pages, you know. Improve those, because, uh, you know, if you're going to optimise and do any work, you know, start with the end. Start with the bottom of the funnel. 

[29:39] Shahin Hoda   The closer to the money.

[29:40] Andy Crestodina  Closer to the, yeah, start with the money. So yeah, if there's a common question, you can be research-driven, because it's a common question that people ask during sales, and you haven't yet published that answer. Publish that answer so you've got a great lead behind. Your team is going to have a better follow-up with that prospect than the competitor's will because you gave them a piece of content that was surprisingly helpful, kind of again puts you in a different category.

[30:04] Shahin Hoda  Yeah and I think it definitely helps with improving the relationship between sales and marketing as well.

[30:09] Andy Crestodina   Yeah. 

[30:09] Shahin Hoda  Which you know has other benefits. Okay, question number three what are some of the influencers you follow in the marketing space?

[30:18] Andy Crestodina  I love, I was gonna, I knew you'd ask this, I was gonna say Joanna Wiebe from CopyHackers, because her content is fantastic. CopyHackers.com, Joanna Wiebe is. she's kind of credited with kicking off the whole conversion copywriting industry. But since we talked about, like, strong opinion, read Mark Schaefer, if you're not familiar, businessesgrow.com. Mark Schaefer says a thing, he sees things before the rest of us. Says things we would never dare to say. Opens our minds that he's just extremely good at showing us all the way and touching the third rail when necessary, like he will, he's just more honest and direct than the rest of us I have huge respect for Mark.

[30:59] Shahin Hoda  That's awesome. And the last thing is what is something that excites you about B2B? So it could be on the content side, it could be what you're doing for the business. What's something that you're pumped about today?

[31:10] Andy Crestodina  Wow. Well, B2B is, I think, just a way more interesting category than B2C. A lot of people think it's, I've been to conferences where they say, oh, yeah, content marketing sounds great. But what about B2B? That's what I've been talking about the whole time. I don't, I've never done any, B2C marketing, I think is weird. B2B is when trust is critical. It's when you're closer to sales. It's when you know, complex decision-making process with a bunch of different stakeholders. It's just more nuanced. It's more challenging.

[31:26] Andy Crestodina   You know, you're selling invisible stuff sometimes like services. I am just, I'm still fascinated by the way that psychology works in B2B marketing, and how the context of digital is more than ever supporting sales in B2B because these people are doing so much research in advance. It needs us. They need us. We are doing important work because the B2B buyer is doing ridiculous amounts of research today prior to picking up the phone. 

[31:46] Andy Crestodina  So the brand that content marketing is a test of generosity. The brand that gives away the most helpful, useful advice, getting it out of their brain and into pixels, wins. And it's happening every day all around us. And we all, everyone sort of knows that that's true. But for some reason, there just aren't enough of us that have that are doing it actively yet. It's super fun.

[32:18] Shahin Hoda  Love it. Andy, this is awesome, this has been great. Thank you so much for jumping on the pot.

[32:39] Andy Crestodina   Thanks for having me.


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