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In this episode, we talk to Fynn Glover, the founder of an ecommerce-focused content marketing tool called Matcha.
The tried-and-true ecommerce playbook is to launch your business with a barrage of paid advertising to “get people in the door” and then experiment with a handful of tactics to encourage things like repeat purchases or referrals to friends and family.
In this episode, we talk about the value of content marketing as more sustainable, predictable growth strategy. Of course, that requires taking a long-term view of your business. Still…we can’t help but wonder why content marketing (and sophisticated tools to support it) isn’t a more prominent topic of discussion in the ecommerce space.
So, if you’re interested in learning about blogging and content marketing, how it can fit into your overarching growth strategy, and what you need to get started on the right foot, then this episode is for you.
Listen, and you’ll learn about:
- The tangible value of content marketing, with examples from Fynn’s past
- Why adoption is comparatively low in ecommerce, and how it’s getting better
- How effective content marketing can accelerate your sales performance
- How to get started and make every dollar or minute you invest be effective
Want to be a guest on our show? Have feedback or ideas for how we can improve? Send your thoughts over to email@example.com. We’ll be keeping an eye on that inbox. 🙂
The Ecommerce Insights Show is brought to you by The Good, a Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) consultancy specializing in helping ecommerce businesses accelerate their growth through better research, testing, and design. Learn more about our team, our work, and our services at www.thegood.com.
[00:00:52] Hey, Ben, thanks so much for agreeing to come on the show today. Really excited to have you here. Talk all things, content marketing, and maybe as a bit of an icebreaker, just to get things kicked off. I know that you guys are doing a little bit of podcasting of your own. So I’m curious how that’s going so far.
[00:01:05] Fynn Glover: [00:01:05] I was going great. I mean, we did it hoping to get a few hundred people to listen to it every week or so. And it’s so far exceeded our goals relatively comprehensively. So that’s fine. But I think I like it a lot because I just talked to a really interesting people and that’s really, really refreshing and I learn a lot
[00:01:22] James Sowers: [00:01:22] from it.
[00:01:22] Yeah, I hear that over and over again with people who launched podcasts is like the biggest value is basically either depending on your format, like free business coaching, or just getting to meet interesting people and get them on the phone for 30 to 60 minutes. I mean, there’s a ton of value. Just to making those connections regularly and kind of expanding your network and your knowledge base there.
[00:01:39] So congratulations on launching that and look forward to hearing more from you there now to get into your personal story. Usually on the show, I try to skip past like all the history, but from what I could gather, it looks like your company matches fairly young, right? A couple of years maybe. And so maybe it makes sense to.
[00:01:55] Quickly recap, like the origin story, how you came up with the idea or the problem that you wanted to solve and what you’re working on today, what your role entails like what’s got you excited, that kind of stuff.
[00:02:05] Fynn Glover: [00:02:05] So the company is actually not that young, but, uh, in the context of the company is relatively young.
[00:02:11] So I founded the company in 2012 and it was called rootsrated.com. And at the time it was totally different than what matcha is today. It was a website geared towards outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers, and it helped them discover great places to go recreate all over the country. And so between 2012 and 2015, we grew that site into one of the largest sites for outdoor discovery in the U S and I think along the way, we learned a couple of things that would ultimately move us toward transitioning the business from publishing to software and to where we are today with mochi, I think.
[00:02:43] The first thing we learned is we learned how to create content at a relatively large scale. Because during that three or four years, we created upwards of 15,000 articles. And so we got really good at publishing infrastructure. And I think the second thing we learned is we were so close to brands in the outdoor and travel industry, and we spent so much time talking to them and we learned relatively quickly.
[00:03:03] That the way they were marketing was changing and it was moving from traditional brand advertising and much more towards content marketing. And they didn’t feel like they had the resources internally to do content marketing well, and they wanted to pay us not for our advertising, but for our content marketing services.
[00:03:20] And so with that type of market feedback, kind of. Hitting us for a couple of years, we decided that it made more sense for us to pivot the business from publishing and to software. And, and so in 2016, we began productizing our publishing stack so that we could sell that software to companies on a subscription.
[00:03:37] And so for a couple of years, We would sell our content marketing software bundled with content production services, content, distribution services, content strategy, , and over the last couple of years, as we’ve rebranded to matcha, we’ve moved further and further towards just a pure software tool for the e-commerce marketer.
[00:03:56] James Sowers: [00:03:56] Wow. So what a story? So you said, did I get that number right? You had 15,000 pieces on the original site that was more like a publication or a digital magazine or a blog it’s
[00:04:06] Fynn Glover: [00:04:06] still around and it’s rootsrated.com. And you know, it’s one of those fantastic examples of the compounding returns of content, because we haven’t really touched that site in about three or four years.
[00:04:15] And yet we still see upwards of 500,000 visitors every month that are all organic. You have a story is if you create good content, it’s going to return for a long time.
[00:04:25] James Sowers: [00:04:25] Right. Yeah, I was going to be my next question. I imagine you would have sold that or something, but it sounds like you’re still continuing to maintain that site, which is even smarter because I’m sure that with that much attention on the site, that’s generating a significant amount of revenue too.
[00:04:37] So not a bad side hustle to have, I would say, well, for us, it’s
[00:04:41] Fynn Glover: [00:04:41] just been a content laboratory. Actually, we use it to actually test different theories. We have around blog articles, templates, things like that. And it’s been really useful on that front.
[00:04:50] James Sowers: [00:04:50] Yeah, I can imagine. So with matcha in its current form, maybe give us like a two or three sentence elevator pitch on the value proposition that you have.
[00:04:58] It sounds like, at least from what I could gather that you’ve put your stake in the ground for e-commerce brands primarily. And so what is the value that matcha brings to e-commerce store owners or senior executives and what are some of the important features that they would need to know about?
[00:05:13] Fynn Glover: [00:05:13] So when we think about logging in the context of e-commerce today, we. Generally think there are kind of several primary friction points for the store owner or the marketer. The first is that creating articles that actually influenced revenue is time intensive and difficult. And it always will be the second is that once you’ve created an article, optimizing it for some type of conversion event is very difficult.
[00:05:34] And the third is that actually understanding attribution around blog readership has been off limits to marketers for a long time. And so people just don’t know if they’re going to go spend a lot of time creating a blog article, whether or not it’s going to return and how to measure it. And so our goal with matcha is to solve those three problems.
[00:05:51] And so what we’ve done is we’ve tried to build an e-commerce specific blogging CMS that plugs seamlessly into your Shopify store or your WordPress store. And helps you create articles faster and more rapidly helps you optimize those articles for whatever conversion of them matters to you. Whether that’s email, subscription, growth, or driving someone to a product page, and then we’ve built, , analytics and insights that help you measure attribution of blog readership on the bottom line.
[00:06:19] James Sowers: [00:06:19] Awesome. So I think like producing content is one of those things that like, I hesitate to use the word commoditize, but in a nutshell, like to be a writer, all you need is some kind of device, right. And an understanding of the English language. And like you can technically, right. And so there’s a lot of competition out there and the bar has been set much higher for what makes good content, both in the eyes of your readers and in the eyes of Google or whatever search engine you want to reference.
[00:06:42] And so I think like that’s where. The value of getting content marketing, right. Comes from, it sounds like what you guys want to do. And I think it’s really easy. I made this mistake and maybe it’s just my personal experience, but the first time I saw match, I was like, Oh, this is a content production as a service, right?
[00:06:57] This is something you pay a flat fee. They have some writers on staff. They produce the content for you and help you with strategy or whatever. But it’s not that at all. It’s actually like a tool that plugs into your Shopify store, or I think you guys support a couple other platforms, but it basically allows you to be more disciplined and a little bit more efficient in producing content.
[00:07:15] And then tying that back to some kind of business value, like growing your list, direct product plugs when it makes sense, you know, that kind of thing. And then getting some analytics around that and seeing what’s actually working and what’s not, and where you need to double down, is that an accurate kind of like recap of macho as it exists today?
[00:07:30] That’s great. Okay. Awesome. So then why is content marketing for e-commerce a pain we’re solving? Like if a listener’s there at home? I mean, we might’ve answered this a little bit with your previous site and the outdoor site and kind of like. The traffic that can compound over time and the attention that you can get on your site.
[00:07:44] So like what kind of e-commerce brand wouldn’t want half a million people coming to their website every single month. But outside of that, like, is there any more nuance to like why somebody who’s listening at home or wherever they’re at should make an investment in content marketing and not just in the next quarter, but over the longterm and just make it part of their standard, like operating cadence.
[00:08:04] Fynn Glover: [00:08:04] I think it’s the question that has a fair amount of nuance to it. Or the way I think about it is. A lot of people talk about content marketing related broadly, and it’s kind of become this amorphous term and nobody really knows what it means. Does that mean influencer marketing? Does that mean Instagram images?
[00:08:22] Does that mean blogging in terms of the products that we develop and the way we think about it? We’re razor focused on blogging. So I’m going to try to stick to that so that we’re really clear, but. Blogging is something that a lot of people think is really valuable. You know, like Shopify a couple of years ago came out and said something to the effect of blogging is the Holy grail of differentiation.
[00:08:42] And yet when you look at e-commerce adoption of blogging, it’s relatively slight compared to e-commerce adoption of something like direct response advertising. And this isn’t really surprising to us. I think when we kind of ask, why would that be? Well, it’s kind of a couple of things. I mean, first blogging is not a direct response activity.
[00:09:04] And for the last decade, e-commerce marketers could achieve direct response results by advertising on the platforms. And it’s kind of this, a component of what has made the e-commerce revolution so powerful over the last 10 years is how quickly you could actually advertise to a customer and generate a sale and blogging doesn’t work like that.
[00:09:21] And I think the other reason blogging has kind of been under leveraged and under adopted is that. When you look at the software that exists for people that want to create blogs as e-commerce marketers, it hasn’t caught up to the potential. And so you’re still using WordPress or you’re using Shopify is basic Wiziwig editor, and that doesn’t accelerate the creation process or set you up for optimization in the context of selling stuff.
[00:09:43] So I think that those are some of the reasons that blogging has been under leveraged and they kind of get back to your question around, why should you start to do it now? I mean, I think the answer is. It depends on the business. And if you’re running into direct response advertising, it’s saturating, or it’s becoming too expensive because everyone’s advertising on the same platforms, blogging is a way to diversify customer acquisition.
[00:10:06] But blogging is also a way to increase lifetime value, but we see from some of my best customers is when you leverage blog articles and blog content, and the context of your email marketing campaigns, to people that have already bought products from you, you end up driving, repeat purchase, and lifetime value into better places.
[00:10:23] And so the reasons to blog are kind of multifold, but they do require a discipline and a commitment. And those that don’t commit to it. And not having it be successful. And if they kind of create content for a short amount of time, they don’t distribute it. They don’t think about it. And it ends up being a sunk cost.
[00:10:40] That’s the worst thing that can happen for somebody who wants to get into blogging and try to turn it into something that makes money for their company.
[00:10:46] James Sowers: [00:10:46] Yeah, those are some great points. I mean, I like your opener about the limitations, or I guess the fact that the blogging technology from an e-commerce perspective is still in its infancy.
[00:10:55] Really. I mean, when I look at some of the off the shelf themes for Shopify, that a lot of people are using the homepage product page, the checkout, they’re all beautiful. And then the blog is like, Illegible, right? Like the text is too small or the page structure is just not that great. Like there’s just not a whole lot of thought being given to that.
[00:11:10] And then on the backend, the CMS. Isn’t great. So what a lot of brands end up doing is having a separate sub domain, like blog.url.com. And they host that on WordPress because they know WordPress already from a previous life and it’s got Yoast SEO or whatever plugin you like to use. And so it just feels better.
[00:11:25] It feels more effective. And so that’s like some of the hurdles that we’re facing, but at the same time, like. Blogging and producing search engine optimized articles is more of an owned audience than say Facebook ads, right. That you are still subject to the will of Google and the Google gods and whatever they decide to do with you.
[00:11:42] But like it’s a lot more stable and more predictable than Facebook ads, I would say, because you don’t even know who’s seeing those, right? Like you don’t have any control over how they’re presented aside from. You know, some switches that you toggle in the Facebook ads manager or whatever, and you’re paying up front for those ensure you pay for content maybe, but especially for early stage brands, when you have more time than money, so to speak, it feels like it’s a no brainer.
[00:12:03] And I always think about when I think about blogging, I think about content marketing. I always think about that phrase. The best time to plant a tree was like 10 years ago. The next best time is today, right? Like, so it’s something that you have to continuously commit to over time, but like you’ve shown with your story.
[00:12:17] After five years or whatever, then those effects compound and you’re in a really solid place. As long as you’ve done it the right way. You’ve been intentional about it on the front end. So I love all those points you made there. I’m curious if we go back to the product side of things. So assuming that we’ve made the case for why somebody should even care about content marketing, why they should be interested.
[00:12:36] You guys, as far as I’ve seen, first of all, whoever does your design work is amazing. I’m so jealous. And I wish I could hire them because everything that you guys put out there, it looks great, but I’ve been seeing some like product hunt launches and stuff, and you guys have a new, I think it’s a product, the blog, post template library, and also a feature that I saw fairly recently, which is the blog creator.
[00:12:53] So maybe let’s dive into each of those a little bit and talk about your thought process and coming up with them, what value they offer to e-commerce brands and what you think is a big differentiator for that. So maybe let’s start with the blog creator, because I think that came first and then we’ll do the template library after that.
[00:13:09] Fynn Glover: [00:13:09] Sure. Well, so the blog creator is really, it comes from the experience that you described around the Shopify. Was you again later? So one of the things that just baffled us when we really looked closely was why Shopify hadn’t focused on that. And they, they really haven’t been. So to your point, people, they go use WordPress because it is a more powerful CMS.
[00:13:28] It’s a higher functioning CMS for somebody who actually wants to create blog articles that rank well. And so when we released blog creator, we released it with the vision that we would create the best blogging CMS for an e-commerce store. And part of what that meant to us is that we would end up going back to those three pain points that I mentioned earlier.
[00:13:47] We would help people accelerate production because one of the biggest problems is. The activation energy to actually go create a really good article is very high. Like just sit down and spend the time to create something that would compel someone to like, like really kind of care about the brand pillars that you care about or answer a product question that’s really commonly asked or, you know, whatever you’re trying to do with the individual article is really time-intensive.
[00:14:10] And so the first thing that we’ve sought to do with blog creator kind of gets into the template library, which is how do we accelerate your production? And we’ve tried to accelerate production by providing templates that kind of get you from the home plate to second base really quickly. And then you can start writing with a template that’s kind of best in class and it’s given you kind of tips and pointers to get moving more quickly.
[00:14:31] And then the second thing that we’re trying to do with blog creator is we’re trying to view the blog asset. And let me kind of step back for one second. This might be too nuanced, but I think it’s kind of fun to nerd out on the blog is a channel. The blog article is an asset. The blog asset, the blog article as an asset is something that we think has a lot of power and depth because it can incorporate so many different kind of component parts within it.
[00:14:54] The texts from a blog article can be pulled into social media posts or pulled into emails, the images, all, things like that. And so we’ve tried to make it possible for someone using blog creator to add in different. Elements within an article that they could use for different purposes and element might be a sign up form element might be a product listing or a product collection that’s rotating and element might be user-generated photography from your Instagram account.
[00:15:19] Like there are all kinds of elements in the context of e-commerce. That are not being leveraged in blog articles today. And that’s what we’re trying to do with blog creator. And then the third piece blog creator is a CMS where you create and publish content. It should be kind of understood as a headless CMS, but those who don’t care or know it had lists made, it just means that we publish into your Shopify blog.
[00:15:38] And once you’ve published, you want to know what works. And so blog creator is kind of directly tied to insights, which will help you understand whether or not people who read your blog actually become your customers.
[00:15:49] James Sowers: [00:15:49] Got it. So if I were to recap that a little bit, my understanding of the blog creator is it basically plugs directly into your Shopify store.
[00:15:55] And I think you support a couple other platforms like WordPress, if somebody is on WooCommerce or something like that, but let’s just say it plugs into your e-commerce platform. And it’s a beautiful editor. And when we talk about CMS, we’re talking about content management systems. So it’s a way to manage the database of all your blog articles.
[00:16:10] But also to write new ones and format all of that text and insert images and all this kind of stuff. So we’re talking about the interface itself, which is an improvement over the default interface offered by Shopify. And then you have this element where I’m guessing it integrates with your Instagram account, so to speak.
[00:16:24] And as you’re writing the article, you can insert like user generated content from your Instagram or something like that. Right. Whereas with another. Tool or the default editor, you would have to go find that image wherever the source was in a folder on Google drive, download it, upload it to your media library, then inserted into the article, through their editor.
[00:16:41] And so it’s just a multi-step process in that way. And you can do the same thing because it’s plugged directly into your platform. You can do the same thing with actual products that are in your inventory. And so if you’re writing an article about backpack and you’re talking about the best backpack for long distance, like trail hiking or something like that, Then, or overnighting or whatever.
[00:17:01] So you go to your actual product inventory in your Shopify store, you select the backpack you want to recommend. And it probably puts some beautiful little widget right there in the middle of the article that says here’s our day packer, right. And it’s $79 and here’s some of the product specs, click here to buy it.
[00:17:16] And that’s all like organically or natively tied between what matcha is doing and your Shopify store, because they’re so closely integrated. That it’s basically one or two clicks and you’ve got a beautiful article. It’s optimized for SEO that has some of this dynamic media inserted. And it’s all like your stuff, right?
[00:17:33] From your customers, from your Instagram account, from your product library. That’s really the compelling side of the blog creator. I think, as I understand it,
[00:17:41] Fynn Glover: [00:17:41] That’s right. And the feature that is most used by matcha customers is the product guide feature because historically adding products and do a blog article has taken all of these different steps.
[00:17:52] And depending on kind of your blog set up, it can be really, it can be kind of full of lots of different friction points. And so that’s become the most popular feature for, for the
[00:17:59] James Sowers: [00:17:59] whole tool. And I’m sure it looks beautiful. And I think what most people would do, and I don’t necessarily blame them. You’ve got a lot of different aspects of your business you’re worried about, but like most people would probably just put a text link in there because it’s easy and it takes 30 seconds.
[00:18:10] But to have kind of a call-out box with a product image and the price and the name and a brief description or whatever, and a buy now button. That is so much more compelling as a reader than just a text link that says, click here to check out our day pack backpack. It’s $79 and it has these elements to it.
[00:18:26] Like, I don’t know. I just feel like that’s got to boost your conversion rate from a user experience perspective, but I think shoppers
[00:18:32] Fynn Glover: [00:18:32] are, I mean, they’re clearly much more savvy than they used to be. And so when you see a brand that’s got like a really poor blog article. That’s not a good experience. You should, rather than create core blog articles, you should not blog because it makes you look worse.
[00:18:46] And customers are really attuned to when companies like look like they care about every point in the experience.
[00:18:52] James Sowers: [00:18:52] I think that’s an important point to click down into though, because like most e-commerce brands that I know, especially ones that are early stage they’ve read and heard about this playbook, where it’s like, you just get Facebook ads.
[00:19:03] That’s how you get your first traffic. You got to pay to play. Those people are landing. Probably not on your homepage, if you’re doing it right there on a product detail page or something like that, some kind of landing page, and that’s their first interaction to your brand. And everybody knows to dial that in.
[00:19:17] But if you are going to commit to content marketing then, and if your search engine optimization efforts work and Google starts serving you up on the first page, then somebody’s first interaction to your brand could be the article. And you want that to be, have the same, like compelling, interesting, engaging first impression and invest the same amount of time and energy into the article as you would the landing page, because it is significant it’s, somebody’s first introduction to your brand and they’re going to make a subconscious decision whether or not they like you and trust you and are willing to give you money.
[00:19:46] Right there. And so that’s why it makes sense to invest, not just in the content of your material, but also the design and some of the integrations that drive business value. Like those product features or follow us on social media or your email sign up form or whatever. Like you gotta be intentional about that as you would with an ad campaign that has a dedicated landing page.
[00:20:04] Fynn Glover: [00:20:04] couldn’t agree more. And that maybe the only thing I would add to that is I think what we see from our customers is that they typically break down blog articles and to two very distinct types, one type is very aspirational and it’s kind of about the lifestyle around which their products are trying to serve.
[00:20:21] Right. Like you mentioned the backpacking company, like they want to create content. That’s aspirational about backpacking so that people buy backpacks or so that people have trip ideas. Once they have purchased a backpack, but there’s another type of content that is like very utilitarian. And it typically comes from the marketing team, working with the customer service team to understand what are the most frequently asked questions.
[00:20:40] So that then the marketing team can create really rich blog articles that answer those questions. With high ranking blog, content that to your point links back to the products that are in reference. And when companies invest in those two types, they do create a customer experience. It’s really fantastic because on the one hand they’re going to be aspirational.
[00:20:56] And the other hand, they’re going to be highly customer supportive and customer centric.
[00:21:00] James Sowers: [00:21:00] Yeah, I love it. So let’s talk about this other new product that you launched the blog post template library. So maybe we can cover two bases here in one attempt, which is the template library, which is kind of my understanding is blank templates that you can start with to produce a new article.
[00:21:14] And then you also have this blog post or this content library. That somebody can almost one-click license an existing blog article and get it up on their site, literally in I’m guessing 60 seconds or less. Right. And so maybe let’s tackle those two things. I think the content library came first and then the template library is kind of a new product marketing initiative that you’ve got going on.
[00:21:33] So we’ll cover that second.
[00:21:34] Fynn Glover: [00:21:34] Yeah, there are two distinct features. The content library is basically a library of about 12,000 articles that we have licensed from professional publishers. So publishers like backpacker magazine or oxygen magazine. And what a company can do is if you don’t have the time to create your own content, or you need a blog article for an email post or something like that, you can license the content, publish it to your blog.
[00:21:57] And a matter of a couple of clicks, you can customize the article. You can add products to the article and you can use the article as you would your own blog article. The only differences is you probably using this article for social and for email, not for search engine. And so we view it as a supplement to your approach to blogging.
[00:22:16] The articles are super high quality they’re super professional. We spend a lot of time like building supply relationships with these publishers. And so we only work with really top notch publishers that have contents always really high quality. The template library is different. That’s the newest feature and it kind of comes back to that goal to accelerate production.
[00:22:34] And so what we’ve tried to do is create a number of templates that provide a balance of the most commonly used types of blog articles like listicles, or how tos or gift guides for those that are kind of in the beginning stages of blogging. And, you know, we’ve also tried to provide a few templates that kind of expand the horizons of those that have maybe been doing blogging for awhile, but need some inspiration for kind of new types of posts that would be resonant.
[00:22:57] For example, like interviews are kind of performing very well right now for some of our more mature customers. It’s an opportunity to highlight, you know, for the brand people that your customers care about. Commentaries are another piece that we’ve found to be really interesting. So commentaries are like, they’re great for share-ability.
[00:23:15] They really do a good job of creating advocacy around something that your company cares about. Product reviews are interesting opportunities that brands don’t often think about in the context of their own blogging. We saw like a company called public goods, do a particularly good product review of misfit market thought it was brilliant.
[00:23:32] So the templates are kind of there for the very beginning stage marketer, as well as the more mature blogger that needs some new inspiration. And it’s all about how do we accelerate your production
[00:23:40] James Sowers: [00:23:40] timelines. So in terms of the content library, you have tens of thousands of articles in there to draw from when you go out and you try to source those from a publisher.
[00:23:50] What kinds of things are you looking for? I imagine if the core value proposition is not necessarily SEO, because multiple people are drawing from the same library. And so it’s not. Like an organic piece of material that you’re producing for your brand. Right? So it’s more about social and email. It’s a supplementary thing.
[00:24:05] So what are you looking for when you go out to those publishers and try to find somebody who’s producing content that you would want to add to the libraries? It’s something about length or depth of thought or intentionality like value proposition that ties to business. And I can picture somebody inserting one of their products here.
[00:24:19] Like what kind of things make an article from a publisher compelling for you to go out and say, can we add this to your library? Can we license this from you? I think the
[00:24:27] Fynn Glover: [00:24:27] first thing we look for is. Is this content that is really kind of like all about the customer, you know, because when you license content, you’re not licensing content that is going to be focused on your product or content.
[00:24:39] It’s going to be answering questions that customers might have about your brand or your product, your licensing content. That’s more in that aspirational bucket. And it’s about connecting with the customer in the context of a lifestyle that your product serves. And so the first question we ask is, is this really good lifestyle content?
[00:24:54] Yeah, like for fitness is kind of a good example where we work with a number of publishers that create amazing fitness content. You know, that includes recipes. It includes workouts. It includes all kinds of things that make it really like, just like when a brand uses that it’s really resonant with their end market.
[00:25:13] And so that’s kind of what we care about most. I mean, I think kind of going back to some of the why there, you know, part of the thesis is that if all you do is talk about your product, it’s really hard to be differentiated at this point. And so licensed content is what we think of as just a really kind of simple and efficient tool to talk about far more than just your product and kind of the constant effort to engage in a conversation with the end customer.
[00:25:35] James Sowers: [00:25:35] Yeah. So it’s really about helping them achieve some kind of like ideal future outcome that they’re looking for. Right. I always see this picture floating around the web. It’s like original Mario, and then it’s that little flower that you can eat or bump into in the game. And then it’s like super Mario and he’s much bigger and he’s like much stronger or whatever.
[00:25:50] And so like, you want your content to be that flower, right? That’s that thing that takes somebody from where they are today to where they want to be. That’s the aspirational content. I think if I were to, I guess, describe it as a more tangible example. So like maybe in the fitness realm, let’s say you sell equipment to like a, those waist straps, like weightlifting straps, the belts or wrist straps.
[00:26:09] And so like a product focused approach might be why you should wear wrist wraps when you lift heavy weights or whatever. So you don’t get injured, but maybe an aspirational approach would be like, How do you set up your weightlifting programming to gain mass so that you can gain muscle versus like when you might be cutting for a show or some kind of meat or something like that.
[00:26:29] So like that would be more conceptual aspirational. Like how do you become a better weightlifter? How do you lift more weight? Whereas the wrist strap that people default to is like, here’s what my product is great. And here’s why you should buy my product. Right. Is that an accurate description? I think so.
[00:26:41] Fynn Glover: [00:26:41] And I mean to riff on it a little bit, like. Brands are so interesting because sometimes brands are trying to sell to a very discreet audience and they know the ICP. Sometimes brands have a very discrete core customer, but they’re also trying to expand the Tam. There’s trying to expand the total addressable market.
[00:26:58] And so they need to have content that actually resonated with somebody who’s not yet their core customer, but will be in the future. And so like one example is we work with a company called sea to summit. And they serve like incredibly high quality outdoor gear products and equipment products and their core market is what they would describe as like on top of the mountain climbing Everest type customer.
[00:27:19] But they know that there’s a mass market that goes camping kind of like a couple of times a year and, you know, goes hiking with friends and they want to serve that market as well. And so by creating a blog article about, you know, 10 simple hikes and Boulder, they start to be resonant with the market that may not be thinking about them.
[00:27:37] And I think that that type of use cases is a common one for brands and one that they don’t often think about because creating content for that new market is really hard to do.
[00:27:46] James Sowers: [00:27:46] Yeah. It’s like those immediate adjacent demographics, right? Like here’s your core. These are the people that know you and love you that you already kind of own.
[00:27:53] I hate saying own people that I don’t know what other word used there. So who’s like right next to that, who is the person that has been to Everest, but also camps, you know, once a quarter with their family and needs to be talked to or whatever. Like it’s just that somebody who’s. One step to the left or to the right of where you’re already playing and how can you serve them similar fashion.
[00:28:10] Fynn Glover: [00:28:10] I love that word, Jason, it’s like the adjacent possible. And it’s like really meaningful and important for brands to think about. It’s really hard to do well and blogging in our opinion happens to be this like relatively efficient way to go test those adjacent possibilities.
[00:28:24] James Sowers: [00:28:24] Yeah. Awesome. So let’s shift gears a little bit.
[00:28:26] Like matcha is great. I love everything I’m hearing. That’s why I wanted to have you on the show, but let’s face it. Most people probably aren’t going to default to coming straight to matcha. I bet they try it themselves first. Right? Like I bet they give this the DIY approach. And then at some point they figure, I can’t keep up with the volume or I’ve seen enough evidence to know I want to do more of this and I need some help.
[00:28:43] Cause I can’t afford to hire whatever they run into something that motivates them to go sign up for matcha. So if we take a few steps back and we say. All right. I’m a brand owner. I’m not doing anything on the content marketing front right now, and I want to get started, but I want to try to do it in house.
[00:28:56] I’m going to try to do it myself, or maybe work with a contractor or have somebody on my team do this, like for a few hours a week, in addition to their regular job, what are some of the basic fundamentals or tools or resources or strategies that you would recommend to somebody who’s just getting started out with content marketing?
[00:29:12] Not necessarily so they can knock it out of the park, but that, so they can do it right. And know that. If it’s gonna work or it’s not gonna work, you’ve done your part to make sure that like, you’re not hamstringing yourself by putting something out into the world that isn’t designed thoughtfully, or isn’t structured in a way that Google is gonna appreciate it, or the reader’s gonna appreciate it or whatever.
[00:29:28] Like what’s your name? No advice for somebody just getting started. I think my general advice is.
[00:29:33] Fynn Glover: [00:29:33] First and foremost, build a practice. If you’re going to invest in blogging, you have to commit to a practice. And maybe that maybe for you, that’s one article a month and kind of depending on the type of personality that you are, maybe you are the person writing that blog article each month.
[00:29:46] Then you give yourself six months. If you’re not the type of personality where you want to own it, maybe you’re hiring a freedom dancer or you’re assigning it to your marketer and their own yet, but you’re kind of committed to the discipline. And every time you create that article, you start to kind of look at what’s the impact and you start to ask questions about, well, how did we distribute it?
[00:30:05] And did we invest in search engine? And when did we put it on so that we put it in an email? I think that’s kind of the first and foremost thing I think, you know, kind of from there. What we see is the companies that achieve the best results. Typically reach a certain cadence. That’s in the four to six times a month range.
[00:30:21] And they’re kind of doing things post-production that are also really disciplined in terms of how they distribute the content, how they optimize each article for search when they put articles in certain email campaigns. But I think the first thing to do is commit yourself to the practice, make it attainable, and then assess after you’ve given yourself that first shot.
[00:30:39] James Sowers: [00:30:39] Yeah, I think that’s great advice. And honestly, we could do an entire episode just on the production process from idea ideation, to outlining, to writing, to optimizing, to publishing, to promoting, like that could be an entire 60 minutes segment. I’m sure. But in general, like what I recommend to folks personally, maybe you’ll agree.
[00:30:57] Maybe one I’d love to hear your thoughts, but if somebody is just getting started and they’re like, I don’t know what to write about. Like, do I just write about my product? So I read about some of this aspirational type of stuff. I always tell people, like, imagine that you had to. Teach a college course to somebody about the industry around your product, right?
[00:31:10] Like, cause the most common founder story I hear is I was using X and it wasn’t good enough. So I looked for a better way and it didn’t exist. So I decided I was going to go build it and put it out to the world. Right. I was using this makeup and it had ingredients in it. I didn’t like, and I couldn’t find one that had safe holistic ingredients that were passed my bar for quality standards.
[00:31:29] So I went out and I learned everything about makeup and I had my own made, like, that’s a great story. Now you need to teach everybody else what you just learned, right? Like you need to teach them everything around makeup. And so what I tell people is, imagine you’re the professor, you’ve got to prepare a college course for the next quarter or whatever for the next semester.
[00:31:44] And just break it down. What would your course outline look like? What is chapter one, two, three. And then what are the, all the little subtopics inside of that? Okay. That’s your content strategy for the next. Six months. Right. And so just take that, start with chapter one, right. The thing. Right. And just work your way all the way through that.
[00:31:57] And then at the end of that, when you’ve produced all that content, when you’ve written everything down and gotten everything out of your brain and onto paper, so to speak, you’ll have all of this foundation laid. And over time, you know, this probably takes weeks or months, Google has started to pick up some of those early articles and you’re starting to get organic traffic.
[00:32:13] Right. And at the same time, you’ve just written yourself, your first ebook. So there’s your lead magnet, right? Like just package all this up, hire a freelancer to make it look beautiful and use that to build your email list. And that’s how easy it can be. At least in my opinion. I don’t know if you agree to disagree, you have some other ideas to share, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.
[00:32:27] Fynn Glover: [00:32:27] Well, I think that that’s a brilliant analogy. So I’d like to borrow it is. I mean, one of the things they’re kind of a couple of things that resonate with me there, quick point is if you create content. And it’s good. And it’s evergreen shelf. Life is two and three, four years, and it can be repurposed into so many different assets that will make you money every time.
[00:32:47] And that’s just like something that’s really, really important to internalize is this, this effort to write this blog article that takes you five hours like that five hours is worth it. If you read those articles effectively, the other thing that you said that really resonates with me is this idea of.
[00:33:02] Be the professor and talk about the story that brought you to this kind of insight you had about the market. And so on our podcasts, the reason this resonates so much is on our podcast. The question that I always close with is if you, a little brother or sister or somebody that you just love was going to start their own e-commerce brand, what are the one or two questions that you’d ask them to make sure that they were thinking about this like really significant commitment and kind of the most realistic and rational way.
[00:33:26] And what they always say, like the most common answer is they would dig into how deeply the person cares about solving the problem that they found. Because I think most D to C e-commerce brands kind of recognize at this point that their products are mostly commoditized. Like I could probably go find a similar product for more convenience and for less cost on Amazon.
[00:33:48] And so to buy from you, I have to like really believe in what you’re doing and why you care about it. And if you’re not committed to telling that story constantly and getting a whole tribe of people to believe as passionately as you do about that, it’s going to be hard for you to win in this environment.
[00:34:02] And so I think that your professor model is brilliant for that reason. I really like it.
[00:34:07] James Sowers: [00:34:07] Awesome. I appreciate that. And feel free to steal it. You don’t even have to give me any credit. It’s yours. It’s a Finn Glover thought. Cool. So I’m curious. So we’ve talked about how to come up with some ideas and just build it in.
[00:34:18] You get a discipline, make it a habit, something you do every single day, because you know, like it hurts to invest five or 10 hours into making our article now compared to everything else you have on your plate. But five years from now, you’re going to appreciate the fact that you invest it. If you spread that out over the next few years, it really isn’t that big of an investment.
[00:34:34] So maybe that’s the mindset we have to have. I’m curious, you mentioned earlier that interviews seemed to be working. Well, maybe that’s the one you’ll choose, but if somebody is going to start producing content today, what are some formats like some article types or some specific tactics inside of like producing and promoting that article that you’re seeing work really well right now, like I said, maybe the interview one is the one you want to click into, or maybe you have another thing that’s top of mind.
[00:34:54] Listicles are
[00:34:55] Fynn Glover: [00:34:55] always winners. They perform so well on social and they perform well on email commentary pieces are becoming a more common occurrence, especially with, I think just how the world has changed so much this year. Societaly, you know, what does the brand care about has become, I think more important than ever to share with the customer base.
[00:35:13] So listicles and commentaries feel like to like really kind of clear low hanging fruits for people getting started to me. Yeah.
[00:35:20] James Sowers: [00:35:20] What would be an example of like a commentary? Are you talking about, so basically communicating your mission through your blog article or something like that. So like, let’s say you have some kind of charitable aspect and you give a percentage of your proceeds to build Wells in emerging economies or something like that.
[00:35:34] Then you want to somehow tie that back into your content marketing efforts and say like, you know, we ran this campaign because we wanted to give an extra 5% or whatever to this cause or something like that. Is that, is that what you’re thinking? When you say commentary. I think so
[00:35:47] Fynn Glover: [00:35:47] companies are increasingly taking social stances on different societal issues.
[00:35:51] And when you decide to take a stance, you know, for some type of charity or some type of non-profit, that’s such an opportunity to talk about that nonprofit and talk about that charity and talk about the work that they’re doing on the ground. And it’s low hanging fruit because it’s not hard to write about something like that because the benefits are so, so clear.
[00:36:07] Usually. I mean, I think the, maybe the other thing to kind of consider is the FAQ type piece. You should be receiving constantly questions from your customers about your products and you should have a list and you should rank the questions by frequency. And there should be a blog post for every question that isn’t kind of the top 10 most frequently asked questions.
[00:36:25] James Sowers: [00:36:25] Yeah. So then I would say, if you’re going to do that, then on your FAQ page, when you have the brief answer, right? Like I don’t know which material is best for me based on my needs or which material is best for wet weather. Right? You have like a two sentence or three sentence description. Then it links to the full blog post it’s like, Hey, we described all of our material types and all of the conditions they’re great for in this article.
[00:36:44] I would think that would be smart to do that internal linking between those two resources.
[00:36:48] Fynn Glover: [00:36:48] You have to be super smart too. And I mean, like it kind of the opportunities, like they keep opening new doors, like one of the companies that we work with, they have like relatively technical products. And so people don’t often know which of the kind of several products to purchase.
[00:37:01] And so that ends up being one of their most kind of frequently asked questions that leads to a blog post that we would call a product guide where what you’re really trying to do is break down the different use cases in the product. And it’s this super rich 1200 word article that ranks fantastically on Google, but it all came from
[00:37:18] James Sowers: [00:37:18] FAQ.
[00:37:19] Yeah, that’s awesome. So I’ve seen those in the software world. Usually if you go to a software website and you scroll down to the bottom, it’ll say us versus them, right. Like us versus competitor a and they write this whole article about the different features and the price points and why you should choose them over their competitor.
[00:37:33] You’re kind of doing the same thing, but you’re doing it with your own products, right. You’re saying like, Here are the three different types of backpacks we offer. And here’s the customer that is the best fit for each one. And here’s the price point and the spec differences and all that kind of stuff.
[00:37:44] You’re doing that with your own material and you’re giving the customer everything. They need to make an informed buying decision that maybe isn’t the right fit for a landing page, because you don’t want to get in the way of that, like conversion, right? Like you don’t want to put 10 paragraphs or a big table or anything like that in the way of the conversion.
[00:37:58] If somebody is ready to buy now, But in a blog article, setting somebody probably if they’re trying to make a buying decision, especially for high ticket price items, they’re probably interested in reading that 2000 word summary of all the differences, because last thing they want to do is spend three or 400 bucks and then have to return it because it’s not a good fit.
[00:38:16] So I’m curious. When somebody starts producing content, we talk about promotion. I think that’s where a lot of people fall short. So they invest all this time into producing the content. They publish it on their blog, they maybe tweet about it or something, and then that’s kind of it. And so what you see in Google analytics is this big spike on the day of publication or the day after, and then the kind of long tail, like it just kind of dwindles off.
[00:38:34] So I’m curious how you think about. Like marrying content marketing with some of the other marketing channels. People are already doing like email, SMS, social media. Like how do you advise some of your customers, if you talk to them about this, how to continuously like layer their content into some of their other marketing channels.
[00:38:50] So it has a second, a third life. So it has kind of a higher ceiling as opposed to just putting it out into the world and crossing your fingers.
[00:38:59] Fynn Glover: [00:38:59] Yeah. One thing that we kind of always say is that if you produce content and then don’t think about distribution, you just have a sunk cost. You know, I think.
[00:39:06] We see probably kind of three primary distribution tactics. And I think kind of leading them into a more holistic and a strategy is the right thing for brands to do. But there’s social, there’s email and your search, and they’re going to be articles that you write where you’re writing them. To go rank for certain keywords that you have thought about and that you want to win.
[00:39:25] And that requires post-production that you focus on backlinking things and you focus on making sure that the article is optimized. And they’re kind of a number of things that go into that SEO effort. There gonna be other articles that you write where, like you probably don’t have a chance to rank, at least not in the next six months.
[00:39:41] And that’s not the purpose of the article. The purpose might be more aspirational. And so what you do with an article like that is maybe you allocate. A small amount of Facebook budget to kind of seed it into social with a little bit of pay and, you know, drive some traffic and drive some engagement. And you would also put that article in an email campaign or some type of customer journey that you’ve built in Klaviyo or MailChimp.
[00:40:02] And those are kind of the three things that we kind of most consistently see. And I don’t know that there’s kind of like. People should do the same thing with every blog article every time. But I think being conscious about how you use blog articles across those three channels and the purpose of each blog article is the key to success on the
[00:40:18] James Sowers: [00:40:18] distribution side.
[00:40:20] That’s the learning point, I think is every article should have a purpose and it shouldn’t always be the same thing. Right? Like I see way too many people. I try to reeducate them, but like every blog post does not have to be designed to rank in Google. You can have a blog post that’s created exclusively to be part of your post-purchase nurturing sequence.
[00:40:37] That point between when somebody buys your product and when they actually receive it at their doorstep. There’s this five days, seven day window, somewhere in there that like, they are not hearing from a lot of brands and that’s your opportunity to educate, right? Like get excited. This backpack’s coming your way.
[00:40:51] And we’re going to tell you all about the special features. I know you can’t wait to get it out on the trail. Here’s some ways that we’re seeing people use it, you know, whatever. Here’s some. Things that you should do to set it up and here’s how you should pack it with all of your things. You know, something like that, that article probably won’t rank for a keyword in Google, but it’s going to make that customer for really good about the purchase they made and it’s going to be valuable and useful for them.
[00:41:11] So that’s like, like one different context, but it’s not always an SEO goal. It’s not always a direct sale. Sometimes it’s just an awareness type of thing. Right. And depending on. How you’re using it or how you intend to use it, that should dictate how you write it and how you structure it. And like, if you’re going to design it for social and you want it to go viral, so to speak, like you want to have an engaging headline and you want it to be something that’s timely.
[00:41:31] Like social commentary might be a good fit for that. Like if there’s something going on in the world and you want to have your voice heard. You’re going to write that article a little differently. If you’re trying to get it to rank for some kind of keyword, like racial equality or something like that, you know, like it’s just a different mindset.
[00:41:44] I think the point is before you sit down and put pen to paper, so to speak, you have to think about what am I even trying to do with this article? What is my end goal? What is the business value for me? And then secondarily you’re saying, okay, How do I orient that from the customer perspective, what do they care about?
[00:41:59] And then just start writing and use that to drive, like how you structure the content, what you cover, you know, that kind of thing. That’s my personal opinion. At least, I don’t know if you would agree or disagree or add anything to that.
[00:42:09] Fynn Glover: [00:42:09] Totally. I mean, I think it’s just all about being purposeful. I mean, prior to going and doing anything that requires time, you should have something that you should have a real intent behind it.
[00:42:17] You know, the categorization of it is I think a little bit subjective, but I kind of always think about it in the term, says. Does this blog article serve a brand awareness purpose? Does it serve a customer acquisition purpose or does it serve a kind of a retention or lifetime value purpose? And I’m trying to kind of gauge it through the funnel and that might be useful for brands.
[00:42:35] The way we’ve built our product is we try to show people the impact of a blog article at traffic building. Lead generation and customer acquisition. And we’re moving further into trying to break out the purchase attribution from first time purchase towards second or third time purchase. But I think that might be like a useful frame of reference for people as they think about blog articles is where in the funnel does this fit?
[00:42:57] James Sowers: [00:42:57] Yeah, let’s use that. Cause you just did the segue for me. The next question I was going to ask is about tracking performance tracking return on investment. Like that’s what people care about. And I don’t blame them for that, but we’ve already established that content marketing is a long-term play. It’s not a fly by night or it’s not like a light switch.
[00:43:12] You can’t just flip it on and a week or two weeks or even 30 days later I started driving sales. I mean maybe if you’re lucky, if you write something really amazing. But if you’re talking about organic search and getting volume to your site from Google or other big search engines, that’s going to take some time.
[00:43:25] So like if we set these goals and some of the goals are brand awareness, some of the goals are lead generation. Some of the goals are actual customer acquisition. How do you guys think and mantra about tracking the performance or the return on investment of that effort and how should brand owners be like setting up the tools that they need to have, or how should they be thinking about is this worth continuing based on the numbers that I see in front of me, Well, I
[00:43:47] Fynn Glover: [00:43:47] think we think about it.
[00:43:48] I think about it in two different ways. So one way would be what is the impact of blogging on several discreet measures? One is traffic. One is list building when it’s revenue do it. Can I quantify that? And where in my business cycle am I like, am I in a point in the cycle where like, I really need drafted, like above all else?
[00:44:06] I need traffic or amount of point in the cycle where I have proven that my email list returns, I’ve got to grow my email list. Another way to think about it. It’s just like, what is the overall influence of blog readership on the bottom line? And so what we see from our customers is kind of the average customer.
[00:44:22] That’s probably smaller business doing under a quarter million dollars of revenue every year. The blog represents roughly six to 10% of their total annual sale. Total annual sales. When you look at a more mature customer has spent more time blogging. That percentage starts to kick up towards 20% and for our best customers, they’re in the 30% range.
[00:44:44] So you’re dealing with the possibility against our dataset that suggests. Blogging could influence a third of my business over the next few years. And how do I kind of make incremental steps toward achieving that type of diversity? Given I don’t want to be wholly reliant on paid platform channels that are constantly changing and that I have a lot less control over.
[00:45:04] And so that’s
[00:45:05] James Sowers: [00:45:05] how we think about it. That’s interesting. I love those numbers because. What I’ve heard thrown around on the email marketing side is that, you know, a good brand, a mature brand, somebody who is thoughtful and intentional about email marketing generates about 30% of their business from email.
[00:45:18] Now that’s much more quick hitting, I guess, like you put out the email, you drive some sales right away. Whereas blogging would be more of a gradual ramp up over time. But let’s, if we fast forward a couple of years, so we’ve got 30% from our content marketing efforts, 30% from email that’s 60. I bet at least half of that other 40% is coming from paid ads.
[00:45:36] And then, so you’ve got, so you’ve got this nice diversified, like traffic sources, diversified sales sources. And if one of these things decreases or it goes down overnight, like Facebook ad costs go through the roof, for whatever reason, you still have that foundational, like 50 to 60% of organic and email that you pretty much own.
[00:45:53] And, you know, I don’t want to mischaracterize things like. You’re still at risk, relying on something like Google, the algorithm can change. We’ve seen it happen again and again, like people get bumped down, but that’s generally like if you’re not doing things right out of the gate, if you’re trying to manipulate the algorithm or game the system or anything like that, uh, or your contents, not that valuable, like that’s when you get dinged, but if you do things right from the start and you listen to some of the advice we’re sharing today, That should be a fairly stable source of traffic and sales for you.
[00:46:19] So you’ve got content marketing with your organic search. You’ve got email, you own both of those channels. If the paid ads go out of whack or your influencer program falls on its face, you’re still going to be okay. You’re not going to lose your business overnight. So I’m, I have one more kind of a technical question here, which is really about kind of guest blogging or maybe like an affiliate program.
[00:46:36] Right. Because we’re talking a lot about producing content for yourself, but one of the underutilized channels, I think among e-commerce brands is getting your product reviewed by an external source that isn’t authority like your outdoor site, half a million visitors a month. Like, I would love to get my backpack in your hands and have one of your writers do a detailed, like.
[00:46:55] I want to actually have them use the product, right? Like we don’t want them to write a review if they haven’t seen it, that’s dishonest, but we want to get the product in their hands to tell them to take it to the mountains for a few days. Come sit down. Give me your organic thoughts about them, your unfiltered thoughts.
[00:47:06] I want to hear your feedback, but I also want you to tell the customers what it’s actually like, because I’m confident in my product and I stand behind it. And usually what we’ll do is by the way, if you write this product review and you link back to our site, like there’s some kind of commission on every sale that’s driven through that effort.
[00:47:20] So I’m curious what your thoughts are on in terms of guest blogging as an e-commerce kind of marketing or sales generation channel, and maybe any advice you have for somebody looking to get into it, like how they can do it right from the start.
[00:47:31] Fynn Glover: [00:47:31] I think that doing guest blogging right. Means doing relationship building.
[00:47:35] Right. And what has always really kind of peeved me is when I receive emails from people that want. To put a blog post on our site, or want us to put a blog on our site. And it just feels like this super cold email from somebody who’s trying to be really transactional with me. The people that we’ve worked with in terms of guest blogging, never felt transactional.
[00:47:55] We’ve kind of dated slowly. And then we have kind of learned that we see the world relatively similarly, and that’s created all kinds of Goodwill. And then collaboration is just so much more natural at that, to that point. So my advice is. Don’t go send a hundred cold emails to a bunch of different publishers or guest bloggers or writers that you think are really cool without trying to spend some time getting to know them.
[00:48:16] Because if you concentrate your effort on actually building a relationship, the returns will be better. Anyway.
[00:48:22] James Sowers: [00:48:22] Yeah, I totally agree. And in my experience that’s been the case. So just stick with our backpack analogy because we’ve been doing it the whole show. Presumably, if you run a backpack company, then you like being outdoors anyway, and you’re probably following some blogs or some podcasts or whatever that are talking about outdoor subjects, right?
[00:48:36] So like if you’re already following these folks, one of my biggest life hacks I’ve talked about on the show before is subscribed to their newsletter. When you read something interesting. Hit reply and send them a note like that almost always goes to a real person’s inbox. Nobody ever does this in my experience.
[00:48:49] It usually doesn’t go to some centralized newsletter ad. It usually goes, cause the person wants to hear what their subscribers think of the content. Right. And so that’s how I get into some pretty important inboxes. I just hit reply to their newsletter and generally they at least read it. And then they often get back to me.
[00:49:02] So my advice would be to build the relationship. Like, just be a fan. You’re a fan. Anyway, when you read something interesting, tell him you liked it or say, Hey, this was a great piece. I think it’d be even better if you layered in this element or whatever, there’s no call to action yet. And in my experience, when I have the best like guest blogging exchanges or people doing product reviews for me, or whatever, it usually comes because we’ve already been friends and talking online for like a year and it’s like, Wait a second.
[00:49:25] Why don’t we ever work together? Like, there’s an obvious, like integration here. Why haven’t we swapped articles? You know? And that that’s the best to me because it’s like, why hasn’t this already happened versus like, please, please post my article on your site. I need a back link, you know, like that’s not the way to do it.
[00:49:39] So, you know, unfortunately I don’t think there are any shortcuts to doing it the right way. I think you just need to schedule time. In your calendar to go through the stuff that you’re already reading and engage with those folks naturally, and be helpful and don’t have an ask right away. And then it doesn’t have to take years.
[00:49:54] It could take a few weeks or a few months, but like when it feels right to say, Hey, by the way, like we’re working on something new and I think it’d be a good fit because you and I have already been talking and I know your readership and all that kind of stuff. I’m a fan myself, like no pressure, but if you’d like to, I’d love to send you a backpack or whatever and get your honest thoughts on it.
[00:50:09] And if you want to publish it, that’d be cool too. Cool. So maybe before we wrap up, I’d love to hear if you have, maybe this is just a, the case study for matcha and that’s totally fine, but are there any e-commerce brands out there that you think are already doing great for content marketing? Like if somebody wanted to get started today and what’s the old Steve jobs quote, it’s like good artists creating great art steel or something like that.
[00:50:27] Right. So if somebody wanted to go out and find somebody to quote unquote steal from don’t steal their content, plagiarism’s bad. I feel like I shouldn’t have to say that, but I will. But if they wanted somebody to like model and draw inspiration from somebody who’s really thoughtful and intentional about their content marketing strategy, Does a brand come to mind for you?
[00:50:41] That’s doing that really well.
[00:50:43] Fynn Glover: [00:50:43] A number of brands come to mind, but I’ll call out one because they have just been a phenomenal customer and partner for us. They kind of informed a lot of good product that we’ve developed over the last few years. It’s a brand called Everly. Their website is drink everly.com.
[00:50:57] It founder and CEO is a guy named Ryan games and just an incredibly thoughtful leader of his company. And the reason their story comes to mind for me is. The degree to which they were able to leverage the blog for customer discovery around that adjacent possible that we talked about are there. And so a couple of years ago it was there, his product, it’s a natural powder drink mix that you would put into water to create a flavor around water.
[00:51:22] And, you know, I think historically his understanding of his market and his ideal customer persona was that it was probably a 40 to 60 year old woman who. Was trying to move away from soft drinks and drink healthier water with less, just kind of drink healthier, less sugar, all this stuff. And I think what he realized by testing lots of different blog articles, typically based on a recipe format was that there was an adjacent possible and the Quito market that really, really liked his product.
[00:51:53] And so he was able to start increasing his production around keto based recipes. And build a really, really strong community for those that care about Quito. I mean, he, must’ve spent a few hundred bucks trying to figure out this adjacent possible maps and then suddenly he found it and what a gold mine it was.
[00:52:09] And so I think that’s like one of the great case studies of our
[00:52:11] James Sowers: [00:52:11] last couple of years. Yeah. That’s awesome. That’s a great example. So as I understand it, when I’m looking at their website here, they do those powders. It looks like maybe they have some pouches now, too, but like I see some of the labels on the pouches are hydration and energy.
[00:52:23] So like there’s maybe even an adjacent. The market there for performance athletes or people that are just interested in health and wellness or people that need a little boost at two o’clock in the afternoon. And they don’t want to drink more coffee because they’re already hooked on coffee and they didn’t too much of that or whatever.
[00:52:36] Like there’s so many ideas that come here. You know, I think like the important part that I heard from your description there is like, Interview your customers. I could get sick of telling people to do this, but like, and maybe a lot of people are already talking to their customers regularly and they feel like they understand them, but like maybe you understand them from a product perspective and why they should care about your product or like what they’re looking for from a shopping angle, but like ask about what they’re reading.
[00:52:58] Like what are they listening to? What are they watching on TV? What do they do when they’re not at work? You know, like be curious because I think you’ll be surprised how many. Hobbies or interests overlap with the product that you’re selling. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be a direct relationship.
[00:53:11] It’s like, Oh, like I could be an Everly customer, the tie, everything we’ve been talking about today together. Like maybe I like to take your hydration packs on my hikes because it helps me retain more water and helps me avoid getting dehydrated when I’m working hard and hiking these long trails or whatever, like.
[00:53:25] That’s something that a backpack company could also write about, right? Like you could write about snacks to pack, or you could write about nutrition when you’re doing long distance hiking or out long-term camping or whatever. Like that’s the kind of stuff that you’re only going to find out if you’re actively talking to your customers and being what I like to call intellectually curious.
[00:53:40] Right? Like asking about other aspects of their life. Not just the most obvious thing, which is like, what do you think about us? What do think about our product? Would you buy it? You know, like that’s the easy stuff, go a little deeper, learn about the person. And then tie that back to your product or your content marketing efforts or whatever makes sense.
[00:53:56] Yeah. I love that.
[00:53:57] Fynn Glover: [00:53:57] There’s this idea that I’ve been thinking a lot about recently and it’s this idea of like learning in public and, you know, when you look at kind of people developing software services for e-commerce brands, I think what’s super fascinating about it is. There’s an ecosystem of people developing tools and services, and the ecosystem is pretty passionate about supporting the whole ecosystem.
[00:54:15] There’s not a lot of, like, I don’t want to talk to you because you’re developing a competitive product or service. There’s a lot of like, I want to talk about what you’re learning. And I think that that opportunity exists for brands too. And for brands like Everlane to go work with brands like sea to summit and the outdoor space, like.
[00:54:29] It’s a really cool idea. It’s a really cool possibility. And I think it’s a big opportunity moving forward, especially in the context of how the competition is between a convenience play at Amazon and a brand play when you’re a Shopify store.
[00:54:41] James Sowers: [00:54:41] Right. Awesome. Well then thanks so much for sharing all of these insights today.
[00:54:45] It’s been incredible. And I don’t say that facetiously. I mean, like we went through a lot of technical stuff. We went through a lot of product stuff. We went through a lot of mindset stuff, and I think folks are going to get a lot out of this episode. And I appreciate you coming on the show to share it before I let you get back to the rest of your day.
[00:54:58] This is your opportunity to step up on the podium and tell folks where they can learn more about you learn more about macho or anything else you want to kind of give a shameless plug for here at the end.
[00:55:06] Fynn Glover: [00:55:06] Well, James, thank you so much for having me. It’s been a real pleasure. Our website for those that want to check out matcha is get macia.com.
[00:55:14] Matcha is spelled M a T C H like the T there’s something also that we’re releasing today. That we’re pretty psyched about it. A list, basically a directory of. So it’s the best e-commerce blogs that we have seen. So we have basically done a lot of research over the last six months to try to identify blogs that we view as kind of very highly performance.
[00:55:32] We’re organizing them into categories and that’s releasing today on product hunt. It’ll be e-commerce blogs, docket, nacho.com. And so if you want to add your blog to that, if you, if you think that we’ve missed you or add a blog of a friend of yours, we’d love to see that directory grow as a resource for folks.
[00:55:47] And I think that’s it for our shameless plug and we’ve so enjoyed the conversation.
[00:55:51] James Sowers: [00:55:51] Awesome. Same here. And, uh, I had no idea that was going live today. So congratulations on getting that out the door and hopefully folks go over to product hunt right now, search that, give you an up vote and get you some more visibility on that because it ties into the last question we just asked.
[00:56:03] And so it’s timely, it’s relevant. I’m hopeful that it’ll be a good marketing angle and, and, and a good resource for your business. So again, thanks so much for coming on the show. Really appreciate it. And we’ll talk to you soon. All right. Likewise. Thanks James. Hey everybody. This is John again. And before you go, I just wanted to invite you to join one of the coolest things I get to work on.
[00:56:20] As director of marketing here at the good it’s called the e-commerce insiders list, and it’s a private version of this podcast feed that gets you access to tons of additional bonus content, like extra interviews, Q and a sessions, website, tear downs, and anything else we can dream up. It doesn’t cost you anything but your email address.
[00:56:35] And we promise to always respect your inbox. This is just our way of forming strong relationships with our listeners and making sure that we produce content that is actually valuable to you and to your business. If you’re interested, you can join the rest of the e-commerce insiders by going to the good.com/podcast and dropping your email into the form at the top of the page, we’ll follow up with directions for how to access the private feed and you’ll be off and running.
[00:56:57] Like I said, this is one of my favorite things that I get the opportunity to work on because it lets me interact directly with e-commerce founders and leaders, just like you. If you’re interested, I’d love to see your name pop up in my notifications until then keep an eye out for the next episode of the e-commerce insight show.
[00:57:11] And we’ll talk to you soon.
About the Author
James Sowers is the Director of The Good Ventures. He has more than a decade of experience helping software and ecommerce companies accelerate their growth and improve their customer experience.