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About this episode:
In this episode, we talk to Kaleigh Moore, a content marketing consultant serving ecommerce brands and the software companies that power them.
We talk about content marketing as a long-term investment and a highly effective customer acquisition channel. It may not have the immediate ROI of paid advertising or influencer marketing, but it can have significantly higher returns over time if you’re willing to put in the effort up front and have the patience to wait for the tipping point.
In this episode, you’ll learn about things like:
- The business value of content marketing (and how it stacks up against alternatives)
- What separates “good enough” content from “best in class” material (with real-world examples)
- How to put together your content strategy and establish your processes
- How to efficiently find, onboard, and work with freelance writers to execute your strategy
So, if you’re interested in learning about how to add content marketing to your current marketing strategy or how to build a content marketing team that can support your efforts to make content an effective lead generation channel, then this is the episode for you.
Learn more and Kaleigh and her resources here:
- Visit Kaleigh’s personal website
- Purchase Kaleigh’s Content Marketing Starter Kit
- Subscribe to Kaleigh’s newsletter
- Follow Kaleigh on Twitter
Want to be a guest on our show? Have feedback or ideas for how we can improve? Send your thoughts over to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
James Sowers: [00:00:52] All right, Caitlin. Welcome to the e-commerce insight show. I’m so glad to have you today to talk about all things, content marketing, and execution, a little bit of strategy stuff, and then specifically what you’re working on these days and how you’re helping e-commerce brands and the tools that power them produce great content and get business results from that content.
[00:01:08] So maybe before we get into the meat of the conversation, let’s kick things off by a two or three sentence description of who you are and what you’re doing this days, and a project that has you excited that you’re working on right now.
[00:01:18] Kaleigh Moore: [00:01:18] Yes. So I am a full-time freelance writer. I specialize in e-commerce specifically and kind of the software that integrates with e-commerce platforms.
[00:01:28] So I’m very busy right now. Obviously it’s been a big year for that particular industry with so many people stuck at home and shopping online. So I have been doing a lot of long form blog content, specifically aimed at SEO and education, and just kind of capturing the online attention right now. And so one of the things that’s been really fun this year, that I’m really excited about is I’ve been working on the resilient retail podcast with Chris and Franz from Shopify.
[00:01:54] And this is kind of a new initiative that they’ve started this year, but I have been helping her just kind of repackage the podcast material into stories and blog posts. And that’s been really interesting. I love hearing firsthand stories from people who are kind of boots on the ground and trying to figure out how to make things work in this really strange time.
[00:02:12] So that’s been really interesting to dive into. That’s
[00:02:15] James Sowers: [00:02:15] awesome. Yeah, we had Kristen on the show just to introduce her new podcast yeah, she’s doing great work over there. And it’s interesting that you guys both live at this intersection of like retail and e-commerce, especially now when there’s this weird transition in the world where everybody’s had brick and mortar traditionally with e-commerce mixed in and now it’s.
[00:02:30] Maybe primarily e-commerce for the foreseeable future with a smaller brick and mortar footprint. So crazy times that we live in for a number of reasons, but that’s just one of them. Is there a piece that you’ve worked on recently? Maybe it’s for resilient retail, maybe it’s for your independent consulting, but something that you put out into the world, let’s say in the last month or two that you’re really proud of.
[00:02:47] And you want to highlight here today?
[00:02:49] Kaleigh Moore: [00:02:49] Gosh, I feel like. Sustainable fashion work. This is totally, totally different than what I normally do, but some of the sustainable fashion and like eco-friendly reporting work that I’ve done for Forbes and Adweek and Vogue business have been what I’m really most proud of.
[00:03:05] I feel like that’s what I’m most passionate about personally. So it’s a little bit of overlap with the retail world, the e-commerce industry, but just really diving into brands that are pulling ahead and really focusing on that despite all the challenges this year and just sticking with it, even though it’s expensive.
[00:03:23] And it’s a hard thing to do, especially when things are so uncertain. So up in the air, it’s been great to look at brands who are still leaning into that and still focusing on it because I feel like it’s really important. I love putting a spotlight on those stories, because I feel like the more we hear about it, the more we talk about it and see it out in the world, the more mainstream important it becomes.
[00:03:42] So obviously it’s a two-sided equation. They’re not only brands needing to lean into those efforts, but consumers needing to kind of step up and pay for the more expensive items that are eco-friendly and sustainable. But yeah, it’s been great to talk about that. And like I said, put a spotlight on those brands were doing a good job of it.
[00:04:00] James Sowers: [00:04:00] That was definitely a fun position that you’re in. And I think like telling the stories of those people makes it compelling. Right. And I suspect that that’s something we’ll probably talk about several times a day is not just this sterile kind of formulary, like how to articles or something like that.
[00:04:14] It’s more about telling the story of the people behind your own business, your customer stories, the brands that you partner with, anytime you can personalize that and kind of have a journey assigned to it or some kind of broader storyline. I think that makes it much more compelling. I’m sure we’ll get into that, but you’re pointing out, one thing here is that you specialize in content around SEO with kind of the end goal, right.
[00:04:33] Organic traffic. And to a lesser extent, maybe like more of a direct sale, like a call to action to actually sign up for the product. If it’s a software tool or purchase something from the store, if it’s an e-commerce brand, how do you think about the business value of content? Whereas like most e-commerce brands, I think they default to paid ads to attract customers.
[00:04:51] They default to influencers or something like that, but content can be a super powerful channel. It’s just not where a lot of people start because it’s harder to get off the ground. I would think. So. How do you personally view the business value of content, perhaps, even in the context of all the other marketing channels that are available out there?
[00:05:08] Kaleigh Moore: [00:05:08] I think that’s a tough question to answer. So I’ve been doing this full-time seven years as of yesterday. And so I spent a lot of time figuring out how do I communicate the value of content, what I do as a service provider, to, like you said, people who are like, well, there’s so many options out there where we can see direct ROI.
[00:05:26] Why should we invest in content? And so for my perspective, and what I’ve learned along the way is that it is a long game. It’s definitely not something you always see immediate ROI from, or. Instant outcomes, but it definitely is measurable and it definitely is very strategic. So in terms of SEO, definitely a huge value add there.
[00:05:47] There’s also the education and just kind of like community building aspects that content can offer to brands. I feel like so much of what I’m seeing lately, especially within the past year for the e-commerce and direct to consumer spaces is that the brands who do really well longterm are the ones who foster that sense of community and really work hard to educate, to provide valuable content.
[00:06:09] To not just be pushing out discounts and sales all the time, but really kind of fostering a conversation and talking about things that their customers care about. And content is a great way to do that. It’s also a great medium for email. So email obviously is a great medium for driving those. Measurable sales and conversion KPIs, but you have to have things to say, right?
[00:06:30] You have to have interesting material to share in an email format. So if you have blog content, that makes a lot of sense to tie in there. And again, like one of the things that I think has been really effective is storytelling within the medium of content. So, like I said, it’s super easy to push out discounts and sales and say, here’s a new products that launched, but there’s not a lot of story with that.
[00:06:53] However, if you can lean into things like customer stories or here’s the backstory behind our brand, here’s the people behind our company. And then just kind of like sharing the spotlight with people who maybe have a shared interest or shared storyline that I think is a really simple way to lean into that storytelling Avenue and to leverage the longterm value of content.
[00:07:14] So, like I said, it’s not a quick ROI thing. It’s not something you can always say, like, This is driving sales. However, there are long-term ways that you can track it, whether it’s how you’re ranking in Google. If you have a lead gen form, like an email opt-in at the end of your blog posts as a CTA there’s things you can do with that.
[00:07:34] And some people do really calculate sales based on those metrics. It just takes a little bit longer. So it’s a long-term play for sure.
[00:07:41]James Sowers: [00:07:41] Totally makes sense. A bunch of interesting elements that you just described there. One, I think is the email aspect, because I think that content , like ads is something that gets simplified a lot by founders or e-commerce leaders.
[00:07:52] And it’s like, let’s just run some ads like, Oh yeah, it’s that easy. Right. But the Facebook ad specialist is going to come in and pull their hair out. When they hear you say something like that, because there’s so much more nuance and expertise that they bring to their job. Right. And you could throw money at ads and waste it all the same way.
[00:08:07] Content they’re like, Oh, we’ll just throw up some blog posts. Like we need to be blogging. Right. What does that even mean? But. An expert like you in a content strategist working together, they come in and they say, no, no, there’s a whole strategic approach to this. Like you have to have a purpose behind every piece that you write in a call to action.
[00:08:23] Or, and it doesn’t have to be a direct sale, but it could be sign up to our newsletter or whatever. Like there’s much more thought that goes into a proper content marketing effort. And with all that extra thought and time and energy investment comes out-sized results. I think so it’s like when done, right.
[00:08:36] It can be super effective. And the people who are skeptics or are hesitant to get started either don’t know where to start. Or they don’t fully understand the potential behind it. And I love the other point that you brought up about like humanizing your brand, basically. Like you have to have something to say, that’s not always here’s our latest sale or here’s a new product, or here’s a spotlight on an existing product.
[00:08:56] Like tell the story of your team, tell about your company mission, give them a behind the scenes, look at how the product is even made. Like I’ve seen people go to their manufacturing plant and say, here’s Sarah. She does the stitching and look how great of a job that she does. It’s all done by hand. Like that kind of stuff.
[00:09:10] Is a sales channel in a lot of ways where it’s like you buy into these brands emotionally or morally, and that makes you not just a customer, but a super fan. And then you go tell other people and you share that video and you say, look, how much thought they put into these products? Like, I’m so proud to wear this.
[00:09:26] So a lot of great elements that you put in there. I know you’re not so much on the strategy side of things. You’re more on the implementation or the execution side of things. But I imagine when brands come to your inbox or however they’re contacting you, you can kind of tell the difference between the folks who like get it and the folks who are kind of winging it.
[00:09:42] Like I just described, what are some of those differences? Like, is there a mindset difference, a perspective difference. Do they use different language? Do they have a different team structure? Like what jumps out at you as things that when you come through, you’re like, Oh, this person’s going to be great to work with because they just kind of understand it intuitively and I’m just there to kind of accelerate their progress.
[00:10:01] Kaleigh Moore: [00:10:01] So the people who are green lights for me are the folks who have a game plan, basically. So they know who their target personas are. They have a content calendar, they have a plan, they have objectives in mind for the content they want me to write. They basically just need somebody to help scale the production side of things.
[00:10:18] So red flags for me are the people who come and they’re like, Um, we need to do content, but we’re not sure where to start. Can you help us? And I’m like, Ooh, pump the brakes, talk to a strategist first, or do some customer research and talk to your audience members and see what it is that they want from you.
[00:10:32] When it comes to content. Don’t guess don’t look at your competitors and say, Hmm, this kind of makes sense. Or just go from a pure SEO standpoint where like, these are the keywords we care about. Let’s just hammer them into blog posts. I feel like the best people who get the most out of my services are the ones who, like I said, have that strategy in place.
[00:10:51] And it’s multifaceted. And it’s not usually just me just working on scaling the execution side of things. So they are working with a variety of freelance writers who are really just kind of leaning into this prebuilt strategy. And they’re saying go like, we trust you with this content. Here’s the plan.
[00:11:07] Here’s what we needed to do. You’re the subject matter expert, take this material and build it out and do a really good job. Yeah. It’s always a red flag to me when people come and they’re like, Hmm, we’re not sure really where to start. We want to do this, but we don’t know how or what. I always have like a go-to person to send them to when I get those folks who come to me, because I would love to still continue to work with them.
[00:11:28] But later when they’re a little bit further down that road,
[00:11:31] James Sowers: [00:11:31] Yeah, I might have to get that name cause we’ll have them on the show to talk about the strategy side of things to bring on another expert. That’d be great. Purely out of curiosity, on average, the clients that come in, that you actually end up working with, how long have they been doing content marketing already?
[00:11:46] It occurs to me that they might be more established. Like we’ve been doing this for a year or two. We kind of know what works. We kind of know what doesn’t and we just need somebody like Kaylee to be an extra set of eyes, hands and extra brain to help us think about this and get more of it out into the world.
[00:11:59] Kaleigh Moore: [00:11:59] Yeah. Usually they are somewhat mature as far as their content marketing efforts go, just because I’m a little bit more expensive. So it’s the people who are like, yes, we are fully invested in this. We want to lean into it. Although I do have some more early stage, especially on the software side of things who have the plan in place, they maybe have an in-house person who’s overseeing the content strategy, the editing, and the putting it into the CMS, kind of all those technical nuts and bolts things.
[00:12:26] But they want to. Maybe just one person who they can really trust to run with content and learn from that first interaction with me. So I think the benefit of working with somebody like me, is I have my own process of workflow that I can then share with them. And then they can kind of replicate with additional freelancers.
[00:12:43] So if maybe they want to hire cheaper freelancers down the road, or a little bit more junior to me, obviously, you know, less than seven years experience. Maybe not the same network or connections, things like that, that can be leveraged. They at least can then see. Okay. Well, here’s kind of how the process with her works.
[00:12:59] How can we replicate that with other writers and build out our team a little bit further?
[00:13:04] James Sowers: [00:13:04] Yeah. So there’s some secondary benefits beyond just the material that’s being produced. It’s like, Hey, you help our internal processes be more refined and more effective. One other question about kind of your client base.
[00:13:14] I’m curious since you serve the e-commerce industry, but also the tools, the power. It is like how I describe it. I’m curious when tools tend to be more of a B2B play and the brands tend to be more of a, B to C play. Is there any opportunity for exchange between those two? Like, is there something the software tools are great out on the content front that could almost be poured it over?
[00:13:32] To more of the brand side of the house or vice versa. I don’t know if there is a good answer to this, but something that just occurred to me, like there might be something that the enterprise SAS solution is doing, and maybe it’s as simple as like, Hey, they’re really great at case studies, not a lot of e-commerce brands do customer case studies or long form testimonials or something like that.
[00:13:49] That’s something that comes to mind for me, but I don’t know if you’ve seen anything else.
[00:13:52] Kaleigh Moore: [00:13:52] Yeah, definitely the customer storytelling aspect I see on both sides. I think that that’s a really natural fit. I think the other thing too, that, especially for me has been a good value add as a freelance writer, is that having a network of connections who just kind of understand the space means that I can get a lot of fresh insight and original quotes that apply to both industries.
[00:14:13] So again, like that’s a nice value add that I can bring to the table, but it also helps me when I’m writing too, because I know a lot about the subject that I write, but sometimes more niche audiences require, like you said, more nuanced, more specific expertise. So when I can go to these folks and say, what do you think about X that not only improves my writing, but it also is a little bit extra distribution as well.
[00:14:35] So I can go to these people and say, Hey, I quoted you here. The articles live. If they want to share it, that’s great. That’s additional exposure for these brands, but I think that that’s been a really interesting thing. That’s kind of just naturally happened over the past couple of years is building out that network of professionals who really understand the industry as a whole across different verticals and segments and things like that has been, like I said, a value add, but also helps me.
[00:14:59] Right. It also helps me have go-to people who are smarter than me that I can say, what do you think about this? Or like what rabbit holes should I go down? As I start
[00:15:07] James Sowers: [00:15:07] researching. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I’m curious if, if somebody is listening and they’re not working with a writer yet, but maybe it’s on the roadmap and they come to somebody like you talk to me a little bit about what the actual engagement looks like.
[00:15:19] Like after they’ve signed on with you, they presented their strategy. They say, here are some assignments or whatever we think we want to work on. What does that very tactically like in the trenches kind of look like from your perspective, in terms of process and maybe formats, like what kind of content formats are working right now?
[00:15:35] What kind of roadblocks do you run into? I’m trying to get in the shoes of our listener and say like, what kind of headaches can I proactively address so that they don’t happen when I hire a Kaylee or somebody who looks like Kaylee to come in and help me with my content production.
[00:15:50] Kaleigh Moore: [00:15:50] Yeah. So there are a few things that I always require before I start writing anything.
[00:15:55] Number one, I want to be a sponge with all of the company materials related to communications, customer personas objectives for content style guides. And I really want to be onboarded effectively. So I don’t want to skimp on that stage of things. I really want to know exactly. You know, what are the specifications for formatting content?
[00:16:16] Do we need to use H one’s age twos? Like what are the SEO requirements? What’s the formatting structure they prefer, and I want to have all of that upfront. So if they don’t have those things, I always say like, Hey, let’s build these out first. And I do have some templates sometimes that I’ll just share. But say like, okay, we need a style guide.
[00:16:33] We need to have a onboarding deck. If you’re going to have additional freelance writers who are all kind of on the same page, and we need to have an established writing brief that we work from for every single assignment. So that we’re on the same page. We’re not doing rounds and rounds of edits because your time and mine is valuable.
[00:16:48] So let’s do this right from the very beginning. So having those assets up front, I think is really, really critical. So my workflow is pretty simple and it’s just kind of something that I’ve fine tuned over the years. I’ve found that this works really well. So we always start with the writing brief, like I said, that gives me all the information.
[00:17:05] I need to start building out an outline. So it builds on an outline first, the client, and I will go back and forth, change this, fix that, add this, take this out. And then once I had that, I’ll start on the first draft. So hopefully because we’ve done all that groundwork beforehand, that first draft is really close to being ready to go.
[00:17:24] We’re not doing the second draft third draft, all these different revisions because we’ve been on the same page the whole way. So that’s kind of, my workflow is pretty simple. There’s not a lot of fancy tools, no extra frills. It’s just. Let’s be on the same page, the whole way, lots of open communication.
[00:17:39] We use Google docs. So it’s easy to share comments and revisions along the way, and just kind of a really smooth, seamless workflow to make sure that it’s super
[00:17:46] James Sowers: [00:17:46] efficient. It sounds like it would be a pleasure to go through. I’m interested in the front end of that, right? The content strategy, the voice, the style guide, the customer avatar or the customer research.
[00:17:56] Like I know that’s more of the strategy side of the house. When I came in to work for the good, they already had that in place. And I thought that was amazing. So I’m curious, like, what is kind of the success rate in terms of like, how many clients come through your door already have that and how many do you have to build that?
[00:18:08] Maybe as a percentage, right? Like 50% have at 50 don’t. Like, what does that number look like? I would
[00:18:13] Kaleigh Moore: [00:18:13] say of the people that I work with, like 85% have those in place already. So like I said, they’re probably more established as far as fully invested into wanting to do content, just needing to scale up, like literally do not have the in-house resources to execute on content.
[00:18:29] But they have all those groundwork pieces built in and the people who do a really good job have a little bit of their own process in place too. So Shopify, for example, they have a really robust air table where every assignment is being tracked. Everybody can see where progress is at. Monday.com is another good one.
[00:18:47] They use obviously monday.com for all of their assignment tracking, but you can kind of see where projects are at as far as like, okay, this post needs to be edited. This post needs to be peer reviewed. I still need a brief for this assignment and here’s the ETA on drafts and outlines and things like that.
[00:19:03] So a lot of it has to do with really good organization and keeping everybody updated. Open communication. Everybody’s on the same page. Those things are in place. It very quickly becomes a well-oiled machine where you can put out a lot of really high quality content if you’d have all the right pieces in place.
[00:19:21] And you have those, like I said, those onboarding materials there. Everybody’s very clear on what needs to be done. And it’s easy to collaborate. I
[00:19:30] James Sowers: [00:19:30] think this ties back to our earlier conversation around the misconceptions related to content marketing. So like people might say, Oh, we tried blogging. It didn’t work.
[00:19:37] Right. But if you didn’t do this front end work, if you didn’t have the style guide, the tone and voice, you didn’t have the customer research on the front end. You didn’t have content strategy in place. It’s no wonder it didn’t work right. The same way that. If you set up a Facebook ad campaign and you just put your ads in front of anybody in the world, you’re not going to convert very well.
[00:19:52] You need to do that targeting. Right. And so there’s like nuance to each of these things that make them exponentially more effective. So I just think it’s so interesting that you lay that out because it is important to have those things before you ever engage a writer, because it makes them more successful in the role that they’re playing for you and your business and down the line, that results in better outcomes for you.
[00:20:12] So I’m curious, like, In your work experience, what brands are doing this really well? And they don’t necessarily have to be clients of yours, but like, are there e-commerce brands out there that maybe you’re a customer of and you subscribe to their blog or something like that, where it’s like, Hey, these guys are really doing a great job at content.
[00:20:27] And it’s something that our listeners can go and subscribe and kind of look over their shoulder and learn from their experience and their strategies.
[00:20:33] Kaleigh Moore: [00:20:33] Yeah. I think the one example that always jumps out in my mind are, well, there’s two of them. Number one, Glossier, which is the makeup brand. They really are kind of a content first company where the product is secondary, but cosmetics as a whole is one of those things where it can be intimidating for people who don’t know how to use the products or what it’s gonna look like.
[00:20:51] Especially in a D to C context where you’re not seeing the product firsthand for a lot of people. Cause they only have a few stores and some of them are closed. You’re like, is this going to be right for me? So having so much contextual information where it’s like, you can see it on a person, you can see how to use it.
[00:21:07] You can get different ideas on different looks. You can create. And beyond that, having a lot of storytelling on like, who are the people behind the brand, what are the trends within this industry as a whole, I feel like that makes a really compelling pays for, like I said, that community building aspect, which really helps people feel like evangelists for the brands, fully invested part of something.
[00:21:27] Very cool. And also a little bit of like an insider. So like I’m like these people because we use these products. Like this is me, I identify with this brand. The other one is . So crate and barrel has a really great content production arm where they. Again, it’s very contextual. You can see the products in people’s homes.
[00:21:48] You can get ideas and inspiration for how to integrate their products into your life. Then if you’re trying to achieve a certain look or feel within your home, that’s a great place to go for inspiration and to get also like, Who are the people that live in these homes? What are they like? Am I like that too?
[00:22:04] So again, it’s helping people mirror and see themselves, not only in the products, but in the content around them and, and kind of that lifestyle that they’re trying to envision or create for themselves. I feel like that’s kind of the overarching theme of both of those people who do a really good
[00:22:19] James Sowers: [00:22:19] job.
[00:22:20]I hear two interesting elements in there. One is kind of the replication of this face-to-face purchasing experience that we might not have as much anymore. Right? Like e-commerce has felt this swell of wind behind. It’s got a lot of momentum because of the world events that are happening. But I don’t think we give all that ground back.
[00:22:36] Right. Like even if everything went back to normal tomorrow, if we’ve gained 50%. I think we still net out at like a 20 or 30% game. Right? Like we only give some of that share back to, I say we, but whatever, back to the brick and mortar side of the house, but the fact of the matter is like, when you walk into a store, you get this consultative experience with an advisor and assistant that’s like, Hey, let me tell you about this material.
[00:22:54] Let me tell you about the fill on this jacket. Let me tell you about how you would wear this or what you would style it with or whatever. Like you get that. And you can’t get that on line as easily. Right? And so I think that’s the gap that content can fill and can kind of replace that personal experience that by saying like, Hey, here’s why we chose this fill for this jacket.
[00:23:13] And here are the temperatures that it keeps you warm. And if it goes below this, you’re going to want something else or whatever. The other element I heard you mentioned there is kind of this concept around like utility and the role of content can be. Help somebody get utility out of the products that you provide.
[00:23:27] So if you sell like a consumer package, good, give them recipes or something that they can use. If you sell apparel, like give them a style guide and help them pair it with other offerings, maybe from you or even from somebody else. I know where to get backpacks. They are also referenced often as a company, that’s doing great content marketing and their entire blog is around like travel and adventure and packing guides and stuff like that.
[00:23:51] None of those things are direct product plugs. It’s like, how do we help you live a better life? And our products just happen to be a convenient part of that. So I heard all of those elements in there from you, but I don’t want to mischaracterize any opinions you might have. Do you have anything to add there?
[00:24:03] No, that’s pretty much it. Awesome. Well, I’m glad I got something right today. Listen. So let’s say somebody who’s at the point where they’re ready to come in and engage somebody like you to come onto their team. I know that you also do some coaching for freelance writers, and I think you have a course and some other resources that help freelance writers grow their business.
[00:24:20] And so I’m sure you get to see the side of the house where it’s like, Hey, I need to create a content team from scratch. And how do I do that? Like, how do I find writers that I can rely on that are professional? That fit within my budget that understand what I’m trying to do with my content strategy.
[00:24:33] Like if somebody is sitting at home and they’re an e-commerce founder and they want to start building out a team, what can they do? What advice do you have for them?
[00:24:41]Kaleigh Moore: [00:24:41] I think the best way to start with this is to start asking for referrals. So it’s really tempting to go to places like Upwork fiber or whatever, to find a cheap and done option.
[00:24:50] But if you want to do a really good job, start asking people who they use for. Execution of freelance writing or graphic design, whatever it is that you’re trying to find. So referrals are always going to be the best place to start. I think there are other good options out there that are kind of emerging in the market.
[00:25:06] There are places like marketer hire and select few. And likewise, there’s a new one that I heard about last week where you can go and find, kind of pre vetted freelancers who. Are green-lighted by these sort of vetting operations. I think the other thing too is like go to the places where you see really good content and see if there’s by-lines there.
[00:25:24] I think poaching is a great way to find really high quality writers who are like, yes, I want that. I want to talk to that person and just reach out to them directly. So there is no middleman, there are a lot of ways to do it, but I would say absolutely last resort is probably those. Writer or freelancer for hire sites, just because it’s often a race to the bottom there.
[00:25:46] And if you really want subject matter experts, high quality people, that’s where referrals or the poaching are going to make
[00:25:52] James Sowers: [00:25:52] a lot more sense. That does make sense. And in terms of budget, I mean, we don’t have to throw actual numbers out here, but if somebody wants to set aside a budget or if they want to set a target for the budget, they should have to invest in content marketing, just a monthly type of goal.
[00:26:06] Right. But like, what is a reasonable, because I’m afraid and that’s advocate too. And I know writing is a service that has been commoditized because of the fibers and the Upworks of the world. And it’s like, okay, you have folks who are willing to do this for $10 an hour, but the quality is nowhere near somebody that does it for a hundred dollars an hour.
[00:26:21] Right. So. Where’s the happy medium there. Like what’s a realistic monthly budget or per article budget or whatever number you want to assign to it. That somebody should say when I have this much, that I’m willing to invest in content marketing it, I’m ready to go out and reach out to writers and start engaging them for work.
[00:26:36] Kaleigh Moore: [00:26:36] Yeah, I would say if you want really quality work, a thousand dollars a month is probably like the bare bare minimum. And you probably won’t get a whole lot of content for that. If you’re, if you’re looking to hire, um, true professionals, subject matter experts, things like that. I would say, if you are dipping your toes in the water, that’s a good starting place.
[00:26:56] You can start slow and steady with maybe one or two posts a month. You might be able to find a more junior level writer where you can get maybe four posts a month for that budget, but it’s probably not going to be super long form content. Based on that, because most of the people I talk to charge based on word count basis, just because it’s the easiest way to scope content writing.
[00:27:14] So it’s not cheap. I will say that it’s not a cheap thing. It only gets more expensive as you hire more experienced writers who are doing more in-depth work. So , like I said, it’s a big investment and it can pay off, but it’s not for the faint of heart. That’s for sure.
[00:27:29] James Sowers: [00:27:29] Right. Uh, my personal advice is if you think about it, I hate to keep tying this back to Facebook has been, it feels like a good analogy.
[00:27:35] It’s like if you spend a thousand dollars on Facebook ads, your ads get placed in front of those people one time. Right. And you hope that they click through to your site, and then you hope that they sign up for your mailing list. You hope that they buy from you, whereas like a piece of content. Not only does it get published and live on forever on your site for Google to go index in the search results or whatever, but you can also repurpose that.
[00:27:55] Right? We talked about making that an email. We talked about carving that up and making it some social media posts. Like it has multiple opportunities to reach people and those opportunities exist. Pretty much indefinitely. Like you can add them to a social media queue that regularly gets pulled from on a recurring basis.
[00:28:11] Not just the week you publish the post. And so it might be a higher sticker price on the front end, but I think if you use it properly over the long-term, it’s probably going to be a better return on investment. Totally agree. Awesome. Okay. So what kind of tools, templates, resources, you said you have kind of some kits that you bring to clients when you’re engaged with them, but you also sell them as kind of a package service.
[00:28:30] So like. If somebody is out there and they’re like, you know what, I’m going to start by doing this myself. Maybe not writing the content myself, but I want to do that strategy work on the front end, or I at least want to be more thoughtful about like how I’m going to engage a writer and how I’m going to bring them onto my team and how I’m going to equip them to be successful.
[00:28:44] What do you have in your back pocket for those folks? And we can link them in the show notes. If you just want to talk about them at a high level, what do they do and what problems do they solve? Yeah.
[00:28:52] Kaleigh Moore: [00:28:52] So probably the most relevant thing is the kind of content manager slash editor bundle that I have. And for anybody that I work with on the client side of things, if they don’t have these, I usually just hand them off and like, Hey, let’s build these out first before you engage with me.
[00:29:05] But it includes just four really basic things that I think are critical to have number one, the writing brief template, right. Which is the first thing we work on before I start building the outline, just kind of covers all the bases for everything I need to know before diving into building the outline.
[00:29:19] I’ve got. A onboarding deck. So basically like a pitch deck that onboards any new freelance writer that can be customized based on, you know, the specs for the individual company or the individual person. If it’s a one person show, I’ve got some freelancers screening questions. So just kind of like making sure that it’s a good fit before you tie up too much time, engaging a freelance writer.
[00:29:41] Making sure that they understand your audience, your subject matter and things like that. Yeah, it’s just kind of like all the basic groundwork, like I said, that needs to be done before a single board of content is written.
[00:29:51] And I sell that, like I said, for like one 49, so pretty reasonable startup costs. I feel like for something that could tie up a lot of your time, it’s kind of a shortcut to doing this well and really engaging freelancers in the most effective way.
[00:30:07]James Sowers: [00:30:07] I love it. And I love that it’s like off the shelf. I mean, we’re sitting here it’s November 12th, so I would purchase a package and I just give myself the rest of the year to figure out my strategy, my voice, my tone, do some customer interviews, whatever.
[00:30:19] And then I would plan to hit the ground running January 1st with a writer, ideally, and be off to the races. So maybe in terms of timeline, that’s a reasonable expectation. Like, Hey, if you’re listening and you want to get started, do you want to do it yourself out of the gate? Go get that bundle of templates.
[00:30:32] Fill them out take a month or so to figure out what you want to do at a high level, and then go find someone like Kaylee to help you out and then get it out into the world. That’d be my advice, I guess, at least pretty simple. Awesome. So I know you’re also contributing to Forbes and focusing on the retail specialists, I’m guessing is how you got involved with Kristin and resilient retail.
[00:30:49] And we talked about how you’re like sitting at this interesting intersection between, you know, retail and e-commerce. So I’m curious, is there a story or a trend that you’ve seen recently, maybe an emerging trend, maybe a super interesting, compelling story. That you just like to share with the audience and like, I’m just so interested in what the world’s going to look like a year from now.
[00:31:07] And you and Kristen both seem to be in fortuitous positions to kind of maybe not predict to that, but at least like tell us some of the signs about what’s coming in terms of like I’m hearing some e-commerce brands consider doing, not just pop up stores, but actual physical footprints now, because rents are so low and vice versa.
[00:31:22] So what are you seeing from your end as you contribute to Forbes and other big publications around that subject? Yeah.
[00:31:27] Kaleigh Moore: [00:31:27] One of the interesting trends that I just wrote about this past week, it wasn’t Forbes is the micro retail trends. So as people are still pretty hesitant to do a lot of shopping in store, I’m seeing some brands kind of going the pop-up store route, where they are not even necessarily selling a lot of product in these spaces, but using it for that community, building that relationship building and kind of that experience production.
[00:31:49] So I’m like you said, like if you go into a Glossier store and you’re like, Hey, I don’t know what kind of. Mascara I need, that could be a place where you could go and get that service element where somebody can talk you through like, well, you know, what are your needs? Like, what look are you going for things like that.
[00:32:04] So I think that that’s an interesting trend. The other one that I did write about for Forbes was the emergence of more curated marketplaces. So some of them like the yes are even gamifying this a little bit. So they’re making product discovery really simple by using AI on the backend and. Taking personalization a little bit of a step further by saying, like, tell us about your style.
[00:32:27] Do you like this? Do you not like that? How can we create really solid product recommendations based off of the brands that you like, the styles cuts the fits, how can we basically serve up the most relevant product suggestions to you in an app format? And then you can buy directly from the app or the marketplace, whatever it is.
[00:32:45] So I think that that’s really interesting. The internet is so big and it’s often so hard to find cool products that are a good fit for what you’re looking for. You can spend hours and hours searching and while some people love that, some people just don’t have the mental bandwidth for that. And they want the simple shortcut to all that.
[00:33:02] So I feel like that’s a really inventive solution to that. That makes a lot of sense.
[00:33:06] James Sowers: [00:33:06] Yeah. It’s a super interesting concept because if I think about like history. It’s like, okay, you had these independent mom and pop shops or whatever that sell one thing. And then you have the rise of like the department store that consolidates a bunch of brands into a single location and then puts them into categories like men’s and women’s and outdoor and whatever furnishings.
[00:33:25] So you have like your Walmarts of the world and it’s like, Okay. So in terms of e-commerce, we’re kind of in that unbundled zone for the most part. And now we might see this migration toward more of a curated solution here where it’s like, we have all these different brands and we help you find the right product for you using AI or using a quiz or using some kind of survey or.
[00:33:44] Preferences from your email journey that you’ve gone through so far, whatever it may be. I think it is super interesting to see kind of history repeat itself in that regard. So thanks for sharing that. That’s super, that’s super cool. So before I let you go today, I have a little bit of a curve ball. So I know, I know you might not be a big fan of curve balls, but they keep things fun from following you online and everything.
[00:34:01] I know that you actually started out in the early days with your own e-commerce brand. Like you had your jewelry brand and I don’t know a whole lot about it. But I’m curious, like if you could flash back to Kaylee back when she was, I’m guessing in her twenties at the time, what advice do you have for the brand owner that e-commerce founder that’s maybe in the early stages of their journey, it doesn’t have to be about content specifically, but your experience working with that brand.
[00:34:24] And now that you’re the high level consultant that you are, what advice do you have for a founder who’s like, maybe back in that early stage and they’re still working on building the brand, getting those first 100 customers, . Is there any lesson that you still carry with you from that time of your life?
[00:34:36] Kaleigh Moore: [00:34:36] Yeah, I think the biggest thing that jumps out at me was. I had a couple of loyal customers who were really great customers. They bought from me every time I had a new product line release come out or released new iterations of existing products. And so I was really focused on really giving them kind of a VIP experience.
[00:34:56] And I feel like they then in turn were my brand evangelists. They helped spread the word for me for free. That kind of helps, like you said, get those first initial one, a hundred true fans. And from there I had like a little. Street team almost, which you never hear about it anymore. I feel like a thousand years old saying that, but those were my brand evangelists who would then went out and be like, Hey, you should buy from this store.
[00:35:18] I really love it. They’re always wearing the products. They’re essentially my personal billboards. The other thing too is it was the early two thousands when I started that e-commerce store or the late 2000. Sorry. And I did a lot of. Blogger partnerships, which today has evolved into influencer partnerships.
[00:35:34] So I feel like that contextual exposure where if you can exchange product with an influencer and get them to produce content for you, that you’ve been then repurposed, like you said, repackage into different things, shared across social. Those images where people can see the product on a person and you’re handing it off to somebody who really gets visuals and gets kind of like what makes a good photograph?
[00:35:55] What makes a good outfit posts? You know, that’s like an example from my particular product category, but that for me was a really low cost way to get in front of more audiences, but also to get really great quality material that I could then repurpose. So if you can find micro-influencers who are willing to do that with you today.
[00:36:15] Bloggers people on Twitter or Facebook who do make it live selling or promote products. Those are all really good ways to kind of dip your toes in the water of influencer marketing, as we know it today.
[00:36:27] James Sowers: [00:36:27] Awesome. Great advice. We’ve had several people talk to us about that kind of building a hundred true fans, and it’s easier to retain an existing customer than to attract a new one.
[00:36:34] So I love that point. And then we have an interview with Taylor legacy about influencer marketing and how to make sure that you have it in your contract and everything that you get to repurpose the graphics and videos or whatever that they create. But also focusing on reaching out to creators, not just people who happened to have influence like in the fashion industry, right?
[00:36:52] Like they have to be people who naturally create great content for themselves in terms of audio, video written, whatever. And then those are the ones that you want to target, not necessarily the ones with the biggest falling. So I think your advice from back in the day is still tried and true. So that’s, that’s a positive sign.
[00:37:07] So thank you for sharing that, especially unexpectedly. I think you nailed it. Listen, before I let you get back to your day and your dog. Cause I know you’re an avid dog, mom working folks go to learn more about you and what you’re working on and just kind of keep tabs on what you’ve got going on in your life.
[00:37:19] Kaleigh Moore: [00:37:19] Yeah, my newsletter is probably the best place, so we can share a link to that in the show notes. I send that every other week and I have for more than five years now, I’ve got writing tips, freelancing insights. I just send out a work from home product guide. So it’s kind of an interesting mix of things.
[00:37:34] I spend way too much time on Twitter. My handle there is at CALEA. It’s the same on Instagram. And yeah, I feel like those are probably the best places to get in touch. Um, I kind of use Twitter as my virtual water cooler, so I engage with a lot of folks there and that’s kind of a good place to get
[00:37:49] James Sowers: [00:37:49] in touch.
[00:37:50] Yeah. Kayla follow I’ve been a follower for a long time, obviously. It’s how she ended up on the show. So I can’t give her a stronger recommendation. Thank you so much for coming on the show, Kaylee, to share all of your insights around content marketing and some other stuff you weren’t necessarily expecting.
[00:38:02] So you did a great job. We’ll have to have you back some time, but I really appreciate your time today. And thanks for coming on the show. Thanks so much. Hey everybody, this is James again. And before you go, I just wanted to invite you to join. One of the coolest things I get to work on. 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.
[00:38:28] It doesn’t cost you anything but your email address. 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.
[00:38:52] 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 and we’ll talk.
About the Author
James Sowers is the Director of Marketing at The Good. He has more than a decade of experience helping software and ecommerce companies accelerate their growth and improve their customer experience.