Ep. 44 Content Marketing with Ryan Daly

Ep. 44 Content Marketing with Ryan Daly
March 1, 2017 bradp

Brad Post, Create the Movement, host

Ryan Daly, OK Words and Pictures

Brad Post, Create the Movement, host: Welcome back to Create the Movement podcast. This is Brad Post. And I’m sitting with a new friend. Right Ryan?

Ryan Daly, OK Words and Pictures: Yeah.

BP: But I consider a good new friend. Ryan Daly with OK Words and Pictures – okwordsandpictures.com is your website. Glad to have you Ryan.

RD: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. It’s good to be here.

BP: Awesome. Let’s get started. Last time we met you shared your story, and it just really hit home for me. I thought it was awesome. You started the company about a

RD: In June, this last year.

BP: So, coming up on a year.

RD: Coming up on a year. It’s been an adventure. It’s really fun.

BP: Can you share your story?

RD: Yeah, so I started my career in journalism. I was the sole employee at a small-town paper in Mannford, Oklahoma. High school football is the main – high school football and meth labs are like the two things that I reported on. That was a fun job.

I went into corporate communications about four years in. Worked at a site psychological assessment firm. It sells HR—focused psychological screening. And then worked at a pretty fast growing consumer website for a little bit. We parted ways in June, and was looking for my next adventure. And had a bunch of freelance clients express interest all at once. “We’d be interested in a little bit more work.” And was fortunate enough that that was enough to get me started running my own business.

BP: That’s exciting.

RD: As a content strategist and copywriter.

BP: Awesome.

RD: Yeah, it’s been a blast so far.

Content Strategy

BP: So, right now, OK Words and Pictures, on your website you’ve got a few things that I wanted you to expand on a little bit. You’ve got copywriting, content audit, and content management. Let’s talk a little bit about each one of those.

RD: Yeah. So, copywriting is my bread and butter. It’’s pretty straight forward. You need words – man I’m good at putting nouns and adjectives. That’s my jam for a long time now. And a lot of people, I think, writing’s one of those things that I think everyone assumes that everyone can do it. And not to sound conceited, or anything, but not everyone can do it well. And I’ve got a knack for it, or at least I like to think that I do.

Content marketing is like that’s the thing that everybody’s doing now. Right? And so, somebody in marketing, you know it’s never a 20-person marketing department that’s starting to do content marketing. Right? It’s like three, or four, or five people and one of them is a graphic designer, one of them is the manager, and one of them is in charge of the website, the email, and all that stuff. And that’s the person that always gets tasked with learning these content management systems. Right?

The problem is there’s not usually somebody there to actually create all this content that you need to drive these machines. I don’t know if people realize, but you need a lot of content to drive a successful content marketing department. And it’s a lot of work to put on one, or even two, people internally. So, a lot of people will turn to freelancers. And that’s great, but I think you get really varied work.

So, my pitch is, “Why not work with somebody who’s going to learn your business, learn your voice, and the expertise that you need to write really to write really powerful, persuasive content. Because it doesn’t take a lot of content, it takes a lot of really compelling content.

As I was reading something the other day, like 80% of B to B firms use content marketing, and just a little bit fewer B to C companies. And so, the net result of that is that everyone’s inbox is crowded. It’s just full. It’s full of stuff. And you don’t have good content, if you just have content, You’re not going to matter. It’s a wash.

So, the content management thing is, you can think of me as The 12th Man. On the team, but I don’t take up a desk. But it’s the same commitment to learning all of your stuff.

And the content audit is the thing that I’m most excited about. I think people don’t always see the opportunities that they have. I’ve been doing this for a long time now, and really good at helping you spot your opportunities. Where your strengths are, where you have content that you’re under utilizing, and some hidden expertise that you didn’t know. How you can unify your brand voice across all of your content. And then where you’ve got some points that you could really, with not even a lot of effort, step up your game and level up your content marketing.

So, content audit is you give me the keys for a day and I’ll come in and look around at what you’ve got. And sit with you and talk through what you have to work with and what you need in order to meet the goals that you’ve set up.

BP: We talked a little bit before the podcast, it our listeners go and get a content audit they can just go to your website.

RD: Yeah. There’s a ‘Let’s Talk’ button at the top of the page. Click it, fill out a form, and mention the podcast and we’ll do a free content audit.

BP: That’s awesome. Listen on Create the Movement podcast and have a free content audit.

RD: Tell you’re friends I’m not afraid. I may be doing a lot of free work coming up.

BP: Tell me what’s the one thing that’s exciting to you in your business right now? Is it the content audit?

RD: I think the most exciting thing to me right now is that people are starting to get it. Content marketing it was a newer concept when I went into the corporate side a decade ago. At least it was pretty new to me. The HubSpot conference was small, still. It was not the crazy, huge, take over Boston, thing that it is now. I went two years ago and it was crazy. It was nuts how many people were there.

But when I started doing it, it was still a newer idea. And it was mostly centered around email and getting people to download, and then you stick them in your sales tracker. And, boy, did it start getting those calls right away. And what it’s turned into is this much more nuanced, multi-step, very – I mean it can be as nuanced as you want it to be. You can put somebody in a drip campaign for a year that gets them purchase without ever talking to them. Or, you can have a really fast step. You have right to sales. They seem motivated you can get your person on the phone with them right there.

So, I think people get that. And I think that what people are getting now is that content drives so much more than just content marketing. It drives everything. It drives your website and how well it converts. It drives sales calls, it drives your leads, it drives SEO. If you read Google’s guidelines it’s so clear that what they put an emphasis on, aside from all this tricky stuff that everyone’s trying to do, all the things that we’ve tried to do game SEO. And it turned out all you had to do, really, was create a quality website with really quality content on it. It would be rewarded. Just a lot of really good content. It makes sense if you think in terms of user experience. They want that search result to be quality.

I think people are starting to get that now. And that’s really exciting to me. I think there’s a value being put on good communication. Which in the age of 140 character announcements it’s really refreshing to see people invest in really clear, really deep, really quality communication.

That’s really exciting to me to see people really get back into. Everybody got excited about video. Right? Video was going to be it. Slideshares. Everybody got super excited, “We don’t even have to right papers any more. We can put up slideshares.” And you can do all that. You can put up video and all of that. But it’s like, man, the written word has come back. People are really buying in hard that people will read. People really want to see your expertise, and the best way to show expertise is to write longform content.

Best Business Advice Ever Received

BP: Good content. Absolutely. Totally agree. I think it’s exciting. What’s the best business advice you ever received?

RD: Probably the best advice that somebody gave me, Jacob at Gitwit which is a creative agency here in town, and they’re stunning at what they do. And they’ve been experiencing some incredible growth. I was talking to him when I was starting this. And he said, more or less, “Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Try to really focus on what you’re good at, and only do that.” Because you’ll either end up disappointing a client by saying that you can do something that you’re not passionate about and you’ll phone it in, or do it half-way. Or, you’ll end up making a lot of money doing something that you hate. Which you might be really good at it, but you hate doing it. But it’s the most profitable thing, so that’s what you end up focusing on.

BP: Right. That’s good.

DR: That was great advice. I think I may be mixing a little bit of his advice with something I read somewhere.

Ryan’s Recommended Reading

BP: Speaking of reading, what are some books or audiobooks that you recommend?

DR: I’m reading, you would never know it. Based on our house, we’re doing renovations right now so it’s a mess. I think it’s called ‘The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up’ is what I’m reading right now. It’s a really cool, and also simultaneously, I don’ t read read that much; I listen to audiobooks mostly. Finding the time. I’ve got a toddler in the house. Between work and the toddler and getting to actually spend time looking at my wife, I don’t have a ton of time to. And we watch a way too much television to focus on books. We’re those people.

But, yes, I’m listening to that. And I’m simultaneously listening to a book called ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck.’ Mark Manson, I think, is the author. Really, love both of these books because they’re about getting rid of needless things and learning to say ‘no’ to possessions and the drive for material things, but also to excess engagements.

I remember asking my friend, Tasha Ball, who used to do ‘Tasha Does Tulsa’ before somebody bought her out and she went to work for this ‘This Land.’ I was asking her, “How do you go to all these things? You’ve got a little kid.” She’s like, “No, I used to try to go to everything. And quickly recognized the law of diminishing returns.” The more that you do, the less you appreciate it. It’s really so true. It’s like the more I commit to the more coffee meetings, or whatever I want to have, the less actual work I’m getting done.

So, I’ve been trying to narrow down the number of things that I’m saying ‘yes’ to in that regard. To where I’m only

working with people that I’m excited to work for. And, of course, culling through the decade of stuff in our house. We bought our house 10 years ago, and you know we’ve had, in that time my, wife’s folks moved and just left trucks of stuff with us. They moved out of state and my wife bought a vintage furniture store, so we’ve had this revolving cast of furniture. We had this stockpile of just stuff that’s been filling our closets and making us crazy, so it’s finally like we’re getting it out of the house. It’s been a nice lesson, but it’s surprisingly applicable to running a business, I think.

I was talking to somebody just the other day, they were like, “Man, when we started we would take like any job no matter what size. And we would do anything whether it was our expertise, or peripheral to our expertise.” Now, they’re starting to use their web copy to discourage people who are below the price point that they want to be working at. Really elevate themselves in that way. They literally had on their site ‘Any Job No Matter the Size – We’ll Do It.” And what they ended up doing is a bunch of $400 contracting jobs. Which you can’t send your crew out on those everyday. So, they’re using their content to kind of weed out the people that, it’s not that they don’t want to work with them, it’s just that that job is not going to allow them to grow at the rate that they want to keep growing. So, it’s a very good business lesson, as well.

BP: If we could, also give a shout out to your wife. Because I think she’s got probably the best vintage furniture store in Tulsa.

RD: I would agree. I’m not shy about agreeing with that. She would very coyly say, “Well, there are lots of greats shops in Tulsa.” And there are. Retro Den, retrodentulsa.com, 12th and Harvard. It’s a blast. Our first foray into small business ownership. She quit a very cool marketing job at St. John’s working in an awesome department. Gina Pazzo runs the department over there. I think has since moved up from the department. This woman is the person that anyone who needs to gain some sense of how to be in charge when you walk into a room – you should talk to Gina. She’s a boss.

Ashley had been there for I think a year. Maybe even less than a year. We got the call one day that Retro Den was available for sale, and had to make the decision in an airport. We’d just flown to Houston to see her folks. And stood in the middle of an airport and made the choice to quit that job and go to a very uncertain [].

BP: She’s done a great job.

RD: They’re killing it over there. Those girls are really on top of it.

BP: What kind of podcasts are you listening to right now? You mentioned one before.

RD: I’ve been listening to ‘Being Boss.’ ‘A Fellow Oklahoma’ is one of the, Kathleen Shannon is one of the hosts and creators on there. It’s great advice for, it’s geared toward creative entrepreneurs like myself. But I think it’s really good advice, generally, for anybody who either works in a creative field with some side hustles, or anyone who is an entrepreneur, I think there’s some good lessons there. Paul Jarvis’ ‘Sunday Dispatch.’ And then, I love ‘Freakonomics.’ It’s my favorite. It’s the thing that I listen to when I ride my bike in morning. It’s such interesting journalism.

BP: One last thing I wanted to bring up is you’ve got an exciting speaking gig coming up. Right?

RD: Yeah! I’m speaking at SMTulsa March 30th and 31st. I think I speak on the 30th. But it’s a great conference. It goes beyond the scope of social media. I’m going to be talking about finding an authentic brand voice and using it across all of your platforms. Which is something I think a lot of people something struggle with. There will be some really great speakers there this year. So, I encourage anyone who can, should sign up.

BP: Go to smtulsa.com and register. Ryan will be on the 30th.

RD: And if you check out my Twitter profile I’ll put up a discount code for registration on there – @okwordsandpics.

BP: Ryan, anything else that I left off?

RD: No, I think we’ve got my dashing headshot there, my far away headshot. I should probably start doing closer pictures. I think we’ve covered it pretty well. Thanks for having me.

BP: Absolutely. Thanks for being with us.

RD: It’s been a pleasure.