Content marketing is probably one of the most-hyped marketing strategies for blogs and businesses today because it’s not only super effective, but cost efficient as well.
My guest today, Jules Taggart from amp&pivot, is an expert in this space. She believes that building connections are the key to growing a successful business, and one of the best ways to do this is with compelling content. I definitely agree with this, and it’s the foundation that her business was built upon.
In this interview, we not only dig into her story and background a bit, but we discuss writing epic content (the type of content that compels people to actually take action) and how to get that content in front of people. After all, it’s nice to write great content…but if there’s no one there to read it and share it, who cares?
Enjoy the interview.
Jules, I’m a big fan of your site and blog content at amp&pivot. I love how your overall marketing strategy is focused on one primary area: making meaningful connections with high quality, compelling content. It’s a fantastic strategy. Tell us a bit about your background and journey. How did amp&pivot begin? What are some of the services that your business specializes in?
A few years ago I worked in a marketing role for a company that sold a really useful product. They had serious loyalty from their customers, but sales struggled because they just couldn’t seem to connect with new audiences beyond the people they already served.
So, if it wasn’t the product, then what was holding them back? It was the message.
Instead of being approachable and infusing their brand with personality, the owners of the company really wanted to project a “professional” image. Unfortunately, “professional” is easily confused with “boring”, “distant” and “out of touch” — and sales struggled because of it.
As I saw this company refuse to make a simple change in their content that would help them grow, I knew I wanted to start working with businesses who were willing to raise a few eyebrows and tell a better story. That’s when amp&pivot was born.
I began working with small businesses and entrepreneurs who want become unforgettable to their customers, show off their imperfections, and make deeper (and incidentally, more profitable!) connections with their customers. We do that by creating a content strategy that builds trust by being inviting, personal, and real.
What do you consider to be your greatest success (or successes) so far with your blog?
There are a lot of ways to measure blogging success. For a lot of people, it’s about traffic and page views. But for me, it’s about new email subscribers.
The reason I use email subscribers as a benchmark is because there is so much noise online. Anytime someone honors you by giving you permission to enter their inbox, they’re basically saying they think you’re incredible and they’re cool with hearing from you regularly. That’s the kind of thing that tells me whether what I’m writing is helping other business owners.
On the path to success, failure tends to be where we learn our most valuable lessons. What has been the biggest failure with your business, and what did you learn from it?
For about a year, I started a second business helping women entrepreneurs take the leap from full time employment to business ownership. I loved it. The work was fun and the clients made progress so quickly. There was just one little problem — this business made virtually no money!
I had to make a tough decision. Should I keep doing this work that I loved (on top of growing amp&pivot) — or should I let it go?
In the end, I decided to let it go and put all of my effort into growing my primary business. Looking back now, I realize how lucky I am that it crashed and burned quickly. Failing fast freed me up to spend more time and energy on amp&pivot. Since then, I’ve grown my company to a team of six and we’ve almost quadrupled the number of clients we serve.
Failing hard and fast is the only way way go.
Writing epic blog content is a big part of your marketing strategy (and the marketing strategy that you teach to others), from what I can see. Can you give us a few key elements of an epic blog post? Is there something crucial that many people overlook?
Your blog is the most cost-effective marketing strategy you can put in place for your business. It’s a way to get your brand in front of your ideal customers and keep them coming back to your site day after day and allow them to get to know you and your expertise.
But blogging is hard right? The difference between an average blog post and a freaking-fantastic, mind-blowing, can’t-help-but-share-it blog post comes down to a few simple things. And the magic happens after you’ve written the first draft.
Writing epic blog content is about becoming a tenacious editor of your own work. I offer a free, 7-day Blog Revival Challenge that walks bloggers through each step of the process and makes writing epic content super easy.
Can you explain what you mean by “becoming a tenacious editor of your own work” and how this helps a person write epic content?
Don’t spend too much time on the first draft. Take about 5 minutes and get your idea down in a Google Doc or Word Doc within 5 minutes without over thinking it.
Once you have your “crappy first draft” one of the easiest things you can do to massively improve your writing is to call in the verb police. Highlight all the verbs (or action words) in your first draft and swap them out with a more powerful word. This is where the thesaurus can come in handy!
Having great content can go a long way, but sometimes, people have difficulty getting eyeballs on that content. What are some of your favorite promotion methods to actually grow traffic to your great content?
Any piece of content you create needs to be promoted well or you might as well not bother writing it. Work on reaching four important audiences with each blog post:
The audience where you are the expert.
The audience where you learn from experts.
Your “familiar faces” audience.
Your “fresh faces” audience.
This strategy is called the Fundamental Four and it’s an excellent way to get your content read and spread.
Looking generally at becoming an entrepreneur: If you had to take your best advice or inspirational thought and put it into one sentence or phrase, what would that be?
It’s not about finding your voice but about filtering yourself less. [Click here to tweet this]
Too many entrepreneurs spend far too much time and energy trying to come up with a persona online. If you stop filtering yourself and trying to sound like someone else, you’ll be more approachable, more relatable, and far more interesting.
What are your favorite online resources as a blogger?
I have a lot of favorite resources for blogging, but my latest obsession is using voice-to-text on my phone along with Google Docs. I have been using it to cut my time spent writing in half. This tool is every blogger’s best friend!
Finally, where can people find you online?
You can catch up with me at www.ampandpivot.com and if you’re looking for a way to revitalize your blog, sign up for my free Blog Revival Challenge. And if you’re a Google+ geek like I am, then circle me up!
Thanks Jules, I appreciate you taking the time to do this interview.
What did you think about this interview with Jules? What do you think makes for an EPIC blog post? Leave a comment below!
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