Jun 27, 2019
Daniel Gordon is the founder of a content marketing organization that helps brands that truly cares about their audience in building a relationship with their customer. He believes that by helping them to make an effort to inform, educate, equip, engage, and inspire their customers they’d create a community of customers or clientele. I further explain the peeks of content marketing and how it involves providing anything that is just basically written, like articles, email, newsletters, social media posts, case studies, e-books, videos, brochures or things of that nature. He basically explains that business that engages in content marketing boils down to them thinking like a marketer, in terms of just going after it, care about the experience you're creating, build relationships, treat people well, connect people and thus not just thinking like a brand but becoming. Because by using the resources you're given and the success you’ve earned to keep feeding the machine and separating yourself from the pack.
[00:01:49] Hi, I'm Suzanne Lynn and welcome to the Brooklyn made show. Now you may have heard the term content marketing being thrown around and you kind of wonder what it is, maybe you summarize. that it could mean sharing information about your business or organization you would mostly be right, but it's actually about so much more than that, it's really a way to have a voice and a conversation with people around the world digitally but there's no point in me going on about it because we've got a real expert, His name is Daniel Gordon and he's doing some tremendous things for his clients in the content marketing arena. So let's dive right in.
All right, well Daniel I'm going to start out with what exactly content marketing is? I mean when I think about content marketing is like this gigantic universe of information and I don't exactly know what your world, you're part of that is.
[00:02:43] Yeah, yeah it's truly vast and nebulous, so content marketing boils down to truly caring about your audience and building a relationship with them. So it's making the same effort to inform, educate equip, engage, and inspire that you do to sell. So the way you do that tactically is by creating online content around your products and services. So I think articles, email, newsletters, social media posts, case studies, e-books, videos, brochures, things of that nature. You'll find varying definitions of what's considered content marketing and overlapping terms like Inbound Marketing, digital marketing, that's content used for online marketing, you can go ahead and call it Content Marketing, don't worry about it.
Even your traditional marketing collateral like sell sheets and flyers can be repackaged or repurpose for content marketing.
[00:03:42] Because it's got the information but it's the way you're presenting it to people that it's content marketing?
[00:03:38] I got it, I got it. So what is the foundation of your business? Is it based on heavy blogs or web design, as a client what would I be coming to you for?
[00:04:05] Basically anything written, so again all those things I mentioned, they all have one thing in common which is written content. So if it's… I'd naturally get a lot of business for Blogs because that's really the foundation of it all and the web site concept and e-mail blasts and we'll probably get into how these things intertwine and bounce off of other as we go through the conversations.
[00:04:34] I would love that because I really want to understand more but I've got a good idea of what it is that you're doing. I want to how did you get into this and how are you able to turn probably something as a good writer that you enjoy doing into a business.
[00:04:47] Yeah-yeah I had to sell out a little.
[00:04:50]This is juicy stuff, turn the radio up, that's right.
[00:04:58] Yeah-yeah, so my background is in journalism and I always grew up writing when I was little all I cared about was writing and basketball. It’s all I wanted to do, I actually started… like around high school I started writing songs, which led me to a brief stint in the music industry, I was managing producers and songwriters, trying to get my own stuff noticed of course but that never quite hit as a career, definitely wasn't going to be prosperous. So I got a job in marketing as a copywriter, from there I took right to it ended up moving onto a marketing agency and I couldn't get enough of it, so I started taking freelance work on the side.
My 1st marketing job was actually still a client to this day about 6 years later. Yeah-yeah, it is hopefully a testament to how I do things and I at least believe that. So eventually I had enough freelance work to think I might be able to approach my salary that I had at the marketing agency which wasn't very high, so I took the leap it was very calculated, methodical, strategic, I talked to my family, talked to mentors they all supported him believed, so I knew the demand for writing was really high too, thanks to content marketing and the timing was right, so I was ready to go all in.
[00:06:25] Were you scared?
[00:06:28] Not necessarily scared, I think it's a huge risk right here, putting your life on the line in a sense again I thought I had everything in place and all you can really do is try to put yourself in a position to succeed and put something valuable out into the world and I thought I had that and that was really all there was to it.
[00:06:55] So basically you just tried to mitigate you know how bad worst case scenario can be but you know what I love about this and I'm getting so excited is hearing you bet on yourself, you didn't stay in a job that you felt like well I'm always going to need the security of a paycheck and you know I just bloom as much as I can under someone else, you went for it.
[00:07:19] That makes me so happy that you said that phrase because I tell people all the time you know really what a lot of these decisions come down to for life in business is betting on yourself and the way I put it is if I’m going to bet on myself every day, so what am I even doing? so not necessarily a coincidence that you phrase it that way, love it.
[00:07:42] I just love, that’s amazing. Ok so I want to talk more about the positive things but is there anything that you struggle with as a freelancer? Is there any advice you've got OK we know to mitigate worst case scenario prepare yourself and I love the fact that you say you had mentors, you didn't just try to do this on your own you were very strategic and tactical. What is one piece of advice that you would give people that maybe you didn't see coming?
[00:08:13] I think all the things that you're going to expect to be challenges, all the things that you read on you know article and managing your time and getting clients and running the books and all that those aren't going to be the things that become challenges. It really boils down to just running like a business and for me honestly, I've been fortunate, the biggest challenge has been managing growth and making sure I'm getting new clients and you know taking care of people who I have while I'm at it.
I'll tell you a little story that kind of puts this in perspective in terms of just like go, keep going and don't worry about all the things that you think are going to be challenged. So when I said leaving my job was calculated, part of that was I had been generating freelance leads for weeks and months prior, so my 1st day as a freelancer, I woke up I started checking my email in bed as we all do nowadays, first thing when we open our eyes.
I was laying there and the 1st thing I see now is my 1st-day freelancing, so the sun comes up is an email saying thank you for your interest in such and such we regret to inform you that you don't get this gig, it was a huge company. And a gig that I was thinking I was going to get and be like wow, I’m really hitting the ground running here, I didn't and luckily that wasn't the trend and one of the few times that's happened but the reason I tell that story is to put it in perspective like just you can't let anyone single thing build and turn into a big thing, you just have to have that mentality where you keep going and nothing's going to stop you.
[00:10:11] You know the day is going to end and there's going to be a new day a new opportunity.
[00:10:18] Yeah, I love telling that story.
[00:10:20] So I want to know how can a smaller mid-sized business build a content strategy you know said to come to us like Daniel, we have a lot of information, we just don't know how to get it out there, how can we partner?
[00:10:36] Yes, that’s a good question. So 1st you need to have a brand strategy. So you need to know who you are, who you're not, who are your audiences, who they're, not what your tone of voice is, what it's not and all of that. So a little bit of soul searching and the reason is that your brand identity helps you understand what type of content you want to create. So if my audience is very professional and my voice is sincere, I'm not going to be on Facebook posting my morning latte art or whatever coffee I've got, I'm probably going to be on LinkedIn posting my morning motivation and some snippet of business advice.
[00:11:18] So you have to be consistent with who you are?
[00:11:22] Yeah-yeah, otherwise you're just going to go with whatever the buzz is or whatever someone is in your ear about. So you really start with that, like I said soul searching. Once you have that budget obviously becomes a factor right, so the good news is you don't have to spend stupid money and you definitely don't need to spend it on software or tools, this is a concept marketing is a human thing, humans talking to humans.
So where a lot of people go wrong with budgeting is like I kind of mentioned spending it all in one area from a business owner and I see Instagram has all the buzz, it's all I see or hear anywhere. Everyone's telling me to do Instagram, so I spend all my marketing dollars on Instagram. Meanwhile, my website hasn't been updated in years, I haven't posted a blog in months, I'm not sending out an email blast to the people who have already purchased from me, Instagram might not even be the best social media platform for me. So content marketing is really an ecosystem of your entire online presence and my best advice from there is to put everything on the board that you think you might want to create. Almost like a wish less and from their work down to priorities.
[00:13:29] I want to put this into like a real business model let's say there's a real estate agent and they come to you, what would this look like for them as a real estate company?
[00:13:40] Yeah, so a lot of real estate agency and especially here in New York are doing content marketing really-really well and a lot of them aren’t. so there’s huge haves and have nots, especially in the real estate. For real estate agency, I think it's about building your brand so the corporate side of content marketing, meaning things that go on your company website blog and all of that and from there it's equipping your agents with content that they can use to educate and assist clients, their clients aka your clients at the end of the day if you're just bringing agents in and leaving it to them to do all the marketing with the business card and listing credits or whatever it is, you're setting most of them up for failure.
[00:14:33] They’re going to get lost in the crowd, right?
[00:14:35]Yeah yeah-yeah and with that you're hurting your brand in the process because you're going to create this huge shift fog of what people are representing you as or saying to people, so a content strategy for real estate agency will almost always include email marketing and social media, it's just the nature of the business of showing homes and apartments, quality photography and video is obviously huge too. And of course since real estate is so referral based and reputation base the ongoing element of content marketing is what you really want to tap into.
So keeping in touch with your past clients as much as you're trying to get new ones and if you have the resources to create you know your own brand or blog or publication or whatever it might be that even better. So think beyond the listings themselves and invest in your content and your space, your arena and your audience.
[00:15:41] So OK, let's say a real estate agent an independent person is listening to them and they can't do anything about how the companies themselves are branding but they can control and change and rethink the what they're doing and how they're content marketing. What would that look like for them specifically as marketers?
[00:15:59] Yeah!! So social media is usually the 1st place they go, I actually follow quite a few real estate agents across the country on like Instagram and stuff just because I think they do a good job and it's fun to see someone kind of creating their personal brand and doing it right. So if it's your real estate agent, you're essentially a freelance right? You wake up every day like you know how am I going to make a living, so I think what it really boils down to is thinking like a marketer in terms of just go after it, care about the experience you're creating, build relationships, treat people well, connect people and if you're a top performing real estate agent, I would take that a step further and say don't just think as a marketer think like a brand. Use the resources you're given and the success you’ve earned to keep feeding the machine and separating yourself from the pack.
[00:17:09] Daniel you know what I keep hearing you come back to is that you're thinking about the person you're marketing to, I haven't heard you say very much about I… we… you know it's about meeting people and what are the needs that you're helping to serve with?
[00:17:27] Yes!! so like I said a big part of it where I usually end up starting is helping companies understand themselves 1st before they try to understand who they're talking to and then the last piece of it is understanding how to reach them. So brand voice is a big thing as we kind of got into on you know the real estate agency part, especially for bigger companies or even mid-sized companies, you want your voice to be consistent across the board, either you have a great brand voice or you don't really have one at all and if you don't have one that can become a huge problem.
In terms of you know what I'm helping them with, there is so much content to create once you get this and you believe in it and you understand it, the floodgates just opened up, so I have clients who literally didn't do any content when I 1st met them and now they're doing you know several blogs a month or even a week, they're sending out emails blasts every week, their social media page is just sharp and with most of their own content, not just copied content and now they're wanting to create a study they want to market collateral and brochure and eventually after you master content marketing for a while is when you move on to paid advertising, particularly on social and digital ads and all that.
[00:19:17] My mind is just spinning, I've got so many questions.
[00:19:21] Hopefully, I'm not going to fast going great.
[00:19:23] I do have to kind of get into a little bit of a touchy question here and if this is uncomfortable for you, you know let me know, it might be too wide but we've got to talk about money, what does this cost?
[00:19:34] Most profitable businesses that truly want to grow and build brand value can comfortably spend at least say 3 grand a month on content marketing, the reason they might be hesitant is because they're thinking of it like the silver bullet that's just going to hit overnight or they get stuck in that vortex that I was describing of choosing one small part of content marketing and ignoring all the rest and then being like why isn't this working.
So really it's something that you should fill into your budget moving forward, the same way you calculate how much your payroll is, how much your insurance is. It goes into your marketing budget and the most important thing that I can share is either commit to it or don't. If you're just going to do it for 2 months, 5 months or some period of time or you think it's a project, it's not going to work.
[00:20:34] It's not a microwave.
[00:20:38] Yeah exactly and I'm not trying to give that soft you know it takes time and not overnight rhetoric but it really is true that content marketing is ongoing and builds on itself and with that don't worry, it's not a vacuum, it's very measurable by any means. You’ll know if you're doing it right and it's helping you know, you'll see it in the numbers and in your everyday interactions in terms of people knowing, caring and supporting what you're all about.
[00:21:09] So when you're talking about I mean 3 grand a month. You get a few clients and you're going to need to hire somebody on, how do you feel about that?
[00:21:20] That's a great question, so the short answer is I have people helping me who helped out with some of the foundational stuff. Not the long answer but the real answer is I can't get enough of this stuff I keep jamming hours into the day, into the week, I can't stop I truly enjoy it, it makes me feel excited and fulfilled. So as of now I just keep adding time and any of the administrative and more tactical stuff that I can offload, I can outsource but it's a core time for me now because I'm still doing most if not all of the writing myself.
[00:22:12] So you had to think about how do you avoid burnout. I mean it seems like you just keep saying I love this, I want more, I want more money but how do you be careful of that?
[00:22:22] Yeah, so this is pretty much all I do, anything else besides work is keeping myself happy and healthy, so I can continue to perform at a high level. One of the ways I avoid burnout is by traveling. I have clients all over, when I can get on a plane or a train, step into someone else's office for the day, make an impact and then break from there and keep the momentum going every day, that's just I mean no matter how tired or busy I always get up for that, who doesn't want to do that.
[00:23:05] Especially in New York.
[00:23:07] Yeah!! Exactly and I'm also very conscious and compartmentalize with my time which is which might be a takeaway for some people here, so I'm going to get my sleep and get my work out, so I'm going to spend time with family and friends, I’m going to watch sports, it really boils down to just preserving your passions and knowing the difference between working hard and running yourself into the ground.
And of course the underscore to all of this is that I can't say I've been maintaining that perfect balance all the time, so you just you know you keep going and if the share your mind your body you-you gotta slow down then you do and then you pick back up.
[00:23:49]Yeah I like the fact that you're very aware of all wholeness in your life, not just physical like getting enough sleep and eating right but I mean you're watching things on T.V. that you enjoy, you’re spending time with family, that's easy to forget, especially when you're busy and you’re passionate about what you do.
[00:24:05]Yeah-yeah, totally I'm a strong proponent of mental health and all those types of things. So that's very important to me and you know I hope important to everyone else doing the same thing that you know you're still living your life even if work is an interval part of it.
[00:24:30] And it sounds like what motivates you are the people that you get to work with?
[00:24:34] Yeah. I love my clients. Basically, all of my clients have been with me for years and the ones who are because they just started and part of that is just you know like I said being fortunate to meet good people, who value what I do and I think honestly you know I can say another big part of it is just…. That it's truly important to me to take care of the people who come to me for business and caring about what I give them and caring about them personally and their business.
[00:25:17] You can hear that, I know you talking about going to offices and visiting with people but technically you could do this from anywhere with you know the technology that we have today, why Brooklyn?
[00:25:29] There's no place I'd rather be. Brooklyn has so much heart, so much character, I'm from nowhere near here my grandpa actually grew up in Brooklyn, so I have a little of it in my blood in my background but once I moved to Brooklyn, I just fell in love with the grind. And just how you feel when you're there, I love all the neighborhood, all the local businesses that are doing nationally, globally, you’d be amazed at how many businesses are doing global things under the radar in small Brooklyn neighborhoods.
I spend about a 3rd of my time traveling and every time I come back, it just feels more like home.
[00:26:19]Oh that's great, well we're kind of having to wrap up a little bit but do you have any recommendations for business owners to get started in content marketing?
[00:26:27]Yeah, so if you're just getting started focus 1st on what I call the Big 3 of Content marketing; blog, e-mail, and social media. So those 3 things intertwine really nicely and you can get a lot of mileage and build a lot of just like I said brand value from them alone. Those 3 things, blog, email, social. So a couple blogs a month, a company email blast a months, a few social media post for a week, all based off of the same ideas that you're working with content-wise, to set the foundation to create a bigger and better things with your content and again don't put all your focus to one tactic. And definitely don't plan on doing it all yourself, put a team around you and like I said to buy into it, start small, start with the basics and just start from there.
[00:27:28]Start with Daniel Gordon that's what I think.
[00:27:30]Yeah-yeah you can just go to my website www.danielgordonwrites.net and just go to contact, fill out the form, it's just your name and email and a short message and I'll get right back to you.
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