Nathan is the head of marketing at CoSchedule. After joining the team in 2014, he’s helped position CoSchedule from a blogging editorial calendar into the holistic marketing project management platform it is today. Along the way, he’s worked with a bunch of super smart marketers to grow CoSchedule’s audience, marketing to sales pipeline, and customer base. These days, Nathan guides brand and buzz, content marketing, marketing automation, inbound marketing, and product marketing strategy with the goal of attracting and converting successful customers. When he’s not nerding out at the office, you’ll catch Nathan sipping (or brewing) craft beer, canoeing in the Boundary Waters, and hanging out with his fiancée, Nancy.
Welcome to the podcast Nathan. Yeah. Thanks Arlen really excited to be here today. Yeah. Thank you for joining us. I'm so excited to talk to you as well. It sounds like. When it comes to Marketing Online and digital marketing you are our man.
It's your little brief for resume as far as your experience with CoSchedule there seems like you really cover the gamut when it comes to marketing. So we're really glad to have you here because I know you're gonna provide a wealth of information, you know today our topic at hand is going to be content marketing and inbound marketing which are really key today, especially in the current world of sales and digital marketing.
So I'm super excited about that. But before we get into that topic at hand, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself your background and specifically how you got into what you're doing today. Yeah, absolutely. So Arlen, this might take you off guard, but I went to school to become a teacher originally.
Okay, once I was done with high school is just kind of one of those things that you kind of know the adults around you and it was either teaching becoming a photographer or managing a grain elevator because I grew up in central Minnesota, but I found out that teaching really well I wasn't for me and so I kind of had this weird life moment where I had to figure out what the next thing was and I originally wanted to be a.
Teacher so I just ended up going to Germany and taking the first internship. I could find a broad and that was in marketing. And so I kind of found a passion for it there and when I got back to the States, I started working in an Enterprise and while I was doing that I started up a just a hobby blog on the side like Saturdays, I would write blog posts over coffee and I just kind of talked about how I lead a marketing team if I were given the chance.
And from there our CEO and co-founder here at go scheduled Garrett moon found my blog. He was probably the one reader I ever had but he kind of gave me that opportunity to turn my hobby into my day job and I started here coschedule. Just leading up content marketing efforts. Honestly, I think it really it's really well to my Beginnings as a teacher because a lot of the things that we do around coschedule is education and doing that through content marketing.
So it's been fun to kind of be a part of this growing company and take that passion to help me build up some of the skills that have led me to where I'm at today. Okay. That's awesome. Yeah. Thanks for that that break down into yeah. It's really awesome that you were able to. Kind of transition your passion into you know, the way you kind of make a living, you know, your co-founder there that give you the opportunity, you know, it's definitely I know kind of propelled you into a pretty good career there.
So that's that's really good to hear because you know, as you know that I mentioned in the intro, I know you spend a lot of hours and he said of course if you're not nerding out in the office, you know, you're doing some other things so, you know as most, you know Professionals in the. The digital marketing Arena or e-commerce Arena.
We know that we can we can definitely spend a lot of hours trying to keep up with it all so it's good to be passionate about what you're doing for. Sure. Yeah. Absolutely. If you can transfer that into what you're doing every single day. It doesn't really feel like work. It's like you want to be doing it.
So it's been fun. Yeah, that's awesome. So, you know today we're going to be talking about content marketing and inbound marked inbound marketing and I know you're really kind of heading up those. Areas at coschedule. So why don't you just tell us a little bit about really actually what content marketing is and inbound marketing is for those people that aren't that familiar with the terminology.
Yeah, absolutely. I think about content marketing as a way that it's a method that helps you provide something so valuable to your market and your target audience that they would actually go out of their way to seek out the things that you are publishing. So really what that means for us at coschedule is like it's a lot different than old-school advertising where if you think about watching TV how disruptive it was when a commercial shows up come to marketing is.
Polishing something that your audience actually wants and and they find it on their own accord because it is helpful or valuable or entertaining for them. So that's kind of in a nutshell what I think content marketing is that coschedule. It really helps us out with a lot of. Search engine optimization.
So, you know, if content marketing is something that people seek out of their own accord something that provides value to them that they want to find more often than not these days. People are opening up Google as the very first thing then searching for something they want to find so content marketing really helps with that search engine optimization side and for us here at coschedule, at least it focuses on that education intent for sure and I think many companies these days.
Is this far as the continent inbound marketing is concerned the education aspect of it is huge because if you can provide a value to to the End customer or the potential customer, then they're going to really appreciate that and look forward to the content that you put out regardless of what channel it is because like you said it's a little different than the advertising days of old.
Like you said commercials were really disruptive, you know back in the day when there was no TiVo. You couldn't fast forward you couldn't deal you could DVI your favorite show. You just had to sit there then bear through those commercials and I do remember those days where you know, I really was a pain and those commercials were typically not things that you look forward to, you know, you kind of satin Barrett and companies, you know, they were able to create branding they were able to put their messages about but it was almost like.
They were doing that with people's hands tied behind their back and eyelids forced to be open. So to speak where you just kind of had to sit there and accept it and then you know the message got out there but that's really wasn't really that effective as far as forming a kind of a loyal audience.
I'm really curious about as far as inbound marketing because like we said and like you said educating your in customers really a great way to go about doing it because. There's so much out there. There's so many ways for people to get information about really anything whether it's a product or a service or whatever it is that you're in I think inbound marketing is really effective.
So, I mean, how does a company really initially start at creating a launching an effective inbound marketing and you know content marketing campaign? Yeah. I think that's a good question and it's specifically I've been thinking about. With your audience as e-commerce marketers. I'm sure that everyone who is doing e-commerce understands the value of search engine optimization for your products page.
But like if you're thinking about complimenting. Your Ecommerce site with content marketing the way that I really think about is that you number one understand those core products really well and when you're thinking about those pages, that's what at least here at coschedule. We call it product intent.
What we do is we want to capture that that search traffic for this. So if I were to think of an example like a coschedule customer is Home Depot. So if I were a marketer at Home Depot and I were doing content marketing, I would first think about that product side. For example, like this is actually a real situation.
I just like had to replace my bathtub. So I'm looking online for bathtubs. So if I were to search for bathtub. For example, the markers out Home Depot would 100% want to be present within that search result, right that's going to be their product page. It's really good. It's way less nurturing that you have to do your capturing people when they're highly likely to purchase and if there's one thing we know is that when people enter your marketing funnel at the bottom, they're closer to purchase which means there's kind of that higher conversion rate most often.
And I mean, I don't need to preach at you guys about that like you Commerce marketers know that stuff for sure but content marketing compliments that. Very nicely so in order to do content marketing effectively. You have to understand that core product and then the phase that we're that I really think about is this concept of content core.
So a lot of times that would be something that's education intent. Like I kind of mentioned before by education 10th. I mean something like this I'm interested in buying that bathtub. But before I'm going to make that decision and I have to understand if I'm. Kind of Savvy enough to install this thing myself, or do I have to hire a contractor to help me out?
If I have to hire a contractor, that means that I as a consumer have to Shell out more money to make this project happen, which can be a barrier to that bathtub sale for Home Depot. So a good example here would be Home Depot has a very. Vested interest in helping me as a consumer to feel like I am able to install that tub on my own so they get that purchase from me.
So like this is a real example Home Depot created a video and it's titled how to install a bathtub. And in that video. They put it on on YouTube. It ranks organically in the number four spot and they also pay for it to rank in the number one spot. So if I'm looking at learning how to install a tub.
Home Depot has helped me be able to do that. And by the way, they're showing me with a product that they actually sell which now I know how to install that specific one. And I know that Home Depot carries that product and you can kind of see how that content marketing that how to Nature can help drive that bathtub for.
That ties in really well for like you said, obviously when somebody purchases a bathtub this they have two options there. They could either install it themselves or you know, where they can hire someone to do it. So those are that's really kind of the crossroads and the fact that Home Depot is was clear.
They understood that that's the next logical thing is I'm going to get this thing installed that. Provide that content and that's what that's an awesome inbound marketing strategy. So anybody looking to install one they'll okay great that seem like a good tub. That's a great resource. Might as well just go ahead and purchase that at Home Depot.
So yeah, that's a great definition of inbound marketing and I think they are really successful in providing videos and content. Like that for sure now, I know you've course have been in the trenches for a little while there at the coal schedule. I know you started about 2014 while 5 years ago now and you guys have done a whole lot with regards to your marketing teams there.
So what are some specific strategies that you guys have? That that you have found success with one of the things that kind of blurs the line of that product intent and education 10th has worked really well is just thinking about the plural aspect of it. So for example coschedule is a marketing Suite A family of agile marketing tools that helps you organize everything in one place.
And so there are a lot of different ways that someone could find toolset like what coschedule offers and so when we're thinking about that we write blog posts that try to capture. The product purchase intent, but when they're comparing things so and I mentioned that I think about it like plural. So for example when someone searches for Content marketing platform.
The plural version of it what we want to do from a Content marketing perspective is right. The ultimate list post that helps them compare all the different content marketing platforms out there and then obviously suggest coschedule as a solution for implementing that kind of software. So that works out really?
Well. I think that could translate really well into e-commerce to when you've got tons of different products that just gives you another way to rank for those things and then you can link back to your e-commerce product pages from there that would work out really nicely. One of the things that we do that we've been doing since 2014 is is that blog like I kind of mentioned and those plural intent pages are just an example, but one of the things that we do is just we publish consistently.
And we try to choose keywords that are related. This goes back to that idea from Home Depot warehouse all bathtub while you can buy that bathtub from them for us. What we want to do is if we sell organization, we have a lot of different ways that people search for how to get organized. So what we'd want to do is make sure that we're targeting keywords like marketing process.
Well how to nail down your marketing process, for example, if that's a blog post. Well, you can 100%. Implement that with coschedule coschedule can help you with that. So we think about publishing consistently around keywords that are related to the products that we kind of cell or the ultimate outcome.
Gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah that I mean that really makes sense. It's just it's really natural that when people are looking for those types of things as far as like you said marketing optimization marketing organization marketing automation naturally. Even though they may be looking for a specific tool that obviously with those particular terms.
They're trying to educate themselves. And so what you want to do is find, you know specific content that's going to kind of help them do that. And then that's you know, that's really where the whole inbound marketing comes into play You're educating them. They find out about you know, that particular topic and then naturally they you know, you've kind of pulled them into your site into your whole system and show them that you've got a solution that can meet their needs as well.
So that's that's really a great. An awesome, you know strategy now, you know one of the things that I did take a look at it was when I was taking a look at your guys sight. It seems like you guys have definitely been able to to get exposure in a lot of different countries and really kind of get the reach out there.
And then I know ultimately with the specifically with e-commerce businesses that either if it's a product company, you know that. That ship, you know worldwide or if it's a service based company. They don't necessarily ship a physical product if they're if they're dealing globally, you know, the whole goal is to reach as many people as you can across the globe now when it comes to content and inbound marketing, I know there's some different things of course that you're going to have to do when you're thinking globally so how can a business really?
You know leverage their strategies across, you know, multiple countries and continents like what you guys have done other specific tactics that can make that happen. Yeah, one of the things as I was thinking about this question is that I truly think this that when content marketing provides value people are going to find it no matter where they are.
And it's about that context right? Like if I want to solve this problem and I'm looking for something that will help me do it. It doesn't really matter where they are as far as like a global aspect of it. I can say though that definition of value is going to differ for everyone in some of the ways that we've made sure to differentiate ourselves as a leader in the marketing space.
What we've done is set for ourselves what we call a standard performance so. There are you know, maybe 7,000 or so marketing tools out there. That means there are seven thousand or so marketing blogs, which means even for mindshare. We are competing against lots and lots and lots of people so, how can we stand out to grab that?
Context to help people find us when they need us and really from from a Global Perspective from anything. It's how do you do it better than anyone else? And the way that we've done that is through a standard or performance where we adhere to very stringent rules that our content must follow so that people can come to rely on us.
And those would be like exhaustive how to we're the only research stood Ever After read on a topic that in every single blog post. We provide a related resource. So for example, if we're writing a blog post about marketing process, we will provide you a template that is editable baby. It's a spreadsheet right within that blog post so that you can.
Implement the advice that we are sharing with you right then and there and there are a few other things that we do to provide that value to you but it's all about standing out from any of our competitors and making it a point that we ship only what we think is the absolute best piece on the Internet or we don't actually do it and that has helped us.
Not even just from a United States or even International but Global level Selco schedule around the world. I really like that do the focus. There is really to provide them with just solid actionable things that they can do right in that content where I didn't like you said the blog post whether it's some type of worksheet they can access or download whatever it is making you just easy for them.
To you know, get accomplished what they want to do and that kind of further helps solidify the trust I think and that really I think goes a long way because not only do you slow if I trust but with the customer there the potential customer but you really build an authority you come off as an authority because you know, you've got some solid information you provided them with all the resources.
I'll now one of the things that I also was wondering and you can let me know if this is a challenge for you guys, but when you're thinking globally. And you know trying to get your content out there globally. What do you guys do with regards to translation content translation or you know things like that getting on sites that are you know, not just English speaking sites.
Do you have a specific strategy? For that. Yeah. Yeah. I think that's an awesome question. I can tell you right now I coschedule we don't translate anything. We publish everything in English. Even our app is in English and we do that so that we don't spread ourselves too thin I could definitely see a need for that in certain scenarios.
But for us English has been the way that we've done it gotcha. Gotcha that makes that makes sense and these days what I would say is just kind of from what I see. Because of the Google Translates of the of the world and the ability to easily translate content on the website. I don't see that as being a hurdle for people to really get the information that they want.
So if I'm let's say in for instance, let's say I'm in Germany and I don't speak English, you know, of course as you already know if I'm using Google Chrome, you can immediately get the option to do the translate. You know five ten years ago that wouldn't be readily available. You had to have different versions of your content and the different languages there.
So I think because of those tools that has really helped create more of a really help add to this overall global economy. It's makes it easy for people to kind of relate to others across borders for sure. Definitely. Yeah. I think that Google Translate is a really good. Good point here is that you know don't spread yourself too thin and there's more power in the consumers hands than ever before for stuff like that.
So sometimes Focus can go a long way. It's likely better for you to publish to blog posts. That would be in English rather than the same blog post in multiple different languages. Like they have the power at their fingertips to be able to find that content that is useful in some way shape or form.
And make it usable for themselves. Right? Right. Yeah for sure. Now a lot of the listeners that listen to the podcast. We have a kind of a wide variety of e-commerce business owners e-commerce marketers people that are just starting a business Ecommerce startups and there's a fair share of the listeners out there that kind of have a lean staff and the big question.
I know that they're going to be wondering is do they need to hire someone? To do this content marketing inbound marketing, you know for them or can it all be done in house or there's are they specific efforts that they can take to do this on their own. What I would recommend here is to have someone internal do it and that might involve hiring someone who's a Content writer.
I understand e-commerce marketers would be more so copywriters right trying to get that conversion content writing is a little bit different. It's almost as journalistic approach but journalistic with an angle and so this is why I would recommend hiring internally. Is that when you hire someone.
You can talk about your product your goals your measurement internal hires know how to align themselves better to your business growth goals than any contractor ever could. So for that reason, I think it's important to have someone on your team who can help translate that into a way that will provide value at more.
So of a top of the funnel approach to bring people in the door who you can nurture into buying your product. Yeah. Yeah that makes total sense. I think you definitely have to have somebody in-house that really understands your products your services in the. Customer Persona, the people that they really that you're really trying to connect with you got to have somebody in-house that understands that and then even if you do like let's say Outsource the content the actual writing of it.
You can definitely do that as long as they're given kind of specific guidelines as to. With the messaging really should be so yeah, it would say you're right about that. Just kind of a mix of both, you know, your internal in-house team whether it's your solo entrepreneur, you know working with just hiring a freelance writer to kind of clean up an initial outline of some content for you and then taking it from there.
But yeah, I think you're right. It has to be really someone really on the in-house on that an in-house team that can can better. Communicate at least provide a direction for that for sure. Yeah. I was just going to say that we're directions someone needs to own the strategy the direction the North Star for what these people need to be creating right the way that we do that coschedule as we start with what topics do we want to own?
What keywords kind of fit Within These topics? And how do we divvy it up? So like if you're in a higher her out externally you have to have that really well figured out because otherwise you'll start to get content that's going to compete with each other. And I mean you guys know from an e-commerce perspective when you have multiple pages are competing for the same keyword.
So you hurt yourself in the long run. Right? Right. Definitely. It's like shooting yourself in the foot and sometimes when you have an I can compete in contests. Yeah. I've heard a lot about that lately. So you do have to be careful and you have to definitely take a seat. Right approach with it.
You can't just kind of haphazardly, you know put out a piece of content here and there and without any really Direction. So yeah, definitely that's that is for sure the way to go. Well Nathan, I really appreciate you coming on here to the e-commerce marketing podcast you fight. Definitely provided a wealth of information regarding content marketing and an inbound marketing because they are for sure truly hot topics of the day.
And I know you guys over there coschedule have been really successful with your strategies and will continue to be and when I what I would like to kind of close things out with is just my final question. I always ask my guest is what's one thing that our audience would be surprised to know about you.
You kind of hinted at this in the introduction, but I love to go solo into the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota. So it's like this place where you have a canoe and a backpack and you just canoe from one Lake to the next and put that canoe on your on your shoulders and walk on trail and get to the next Lake and I absolutely love that.
I'm a. Northern woods kind of boy so okay kind of a weird thing to do trips like that solo, but I absolutely love it. Okay, we had that sounds awesome. I'm here. Of course in Orlando Florida area and we've got a ton of lakes here and you knows a lot of boating opportunities and what the one thing that I just thought about that.
You don't have to worry about in those Boundary Waters, which I'm pretty sure don't exist your way is alligators gonna say, nope. But I guess the worst thing that you can encounter maybe would be some type of poisonous snake Navy or you know, I don't know what it was. What type of dangers lurk in those.
Who are you? Black bears coming to get your food. That's the thing that will happen. Gotcha. Gotcha. We actually have a little bit of that here in Florida, but little bit of everything. But yeah, that sounds awesome. We appreciate you sharing that and you know, finally if any of our listeners want to get in touch with you directly, how would they do it?
Yeah, definitely visit Coast control.com. If you want to learn more about coschedule and all the good stuff that we're doing to help people organize their marketing. Otherwise a definitely find. And Linkedin Nathan ellering you search for that and you'll find me. So I would love to connect with you there and continue the conversation.
All right, that sounds awesome. Well, thanks again Nathan for joining us on the e-commerce marketing podcast. It was a pleasure having likewise. Thank you, darling. Thank you for listening to the e-commerce marketing podcast. Do you need to give more feedback and reviews from your customers and improve your customer retention?
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