Robert: Welcome to the Ecommerce Marketing podcast. Today we have a very exciting guest. Our guest and expert today is Andrew McCauley! He is the co-founder of Autopilot Your Business, and they help businesses automate and amplify their brand online. Welcome to the Ecommerce Marketing Podcast, Andrew. How are you doing?

Andrew: Hey, Robert! Thank you for having me on the show. I’m excited to be on the podcast today.

Robert: Okay, so your business, Autopilot Your Business—if you can just explain to us what you do and what services do you provide for businesses?

Andrew: Sure. Yeah, we’ve been an online digital agency, I guess, for about five years now. And essentially, we cover three things. We build websites that are coming from a marketing standpoint. They’re not just pretty websites, but they’re actually functional websites that are designed to attract leads and grow their business. We also offer a lot of automation processes. So if people are looking to automate the process of the sales funnel, we help with implementing and creating that for people. And then the third part is amplifying, basically getting their message out, getting traffic back to your site. So they’re the three key areas that we concentrate on.

Robert: Okay, and that’s why I’m very excited for our listeners, having you on today. Just because you will be covering something that’s very important to businesses today, which is how they can get found and how they can increase traffic and hopefully the traffic becomes conversions and customers, which is content marketing.

Andrew: Yes, absolutely. Content marketing is one of those words that has been thrown around a bit over the last eighteen months to two years. And it’s one of those things that there’s a lot of people still coming to grips with it, but essentially, what it is these days is the ability to give your followers or your listeners some valuable content, valuable information that is not an add. It’s not an advertisement for your business, but it’s information that people say “You know what, I really like what that business is giving me. I got some value out of looking at what they’ve just offered.” And it’s putting your name or that businesses name at the front of those people’s minds. So next time they go to think about a specific product that that business offers, that business name will come up because they’ve put their name in front of people in a way that hasn’t been sales-y or pitch-y that often reeked early in the 2000s and all the way before that.

Robert: Yeah, and with customers today, they are very—you know, they are very intelligent. They just don’t want to sit through traditional advertising and that’s why, I guess, with content marketing, like you’ve pointed out, is when you create that value, you can gain more trust and loyalty from the customer.

Andrew: Absolutely. Look at DVRs. DVRs came around and what happened to ads? We skip the ads. Nobody watches the ads because they were blatant calls for “Come and buy my stuff,” and we don’t want to see that. But now we’re seeing a whole range of different ways that companies are content marketing. I was listening to somebody from Coca-Cola just the other day talking about now they are not a product company, they are a media company creating media for the products that they have.

Look at the Lego Movie. The Lego Movie came out, everybody thought it was gonna win some Academy Awards but that is a product—that’s content marketing at its best. A company says “Let’s create a movie around our little plastic bricks!” The whole movie is about Lego, that’s their product, but people consumed it as content, as valuable stuff. They liked it and they wanted to tell their friends about it. They even paid to go and see it happening. So I think that’s where content marketing is heading. People want to see this cool stuff that people are creating. There’s all sorts of examples out there.

Look at Red Bull. Red Bull do some crazy stunts. They don’t spend any money on advertising anymore, they create information, and they create videos. They get a guy jumping out of space with a parachute, and forty million people have watched that video! No, nowhere on it does it say “Go and buy Red Bull.” It’s just got a few key placements of their logos and they’ve sponsored the event, and that’s their marketing.

So content marketing is coming in all shapes and forms, but it’s really exciting to see what businesses and companies are coming up with.

Robert: I do agree. It is very exciting, and a lot of businesses are finding very unique ways to use content marketing. And to go back—just to go back a little bit, for new listeners and new marketers, if you can again just define for them what content marketing is?

Andrew: Yeah. It’s essentially letting people know about your business, your products, or your services in a form that they feel like they’ve been—they’ve got value from that. so whether it’s a video or a blog post or an article that gives them some stuff to take away, gives them some information to say “Hey, this is pretty cool” without feeling like they’ve just watched a commercial on TV.

Robert: Okay. And with most of our listeners, they have ecommerce businesses. And they’re probably asking themselves right now “Okay, so why is content—I see what content marketing is and I have to create value.” But they’re probably asking themselves “Okay, why is that going to be important to my business? How is that going to help my online store?”

Andrew: Yeah, sure. So that’s a great question, and a lot of ecommerce businesses are asking this. But the ones that are working really well are offering so much more than just a product. And the reason they’re doing so well is because that people understand that that company is giving them other pieces to that puzzle.

So for instance, let’s say that you sell a widget, and the widget does something specific. Your content may be things around “How do I create some videos on how to use that widget.” “Maybe I’ll create some videos on other people using the widget to give you some ideas of how you can use it.” Maybe it’s a blog post, or an article, or a step-by-step infographic that is all about that widget. So what they’re going to do is start to create basically assets, online assets. You know, you’ve got your store, you got your ecommerce store where you’re selling your product, but when people are searching for that product or the solution that that product provides, they’re gonna want to see how else it works, who else is using it. So if you’re creating content around that product in all sorts of formats—video, audio, text, images—then you’re gonna start getting found a lot more in the search results. Search engines as well.

Robert: Okay. And I guess that’s a key—that’s probably another driving factor for why businesses right now need content marketing, is to get to make it easy to be found on search engines?

Andrew: Absolutely. Google are really hell-bent on making sure they’re got some good, quality content that’s delivered in the search results. They don’t want to have crappy search results. That’s their business is the business of search. And if they provide bad results, then people will starts going to other search engines like Bing and Yahoo! and so on. So Google calling the shots, and the other search engines are following. They want to make sure that the content is good. If you can provide good content that people love to see, and they’re actually excited to see it, Google will keep showing those results above anything else.

Robert: I think that’s like very—that’s like something that—it’s like an “Aha!” moment for businesses. Or it should be. The fact that “Oh, I want to get traffic. I want to get customers, and I can get these customers from search engines, because a lot of customers use search engines today to find out what they need or to find out about product. So yes, I do need to do content marketing.” And once that business gets that Aha moment, how can they get started with content marketing. How can that widget store get content marketing ideas or what do they need to do to get started?

Andrew: Okay, well, I think the first thing is make sure you know what your customers are looking for. Now, if your customers are all customers of that particular widget, then make sure your content is around what that widget can do, who it services, what it can offer. So your content marketing strategy can start out of let’s cover the needs. What solutions does it provide first? Let’s create some videos around that. How do I use that particular widget, let’s create some blog posts—maybe it’s written blog posts, maybe it’s a slideshow of how your widget works. Maybe it’s testimonials. Like this can be good too. Content marketing can be also a series of testimonials about people talking about what they did and what they got out of using that widget.

So whatever you can do around that widget can be the beginning. And then you ca start to branch out. What else does that widget represent, or what industry does that widget service? Because then there’s some other things that people in that industry may be looking at, and you’re offering advice, information, tips, and tricks about that industry that’s still related to your particular widget. You want to make sure that the content that you’re creating is relevant to your industry. If you start—let’s say you had a shoe shop and you sold sneakers, and then suddenly you’re talking about baby strollers. There’s no relationship there and then people there—the mixed message is there for a start. People are not sure what you’re selling. Are you a baby stroller company or are you a show company? So you want to make sure that your message is still related to the main core product or service that you offer.

Robert: Okay. So in summary, that’s a perfect example. If you’re selling the shoes, you have a shoe store, you have a shoe website, and you want to use content marketing, you just want to find relevant information about shoes and everything about shoes and create that content. Put it out there for people to find you, and it has to be—I guess a key thing is it has to be relevant.

Andrew: Absolutely. Relevancy is very, very big in—and not only in technology—I’m talking Google’s eyes, but also in people’s eyes. People don’t want to get confused about what your message is. I see a bunch of businesses that sell a number of different services, and they don’t want to spend money on a different website, so they try and put all of them—which are not related to each other—on the one website, and you’re sort of looking at it and going “I’m a little bit confused what you do here.” So you want to make sure that it’s relevant, for sure.

Robert: Okay, and so is that it? Okay, I have my product, I have my shoe store, and I have my widget store. Okay, I’ve created content about shoes, I’m showing videos of these shoes or the widget in action. So once I do that, will I show up number one on Google? Is that it?

Andrew: Yeah, so then you want to be—that’s right.  So when you’re putting that content out, you want to make sure that the words that you’re using and the information that you’re using on those videos are the words that people are search for. Okay, so try to avoid jargon words that are just related to your industry or just the people inside the inside the industry would understand. Make sure it’s words that the customers are searching for on Google.

So if you have a widget that does a particular process, maybe your article or your video is called “How to Use…” and then put the—don’t put the—like, if you got a technical name for a piece of widget or a service, don’t put the technical name there, because people aren’t search for that. But maybe it’s like “How to solve” this particular problem, because people are searching for that. Once you put that information in there, then you’re gonna see your organic search results rise pretty quickly

Robert: Okay. Okay, so you have to use the keywords, find the relevant keywords that people are searching for in relation to your business. Use that to optimize your content and that’s going to help you get found on the search engines.

Andrew: For sure.

Robert: But on top of just using the right keywords, you probably—I mean, I’m familiar with content marketing, just from work business, but at the same time I’m trying to structure this for our listeners, and that’s why I keep going back and putting myself in the shoes of the listener, hoping that that’s going to make it easier for them to understand content marketing.

Andrew: Sure.

Robert: But as far as you’ve already optimized your content with the keywords, that’s not the endgame. That doesn’t mean that Google’s going to find you. Have to do some promotion. So can you just let us know how you can promote your content to increase the traffic, the engagement?

Andrew: Sure. Absolutely, yeah. So that’s the key point. So what I was explaining what mainly for organic search, but then, as you said, once you got it there, then it’s not just a matter of people are gonna find it. You’re gonna have to help people find it. So this is where you start to look for people that would be influences in your industry.

Now let’s say you got some great information, and you think that it’s gonna be valuable to a lot of people. Go out and find the leaders of your industry or people that are influential in your industry—you can use different tools, tools like Wefollow is a tool to find influences on Twitter. Go can go and find those people, let them know that you’ve got some great content, ask them if they’d be willing to share it with their followers as well. Social media is one of those places where you don’t want to build your business on social media, but you want to use it as a tool. And that tool is to drive traffic back to your specific article or your content piece. So go out to your followers on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. It doesn’t matter where you are or what platform you prefer, but then go out there and let people know, let your followers know that you’ve got some great content and put a link in those posts so that people come back to your content.

But then you’re limited by the amount of people that follow you. So this is where influence and marketing comes into play. Go and find those people that are really influential in your industry and just reach out to them. If you can’t reach out to them on social networks, to their website and use the Contact Us page and say “Hey, I’ve just written some great articles” or “I put up a great video about some specific content. I think you’d be really interested in seeing it. And I think your audience or your followers might be really interested too. Would you mind just sharing this link for me?

And we’re doing this now off every post we do. And we’re getting amazing reception from it. And it doesn’t matter where or how important you think these people are. Everyone’s looking for content, good content to share. So if you’re writing good content or creating good content, people will be willing to share that without you having to do too much work on that end as well.

Robert: Okay, those are some very great suggestions. And you also—earlier, when you were talking about your promotion, you mentioned a tool, Wefollow. What other tools can you use for content marketing? What are the best tools used for content marketing?

Andrew: Well…I mean, we’re a big fan of creating an on your own blog post. Putting your own content on your own blog post. Now, content marketing can cover all sorts of formats. We like to have a post these days that is quite long. You know, two thousand word posts these days are working really, really well because people appreciate the time that you take to put these posts together. Now, a lot of people are probably listening, going “Whoa, I can’t write two thousand words!” If you can’t write that, then find somebody who can for you. They’re not—it’s not that expensive. It’s quite easy to find people who are good writers. I don’t like wiring, myself, but I do get somebody to help us write that.

But then once we’ve written that post, we like to put lots of multimedia stuff in there. So we use YouTube for videos, we use SlideShare for putting a slide deck in there. Some of the other tools that we like to put in there are some of the social share tools, so that when people do read it, it’s easy for them to share it with their followers. So you’ve got social share buttons on the end of the post. We have tools like Click-to-Tweet. So if we have a great quote or a couple of different quotes or some really interesting facts in the article, we’ll put it inside a Click-to-Tweet box, which means that people can just click on that box and it automatically will tweet out to their followers that specific quote or that specific fact that we want them to reach out to. So that’s been really helping us get the message out as well.

Robert: Wow, yeah, those are some great tools. Let’s see. So you’ve already created this content marketing, you’re using it, everything’s going good, but how do you measure the success? How do you know that your content marketing is successful?

Andrew: Uhm, that’s a really interesting question, because there’s lots of ways to measure that. And it’s gonna depend on what your goal is too. We use Google Analytics. So I look at Google Analytics probably a couple of times a day, going through different aspects of it. That will tell me how our traffic is going and where it’s coming from. I make sure that I use a Google URL builder, which tells me exactly which link’s coming from where. So when I do go and reach out to somebody or I go and put a put on Twitter or Facebook, I know exactly where those links are coming from, I know what’s working in my marketing. So traffic to the website is one thing. Conversions into an opt-in or a sales page is another place to measure it. So just on that, we’ve really, over the last six months, concentrated on writing a lot longer blog posts. And our traffic has increase 400% just by doing just the stuff we’ve been talking about today.

Robert: Wow. And you’ve already mention a lot of great strategies which are going to help our listeners with their content marketing. But are there some advanced tips, hacks you’re actually using right now or you want to share with the listeners?

Andrew: Yeah, sure. I guess one of the questions we get a lot of people asking is “Well, I don’t know where to get good content. I’m running out of ideas. There’s only so many things I can come up with!” So one of the things I like to teach people is to go and find content that’s relevant to what you want to write about, that is already being shared by a lot of people.

So one of the tools that I like to use is a tool called BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo gives you an indication on how many people are sharing a specific article. You can do a search for keywords there. so if you wanted to talk about red shoes, you can type in red shoes and it will give to a list of all of the articles that have been written about red shoes in the last—you can set the time frame, but let’s say the last six months. And then it will list them in the order of how popular—how much sharing has been done on that article. How many people have shared that article? So much using that tool, it tells you whether there is interest in that topic or not. So if you thought about writing a post about a specific topic, and you couldn’t find anyone that had written an article or some people that had written an article and there was nobody sharing it, that sort of tells you that no one’s interested in the topic. Don’t waste your time writing about it.

Robert: Okay. Yeah, that’s—BuzzSumo, people should definitely check that out. And it makes sense. You want to write and spend your time or invest your time in things that are interested in. and instead of wasting your time spending time writing then you just—it shows up that it’s not good, there’s just no point to it. So yeah, definitely you want to use BuzzSumo.

Thanks, Andrew, for everything that you’ve shared today! I’m sure our listeners are going to appreciate all the strategies you’ve given them, and that should definitely get them started with content marketing and get them more traffic, get them more engagement, get more sales. How can the listeners find you if they need more help with their businesses?

Andrew: Yeah, firstly, thank you for having me on the show, Robert. I really appreciate you putting me on this show, it’s great. If people are looking to connect with me, I’m on pretty much all the social networks, but if you go to http://www.aybA for apple, Y for yellow, B for Bob—, all of my social links are there. So pick the platform you want to connect with me on and I’ll be on that there for you. So

Robert: Okay, Andrew McCauley. Thanks again for being here, thanks for everything you’ve shared, and we’re going to be talking later, and thank you. Take care.