Tom Shapiro

Author, Speaker, Founder and CEO of Stratabeat

Always Choose Content Quality Over Content Frequency, Rxplains Stratabeat Inc’s Tom Shapiro

The debate between content quality and quantity has been raging forever. While both are important, one needs to ensure that if they are doing something, it is better to do it right. Since content has to live up to a brand's reputation, it has to address consumer questions and solve their pain points while also being engaging. 

Addressing the same debate and looking at it from a magnifying glass over the last decade is Tom Shapiro, Founder & CEO of Stratabeat, Inc., who was in conversation with Anirudh Singla, Founder & CEO of Pepper Content.

Here are some excerpts:

1. Tell us how your journey has been so far and how you have grown over the last few years.

I've been in the digital space for a very long time. I started in 1994 and built my first website. This was much before Google existed. So I've seen a lot of evolution in the digital and content marketing space through the years.

Content can now be used similarly to a financial services portfolio. The way to be very strategic with content is to treat it like a portfolio with various content types. So, as long as marketers can think creatively and come up with different types of content assets, it's all worth testing and can be very powerful.

2. How has content changed, especially over the last ten years? 

Ten years ago, the main metric was how frequently one should publish. The conversation was very surface-level. Today, what one focuses on is content performance. So more than content marketing, it is about content performance, and that doesn't mean that every single piece of content needs to drive a lead. Some content should be for demand generation, some for lead generation, some for AB testing, some for conversion optimization, some for brand building, and some for differentiation. 

Look at the entire customer journey and see what type of content fits into the different stages of the journey and answers the questions your audience has at these stages.

For example, you are placing CTAs within your content. Having one CTA at the bottom of a content piece is no longer strategic. Have multiple CTAs on your page addressing different types of mindsets of your audience.

So ten years ago, no one was thinking that sophisticatedly about content. 

3. What do you think about the quality versus quantity debate? 

Both are important because you want enough coverage throughout your customer journey. However, when we talk about volume, it's about something other than how many content pieces you publish each day, week, or month. The point is that you have enough content to fulfill the customer journey considering your audience segmentation, personas, and those journeys. 

So, content quality always has to be a hundred percent. Don't create it if the quality is bad. Thrill your audience, prove how awesome you are, and amplify your awesomeness.

When was the last time your brand looked at all the questions being asked online? Look at PAA questions and use tools to see what people are asking on Google or in places like Reddit, Quora, or an industry forum. Answer as many of those as possible, regardless of search volume. You don't have to cover every question, but just as many as you can that are relevant and will solve a problem for your audience.

How you should look at quantity is just to ensure you are giving the audience the answers they need.  

4. What should a content marketer’s KRAs or priorities be like today? 

Brands think they want one thing. As an agency, we listen, and then we start asking a lot of questions. We don't tell them about us. We don't tell them about our solutions. We don't tell them that they need to do this or that. We should understand what will move the needle for that business the most.

We had a company with $300 million in venture capital behind it! They came, and they thought they knew exactly what they wanted. They said we wanted to blog and optimize our YouTube videos.

We did an analysis, and we said that firstly, they need to migrate their blog to a different platform because their platform is so slow. They were killing all their potential to perform well in SEO, and it was a horrible user experience since the pages were slow to load. Topics were also a problem, and even in YouTube videos, all the content was what we call 'Me Content' that was internally focused. 

It's a conversation and understanding of where you as a brand need to be 12 months from now. And then, build a strategy to get there with the help of content marketing.

Content marketers need to solve problems. Answer questions of the audiences while also entertaining them on platforms like YouTube

5. What do you think about working with freelance talent overall? What's your thought process? 

We love working with freelance talent to scale content marketing. We have managers and strategists in our agency. But for actual copywriting and editing, we hire freelancers.

This is because it's the fastest, most reliable way to scale content marketing and helps us access specialists. Depending on the brand or the industry, you want specialists focused on areas where they understand the audience, the solutions, the businesses, and the topics in detail so that they can write as experts.

Even if they're not experts, they can still produce good content via interviews with subject matter experts. In addition to interviews, you can do surveys, look at searches, online content, and social data, and get as much input as possible. 

6. If you could manage all content processes in one place, what would that platform look like for you? 

It would have an aggregation or integration of tools since we use a lot of technology going through the content marketing process.

There's a lot of keyword, topic, content, and audience research in the planning process. This study goes into strategy building. So first, you need tools to facilitate this research aspect of content marketing.

Then we need to convert that into a content calendar which helps organize the content. For example, are we going to go for SEO topic clusters, and then the platform can help build on the hub, the spoke, and the timeline for building these? 

Finally, we need management of copywriters, editors, and the whole content creation process. 

Get started with Pepper’s Content Marketing Platform.

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