Douglas Burdett is a B2B marketing agency principle. He is a former artillery officer, and his agency, Artillery, helps agencies get found online, convert website traffic into leads, and nurture leads towards a sale. Douglas authors two marketing blogs, Forward Observer and Fire Support, and he hosts The Marketing Book Podcast.
What you’ll learn about in this episode:
- The importance of niche for creating a market
- How to run a niche blog that acts as lure for your other services
- Why buying email addresses is a bad idea
- Why absolute patience is key whenever you are creating content
- The Marketing Book Podcast
- How Douglas automates the promotion of his evergreen content
- Why Douglas only conducts one podcast interview per week
- Great productivity software Douglas and his team use
- Tips and resources for getting your own podcast started
The Golden Nugget:“Blogging takes longer than you think and then suddenly it pays off.” – @ArtilleryMarket Click To Tweet
Click to tweet: Douglas Burdett shares the inside knowledge needed to run an agency on Build a Better Agency!
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Ways to contact Douglas Burdett:
Douglas Burdett’s Blogs and Podcast:
- Forward Observer: http://www.artillerymarketing.com/blog
- Fire Support: http://www.defensecontractormarketing.com
- The Marketing Book Podcast: http://www.artillerymarketing.com/marketing-book-podcast
We’re proud to announce that Hubspot is now the presenting sponsor of the Build A Better Agency podcast! Many thanks to them for their support!
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Hey, everybody Drew McLellan here. Before we jump into the episode you are about to listen to, I wanted to make sure that you knew that we are doing open mic webinars and they are available to anyone in the world, just head over to the Agency Management Institute.com/ask Drew, and you will see the dates and times for this month and next month. And we’ll talk about anything you want to talk about – agency operations, COVID, whatever it is that is on your mind. I’m happy to answer your questions and everyone else on the call shares as well as asks questions. So it’s really a round-robin of learning for everybody. All right. I’d love to have you there. All you have to do is register. You can attend live, or just get the replay after we record it. Okay. Now here’s that music that you know and love.
Speaker 2 (00:51):
If you’re going to take the risk of running an agency, shouldn’t you get the benefits too? Welcome to Agency Management Institute’s Build A Better Agency podcast presented by HubSpot. We’ll show you how to build an agency that can scale and grow with better clients, invested employees, and best of all, more money to the bottom line. Bringing his 25 plus years of experience as both an agency owner and agency consultant to you, please welcome your host, Drew McLellan.
Speaker 1 (01:24):
Hey everybody. Drew McLellan her and welcome to another episode of Build A Better Agency. Today’s topics are going to be about carving out a niche for your agency, about how podcasts can help grow your business, and what it’s like to be an ad agency owner in 2015. Pretty excited about my guest today. Douglas Burdette is a B to B marketing agency principal. He is a former artillery officer. So we’re going to be very careful about what we say to him and a Madison Avenue ad man. His agency, Artillery helps B to B companies get found online, convert website, traffic, data leads, and nurture those leads towards a sale. Douglas authors two marketing blogs and hosts a podcast. His blogs are the Forward Observer, which is sort of basic training for B to B marketers, and Fire Support, which is specifically aimed at defense contractors. And we’re going to dig into that in a little bit. And he also is the host of The Marketing Book podcast, which I highly recommend. Douglas, welcome to the podcast
Drew, good to be here.
Speaker 1: First, anything about you that I didn’t share with the gang that you think they need to know about you?
Speaker 3 (02:24):
In lieu of a midlife crisis, I started performing standup comedy.
And now do you wish you had the little red convertible or the blonde?
Well, I have the blonde and she’s been married to me for 24 years, which, when you’re married to me, it actually seems longer than that. So yeah, it was good. I did that and the other thing I’d always wanted to do was go bear hunting and I did that. So it’s, kind of crosses off the list, you know, how it’s important to have goals.
So you’re checking off the bucket list. I like it.
That was about it though, those two things.
Speaker 1 (02:57):
So I have to think that in comparison to stand-up comedy, running an agency is a piece of cake.
Speaker 3 (03:02):
Yeah, it’s maybe a little less frightening. I don’t know. I just did it for a while, you know, maybe six months, or a little bit longer, I think, but it was just something that had to be done, like climbing a mountain. I think it’s terrifying for some people, but it was just something I always wanted to do.
Speaker 1 (03:24):
I guess, both of them, there’s sort of a connection between them. You’re sort of hanging out there to dry all on your own and either fake it or make it right?
Speaker 3 (03:33):
And you deal with rejection but I guess it is good training for presenting and it’s also good training for marketing, I think because you really have to think about the people you’re performing for. You have to make an impact quickly and get them to sort of understand the character in the play that you are acting in. So, it was fun and I had gained a great appreciation for what successful standup comedians do as well as the writing.
Speaker 1 (04:07):
Yeah. That’s probably the part people forget about is the prep that it takes to stand up on the stage. Probably like sometimes our clients take for granted that we actually have to do some work before we can come to them with good counsel. So let’s talk a little bit about your agency and we’ll kind of weave the podcast stuff in as well. So, as I understand it, correct me if I’m wrong, but you were more of a generalist B2B agency at some point in your evolution, is that correct?
Speaker 3 (04:36):
Actually, it was very much B2C. So I worked on Madison Avenue for 10 years and in New York and it was, Toys R Us, Listerine, a lot of that kind of thing, very little B2B. Then I moved to Virginia, worked in an agency for four years, again, more of that, and then started my own shop. It was pretty much really traditional advertising. Going after any business, preferably local ones, in Virginia that had big ad budgets. And then we could bolt on anything else that was needed, PR, websites, things like that. And, this is the part that gets into the evolution where, I don’t know, 2005 or actually in 2008, there was the recession started and things were still charging long for me.
Speaker 3 (05:27):
And I remember thinking, boy, there’s a lot of bombs going off, but none of ’em seem to be hitting me. And then time kinda caught up. And it was this thing of I’m noticing that media commissions were shrinking or going away, clients here or there were maybe wanting to hire somebody that’s specialized just in their vertical. They started needing a lot more help with websites, which meant that I had to keep bringing a website guide to all the meetings. And I was just starting to feel marginalized and they were starting to ask about social media and I was feeling more and more like a dinosaur. And I then read a famous article in Fast Company. I was actually five years ago now, called, I think, The Future of Advertising, big article. And in the article, they talked about how the advertising industry is changing, particularly agencies.
Speaker 3 (06:27):
I had been getting sort of a feeling along the way. And I remember looking back now, I remember thinking, Oh, man, this really is changing permanently. And I like to say it was probably like a travel agent might’ve been 20 years ago saying, what’s going on here? Why did the airlines stop giving us commissions? What happened here? That was one of those signposts for me along the way. I was very sad, depressed because I remember thinking this is a business I really loved. I enjoyed it and I didn’t know what to do, too young to retire. Along the way, I discovered our mutual friend, Michael Gass, who is an ad agency, new business consultant, and his website is fuelingnewbusiness.com.
Speaker 3 (07:29):
And if you Google ad agency new business, you’re going to find him on the first page because he’s written about 800 articles about that topic. And as things were going badly, I started reading his blog more and more about how the days of chasing clients and prospecting, those days were starting to sunset. The clients were finding the agencies. And this is all, it’s not specific to just us in the advertising world, although we like to think we’re so unique. The way people and companies were buying was beginning to change. They could go and find the information they wanted. Tom Martin, who owns an agency in New Orleans, has a book called The Invisible Sale, which is a great book. And, I’ve interviewed him recently for the podcast and he talks about that.
Speaker 3 (08:24):
So the more I read Michael’s blog and Michael talks about clients or agencies using inbound marketing and content marketing and doing everything they can to get discovered and building a niche blog away from your existing site, that sort of like throwing a fishing line out in the water. And he talked about how I think Barkley and the agency in Kansas City, Jeff Brahms shop, I think they might’ve had like four of these blogs where they target very specific things. Obviously one of them is millennial marketing and he showed me a client of his in Oklahoma, an agency where they had a casino account and as well as a variety of other local accounts and they wanted more casino accounts. So they built a blog, all about casino marketing. Got a lot of traffic. People are getting real, hiring them for the workshop that type of thing. And what was interesting to me is basically when people would call them, they would say, what’s your calendar look like? Cause they already knew them. They already liked them. They already knew what their offering was. What would it cost?
Speaker 1 (09:32):
They’d already established the expertise. So they didn’t have to do that dog and pony show.
Speaker 3 (09:36):
Yeah. So that was an example of, well, that’s still is an example of things that, Michael talks about and many others. So I finally contacted him and said, what’s your calendar look like? I already know who you are. I know all about you. I want to do that thing you do.
Hey, he had done to you what you wanted to do.
So we met and as he traditionally did, I guess he may still do something like this, where he spends a day with the agency and he spends the first half sort of, dinosaur training. Explaining probably like Copernicus did 500 years ago that the earth rotates around the sun instead of the sun around the earth and explains it’s an opportunity for him to help the agency people pull their head up out of the sand, take a breath, and say, look, this is what’s going on.
Speaker 3 (10:28):
Like any good consultant would do. And then the second half of the day, he works with you to help you identify a niche, a blog that you could focus on. Basically, he’s, it’s sort of like, you know what fishing lure do you want to throw into the lake. So he’s ingenious about this. I should add is that it’s not like you’re having to change your agency name. It’s not like you have to change your website. You don’t have to get your creative people or your people involved. You set up a WordPress blog and it’s basically about the content.
Speaker 1 (11:05):
Yeah. So let me pause you in the story here for a second. Cause I know a lot of listeners understand that they need to niche, but they’re afraid to niche. How were you feeling about the whole idea of specialization and in essence saying that’s money I’ll take and that’s money that I won’t take. Cause I think that’s a big fear for a lot of agency owners.
Speaker 3 (11:27):
And with good reason. I was very excited to get through the day because I went into it not knowing what my niche blog could be about. But the last thing I understood was the idea of having a blog separate from your website. At that point, I think maybe it was 2011 or something, said, well, wait a minute, aren’t you supposed to have a blog on your website? And that’s where the traffic’s supposed to come. That shows you how much I knew at the time. And he said, no, no, no, no. You think of your agency website as your fishing boat and the lure you’re throwing off the boat to the fish is this niche blog. It’s just full of great content and a little bit about you in case they want to get in touch or maybe hire you for a workshop. So I think it is terrifying, but this is kinda like having training wheels.
Speaker 1 (12:21):
Yeah. It feels a little safer with you not having to change the whole identity of your, your website and your agency, but it’s a separate standalone entity. And so Michael’s advice, if it doesn’t work, then you just scuttle it and try something different. So how did you, you said at the beginning of the day you had no idea where, or how you would specialize. And so how did you decide that defense contractors were where you needed to throw your bait out into that pond?
Speaker 3 (12:52):
Well, he starts by saying, what have you worked on and what would you like to specialize in? And that is probably where most of the answers come from when he’s dealing with an agency. So, let’s say I was talking to an agency recently that was thinking about hiring him and they wanted to chat with me and I was happy to talk to them. And they were just as an example, they said, well, we’ve got a lot of experience in recruitment advertising, recruitment marketing. And so I said, well, I kind of painted the picture of what this niche blog could look like. And they were like, Oh, of course. Or when he sat down with Park Howell, years ago and said, what should we do this niche blog about Michael? And he said, five minutes in, he already knew the answer. He said, you guys, you’re all about green, environmental, sustainability practices.
Speaker 1 (13:52):
Right, right, right.
Speaker 3 (13:54):
Sort of like you’re in the forest, but you don’t see the trees. So, what he said to me, you know, he says, what do you wanna specialize in? I said, well, I don’t know. You know, I’ve worked on everything from Listerine to, Toys R us and Panasonic and the local community bank and all that. And I just remember saying, not that this is relevant to your listeners, but if I have to work on one more personal injury law firm account, I will blow my brains out.
Speaker 1 (14:21):
Right, right. Right. Well, and everybody probably has that. Right. It’s just like, sometimes we do stuff for money that we’re not that excited about.
Speaker 3 (14:30):
Yes. Yes. So I guess my, my answer was, I’m not too passionate about all the stuff I’ve done in the past, but I was in the military for three years and I live in Virginia, which has, I think, more defense contractors than any other state. I wouldn’t be surprised, even ahead of California. And a lot of my friends who were in the defense industry were always asking me marketing questions. And basically, they were simple, straightforward marketing questions, but, you know, defense contractors, just like ad agencies think, oh, our industry is very unique. And so I said, but you know, I’m really kind of fascinated by that.
Speaker 3 (15:23):
I’m interested in that. And frankly, we got to talk and, and we looked on our laptops and nobody was specializing in it. We must have looked for 15, 30 minutes trying to find something. There was nothing out there. And, he said, well Douglas, look, you were in the service, you have a company called Artillery, which you may have forgotten, and you’re in Virginia. Your dad was an army general. You’re from this army family going back to the revolution. You obviously have the secret handshake with these people. Why don’t you try it? And if, if you don’t get any business from it, he said, I can remember, he said, even if you don’t get any business from it, you will have gone through this journey of teaching yourself about a very big part of modern marketing and what agencies are doing – social media, blogging, content, media analytics, all that type of thing.
Speaker 3 (16:20):
And so I said, all right, I’ll do that. And then it was funny, he said, if you can buy a URL for your blog, that might include some keywords, that doesn’t hurt. And so we talked for a minute and said, well, it’s probably like defense contractor marketing. So I went on GoDaddy and it was available. And he said, Douglas, at that point he had worked with 88 agencies. No agency had been able to buy their keywords as a URL, which didn’t mean I was smart. It just meant that it was there for the taking. Yep. So, I started writing these posts, doing a lot of research. Full admission here, I’d never worked for a defense contractor. I’d never had a defense contractor client, but I was very interested in it. And I would inspire myself occasionally. And knowing that, I don’t know if it’s true or not, but U2, when they started their band, they didn’t actually know how to play instruments. So I said, well, okay, if it worked for them …
Speaker 1 (17:27):
But you had, you know, decades of experience in marketing. And again, as, as you have said, and other guests have said, everyone thinks that their industry is so unique, but the truth is that you can learn an industry. The marketing part is, is the tough part. And you already had that.
Speaker 3 (17:42):
And I think you and your listeners are gonna understand, you’ve got a client, you learn their business pretty quickly. So this wasn’t that much of a stretch. I could find papers from McKinsey or Booz Allen and they would be talking about trends in the defense industry. Or I could find some research study or something that was relevant to them. And then say, here’s what’s going on now. Here’s how they could address some of these things.
Speaker 1 (18:17):
Yeah. Here’s the marketing spin on this.
Speaker 3 (18:20):
Exactly. Just like Michael Gass does and any other kind of bloggers. I think he calls that a curated post.
Speaker 1 (18:27):
Well, you’re grabbing content from something else and then commenting on it.
Speaker 3 (18:31):
As you said, that the best post he’s ever done out of all 800 plus was a,
Speaker 1 (18:36):
his Steve Jobs post, I think.
Speaker 3 (18:38):
Yeah. Like how Steve Jobs presented and as it relates to ad agency new business.
Speaker 1 (18:48):
Yeah. And I think all of that was based on a book review that he read. Because it’s actually, there’s a book and I can’t remember the author now. We’ll find it and stick it in the show notes, but it’s a good book about how Steve Jobs presented and how other folks can sort of adopt his methodology. And the author breaks it down very nicely. And what Michael did was he just took basically what the author did and put an agency spin on it. So you’re right, it is a curated post. Okay. So you launched the blog, you are curating posts. You are starting to talk to defense contractors. What happens next? Cause I know in the fairytale, people come rushing to you with money hanging out of their pockets and you just can’t do all the work that is coming your way. What really happened?
Speaker 3 (19:34):
Yeah. I was going to have to say, get the needle out of your arm there Drew. Well after like five posts, it was on the first page of Google for these keywords. But again, it was just because it was a barren wasteland out there. So I just kept, well, first, you get about 30 posts written, and then you really start promoting it. I did something that I wouldn’t do now, but I bought a list of email addresses from the defense industry. And I recently wrote an article about why now that I know better, that’s such a bad idea. And it’s called, Why Marketing with Purchased Email Lists is Like Having Unprotected Sex. So, I did that and you start using all the social media at that point to share. Use a couple of tools like SocialOomph and use a Twitter account and you share it on LinkedIn, Facebook, and that type of thing.
Speaker 3 (20:34):
And you keep writing maybe once a week and overtime, well, first off it, takes longer than you think. And there was a great article, Rand Fishkin from Moz talking about why most content marketing fails is because people give up. And he talked about his wife who has a blog and nothing really happened for the first two years. So it’s like planting Christmas trees but over time I started getting contacted by all these people who wanted to at least connect with me. And around the world too like, defense people in Brazil and Germany and all over the United States. Like there was a company in, a defense publication in the UK and they listed me as one of the topmost interesting this or whatever defense blogs.
Speaker 3 (21:33):
And so you start to get noticed, you start to get found. And certainly, it was very unique. And then, that same organization did a big study about social media use and the defense industry and they quoted me several times in it. They even gave me a copy of it to read before it went out to see if there’s anything else I could help with. Wow. And so that sort of thing happened. And then one day I got a tweet from the Washington Business Journal here in Virginia. It was an article they wrote on Seven Twitter Accounts Our Editors Think You, the reader Should Be Following”. And one of them was me and I get a call from a CEO of an aerospace company saying, Hey, I’ve been reading your blog for six months and it really makes a lot of sense.
Speaker 3 (22:21):
That’s kind of how some of the conversations would start. And then I started getting requests to come talk to groups. What happened was in the course of this, blogging and any kind of adventure are never completely linear. So this was like a byproduct that was a benefit to me that had nothing to do with the defense industry, and that is, as I was blogging can have an enormously positive effect on your professional life. And Seth Godin talks about this and Tom Peters talks about how it’s just like the single thing that most affected them. And it sharpens your thinking and you get smarter about things.
Speaker 3 (23:19):
So as I was doing research about marketing, I started learning a little bit more about marketing. I never thought I knew everything anyway. And along the way, I downloaded some things from HubSpot, from their website. I mean, as well as Marketo and other, any place I could find what was useful information, that’s what they want you to do. And one day I got a call from HubSpot and I couldn’t take it, but I saw it on caller ID. The following week, they called again, and I saw the caller ID. I said, Oh, I recognize that name. I had no idea who they were. They called and said, Hey, we noticed you downloaded stuff. You said you’re an agency. Did you find what you were looking for? Is there anything else we can get you? Can we tell you what we do? And I said, yeah, I have no idea what you guys do, but I really like your stuff. So it turns out I was already using a website platform type of thing and HubSpot was that and about 20 things more, and it was almost the same price. So a week later I was a customer. That had to be the shortest sales cycle for HubSpot.
Speaker 1 (24:22):
Well, but again, to your point, it really wasn’t because you’ve been downloading their stuff for a while and reading it. You just gave the example, which is exactly what agencies need to know is happening, which is, your prospect, your next client is on your website today and has been there for six months. You just have no idea. And by the time they pick up the phone or shoot you an email, or you are using your analytics and reaching out to them, they’re 85% into the buying decision. Even if they don’t know they’re 85% into the buying decision. And that’s the way business is done today. And that’s the huge shift for agencies is that the idea that, there you are out there spreading your Johnny Appleseed, spreading seeds all over, and you’re never sure which one is going to actually grow up into the really healthy tree that bears a lot of fruit for you. But one of those seeds or several of those seeds are, so I want to stop you for a second, then we’ll get back to the story.
Speaker 1 (25:15):
So we’re how far into your blogging now that, and at what point did you actually get your first paying client that you can associate back to the blog?
Speaker 3 (25:25):
That might’ve been two years later. But, in full disclosure, I wasn’t working it as hard as I should have and I wasn’t actively prospecting. So it was really kind of a passive thing because what happened was I then discovered HubSpot and I said, remember how I talked about how depressed I was when I realized that whole ad industry thing was going, our agency was changing. I looked at this and I thought, this is so cool. And it was. I loved it. I still do. And I felt like I was getting a second bite at the apple. And in other words, a second wind, you know, another, a reprise on my career. So then I realized that most of these articles I was writing for the defense blog could be rewritten.
Speaker 3 (26:17):
In other words, the same concept, they were also applied to business to business marketing, a lot of the topics that I had there. So what I was doing was I started blogging, in other words, I looked and said, that’s okay, what I’ve done on this defense thing, that’s the direction I want my business to go in. And that’s what I want to help clients with. Just like Michael said. And so then I started reusing some of the content that I had published on my defense blog, but it was different enough. I’m talking about a particular marketing concept and I would then write a similar article on my other blog. And then what I started doing was writing two different ones. So in other words, I jumped started my agency blog, and got going in that direction. That’s how I got into the business to business marketing that you asked about earlier. So both of these things I was doing later on in my career and jumped in and as David Meerman Scott, the author of New Rules of Marketing and PR always says on the web, you are what you publish.
Speaker 1 (27:13):
Yeah, absolutely. Before we delve into this, any deeper, I want to take a quick pause and then we will be right back. One of my favorite parts of AMI is our live workshops. I love to teach. I love to spend two days immersed in a topic with either agency leaders, agency owners, or AEs in our AE Bootcamps. But most of all, I love sharing what I’ve learned from other agencies from 30 years in the business and all the best practices that we teach. If you have some interest in those workshops, they range from everything from money matters, which is all about the financial health of your agency to best management practices of agency owners, to new business, AE bootcamps, and a plethora of other topics. Go check out the list and the schedule at AgencyManagementInstitute.com backslash live training. Okay. Let’s get back to the show. So you’re now what, two, three years into this, and it’s starting to bear fruit?
Speaker 3 (28:11):
Yes. To a certain extent, but again, it’s not like as we jokingly said beforehand, I’m not the guest on your show that is saying my biggest challenge is returning calls from companies that want to send me money, like the fairytale you talked about or I just can’t hire enough people. So what I’ve done is the agency approach, the Artillery, the B2B marketing has really taken center stage, and I’m still keeping that other blog out there because I do get a lot of leads off of it, inquiries, and it’s kind of neat. But I’ve kind of got two lines in the water now. Does that answer your question?
Speaker 1 (28:57):
Yeah. I think what the listeners are thinking is that sounds like a ton of work. Is it paying off?
Speaker 3 (29:05):
Yes. But, as we talked about before, I have not been, and this is the thing I struggle with still. It’s sort of like on the Ed Sullivan show for the older listeners. They had the guy with the stick and the plates and he would spin them. I’ve sort of gotten all of these properties set up now, like with the defense thing and the website, and I’ve had other clients, I have clients, but I haven’t, there’s no hockey stick action going on yet. And the reason that’s going to change is I’m very much focused on prospecting.
Speaker 1 (29:46):
Why, why all of a sudden the change?
Speaker 3 (29:48):
Well, just because I, I feel like I had the others under control and, um, I want to grow more. I want to start to build that agency that I envisioned.
Speaker 1 (30:04):
Your story and what I appreciate about it is your candor. What I think the story is, is I think a lot of people and no fault to any agency consultant, myself or Michael or anybody, I think it’s easy to talk in absolutes, but the reality is that’s not the world, that agency owners like you and I live in. We have to figure out how to get it all done in a day. And so it always sounds better than it ends up being, which doesn’t mean it’s not still a good choice. It just isn’t as easy or as seamless or as linear as it sounds when you’re reading the blog post or reading the book or listening to the consultant. There are going to be bumps in the road, which are called reality. And you just have to know that it’s going to be slower going and you have to sort of slog your way through it.
Speaker 3 (30:50):
Yeah. I’m the only one in the world, but I wince a little bit when Tom Martin says he’s never made a cold call. Or Michael Gass at the conference, we were just at his Fuel Lines conference, he said, I’ve never made a cold call. Or Paul Roetzer, author of Marketing Agency Blueprint and The Marketing Performance Blueprint, he talked at that, and he’s got a phenomenal agency in Cleveland, but he says, we’ve never made cold calls. And I’m just saying, guys, don’t say that, even if it’s true. It’s like saying I won the lottery and you can too.
Speaker 1 (31:24):
I eat cake every day and I’m as fit as a fiddle, same thing. Yeah, yeah. Right.
Speaker 3 (31:29):
Yeah. I just haven’t connected all the cords there. So I think I probably could have had more action going on a little bit earlier, but I’ve been busy working with clients and trying to keep the content machine going. And I have some help with some of that. Now, that’s just becoming my focus. Like last year, I really wanted to start a podcast. Well, at the very end of last year, and I spent, I would say the first quarter of this year, getting that up and running, and I’ve learned a lot. It’s really successful. I got that squared away so that plate is spinning on that stick. You know? So now I’m trying to add that last leg of the stool.
Speaker 1 (32:19):
So, let’s talk about the podcast. What other than you thought it would be fun and it probably aligns a little bit with your love of being on the stage or your desire to do that and all of that, what about starting a podcast made business sense to you?
Speaker 3 (32:32):
Well, I think that I’ve always loved listening to podcasts, particularly podcasts, and I really liked it when an author was interviewed. And then I heard from a number of folks like Chris Brogan and Michael Hyatt and Michael Stelzner from Social Media Examiner that podcasting was a great way to go. And I thought, well, you know, I’m not this big agency. I can’t just be cranking out blog posts every week. So it was sort of like a passing game. I can try this different approach to creating content. And I also thought that it would be a great way to ensure that I have my own professional development program. So I did that and as soon as I launched it, there was a lot more traffic to the site.
Speaker 3 (33:25):
And here’s one of the things about podcasting that I didn’t like. There was a guy I knew, another agency guy, and he was interviewing marketing people or business owners that I’d never heard of, but they were all his prospects. And it was really, I stopped listening after a while. Cause that’s all he was doing and Hey, did it work? Yes. But I just didn’t like that. So it’s not like I’m going to be selling to anybody that that writes books, but I just thought it would be helpful. And whenever I’ve given talks about marketing, people’s heads explode because it’s just changed so much. And this is something that I thought would establish more credibility. It makes me look smart by interviewing smart authors. So there’s some reflected glory there and it makes me smarter about marketing and it drives more traffic to the site and awareness. People generally say, Oh, I listened to your podcast. They never say I read your blog.
Speaker 1 (34:31):
Yeah. Interesting. Well, and I would guess also the guests of your podcast, especially being authors, trying to promote their book are more than eager to help you promote the podcast episode that they’re in, which also drives new and fresh content and people to, to your site, right?
Speaker 3 (34:47):
Yeah. So I guess, I don’t know. I didn’t think it through, with a SWOT analysis, like I probably should have. It was more of a gut move, but I just thought that it was something that I could do that I would enjoy doing. And there wasn’t one out there, you know? And here’s the other example. I bought marketingbookpodcast.com, which redirects to that podcast section of my site.
Speaker 1 (35:11):
Yeah. You’ve got, you’ve had uncanny good luck at GoDaddy these days. So I’m assuming that all of this is a challenge to get done on a day when you’re also serving clients and trying to get a couple of hours of sleep and all of that. What tips or tricks do you have for sort of juggling all of those plates and keeping them all spinning? Do you have some magical organizational system or do you use a tool that helps you curate content so that you have sort of a library of stuff that you might want to write about? Or how do you find the author? How are you doing all this?
Speaker 3 (35:49):
The key to creating content is reading. And as Michael Gass had said to me when I first started out, he goes, look, the key to all this is reading and writing. Don’t worry about all these social media bells and whistles that come and go. That can all be dealt with. I mean, if you know how to operate Microsoft Word, you can pretty much handle anything like that. So, a lot of my social media is automated. Um, so During business hours, I have two Twitter accounts. One’s for my agency, one’s for the defense thing. And about every hour during business hours, it’ll tweet out a link to an article, an evergreen article I’ve written in the past. And then it also tweets out the news that’s relevant to those two particular audiences. So in other words, there are a few defense publications that are talking about the industry and every one of their articles is really, really good and you have to scan them all. So I actually tweet those out even before I’ve even read them. And social media purists will say you shouldn’t do that, but you know, on the other hand, Mark Schaefer author of The Content Code, talks about this and he goes, no, you know, I trust those so much.
Speaker 1 (37:11):
Right. If it’s a reliable source, that’s the key, right?
Speaker 3 (37:14):
Yeah. And my readers really appreciate me basically helping them do this. Then there’s also, both sites have a daily news section, which is done through Paperly, which again, curates, extremely helpful, either marketing news or defense news. And it publishes every day at three, completely automated. But you know, some journalists are saying, how do you find time to do this? You know, I’m doing it right now. So I got that but otherwise, when I get up in the morning, I usually try to sit down for a while and go through my Feedly, which is an RSS reader and a great tool. And that’s where I can pretty quickly go through and scan hundreds of articles and see what’s of interest and basically educate myself and then get ideas for content.
Speaker 3 (38:14):
I think also having a calendar is really helpful and all the content marketing experts will tell you the same thing. You just need a calendar. So in other words, I know who the guests on the podcast are going to be now through January, three months out, I should say. And so we just kind of work towards that and the same for the others. So in other words, I’m trying to create content about a quarter out. I just try to plan. Other things will come up, but just so you can say, this is the week I’ve got to write about that. So you’re not trying to do it all at once. So that’s one and then what I do on the podcast is I now only do one interview a week.
Speaker 3 (39:01):
So it gives me time to read their book in the week. It’s really good if I can read their book just before the interview. And then I do the interview and then my assistant gets it all produced and prepares the blog posts and all the social media associated. So now I’m at the point where all I’m doing is reading the book and doing the interview, and then I’m still writing the other blog posts. Sometimes I let the Fire Support the defense wouldn’t slack off a bit. As far as productivity, I use an app that I learned about from, or a program I learned about from Michael Hyatt called NOZBE. And that’s helpful. There are lots of others out there. I just thought that was good. And I think Michael Hyatt has a lot of great.
Speaker 1 (39:44):
And what does NOZBE do? Is it a project manager? What is it?
Speaker 3 (39:49):
A task manager.
Speaker 1 (39:52):
Okay. Sort of like a Wunderlist or anything like that? Yes.
Speaker 3 (39:57):
Okay. And then for clients, uh, we were using Basecamp.
Speaker 1 (40:02):
Yep. A lot of agencies do.
Speaker 3 (40:03):
Yeah. I love that. The clients like it, it’s pretty simple, but you know what? I have one client who’s never been on Basecamp. He just replies to the emails and that’s fine, that’s fine. But we can all find this stuff. And then for communication within the agency and with the people that I have working on behalf of my clients, we use Teamwork.
Speaker 1 (40:21):
And that’s a collaborative software set.
Speaker 3 (40:25):
File sharing and time tracking and estimating capabilities, things like that. So,
Speaker 1 (40:35):
and does that plug into an accounting software then?
Speaker 3 (40:37):
No, we use QuickBooks.
Speaker 1 (40:39):
Okay. So you have to pull all your hours and stuff manually over. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. All right. Well,
Speaker 3 (40:46):
I should add that a lot of agencies are obsessed with the tools and they should really be focused on their process.
Speaker 1 (40:55):
Yeah. Agreed. Yeah. The tools will come and go and there will always be a better tool around the bend. And quite honestly, a lot of times the tool you have is just fine for what you need and you don’t need to keep changing. You don’t need to keep trading up tools. It really is about how do you support a good process. Yeah, absolutely. So we’ve talked a lot about lots of stuff today, and I appreciate, again, like I said, your candor and that this is not all sunshine and roses.
It beats the old way.
Well, the old way, you know, I’m sure you have friends that were in the business. And I certainly have lots of friends and clients that were in the business that were not willing to come over to the 21st century and odds are, they’re working for someone else today cause their agency doesn’t exist. Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 3 (41:41):
Let me go back and answer one question you asked earlier, you said, how long did it take before you got business from that defense blog? And it just occurred to me, it was maybe two years before a defense-related company sent me a check. But before that other prospects saw what I was doing on that defense one, like a big construction company. And they said what you’re doing there. That’s what we want. We want one of those. It was, it became a floor model. So it was not what I had planned, but they see, Oh, okay. Yeah. All we need to do is reach this particular group of people. Yeah. Do that.
Speaker 1 (42:15):
Yeah. I think a lot of agencies that are using a HubSpot or a SharpSpring or a Marketo or whatever, the tool of choice is, are finding too that when they use it for themselves, that becomes the demo, if you will, for prospective clients who go, okay, the thing you’ve been doing to me for six months, I want to do that to my prospects. So, I always try to wrap up the podcast with some action items that our guests can take. So I think you did a great job of sort of outlining the blog methodology that you followed, which is, you know, really right out of Michael Gass’s book. But I want to talk a little bit about the podcast. If agency owners are interested in exploring podcasting, what would you recommend? The first couple of things they do just to kind of kick around the idea. What did you do first? I’m assuming you started with listening to other podcasts.
Speaker 3 (43:08):
Yes, I did that and that’s where I realized how much I really liked them. What I would do next is go to iTunes and find the podcast series by John Lee Dumas, who is the creator of Entrepreneur on Fire. He has a separate podcast, which has maybe 20 episodes. And it’s basically how to do a podcast. That’s free and then listen to those. And that would be a great way for you to think through how to do it, if you want to do it, and what’s involved. Now, why is he doing it? Because he has this program called Podcasters Paradise, which I purchased. And it is extensive, gated training.
Speaker 1 (44:10):
Yes, it’s a great course. It is a deep dive into how to podcast and he literally will tell you what to wear when you’re podcasting, practically. I mean, it’s that detailed! It’s good stuff, but it’s not inexpensive.
Speaker 3 (44:24):
You don’t have to get that but the reason he’s doing it is that, I was in and this thing, it’s constantly updated, so we’re always made aware of the very latest podcasting and technology and all that type of thing. So I was sort of buying into a community of maybe 1500 people, but I then listened to his whole series afterward. He created it after I was in and I found that it was a very good sample of what’s in the Podcaster’s Paradise. But I think that that would be the first thing I do. Just listen to those free 20 episodes.
Speaker 1 (45:04):
Yeah. Great, good, good counsel. Anything, any last words that you have for the listeners? So agency owners, just like you, any words of encouragement or anything else you’d like to share?
Speaker 3 (45:17):
Well, if any of them would like to get in touch with me to commiserate or to help to answer any questions, I would be happy to speak with them.
Speaker 1 (45:28):
So, give them your contact information, Douglas. That was going to be my next question.
Speaker 3 (45:32):
My agency website is artillerymarketing.com. And my email address is [email protected]ng.com and artillery is spelled A R T I L L E R Y. It’s the most misspelled word.
Speaker 1 (45:48):
That and diarrhea, probably I think, are the two. Which would not be a good name for a blog. I don’t think.
Interesting word association. There you go.
Speaker 1: My friend, thank you very much. I appreciate your time. I know you’re super busy, taking care of clients and creating content, and continuing to evolve your agency. So, highly recommend to our listeners that they check out Douglas’ podcast. It’s great. It’s a great way to kind of sample some of the best marketing books out there and decide if there’s something you should read or not, always great conversations, authors, as you can imagine, always happy to share their knowledge. So really, really great listens. So Douglas, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
Speaker 3 (46:29):
My pleasure. I hope it was helpful for your listeners and encouraging as well.
Speaker 2 (46:35):
That’s all for this episode of Build A Better Agency, brought to you by HubSpot. Be sure to visit AgencyManagementInstitute.com to learn more about our workshops, online courses, and other ways we serve small to midsize agencies. Don’t miss an episode as we help you build the agency you’ve always dreamed of owning.