Christopher Zook: Activate Content Overkill Mode Page Strategy

In this episode, we talk with Chris Zook from Impulse creative about the content overkill mode and what it means for your companies content strategy.

Christopher explains what content overkill is, why it is important and how to implement it for your website content strategy.

He also dives into the online page elements, tools to use for research, and a way to use overkill mode to supply exactly what your visitors want as well as learn about it in a way they love.

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About the Expert

Christopher Zook

Chris Zook is an inbound marketer with about a decade of experience in the digital marketing universe. Over his career, he’s written more than 120,000 ecommerce descriptions, 1,000 webpages (including blogs), and dozens of downloadable offers to help companies thrive. He’s used inbound methodology to help companies in the B2B, B2C, and B2G sectors, proving that there’s no sales process so complex that inbound marketing can’t help it.

Chris segues that experience with the needs of Impulse’s clients to advise on strategies, lead on tactics, and deliver top-notch results that drive client growth.

Outside of Impulse, Chris spends his time with his wife and son. He’s also a published author, beginner landlord, amateur electrician, avid reader, and local enthusiast for his Pennsylvania hometown.


Full Transcript

George Thomas 0:08
Ready to spend 15 minutes with the experts you admire need strategy sessions from thought leaders brought directly to your ears. Welcome to the sprocket talk 15 minute strategy podcast where every week George B Thomas uncovers the challenges that sales, marketing and service professionals face and of course, the strategies to help them overcome their biggest hurdles. So sit back and set your sights on growth with these bite sized conversations build with your strategy gold, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 15 minute strategy pod. Hey, sprockets ears. It's your boy George V. Thomas. We're back for another episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast where well we try to give you some strategy and let's face it, sometimes we hit in the 15 minute mark. Sometimes we don't but today I'm super excited as always, because today we have a friend, a co worker and a piece of content that I'm super curious. You can call me Curious George today. If you want where this is going to go and what we're going to talk about. But, Chris, before we get too far into the deep end of the pool, why don't you let the sprocket talk viewers, the listeners know who you are, what you do and where you do it at?

Christopher Zook 1:12
Sure. Hey, everybody, I am Chris. Like George said, I'm an inbound marketer here at impulse creative. And for the past almost 10 years now, I've been working in everything related to SEO content and everything from b2b e commerce to beat a G education sales. And it's been a lot of fun to be able to figure out how to make content work for all of these different industries. And yes, So currently, I'm here at impulse, having a blast and helping impulsive clients do everything that I possibly can.

George Thomas 1:42
Yes, he is. And here's the thing, sprockets yours. If you have followed me for any length of time, you know, that I'm always learning. I'm always curious. And we're in a conversation Chris and I and he said these two words he said content, overkill, and I was like, wait, what Then we're like this should probably be an episode for the masses to be able to watch be able to listen. So if you're listening, good on you, if you want to watch it, you can head over to YouTube or head over to sprocket talk comm because we do have the pages that you can get to there as well on the 15 minute strategy blog, but Chris so that we can carry on the conversation so that the sprockets ears, the viewers and listeners understand what we're talking about when you say those two words, content overkill? What exactly do we need to know to carry on a conversation today? Yeah,

Christopher Zook 2:31
content overkill is basically a content strategy where you go so far over the top, that it becomes borderline impossible for your competitors to compete with you organically in search results. You do so much, you spend a lot of time and it's a pretty high barrier to entry. I'm not gonna lie. But the reason that barrier to entry exists is because a lot of people aren't willing to spend so much time on one piece of content and when you do, you can get outstanding results. I actually stumbled upon this when I was working At a previous agency in my, in my last career couple career moves ago, and the problem that I kept running into was that the marketing space was so congested with other people's ideas and other people's content organically, it became almost impossible for us to break into page one rankings. So you know, we had a couple of options. And the thing that I came to was like, I can try to imitate what these people are doing, and I can try to get on the same level that they're doing. But that's only going to work until somebody else makes an innovation that gets takes it to the next level. So instead of waiting for that innovation, what if we just went so far over the top, that even next innovations wouldn't let competitors catch up to us. And that's where content overkill really came from. It includes, excuse me, it includes text includes video, it includes graphics, too, if you really want to go crazy with it, it can include podcasts like we're doing right now. And the crux of it is that no matter what kind of person comes to that page, whether they there reader, whether they're a watcher, regardless of how they learn, they have an avenue to understand what you're talking about as quickly as possible and in a way that works best for them.

George Thomas 4:11
So I do want to ask this question just so I can clear it up for the sprocket talk viewers and listeners and myself when we're talking about overkill, we're talking about a single page of content versus overkill as like flooding the market with a ton of content. Correct?

Christopher Zook 4:27
Right. Yeah. So that's, that's a great distinction to make. This is a this is a laser kind of strategy. It's not a shotgun strategy, you want to go super narrow, super specific.

George Thomas 4:36
So when you're thinking about creating this content, overkill page, or resource, if you will, you started to mention some of the things that they might want to have in there like video, maybe even podcast episodes, but as somebody who is creating content, what does your mind go into as far as like the supporting role of other pieces of content in that content? Or is there a frame work when you're building that overkill page that you're kind of paying attention to where things would go.

Christopher Zook 5:05
Yeah, absolutely. So there is a good framework to use and kind of, I think there are two different steps to the framework. And the first is that content over code works really well for the kind of pillar page, or hub and spoke model of content where you want to have a centralized area that really goes into a lot of detail about one topic, and then spreads out into different applications of that topic. So you know, if you're a marketing agency, you have a pillar page. That's what is Seo. And then off of that you have, you know, SEO for dentists, SEO for other small businesses, enterprise businesses, and things like that to get more specific, content overkill pages work really well to act as that central hub and a central pillar. In terms of the page itself. It's just super important to get all of the different varieties of content presented in a way that will let someone find them quickly. So the way that that can typically work out is that you have your standard heading, you have an introduction that's in text, the right after that initial introductions, you present the video Right after that video, you present the graphic right after that graphic, you go into the body of the text. And for the body of the text, you want to hit it so hard, you want to get into that range of like 25 to 3000 words even to make sure that you know if Wikipedia has something on this topic that you're going to go out swinging so hard that you can be Wikipedia.

George Thomas 6:19
I love this idea because there could be something where you just want to do a normal pillar page because there's not a lot of competition and in my mind, I'm laughing inside because I'm, I'm imagining an overkill button where like you have the page and like overkill mode activated, right? And now all of this stuff kind of flushes out and it starts to build in there. And I like that you referenced you know, 25 5000 10,000, maybe 15,000 words depending on what you need to tell the story. Now here's where it gets a little bit nerdy this question. I'm curious because I think the sprockets ears the viewers and listeners are going to wonder how do I know a it's a supercar Competitive topic be How can I diagnose what my competitors are doing? So that I understand what the heck overkill mode is for that specific page? Because I think over overkill mode is different, depending on a bunch of different metrics, so what should they be paying attention to?

Christopher Zook 7:17
Yeah, absolutely. So the first way to figure out if you have a content overkill applicable topic, just do a search for a keyword that you know is going to work for your business. So and I find that for content overkill, because you are going to go so big, you don't have to necessarily stick to longtail keywords to make that happen. You can even go a little bit into fat head keywords even like what is question titles, the ones that are super top of funnel, but the ones that will still kind of introduce your brand to people so that they can walk with you through the customer journey. But the first step is just to look and to do a search for it and to use your keyword research tools, whichever one you like to get an idea about how competitive that environment actually is. So this is going to tell you two things, and the first big thing is that you're going to see all of the different names of people who show up in search results. So you have a better idea about who you're going to be competing against. Because regardless of what industry you're in, there are going to be some ubiquitous websites and ubiquitous content creators that you'll wind up competing against. Even within that competition. They're not gonna steal sales from you, but they will steal prospects from you, because they'll teach someone about that topic before you will. And the one that I mentioned that's most common is Wikipedia. For the keyword research tool, I think you're going to be looking for it's just how difficult it is to break into that keyword. So a lot of keyword research tools will give you kind of just like a low mid high, some of them may give you a number from zero to 100. But the thing to look at is that you want to make sure that it's in that high range, because if it is in that higher range, then you know that you're gonna have to pull out all the stops to actually break into the search results. If you're in lower mid, you can probably do something that's a little more along the lines of like, you know, Rand Fishkin philosophy on a 10 x page or a standard pillar page that HubSpot talks about or you know, Brian deed skyscraper content is another good fit for that kind of thing. But if you really are thinking about using content overkill look for that high indicator or that, you know, 90 plus difficulty level or something along those lines to really break into it.

George Thomas 9:15
So Chris, if the sprocket tears are viewing or watching this, and they're like, well, crap, I don't have a favorite keywords tool. What are maybe one, two or three key words tools that you would suggest for them to use when they're doing this research phase?

Christopher Zook 9:28
Sure. So the the Google Ads research tool is always a great one. That's the one it's just free. If you have a Google account, you can sign up for it. And it's it's really easy to use and really quick to use. My personal favorite is sem rush, that is a paid tool. It's a gets the job done, and it provides a lot more of that deeper information that you may need. Uber suggests is another good one that is currently published and maintained by Neil Patel, I think which is great. He's a guy who knows all about that kind of stuff. He's exactly the person you want to be hosting cool like that. And that's up RS, Ugg St. And then my last favorite one, which is another paid tool is a href, which is a competitor to sem rush, who they just generally do a great job in terms of indexing and presenting information in a really clear way.

George Thomas 10:13
I love that. So I don't want to dive deeper into this research part, because I think this is really the important part. And that is, Chris, what do you think the role of the actual competitors pages and taking time to research what is on those pages? And the conversations is in there? Like when you do that a? Should they be doing that? And if they're doing that, what are they looking for? How are they kind of thinking? Well, because it says this, I'm going to do that type scenario of researching that competitor pages to build that overkill page.

Christopher Zook 10:46
Yeah, so that's a great question and a big way. Well, actually, first of all, yes, you do want to do that research. Because what that's going to do, you're going to be able to jump into multiple competitors pages, and that's going to give you a great opportunity to compare what they're presenting. Information wise. So say you go into competitors a page, and you see that for a topic, they're talking about certain details certain, you know, methodologies, you know, maybe if they're talking about how to rank organically and they talk about getting backlinks, but they don't necessarily talk about the content that's on a page, you go to another competitor, competitor B, and they are talking about content. But there's nothing about getting backlinks to a page in that one. So you know that there are two different avenues that someone can go and there, but they're not being presented the entire case on either one of your competitors. So what you can do with that is take that information and say, instead of having someone have to jump from between two of my competitors pages, or websites, or what have you, I'm going to aggregate all of this information into one place so that by the time someone finishes reading this page, watching this video absorbing this graphic, they're going to go from zero to expert in in just one page. And that's really the goal is that you know, content overkill has a lot of competitive benefits. The number one benefit is to the person who is experiencing the content. Because they're going to be able to take those, whether it's a 32nd video or a 10 minute read time on a page, and they're going to become educated in something that they previously knew nothing about.

George Thomas 12:11
Yeah, it's funny because when I hear you talk about that part, I really pay attention to that. Probably, maybe, and maybe not on purpose, but most of the competitors in your space are probably telling the story that's best for them. And when you're creating this overkill page, you're actually in my mind, I think I'm a little bit older, some of this rocket tears are gonna understand this reference, some may not but that Choose Your Own Adventure books, right? where it was the entire story, in a book, not part of the story, the entire story, and then having that overkill page where they can kind of choose their own adventure to learn everything they need to know to make a smart decision when it comes to the thing that is for their business. So as we kind of close out this 15 minute strategy podcast because you know, I should have named it like 55 minutes or something like that, but we went with 50 minutes so people can get in and get back to work. My question for you is, what are the major hurdles that you've seen people have faced when trying to create these overkill pages? And how can we kind of cut that off at the past and help them either mindset wise or technically wise, really make this happen for their company?

Christopher Zook 13:17
Sure, the number one biggest obstacle and I promise, it doesn't matter what your job title is, or what your position is, at a company, the number one biggest obstacle you're going to face is time investment. This is this isn't going to be just a blog that you can knock out in two hours, this is going to be something that's going to take 816 if you want to go all the way through and do a really thorough page into a video into a podcast and make the graphics and make the other images that accompany the section headings and all kinds of things. If this is a big time investment, you have to be willing to put that time in and make this a priority and accept the fact that it might be a little bit of a risk, because at any time your competitor could be doing the same thing. So you have to go and confidently as best you can and say I'm going to take the time to do this right. So that by The time you publish it two years later from now you look at the traffic and the and the conversions on that page and you say, I'm really glad I did that. As for everything else, the biggest format, or I'm sorry, the biggest issue is just kind of how to format everything. Because how do you make it clear to someone that you have their preferred learning mechanism, or they're learning format on a page. And that goes back to kind of what I was talking about before, I really encourage everyone to, you know, stick to that title h1 text, that kind of structure that you would use in a regular pillar page and use that again, on a content overkill page. Use section headings. Every time there's a new idea presented, you add keywords to the section headings, and not just the keywords in your title, but related keywords, Latent Semantic Indexing keywords, things that when Google picks up on it, they'll say, I can recommend this in a couple other search results too. It's not just about one keyword. The other big thing is to use graphics, because I have a background in journalism. And one thing that I can tell you about journalism is that they were the first ones to understand that People cannot read walls of text. That's why USA Today has 10,000 photos plastered all over the newspaper above the fold. And then you have other ones like the washington post that are a little more old school that present just a wall of text, it's really hard for the human mind to take in that much black and white and to make sense of it, because it's so taxing on your brain to just read, read, read, read, read, read, read. So if you can break that up with some images, and especially maybe you know, a smaller video here, a shorter video there, it's really going to help your reader under or your watcher, for that matter, understand what's going on and be able to break it up a little more easily. And the last thing to say is, this is the most important part, at the bottom of that page, have a call to action that puts somebody into your funnel and presents a conversion opportunity, because these are the people who are really paying attention. If they got to the bottom of that page. They are interested in what you're selling, I promise you, they may not buy from you. But I can tell you that if they took the time to read through 10 minutes of text or to watch a six minute video, they definitely want to hear from you. So add a call to action at the bottom of that page, add a call to action to the end of that video. Do what you can to make sure that the people who experienced that page get in your funnel as quickly as possible.

George Thomas 16:10
Yeah, definitely one thing I'll add probably want it sounds like with this long piece of content, a table of contents at the top so they can easily scan the sessions that they would want to get to. But I will say it's Rocketeers, we've reached the rewind point you might be thinking but George's the ending point. Actually, I told a white lie. I have another question. But you should rewind that section because it was dense with information about key words and the header sections and the semantic keywords and all of that it is really important to make it successful because you don't want to spend all this time and all this work and not do it in a way that's going to be successful when you're finished. But this is my question that kept coming to my mind as you were explaining that is is it a have to create it all and launch it or Can this be built out in phases so that maybe over a week? A week or two weeks or a month, it goes from being something that was 1000 words to 3000 words that 10,000 words and you're adding a video in later or after the fact or does it just have to be like, nope, we're building this big project and launching it. What say you, Chris?

Christopher Zook 17:16
Yeah, it can be either. Or if you build the whole thing from bottom up, and you have a completed, you know, kind of content overkill page ready to go at launch, that's great. You're going to be putting your best foot forward there in terms of when Google first indexes that page. And Google can see like, this is a wealth of information. I'm going to start ranking this high right away. But if you really do have that time constraint, like I was saying, time is the biggest barrier to entry for anything, especially a strategy like this. If you're strapped for time, start off with that 600 word blog post. And then, a week later, add 600 more words and add a couple section headers a week after that add 600 more a week after that at 600 more and then start writing up the script to a video. You can definitely do this incrementally because the wonderful thing about Google search algorithm and Every search engines algorithm is that it recalls your website, the more you update your website and the more regularly you update your website. So if you can kind of keep that momentum going after you initially publish, you can still use this strategy and you can break it out over multiple weeks, even months if you're really strapped for time and still find success.

George Thomas 18:19
Love it Chris. if people have questions if they want to reach out to you, where do you want to send them?

Christopher Zook 18:24
Yeah, you can email me at Chris at impulse creative comm you can connect with me on twitter at CZ Okay. 88 at cs 88. And you can look me up on LinkedIn at Christopher DS look

George Thomas 18:36
so sprockets yours remember, pay attention to your competition and the content they're creating figure out if it's time to activate overkill mode for your content. And while you're doing that, we'll be waiting for you on the next episode. Did you enjoy this episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast? We'd love to know leave a rating and written review wherever you listen to your favorite shows and keep that learning going by visiting sprocket talk comm sign up for your free membership and in that membership area you can find bundled episodes where we combined like strategies to help you grow better make the world better and share this episode with your friends and co workers who may be battling this same obstacle. You can always reach out to George B. Thomas on Twitter with questions or guest suggestions or just to talk about your favorite Marvel superhero and go out into the world and leverage this strategy for your success. And we'll see you on the next episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast.