Tyler Lessard on Content Marketing Strategies for 2020 & Beyond

In this 15-Minute Strategy Podcast episode, we talk with Tyler Lessard from vidyard.com about how to create an amazing content marketing strategy for 2020 and beyond.

Tyler walks us through what companies may not be doing, what they are doing now, and what they should be doing in the future as far as their content marketing strategy.

Tyler dives deep into the issue of multi-platform as well as multi-format and how to keep up without losing your mind.

He shares some tips, tricks, and thoughts along the way that will help your business in 2020 and beyond totally crush your content marketing strategy! 

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About the Expert

Tyler Lessard

Tyler is a Marketing, Product and Business Development executive with a passion for customer-centric problem solving, creative storytelling, and data-driven marketing. He has over 15 years of experience in B2B marketing, sales enablement, content marketing, brand and video. Currently a proud Vidyardian and activist in the movement to make B2B marketing great again. 


Full Transcript

Dan Moyle 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 podcast sprockets.

George Thomas 0:37
Here's It's your boy George B. Thomas. We're back for another episode of the 15 minute strategy podcast where well, you know, we talk about some strategy for about 15 minutes or so to try to get you to do better in business. Now. I'm excited today as always with this episode, because I have a friend we've created content together. I don't know if we've ever broken bread together but we've hung out and we've done Talk to a lot of nerdy things about video but today, we may talk a little bit about video but more on the deep end of the pool here in a minute Tyler Why don't you explain to the sprocket ears the viewers or listeners, who you are, what you do and where you do it.

Tyler Lessard 1:14
George Thomas, it is a pleasure to be here. As always, my name is Tyler Lazard. I'm the VP of Marketing here at vid yard. For those who don't know, vid yard is a suite of video technologies for businesses. We do video hosting and analytics, we do video optimization and personalization. We have tools for creating and sending one to one videos. It's a super exciting world. As you mentioned, I'm big into the world of video but here with my own team right now, I am just so focused on how we look ahead at 2020 and beyond and think about our own content strategy, as well as our inbound marketing for our audiences and how it's changing right now. Really excited about that and super excited to dive into the deep end of that topic.

George Thomas 1:54
Yeah, the deep end of the pool is always a fun place and believe it or not sprocket tears. This is coming off of the backbone Have another meeting that I was on. And I actually asked it was a discovery meeting, I asked the question, hey, what is your content marketing strategy look like? And they said, well, we're not doing content marketing. And I about lost my mind. Because as somebody who has been doing content marketing, since about 2012 2013, I was like, No, you got to be kidding me. Like there are those people out there. If you are a listener, and by the way, I'm not making fun of anybody. But if you're a listener, a viewer, and you don't have a content marketing strategy in place now, a that's the first step. But for those of you that have been doing this for a while, Tyler, when you talk about a content marketing strategy, what I want to do is get the foundational pieces on the board for the structures, where's the listeners, when you when you say content marketing strategy, there may be a perception of what they think so what is content marketing now? And then what I want to do is really get into what is you, your team, and everybody else, what should they be focusing as far as content marketing strategy moving forward? 2020 and beyond, if you will.

Tyler Lessard 3:02
Alright, let's let's get into it. So I'm going to start with not what is content marketing? Me, I'm gonna start with what is the what is the change on the problem that it's actually trying to solve. And I think the biggest thing that's happened over the last, you know, three 510 years is online audiences are now expecting to be able to consume and binge on on demand content, on their own time self directed to learn about what it is they want to learn about. It may be a high level topic related to your market, it may be about you as a specific vendor. It may be how you compare to others and what your pricing is. These are all things that, you know, 1020 years ago, people pick up the phone and talk to a real human being a sales rep imagine that to learn these answers. But nowadays, that's not their expectation. Everything should be at their fingertips in a digital environment. And that's really what content marketing is all about. It's about how do we take the information that we have, that sets us apart as an expert that helps people learn and understand and be truly helpful. To learn about our topic to answer the questions, they may be asking to surface the problems they may be facing. And then even right through to educating them on what we do, why we do it and how we can help. And if you, you know, go back five to 10 years, when content marketing really started to become mainstream, it really started with blogs, right. And again, most companies out there have a blog today, maybe the one you were just talking to doesn't yet and it's time to get going. But blogs are an amazing way. It's a you know, simple extension to your website, a place where you can consistently publish helpful content for your audiences. And you usually take in search engine optimization approach to it and think about, well, what are people searching for that I could answer on my blog? And when people Google that question, they land on your blog, they learn and your content is starting to educate and nurture them. And that was a great start to the world of content marketing, super helpful content for audiences. But the reality is today, people aren't just reading right, how people interact and express To interact with brands is changing. People are Yes, reading short form blogs. They're reading long form ebooks and guides. They're listening to podcasts while they're at work while they're at the gym while they're commuting into the office. They're watching videos like the one we're creating here, George, what we're doing right now is we are creating content. And so the world of content has gotten a lot broader over the last five years. And you need to be thinking about that of what are the key messages I want to get out there? What are the key questions I want to answer or topics I want to tackle? But then how do I bring those to life in different ways, not just with written blog posts, not just with long form ebooks. But with video content with audio content with graphics and interactive with customer stories with peer reviews. There's lots of different ways that it manifests itself today. And that's what I think is both the most intimidating for companies but also the most exciting opportunity as we look ahead at 2020 and beyond. Yeah, there's

George Thomas 5:52
so much in that section. A couple things that I want to point out and pull out for the sprocket tears The viewers and listeners is There are two major companies that have set this mindset historically for us, that's Google. Google is always having us understand that we can always search we can always learn we can always find. And so that's become a thing in our culture of like, that's just how we're built. Now, Netflix before Netflix, by the way, there was no bingeing, there was the people did not use the word as a verb to go binge something just for dessert. Right, right. Exactly. I want to binge on that pecan pie, baby. Right? But But now like, that's the thing and don't here's the thing, sprockets ears. Don't get upset with yourself because even big companies still get this wrong. Look, one of the things that makes me mad about Disney plus, is the fact that I'm watching the Mandalorian and I gotta wait till every Friday to watch an episode. I want to watch the whole season. It's freaking me out. But with that said, Stop and think about your content, your conversations. Can your consumer always be learning and can they be On the things that you need them to know, if the answer is no, then you've got to rewind and listen to what Tyler said, and really dive into what does that look like now, Tyler, you and your team, super smart. You're thinking about this from a future looking perspective, you're thinking audio, you're thinking video, you're thinking written, which by the way, those are the three major ways that people learn. I'm just saying people, you got to meet them where they're at, if they like to read, let them read, if they like to listen, let them listen, if they like to watch, as long as it's not creepy. Let them watch, right? Watch Tyler, when when you think about, I got all these pieces of content I got to create. And I live in a world where I got all these platforms that I've got to create for how does one like yourself, not lose their mind? Like how can you have a strategy around that?

Tyler Lessard 7:50
Yeah. Well, I mean, you're absolutely right, because you've got multiple forms of content you want to be delivering and you have more channels than ever to be, you know, creating that content for you've got your own website and your blog, you have social channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, depending on what's most relevant to your business, you've got your sales team who's using this. So there's a lot of opportunity there. But it can also be very daunting. So the way that I tend to think about it these days is to, you know, first and foremost, focus on the big topics and questions that you want to address or answer for your audience. So focus on those hero ones think about in your market. What are the biggest questions people are asking? What are the most prominent search terms they're looking for? What are the media's topics that you can cover within your business? And then focus on really nailing your content around those key themes? And that's where you can think about Okay, instead of this week writing three different blogs on three different topics. What if we focus on this one topic, and we go deep on a blog post, we create a short form video that explains it visually and add some character and some interest. We do a podcast episode with an expert who in the past Get who understands this topic. And maybe we even asked a customer to create a quick video about how they solve the problem and we get that content ready. And we focus in on nailing that topic in a multimodal world, and then leveraging those through different channels. And time and time again, I see that people get more value out of that approach than spreading themselves thin across a lot of different topics. So it's something that you can start to build as a muscle. But it also means you need to think about Do I have the capabilities internally to do this? Right? Do I have folks who can create the videos and publish them? If I don't? Do I need to hire a video producer? Or do I need to skill up the folks that are focusing on my content? And there's no right or wrong answer. It depends on you and your business. But more times than not you can absolutely level up and skill up the folks in your team today. And get them comfortable with creating different media and types of content focused on answering those key questions.

George Thomas 9:55
Yeah, I love that and sprocket tears. I'm gonna be the the Opposite of Mother Teresa for a hot second as well. Like one of the things that I want you to do, I want you to communicate long side of everything that Tyler just said, is sit down and figure out where you have the most profitability, what drives the most revenue, yo talk about that to show that in video, make a podcast about that make it rain, right? So you've got to have that content that they're searching for. That's, that's getting him in the gate. You got to have the content that helps them get through the door and give you that check, give you that money, give you that card. And with that said, Tyler, when you and your team sit there and think about the content marketing strategy that you're putting together for 2020 and beyond. Like, how does the funnel come into play? Or our marketer might say, how does the buyers journey come into play? Right? Like how Yeah, how is it as a bowl of spaghetti? How do you streamline that, like, What are you guys doing over a video to pay attention to that? Yeah, you're

Tyler Lessard 10:59
you're 100 On the right thread there, George, because it really is it ends up being a bit of a matrix that we manage our content around, we're thinking about what are the key topics that we want to address? What are the different forms of media, we want to address those through. And then we also have a dimension of the funnel stage or the stage and the flywheel or the buyers journey, whatever you want to call it, and ensuring that we are producing the right coverage of content to help people from you know sort of first touch awareness right through to their buying decision. Because I mentioned earlier, the reality is people aren't just self serving awareness level content and then calling up for a quote, right. You need to be able to offer content that walks somebody all the way through that buyers journey today and gets them ready for almost that close call with your sales team. And it depends on your market depends on your industry, it may be a little different. But we absolutely think about from a content perspective, what's helping us with generating shareability and awareness, things that aren't at all about VR, they're entirely about the questions people are asking. Then our mid level content Just starting to move a little bit further, I'll give you a perfect example we have a video series called video in focus. And that series is super top of funnel. I've had some amazing guests on the show people like George B. Thomas, talking about, you know, the sort of best practices and challenges around video. It's not about video art, it's about video and people expressing and sharing their their insights on video as a topic. Very shareable, very interesting for people whether or not they care about our brand. That's a lot of our top of funnel content, or mid funnel is that I do a series called chalk talks. And chalk talks go one level deeper, and they focus in on very specific topics that people who now go this is all interesting, I want to learn a little bit more about how to host videos or track videos or personalized videos. Then we have deep dive talk talks on each of those and they start to introduce you to our brand. The content is a split between general ideas and then and if you have a platform like VR, you can do a B and C as well. And so that's part of our content strategy. And then our content team is also producing things like competitive documents, blog posts, videos that compare us to our competitors, things that are used then at the lower stage when they're ready to start to make a buying decision. So again, the answer for every business is a little bit different. Where do you want to focus depends on where your gaps are, and where you're really focusing on driving improvements. But for us, we're absolutely mindful of that and thinking about are we creating at each stage, otherwise, you end up falling back up to the top and you're always creating top of funnel content and forgetting about those lower stages of the journey?

George Thomas 13:39
Well, believe it or not, Tyler, we're getting close to the 15 minute point of that two minute strategy podcast. I should have named this the 55 minute strategy vodcast dadgummit. But I do have one last question and that is, when when because some people are going to get started, some people are going to start to transition some people are already rethinking what they want to do. Actually, you know what I'm going to ask you two questions, but I'm going to ask them together and then you can just riff with them. And then we'll shut this thing off. The The first question I have is, what are one or two mistakes that you have seen or you yourself has have made in when you're creating content in that content marketing mentality? And then the second question that you can just flow right into is, what is the type of content that excites you or the way to deliver that content that excites you most moving forward?

Tyler Lessard 14:26
Oh, great questions as always, George, okay. The The first question, I think the mistake that a lot of people made that I've made in our team has made it is when you start to try new things, you know, new formats, new ideas, you don't necessarily give them enough time to mature and become natural, and to really prove whether or not they're going to work. For example, I've seen lots of companies start up a podcast and after five or six episodes, they stopped doing it because they feel like oh, this isn't for us, like nobody's listening. We couldn't quite get the format right. It felt really hard. Same thing with video right? They start creating videos. For their blog, and then they're like, oh, everyone, it takes too long. It's too hard. But the reality is when you start to get into that consistency of doing it, you know, three, six months later, it becomes just as natural and easy as other things that you're doing. So give yourself some time to learn to mature. And don't throw out new strategies too early on right now you got to experiment, you got to build these muscles. Maybe they won't pay off for a year or two from now, but you got to get going now, to your second question in terms of kind of neat new formats or ideas. The one thing I'm obsessed with right now is this idea of episodic branded series by by companies. You know, you've got sprocket talk, right? That is a great, you know, you are a Netflix series George, whether you know it or not, you are a Netflix series. You're a Disney plus series. You're a Hulu series, you're an HBO series, whatever you want to call it, but it's it's that mentality. We do a number of episodic series both in audio and video format. We're seeing lots of brands do that. And the really cool thing about that is when you create a series have content that has an overarching brand. It gives you new ways to promote it, you can promote individual episodes, those but you can also produce this amazing series that people get really emotionally attached to that as well as when people come in and enjoy one episode, they're more likely to continue engaging if they know that Oh, the next episode The next episode as opposed to random acts of content. So it's a really neat thing I'm seeing a lot of companies start to do and again you know, you don't have to go too far with it initially try it Tuesday tips or whiteboard Wednesdays and see how it goes for your own company.

George Thomas 16:32
I love that random acts of content creation don't do that. So Tyler if people want to connect with you, where do you want to send them?

Tyler Lessard 16:40
Yeah, you know you can please connect with me on LinkedIn. Tyler was started vid yard and I share most of my good findings and insights there. Check us out on on VR comm if you're interested in learning more about video and our video platform and by the way, if you do go to Video comm go to the learn button and you'll see we have You know the ultimate guides to video and marketing video and selling video production all ungated open free content for the world to consume. So if you want to learn more about how to make video a bigger part of your content strategy, check those out.

George Thomas 17:12
And if you're not using video, like it's about to be 2020, y'all but here's the thing. From this episode, I want you to pay attention to content, creating valuable content, your your customer, and the questions that they may be asking and as you think about all that as you get going or beef it up in the future. We'll be here waiting for you on the next episode.

Dan Moyle 17:34
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 Thomas on Twitter with question 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.