Heidi Cohen Interviews Mark Masters
New book: The Content Revolution
You have to go deep.
You have to read wider (not just within marketing but human behavior).
You have to look at the world and be relentlessly curious.
The areas that we are looking to build a reputation within, we have to discover and interpret a different story to the rest of the marketplace. Whether it’s SEO, writing or social, people have to show a depth of understanding in order to differentiate.
If you can provide fact, experience and opinion within your particular field, and do it with depth, you can redefine a category.
According to a BuzzSumo/Moz report from over 1 million articles, 85% of content published in less that 1,000 words. Long form and longer thinking wins. We don’t necessarily live in a world today where 750 words is the magic number.
If you can find a responsibility for what you do and deliver it to an audience who believe, this is far stronger than thinking you have to have an opinion about everything.
Right value to the right audience will always win.
Q: What was the inspiration for The Content Revolution ?
My reading was always taking me to the US, particularly when it comes to modern marketing and adopting a content marketing approach.
It made me realize that there were few books from the UK that gave a stamp from across the Atlantic. There are some great books out there such as Valuable Content from Sonja Jefferson and Sharon Tanton, but there wasn’t a book that provided an overall perspective for how businesses need to adapt and take control of the spaces that were theirs.
I am not familiar with brands such as Zappos, I wanted to provide an angle that people could relate to.
Q: What is the key concept behind your book?
The focus is on this idea of control and building a voice of authority. Why do businesses still rely on borrowing audiences from someone else to have access, and shout as loud as they can to interrupt and be heard over everyone else?
Businesses need to perfect what they know and become media companies in control of their own network where they have the ability to deliver a consistent message to a targeted audience through a preferred channel, in order to inform, challenge and entertain.
Q: What do you want readers to take away from your book
The target audience for the book are people who acknowledge that change is happening within the marketing industry and provides a filter for where they are and what they need to consider.
If there is one thing I want someone to take away, that is confidence. Never before have we had the ability to have a scaled direct relationship with an audience.
Our predecessors from a generation ago have embedded into us the need to sell. This is how we survive, this is how we have made our businesses recognized as acceptable by having the ability to tell everyone how good we are and why people need our products. We still see this now on social channels where people are adopting old behavior in new spaces.
Most businesses go into to them to sell from them, rather than learn and become part of the culture.
I want people to know that it’s ok to be vulnerable and to put them in spaces that they perhaps haven’t been before, from writing, to video, to audio, but it’s ok. The biggest investment today is time to understand the unwritten etiquette of the spaces we want to be part of.
Q: How do you describe yourself professionally?
That’s a good one. I am a marketer who believes that people can pay attention, rather than to continually have to pay for attention. My focus is an owned media approach for businesses to generate a central place for their universe ie. their website and create satellites that continually orbit, such a podcasts, events that are just as relevant as the central place. This is how we build authority, empathy and profitable action.
Q: What are 1-3 books that inspired your work/career?
- A grounding. Think & Grow Rich. I know it’s probably been said many times here before, but the areas covered in 1938 are still true today. For instance, there was a small group of us at Content Marketing World 2016, that decided to create a Mastermind group (it’s foundations are within this book)
- Where my journey into content marketing started. The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes. This book was published in 2008 and I took on the principal of education marketing.
Q: What is the biggest challenge that you’ve had to overcome?
In 2011 my business went through a very tough time. A relationship with a lucrative customer (over a period of three years) turned sour. Invoices were not getting paid, the amount of risk was growing and communication came to a complete standstill. The end result was huge solicitors bills and the customer went into liquidation. We didn’t receive a penny for what was outstanding (and still had a host of suppliers to pay). Things were pretty bleak five years ago.
The major lesson learnt, was that we rested on our laurels, thinking that the successes and ongoing work was enough to keep us competitive and on top. We lost our edge and the unwillingness to adapt and change became a costly lesson, but one that we can now look back on.
A by-product of failure is to accept responsibility and the impetus to innovate and be smart at serving your market intelligently. If businesses don’t adapt and commit to initiatives to develop, they fail, it is that simple.
Q: What’s something unusual or fun that most people don’t know about you?
I was a mascot for my local football club. AFC Bournemouth now play in the English Premier League, but there was a time when we were in the bottom league where I donned the bear costumer and became Cherry Bear. It was fantastic, I remember going to the away fans and counting the fans on my three handed paw. I could hide behind a mask (and the rest of the bear costume) and had the most fun in running up and down the touchline, high fiving anyone and hugging the players.
Q: Is there a piece of content or a marketing campaign that you’re particularly proud of?
I am particularly proud of what has been achieved with the Marketing Homebrew podcast.
This is a weekly show (every Friday) with Ian Rhodes and myself. We started from 0 in January 2015 and are now listened to in 60 countries. We have taken this to live podcast events and backs up this whole belief to have complete control of what we create and how we distribute. Consider myself having this ‘human cannonball approach.’
Our aim is not to be the equivalent of the BBC when it comes to production. Strength is from being better at business that uses content ie. a podcast, to connect deeper with others.
Q: Is there anything else that we haven’t covered that you’d like to share?
When it comes to building an audience today, no matter how slow you go, you cannot stop.
This idea of creating more content doesn’t mean you become a trusted source in your marketplace. More just means you can, it doesn’t mean it will lead to anything, apart from time you won’t get back. Even if you commit to two solid articles per month, whilst that month may look a small effort when compared to someone else who is in free flow three times a week but saying nothing, over time an asset base is continually growing.
The important aspect for all of us is to acknowledge that we need to find a process and a rhythm. When a magazine is published each month, if you are a subscriber, you know the day it is delivered. Similar to your business, if you have an audience who subscribe, it is your duty to serve and own the days that you are in front of someone else (from an email to print).
- Name: Mark Masters
- Company: The ID Group
- Book(s): The Content Revolution
- Twitter: @markiemasters
- LinkedIn: Mark Masters
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