In this episode, Stacy sits down with brand journalist Don Simkovich of So Cal Content Marketing & Media. The two discuss the benefits of content marketing, and how you can engage audiences, establish rapport, and show expertise for both you and your company.
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- EP127: A Smarter, Faster Marketing Program With Sam Underwood | Futurety
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Stacy Jones (00:01):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones. The founder of influencer marketing and branded content agency Hollywood Branded. This podcast provides brand marketers a learning platform for top experts to share their insights and knowledge on topics which make a direct impact on your business today. While it is impossible to be well-versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom-line results, my goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes of time, energy or money whether you are doing a DIY approach or hiring an expert to help. Let’s begin today’s discussion.
Speaker 2 (00:31):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. Here’s your host, Stacy Jones.
Stacy Jones (00:36):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones. I’m so happy to be here with you all today and I want to give a very warm welcome to our guest, Don Simkovich of SoCal Content Marketing and Media. As a brand journalist, Don helps both B2B and B2C companies by writing blogs and books to better establish authority and higher levels of expertise with potential clients resulting in improved market position, new client relationships and faster sales.
Stacy Jones (01:03):
Don not only writes about marketing on his Medium blog platform, he also is the author of the fiction series the Tom Stone detective stories. He previously wrote and hosted a radio series for 22 years on global cultures and issues heard on over 700 nonprofit radio stations and has a wealth of knowledge to share today about brand journalism and content marketing. Today, we’re going to talk about creating engaged audiences, establishing rapport and helping you and your company prove expertise by using content marketing.
Stacy Jones (01:31):
We will learn what has worked from Don’s experience, what could be avoided and how some businesses are missing the mark. Don, welcome. So happy to have you here today.
Don Simkovich (01:40):
Hey, thanks, Stacey. Great to be here.
Stacy Jones (01:42):
Well, what I’d love to do and our listeners know I love content marketing. It’s the reason why as an agency we do a podcast, right? There’s so many different types of content marketing that are out there, but what I’d love to do is dive in and have you talk about how you got to where you are today. Now, you have your radio career but you are now a actual content writer for other people to help them amplify their voice. How’d you get here?
Don Simkovich (02:09):
That’s right. I think I’d have to go way back to the ’70s during Watergate. I was fascinated and actually, I grew up… I was a kid at the end of Vietnam War era and I watch the war on TV, on the NBC Nightly News, and you saw that unfold and I was fascinated by the coverage that I saw and I was intrigued and I was also saddened because I saw this horrific stuff happening but there was no way to be involved and somehow from that, to the politics of the 1970s, there was this desire to be where the action was.
Don Simkovich (02:53):
That really led me into journalism. For some reason as well, I mean, I like sports. I was growing up from the Pittsburgh area, big Pittsburgh Pirates fan, and Bob Prince who’s a legendary Pittsburgh Pirates broadcaster and I thought he’s got the perfect job. He can stay up late at night and go to baseball games, and so that kind of combination, it was, to me, there was something magical about communicating and growing up, even though I grew up in western Pennsylvania, at night on AM radio I would listen to WCFL out of Chicago and I thought, “Well, this is just fantastic.”
Don Simkovich (03:28):
So to me, it was always this, it was a bridging of cultures. I think it was that rapport building, at that time, I would… The fancy word now is rapport building. Back then to me, it was just fascinating that I could see these different parts of the world and see something that was happening. That involvement question was to me, like I said especially watching the news as a kid, it was like, I wanted to jump through my TV screen and rescue these people or [inaudible 00:04:04] the board. There was always something that it was like communicating was being where the action is.
Don Simkovich (04:10):
That always appealed to me, and I was interested at different aspects of communicating, done some acting and as well as journalism, and then marketing and I’ve got to look at it this way where say acting is you’re portraying life’s critical moments, journalism is your reporting on life’s critical moments, and marketing is you’re creating an involvement in critical moments. As you look at that today, where say a company, whether it’s a carpet cleaning company or a Fortune 500 company they interact with people at critical moments of their life.
Don Simkovich (04:51):
A carpet cleaning company may be called on December 20th to come in and clean the carpet at someone’s house for a holiday party at the last minute. Well, it’s critical to that customer and you have a lot of moment that’s like that. I think just kind of building on that has… It’s just, to me, it’s fascinating that you can write a word and have it mean something in someone’s mind or imagination, and then they take action off it. To me, it’s just a fascinating part of a human life.
Stacy Jones (05:25):
Your Medium is the written word more so nowadays, right?
Don Simkovich (05:29):
Stacy Jones (05:29):
So that is to your favor, you’re no longer on radio at the moment but you’re helping brands create content and companies through blogs or you also write books for them.
Don Simkovich (05:42):
Correct. Yeah. I have written, I don’t know, several hundred maybe a few thousand blog posts for different businesses of different sizes, brochures and that I’ve ghostwritten some books as well in, especially for a few health professionals. One, a dentist who was caring for oral cancer patients and in that there’s word choices you can make that have a certain sound or they evoke a certain image.
Don Simkovich (06:13):
One thing great about the written word is that to me, it’s a foundation. So even if you’re going to do video, you can talk off the top of your head but just even whether it’s an outline, you have to organize the information and there are certain word choices that may be seen as say like soft or that have a certain relational aspect to them. They sound very hard but there are a lot of ways… I think in writing, especially today because video is so easy to watch or podcasts are so popular, what place does the written word have?
Don Simkovich (06:57):
It still has a tremendous amount of meaning. One of the things I always say, I love video, go on YouTube a lot, watch things, but at the same time, I can skim a thousand-word blog post probably faster than I can watch a three or four-minute video and, but the video reinforces what I just read. If you use, and images, of course, are very important. It’s really, I think today is not do I do video or do I do written blog post. I think it’s how well do I put all of these together so that I’m creating a relationship with my audience.
Stacy Jones (07:43):
Well, back in 2012, we started writing blogs for our agency. It started off, it’s not easy for companies to write blogs. That’s why obviously people hired you to come in because either you have the executive writing blog who’s the owner of it or you’re trying to mine this out to team members on the staff to write it and have them be in the right voice. There’s a big art to getting it to done, getting it from in the head onto the page, right?
Stacy Jones (08:14):
It took us a number of years. We have, I just want to give this testimonial to show for what Don can bring to a business is monumental. Back in 2012, one blog a week. It was barely hitting the radar but we did it and we were tenacious. We increased it to three blogs a week, increased it to five blogs a week. Now, 2020, we have well over 25,000 people who read our blogs on a monthly level [inaudible 00:08:41] time period, and some companies might have hundreds of thousands but we’re a niche agency. We don’t necessarily need hundreds of thousands of people.
Stacy Jones (08:49):
What was cool about it is we were able to take all of that content that we made year after year and we’re able to repurpose it. As Don, you were just saying whether it was the written word or a video, we’re able to turn those written words into podcasts, into videos, into infographics and repurpose and keep it going. What you do has so much opportunity for a business to level it up.
Don Simkovich (09:13):
It really does. Yeah. I love strategic planning, and I have a master’s degree from USC, the Annenberg School of Communication and I enjoy that foundational part. The idea of getting the message down and interviewing the client and finding out what do they really bring to their business? Often it begins with their why. It begins with who they are as a person, especially at the smaller level, but it can also certainly be at the corporate level.
Don Simkovich (09:46):
It really is delving into who they are as a person, why they’re in the profession that they are, how do they help people? It’s going through all of those questions, but then it’s like you create this big picture. You have all of this material that’s available to you, and then once you have that, now you’re ready to really put that into place as you know and that discovery session, it took me a few years. I mean, I call it a personal focus group is when I’m sitting down with someone and I want to know, why are you doing this? Why are you a chiropractor? Why are you in finance? Why are you building a car dealership? Whatever it may be.
Don Simkovich (10:29):
What’s your driving passion? I mean, certainly, we all want to make money with it but there’s something that you’re going to deliver to a customer or a client. One person actually that comes to mind is a person I know. I worked with him on articles for LinkedIn on a handful of them but he was passionate about integrity. He worked with, he was in the private banking industry and that concept really was very important to him.
Don Simkovich (11:05):
I saw that we could look at the concepts or the things that are really important to a business owner or what makes your product or service so valuable to people. I had a stint for a couple of years. I went out of, stepped out of marketing role and into sales for Home Depot a long time ago and I sold roofing, my only sales job. It was like, the joke is people get into marketing because they don’t know how to sell, and on the one hand, I could say it’s probably true, but I learned a great deal that people really wanted to work with the big orange apron and that the big-box store. They really wanted that brand, they wanted, but they also, when you went to their home, they wanted to work with you as a salesperson or as an individual.
Don Simkovich (11:59):
There was this dual role of you weren’t just… At that moment, you stepped in the door you really were no longer Home Depot, you were Don or you were Brenda or you were whoever you are as that salesperson. Now, you’re building a personal rapport. I think that really is where content marketing goes today. We live also, especially in Southern California in an informal society. The idea of people want to be say professional, which is obviously it’s true. We want people to trust us with their business and their buying decisions, but there’s so much that we can bring out in a personal way that I think it’s just never been true in the past.
Don Simkovich (12:46):
We’re human beings who live holistic lives and we have hobbies and we have our own dreams and aspirations. I think letting those things come out as a business owner or as someone who is responsible for marketing of their company that connects with people. We’re finding everything that where that connects or builds rapport with your potential audience, and I’ve got a number of examples just from the top of my head but like say, for example, I mean, a chiropractor who I’ve written for.
Don Simkovich (13:23):
One of the big things with our personal health is not having lots of inflammation. You can talk about what it’s like to look for foods that are anti-inflammatory. I think on the corporate level, one company that’s done well kind of with this relational aspect is Honda. The helpful Honda. I mean, on the one hand, coming out… I worked a lot with some small nonprofits and the Helpful Honda is like, okay, it’s like there are plenty of nonprofits that probably do better than what you guys do but they really capitalized on this desire in our society to have friends and a community, and we want to be helpful with each other.
Don Simkovich (14:08):
I mean, they ultimately want to sell cars but that really is a great example of some content marketing just for the story. So and so had this problem and Helpful Honda stepped in and now we’re going to make your dreams better. They can do that, whether it’s on camera, in a written word or in all aspects. But whatever… In other words, we connect with each other at so many different levels.
Don Simkovich (14:33):
You’re not just an attorney, you might be an attorney who wants to be a novelist or you’re an attorney who enjoys the sports or hiking or whatever it may be. Bring out those real-life parts of yourself and people really can begin to relate to who you are.
Stacy Jones (14:53):
I just had someone on as a guest and [Mark Donegan 00:14:56]. We were talking about B2C marketing, B2B marketing and he said that he really likes H2H marketing. I think this fits in with what you’re saying as well. It’s human to human. That’s what resonates now with people, content marketing allows you to do that because you have a voice when it’s on paper, you can hear it in your head when you’re reading it, and you’re picturing who that individual is. You’re deciding if you like them or you don’t like them, and as you’re deciding you like them and you trust them and they seem smart or they seem funny or they’re the lawyer that’s throwing out that sport antidote that you just referenced.
Stacy Jones (15:32):
You are actually becoming part of the trust system where you are seeing them as an expert and you are getting ready to be more ready to purchase from them and buy from them and become a customer from them.
Don Simkovich (15:49):
Yeah. You really are. One of the things I wrote, what I wrote about this, ghostwrote a book for a dental specialist, a prosthodontist who works with oral cancer patients. I mean, he has a wide range but we wrote a book specifically for this one audience segment and I wrote in the foreword just about the early years where he grew up with his parents who ran a small grocery store in Beverly Hills. What that taught him about customer relations and about people and dah-dah-dah-dah, and then we took that really as going into then talking about taking people on a tour of the mouth et cetera, but there really is…
Don Simkovich (16:34):
Yeah. That personal aspect I think can’t be overrated. The other is I had a client that was an automation association and dealing with robotics and industrial technology which can sound kind of boring. But, in fact, I have good… Another example of the company that may have sound what is like a boring product but you think about that what robotics does, it can certainly put products out faster with baby zero production flaws, but can also robots can save people’s lives.
Don Simkovich (17:07):
They can save workers from bad backs and carpal tunnel syndrome, all of those kind of things. You’re bringing in that aspect and that was to motivate people to become a member in this particular trade association. A client that I wrote for has sold this old office furniture, desks, chairs. I was like, “Okay. How much can you save?” But when you bring that down and you think about it, and here’s where you can get creative, is what do these products really do?
Don Simkovich (17:42):
I mean, a desk, you sit at a desk, you and I are sitting at desks now. We have our laptops on it, et cetera, but they really make you able to… They make you able to function and it’s that… They have a functional aspect but they’re not there to be noticed but they’re there, but without them, we wouldn’t be able to run a business. They make our lives easier. Then, also a chair that say is like organically designed well or a desk that’s height-adjustable, all of these things.
Don Simkovich (18:16):
I mean, they can help save our backs. They can help save our muscles and knees and arms from straining, and so you get into all this, and then not only that but here’s where I kind of get excited with marketing is one thing really can lead to another. For a company, they could say, “We make this boring product what can we say about it?” But they could also cross-promote with chiropractic, that company that makes ergonomic or sells ergonomic furniture, could cross-promote with various health professionals, chiropractors whoever it may, massage therapists or something.
Don Simkovich (18:54):
Interview them and I think that’s really where we have just… It begins to open up your world a great deal. Then, again, that gets back to the customer experience and who you are as a company, as a person, et cetera. But it really is… That’s kind of the fun of content marketing is to say, “Let’s look at your product. Let’s look at your service.” What does it really do for people? How do they really benefit from it? What are the problems that they’re having?
Don Simkovich (19:30):
It’s kind of that empathy with the customer and I think just kind of tossing that in, kind of came to mind is I think kind of a mistake that companies might make is we have a tendency to want to talk about ourselves. Hey, I’m a great guy. I can do this for you. I mean, think of a bank. Hey, a bank, maybe that’s been around since the 1870s. We survived the depression, we’re a safe place for your money, but nobody really cares necessarily that maybe you started in 1874, that’s great but what can you do for me?
Don Simkovich (20:08):
We really do want to know and I think the internet certainly, in the last few years, several years has just… I think it’s maybe always been the case but I think at the same time now people get on, they’re searching for an answer to their problem. They want a solution and they want it now. They want to find out who can provide that.
Don Simkovich (20:30):
That’s where blogging and that’s where content marketing really comes in because if you can hook them and in all the information that they have available to them, now you can begin to speak to them, and they can say, “Ah. I can begin to trust this company or this person or let me take a closer look.” Then, if they can relate to who the person or the people in the company and how well do I maybe identify with these people, do they care about me? Do I care about them? Rather than just clicking off and going on to the next blog. Then, you really begin to, you build a fan base, you build an audience that way.
Stacy Jones (21:11):
Yeah. What you said about Helpful Honda, I mean, that’s what you’re bringing to blog content. People are not looking to read boring things as you mentioned online. I mean, we all have enough manuals that we could read around our house if that’s really what we wanted to do. We don’t need to read something about a company praising themselves and how fantastic they are and going to that but what we are looking for is that Helpful Honda moment or education that’s going to solve a problem that we have.
Stacy Jones (21:41):
That’s the key on all things with content marketing where it’s successful. When you’re working with a new client and I know you said you sit down and you start this one-on-one brainstorming with them, how do you get to that next step of the plan of this is our content strategy plan, this is the direction we’re going to go, this is what we’re going to craft?
Don Simkovich (22:06):
Yeah. The steps in it, like I said I think it really begins with the questions that I asked and I really do want to know their why and what drives them and what’s right, and having a good mission statement, and a good vision statement as a company is really helpful. If a company doesn’t have one or a small brand even then, you’re missing maybe one important thing.
Don Simkovich (22:34):
I could go out and I could make up things. I’m creative enough. I have enough experience. I’ve lived long enough to be able to go out but really to know what the core, and that’s really where you want to get back to so the company that sells ergonomic furniture. They do it because they are good at what they do, they know it really well, they know all the features of the laminate and the thickness and all of these things, but really what it does is it really helps someone to function.
Don Simkovich (23:08):
It could help a corporation. It could help a small company and the office is a dynamic place. I want to pull out all of those little nuances and maybe things that the client hasn’t really thought of. Then, put that together. I just, I really enjoy that process, and then having all of these highlights and get all this information and this data that’s available.
Don Simkovich (23:36):
Then, I look at what competitors are doing too. Just, and of course, it’s so easy, it doesn’t take, just you get on to find out what are, whether their direct competitors… A good example is I helped a very small furniture manufacturing outfit. This was a different one, several years ago. The founder had left the corporate world buying, as a buyer for in the fashion industry. It was going in to create furniture that is, didn’t give off terrible gas, everything else like the stuff you would buy at IKEA. Sorry IKEA.
Don Simkovich (24:16):
But she was making this, again, she’s finding a specific need in the marketplace, and then crafting custom furniture. We sat down, and then one of the… say, “Wouldn’t it be a direct competitor,” because it was a larger company in her space, and I looked at their content to see what they were saying and to see what she was saying and looking at the similarities, and then the differences and even looking where it’s like, “Okay. Here’s the things that you know, that you’ve experienced that haven’t.”
Don Simkovich (24:51):
It is important to look at yourself, to look at certainly, obviously, the needs. Why would people buy from you? Then, to look at what do the competitors say if they say anything, and then also your industry association, really what are the best practices? If you can cover those four areas, what drives me? Why am I doing this? Why did I either found… start this company? What is our mission and our vision? That’s critical.
Don Simkovich (25:21):
Then, that next part, what else is in the marketplace? What do people have access to? But then, and don’t overlook industry associations. They do all this research. They provide all of this information. What are their best practices? Do we, as a company, meet or exceed those best practices?
Don Simkovich (25:38):
One of my clients is a roofing company and, again, I mean, that years ago. I sold roofing to Home Depot. There’s no correlation between them. I just say, “Hey, guess what? [crosstalk 00:25:52] I had a sales job. But [inaudible 00:25:56] Home Depot was that, I just thought a roof is a roof but there is… I mean, Home Depot is good enough, they had the resources to put it in their marketing. Obviously, a nice presentation, all of these things and what a roof really meant to a homeowner.
Don Simkovich (26:10):
Now, that I’m working with this, I know the different manufacturers but the manufacturers themselves have standards. Well, this particular client of mine can meet or surpass those manufacturing standards. Which is a really big deal, which builds trust, which says, “Hey, we can feel a homeowner or his business could feel comfortable in hiring this person to do their roof because… You’re going to shell out thousands of dollars and we want to make sure the job is going to get done right, and if there are any problems that we can turn to you et cetera, et cetera.”
Don Simkovich (26:46):
Once you have all of those things down, now you’ve got your background information. You’ve done the prep work at this point before you can really… I think before you want to just jump in to start creating or write it. Now, it’s like, “Okay. Let’s take the audience whether it’s a reader for a blog, if you are on YouTube, where are we going to take them? What are their needs and where is the start to finish?”
Don Simkovich (27:19):
Obviously, when companies start on content marketing, they’ll typically, it’s going to be indefinite until their blog goes out of date or their YouTube channel or whatever that maybe, but the idea is we’re just going to do this indefinitely. I’m just a firm believer in an editorial calendar. I don’t care how simple is or it could be complex but just having a guideline that maybe if you blog and I recommend for a small business, I think once a week is good. You can do a lot in two to three times a week but to be honest, once a week, a well-written blog post in these days you’re looking at maybe 1000 to 2000 words that’s comprehensive.
Don Simkovich (28:04):
That is the best in its industry on that particular topic goes a long way. It really does. [inaudible 00:28:14] might be safe for what I was writing the robotics blogs for the Automation Association that industrial marketing, something to do with that… For them that was like week one, maybe talking about the benefits of membership in their organization. But I would do some stories on this member again this much.
Don Simkovich (28:33):
Then, the second would be on the factory floor. Here’s an industrial automation. There’s a story from a worker who saved their wrists or their back because of the use of robotics. Then, week three, looking at consumer automation. Consumer automation is, of course, around the home or in the car has become a huge topic. Then, week four, advocacy. What laws and so forth would come in?
Don Simkovich (29:04):
Now, you’ve got your background information, your editorial calendar is you’re, they’re really your guidepost or your pillars to creating good content. I write fiction as well and in our blogging for our novels, I mean, I just kind of created this editorial calendar for those as well. Week one, being to look at maybe crime authors. Week two, being to look at criminals of history [inaudible 00:29:36] for example.
Don Simkovich (29:37):
So, anyone that’s really the crime, they could follow, and maybe they don’t see that progression but there’s going to be something of interest and there’s going to be something that you can hit on so no matter what your industry is, and I always say to me, real estate agents have it great. When it comes to… I think very few take advantage, full advantage of content marketing as they can so whether you own a brokerage or whatever, you’ve got access to neighborhoods, people’s…
Don Simkovich (30:03):
I mean, you’re talking about their finances and their investment dreams, I mean, everything from bars and restaurants, to schools, and commute times, and so all of that, and so if you can organize it through editorial calendar, now it gives you a reason to then look at your customer and your audience. How then… This week, what’s the need of my customer? What’s the need of the audience?
Don Simkovich (30:33):
So with week one, you have it set up where it’s like, “Hey, I’m going to look at the quality of a neighborhood.” Or week two, entertainment value, and living in this part of Los Angeles or Chicago or wherever it may be. Then, week three, how do I safeguard my investment or how much should I spend to fix up my home before I sell it?
Don Simkovich (30:54):
You have a framework. That framework, without a framework creativity is far more difficult. But once you’ve got that framework, and then you can be creative, and then you can begin to put these together. Now, we’re bringing it down, we’re to creating the written or the video content or whatever it may be, then you can, now you can critique that. Does this speak to the customers that really said from their perspective, “Am I standing in their shoes?”
Don Simkovich (31:22):
Now, we’ve come down to here. Now, at the end of that, progression is what am I going to leave them with? Now, that I’ve written this, what do I want from them? Maybe have them call me for an appointment or download the infographic or the latest great report. That really is just from the written content. Once they download that, now they’ve taken a step so that whole progression we’ve done from creating your foundation, and then into having that structure to create, and then now creating it and getting it down to where you want them to take action.
Don Simkovich (31:59):
If you can get through those phases and do that consistently, then you can get in, then you can generate quite a bit because it allows you to think and as… When I’m working with a client, it allows me, it gives me freedom to think. I mean, I get paid for what I create, right? But I mean I might be out walking and all of a sudden I get an idea for a client.
Don Simkovich (32:23):
I mean, in a sense, I’m always on the clock but I love it. Because if I know where they’re headed, then I can let my mind just kind of go and ideas will pop in. Then, I can do the best for them.
Stacy Jones (32:36):
Having the editorial calendar also can do two other things. One, it can allow you to actually… There’s a phrase called blog to book. You can actually, if you outline and you calendar out, you can write a book by the time you are done because you are figuring your topics and you’re walking through that plan, and then secondly, you can also figure out how to optimize because this is what blogging is so magical for with companies and its fantastic.
Stacy Jones (33:04):
With ours, we don’t pay for Google AdWords. We don’t do any Google advertising because I know that pretty much anytime someone looks at product placement and different keywords we have for several endorsements and influencers, and so forth, we’re going to be on page one. It’s all about keywords. You don’t necessarily want to write to your keywords but you want to be able to encapsulate and organically include keywords that people are going to be typing in long tail keywords and landing on your content to find you.
Stacy Jones (33:35):
It’s not just about blogging so what’s on your website, if someone visits my website they’re going to read about me. You want them to actually do a google search and find you right away based on what you’re writing.
Don Simkovich (33:46):
Absolutely right. It’s really part of a strategy and so this idea… There was occasionally over the years I would watch the David Letterman Show and from years ago, there was a kind of an article that was written on them. It seemed kind of like goofy and off-the-cuff, but it was pretty well structured and scripted, so some of the fun or maybe there were things that a lot of things that were improvised but they had… Again, they had a framework that they worked within.
Don Simkovich (34:16):
So something that seems very casual and appealing to readers, doesn’t just happen by accident. I think as a marketer yourself, we don’t always know… We don’t always have a guarantee of what’s going to hit and what’s not, but certainly having an editorial calendar, having a framework, and then knowing why do people buy in my industry? What are they needing to solve and how well do I do that for them? Certainly, makes it far more possible, and so a blog isn’t just… Where did I… Where did I go today? We’ve really gone from, where did I have my lunch to now-
Stacy Jones (35:01):
That’s Twitter. That’s Twitter.
Don Simkovich (35:02):
That is Twitter. Right. Exactly. Now, it really is, it’s a deliberate effort. I think the other thing and just saying that too, the other, kind of the mistake that I see, I have known companies to make and whether small or large is often, look at this platform, so what do I put up, how much should I put up on Facebook? Should I use Twitter? Should I use LinkedIn? Should I use Pinterest or whatever it may be, and certainly, that’s not the first question, that comes later.
Don Simkovich (35:29):
The first question is what do I want to say or really maybe the first question really is what’s bothering people, my customer, potential customers or what do they want to achieve and how does my company help them achieve that? Once that, again, then you build out your content, and then you could look at what are these different platforms, and even there are subtle differences as you know between Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest or YouTube and whatever it may be.
Don Simkovich (36:03):
If you can just efficiently use each one, then you really begin to build a name for yourself and you begin to attract those, that fan base. Then, again, do that and you do it consistently and commit to doing consistently. You can go far with it.
Stacy Jones (36:26):
Well, what’s also great about social media and when you blog, now all of a sudden you have cool content for your social media platforms. It’s not even, you’re driving people back to the blog, you can put cool videos together, drive them back, you can put still images, drive them back until you got to them, but you can go in. Instead of doing just random advertising ads and saying, “Buy me. I’m doctor so-and-so or hey I have the best furniture ever, come here or buy my line.”
Stacy Jones (36:54):
It can actually be that educational content and you can boost and advertise behind it. You can actually target by geolocation or anything that you want for your ideal customer, your dream client, and get your content in front of them in a very authentic way that they’re more likely to click, read, and then potentially consider you versus just seeing you smiling there in your picture.
Don Simkovich (37:22):
Right. That’s absolutely true. I mean, I think it really points to, if you look at marketing holistically, and then you understand what are the nuances of Facebook, and then say Twitter or LinkedIn, we all want, really what it comes down to we want community. Facebook is really pushing Facebook groups. I mean, the Super Bowl ad with talking about Facebook groups not just using Facebook, but a few then as a brand can also then want to build a community around what you’re doing, then that even becomes so much more powerful. That’s the best of social media and today.
Don Simkovich (38:01):
I think the other is that look at all the little things you can do too with content marketing and I just… I actually just wrote an article, hopefully, they go live probably in a few days on Medium, but about using your invoice as a marketing tool to retain customers and the need to look at invoicing on a regular schedule. In other words, don’t be late, and just even on an invoice, you can provide a little fact about your industry or a milestone or have a nice positive message.
Don Simkovich (38:32):
That really is there’s a lot that could be done and that’s where it gets exciting is to say, “Hey, where can I say this or that?” Then, you’ve got your, like I said the different keywords. Those are word choices, and then either you go in, the users putting that into the internet, and then boom. They bring up your blog because you’ve created say a word picture or you told a story using analogies or anecdotes about how someone, how you’ve benefited someone.
Don Simkovich (39:05):
Thinking of the dentist that I go through the book for, the prosthodontist. He’s using it as a lead magnet and he’s using it, he’s giving it to his different referral sources. About 80 pages long and in that… I mean, he’s got a dry sense of humor. I was able to incorporate that throughout. You’re dealing with a very difficult subject such as oral cancer, which is… I mean, very serious one and yet, we dealt with it not in a light-hearted way but in a way that really would make people feel like, “I could really trust this guy for my follow-up visits. I should go to him versus maybe a general dentist and here are the reasons why, and this is why I can kind of put my life in his hands.”
Stacy Jones (39:52):
Well, and also, not only does he have the blog he has the book. He now has a tool that is causing a level of expertise where he can book himself into local media. Opportunities, he can get interviewed. He can be on radio. He could be on local news. He could be in print because he’s established himself as an authority figure. That’s the power of what started as a blog or his book.
Don Simkovich (40:19):
Right. No. It’s absolutely right. I think that the big thing is really look at integration. If there’s one company that’s done it well, it’s Disney, where they have taken it… I think of all… When my kids were little, it was like you’d look at their musical 30-minute snippets that they took songs from different musicals and they put those together. Now, you don’t just go watch the movie but you’re watching the 30-minute video that has a collection of songs from different movies.
Don Simkovich (40:47):
The more content you create the more you could leverage. It’s the call it the rich got richer scenario but it really is true. You’re creating more, you have more opportunity to connect with your customer at so many different touchpoints.
Stacy Jones (41:04):
Are there any last words of advice you would share with our listeners on whether they’re going to hire someone like you, and I think you honestly, you demonstrate the fact that I hear from so many business owners or executives that they just don’t have the time to be the only one who writes and no one knows it as well as them. They just can’t have their team right because they don’t know it as well, but you were an absolute stranger coming in, and now you have massive skills that you have adopted, and you have created, and you put in because of all of your experience, but you don’t know about what it’s like to be a dentist, what it’s like to be an owner of a chair company, what it’s like to be whatever these, a robotic association, but you have proven that there’s a model to this madness at being able to craft insightful, good content that is helpful even if you are not the expert of that organization.
Don Simkovich (42:01):
Yeah. You’re right. Unless I’m a mental chameleon but so… But no. It really is true. You can, with… That’s where I think my background as a journalist really is helpful, and also in terms of crafting, writing in fiction and these other areas, there’s so much you can go out, you can research, you can learn and the interview really is critical, the sitting down with someone or the company and I can understand the vision or the mission and I think the other thing is that I’ve always said this, principles transfer from one industry to another.
Don Simkovich (42:38):
I’ve never extracted anyone’s teeth but I can understand in the dentist, I can understand say the fear. The fear of going to the dentist is real. I’ve written actually also blogs for a cosmetic dentist and I mean just some research on industry best practices. That’s why that foundation is so important at the beginning and having that so when you have all of that, you can continually go back and draw from it, but I can…
Don Simkovich (43:08):
I have the ability, you would say, to listen to what someone’s saying, and then to put that into words so that I am say capturing their voice or their mission or their vision. I can understand holistically them as the person, whether they have a dry sense of humor or whether they may be… I mean, there was a company where I project managed a 35-page website and I edited the content, and they handled… I mean they did shopping malls from around the country and around the world.
Don Simkovich (43:41):
I mean, you’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars so they didn’t want to make cute little jokes on the internet or anything. I mean, this is serious stuff, right? It all is but they’re dealing with tens of millions or hundreds of millions of dollars in business, and nevertheless, you want it through the use of images and the use of well-stated phrases that convey trust and convey quality, then you draw their audience in.
Don Simkovich (44:10):
That’s why it’s important to know, I know the client, once I hear them speak, and there’s principles of how do you make someone’s life better? The old thing, and I think as marketers, we know this. We’ve heard the term, you’ve heard it, I’ve heard it, you sell benefits and not features, but benefits go a long, long way so I’m always looking, what are the benefits to the audience?
Don Simkovich (44:37):
Then, in addition to that, what’s the personality of the company? When I sold roofing for Home Depot for two years, Home Depot has a certain personality.
Stacy Jones (44:47):
Don Simkovich (44:49):
They have a personality that’s different at ACE Hardware. I looked at, even looking at a corporation has a personality or an individual service provider has a personality. That’s how that I become an expert or I put myself in my client’s shoes and I’m able to understand the needs of the customer that, yeah, I can make all of that come together then.
Stacy Jones (45:10):
Right. That’s great. That’s fantastic. For our listeners and viewers, how can they learn more about you? Where can they go?
Don Simkovich (45:18):
Yeah. Well, I mean, for one, starters, you can type in, if you can my last name Don Simkovich, put me in the internet. You’ll see me pop up in lots of places, and so D-O-N S-I-M-K-O-V-I-C-H. I just started a company SoCal Content Marketing and Media, so look for that. So look for SoCal Marketing, socalcontentmarketingandmedia.com. We’ll be rolling out in the next few days and so just my name, and then you’re going to see me, you see me on LinkedIn, Twitter.
Don Simkovich (45:50):
I mean, Facebook, but my favorite site actually LinkedIn and Medium are the two great places I really enjoy writing to and posting to and have a lot of fun in both those sites. You look for me there. Then, my website donsimkovich.com.
Stacy Jones (46:04):
Perfect. That’s easy enough. Well, Don, you were really fun to have on the show. Thank you. Really helpful advice and I greatly appreciate your time and we’re sure, our listeners do as well.
Don Simkovich (46:14):
Thanks, Stacy. No. I appreciate it. Yeah. Great questions and a lot of fun to discuss. Good talking with you.
Stacy Jones (46:19):
But today was a really big delight. I love and I said this before we started, I love content marketing. I know what it does for companies. I mean, my agency, we’re a specialist agency, we get so many inbound leads where people have read our content, watch our content. They are pre-qualified before they ever even picked up the phone and knock on our door. We do outbound marketing and we call people and we look for sales opportunities, and quite frankly, it’s not a good and fun practice whatsoever. We’re always reevaluating that because it doesn’t trigger.
Stacy Jones (46:59):
But you can set your company up for such success by blogging, by working with someone like Don or doing it yourself where you put the content out there, you have someone who actually is on the scale of ready to buy or at least a purchase consideration and they’re googling, they’re finding you, they’re reading about you, they’re deciding already that they like you, and then they are emailing or picking up the phone.
Stacy Jones (47:26):
When you get them on that call, you are not having to tell them who you are, what you do, how you can help them because they have already in their head said this person can definitely, possibly, most likely help me. It changes the game. It changes the conversation.
Don Simkovich (47:43):
Yeah. It really does. One last statement, I’ve heard this before. People like to buy but they don’t like to be sold, and so content marketing really allows them to browse, allows them to buy, and at their pace, and allows them to do the research so that they feel comfortable.
Stacy Jones (48:00):
Yeah. Well, Don, thank you again for your time today, and to all our listeners, thank you for tuning in to the Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I will chat with you on our next podcast. I hope everyone has a fantastic week.
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