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Hi! I'm Cara. I'm the Content Strategist at Zaius, the B2C CRM that brings customer data and campaign execution together on a single platform. I'm also the host of the podcast and video series The Empowered Marketer and the e-commerce video series, Marketing Unboxed. I previously worked as a marketing consultant for seed-stage and Series A startups, and as a content marketer at SaaS startup InsightSquared. Before that, I worked as a journalist at a daily newspaper covering crime and politics and at a tech-focused magazine. I am a grammar perfectionist, a data enthusiast, a surfer, and a rock climber. Here's a link to my Testimonial Hero. If you want to get in touch, follow me on Twitter @CaraHogan27. I look forward to answering your questions! 

  • SM

    Sara McGuire

    24 days ago #

    Hi Cara! I'd love to hear some of your insights on video marketing.

    What are some tests you've run to try and increase key video metrics (like views, comments, subscribers etc.)?

    Do you have any tips for repurposing blog/ebook content into video?

    Thanks!

    • CH

      Cara Hogan

      22 days ago #

      Hi Sara! Happy to answer your questions on video marketing. So...

      1. I've changed up the CTAs and the format of our videos a lot. Specifically, I've been optimizing them for engagement on LinkedIn, which is our best channel for video right now. So for our Empowered Marketer promo videos, I have a short snippet of me asking a question, then it goes into the intro, rather than vice versa. This small change makes a big impact on engagement because people want to see what the answer is. I've also tried having a CTA to click through to the full episode when sharing, as well as at the end of the video. I'm still testing that out, but I try to tweak and test everything!

      2. When you're looking at your content, think to yourself, "What would translate into a visual?" Not everything should be repurposed, but some things work really well. For example, our idea for Marketing Unboxed came directly from older blog content where we tear down the marketing strategy for e-commerce brands. That obviously is super visual, and I immediately saw it as a video series first, not a blog.

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  • KR

    Kamil Rextin

    24 days ago #

    Hey @Cara so great to see you here. I have a couple of questions.
    Podcasts are still early in terms of being able to measure it, but alot more brands are doing their own podcasts. Why do you think its picked up so much with brands?
    Do you have a native content play for video (I saw LinkedIn video vs a Wistia/Youtube link) does that perform better? Do you also do native/distributed content on other platforms?
    What was the thinking behind setting up the blog on Medium vs WordPress etc?
    Do you find that your background as a journalist is an asset in the work you do now?

    Thank you!

    • CH

      Cara Hogan

      22 days ago #

      Hi Kamil! Great questions.

      1. Unfortunately, podcasts and measurement still don't get along very well. Even with Apple (finally!) adding podcast analytics, the numbers are hard to measure. You can see subscribers and plays, but you don't know much about your audience. I think a lot of brands are doing a podcast because they're "supposed to", but don't have a plan for it. This leads to failure, because they get a low number of downloads and no real results to show for all the effort it takes to launch a show.

      I think about podcasts differently. While you want to build your audience and get higher download numbers over time, it's actually all about the guests. Zaius' podcast, The Empowered Marketer (http://theempoweredmarketer.com) is really an ABM/customer marketing strategy for our brand. All of our guests are either customers of ours who we love and think have great stories, or they're target accounts that we're trying to build a relationship with. A podcast is really a chance to sit down with your target buyers and ask them interesting questions. And ideally, build a relationship with them.

      2. I'm all about native video on LinkedIn. It's performing really well for us at Zaius. However, we also have all of our videos on YouTube (for SEO) and on Wisita (for measuring video plays and engagement on our site). I think you have to have your video on all of these platforms. But on LinkedIn, native video performs better.

      3. I chose Medium for The Empowered Marketer to drive more community engagement, but Marketing Unboxed is hosted on our own WordPress site so we get more SEO value from the content. There are pros and cons to both honestly. But I'd lean more toward WordPress for most content.

      4. 100% I worked at a daily newspaper and nothing will ever stress me out. The pace of work and the high stakes of that job make everything I've ever done in marketing seem relaxing. I can write quickly, ask tough questions, and remain calm under pressure thanks to my training as a journalist. I think it's served me very well.

      3 Share
  • SM

    Susan Moeller

    24 days ago #

    Hi Cara! Great to see you here!

    What types of goals to you use Podcasts to achieve? Are they best suited to brand awareness, lead gen, customer conversion or something else? Also how do you find good guests? And, what is your process to make sure guests are ready to present on topic?

    • CH

      Cara Hogan

      22 days ago #

      Hi Susan! Super excited to here too.

      Podcasts are complicated! So many brands are launching your classic "do-an-interview-with-a-person" podcast that it's hard to stand out and build a really strong following. In fact, I'd say most brands shouldn't do a podcast if their goal is to get hundreds of thousands of downloads and close deals from listeners. If you want that, you should just pay for an ad on an existing popular podcast in your specific business niche.

      I look at podcasts as more of an ABM/customer marketing strategy, However, you have to be up for the work it takes to make a good show. Podcasts are not easy to produce! I spend a lot of time vetting guests by looking up videos of them speaking on YouTube, reading their blog, etc. If I don't think someone will be an interesting interview or they're not really relevant to our audience, I don't book them.

      But if they're great, I have a really specific process to help them prep for the show.

      1. I send them a Calendly link to book time on my calendar.
      2. I include instructions for getting best audio/video quality recording.
      3. I send them questions to review a week in advance.
      4. I make them super comfortable on the call by chatting for a bit, and being sure to mention that we can always edit if they say something wrong or have to sneeze or something in the middle.

      My goals are to produce an interview that is interesting to our audience of B2C marketers, but it's really to build a strong relationship with our guest so they think positively of our brand.

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  • TB

    Taru Bhargava

    24 days ago #

    Hey @cara thanks for doing the AMA

    I'm was really impressed by the Marketing Unboxed series. What was the inspiration behind it? What all steps were involved in bringing it to life?

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    • CH

      Cara Hogan

      22 days ago #

      Thanks Taru! Great question.

      Zaius' new video series, Marketing Unboxed (https://www.zaius.com/marketing-unboxed/) was inspired by three things.

      1. We had existing content on the blog where we did marketing teardowns for a few ecommerce brands. The series lapsed before I even started working at Zaius, but I loved the idea. I immediately thought it would be better as a video than as a blog post.

      2. I knew how much people love unboxing videos on YouTube. It's really a phenomenon. I thought it would be super fun to combine the concept of unboxing a fun product with a marketing analysis.

      3. I was also inspired to make the video super polished and well produced by Patrick Campbell of ProfitWell. Their Pricing Page Teardown series is so well done, and I wanted to create something similar, but a little different as well.

      It has been a long time in the making to create this show. I came up with the idea about 8 months ago, and it was a process. I've done some video before, but didn't have all the equipment and skills to do a really well-produced video.

      We decided to bring in some outside help and worked with the fantastic Sam Shepler of Testimonial Hero. He actually consulted with us to pick out the best video setup, showed us how to film ourselves, and then edited all our episodes. Now, we're able to produce the shows fairly autonomously on the Zaius marketing team. All we have to do is send Sam footage and a script, and he sends us back a fully finished episode.

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  • AN

    Andrew Nicoletta

    23 days ago #

    Hey, Cara. At your current or past roles, what was the long-term goal/outlook for that company's content marketing strategy? For instance, was it to make up x% of revenue/signups, etc.

    Or was it less defined/agile and if so, would you recommend it that way or not? Thanks!

    • CH

      Cara Hogan

      22 days ago #

      Hi Andrew, the honest answer is a little bit of both!

      At my current role and in the past, my content goals are tied to organic traffic, referral traffic, brand mentions, and W-shaped revenue attribution for Closed-Won deals. So it's both looking at the content that has a direct impact on our bottom line AND overall traffic and brand buzz.

      I think content has to be tied to revenue to show the real value you're producing as a marketer. But at the same time, you can't forget about the intangibles of branding. It's impossible to measure how people feel about you, or whether they think your brand is a trusted source. But that also matters a lot in content marketing and is something I think about a lot!

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  • RV

    Ravi Vyas

    24 days ago #

    Hi Cara. How would you go about showcasing ROI in the short term for using content for a company that has never used content marketing before?

    • CH

      Cara Hogan

      22 days ago #

      Hi Ravi!

      Unfortunately, ROI on content is never really a short-term thing. Most content - even the best in the world - takes at least 6 months to a year to show real value. But I know that's not the answer you want to hear!

      So here's my tip for the short term. If you're investing in content, make it super high quality. Don't write 5 different 400-word posts. Instead, just write 1 in-depth, thoroughly researched article and promote the hell out of that. You'll see far more traffic from that.

      And if you can, track the IPs for the traffic that comes to your site and tie those to your sales funnel. (A tool like Bizible can help with this.) Eventually, you'll be able to see exactly which pieces of content your customers read. Once you can attribute specific revenue to your content, then you'll really be able to show ROI.

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  • AS

    Aswin Shibu Abraham

    24 days ago #

    Hi Cara, thanks for doing this!

    What are some low hanging fruit that enterprise companies (who weren't content-focused at all) can start doing?
    - Is a content calendar a good option?
    - If there are already established thought leaders in the space, is it too late for them to write articles on the best keywords?
    - Own blog or hosted on Medium?

    • CH

      Cara Hogan

      22 days ago #

      Hi Aswin, interesting questions!

      1. Don't get too hung up on the fact that you haven't done content before. Just get started! Especially at the beginning, all content is a bit of an experiment. You're testing out different topics and messages and seeing what resonates with your audience. If you see one post is really getting more traffic and more comments, you know you have a winner. Then, you can dig into that topic more, maybe in a whitepaper or other longer-form content.

      2. Definitely use a content calendar. It helps you keep your content on track and consistent, which is key. I personally use Trello to manage our content process at Zaius, which is free and easy to use.

      3. It's never too late to be awesome! It is definitely more challenging, however. But you can identify keywords where your established competitors are maybe ranking with a crappy post. If theirs is short and has very little detail, you know you can beat it. All you have to do is create a well-researched, informative, and interesting post that will be far more useful to your audience. Thankfully, Google really recognizes quality and it can sometimes trump even domain authority.

      4. Own blog. Unless you're really uncomfortable with the functionality of WordPress or another CMS, it's way better. Medium is great for exposure, but not great for long-term growth. You want to own your marketing message and get the value of building your brand's SEO and domain authority over time. Don't give up the content value! If you have something particularly provocative to say that will get a lot of clicks, put that on Medium. But everything else should be on your blog.

      2 Share
  • RC

    Ricardo Corezola

    22 days ago #

    Hello Cara!

    I'd love to hear from you about:

    How you analyze the omnichannel strategy?
    With videos, podcasts, blog posts in different media.

    And what your bet about the future of our communication?

    Thank you for your assistance regarding this matter.

    Ass.: Corezola, Ricardo.

    • CH

      Cara Hogan

      22 days ago #

      Hi Ricardo!

      Excited to answer these questions.

      1. I think every marketer should be on every channel their buyers are on. So, that's almost all of them.

      2. I'm not a great prognosticator. If you had asked me 10 years ago if I thought my mom would be arguing about politics on Facebook, I would have thought you were nuts. So I'm going to answer another way.

      I think for marketers, communication is going to get more and more challenging because there is SO much noise. It's harder to use SEO tactics effectively; it's harder to stand out on social; it's harder to communicate via email with your audience because the inbox is crowded. I think you just have to constantly pay attention, try out new channels, and stay informed. That way, you'll be an early adopter of the newest model of communication and not get left behind.

      3 Share

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