Robert Rose is the Founder and self-proclaimed Chief Troublemaker at The Content Advisory. For more than 10 years, Robert has worked with more than 500 companies including 15 of the Fortune 100 companies. He has provided strategic marketing advice and counsel for global brands such as Facebook, Salesforce, NASA, CVS Health, McCormick Spices, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is also the author of three best-selling books including Killing Marketing, which he wrote with his colleague, Joe Pulizzi. Robert co-hosts a podcast with Joe called This Old Marketing, which has run for the last eight years.
Robert Rose, the Founder and Chief Troublemaker at The Content Advisory, is John Corcoran’s guest in this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, where he talks about creating and managing content. Robert also shares his tips for coming up with new ideas, talks about the importance of SEO strategies, and explains how his business was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay tuned.
Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:
- How Robert Rose got started in content management
- The value of investing in content creation and prioritizing search engine optimization (SEO)
- Robert’s thoughts on choosing the right medium to share content
- Top strategies for generating content ideas
- How Robert met and started working with Joe Pulizzi
- The pandemic’s impact on content production and Robert’s business
- Robert talks about the consultancy services he provides and some of the clients he has worked with
- What Joe and Robert talk about on their podcast
- The peers Robert respects and how to get in touch with him
Resources Mentioned In This Episode
- The Content Advisory
- Robert Rose on LinkedIn
- This Old Marketing
- Todd Anthony on LinkedIn
- “[Top Agency Series] Peddling Phone Books Door to Door in the Czech Republic to Advising Top Tier Brands” with Todd Anthony
- Joe Pulizzi on LinkedIn
- Get Content Get Customers: Turn Prospects into Buyers with Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett
- Gary Vaynerchuk on LinkedIn
- Content Marketing Institute (CMI)
- Jay Baer on LinkedIn
- Andy Crestodina on LinkedIn
- Orbit Media
- Roger Martin on LinkedIn
- The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking by Roger Martin
- Rita Gunther McGrath on LinkedIn
- The End of Competitive Advantage: How to Keep Your Strategy Moving as Fast as Your Business by Rita Gunther McGrath
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Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.
Welcome to the revolution, the Smart Business Revolution Podcast where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connectio00ns to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution, John Corcoran.
John Corcoran 0:40
All right, welcome everyone. John Corcoran here. I’m the host of this show. And you know, every week I get so much joy out of talking to smart CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs of all kinds of companies. Take a look at some of our archives got some great episodes with the founders or CEOs from Netflix, Kinkos’, YPO, EO, Activision Blizzard, LendingTree, OpenTable, Ace Software, go check them out. I’m also the Co-founder of Rise25, where we help connect b2b business owners to their ideal prospects. Quick shout out to Todd Anthony of Pinwheel Content, one of my past guests pointed me in the direction of today’s guests. His name is Robert Rose. And for more than 10 years, Robert, in his firm The Content Advisory have worked with more than 500 companies including 15 of the Fortune 100. He’s provided strategic marketing advice and counsel for global brands such as maybe you’ve heard a few of these Facebook, Salesforce, NASA, CVS Health, McCormick Spices, Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He’s also the author of three best selling books, including Killing Marketing, which he wrote with his colleague, Joe Pulizzi. Robert also hosts a podcast with Joe This Old Marketing, go check it out, which has run for the last eight years. Of course, this episode is brought to you by Rise25 Media, where we help b2b businesses get clients referrals and strategic partnerships with done for you podcasts and content marketing. If you’re had any questions about starting a podcast, shoot us an email at [email protected]. All right, Robert, it’s such a pleasure to have you here today. And we’re going to talk about content, why you should do it, how you can do it. Some different strategies that are working really well, today’s but let’s let’s first start with before we get to the story, how you and Joe met, because that’s a cool story. You had kind of discovered content discovered the importance of content and today’s new economy, while working for a startup in Los Angeles, your CMO? And you kind of jokingly said that you built a little media empire within that startup, and then realized how powerful it was. So talk a little bit about how you kind of stumbled upon this strategy that works so well. And that you ended up, you know, devoting yourself to through the work that you do now.
Robert Rose 2:43
Yeah, well, first of all, thanks for having me on. It’s a real pleasure to be here. And it’s always nice to connect with somebody else in Southern California, which is always a big plus. More from Southern California, I should say. Yeah. Very cool. Because that’s because that’s a rarity these days. Yeah. You know, you know, yeah, so I originally came out to Los Angeles to, you know, like so many people did, I was going to be a rockstar, I was going to be a writer, I was going to be some form of an artist. And that turned out about as well as you think it might. And I ended up in marketing in the entertainment business. And then right after the.com, sort of boom and bust, I ended up as the CMO with a bunch of friends at a startup company and did the whole typical two rounds of Silicon Valley funding and the whole thing, we are an enterprise software company. So see into that six figure price tag, you know, and you know, meaningful implementations, long sales cycle, typically heavy b2b organization. And in that we were competing at the time against the likes of you know, IBM and Hewlett Packard and Microsoft, and you know, these huge organizations that I knew we were never going to be in terms of, you know, certainly spend, I knew we weren’t going to beat them in on SEO, I knew we weren’t going to beat them on depth in terms of a team skills and all that sort of thing. And we were just, you know, six chuckleheads in a basement. And so the question became, how can we actually become competitive? And the way that we decided to do it or that I decided that was an option to do it was we could be a mile deeper than they were because we could become thought leaders, we could become sort of the shapers of this particular industry, which ironically, was web content management at the time. And so we did that I basically built you know, instead of building a traditional marketing department, I ended up building a content engine. And at least that’s what we called it at the time. And we were you know, this is the early 2000s. And we were doing a blog and we had a resource center and we were doing podcast, not podcasting, but webinars that were also available in audio only And then we were doing, you know, events and white papers. And we had a whole thought leadership program. And we were a little publishing company. And I had, you know, I had multimedia specialists working for me, I had journalists working for me, I had, you know, designers. And my theory was, I can teach him how to be marketers, like, I can teach him SEO, I can teach him how to do search engine marketing, and I can teach him how to do the arbitrage on how to do you know, reach and frequency and figure that out, what I can’t teach them how to do is be great communicators. And so it worked, weirdly enough. And we built this little team, and we grew the company. And it was, it was quite a successful program. And it was all sort of centered on our ability to be when we would get to the table, you know, whenever we were given an RFP or invited to come pitch, we could sort of lean on the fact that, you know, if you did a search, on our particular topics, we were the ones who came up, we were the ones who were at the event speaking, we weren’t the ones conducting educational webinars, we were the one issuing white papers on how to do all of this in the right way. And we sort of became known for that we became known as sort of the experts in the space. And it really helped build the business, it was sort of what drove lead generation for us for for many, many years. And that’s what you know, from 2000, to really till about 2008 Was, was when I met Joe. And And funny enough, it was because I had done this, you know, I had done this thing and built this little team within the organization and then ultimately read his book, his first book called get content, get customers, and I went, Hey, I’m doing that I should probably talk to this guy and see what’s going on.
John Corcoran 6:45
I love that I love when someone admire someone from afar read, or reads their book or whatever, and then not only gets to know them, but then goes into business with them. I think that is so cool when people do that. But what did you you know, startups tend to be really fast moving places. And it sounds like since you were in the content management space, you probably wasn’t real difficult to convince your co founders of the the virtues of creating content, but it also can take a while. So what do you say? Because that’s a big pushback, you hear from other people who aren’t creating content, like I don’t have that kind of time or take too long to create the content, I’m not going to get results or they started and then they give up. So what do you say? What did you say to your co founders, then what do you say to people now about the investment of time in order to get results from it?
Robert Rose 7:34
Well, you know, so you’d like to think that it was an easy argument to make. It was not?
John Corcoran 7:40
That’s, that’s fascinating in itself, too.
Robert Rose 7:42
Yeah. Yeah. You know, especially to our traditional Silicon Valley Board, who at the time when you’re going to do what with where? And so, you know, there was two arguments that I made at the time. And it’s, and it’s the same two arguments that I’ll make these days when we talk to clients and CFOs, and CEOs about you know, anything related to content marketing is that one, yes, it is a long game. It is the it is the marathon, it is you know, the way I always put it is if direct marketing, search engine marketing, banner ads, cold calling, you know, the sort of traditional classic direct marketing of getting out there and region frequency, that’s day trading, right, those campaigns are day trading, you know, you’re trying to flip a stock as quickly as you possibly can to get as much ROI as you can, in that moment. It’s demand identification, right? That’s all it is. But if you’re going to generate truly generate demand, you’ve got to have a long term value investment as part of your portfolio. That’s what content is, is developing a foundation of marketing material that quite frankly, works 24/7 365. And that is not dependent upon your ability to put a new campaign into market, those things will be there, they will be found, they will be able to represent you when you can’t represent you. And that was always the argument to say, we need to build, you know, when I sort of jokingly said we need to be a mile deeper, I mean, that I mean, when people would go, Oh, I’ve heard about this company. And but I’m looking at IBM, and I’m looking at HP and I’m looking at the you know, this other giant company that might, you know, support us from an enterprise software perspective. And I’ve heard of this other little company, let’s go see what they have. And then you hit the company. And our website looked big and robust. And there was white papers, and there was a blog and there was, you know, webinars that they could watch and it was deep and we were teaching people about the trends in the industry. People go, well, they’re there for real, they’re there. They’re absolutely for real and so we got invited to the table now. We won some and we lost some there’s no doubt about that. But it was just getting ourselves was out there, that was the most important thing. So we did all the other things, right. We did search engine marketing, we did SEO, I did email marketing, we bought leads, we, you know, we did all the things that you do in direct marketing. But as part of my overall integrated marketing mix, which is always where I turn back to like his, what is my portfolio of marketing activities looks like, content marketing was a big piece of it. And always, I always made that a pretty big bet into what we were doing. And sort of sort of set the expectation that yeah, we’re going to do stuff to drive top level leads into the top of the funnel as fast as we possibly can. We know we need to keep the lights on. But you can’t not make me do this long term investment thing, because that will pay off in a multiplier way. In year two, year three, year four, year five, and it just builds on itself. And that momentum builds. But you’ve got to put the time and the effort into doing those push ups and doing those situps in the early days. Because you just have to you just have to do that to build a foundation.