The Impact of Content Writing and it's Value for Your Brand


Nicole Donnelly: Oh my gosh, we are live! I am so excited today to have the amazing and talented Amy Sariego on the show! Amy, how are you? 

Amy Sariego: I'm good. I'm happy it's finally feeling like fall outside. 

Nicole Donnelly: Yes. Oh my gosh, it's getting so cold here in Virginia. I think we had like temperatures in the 20s yesterday.

So, but I'm waiting for the snow. That's what I'm really hoping will come soon. I love the snow. I don't.

Amy Sariego: We had a couple flurries. 

Nicole Donnelly: Well, tell me, it was just Thanksgiving last week. How was your Thanksgiving, Amy?

Amy Sariego: It was good. I feel like the whole Thanksgiving break kind of flew by. 

Nicole Donnelly: It really did.

And I know, I know what a great Thanksgiving person you are, you love Thanksgiving, so tell me, what was, what was, what was the favorite part of your, your Thanksgiving meal?

Amy Sariego: You know, I'm not a fan of Thanksgiving food at all. I am like, I eat like a roll, and that's pretty much the running joke, is that I don't like Thanksgiving.

Nicole Donnelly: That is too funny. I love rolls. We had lots of rolls in my house. So you could have come over and you could have eaten them all. They would have all been yours. So, oh my gosh, I am so excited to have you on the show. Amy, you have been such a critical part of the DMG team for the last year and a half. Now that you've been working, we've been collaborating together.

And it is so exciting for me to have you come on on the show today and share your amazing expertise. Um, with the team, you are such a force, such a force and have such a powerful, powerful influence on, um, the work that we bring to our clients. So thanks so much for being on today. Can't wait to have this amazing conversation.

Amy Sariego: Yeah. I can't believe it's been a year and a half.

Nicole Donnelly: I know, you know, that's so funny. I'll never forget the first time I met you. You were introduced to me by a mutual friend of ours, John Pavone. So John, if you're out there and you're listening, we love you. You're amazing. Thank you for introducing me to the amazing Amy.

Cause every day I wake up and I just count my lucky stars that she's in my life and part of this team. So yeah, I'll never forget that first conversation that we had. That was super fun. I knew right away from the minute I met you, I was like, I want to work with that girl. So we are here to talk all about content marketing and the impact of content marketing for your brand.

And specifically, you know, talking about how manufacturers can benefit from content marketing. This is what we do every day at DMG is really help our manufacturers create a really great web presence. And you know, that a huge part of that is through content marketing. So I would love to hear Amy, my little, my little, why did I say little, my amazing content marketer extraordinaire.

What got you into, why did you decide you wanted to be a content marketing? Is this marketer? Is this something that you knew you wanted to be when you were a little girl? What led you down this journey, this path where, where you are today?

Amy Sariego: I don't think content marketing, well, as we know it now, anyway, it was a thing when I was little, but, um, I always knew I wanted to write.

Um, and then I got into marketing kind of by accident. I was like an intern at an insurance company. Someone asked me, Oh, if you could go back and work for any of the departments, like which one would you have picked? And I was like, Oh, probably none. Like I probably pick marketing or something. And he was like, Oh, like you should go work in marketing then.

And I was like, okay. So I kind of did that and then we started working with an agency and like, I got to see the other side of it, like working in an agency. And that's where I kind of started learning about SEO and stuff. And so it kind of went from there, but yeah, it was an accident.

Nicole Donnelly: It was totally an accident, but have you always loved writing?

Like, tell me about what, when did you start writing for the very first time?

Amy Sariego: I can't really remember a time when I wasn't. I remember in kindergarten, my class wrote this little poetry book and published it and it was like I wrote a poem about stars. I've been chasing the high of that published stars poem ever since, ever since.

Nicole Donnelly: Oh my gosh, I want to see this poem about stars. That's

Amy Sariego: amazing. I'm sure it's in my mom's like

Nicole Donnelly: basement somewhere. Isn't that so funny? I was just talking with a dear friend of mine, um, about when I was a kid and how I loved writing too when I was a kid. So I think that's so funny, but I love to write these plays.

So I would write plays for my third and fourth grade class. And we would, my teacher was so awesome. My teachers would always let us put them on. So I'd write these plays. And then we put on these plays for the classroom and they were always like these funny plays about, like, we're going to go on a field trip to Washington, DC or like something funny like that.

It was always like, but I love that too.That's, so super cool that I, and I want to, I want to see this star's palm. So yeah. Okay. So let's talk about content marketing because it's been, there's been a lot of like, first of all, maybe you can tell us what is content marketing for anyone out there who's like, what is content marketing?

You know, how does this work? Tell us what, what is content marketing?

Amy Sariego: Um, I think at its like most simple definition, content marketing is just using content, something you've written, whether it's a blog, an email, something on your website to educate your customers, your audience, your buyers, um, and make their decision, their day, you know, whatever you offer, make it a little bit easier for them.

Nicole Donnelly: Yeah, absolutely. And there's so many like so exciting about content marketing today is that there's so many different ways that you can educate and help and inspire your buyers, right? Like the ways that you can do it. It's just so extraordinary. And it's just such a great way to be able to connect with your buyers.

Um, at scale, truthfully, like in a way that you can't necessarily do in the traditional ways. So, well, let's talk about like, how have you seen content marketing evolve over the, because you've been in this industry for a while now. So you've, you know, content marketing. You know, while the concept of content marketing pretty much has been in existence for ever, right?

It really has changed a lot and evolved over time, right? Like, um, how have you seen it change over the last 10 years when you first started doing content marketing? Kind of what was the way the focus of content marketing then and how has it evolved now?

Amy Sariego: Yeah, I think when I first started I was freelancing even then while I was still in school and I was, I just remember like when I think about like how it's changed, one of the first places I wrote for was this website called BookBub and they are like an ebook marketplace kind of like they have like deals on ebooks and so they had a blog and there would be this humongous list of topics and the person was running it at the time would be like get this you know set of words in the title and in the You You know, meta description.

I didn't know really what SEO was at the time. I was just like thrilled to be writing about books. Um, and I would, I just remember thinking like, and asking like, this doesn't really make sense like grammatically, like do I have to put the words in this order? And it was just like a list of keywords. Um, like seeing it evolve from like keyword stuffing and just like, you know, writing absolutely as much content as you can and like only really writing for keywords and not so much for humans.

I would say that was, that's the biggest thing I would say is like, now it's like less is definitely more. You really have to know who you're writing for rather than just like, here's this massive list of keywords and it doesn't make sense. It doesn't matter if it doesn't make sense. Like just get it in there.

Like. No one is doing that anymore. Um, so I would say that's the biggest thing, is like, really having to understand who you're writing for. Um, and also I think the fact that just like, everything is like, content now. Like, people discuss, like, call like, books and like, movies, like, oh, content. Like, so I think that the Everything being content, for me, is like a sad change.

Nicole Donnelly: Oh, interesting. Tell me more about that. Why? Tell me why that's sad for you.

Amy Sariego: Um, I don't know. I mean, a book is, or like a movie or something, is like this, like, huge, like, passion project for someone that they, like, put, like, so many years of their lives into. Or, like, I think of content, and I think of, like, a blog or, like, something that you're using to, like, educate someone.

Whereas, like, those things are kind of, like, I don't know. Not just content. I think it's, like, more than content. You know what

Nicole Donnelly: I mean? Yeah, I see what you mean. Like, some pieces of content are just bigger. and have, or should be treated maybe in a different way. Yeah. That's interesting. Very cool. We have, we have Andrew here today.

Andrew, my dear friend. Oh my goodness. Andrew's amazing. He says, hello, Nicole. How's one of my favorite people, Andrew? You're one of my favorite people. And I'm so glad Andrew, you get to meet Amy. Andrew has an amazing podcast. It's called let's be diverse. So if you haven't had a chance to check it out, he has really cool guests on the show.

I had the honor of being a guest on his show a couple months ago, and it was just such a treat. So Andrew, thanks for coming. It's nice to see you. Yeah. All right. Yeah. I think you love it, Amy. It's just super, some really cool topics. So let's talk about blogging. Okay. Because I, there's, there's a lot of people out there that are saying now that AI is here.

Right. And it's here to stay. There's a lot of people questioning whether blogging is still relevant. And we're seeing that there's been, you know, blogging really kind of had, uh, started out, maybe what, what would you say? Like big heyday came like 15, 20 years ago, right? Is when people really started blogging in earnest and it's definitely evolved over, over time.

And there's a lot of. You know, there's a lot of, there's a lot more content now on the web than there ever has been. And so sometimes I see these articles and these naysayers that are like, is blogging even still relevant anymore? Does it even still have it make a difference? You know, it's hard. It's good.

The truth of the matter is that it's getting harder and harder to rank in Google, um, for keywords. That's the reality that we're in because of how saturated some of these, um, you know, keywords are. But I'd love to ask you, Amy, what do you think? Do you think blogging is still relevant today for, for businesses?


Amy Sariego: I mean, I think, I think it is. I think. One of my little like pet peeves is like, I feel like every day you come on to LinkedIn or I don't know, you've seen an article and it's like, this thing is dead and like, so often now it's like, blogging is dead and someone is planning its funeral and I don't believe that's true, I think it will always have a place, especially with AI, I feel like that's like your one spot that is like, on your website, it's yours, like you should be sharing like your unique point of view and like what you want.

Do and believe and, like, really tell your story rather than just, like, write for the sake of writing and write for the sake of ranking on Google. Like, it should be, you know, you obviously still have to consider that, but, like, I think the biggest difference and what will make you relevant with your blogs is, like, are they well written?

Are they actually about you? Are you writing? Just for the sake of it, are you thinking about what the blog is going to do for you and how you're going to distribute it? Like, it, no one is coming to your blog like it's the New York Times and saying like, Oh, you know, what is this person up to today? Um, but I, like, if you're thinking like, Oh, how can my sales team use this?

Like, is this a question people are asking and I'm answering it in a unique way? Like, is this. helpful for my customer service team, maybe like, I think it's, it'll always be relevant. It's just how you use it more than just the fact of like, in the past, it was like, Oh, if you're, if you have a blog at all, you're kind of like a head.

Nicole Donnelly: Yeah. So such really great points. I love what you said about

  1. Using the blog to tell stories and to showcase what it is that makes you as a brand unique. That is such a really important way for brands to be able to stand out is to use the blog as storytelling.
  2. The reality is that your website is your home. No matter where someone finds you today, whether they find you on TikTok or, uh, Reddit or LinkedIn, or they hear from a friend. If you think about it, if you're seriously considering any Buying from any company, at the end of the day, you're gonna land on their website. 
  3. You want your website to have good information there as a brand. You want your blog to have really great content that answers your top questions and concerns that they might have about the product, that tells your story, that tells the stories of your customers and how you helped serve them.

You know, so like there's definitely, I completely, I couldn't agree with you more, that there's still such an important role that blogging plays for businesses today. The only thing that's changed is not that blogging has become irrelevant, but that blogging is just one piece of all of the other parts of marketing that are so important for a brand today.

And it's still a very, very critical and important and highly, highly relevant part of, um, any branding. Uh, strategy. Yeah. And

Amy Sariego: I think too, like keeping an eye on, I think one of the other things that has changed and come a long way is like the ignore, ignore, you know, the branded search terms. But now I think, you know, you see those climbing, you see those growing, like, it doesn't matter, like you were saying, like, where people hear about you, like Yeah.

They're still, like, going to Google and typing in, like, whatever your, your brand name is. And so, like, if you see that going up and you're doing a lot of content marketing, like, that's another probable sign that something is working.

Nicole Donnelly: I love what you said there about branded search, and I think people should pay attention to that because that is, that is how you can measure your brand awareness, is if you can see that the number of times that people are searching for your brand in the search results is increasing over time, that means more people are recognizing knowing your brand enough that they can just type you.

And they're looking for you specifically. And I think that's a really, really good point. That's going to become even more important in the years to come. We know with AI right now, it's so much easier for people to spit out really derivative content, right? And the last thing you want to do as a brand is, is create anything that's derivative, right?

You want to be able to create unique, authentic content that stands out and content that's going to be picked up by AI, right? And so how can you position your brand so that it's associated with a really key core topic? That someone might be searching for in a search bot so that when they search for that in the AI search bot because you as a brand have been talking about that topic so much, your brand is going to come up in that, that chat bot associated with that topic.

And I think that's looking ahead. What do you think about that, Amy? What is your thoughts on how brands should be thinking about AI and content and all of that? What do you think?

Amy Sariego: Yeah, that's a really good point. Like now, more than ever, it's like you have to Be establishing yourself as a brand and so it's almost becoming it's not less about SEO but I think it's just thinking about a different like really being known for those like a few topics and like honing in on and Like making it more about how you specifically do something and so like in that content saying like here's how we do it And so when people are searching for those topics or for your brand, like that's what you're associated with Like and I think just like how people write too is, is changing a lot because of AI, whether they're writing more and it's bad or they're saving themselves time on the front end, like what they're in the prepping stages and having more time to write, which is something.

That I think is really


Nicole Donnelly: Ooh, let's talk about that. Let's talk about how you've been leveraging AI, right? Like it's the way the way we at our organization have been using AI is really as kind of like admin support, right? And you have developed this really incredible process. How to train your AI that you use.

And I love the phrase technology is a terrible master, but a wonderful servant, right? So there always needs to be someone managing the strings, if you will, of AI in order for it to really, truly work and perform right. And you've created this really great way of doing that. So tell me about your thoughts on AI?

And what are some of the things that you found really? 

Amy Sariego: For what we do for our clients is we'll do a subject matter expert interview. And so chat GPT is so helpful in taking that humongous, you know, depending people have a lot to say, which is great, but it's also a lot to go through for one person where you can like now just put it into chat GPT and it'll give you the summary for me.

Getting that, you can ask it to make you an outline, you can, I would never say have it write an entire blog for you, people will know in like a half a second that a person did not write that. Um, but I think the more that you teach it, the more as you're writing blogs, you feed it back to it when it's done helping you with the outline, with the, um, transcript review, then it knows how you write, it knows about that.

Client or that brand and so when you do go there the next time or you ask it, you know What is a relevant topic for this brand based on what you know? You will you can see it just getting better and like giving you better suggestions and more honed in suggestions And I so I think like from the planning phase just like getting those topics ready the like pre writing phase for me is Probably the best part about it, getting that, that transcript in there and getting, um, even the questions for the subject matter expert interviews.

Like they, it, the more that it knows the brand, I would say like the more that you can show it, show it your website, show it the blogs you already have, and you're already ideally only showing you things that you've written. So

Nicole Donnelly: So it's, because it's learning like your voice or my voice or the brand voice.

Amy Sariego: Exactly. That's another thing. No, it can create, it can create a simple voice and, and tone guide and a lot of people don't have those. And so like, even if you're, you know, starting writing for someone new, if you're a freelancer, like I am showing it something and saying like, hey, give me an overview of what you think this voice and tone style is.

Just, just, you know, you can read it yourself and, and figure it out, but I think it's, it's always interesting to get that sense. And then when you have a finished piece of content, give it back and kind of say, like, does this match the voice and tone then?

That's a good way of making sure you're kind of like in line.

Nicole Donnelly: So how, like, what are some of the things that you feed into the AI to help it know more about the brand voice? Like at the very beginning of a project, right? You're just working with the client. What are some things that you will. Basically train the AI to know about the brand so that it can understand the voice of the brand, the tone, and help craft some of those like key questions and things.

What, what do you, what types of information would you feed it?

Amy Sariego: Um, if they have target keywords, I, I usually start there. Um, the website, there's a ton of plugins that will review it for you for SEO or just like, to be able to see it, review the website, um, blogs. That already exists, even if I didn't write them.

Um, like I said, just to get a sense of the voice and tone. Um, and if they have, like, personas, if they have target audiences, um, and, like, a description, that's pretty helpful, because it'll know a little bit more how to write. Um, I would say those are the primary things.

Nicole Donnelly: I love that. So feeding it website links, blog links, um, persona information.

And I feel like I missed one more. Help me sum that last one up, Amy. Blog links, website links, persona information. Oh, and keywords. And keywords. Thank you. And so you'll feed that in the beginning so that that. AI, which has its little artificial brain, will start to know and store that information and use it to, um, use it to inform any future content that comes out, right?

Love that. And so tell me about like, when you do the SME interviews, and those are always transcribed, right? So you get a written transcription from the SME. How do you use that transcription with AI? How does that process work?

Amy Sariego: Um, well, we'll typically have a list of questions. Um that we're asking and so I'll give it the question and say like answer this and give a summary of this answer or Answer this in blog article form.

Um, if it's a little bit more of a complex topic, um And then, it'll spit out something, usually pretty bad, but like, it's, it's just like a starting point, especially if you're new to a specific brand, I feel like that's like a great way to get started, or if you're having writer's block, like sometimes you're just not in the mood, and you have a deadline, so you can't really not be in the mood, but so like, I think that it's a good way to like, kind of kickstart your brain into being like, okay, here's how I can start, um, And then also something I started doing is asking it to use fewer adjectives, um, because it'll be like the calamitous, blah, blah, blah, like it, like it's always throwing these like crazy words.

Nicole Donnelly: And they're usually like way over the

Amy Sariego: top. They are, they're over the top. So if you just ask it not to do that, like. You'll get much more normal sounding answers.

Nicole Donnelly: It's amazing how well you can train it. If you get really specific with the prompts, like asking to use fewer adjectives or giving it a specific, like type of tone of voice that you want it to write in, you

Amy Sariego: know, adjectives thing.

That's like my most recent favorite. It just sounds like a crazy, it sounds like deranged a lot of the time, like what it comes out with. And like, without that, I feel like that really helps cut down on like. Things that I'm just like, no, no, no. Yeah. Because it's not helpful if you're just, if you have to basically just undo everything it

Nicole Donnelly: did.

So basically the way it works with the AI now is like, you're becoming like this really, really great editor, right? Where you can take the information that comes out and choose what's good and what's not good and build on that and create something even better than what it's coming out with. Would you say that's Would you say that's been your experience, or?

Yeah, I

Amy Sariego: would say even better, especially recently. When it first came out, I was honestly, like, not on board. I was like, this is not anything, like, this is not I remember! I

Nicole Donnelly: remember! We had some pretty intense conversations

Amy Sariego: behind the scenes. This is the worst thing ever. Now I'm like, listen. Listen to what I found out about it this week.

Um, so it has come a far way, and so has my opinion on it, but. I still, I still think the best part of it is that it saves time on the like admin side, the like prepping side. And so, and then I can do what I like best, which is writing and. Yeah,

Nicole Donnelly: I think that's what's really what I've seen has been really amazing is its ability to synthesize the information that you put into it. And then it gives you kind of like a foundation that you can build on and make even better so that you're not completely starting from scratch. And then on the question side, when you're doing an SME interview, you know, you always want to make sure like, truthfully, like those questions that you ask for that SME interview, that is the foundation is the quality of the questions that you're asking those, Those, those SMEs, if your questions aren't great, then your article is not going to be great.

And so if you can really like spend some time as a content marketer upfront, working with chat GPT to kind of flesh out those questions in depth and really train it to give you better questions to ask. I think that's huge. And I've, I've personally seen a significant improvement in the quality of the blog articles just from that, from that process, being able to leverage it in that way.

What do you think about that?

Amy Sariego: Yeah, I think it makes it much easier and clients have said it like that. The questions are good or that they're really on, on target. And so I think it's a matter of understanding the brand a little bit more before you. Or making it understand the brand a little bit more before you ask it for questions.

Um, because the more that it understands, the more specific and honed in those questions are going to be. Um,

Nicole Donnelly: yeah. I love it. Now let's just talk about, you know, I think a lot of times people are like, AI is fake, we want real content and everything. So as marketers, we, you know, we, we use AI. We know that we have to use it and leverage it in the future.

How do you keep the human part in the writing process when you're using a tool like, and like, you know, chat GPT, for example, how do you infuse that in so that the content just doesn't become derivative drivel?

Amy Sariego: I think it comes back to that storytelling element and a little bit of that keyword research too.

So I think the best. SME interviews that lead to the best blogs for me are the ones where it's like someone's family business or, you know, something they started out of because of something that they really love or something like that. And they, they want to talk about it and they have so much passion for it.

And that is something that like, I, you know, after just talking about how the best to use AI, I would say like, that's the one place where I, I don't do that because I feel like that will just dilute what they're saying. And if it's like a story about how someone's dad founded the company and they took it over and like something like that, like.

You're gonna, I feel like you're gonna lose that in the, like, the way that they're saying it, like, the warmth that comes out, and so I feel like if you can weave that in, I usually like to put, like, that, like, a story like that in the introduction and, like, kind of carry, like, a theme, kind of, through.

Nicole Donnelly: Yeah, I've seen you do that very beautifully.

Um, and I think you're absolutely right. Like that is as brands who are thinking about how to really improve your brand because focusing on your branding is the future, right? That's how you're going to stand out, how you're going to be different. What makes you unique. And I love what you're saying here about storytelling.

That's such a critical part that AI can never replicate. And so not being afraid, like, Lean into those stories with your SMEs, get them to share the stories of how they helped their customers win the day and use real life examples in the blog articles. I think we saw, you know, blog articles, like we, they call them listicles, right?

10, 15 years ago, those performed really well, well, it's just kind of very objective. Here are the 10 things you need to do to create a solid blog post, right? Very objective. No, nothing unique or personal about it. Right. Like, that is not the kind of content that you as a brand want to stand behind going forward.

You want to have a point of view, you want to have a story to tell, and stories to share in everything that you create that's going to make you stand out. So when someone comes to see you, they're going to know exactly what makes you different than Joe Schmo down the street. Um, yeah, so I love that, that approach that you've mentioned about making sure you're weaving in the storytelling throughout the intro and throughout the article.

Amy Sariego: I read today, actually, I think the Merriam Webster, uh, Word of the Year is authentic, and I think that says so much about, like, where we are right now with AI and TikTok filters that make you look absolutely perfect and everything else like people really just want to Read and interact with stuff that is from an actual person.

So I feel like yeah

Nicole Donnelly: I think that's such a great word and It's only going to be more like that in the future. Like it's as AI continues to evolve, people are going to be searching and seeking even more for just like the real authentic experience of humans. Right. The fact that I've got these like flyaway hair sticking straight up guys, I try there and I've been like the whole show and I'm like, Oh my gosh, but you get to see my flyaways.

That's the Nicole here. But yeah, I love that too. And I think, um, as brands, is that exciting? Isn't it exciting now that, like, we get to celebrate the humanity of our brands, what makes us personal and unique and the stories, like, I don't know, for any businesses out there, this is, this is exciting, you know, like, I, I think I'd rather be telling stories of how, you know, our customers, Uh, have won the day and, you know, all of that rather than talking about some listicle about here are the 10 things you need to put in a blog post, you know, it just so much more interesting.

It's so much more fun to be part of those kinds of stories and the other exciting part about it too, is if you can involve your customers in that process and, and infuse their stories into your content. Man, what a great way to see like a transference of trust and co marketing and being able to, you know, reach a, an even broader audience when you can bring those stories in from a marketing perspective.

It's just such a great opportunity to really leverage those, those customer stories. So you're winning together and everyone, you get, you can just reach more people that way, I think. So very cool. Well, let's talk a little bit more about, um, Let's talk about what, what you think every manufacturer should be blogging about.

Like, do you have like, kind of like a core list of topics that you're just like, okay, everyone who's never blogged before and is just getting started, this is the foundation of what you need to do. Do you have like, kind of like a core five?

Amy Sariego: Um, I would say, yeah, I am a big fan of Marcus Sheridan's They Ask, You Answer, um, book.

Yeah. And so that has the five, like, core topics, um, and I think those have really stood the test of time. Um, they are talking about price, talking about comparisons, how you stack up against your competitors, um, best of lists, reviews, and problems. So I think that all, all of those topics kind of go back to.

That authenticity that like, wanting to really be transparent about your brand. Like a lot of people don't want to talk about price. A lot of people don't want to talk about their competitors. And that's totally understandable. But at the same time, like People are going to find out who your competitors are.

They are probably already looking at their website too. So I think shying away from it is just making you look a little bit like shady. Yeah. Like a little bit shady, like a little bit, like you don't want to like talk about what is something that's honestly pretty obvious. Like anyone who has a keyboard can find out who your competitors are calling it out, I think right up front and saying like, Hey, this is who, you know, we're in the sandbox with, and here's how we're the same and different, and here's how our prices are the same and different.

And like, those are five articles. And I think you can get a lot of mileage out of each. You can get multiple articles. You can get one really dense, amazing article that you can repurpose and use hopefully a bunch of times over. Um, but yeah, I think those, those big five are really the, the big

Nicole Donnelly: five I would recommend.

Price, comparison, which is comparing to your competitors, reviews, like how you stack up, um, and how your, your, uh, customers are, what are they saying about you? Good

Amy Sariego: and bad reviews. Good and bad.

Nicole Donnelly: Yes. And then you mentioned best in class, right? Like an article about like who's, who's the best in class in this particular category.

And did I get them all? Comparison, price, best in class reviews. And problems. Problems, yeah. Like addressing what are the top problems that your customers are asking you over and over again and answering those. I mean, it's just a way for you to scale your sales team. We did this exercise, um, many years ago with a manufacturer that I was working at.

And I, we had a meeting with the sales team and I was like, okay, guys, we are going to blog. We're going to do this. We're going to blog regularly twice a month. We're doing it. And so the first thing I did is I sat down with them and I I want you to tell me the top 10 questions your customers are asking you over and over again.

And it's just so simple, right? And they all know. The salespeople all know. They just like sat there and they're just like, yeah, they ask us about price. They ask us about, you know, how do I size this system out? And they could just spit them off off the top of their head. And I'm just like, imagine a world where all of these questions could be answered on your website.

So that when they call you, they already know the answer and you don't have to tell it to them over and over and over again. Yeah. And I think what you're saying too is so smart because customers are smart. Show respect to your customers. They are smart. They're going to go and do their research. 70 percent of the buying process now is happening online.

They are smart. So. Respect that. They're going to do their research. I remember I had this conversation with a client once who was just like, so didn't want to put their pricing on the website. And I asked him, I was like, do you know what your competitors are charging for similar products? And he's like, yeah, yeah, I know.

Cause cause his biggest thing was like, I don't want my competitor to know my price because then they're going to undercut my price. And I was like, well, do you know what your competitors are charging? Yeah. Is it published anywhere? No. But you

Amy Sariego: know, right? So they probably know. Yeah,

Nicole Donnelly: so they're gonna know your price, right?

Like, so, you know, why are we playing this little song dance? Like, just be real. Just do it, yeah. Yeah, I love that. Those are great vibes for any manufacturer. And, you know, I think you made a good point, too. Is that a lot of times when we, when we, um, talk to clients about doing these, there is resistance, right?

There is a sense of like, Oh my goodness, we don't, we're not sure we're ready to do that. Kind of take some time to get them comfortable with it. Have you seen, like, what's been your experience there? What are some things or strategies or things that you found help, help customers to get comfortable with talking about those things?


Amy Sariego: really just a lot of explaining and reassuring and pointing out the fact that like your competitors probably know what you're charging. Like, and you don't know, and I think this is something too that I like to point out is like, you don't know if their pricing is working. You don't know. Cause a lot of people are like, Oh, I can't do this because they're not doing it.

Or I have to do this because they're doing it or something like that. And it's kind of just like, you don't know what's working for them. You only know what's working for you. And so, and if you, you know, you're scared to talk about pricing because. It might be too high or it might be too low or something like that.

Like then that's kind of just like that person self selecting themselves in or out for your brand. Like it is either a fit or it's not. Um, and chances are, if it was not, then you weren't going to get that business anyway. So you might as well have the price there for the person who is ready to pay it.

Nicole Donnelly: I love what you said that that's a really good, good point.

Because when you talk about it, It allows you to narrow down people self select and so then instead of getting fed these all these like leads that really truthfully aren't qualified. You're getting better leads because they've selected for themselves that you're a good fit for them. So they're more ready to purchase from you.

That is such a great point. Like, cause the point is not to get like an influx of all these crappy leads. They call you, how much does it cost? And then it's out of their budget and you've wasted all this time. How much better would it be if they've looked at it and said, okay, that price is in my range.

Then they call, they're much better fit. You may get fewer of them calling, but the ones that call you or contact you. much better fit. And your time is much more efficiently used in that way. That's a really good, really, really good point. Love it.

Amy Sariego: Oh, Amy.

Nicole Donnelly: Can we just talk all

Amy Sariego: day? I could talk about this all day.

I could talk to you all day.

Nicole Donnelly: I know, it's so much fun. So, okay. So my next question for you is Um, when do you think it makes sense? This is a big one. When do you think it makes sense to hire an internal content marketer? And when does it make sense for you to outsource, right? There's, there's several ways that you can, you can do this.

Um, you can either outsource to an agency or you can. Hire someone. Do you have any thoughts on, from your experience, 'cause you've done it both ways, what do you think? It makes sense. What's your, what's your advice for manufacturers?

Amy Sariego: Um, I think it depends on how much of a, of a priority it is for your organization.

I think if you're just, if you're just getting started and you're trying to see if it's the right fit for you, maybe, and I think some of our clients have started this way. Um, start with, with hiring someone and do you know, a blog every few weeks, a blog every week, something like that. Um. Just to get it going, um, and then, you know, see how it's performing, see how it's doing, and then maybe bring it in house once you, you see that there is, because I think that's something people need to know is like, is there actually value in this?

Like, they might not want to have like, you know, a whole full time person with salary and benefits on their team if they aren't sure this is something that they're going to stick with. Um, so maybe starting out with a freelancer or an agency or something like that, um, as you're like building out your content strategy, building out what you want your content to look like.

And then bringing it in house once you have a little bit more clear of an idea of what that is. And I think a lot of teams need a little bit of like a warm up, like a ramping up period where they're like, is this, is this dangerous? Is it not? So I think that's one way to. bridge that, that worry. You're not taking as big of a risk necessarily.


Nicole Donnelly: that's a really good, that's really good advice. I like that a lot. Um, I think too, even, even teams that are larger, right? Like I think, I think of the solo marketers, for example. Um, there's so many out there in manufacturing. There's just these like solo marketer teams of one and they're trying to do so much.

And I was one of them. I remember being the solo marketer for a manufacturing company. And you have to wear a lot of hats and a lot of it is just, you know, project management and setting expectations with vendors. And you, you simply like, if you're in that position, if you, if you are in a manufacturing business and you are the solo marketer, you need help.

You need a good Yeah, you need a good, you know, content marketer who can support you and help you create some of this content because it doesn't happen in the ether. And so I think if you're a solo marketer out there and, and, um, you know, maybe your, your company's not, doesn't have the resources to bring in, um, other team that, that can be a really good way for you to just work with a, an agency who has really deep experience.

In, um, conducting SME interviews because there is a science to that, you know, it's, you know, asking the right questions and getting the SME to be comfortable and, you know, really understanding, um, that process. And it is, it takes a lot of skill to prepare those SMEs and to do those interviews properly. So, um, yeah, that's really good advice, Amy.

I love it. I love it all.

Amy Sariego: Those interviews are definitely a science. They were not my favorite thing to do, even, uh, six months to a year ago, they were not my favorite thing, but I feel like now I've kind of gotten a little, a little bit more warmed up myself.

Nicole Donnelly: Yeah. Tell me about that. What do you think has made, like, what do you think makes a solid SME interview?

What are some of the qualities that make a really good one? I

Amy Sariego: think it goes back to The passion like someone who has been doing it for a while or who is definitely bought into the idea of doing it like you can always tell if someone is just reading off of a piece of paper like they don't really want to like their answers are super super short and you're sitting there and then your mind kind of goes off because their answers are so short and you're like oh god like what kind of blog am I going to get from this like what kind of can I even use this and then I would be sitting there panicking thinking I can't do this.

So I think having someone who has the industry expertise. Yeah. And who can explain it in a, not a dumbed down way, but in a way that is like, you would explain it to your mom or something like that. Or like your grandmother, someone who is not necessarily in the industry, but can like, It wants to understand.

So if you can explain it to me, like, uh, or you can explain to anyone in a really simplified way without losing, you know, especially in manufacturing, it's such a can be such a technical thing. Um, yeah, I think someone who can explain things really, really well, really simply has that passion takes the time.

I think, um, it's, I would say it's really important if you are a content marketer to send them those questions well in advance of the interview because the more time they have to prepare. The better off you will both be on the day of, um, yeah, someone who will take that time to prepare. And yeah, I think that's,

Nicole Donnelly: I love those three points.

Like, so work, working with someone who is truly an expert and has that deep expertise. And I love your point too, about even coaching them to be able to explain it in layman's terms. Because a lot of times, these SMEs, they've been doing this for so long, it's really hard when you're an expert to get yourself in the mindset of being a beginner, right?

So, as an interviewer, how can you coach them or ask them follow up questions to say, Well, how could you explain this to my mom or to your mom or your sister if you were just explaining it to them? Um, I think is a really good point. And then sending the questions well in advance so they have time to prepare is another really huge one.

I love that. That's really good. We have Scott Sittler here. Scott is my dear friend. He was in this amazing class that we took together several years ago. Um, Mark Ritson, um, marketing, uh, mini MBA class. And he was such a fun partner. He says fear of being deselected based on price without ability to justify, but that assumes the prospects reads nothing but the price.

Yes. So I think Scott, this is a really good point going back to prices. And even, even like this just goes back to the point of making sugar blogging about it is not just putting a price up there, but explaining what goes into that price, right? Like what are all the factors that go into the building of this product, the price, so that people have some justification or reasoning or understanding.

Standing of what that price, what the context of that price even is. And I think, you know, we've seen that our blog posts on price when you talk about it and what are the factors that go into it. They perform very, very well because that is the top question. People want to know is how much does it cost and why does it cost that?

And so I love that point. That's a really good point. What do you think?

Amy Sariego: Yeah, no, that's a great way. In my experience too, to outrank your competitors on my search, I have had. A blog that was comparing the price of different systems, and we listed our competitors, we listed what they do, we listed their price, or like a range at least, um, as, along with our own, um, and now when people type in price of competitor, it was our article that was coming up, and so, like, you might be worried about your competitors, but chances are if they're not talking about it, and you are talking about it, like, you are going to outperform

Nicole Donnelly: them.

Exactly, and, and don't you want to be the That's the source that they find first. That's such a great point. I love that. Yeah. Great point, Scott. Very cool. Well, okay, man, I'm just going back to my questions here to see what we have else to talk about. Okay. Let's talk about like just measuring performance.

Okay. How do you measure the impact of content marketing, right? I think a lot of times I have to be honest. I mean, so many prospects and clients are just like, why would we blog? We need, we care about ROI. We want to see, you know, performance marketing is a thing. It's, it's always, especially for small businesses, right?

They're all about, are we getting leads and are we getting sales? Right. So to help us learn, help tell me, Amy, what do you think about like how you measure the impact? Content marketing and a piece of content. Like what's your recommendation there and what should businesses be thinking about in terms of the impact of content marketing and how they should be looking at it and how they should be measuring it.

It's effectiveness. 

Amy Sariego: What a huge question. Um, I would say have a way. For someone to convert on your blog. So whether it's asking for a free trial or having someone subscribe to your blog right at the top, and it stays there as they're, as they're reading, um, that, that reader to new contact rate is a great, is a great way to, to just like top, very high level to say like, okay, this many people are subscribing.

This many people are asking to at least learn more. Um, HubSpot does a great job with dashboards and. And, uh, attribution reporting, if you use that as a tool, that was, that's my favorite thing, is it will tell you just about anything if you are looking, if you, if you want to report on it, it probably can, um.

Uh, revenue attribution is a great, is a great one in there. You could build a report all around that it'll, it'll tie. I mean, nothing is a perfect science, so don't keep your expectations kind of in ike a fair, but it will give you a number tied to each blog. And I think that's a great way to say like, Hey, look, this is really working.

This has brought in this many actual dollars of, of revenue because we talked about this. Um, and so being able to say that really like helps justify, I think the cost of content marketing.

Nicole Donnelly: Yeah. So building infrastructure so that. Every blog has a call to action with the next step. That's going to be that newsletter subscription or a way for you to build your contact list.

So you can start to see that conversion process. I think is huge and being able to leverage a tool like HubSpot you know, a marketing automation platform that allows you to see the analytics in terms of viewership, the subscriptions that are coming from that blog and then the revenue to be able to see and tie it to revenue is huge.

So I love that. Keep going, keep telling me more. Um,

Amy Sariego: I would say an increase in traffic too, um, but that's one, it can be a little bit tricky. Is it the right traffic? Is it, are people coming and then leaving immediately or, so I would say keep an eye on like the right kind of traffic. If you're someone who offers like a free trial or like a subscription of some kind, like are you, are your free trials?

increasing. Um, that's a big one.

Nicole Donnelly: Um, I love that. What do you think? I mean, I think too, like one of the things I've changed, I've seen shifts and I love your perspective on this is before you'd write, you'd write a blog and you kind of just would be like, okay, we're going to optimize this for Google and we're going to just like, that's how we're going to get the traffic.

We're just going to optimize it for Google and just kind of cross our fingers and hope it comes up in the search. And that's how we're going to start getting all these leads to come through. Right. I think that that's changed a lot and that you need to be a lot more intentional about how you're distributing your blog content.

You can't just rely on the SEO Google gods to bless you with their wonderful algorithm magic, right? So, content, you know, blog content, content that you're creating for your website, how do you recommend people think about distributing that content in addition to publishing it on their blog? I think, uh,

Amy Sariego: having a really solid social media strategy and not just saying like, check out our new blog with a link, um, I think those days are kind of over too, I think sharing something really actionable from it, something that maybe they would learn if they read it, but like they don't have to read it to understand that thing, um, getting your team involved, getting like your, um, thought leaders involved, sharing it and like adding, you know, even if it's a few sentences about whatever, whatever the topic is and saying like, Hey, here's my perspective on this.

Cause that will help build trust in you as the leader and the brand will help. Spread awareness. So I think that is, is coming back around. I would say I've seen so many trends of like top content marketing predictions for 2024 and so much of it is about social media again, um, where I feel like that kind of fell off for a couple of years, I feel like that was not as much, um, having a newsletter, that's another thing that you own that you can always come back to that you can control what people are seeing.

So really making sure like, you don't just publish a blog and then kind of forget about it. It could be in there. Um, yeah, I would say those are the, those are the two biggest ones.

Nicole Donnelly: I love that. And I think this kind of ties into, um, I took a personal branding class last month from Mark Schaefer. He's a wonderful marketer and he recently put out a blog, um, post about your blog should be the source of your content and your social media is the distribution strategy.

And I think that's so true. We like to call it in our team, the content waterfall approach, where you create one nice, solid, long form piece of content. blog post, for example, or maybe it's a live stream event like this or a podcast, right? Like that's your long form piece of content. And you use that as the source of content to basically fuel and feed all of your social channels.

So you to your point earlier, I love what you said about not just posting the blog link in social because the platforms want you to stay in platform. So they're going to penalize you. for putting links in because they don't want people to leave. And if I penalize you, that means they're not going to show your post to as many people.

So in order for you to get the reach that you want and optimize the reach, you've got to share some of those nuggets without the link. And then over time, as you share more and more of those nuggets, people are going to recognize, associate your brand, and they'll go back to your website on their own to find that information is the hope because you've been talking about it enough and it's interesting and engaging enough, but thinking about like, Creating the blog as your source of content.

And now it's fuel basically to feed and distribute all your social channels. And it just creates a ton of efficiency for brands because rather than having to like create all these social media posts from nothing. You're creating one piece of nice content and you can just very easily just chunk it out from there and distribute it that way and your newsletter.

I love what you said about the newsletter. The email newsletter is solid gold because you own that list and it's a great way to build. Your engagement and your brand through that too, so my gosh, Amy, time flies when you're having fun. My gosh, this has been so great. Well, what, um, do you have any like final words of wisdom from that you would share?

For manufacturers and companies who maybe just getting started or wanting to amp up their marketing as they're looking into 2024, what are some things that you're seeing future trends, things that companies should be thinking about, like, what is next? What's next for content marketing and where? What advice do you have for companies about what they should be thinking about?

Amy Sariego: I would say don't give up if you're just starting and you, you're not, maybe not seeing results just yet. I would say think about less is more, less is more. So I, I feel like so much is like, Oh, we have to create all of this content. Like you were saying, and like you don't. And I think just like focusing on having really solid things that are.

Answering your customer's questions first and foremost, and a way to get those answers in their, in those customers hands. So I would say have like a solid strategy for that going into the new year. Um,

let me think what else.

Nicole Donnelly: Love that. Less is more. That is such sage advice because it can be so overwhelming. For people just starting with marketing to just be like, where do I start? How do I begin? There's so many things I need to do, but I think just focus being focused on those things that really matter to your customers, knowing what your customers need and want and the things that really matter.

And I also love what you said about like, it's a long game. And if you really, really want to do marketing, right, you have to appreciate that this is, it takes consistent, consistent effort over time. You can't just do it for three months and then stop. You have to be doing it again and again and again.

It's like going to the gym. You know, it's like, if I want to get a six pack, I'm not just going to go three times and then stop. Why did I get my six pack? Like, come on, you have to like consistently show up again and again and again, if you want to get that six back. And it's the same with marketing, you know, anything that's of any value takes time and consistency.

It can be tedious. It can be monotonous. It can be boring, but you just have to keep showing up. Right, Amy? You gotta keep showing up. So keep showing up out there, people.

Amy Sariego: That's all you can do. And make friends

Nicole Donnelly: with ChatchiPT. And make friends with ChatchiPT. Yep. And I think Amy has developed a wonderful, amazing framework on how to train your ChatchiPT. It's incredible. It's a really wonderful resource, um, that she leverages, um, for our, for our clients. And, um, so I think Amy, um, for anyone out there who is interested in connecting with Amy, you should be interested at this point because she's a.

Amazing. I can't say enough about her. So how can people reach you, Amy? And, um, where can they find you?

Amy Sariego: You can find me on LinkedIn. This is my name right on the screen. Very good. Yep.

Nicole Donnelly: And Amy is a fantastic freelancer. Uh, content writer, you would be, she does a tremendous job. So, Amy, thank you so much for being on the show today.

It's been such a pleasure. I love having these conversations with you. Will you come on the show again?

Amy Sariego: You know what, I think I would, despite how, um, nervous I was.

Nicole Donnelly: Well, next time you come on the show, I want you to show people your meme game.  I have never met anyone who lights up the Slack channel with as many amazing memes as she does.

Amy Sariego: So that's the real benefit of working for me. I can write you really good content, but I will send you even better memes.

Nicole Donnelly: She does a fabulous job. So thank you for joining us today. It was just So much wisdom that you shared. And for everyone out there listening, thank you so much for tuning in. We really appreciate you.

And if you want to connect with Amy, you can find her on LinkedIn, Amy Sariego, please connect with her. She's a lovely, lovely, lovely lady. So thank you so much. You guys have a great day.

Join us with expert, Amy Sariego, to uncover 'The Impact of Content Writing and its Value for Your Brand.' Learn how strategic content can amplify your brand's voice, engage your audience, and drive lasting impact.