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Talking Content Marketing – With Ian Rhodes


Talking Content Marketing welcomes The Freelance CMO, Ian Rhodes.

If you don’t know, Ian is the trusted voice of reason and my microphone partner for the weekly Marketing Homebrew podcast. If you haven’t heard, where have you been since January 2015?

Ian is an experienced digital marketer and specialises in creating a framework for businesses based on search, content and conversion strategy.

I first interviewed back in July 2014, have a read of our first interview here.

As we come to the end of the year and 12 months of podcasting behind us, I wanted to have a chat with Ian about where the role of marketing is today and the agency structure in the UK.


Have businesses become too happy to hand over full control of marketing delivery to agencies?

When we evaluate the ‘how’ of digital marketing we inevitably draw ourselves into the question ‘how do we have time to do all this?’.

So, with the plethora of choice of channels and platforms available to us we become overwhelmed. That’s when the outsourcing solution of partnering with specialised agencies appeals.

Rather than it being a case of ‘happy to hand over’ control, oftentimes that hand is forced.


Is the marketing agency structure going to become a dinosaur i.e. over reliance on advertising media, broadcast and interruption?

For agencies, their proposition, purpose and process, all need to evolve.

The days of ‘impressions’ as a valid metric for digital success are long gone. It’s tactically naive for any agency, integrated or specialist, to pitch their wares based on the high volume yields high transaction approach. It simply doesn’t equate.

As more clients begin to hear the thud of the ‘authenticity’ drum, agencies need to grasp the importance of a more cohesive strategy between the goals they work towards and the real business goals of their client.


Are we now in an age where businesses can become self sufficient when it comes to communicating with an audience?

To reach our audience and grow our business we do need to reach outside of our owned space.

We’re dealing with busy people. Retargeting delivers an opportunity to drop a little note in the path of our own audience. A refined, targeted, approach to paid advertising allows us to position our message in the path of our potential audience.

How we nurture relationships and win business, that’s an area we can (and should) become self-sufficient in. The smarter marketer’s kitbag is packed with tools that help communicate more effectively through email and shared content. The analytics packages allow us to learn what’s working and what’s not. We need to spend far greater time understanding what this metrics actually mean to our business and how to develop and optimise our communication methods.


Do businesses need to have greater responsibility in understanding what they actually stand for and then sharing with a wider audience?

Hell yes!

If we don’t understand what we stand for, our potential audience won’t spend the time figuring it all out.

Clarity in proposition only comes when we have a fuller understanding of what we, in business, represent to our customer. Some get that. Most don’t. No creation of countless blog articles talking about a generalised approach to business will change that.


How important is it for businesses to embrace a content approach and move beyond solely a blogging platform?

Content is a hook to win business.

Dependent upon the complexity of your sales process, it can be a brilliant hook. At some stage we need to get a little more one-to-one with our audience. Beyond blogging. That’s where the ability to segment and build relationships through email comes to the fore of our work as marketers. Our blogging should lead towards the opportunity to communicate through email.

Blogging is your easiest route to market. It’s the route that takes the least resource and budget investment. We’re all blogging and few of us are seeing any impact from the work we put in. That’s why we need to get smarter with our approach. If blogging’s not working, neither will your approach to any audio or video channel. Choose your platform. Learn how to use it well. Take that learning and then widen your reach through other platforms. Learn to do one thing well then broaden your horizon.


What super-powers does today’s marketer need to have on board? 

We need to understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. If not, we’re wasting our time. Today’s marketer needs to be intuitive and ready to learn what works far beyond the confines of their own industry. You’re not just competing against your competitors. you’re competing with every nuance of everyday life to win the time of your audience.

Writing is a skill you evolve and get better at as you do the work. Knowing how to market that piece of content to grow your business? That’s where you need to have a firm understanding of search and analytics.

There’s no place for a one-trick marketing pony.


Massive thanks to Ian for sharing how he sees the marketing discipline developing. He is someone I have the deepest respect for and a ‘trusted adviser.’ Why not have a bit of a deeper look from Ian’s side.

The Freelance CMO: click here

Make What You Make Matter ebook: click here

Ian on Twitter: click here

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