Ep 01: How to Sell Through Your Strategy Internally – Interview with Kathleen Booth

Ep 01: How to Sell Through Your Strategy Internally – Interview with Kathleen Booth

Leading marketing for a start-up can be challenging and it takes a unique approach to sell through your ideas internally when everyone’s moving quickly.

This episode brings to the spotlight an experienced marketer, Kathleen Slattery Booth, who’s sharing with us eye-opening exercises for brand discoverability, the persuasion techniques she uses, and a lot of noteworthy inspiration to design the perfect startup strategy.

She especially speaks about how to create an SEO plan for a new brand:

If you had never heard of us {our brand}, and you needed to solve a problem that you came to us to help you solve, what question would you type into Google?

-Kathleen Booth

Kathleen Booth is a veteran marketer, with over 15 years in the industry, who specializes in digital marketing. Currently, she serves as the VP of Marketing at Attila Security and podcast host, but before that, she ran her own digital marketing agency.

Key Takeaways:

  • How to set up the initial plan for start-ups
  • Why you need to learn to say no
  • How to build success paying attention to your internal clients
  • What is the best way to generate content in your business early days

Connect with Kathleen

Check out the Inbound Success podcast
Find her on LinkedIn
Follow her on Twitter

Links mentioned

Slack for internal teams communications
Check out the Attila Security website
Find out more about the Maryland Renaissance Festival 
Get to know John Mueller
Recommended by Kathleen: Impact
HubSpot to order your site automations

Thank you for listening! 

If you’d like to know more about change-makers in digital marketing, celebrate their wins, and discover how they built a breaking ground career you should subscribe! We’d also love it if you’d share the podcasts you like and leave comments about your experience.


Episode Transcript

Katherine Watier-Ong  [00:07]  
Hello, we’re so glad to have you on the podcast today. So Kathleen, why don’t you give us a little background about yourself to get started?

Kathleen Booth  [0:16]  
Sure. My name is Kathleen booth and I am VP of Marketing at a company called Attila security, which is in the cybersecurity space. I have been in marketing for longer than I would like to admit, I owned I owned a digital marketing agency for 11 years that we worked with companies all over the country to put together digital marketing strategies and help them execute and then since exiting that I’ve spent about two years in house in a series of positions as coming in as the first Head of Marketing for early stage high growth companies. So that’s me in a nutshell, I’m Oh, I should mention I’m also the host of a podcast called the inbound success podcast where we talk a lot about inbound and Digital Marketing.

Katherine Watier-Ong  [1:01]  
Awesome. So I’m always very curious about how people got their start in digital marketing, because most of us come from some other background, I’m assuming your background was marketing before you found the digital book.

Kathleen Booth  [1:13]  
Sort of. So I did study marketing. I have an MBA in it. But I spent the first 10 years of my career working in international development, actually. So I’ve had a really strange and circuitous career path. But actually, it was through international development that I really that that it led me back to marketing because I worked on a lot of really big public sector reform projects and started seeing a pattern that the projects would stall because of poor communication, and lack of support. And I began using my marketing skills to really teach public sector officials how to strategically communicate earlier in the process so that they could build a groundswell of support so these projects would move forward. So that really led me back to marketing and when I wanted to start a family and have kids and I couldn’t travel all over the world for my international development work anymore that’s kind of when I started an agency. So,

Katherine Watier-Ong  [2:08]  
cool

Jim Keeney  [2:10]  
and that explains the name of your agencies right. So quintain coming from your family name and then later on you worked at impact. So,

Kathleen Booth  [2:19]  
actually quintain this is this is a common misnomer, there is no family connection that was when my company was quintain marketing. And my husband and I were starting this company and sitting around and thinking well we’ve got to open a bank account we’ve got to get this going but we didn’t have a name and so we sat down one night with a bottle of wine and said we’re not going to sleep until we have a name and got out you know thesaurus.com and started Googling things and and funny enough a quintain is a type of target. And we had been having these conversations like targeted marketing but that’s so overused and cliched and quintain was interesting. We saw it. It was a synonym. It is actually a target used to teach a knight how to joust. And what I loved about it was that you know the knight hits the quintain, but it’s on a, an arm that swings around and there’s a weighted ballast on the other side. And if he doesn’t hit it just right, the weighted ballast swings around and knocks him off the horse. And I loved that because I was like, it’s really easy to get a message to a target or an audience. But there are so many ways that that could go wrong. So it’s not just about reaching your audience. It’s about reaching them in the right way. And then of course, it helps that, you know, the Maryland where we were based has the Renaissance Festival and jousting is the state sport. So right, and we could get the domain name.

Katherine Watier-Ong  [3:43]  
jousting is a state sport. I never knew that. That’s amazing.

Jim Keeney  [3:47]  
Growing up I always thought it was lacrosse until somebody corrected me and said no it’s jousting.

Kathleen Booth  [3:54]  
Yeah, so

Katherine Watier-Ong  [3:55]  
so in your current position, because this podcast is all about the persuasion and the nuts and bolts that go into the digital marketing bit. So in your current position, what’s the biggest challenge that you faced in relation to persuasion in relation to pushing through your digital marketing strategies?

Kathleen Booth  [4:12]  
You know, I’m very fortunate in my current position that I work for a CEO and a team of leaders that when they hired me made the commitment that hey, you’re the expert, we’re going to trust you, you do what you need to do to be successful. So I will say that I haven’t had to do a whole lot of persuading in my current position, but I have been in many roles where I have and so what I would say is that number one, it is important when you’re coming into a marketing role to look at, you know, who the leadership of the company is, and and are they bought in to digital because, you know, you have to have your eyes open. I’m not saying you shouldn’t take a role where, where there isn’t that buy in, but you have to go in knowing that it’s going to be a much steeper hill to climb. What has worked for me really well is connecting my efforts with revenue and not, not measuring success on the number of leads I’ve generated. But measuring success on, you know, the pipeline value that I’ve contributed to and, and also really coming in from the outset, with a mindset of, of my most important customers, the sales team, because they’re obviously the ones who are going to make me successful in generating revenue. And if I can build a really great relationship with sales, and if that relationship leads to closed one deals, that goes a very long way. And then the only corollary to that I think, is just aggressively communicating internally. You know, as marketers, we often think about how we are going to communicate externally and what’s our campaign for our potential customers, but internally, you have a lot of customers as well. You know, the the leadership of the company, the sales team, the folks that you’re going to rely on to create content, you need to look at them as another customer

Jim Keeney  [6:01]  
Can we dive into that a little bit deeper? And can you kind of go into what are the various different pieces that make a good marketing system? Because that’s one of the things that I think you do very, very well is you think about it as a systematic approach, how to you know, how to get the get the message out there, but then what happens after the message, you know, after the leads start coming in and how they flow through?

Kathleen Booth  [6:26]  
Yeah, you know, I’m a big believer in in if you’re going to invest your time and money in marketing, because it is an investment, you should be building an engine that is repeatable and scalable, and to the extent possible, putting that time and money into things that are going to really pay off over the long term. And I’ve always likened it to the difference between renting a house and buying a house. You know, when you rent a house, as soon as you stop paying rent, you know, the clock starts ticking and you’re eventually going to be evicted. Right. Whereas if you Buy your house, and you own it. And you’re putting that in that investment in, that’s going to pay off for you at some point. So with marketing, what I look at is, what do we first of all, what do we really want to be known for? I think the problem that a lot of companies have is they don’t message well, or they try to be all things to all people, especially at early stages, which is when I tend to come in, there’s a lot of chasing dollars no matter where they’re coming from. And that can lead to, I think, confusion from the outside as to what the company really does or what it sells and how it’s differentiated. So, the first thing I do, and it’s what I’m working on now, because I’m only a month into my current position is getting the team to focus. What are the what, what’s the number one thing we want to be known for, that’s first. And then under that umbrella, you know, let’s pick two or three things to really put our effort into and let’s be very conscious about agreeing what we’re going to say no to. And that’s the conversation I’ve been having internally at my current company. You know, I put together a 90 day marketing plan, because I’m a big believer that you really can’t plan out further than 90 days, in most cases, because the world changes so quickly. And if you’re doing your job well, as a marketer, it’s going to change quickly because you’re getting a lot of results. And that that means that you’re going to need to reevaluate based on those results. So I have a 90 day plan. In that plan. For me, I have three very concrete focus areas that I’m working with the sales team and the leadership team to align around. And the conversations I’m having are along the lines of we’re going to say no if it’s not in these three areas. So staying focused, and making sure you can say no, that’s important. Once you have that in place, then really understand how to build out a funnel. And in marketing terms, we talk about top, middle and bottom of the funnel, right and at the top of the funnel It’s all about content creation. And again, staying focused on those three areas. So lots of people blog and create content, but they’re all over the place. And when you’re all over the place, Google doesn’t know what it should consider you an expert in. So I like to create content strategies that go really deep on my three focus areas. So that Google can clearly see, hey, we know more about this than anybody else on the internet. So creating that top of the funnel to pull people in organically, but at the same time, making sure that the content we’re creating serves the sales team because the fastest path to revenue is arming the sales team with content that’s going to help them close deals more quickly. So that top of the funnel and then at the middle of the funnel, really putting together great customer stories, case studies, things like that, that show how your solution has an impact. And also highlighting your subject matter experts, I strongly believe that today because there’s such a glut of content on the market, the best way to stand out is to lead with the personal brands of the subject matter experts on your team. So, you know, when you post blogs don’t have them come don’t have the author listed as your company, you know, have it listed as a person in the company, if you do a newsletter, don’t have it come from info at have it come from your CEO or some other highly visible person and put some personality into the content you’re creating. If you build out content assets at those different levels of the funnel, then you have all the individual pieces you need to nurture someone and so having those building blocks is important. And then once you have them, there are plenty of tools out there that can help you go faster, you know, automation platforms, etc.

Jim Keeney  [10:51]  
Right. So, so the kind of emphasis on subject matter experts and their reach is that in part driven By the organic reach of LinkedIn nowadays,

Kathleen Booth  [11:04]  
I think I think right now LinkedIn has a ton of value. I’m there on lots of platforms, and there are lots of different ways to get that reach. The thing that’s so critical even before you can think about platforms, is authenticity. You know, the way to really build a powerful personal brand, is by having something to say that somebody can’t find somewhere else. So it’s not just creating, you know, checking the boxes and creating content and listing your CEO as the author. It’s what this person contributes to the broader conversation about the topic that people can’t find somewhere else, that’s what’s going to get people to continue coming back to you. So if you can, and a lot of companies are afraid of that because it means having a point of view which can be controversial. But if you can, if you can get that kind of content created, that stands for something that has a point of view, then there are plenty of channels and it really depends on your audience. I like LinkedIn. I also love Twitter at one of my previous companies, we got a lot of great results from Facebook. I’ve seen people get great results from the medium. I think the channel is less important than the content itself. And then of course understanding your audience and where they’re going to be most likely to engage with it.

Katherine Watier-Ong  [12:25]  
Well,  and it’s certainly critical from an SEO perspective, to have something unique. John Mueller is always saying like you the reason that you would rank is because you have something better than what’s currently already out there. And so you know, better is more, one of the ways to get to better is more unique. Definitely.

Kathleen Booth  [12:41]  
Yeah, and and I would actually add to that and say, if if you have to make a choice between creating a higher volume of content or creating higher quality content, oh, go for quality every single time because if you had one amazing, really long form in depth piece of content on the thing that you’re most interested in getting found for. That is so much better than, you know 50 okay, blog articles that check the box.

Jim Keeney  [13:15]  
So when it’s early days with your new company in position, and you’re dealing with kind of startup issues, your subject matter experts, I’m assuming are the people who work in the company at this stage. Can you walk us through the process you’ve been doing since you’ve worked with companies at all levels? How would you take that early days, content generation and evolve it over time? Because, you know, one of the biggest things that you struggle with with startups is the presidency of the founder. They’re completely swamped with everything they have to do. they love to create content, but they never seem to get to it. How do you get past that so that you’re generating things on a more systematic basis.

Kathleen Booth  [14:00]  
Well, I would say some of them love to create content, not all of them. I have found in every single case, that the only way to really make it work is to not ask them to create the content themselves. But to have somebody interview them and record that interview and work with a writer who is able to, to essentially ghost write something for them. So it’s, it’s still really them creating content, but you’re not asking them to sit down and write. You know, that’s hard. It’s time consuming. And it’s just not realistic, especially at a small well at any company where the leader is busy. So I like to try and find people who are really good questionnaires to do those interviews. Sometimes I’ll do them myself. Sometimes I will. If you have, like a marketing manager who’s really good at it, or who’s been trained in it, they can do it. But my favorite thing is to hire people who have journalism backgrounds to act as content managers, because they’re trained to do this. This is what they went to school for. And they know how to ask the right questions, and how to take that and turn it into a great piece of content.

Katherine Watier-Ong  [15:12]  
Now, considering you have a podcast, are you then recording that content in a way in which you can use it on different mediums? So are you videotaping that? So it could be a video asset plus an audio asset plus written?

Kathleen Booth  [15:27]  
Sorry, the Internet totally cut out there. And I didn’t hear any of that question.

Katherine Watier-Ong  [15:31]  
Oh, so I was wondering since you run a podcast when you record the senior leadership, are you doing it in such a way where you can get different mediums out of that same interview? So video plus audio plus written?

Kathleen Booth  [15:44]  
It did it again, something’s happening with our internet, huh? I can try it again. I don’t know if it’s me, or but now you seem to be back now. So if we want to try it again.

Katherine Watier-Ong  [15:55]  
Try it again. So since you’re on a podcast, I’m curious whether or not when you record the senior leadership, whether you’re doing it in a way where you’re going to get a video asset and an audio asset and a written asset out of it.

Kathleen Booth  [16:07]  
I mean, in a perfect world, yes. So, um, I love video. It’s awesome. It’s easy people. For some people, it’s because they’re so much more comfortable speaking than they are writing. So yeah, in a perfect world, I would love to, to have a camera rolling, do that interview, you know, write up an article from it, turn it into a podcast and also, you know, use some of the video and create different video snippets. If you can do that, that’s the best of all worlds for number one, because you get more you know, you squeeze more juice out of the orange for yourself from a content standpoint, but also for your audience. You know, everybody likes to consume content and learn in different ways. And it’s so great if you can say, hey, you want to learn about this topic? I’m giving you three options. You can listen to it, you can watch it or you can read it.

Katherine Watier-Ong  [17:01]  
So getting back to your podcast, I’m kind of curious, what are the trends that you’ve seen across your guests? Are there any interesting insights that you’ve gotten by interviewing the folks on your podcast, particularly related to either getting closer to your customer or persuading people as you’re launching a digital marketing campaign?

Kathleen Booth  [17:21]  
You know, I’ve interviewed a lot of people and what they all have in common is they’re all getting great results. And it’s been really interesting. I would say the number one takeaway I have is that they’re consistent. And they just do it right on a regular basis. It’s like exercise. I think a lot of marketers know exactly what they should do. Just like a lot of people know, you know, they should be exercising all the time, but we just don’t do it. And the best marketers are, like, driven to be super consistent. When it comes to things like persuading people and understanding the customer. For sure. They’re passionate about talking with the customers themselves. So Whether that means, you know, going out and meeting with customers I’ve talked to, I think it was like Baron caster at rub calm, who talked about how he set a goal for everybody on his marketing team that they had to talk to a certain number of customers per month. And then they’d have a meeting and come back and everybody would report back. It could be that it could be listening to recorded sales calls. You know, there could be another person I talked to who had an automatic trigger set so that when they closed a new customer within that first month, he would reach out and talk to every single new customer. You know, I think it depends on your business and the volume you’re experiencing. But having that passion for first hand as a marketer, talking to the customers not relying on assumptions and and listening really closely, not just to what they’re saying, but the words they’re using when they say it because marketers are like, really, really guilty of real using jargon and assuming we know what people want and I think the best ones Throw that all out the window and, and listen deeply.

Jim Keeney  [19:06]  
That’s excellent. That is kind of one of the critical points in this all is it’s not just what the customer says back to you and how that allows you to kind of form your solutions and products and things like that. But it’s also the language that they use to describe it becomes that kind of fundamental piece of your marketing that emotionally resonates. Because one of the things as you said, jargon, it’s not always jargon, people are very well meaning so especially with new startups. They understand the product that they’re producing. They understand the problem that they’re solving. What they don’t understand a lot of times is how the customer themselves described that and the language that they use, and the emotional triggers that revolve around that. So the process that you described of reaching out to the customers, I think that that’s kind of a critical piece of this. Right?

Kathleen Booth  [20:03]  
Yeah. And a great question to ask, by the way, the one that is sort of my go to is if you had never heard of us, or our product, or our service, or whatever it is we’re selling didn’t know we existed. And you needed to solve the problem that you came to us to help solve. What question would you type into Google? Because a lot of times we get wrapped up in like, how they’re searching for us. But if you assume that you never existed, it forces them to think like, what’s the generic way I would, I would search for this. And those are the terms that you really want to be using.

Jim Keeney  [20:38]  
Yeah, I’m passionate about customer discovery in the lean startup process. And the fundamental thing that I always have to teach people in the first place is imagine that you don’t have any information about your product before you start talking to a customer. And it’s very hard to get people off of that, you know, you have to tell them, okay, talk to them. about what’s going on right now. Have them tell you what’s going on right now. And then worry about whether or not that actually turns into a product. And and I think the advice that you’re giving right now is very much in that school of, you know, how how do we, you know, how do we have conversations with customers, where the customers are actually telling you how they look at the world, so that when you then turn around and market back to them, you’re reflecting exactly the way they think.

Kathleen Booth  [21:27]  
That’s right.

Katherine Watier-Ong  [21:28]  
I had some great success using user testing back in the day where we did a focus group with the target demo, but they didn’t necessarily know the product. And we gave them a problem a scenario without using a keyword, and then actually watched them go to their phones and start searching, completely eye opening. They were using keywords, I never would have guessed. And then of course, you get to see all the Google personalization, which I think is really shocking for a lot of people even though it’s been going on for a very long time. But it was great Intel, the hand Back to the client about keywords and what sites they should compete against for the topic and that kind of thing. Yeah, it was a great test. I love to do it with whatever client I can for sure. Yeah,

Kathleen Booth  [22:12]  
Yeah, it’s fascinating.

Jim Keeney  [22:15]  
In coming back to so, we’ve talked about generating that content in the first place. And, and the way you described it, your content is top of funnel, bottom of funnel and middle of funnel, especially when you’re kind of diving into the subject matter experts set middle and bottom, potentially. Let’s talk about how that turns into a repeatable system. So you talked about the fact that marketers that are good and this is a thread are passionate about getting it done. What are the things that you found within organizations that you use to kind of reinforce that it’s just a process that keeps going?

Kathleen Booth  [22:58]  

Well, again, it goes back to internal Communication. And I think I don’t always know, when it comes to internal communication, I think I could even do a better job for sure. I feel like the gold standard is, you know, on a weekly basis, send out an update to the whole company, about where things stand with marketing, but also a very accomplished marketer who I interviewed talks about showing your work. And I love this, you know, if you have, for example, slack internally, do you just slack out hey, here’s a landing page we just built here’s a new campaign we just launched, like those frequent communications don’t wait for there to be like a big report to the board or an all hands meeting like those frequent wins in between, I think are so important and because so much of what we do as marketing happens behind the scenes, and I think it can leave a lot of people wondering what the heck we’re doing. So the more you can share those little things. I think the better you are, you’ll be able to build support and get people to have the forbearance to stick with it for a longer term. Oh, and I should also mention with content that we did this at one of the companies I was at last year, and I’ll be putting it in place where I am now, on a weekly basis, sharing the articles that are performing really well. And kind of giving a shout out to the authors. So, you know, Hey, Joe contributed to this blog we wrote that really got a lot of traffic last week, I think that makes people feel like okay, that hour I spent being interviewed or that time I spent writing was really worth it, because people are seeing it.

Jim Keeney  [24:39]  
And your sales department is an internal customer in the same way. So can you talk about how you do you do anything different to kind of emphasize the communication with the sales group and to get feedback from the sales group, as you launch various different pieces of content and marketing campaigns and initiatives

Kathleen Booth  [25:00]  
Yeah. So when I, my first thing is to just meet with the sales team, and tell them that they’re my most important client and then to have a recurring meeting with them on a regular basis, that is really about how I can help them. That’s number one. Number two, then the sales team, it can really help marketing also, because they’re on the front lines. They’re hearing the questions that prospects are asking. And every single question they get, should really go into your editorial calendar. Because if one person is asking it in person, there’s probably 10, if not 100 or 1000 people asking it online. And even if that’s not happening, if you can create a written piece of content to answer that question, arm the sales team with that, that’s just more sales enablement to help them close deals. So getting those questions from the sales team. Personally, I’m a fan of slack. I like to have a Slack channel where they can just drop them in as they hear them or if they want to forward them to me by email, making it As easy as possible for them to provide that feedback is super, super important. And then once content has been created, I like to create a sales content directory. So a you know, if you have any kind of a wiki, for example, we use SharePoint but I’ve used I’ve used Atlassian products in the past, whatever you’re using, if you can create some kind of a wiki of Look, here are links to blogs we’ve written that are really, really valuable from a sales enablement standpoint. So if you’re writing an email as a salesperson after a sales call, or following up on something, and you need a really quick reference point of, hey, here’s some great content to draw from making that easy to find instead of forcing them to scroll through your whole blog I think is really helpful.

Jim Keeney  [26:55]  
That’s excellent. So that that brings it you know, that kind of closes the loop. It brings it back in when you then circle back with your marketing team, talk to me about how that conversation goes, when you’re kind of reviewing the questions that come back in from the sales team, things of that nature.

Kathleen Booth  [27:14]  
Yeah, you know, we’ll go through them and try to prioritize based on which ones we think, you know, show high buying intent. So for example, like a lot of times questions revolve around cost, or comparisons, like, why should I buy from you versus your competitor? Those kinds of topics are generally for me super high priority for a couple reasons. One they’re, those are big things that people Google, cost questions, versus questions, things like that are really, really hot, they have high search volume. So if you can create content around it, you’re more likely to rank but also the people that are going to respond to that kind of content, generally have a high buying intent, you know, the fact that they’re looking for that kind of information signals that they’re pretty deep into the buying process. So those are the best types of leads to pull in. And also the best kind of information to provide the sales team. So really looking through those questions and trying to sort the ones that relate back to high buying intent and would also have a high search volume and prioritizing those first.

Katherine Watier-Ong  [28:26]  
So do you find that when you publish that on your own site, it performs better? Or depending on the industry, it performs better if you get it published to one of the product comparison sites?

Kathleen Booth  [28:38]  
I’d like to do both. Yeah, but not use the exact same content, obviously. Or, I mean, it depends on you know, this gets into deeper SEO issues of like, whether it’s, you know, who essentially is the canonical URL. Anyway, I would like to have it on both. I think you if you, if you’re for example, selling a software product, you should have You know, those kinds that kind of information on your listing on sites like g two and cap Tara and trust radius, if there are other specific sites, you know, if you’re maybe in a different space, but there are review sites for that you’ve got to have a presence on those sites. But I think it’s really great to have it on your website. Because ultimately, if somebody is searching your product versus something else, if you can get them to read that article on your site, it gets them to your site right now, the one thing about it is it has to be cannot be written to seem biased, you know, somebody’s going to know you’re writing it. And so you have to immediately start out by acknowledging like, Look, we sell this product, but we’re trying to provide an unbiased viewpoint and there are a lot of ways to do that. Like we can go deep on that if we wanted to, you know, with versus topics you can actually pull from review sites and say this is what the review sites say. But making sure your content is written in an unbiased fashion is really, really important.

Jim Keeney  [30:04]  
It seems like the place where strategy meets tactics is through your content calendar, or your marketing calendar, right? Talk to me about how you kind of institutionalize that and work through that. So you talked about, you know, you can’t see beyond 90 days, but having a calendar for that 90 days can really help people stay focused, stay, you know, stay sharp on which topics are most important. And also it drives, you know, drives internal behaviors. So, can you kind of unpack how you utilize that?

Kathleen Booth  [30:40] 
Yeah, so I am a big devotee of what’s called the pillar content and topic cluster approach. And essentially what that means is when you for example, in my case, I have those three focus areas. I will be creating what’s called a piece of pillar content for each of those three focus areas and put it in very simple terms. What pillar content is, is it as an in-depth piece of content that is designed to be the best source of information on that topic on the internet kind of goes back to what you said about John Mueller earlier. And I think it’s Brian Dean calling it the skyscraper strategy, you know, you, you need to be the best source of content. So if you’re going to create a piece of pillar content on something, you start by googling that topic and seeing who comes up number one, and your first thing is you’ve got to create something better than that, but really going in depth. And the beautiful thing about pillar content is you can add to it over time. So it doesn’t have to be like a boom, I created it. And unfinished it can be, I just created this amazing piece of content. And I’m going to continue updating it and adding to it and making it more robust so that I stay ahead and make sure that I’m continuously having the best piece of information. And then once you’ve built that, you build what’s called your topic cluster which is all kinds of Supporting articles and web pages around that topic that go into detail on some of the more Niche aspects of it. And there are technical aspects of this too where you want to have your articles link back to the pillar and the pillar link to the articles. All of that is the technical plumbing that tells Google we are the world’s Best expert on this topic when it sends its SEO spiders out to crawl your site. Those links and the way you build your content send the signal that it is authoritative.

Katherine Watier-Ong  [32:37]  
So I’m kind of curious, because I know that Google has been spending a bit more time looking at authority, so expertise, authority and trust, particularly in certain industries. And you had been talking about how you are leveraging employees and their personal brand. So is one of the things I noticed with a lot of my clients that they either don’t have author BIOS or they’re pretty thin And then whoever they’ve got talking on behalf of the company might not have the most robust online presence perhaps. So do you spend a bit of time sort of improving both of those kinds of consistently as you’re talking about like a systematic process, I’m just wondering in the back of my head, that’s the kind of one that I pull up all the time for every single client.

Kathleen Booth  [33:16]  
Absolutely. Amen to that. So when I’m in the last few positions I’ve come into I’ve one of the first things I’ve done is redesign the website. And as part of that, I build into the scope of work for the team doing the website that I want the author bio to actually be the same as the person’s page in the team section of the website. So I’m a big believer that you go to your, you know, the About Us page, and you have a section on that page, or even a page in and of itself, that’s about your team. And it’s not just pictures and links to their LinkedIn, which is something that my current company has, but we’re working on changing. You actually link to a page just about that person. And for me the best practices that page has that person’s bio. Yes, it has links to their social, but it also has a perfect world that has a video of them talking about themselves and what they do. It has links to all the blogs they’ve authored on that page. You know, any other content that they’ve been involved in creating any certifications they hold like, this is the kitchen sink about that person. If part of your strategy is to get your subject matter experts out speaking at conferences, you should have downloadable headshots. You might even have like, abstracts of common topics they talk about, this is your place to really showcase why these people are amazing. And often when websites are built, that you might even have a page like that. But very often the author bio on your blog is something totally different. It is like a little paragraph. So I like to actually build the site so that the author bio and the person’s page on the team page or the One in the same, so that every time somebody wants to see anything about that person, they’re going back to that single source of truth. And it’s incredibly robust. Because it is your spot on, it’s so important to establish, you know, expertise and authority, etc. And, and Google will see that but people see it, you know, having worked in an agency for 11 years, I got to see a lot of different companies’ Google Analytics, and, you know, you get under the hood, and you kick the tires. And in almost every single case, one of the most trafficked pages on a company’s website is the team page. And that’s because people want to know who works for your company, your prospects want to know your customers want to know, like, people are looking at the people. So you better have a really good section on your people. Can you tell I’m passionate about this, I could go on and on.

Jim Keeney  [35:50]  
It very much reinforces that concept that SEO. So Google has gotten more and more sophisticated over time. And what Google is doing is trying to establish authority. And based on authority, then thereby rank everything that’s associated with that authority. And so it’s both on the content side and on the subject matter side, but it’s also on, well, who is it that is generating that? You know, that content. And so you know, your observation that you can’t just as a second afterthought, put, you know, bio pages out there and think that that’s sufficient, really gets to this, the thing that you said earlier, which is don’t generate a ton of content, focus on the quality of the content, because you’re building, you’re building this authority and trust over time.

Kathleen Booth  [36:45]  
Yeah, absolutely.

Katherine Watier-Ong  [36:46]  
So you’re at a startup now, so I don’t know you might be the PR team. But I’m kind of curious. The process behind you getting closer to PR because if you’ve got a new website or a new brand, obviously You need to build up the authority of the company and a footprint online. So I’m just kind of curious whether you have a standard process for doing that.

Kathleen Booth  [37:08]  
Ah, PR, I am not a PR expert. I should say from the beginning that it is totally to me, it’s like a totally different domain than marketing. And the people who are great at PR are great at PR and the people that are marketing are great at marketing. we so it’s very interesting. Right now, I don’t have a huge PR budget. But the company I was at immediately prior to this, I did so I worked with a PR company. We had them on retainer, it was a much more programmatic approach. So I’ve done it both ways. And I think if you can afford to hire a great PR person, that there’s a time and a place for that. The one thing I will say is I strongly believe you need to have a story. It can’t just be like, Hey, here’s our company, we sell this cool thing like you have to have something to give to reporters for them to want to report on. So don’t spend a lot of money on PR unless you have a story to really pitch but if you do and you can afford it. Absolutely do it. If you do not have a big PR budget, there are a couple things that I always do that seem to help with what you’re getting out, which is really like PR for SEO almost. And one of my favorites is and maybe I’m biased because I have a podcast, but I actually hire podcast booking agents. There are some specialized companies out there for a very reasonable price. Will get one of your subject matter experts on as a guest on podcasts. And podcasts can provide awesome backlinks and also give you content to share on social media like hey, here’s an interview I did on this topic. So there are some really great specialized agencies out there. Or you can use an actual PR company. Look at pricing. I would say some of the podcasts Booker’s are pretty reasonable because that’s all they do, and they have it really down to a science. But that’s one of my favorite little, insider tricks for getting good backlinks and subscribing to help a reporter out HARO, you get an email a couple times a day. And it’s all just leads of reporters looking for sources for stories and it’s totally hit or miss, you know, you’re you you can spend a lot of time pitching them. I’ve had mixed success with it, but you know, using HARO, I’ve gotten placed in, you know, ink magazine and American Express small business articles and other big journals as well as much more specialized ones. So those are two kinds of scrappy, low budget ways of getting some good backlinks.

Katherine Watier-Ong  [39:37]  
Yeah, I’ve actually been placed by HARO. So I’ve, I respond very intermittently, but when I’m a little bit slower, I sort of start lurking and I’ve gotten coverage in it.

Kathleen Booth  [39:46]  
Yeah, it can be exhausting to get three HARO emails a day.

Katherine Watier-Ong  [39:49]  
 Yeah, exactly.

Kathleen Booth  [39:51]  
Someone needs to build a tool that just scrapes HARO for keywords and ascendancy the things that like matter the most

Katherine Watier-Ong  [39:57]  
right

Kathleen Booth  [39:58]  
there’s a business there.

Jim Keeney  [40:01]  
So one, one question, you have this great opportunity because you’ve been both inside an agency and outside as people begin building, you know, and working for companies, as people begin building their marketing efforts, more and more. There’s such a broad band of different skill sets. Can you talk to how to balance what you do internally versus what you hire as services? And where the industry is going in terms of marketing as a service kind of concept?

Kathleen Booth  [40:37]  
Yeah. One of the reasons I got out of the agency business is that, you know, when I first started, content marketing was still pretty new and novel, and it’s become very mainstream. And I think that’s good and bad. It’s good that people recognize that content is really powerful, but it’s bad because there’s this just glut of horrible content coming out. And a lot of that is because people hire agencies and just sort of take this check the box approach to Well, I got to publish a blog a week. And so whatever, it’s a blog, put it up. I, like, you know, I said earlier content is so quality is so important. And so I think one of the first positions that I would hire for honestly, is a Content Manager, to just come in and amp up the volume of really good content, somebody who can write and do those interviews, and, and, you know, right not just write articles for your website, but write website page content, pillar content, guest articles for other websites like that. If you have a great volume of that there’s a lot you can do. Now, that presupposes that you as the person hiring them are a marketer who’s a little bit of a Swiss Army knife. And I talked to somebody on my podcast recently about this, your first marketing hire for the company. If you’re the CEO, you need to look for somebody who is like a human Swiss Army Knife who could do a lot of different things because and I’m like the only marketer in my company right now I have somebody who helps two days a week and some agency support. And thank God, I’ve had enough experience over the years where not only can I build a strategy, but I can get in and build a landing page and, you know, tweak the copy on a website page and write the emails and set up the drip campaigns, like, I got to be able to roll my sleeves up and do it. But you know, after somebody like me, I think somebody who can really write and produce a lot of volumes is important. I like having a writer on staff too, because you really want to have content that sounds consistently like it’s coming from your company and to capture that authenticity. And I think building up that voice over time, you can do it really well. If you have an internal writer, the things that I would outsource, you know, and it changes over time. In the early days, you’re going to outsource a lot because you kind of have to; you can’t afford to hire everybody. But as you go, you get further along with outsourcing really specialized roles, like, for example, I generally tend to outsource technical SEO, it’s very specialized. Most companies until they’re much bigger don’t need a full-time technical SEO and their team. I also have outsourced paid ads. Again, it’s very, very specialized and you don’t want to screw it up because it can be a lot of money down the tubes. If you do. Eventually, if you’re spending a lot of money and seeing a lot of success with paid ads, you could hire that position on your team. But that tends to be something that I’ve outsourced a lot, PR, we talked about that already. You know, and then it just really depends on how much work you have to get done. I think if you, I always look at it as if I have enough work that it can be done by a full time in house person, I would rather hire that person to have them on my team. Then pay outsourced and you know, and I had an agency but let’s be honest, it’s going to be more expensive to pay an agency than it is to hire somebody full time. So you have to think strategically about what you’re outsourcing.

Jim Keeney  [44:02]  
So the first two hires are Swiss Army knives. Yeah. And then somebody who can write. Yeah. And really manage the content funnel, right? Because so much content is necessary. And it really needs to have a consistent voice and tone. And it needs to come from internally, you know, generated understanding of the product, the market and the people of the company. Right.

Kathleen Booth  [44:27]  
Absolutely.

Jim Keeney  [44:28]  
Okay. That’s, that’s really good advice. So we’re kind of coming to the end. We have, we have some fun questions that we would love to ask. And actually, since Katherine is, is more of a fun person than I am, at this moment. I’m going to turn the questions over to her.

Katherine Watier-Ong [44:53]  
Wow. So I mean, you’ve shared a bunch of moments of how to get to that win because this is the digital marketing victories podcasts. But is there an additional resource or win that you want people to walk away with that you think would be really helpful as they’re either launching their marketing career or, you know, picking up their first director of marketing position?

Kathleen Booth  [45:15]  
Ooh. I, you know, I think I found a cause. The biggest challenge that I’ve heard marketers talk about is that they’re overwhelmed. You know, digital marketing changes really, really quickly. And it’s like drinking from a firehose, and I think you could come into a position like that, and very quickly feel totally overwhelmed. So finding a couple of resources that are really good for learning. And just sticking with those is important. I’ll give a little plug to a company that I used to work at called impact. They’re a phenomenal learning resource. They produce tons and tons of content. It’s like four or five articles a day, all for marketers. They have an amazing newsletter written by an unbelievable writer, which the newsletter itself is full of great information, it’s called the latest. But the woman who writes it Liz Morehead is, is probably just somebody you should follow if you want to see what really amazing writing looks like marketing writing, she’s an incredible example. So that’s one resource. And then they actually still publish my podcasts. So take that for what it’s worth that might be a little self serving, but, it’s because they produce great content. And they have a huge audience and a lot of followers and it’s good stuff. And then beyond that, I love podcasts, I would say find a couple of really good podcasts that speak to you and stick with those but don’t try to Don’t try to read everything and consume everything. It’s too much. Find a few people that are good, follow them and rely on them for learning. That’s honestly my best piece of advice.

Jim Keeney  [46:50]  
Well and it gets back to what you said earlier, which is just get in the habit of doing. Yeah, and I think as you get in the habit of doing what happens is Okay, I’ve got to get better at this. You start reaching out and you find resources based on that and you stay focused on the next thing. I think that that really helps you develop that habit. But I do want to put you on the spot. Is there recently when that event either internally or that you want to kind of share personal or otherwise?

Kathleen Booth  [47:22]  
Well, I mean, I’m only a month in. So, yeah, I would say my biggest win is within a month, getting, getting, I’ve put marketing automation in place. We didn’t have anything so i got HubSpot. I got it all set up. I built my first few landing pages, I sent out our first email newsletter and put in place our first workflows. I recently turned on an ad campaign. And I’m now seeing all of that work bear fruit because the ad goes back to the landing page I built which kicks off the email nurturing flow and to see people converting and to know that that’s turning into leads. That’s such a good feeling. Because that’s Yeah, that’s the start of what, A lot more needs to follow that, but it’s nice to within a month at least start to see some results.

Katherine Watier-Ong  [48:08]  
Yay, that’s great, that’s a great amount of output in a month. That’s all. That’s amazing.

Kathleen Booth  [48:14]  
Thank you. I’m very happy that you’re done.

Katherine Watier-Ong  [48:17]  
Congratulations. All right. So how can people learn more about you?

Kathleen Booth  [48:22]  
So you certainly can Google the inbound success podcast, I publish that every single Monday at 1130. In the morning, I’m on episode 133 Right now, by the time this goes live, it’ll be probably around to Episode 150. And you’ll learn a lot about me through that. But also, I’m very active on LinkedIn and I will connect with you if you reach out to me and also currently, I’m kind of rejuvenating my activity on Twitter. I’m really enjoying Twitter lately, so you can find me at my mommy work, which is sort of my life in a nutshell. So those are really the best channels and then if you’re interested and connecting with me through my current company that’s Attila security, which is attilasec.com.

Jim Keeney  [49:07]  
So from my perspective, Katherine, Kathleen, your win would be the podcast that you’re

Kathleen Booth  [49:18]  
doing it 130 episodes later oh my gosh, I can’t stop now even if I want to I’m like

Jim Keeney  [49:25]  
That’s impressive to me.

And you can see where that momentum leads you to the success that you have in such a short period of time with your new company. Right? If it comes back to that just get up and do it every day.

Kathleen Booth  [49:39]  
Yeah, it’s fun. I love podcasting. I love learning from other marketers. So hopefully I’m able to share that with other people through the podcast.

Katherine Watier-Ong  [49:47]  
Great.

Jim Keeney  [49:47]  
Well, thank you very much. This has been fantastic.

Kathleen Booth  [49:50]  
Thank you for having me. It was so much fun.

1 comment on “Ep 01: How to Sell Through Your Strategy Internally – Interview with Kathleen Booth

  1. Bill Glenn says:

    “Go for quality content, every single time (vs. quantity of content).” Well said Kathleen Booth. Excellent podcast and awesome expert. Thank you for featuring Kathleen.

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