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Key Takeaways

[3:03] Joe Talks About His Childhood

[9:05] Joe’s College

[15:01] Transition to Content Marketing

[19:38] Joe Talks About His Book

[29:21] Storytelling and Content Marketing

[32:05] Pillars of Content Marketing

[35:54] About Contently

[38:13] Metrics to Measure Content Success

[40:25] Joe’s Favorite Tools

[42:35] Joe Talks About Dollar Shave Club

[44:48] Joe’s Side Projects

[46:23] Joe’s Work Nickname

[49:04] Joe’s Favorite Travel Destination

Every form of marketing has some pillars that are important for sustaining the marketing strategy. The same applies to content marketing.

About 65% of the most successful businesses have well-documented content marketing strategies. These businesses understand the need to have all the pillars penned down so that they can use them to their advantage.

Image via Content Marketing Institute

On the contrary, only 14% of businesses with a documented content marketing strategy were least successful. This goes to show that a documented strategy can increase your chances of success.

To help you learn about the pillars of a strong content marketing funnel, I have with me, Joe Lazauskas. He’s the Head of Marketing at Contently and is here to share his expertise on the matter.

Now, let’s take a look at how the pillars of content marketing can help you create a solid content marketing funnel.

1. Figure Out Your Target Audience

It is crucial to understand your target audience to know who you’re writing for. This is the reason why it’s one of the most important pillars of content marketing. You must ask yourself who your potential customer is and what sort of content they would find useful.

You need to create a buyer persona for your ideal customer based on their interests, demographics, and location. To create a buyer persona, you can interview your customers and your sales teams, evaluate your web analytics reports, etc.

Based on these target personas, you can create content that can help your target customers solve their problems. If you fail to understand your target audience, the content you create won’t resonate with them, so it will be less successful.

2. Establish Your Goals

Yet another important pillar of your content marketing strategy is setting your goals. These goals will help give direction to your content marketing strategy so that you can guide consumers through the funnel.

Your goals will also help you figure out what, exactly, you need to do in order to reach them.

While setting your goals, you should also keep in mind that they should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely).

Some of the potential goals that you may have are:

  • Create brand awareness for your company or increasing it
  • Increase website traffic by X% through content marketing
  • Generate X number of leads for your brand
  • Reach sales of $X
  • Increase your conversion rate by X%

Image via Hunt Executive Search

3. Map Content to Sales Funnel

Your ultimate goal should be to guide your prospects through the sales funnel to reach the end and convert. For this, you need to map your sales funnel content and ensure that it meets their needs at every stage of the sales funnel.

The content needs to be tailored to appeal to consumers at each stage of the content marketing funnel.

For instance, a prospect who’s in the awareness stage will look for content that is helpful and informative, such as blog posts. However, someone in the consideration stage will look for something more concrete, such as case studies.

The key here is to provide helpful content to your prospects at every stage of the content marketing funnel to ensure that they continue to move through it.

4. Design Standards

You should also create some design standards for your content. These design standards will help guide your designers when they create visual content. All of your content needs to reflect your brand’s values and tone. And the only way to ensure that all teams follow it is by having a design guide.

The design guide should include the fonts that should be used, the color combinations, and logo related details. This consists of the dimensions, image quality, type of videos, and even the font size.

Having a consistent voice and tone can help you keep your brand values intact. Additionally, it ensures that the brand recognition improves due to consistency.

5. Content Channels

The content channels through which you choose to promote your content matter just as much as your content itself. The channels help you reach your target audience, and it is only through them that you can get engagement on it.

The main channel that you need to consider is your website. It is the main location where you can distribute your content to your audience.

At the same time, it’s an owned channel, so you get to control everything on it. The same applies to your mailing list, through which you can reach your subscribers.

Social media is yet another channel that you should consider for promoting your content. Not only can you freely post your content on it, but you can even boost your reach through paid promotions.

However, make sure that the social media platforms you choose are the ones where your target audience is the most active.

Lastly, you can guest post on other websites and increase the reach of your content. You’ll need to reach out to other webmasters from your niche or complementary niches for guest posting. This gives you access to their audience as well.

Final Thoughts

It’s important that you understand the pillars of content marketing funnels. They will help you improve the effectiveness of your content marketing campaigns.

Finding your target audience, figuring out your goals, and mapping your content to the sales funnel are some of the pillars of content marketing funnels.

It is also critical to have a set design plan in hand so that all of your teams are on the same page when they are creating and posting content. This helps your brand maintain a consistent tone.

Lastly, the channels through which you promote your content are also important. Choose the ones where your audience is the most active.

Are there any other pillars of content marketing funnels that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments.

Full TranscriptExpand to view full transcript

Shane:  Welcome to the podcast. I am Shane Barker, your host of Shane Barker Marketing Madness Podcast. Today we're going to discuss the Pillars of Content Marketing Funnel. My guest, Joe Lazuakas is the head of marketing at Contently, a technology marketing journalist. Joe's a regular keynote speaker at several major industry conferences. He's also the bestselling author with this book, the storytelling edge, how to transform your business.

Shane:  Thanks for coming on the show today, bud.

Joe: Shane, great to be here with you.

Shane:  Absolutely man, absolutely. So we usually like to start this off. Obviously a lot of people already know about your background and some other stuff that's going on, the street why they want to listen to you today. But I wanted to kind of go in a little bit of background kind of like, where did you grow up?

Shane:  Like I know you said right now you're in New York City. Of course nobody can see you. I can, but you're in New York City right now. Did you grow up in New York or give u a little bit of back ground?

Joe: New Jersey boy right over the shore. So grew up looking at the New York skyline from the Hill above my house. Just imagining like all Jersey boys, your chance to get a little piece of that Island for yourself and yeah, I've been in the city for the last 12 years.

Shane: Nice. Nice, so you moved there, when you begin to age, but you, how long were you in Jersey for?

Joe: I grew up in Jersey; I went to school at Sarah Lawrence College right outside the city and then moved to the city after college.

Shane: Awesome. Awesome. Was that a big transition? What about families? Family mad that you're in New York, you should be in Jersey hanging out or what?

Joe: You know, it's a, it's pretty easy. There's a, this little short bus called the a Spanish Express that, goes straight to my mom's house in like 20 minutes. When I was a kid that used to sneak on that bus to go in the city, there was a dude in the back who would make pina Colada and margarita is, and like daiquiris for 3 bucks. So that was a big win when I was 16 years old, sneaking in to go to like CBGB shows at a,

Shane: yeah, that's the deal. So what happened to that guy like I mean did he, what was he running at like 20 years and the bus driver never found out or like what's that? I mean, that's like I thought about that

Joe: Eventually the bus got a little more legit like they got their own gate at port authority. They stopped only dropping off on the street. So I think port, like it was a deal with port authority where you had to kill the margarita machine in the back in exchange for becoming like a more official form of public transportation.

Shane: That's ridiculous.

Joe: Bureaucracy man.

Shane: There are not a lot of things that piss me off. But now that you tell me about the margarita guy that got shot down, it's ridiculous. What kind of world do we live in when you can't be 16 years old, sip on a margarita and get off to New York City.

Joe: I know it's not the America that I grew up in.

Shane: serious. I didn't want to bring that up right now. We could jump into politics right now, but we'll wait. It's just, once again, I don't really care about politics, but I do care about margarita is, that's something that's always been really close to my heart, so awesome. So that was when you're 16 so you're obviously doing all kinds of illegal stuff, which is awesome. Not to say that I wasn't when the opportunity presented itself. And so are you from like a big family in Jersey? You guys got a big old family out there. It's you know, two people, 10 people, 50 people. Is you guys have a gang or anything or

Joe: No, I was raised by dogs, actually. Single mom she's a Vet grew up in a house attached or animal hospital. So like the big family was mostly canine.

Shane: Got you. You're serious, you really serious, are you a dog person? We say you're a dog person.

Joe: She's dog person yeah, big dog person. Golden labs, retrievers, definitely top of the list for me. Although like we always had a lot of rescues.

Shane: Yeah.

Joe: But yeah, I'm like a big dog person. So you know, like, I love all dogs, but preference is like a big happy goofy dog.

Shane: And that's golden retriever, that's exactly the dog you said with a dog that like every day they're like, you're back. This is awesome. Like, I don't know where you were for the last two hours, but I got nervous. This is so cool you're here again. And they'll do that for 15 years, like every time they see you; it's just like a brand new. It's the best thing that's ever happened.

Joe: Since half the energy you want in your life.

Shane: I mean, absolutely, what's funny, they have, what does, I seen bumper stickers. They say, you know, act like the person that your dog thinks you are or something like that, you know, or something. And where it comes down to like dogs are just always, I'm a huge dog person too. So we've got two dogs that, were both rescues and, I just tell you man, it's just like, you just can't, you know.

Shane: I mean there's, times I come home, my wife's looking at me like, Oh God, he's back. My dogs are like, hey, you got treats. This is awesome you know, so it's kind of cool. So you are a really big dude. Can you have a dog? You have a dog currently or no?

Joe: I don't like, I travel so much for work. It's always been really hard to keep a dog. I'm getting close though. I feel like to the point where I'm ready for that sort of responsibility in my life, you know. New York is a place where you're in a state of suspended adolescence for a long time. So I'm like, just getting to that point where I'm ready for the dog commitment.

Shane: There we go, that's good man. Yeah. You don't want to jump into early. New York is a different city when it comes to, and it seems like San Francisco, right? It's like it would make that full commitment. It's not going to just go run outside and go in your backyard two hours. You can bring them back in. Right,

Joe: Exactly. Yeah. You got it. You've dog walkers; you have to have the doggy day-care. I'm also like someone who believes a dog should have a yard to run around with. You know that it's tough life for say the dog, especially a bigger dog. So it's getting to that point of being, you know, Ray moved out to the, to the burbs. I don't know if I'm quite there yet.

Shane: Yeah, but you're on the cusp of that where you got to keep us abreast of that, but maybe you send out a tweet or something when you get the dog or maybe put it on Instagram or something. We'll make it official.

Joe: A lot of dog content.

Shane: Yeah. You know, that's your numbers will go up through the roof, like I've actually thought about renting another dog. I was actually getting long story short, I was going to go on a road trip. My wife's like, you are not taking our dogs. Like literally there was no budget. She's like, I would, I'll leave you if you try to take our dogs.

Shane: So I don't want to lose a 50% of everything I own. So I was going to go rent a dog. I thought about it like literally taken it with me to take pictures and have fun. But then I ended up keeping the dog too, so I got to be careful of that and potty trained in it on the road you know, that's a whole other deal.

Joe: That does seem like it should be some sort of start up like Uber for dog.

Shane: Right? Like are you kidding me? Like, I mean, honestly, if it was a potty training dog, I would pay some cash for it. Like, you know, that's the thing I was a little worried about is like I go into the grocery store, I open all the windows, of course, you know, it's, it's probably 70 degrees. It can't be a hundred or anything and then I come back and the dogs just, you know, taking a dump on my pillow.

Shane: And it's like, whatever, bro, sorry about that and you're like, damn, that was my favorite pillow. Like, what do you do? Like, you know, you can't beat the dogs. You're like, hey, I get it buddy, take little dump, I was going and grabbing it, some orange juice and some water for you and you know, it is what it is.

Shane: So maybe you want think, about an Uber for dogs and potty training's their main feature. So we'll figure that out. That's where, that's a side business we'll talk about later, but so interesting fact. So I mean for me, interesting fact was that you were raised by your mom and like 4,000 dogs, right? I mean that's kind of a definitely an interesting fact.

Shane: Anything else growing up? There's anything else that you're like, yeah, there was not only that, but I mean there was like this one thing that nobody knows about, isn't it being too secret, but you know, is there anything else fun?

Joe: I had a giant shoe fro and I was a lead singer in a punk band and I cannot sing. So that was like a very interesting like four year experience would mostly just get away with it with very tight women's jeans. And by just climbing on top of things and like hanging, upside down and singing that way. So it was like, okay, it makes sense he can't sing because he's hanging upside down right now in this like dingy punk clubbed on in like Bloomfield, New Jersey.

Joe: I played football even though I'm like 140 pounds. So whenever I would watch the film for my high school games, it looked like they let like a seventh grader run out onto the field. Yeah, that's like probably covers a lot of the fun facts. I wrote a really bad novel when I was 17 years old in high school. I was helped get me into Sarah Lawrence but would be like really, really embarrassing if it leaks to the internet today.

Shane: So you'd pay big money if anybody has a copy of that, if they're hearing this.

Joe: Yeah, if you want to block mail me, that's, that's one way to do it.

Shane: So many ways, so that's the cool part. So the punk thing, so that's, so you actually did it for four years. So they were like, God, you were like; either you felt you sounded awesome or somebody did because you just continued, right. You're like, this makes sense. Was that a career path that you're like, man, this is everybody's way too drunk or the concert because they obviously think I sing good or

Joe: No, no one was drunk. It was a straight edge punk. Dan. Like that was very much, the scene was like no drinking, no drugs. Like live that, that hardcore life. No, I mean it's just the standard for singing and like a DIY teenage, like hardcore punk scene is not super, super high.

Shane: Yeah.

Joe: I can do some Falsettos when we started getting into a little bit of a scream o areas. So you know, there's a lot of ways to get around.

Shane: Oh that's awesome. So you were very creative in your singing abilities. So I, you know, I've always felt like I enjoy like being on stage. I used to have a record company; this is many, many months ago. And I say that very loosely I'm not like, I was like, you know, part of like Virgin records or something. And I used to run a record company here in Sacramento that was very small time.

Shane: I used to love being on stage and you know, that kind of stuff. And so I said I got to be great to be a lead singer, except I couldn't rap, I couldn't sing, I couldn't do anything for God's sake. But I like the idea of it. It was always kind of fun, you know, kind of getting to, you know, get people pumped up for shows and stuff.

Shane: Like that was always fun. But I didn't take it anywhere because I would have sucked and nobody would listen to me, so that's the end of that. But, so tell us about your college. So you obviously went through, was it just obviously a port four year college type deal? What did you study in college?

Joe: Yes. Sarah Lawrence is a Liberal Arts School right outside of New York. Actually, there was a New York make cover story about the college about a month ago, about the Secret Cult at Sarah Lawrence. Did you...

Shane: Oh no.

Joe: Did you read that story?

Shane: No, tell me more though.

Joe: So essentially it was this dude, Larry Ray. Larry Ray was this pretty notorious New York crime mobster guy. He actually, moulded a bunch of stuff. He's the reason that the director of Homeland security in 2004 had to step down because there's associations with Larry Ray from back when you as a, from when the director of Homeland security, I'm blanking on his name now, had been the police commissioner in New York.

Shane: Oh yeah

Joe: Anyway, so Larry Ray went to prison and the year after I got out of Sarah Lawrence after I graduated, so in the fall of 2010, Larry Ray got out of prison and he moved into his daughter's dorm at Sarah Lawrence, at least according to the story, Insulin and Woods. One of the, is like kind of hippie houses at Sarah Lawrence.

Joe: And basically started a Cult with the other, 8 kids who lived in that dorm and he lived on campus for a while. And then he moved all of them into this one bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side. And it's like a super wild story.

Joe: And some of the kids are still in this, like a little mini Larry Ray Cult. A couple of them got out and were sources for this story. So that's where Sarah Lawrence has been in the news. Mark Walberg just options this as a movie.

Shane: So that's awesome. So now I have a question for you now.

Joe: Is it awesome?

Shane: I mean, I told you in the beginning, but I was like, we the name it is a Shame Barker's Marketing Madness Podcast. Because literally we'll talk about marketing for whatever amount of period that is, but then we jumped on the stuff like no Shane. Let me tell you about this Cult that happened here.

I will tell you another thing. One of my past guests has happened just re three ago. I'm not going to tell your name as you'll probably know who she is. I would tell off the air. Not that I need to do that because if people are going to hear it anyways, she was in a Cult, she was 21 didn't know she was in a cult all the way or a hopeful upbringing into, she literally had to leave in the middle of the night.

Shane: And moved in with a guy that was her client that she write content for and they got married like three months later. How's that for?

Joe: Yeah.

Shane: Didn't even know she was in a cult, like all of a sudden I was in nursing program and then everybody was like, dude, I think you're in a cult. Like she can't do this, she can't do that and they can't talk to anybody on the pub. I mean there's just weird stuff going on and she like had to like… bailed out on the cult in the middle of the night and has never gone back.

Shane: When she was in the kind of, it was one of her clients. After like, get a freelancer. Remember that this site, now it's like freelancer, like back in the day, an American writer. This was a client and they were talking on Skype and he's like, you got to get out of there. And she's like, wait a minute, I got to get out of here. It's like you need to get out of there.

Shane: Like that's a bad deal and she said, well can I come to your house? And he's like, yeah. And I'm like, well that's super safe. Like I don't know anybody go from a cult to meeting, a guy online that's my client to go living with them. But it all worked out, they'd been married for eight years and they got a successful business together.

Shane: And I don't know why can't, I don't know, we get a lot of, I mean this is what it is. Like if I have to rename the podcast Shane Barker's, Cult talks or cultivations or I don't know, we'll figure it out. But, but so Larry Ray is, I don't even know how to like when Larry Ray is, okay, I'm going to have to look this up when we get off this thing, this is like super, that is going to stuff I enjoy.

Joe: Yeah, he's like this. It's a crazy story. It's a very well written a cover story for New York mag by another Sarah Lawrence Grad. But yeah, Larry Ray is like this stocky like polo muscle shirt, sort of dude. Like bald head came in here and just started like using a lot of classic cult leader techniques around using psychological manipulation to get these kids in.

Joe: So doing like a lot of weird sex acts and following him as sort of this deity almost. And he would get them to go a repair his house down in I think North Carolina or Virginia and then charge them for damages that they did while doing all of this forced labor on his house and then would basically entrap them in paying him back all of this money and it's freaking wild.

Joe: So Sarah Lawrence, usually not a place you join a cult. Usually just a very lovely art school right outside the city that looks like Hogwarts as one of the best writing programs in the country. But right now it's getting a lot of heat for a semi enabling a cult.

Shane: Interesting, that's when they're like, when you're very liberal, they're like, well let anything, it's not a big deal. We're going to let the students do what they want. And then all of a sudden like, well except the whole cult thing probably should have stopped the cult. We didn't about that in the long term.

Joe: Mean like definitely some anti-cult stuff in the handbook.

Shane: Yeah, they're going to be like, so here's the deal just because of what happened two years ago. We're sorry to announce that there is no more Cults. They’re going to like what? It's half the reason I joined I was looking for somebody to manipulate me from a mob. That's exciting stuff man. So that's good, s is there, and people can't see this because we're on a podcast.

Shane: But like the way that I see right now, like it looks like you're like part of the witness protection program cause it's just like we're all black and it like kind of goes like this thing. You have the New York background. I mean is there a reason why you're not showing your face? Which is cool, it's a podcast. I didn't tell you what's going to be any, I just didn't know if you were part of it. We weren't part of the cult, to be honest. It's just you can't answer.

Joe: Yeah, actually it's just a, there's a bunch of stuff written in Sharpie on my forehead book. You know, had a little wild night. So

Shane: Keep making fun of us Shane, I've got eight people that take a road trip. Keep it up Mr. Funny man, in California. That's a crazy story. That's awesome. That's the kind of stuff, that's the reason why I like these kinds of interviews, but you just never know what you're going to find out. Now we're going to jump into content marketing, which is like nothing compared to Larry. Right?

Shane: I mean, I feel like Larry Ray, I know what that guy looks like. Like you had explained it to me, but in my head it was exactly how you explained it. Like Larry Ray, like I just see, I even see potentially, even though he was mobster, I will see like a duck tail, but I guess he wouldn't have that. I don't know. Anyways I'll look him up because he's definitely going to be probably going to have a book or we can set up maybe a movie.

Shane: Something like Wahlberg, trying to take advantage, that's a good deal. So how did this and we'll let's transition this here, how did you get into Content Marketing? Like how did this, obviously you were a writer, is that what you were kind of looking to do at the school you're going to?

Joe: Yes, so journalist by trade, I started a new site called the Faster Times out of school, with some folks I'd worked with at Nerve, this sex and pop Culture Magoosh kind of big in, New York and the 90's and 2000's. So we started this new site.

Joe: It was a very socialist business model in that we would pay our writers 75% of the Ad revenue they generated section editors. We get 10% of the revenue from it. The problem was while we were getting a lot of traffic, you know, I have millions of readers, display Ads paid terribly.

Joe: So we're figuring out, okay, what are other ways we can make business or make money in this business? So we started a branded content studio back in 2010 before they were really a big thing at publishers and partnered with one Ad agency in particular, Ads basically be either editorial wings.

Joe: So leveraging all the freelance writers we used to create this brand new content offering and yeah, and it was the, you know, this era where brands are really getting into social media for the first time. They needed to create content and connect directly with consumers. So we saw a pretty obvious need to start. We could start to fill more and more.

Joe: I took on that part of the business because it's where we were making all of our money and that got me into this Content Marketing world and realizing like, oh well, there's this very interesting thing where brands now want to actually create like interesting content to help people navigate their finances or figure out how to use new technology or understand what the future of their industry is going to be.

Joe: And when I was doing that, Contently came out, they were in Techstars, one of the incubators in New York in 2011 and I was like, oh, this is a much smarter way of doing what we're trying to do because we had a platform, they had this network, they were building of all these journalists all over the world.

Joe: So like we had a few hundred, they're building up thousands. so I hit up Shane Snow, one of Contently's co-founders and it was like, hey, we've been doing this. we have some writers as well. We'd love to work with you guys. Started doing some work with contently when they were three or four people.

Joe: And then when I sold faster times I came on to contently as our editor and chief to build up our own content program or print mag or video stuff or blog, the content strategist. And I've sort of been there ever since in a few different roles.

Shane: That's awesome. Yeah, that's kind of cool. I was always, I was wondering that transition from where you are at with the magazine in your, the, thing is, you're doing online and to contently, so that's awesome. So contently was one of them come out of Techstars that you said?

Joe: Yeah, Techstars.

Shane: Cool, cool, cool. And that was a little while ago now about 8 years ago?

Joe: Yes 2011, in 2012 and in 2011 that sort of doing well in Techstars got some good buzz propelled getting the seed funding in the series A, so yeah. And there's actually like a lot of interesting start-ups that have come out of Techstars as well.

Shane: Yeah.

Joe: And yeah, it's a great incubator program was really good for us and it was sort of when the New York tech scene was very much more like a smaller community, very d.a, you know, just getting off the ground as opposed to now where it's, you know, a lot of big tech is here.

Shane: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I also know that, you've been there ever since. You've been there for what, 7 years?

Joe: Yeah, started freelancing about seven years ago. I've been there full time for about six years.

Shane: Cool. And so I also saw that there was over a content tech summit. Did you, I think you spoke with, didn't you have one of that?

Joe: Yes

Shane: What did you speak on over there?

Joe: I talked about the four keys to great Content Marketing over there. So did a little neuroscience of storytelling, a walk through some different content strategy models, talked about how to really do content across the entire customer journey instead of just viewing it as this top of funnel awareness, editorial activity, stuff like that.

Shane: So cool. So you're obviously, your specialty is obviously writing, but also you're the editor and chief-marketer right?

Joe: No. I’m our head of marketing.

Shane: Oh head of Marketing.

Joe: Started out as editor-in-chief. Now they let me run the whole thing.

Shane: What? Look at that. They're like, no, here’s the key to the castle. But they don't know what happened with the whole Larry thing. Good. That's going to be a whole new thing. It's going to change things.

Joe: I mean, you know what, we started in investigative journalism foundation called the contently foundation back in the day. So maybe we can use that to just find out.

Shane: The truth story.

Joe: What the story behind the story is here.

Shane: Yeah. Now, I mean, I'm not advice, I'm not saying that you, they should do that, but I'm just, I don't know. Just something to look into I guess. I want to know who's in your company and what's going on, right?

Shane: So you guys, you and Shane Snow, you guys also have a book, didn't you guys do the storytelling edge with, and that you guys had your business?

Joe: We did.

Shane: When did that come out? That was just what, a few years ago or is it?

Joe: No it came out last year.

Shane: Last year. Okay. And so why did you and Shane decide to jump on a book like that? What was the premise of that?

Joe: So it started when Donald Trump got elected and we were super depressed and needed a winter project together. So, we were actually in Portugal speaking out, both speaking at web summit for the election. And then we were like, oh man, we need something new to take our minds off things. So yes, we started working on this book.

Joe: Basically we'd realized there wasn't a book that really was very story-driven that walked people through why stories are so impactful on us as human beings. And the patterns of great storytelling that people have used over time and then, you know, taking those lessons and how to apply it to your business, into your life and your career, especially in a leadership role.

Joe: So, you know, most marketing books I find to be like a little bit pedantic or sort of reading like a really long white paper and we wanted to write something that was a little more narrative nonfiction, very light, very fun, but still would really teach people the fundamentals of, what great storytelling can do for you and everything you're trying to do in your day to day work in life.

Shane: And I think there is still a huge disconnect with, with brands and being able to really tell that story right now of what their story is. I think a lot of brands assume whether you're small, medium size or large, but like it's like do people really care or how do I tell my story?

Shane: Like, Oh, it's just my story, like it's not that big of a deal. But I think people love that, right? I mean wine's being an example. There's beer, there's all kinds of stuff where you know, wines, they'll go in like wine sales people will come in and say, Oh let me tell you about this. This came over from 500 years ago. The guy came over with a nickel of wood, nickel and one, you know, one seed and then he dropped the seed and then that's how we started doing this.

Shane: And then he grew to this. He was a slave for 10 years and then he got out and he grew his orchard. And to be, you're like, Oh my God, this line is so good. Because you know the story behind it, right? I mean there's, there's something to that about you're able to tell a good story.

Shane: It makes everything better right and I think the same thing with brands. And I think a lot of brands don't necessarily know how to do that, so this will be a book. If I was a brand and I was listening to this and said, hey, I feel like we have a story, but I don't really know what that is. You just give like examples in the book. Is that what it is? Kind of like this is how you pull it out of your story, your company, your brand or...

Joe: Yeah we tell a lot of stories of brands that have been really successful in this way, but also a lot. We go over the four keys to really effective storytelling and how to leverage those in the sort of stories that you could tell about your brand. You know, to your whole point about beer and wine is really interesting because when we think about the original purpose of brands.

Joe: It wasn't a marketing activity like we first came up with brands to be able to trace the line of production so that people knew where a product they were buying came from. They know like what the quality would be, what they could expect and that lineage and that history is a lot of what's at the core of the value that having brands in the first place like this question, why do we even have brands exist?

Joe: And so you know, for something that is a food, a wine, like a cheese, like those are things that we really want to know the history of like where it came from, what is the production cycle that's gone from, you know, the earth to my body.

Joe: But that's less true for say like a marketing software company, right? Like origin stories in what motivates you does have a certain place. You know, the fact that contently was a company started by journalists to help them connect with brands like you give them really high paying work is something that's important to us. But it's not like, you know, our day to day content can be telling that story over and over again.

Joe: Really the stories that we have to tell have to address the things that our audience really cares about. And I think in B2B that's surprisingly simple because if you can create content and tell stories that help people do their job better, they're going to really, really like you.

Joe: They're going to feel really good about you. They're going to want to work with you. They're going to think that you're smart. So in so many ways, I think a lot of the content strategy frameworks that we have out there, a lot of the marketing advice that's out there tends to over complicate what brands actually need to do when it comes to telling their story, whereas it's really at its heart, quite simple.

Joe: If you're focused on the things your audience is actually interested about, if you're focused on telling stories in a way that makes it as easy as possible for them to immerse themselves in. And if when you're telling your story, you focus on the values behind what you're creating as opposed to just these bulleted press release memo talking points, you're much more likely to be successful.

Shane: Yeah, I think that's true, man. I think the problem is it just, especially these days because there's so much information out there, it's like how do people, like how do you tell your story. Then I think another thing is too is when you tell your stories also that's a little bit of a longer term play. What I mean by that is, you know, people are always looking for I want something to happen as soon as possible, right.

Shane: And it's like, well, telling your story like that takes time to build a community and people to understand what they've got going on and how you're putting your message out there and you know, through what platforms and it just takes time, you know.

Shane: But I think it's one of those things that if you build it correctly from the beginning. Obviously I think then you're, you have a certain culture or foundation of things that you're putting in place that I think would be, you know, great down the road.

Joe: Yeah. It's this balance between the long term marketing and short term marketing and so much, especially in the digital age, our, our incentives have been drawn towards short term marketing, right? Like, yeah. You know, the whole reason that you see a lot of brands going through these big digital transformation type efforts right now is.

Joe: Because basically over the last 20 years, we've just been layering more and more crap on our websites and our marketing programs to solve short term problems. It's like your website's not converting, like, Oh, let's not break it down and look at our messaging and the simple experience of our website and how we communicate our value prop and how easy do we make it for people to find out more.

Joe: The answer just becomes, oh yeah, well let me throw a chap out on here and that'll fix everything. And Oh no, like, let's throw some, let's just throw some popups on here.

Joe: And then also let's add in a marketing automation system that will harass everyone with emails every time they visit a solution page or shopping cart and don't come back. And we just layer more and more of these short term tactics on top of each other in pursuit of that, you know, quick hit of like I got a this temporary short term 0.3% increase in my click through rate or I got 20 more leads, you know this week than I did last week without a lot of thought to the broader reputation and relationships you're building through your brand.

Joe: And that's, I think what makes content hard inside of a lot of organizations is that while content can have insane short term impacts, if you produce a really good piece of content and your audience finds a lot of value out of it, you first do need to establish that audience and that community that trusts you because you have delivered a lot of valuable stuff to them.

Shane: Yeah. Well it's funny when you're talking about like put up a chat box and do all that kind stuff. I, I was debating whether you had read my blog or not, but now that if you said that, I was like, he does read my blog because that's like the stuff that I write about, which is super uncomfortable.

Shane: No, we do write about that kind of stuff but I get your point of like, the reason why people like that kind of stuff because it's an easier fix, right, in theory. Not easier to fix as in it's going to fix the problem, but it's a bandage you're bleeding out and it put a bandage on and says, okay, I think this will help, right. And sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't.

Shane: But the idea is, I get the core of it. If you're, you know, let's say like I use a house as an example. Like if your foundation isn't good, you can still build on it and continue to build on it. But eventually the foundation is still bad right? I mean you haven't gone back to it what that originally means. You know how you revamped that.

Shane: And I think that is a lot bigger task for most people, especially if you're a big organization. It's like a, like how do I, like even at where's the starting point for that, you know, if you had one or two employees, it's easier if you have 10,000 like how do you go back and do that? You know what I mean.

Shane: That's obviously a pretty huge task. So it's easy to do these little bandage things that, I'm not saying that, you know, a chat box on your website is a, you know, a small thing or what, it's not going to make an impact, but it just is in regards to if you're, if the foundation isn't good, it doesn't matter which for the most part.

Joe: Yeah. And you end up with marketing teams that are spending all of their time managing these different layers of technology stacked on top of each other and reporting on how that technology is doing instead of actually thinking about the needs of the customer.

Joe: Working to understand the customer and then coming up with a few really good pieces of messaging and really high quality pieces of content that will make an impact with them. You know, there's very much in marketing today, a culture of throwing as much shit against the wall as possible. And then not really worrying at all about all the spaghetti strands that are just like flopping onto the floor and drying up and starting to smell.

Shane: Yeah, I reminded me of college. Yeah, it's awesome. So are you and Shane Snow where you guys were friends, were you guys friends back in the day or something like childhood friends?

Joe: No, Shane and our founder, Joe Coleman, are childhood friends from Idaho, other Joe. Shane and I became friends when we just start working together at contently, so we're super close now.

Shane: Got you, that's awesome. So what do you think, so we're talking about obviously the pillars of content, right? You guys, you kind of touched on it a little earlier, so we talked about storytelling. Like how big do you think storytelling is when it comes to content marketing?

Shane: Like how does that play in? Like if you were, you know, so I'm a company and I say, Hey, we do content. You're like, that's great. And then you know, how do, what does storytelling play in them? I mean, do you think, let's answer that person. I'll ask you another question after that.

Joe: Yeah, I think that great stories are at the core of most every content asset that you have. So this is the super obvious how this plays out. You know, at the top of the funnel and your blog posts and your videos, you need a really good story for people to actually bother to consume whatever your brand is putting out there as opposed to the million other stories they have buzzing in their pocket every moment.

Joe: But it also applies to more down throwing pieces of content and ways that we don't really think about. Like when you're producing a case study, you should be thinking about, you know, what is the real tension here, right? Like who is the protagonist? How am I crafting a story in which my target audience can see themselves in the person that I help? That, you know, one of my existing clients, what was the challenge that they faced?

Joe: Right? What was the real tension between what is and what could be for them? How was this something they were going out on a limb for in their careers in some way? And then what different hurdles did they have to get over to accomplish their goal? supplies to your thought leadership as well, right?

Joe: You should be thinking about that gap between what is in your industry and what could be. And then speaking, you know, in a very authentic and relatable way. About like what's wrong in your industry and what needs to change.

Joe: This seems to come through in your sales desk. Like sales desks shouldn't just be a list of offerings. It should tell a compelling story about who you are, who your company is, what you really care about, and where you see everything headed and the type of, future that you could build together with one of your customers.

Joe: So I think stories are embedded in all of these things, obviously there's types of content marketing that aren't story-driven, right? Like if you're putting out an assessment or a quiz for people, there's usually not really a story in that.

Joe: If you're creating a mortgage calculator, there's not a story in a mortgage calculator, but however, those tools usually fit into the broader story that you're telling about what you think people need to care about.

Shane: That's interesting. Yeah, I mean, that all makes sense. You know, so funny when you say, this sounds simplistic in the sense of how you explain it. It's like, okay, that makes natural sense right. But I don't see it enough, I would say, I mean, there's so many companies that I see and they're missing that piece.

Shane: I mean, I would even say my company is missing some components of that right? I have to look at things I'm like, okay, now is this really the what we want to be putting out there? Yeah. Let me look at our sales desks and stuff like that. I mean there's always, I don't know I mean I think it's a good way to thinking about things.

Shane: And I just wanted to get one of those things. I'm like, I got to go back to my sales desk and take a look at that. But, so what would you say we, and you talked, I guess we've talked about this, so our touched on it a few times. What are the pillars, you said about four. Your presentation on that middle speaking thing, on the four pillars of content marketing. Like what do you consider the four pillars?

Joe: So, I mean, I think there's a few different ways you can answer this question, but you know, some of the biggest keys are, one, the content has to be really good. Like, if you're content, if you're not leveraging the best storytellers in your industry to create content that's can compete with everything else, your audience, you know, has a choice to consume at any given moment, you have no chance to break through.

Joe: And you have to be saying something completely new. Like if you're creating a piece of content where you know, 10 tips for social media marketing for small businesses, that someone could go and Google and find 50 alternatives that are just as good. You're not going to do anything to build your brand.

Joe: So you really need to commit to telling stories that are unique, and can compete with the best of what's out there. I think that you have to take a very audience centric view, of your content strategy that sounds a little buzzwordy, but basically just create stuff that your audience is genuinely passionate about. There's this pyramid called Polycarp pyramid engagement that this British agency sells, created like 10 years ago.

Joe: And I love it because it's a pyramid and just a little bit at the top. Were things that your audience is likely to care about, which is a thing that they're passionate about. So like wellness, health, travel, fitness like if you can help those do those things better, there'll be interested in it. Or their job, if you're B2B and you can help them do their job better, learn a new skill, get that promotion, be better at their career, that's content people will be really interested in.

Joe: And then the rest of the pyramid is everything else which they have this great phrase audience is not likely to give a monkey's chuff. Don't even know what a monkey's chuff is. Oh, but so many brands start in that big part of the pyramid that is everything else, right? It's like, well, what is the message we want to get out here at there about this product launch today?

Joe: Instead of starting with what are the challenges that our audience is facing? What are stories that we can tell about what they need to do to move up in their career. And then you can find ways that your product and your offering integrate into that, right? But we often just start from the wrong place when it comes to audience centric storytelling.

Joe: The third key is viewing, really content, not just a top of funnel activity, but a full funnel, full customer journey activity. While I'll say they see inside a lot of organizations is that it's a, heckle and giant situation. It feels super schizophrenia and that you'll get all of this really useful content at the top of the funnel. But as soon as you convert into marketing qualified lead and you talk to a salesperson.

Joe: It's a totally different scenario where you're not getting that helpful consultative, sort of light-hearted tone that you got there. You know, it's like you've gone from being like Beyoncé, Beyoncé, Beyoncé, and then suddenly you're talking to Jeff, the used car salesman.

Shane: Yeah.

Joe: And it just feels like this very disjointed and very unsatisfactory, experience for customers. So marketing really needs to come to own the full customer journey, especially when it comes to the content you're creating. And so those to me are some of the biggest keys that come into Content Marketing. I think depending on the problem, there's different ways that you can frame it.

Joe: You know, obviously it's really important that you're mapping all of your content goals and marketing goals to larger business goals. Like you're not just looking at vanity metrics like page views and shares and legs, but that's just logical good marketing.

Shane: Yeah. So what do you guys do at constantly, like word regards music, a lot of storytelling tech stuff, or I mean, what is the mix that you guys do at constantly?

Joe: So what's interesting is contently started as a freelance. We had this freelance network of, you know, tens of thousands of freelance creatives, writers, filmmakers, videographers, that we wanted to connect with brands that we saw that they needed high quality talent to be able to create good content over the years.

Joe: And how we evolved as in two ways. One we realized, Oh, things are chaotic inside of big brands. They need a platform that integrates with their CMS, with salesforce, everything to manage all of this content. So we focused a lot in building that up, becoming a little more of a SAS company.

Joe: And then the third piece that I was in charge of for a few years was building up our content strategy arm because we realized, oh, we can give brands all of these great writers and filmmakers, we can give them an awesome platform to manage everything. But a lot of brands don't know what they should be creating or what to do or how to map this content to their customer journey and how to prove that ROI to their CFO and their CFO.

Joe: So let's build out that up as well. So where we've landed is this very much three prongs, solution of great content strategy services, a content marketing platform to actually operationalize all of the things that we recommend. And then our content talent network that allows you to connect with you know, writers who can actually create extremely good content in your industry.

Joe: And it's been an interesting wild ride just seeing the industry evolve and coming to understand the needs of our clients and building the solution along with them. One thing I'm really proud of is that the average piece of content created through contently gets a 4.85 out of five rating on average from our clients.

Joe: So I feel like we've done this really hard thing of figuring out how to create content that people are really happy with. But now the challenge that we face more and more is figuring out how to help our clients that are usually these smaller marketing teams within an organization spread what they're doing to everyone else across the org.

Joe: And that to me is, you know, the next era of our industry where we see content really start to spread its wings on and become a more dominant force inside of enterprise marketing org.

Shane: What kind of reporting do you guys do? So in other words, if I was a client, I'd come and grabbed some content for you guys. What are the metrics or the KPIs or what do you guys look at when it, you know, say this was a successful piece of content?

Joe: Yeah, it depends on the goal for the piece of content. So our own analytics at contently are more awareness focused. So it's basically like a little bit like Chart beat if you remember Chart beat, which is deep engagement metrics around how much time are people spending with their content, how much they returning to it, what's their finish rate?

Joe: you know, we have this product Docalytics that you, that information on PDF content, which no one else in the industry as a, but more and more what we find ourselves doing is, you know, the truth is that no one more piece of marketing technology is going to give you the full picture of how your content is performing, right? Like, we're not going to do that.

Joe: Google analytics isn't going to do that unless you have a really simple conversion flow pathway that you want to look at. Like Salesforce just on its own isn't going to do that. Marquetto on its own isn't going to do that.

Joe: So a lot of the work honestly has come to helping our clients bring all their data from their disparate sources into a single data visualization tool like Looker, Tableau or Domo or Google data studio, so that they can get one holistic picture of how their contents performing across a range of KPI’s.

Joe: Because usually it isn't just one goal, right? It isn't just an engagement or brand awareness goal for your content. You also want it to drive leads and then, Oh, we want to see how those leads are then converting to MQLs and how they're becoming SQLs or ops and Oh is are any of the leads that are coming in and that entire flow turning into deals eventually.

Joe: If you want to do that, you need to get data from at least three sources in most cases. So you know, I personally think that like any marketing technology company that's coming there and is like, we have the one metric that'll solve it all. And the analytics that you need, the only analytics that you need to be successful, that's BS, like it's total BS.

Joe: The biggest value that I think we can provide is just helping our clients use the technology that they already have in house, but setting the right KPIs and bringing it in in an easy to visualize way and easy way to report up the chain to their executives.

Shane: Yeah. Make it presentable, palatable. And what are three shoppers that you like if they took these away from you today that you could live without? Like what are three software’s you're like, man, this is like, I couldn't live without this, this and this.

Joe: I mean, practically in my day to day job I would, you know, we would die without a WordPress, Salesforce and Marquetto. Like that's where like all of our marketing functions live as well as Mail Chimp. But that's not a super interesting answer. So I'd say like more fun strategy technologies that I really like.

Joe: I am a huge SCM rush fan for SEO and SEM rush, no better SEO software for your money. I really like Concurred; I'll give Tom Silva and those guys a shout out. There are really small content strategies AI Company out of London. They have a really cool tool that we just started using.

Joe: I also super love Quizzer for assessments, which we use for both like lead gen stuff, you know, understand what your content marketing goals are as well as just fun things like what media company are you or whatever. Our most popular quizzes I made was, is this headline about Kim Kardashian or Pokémon go.

Joe: So I just took, this is like when Pokémon go was big, I just took out Kim Kardashian or Pokémon go from the headline and create a quiz for that. And it was like shockingly hard to differentiate which one it was and that probably had no marketing value for us, but we did get taken like a hundred thousand times.

Shane: Damn, that's awesome. Yeah, that's kind of cool. You see those kinds of things go and you just, sometimes you just never know. Well you notice nothing. This is, and this is kind of a loose connection, but I see this alot with this kind of a connection with people in tipping. And I've seen this at like coffee shops and stuff and they'll put like, do you like, I don't know, Kim Kardashians or Chloe Kardashian.

Shane: And then you can put your tip in on whatever when you like. And I don't know why that's like stupid, it's stupid. But it's what's funny about it as I, I've talked to people that are in the industry that said they see a lot more tips because of that. What I mean by that is just like, I don't know, it's just one of those things like what do you like better?

Shane: And I, it's kind of, ties into what you were saying just in the sense of like you're looking at these two different things, you differentiate between the two of them.

Shane: So it's kind of it's kind of funny that people were taking that in that you had that many people take that. That's kind of cool. So what do you guys like outside of, you know who you currently work for? What are some other companies that you think are crushing it? Like for like when it comes to content marketing, like their campaigns and stuff. Some company you said, man, these guys over here are doing a phenomenal job.

Joe: And one of my all-time favorites It's just always been Dollar Shave Club.

Shane: Yeah, the video.

Joe: Yeah. I love this. Well, yeah, I mean the story of that is amazing. Like it's Michael Dubin the guy that started it he was just an improve comic in New York who held a few marketing jobs and he was, he was just at a Christmas party, that his dad was throwing and he started talking to one of his dad's kind of sketchy friends and the dude was like, yeah, I got like these hundred thousand razors in China.

Joe: They're super cheap, don't know what to do with them. And you're like, got this idea that, you know, buying razors sucks. He could create a subscription razor company, but because he was just some like 29 year olds improve actor in New York, no one wanted to fund him. So he took his last five grand, he made that viral dollar shave club video.

Joe: And that's what launched his entire business. And when Unilever bought them, they paid $1 billion for them, but the analysts thought they only had been valued at 300 million for the reason Unilever paid so much is because all the stories that dollar shave club put out there, you know, every time they launched new product, they do a new viral video they would ship their bathroom reader with every single order.

Joe: They started Mel, which is like an awesome men's magazine that legitimately competes with GQ now. And because of those relationships they built through stories, you know, they were able to have just an absolutely insane exit. Think they've done a great job. Patagonia obviously like the documentaries they put out as our beautiful, the way they actually live their values as a brand of caring about Garmin and the passions of the outdoors I think comes across so well.

Joe: Red Bulls, the example that everyone uses, but still the way they built a legitimate extreme sports media empire, I think you can't deny there's someone we've definitely tried to work with a bunch over the years, but they're very German and very hard to get in touch with. But they would be a dream client to work with that to say.

Shane: Yeah I guess like an entertainment company, right?

Joe: Yeah.

Shane: They're selling a product is a secondary.

Joe: Yeah. Yeah. They're just great.

Shane: Same with monster and kind of out of the same thing of like, hey, we're more entertainment, getting the word out, having fun content type stuff. Just cool.

Joe: Yeah.

Shane: Do you have any other side projects you're working on right now? I mean either with like yourself. Are you writing a book or we got anything fun, any side projects?

Joe: Yeah, working on another book. Can't announce anything yet, but have a very interesting co-creator I'm working on with it that I'm super excited about. Otherwise, you know, Shane, I have a couple things in the works that we've been doing on the side and I also can't talk about but that I'm excited about. So, you know I have no life like I just work a lot really like everyone else in New York. So, outside of the day to day there's a couple of side hustles.

Shane: And I know you can't talk on it, but the new book you're coming out with, is it have anything to do with you and Larry or is it or is that not?

Joe: You know, I never actually met Larry because he came right after I graduated, so I was already Rican may have him in the lower East side by the time. he came around to Sarah Lawrence, one of my friends, there's this one kid Daniel, who is the main source for the story.

Joe: And one of my friends from Sarah Lawrence did run into him in LA where he was the hotel valet. Like he got off the plane, had just read the story from San Fran LA, started talking to this guy and the guy was like on Daniel from the story that's filed. Yeah.

Shane: And that's like full circle, hello.

Joe: Yeah.

Shane: Well I'm excited about the Larry Guy. I'm going to go stock him a little bit. So I also, so we, you know, obviously there's always questions that we send over to people. And I sent one over to you that I thought I was going to be super interesting and I was like, oh, this is going to be some juicy stuff about a nickname of Mr. Peanut butter.

Joe: But then you told me like there's really no great story, but I was like, it's an ex-girlfriend and it's really exciting. It's like, but you did say that you do have a nickname of lasers, so we're going to transfer the peanut butter energy and words of laser energy. And tell me a little bit, how'd you get that nickname?

Joe: Yeah, so like lasers, what everyone at work calls me. It's literally like just my work nickname. Every point in my normal life calls me Joe, which normally you think it'd be the reverse. And it started because when I first was working with contently, our old director of accounts, Rog, changed my name and g-mail and his contacts to Joey Laser as like a being from Jersey joke like, yeah, yo, Joey leaves him from Jersey shore.

Joe: Go down seaside, Heidi kids and giga bombs all night. And so he changed my name and g-mail, the Joey Laser, and suddenly these clients I was working with thought that was my real name. So they started calling me Laser and it just sort of snowballed from there. And like everyone calls me, Laser now.

Joe: Like all of our clients know me as Laser, everyone at work calls me Laser, which makes me sound like a a drunk frat boy. Which I actually, Sarah Lawrence doesn't have frat so I never had that point in my life. It was just a writer and at a feminist college that's just like my personal brand now I guess is Laser.

Shane: That's it. You could never get rid of the Laser. Do you think when you pass away that you'll put that on your tombstone?

Joe: I mean, it depends, you know, how close, how long it sticks, you know, like, you know, eventually like I won't work, I Contently. So like will that carry through there? Like is that going to be a permanent brand? Maybe in quotation marks or something you know, there are worse nicknames in the world to have than Laser.

Shane: Really, do you want to talk about or not?

Joe: I mean like I don't, I haven't had a any personally, but like one of my friends his nickname is squeak from hello. Is that from basketball, like that the South?

Shane: Yeah.

Joe: Yeah. So that's a way worst nickname is being called squeak then ways.

Shane: Yeah. Laser-like, I mean there's like major Laser, which is, you know, I mean there's, I think there's Laser, is not bad, but yeah, there's definitely some other ones that can, I mean I was named, this was at my church group is a whole norther story.

Shane: But there was a girl that called me Rocky and that was, and I was thinking Rocky the fighter. I was like, oh, that's awesome, like I'll take that. She goes, no, Rocky and Bullwinkle. So I like instantly got downgraded. Like I was like, oh shoot, I don't want everybody to know that one.

Joe: That's a very 1960s reference so old with

Shane: Yeah, I mean that's, you know, this was right.

Joe: How old is this friend?

Shane: I think she was a hundred. No, I don't know. She was, I don't know, she probably had that, I knew she acts like a teen groups. She ended up been like 17 or something. I don't know, like I said, she called me Rocky and I was like, yo, I was pompous and my friends. Yeah, that's awesome. Like Rocky, you know, because that was Rocky and obviously all the fighting stuff was awesome and then she downgraded me.

Shane: I think I switched churches; I was so fast but anyways, got up to Nicky for giving me a terrible, terrible nickname at that time. That is gone now except I just brought it up in my podcast. So you do a lot of traveling, but I mean you were kind of texting that. You said you don't have a dog because you do a lot of traveling. Like where do you, where do you travel to? What's your favorite travel destination?

Joe: Good question. I spent a, I did two months of sabbatical from contently this winter. After five years you get a two month paid sabbatical. So I finally took it this winter and went to Honduras, Brazil and Columbia, which is awesome. Rio is incredible. I'm a big fan of Columbia as well. Then there are a few times, probably like my favorite place I've been that I really want to go back to is Albania.

Joe: I hitchhiked in Albania when I was 21 years old. I hadn't yet seen Taken or only Taken even come out yet. So I didn't quite know it was like a bad idea to just like hitchhike through Albania and it was amazing. Like it's everyone's super friendly, it's super cheap, gotten some really weird adventures and as a super special place in my heart.

Joe: But yeah, I travel as much as I can now that I've switched over from being client facing, running content strategy to in house with marketing, a little bit less travel than usual, which is kind of nice. But yeah, there's a lot of great places in this world, man.

Shane: I do It's funny those, and it's very seldom that somebody will say four countries that I haven't been to. I've been a good amount of places. I haven't been to Columbia. I'll have been actually any four of the places that you said. but I've, I Albania that would be some, that would be on my list with maybe I need to add that to my, one of my top 10 or top 20 list for sure.

Joe: Yeah, let's do a nice little run from Croatia to Montenegro to Albania, to Greece. It's like a, it's a really nice Mediterranean stretch.

Shane: Yeah, that's awesome. And I travel quite a bit but I really; I want to start traveling more. I'm always looking for, I've said this before, my podcasts, like any kind of keynote speaking opportunities, if I get a chance and if it's in a country I haven't been to, my rates go down to pennies on the dollar compared to what I would usually charge.

Shane: So I enjoy that because it's like I want to go to that country so I don't know. Maybe I'll make a map on my website, then people will look at it and they can low ball me and the countries that I haven't been to yet. And then hopefully I'll hit all the countries and then I'll be back up to my normal rate.

Shane: I guess we'll see how that works out for me. So, all right, so let's choose, so since you're a big writer and if you had an opportunity to, let's say if you had dinner with an author that was either alive or dead, so it can be either be around or not be around. Is there one author that you're like, I would have dinner with, blah, blah, blah.

Joe: The huge Davidson Harris fan so the love by Davidson Harris. I've met him at a couple of books signings, but those are really like short interactions or book trade stories of David Sutera. I think Jesse Klein, I love her at collection. You'll grow out of it. She's a writer for a Tina Fey on 30 rock and a couple other projects.

Joe: I feel like she's more like an attainable person. I could possibly have dinner with one day other than David Sutera, who's like lives in the French countryside and there's a huge introvert.

Shane: Yeah.

Joe: So maybe I'll put her as a backup in case she's out there listening. I don't know why Jesse Klein would be in the influencer marketing podcast, but you never know.

Shane:  It's, you just never know. I mean, I only have two people listened to it, so your odds are pretty low right now. But we're going to look to get maybe four to eight people real soon. We're going to be doubling, tripling in size. So it's about percentage of increase. We don't really look at exact numbers that way.

Shane: So look like we're growing. We show that hockey stick chart, that's how it matters. But it's on like, listen, I'm at 16 now is at eight last week you do the math, right? I mean growing leaps and bounds. So if she wanted to get in contact with you or if anybody else wanted to get in contact with you, how can they do that?

Shane: How they go about doing that? What's your, you give out your email can, where are the Instagram? What do we got?

Joe: Yeah, I mean Twitter is where I live. Like most New York media marketing people. So just, @JoeLazuakas on Twitter DM's are open, holler at me.

Shane: There we go, Joe. It's been a pleasure, buddy, and absolute pleasure. Thanks for the stories too. I'm gonna go look up Larry after this; hopefully he might probably have Homeland Security come in.

Shane: Take a look at me if I get too crazy with the Larry story, but once again, thanks for telling us about that, man. I hope you have an awesome day, and like I said, as soon as this thing comes out, we'll send you out all of that information. Then we'll kind of go from there.

Joe: Alright bud, thanks, Rocky.

Shane: All right, bud, take care.