They Ask, You Answer with Marcus Sheridan - The Content Experiment
They Ask, You Answer with Marcus Sheridan

They Ask, You Answer with Marcus Sheridan

I have to tell you that I am SO incredibly excited about today’s episode. I mean fan-girl level excited.

Around 2017 or early 2018, I read the book, They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan. The book spotlights really simple criteria for developing your inbound content marketing strategy. I was obsessed.

After a few embarrassing email exchanges (primarily due to me fangirling), I ended up in the acknowledgments of Marcus’s book! His book has been hugely transformative for me and the way I run my business.

Marcus outlines why answering your audience’s questions matters and shares his Big Top Five for how your audience relates to your content. I think you will have a couple of ah-ha moments. I know I have.

Tune in!

Mentioned in This Episode

About Marcus Sheridan

Marcus Sheridan is a highly sought-after international keynote speaker known for his unique ability to excite, engage, and motivate audiences. In 2017, Forbes named Marcus “One of 20 Speakers You Don’t Want to Miss.” He has been dubbed a “Web Marketing Guru” by the New York Times and featured in Inc., The Globe and Mail, Forbes, and many more. As an owner of IMPACT, Marcus has established one of the most successful digital sales and marketing agencies in the country. Within his speaking company, Marcus Sheridan International, Inc. He gives more than 70 global keynotes annually where he inspires audiences in the areas of sales, marketing, leadership, and communication. Mashable rated his book, They Ask, You Answer, the “#1 Marketing Book”, and Forbes listed it as one of “11 Marketing Books Every CMO Should Read”.

Learn more at his website or by following him on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Abby Herman 0:08
Hey there, and welcome to Episode 134 of the content experiment podcast, a podcast that supports the idea that content and marketing are ever moving targets in any business. And it’s okay if you don’t feel like you’re doing it. All right all of the time, you have permission to experiment with little tweaks and changes in your content to find what works for you. What increases value for your audience, and what grows your business, and most importantly, what feels good for you. I’m Abby Herman, content strategist and coach for online business owners who are ready to make a bigger impact online. I firmly believe that success isn’t about what big marketing brands and so called gurus think is the right thing. It’s about you and your business, your lifestyle, and frankly, your values and belief systems. You get to do business in a way that works for you. Now, I have to tell you, I am so incredibly excited about today’s episode, I mean, fan girl type of excited and even embarrassingly told today’s guest that I was fangirling. When we first got on the call together. I’m kind of a dork. Let me tell you some of the backstory. So years ago, I think it might have been 2017 or early 2018. I read the book, they ask you answer by Marcus Sheridan, who happens to be today’s guest, if you didn’t see it in your podcast app, the book spotlights a really simple strategy to developing your inbound content marketing strategy, I was obsessed when I read the book, I feel like my business has a before the book and an after the book mentality.

Abby Herman 1:48
And when you hear how simple those processes are, you’re gonna think I’m ridiculous. But you’re also going to have a huge aha moment. Also, I promise you that. Anyway, I was so blown away by the book that I emailed Marcus to tell him my thoughts. And I never do stuff like that, you guys. But I wanted him to know that his book really changed the way I worked with clients and how I thought about content marketing in general. It made it all so much easier, so much easier. Well, surprisingly, he replied back to me. A few days later, I was a little bit giddy. And then fast forward to 2020. And I hosted this in January of 2020. I hosted a book club in the content mastery lab, my membership community, I had members get the book, and we worked through the book together. I also published a podcast episode about the book. It’s Episode 23, if you want to listen in, I’ll include a link in the show notes. And I emailed Marcus to let him know that his book was the subject of the book club, and I also sent him a link to the podcast episode. Yeah, I’m kind of like that person. I even said in my email. Hey, did you know that you’re on my podcast? Well, one day, when I was talking to one of my members, she mentioned that she saw my name, in the newest edition of Marcus’s book they asked you to answer. It was like what?

Abby Herman 3:15
I didn’t actually have the newest edition at that time. So I bought it. And wouldn’t you know it, but the email that I sent to Marcus a few years ago, a few years prior to that, was actually in his book in the acknowledgments section. On the first page of the acknowledgement section, I might add, I was thinking like, Whoa, maybe he was fanning me, who knows? totally kidding, he wasn’t. But anyway, one of the things I love about being a podcast host is that I get to talk to people who I probably wouldn’t talk to without or I who are who I wouldn’t be gutsy enough to approach to have a discussion without it. We’ve had a few guests here who I was sure would say no when I asked them, but they didn’t. So I figured, why not ask Marcus if he’d be a guest. I talk about his book all the time to clients. And anytime somebody asks, What’s my favorite business book, I always tell them, and they ask you to answer by Marcus Sheridan. So I’ve had multiple connections with him over the years. So I asked and he said yes. So I guess I’m telling you this story, to let you know that it’s okay to put yourself out there and make the ask. And I knew I wanted you to hear more about this book and this concept because it’s just so good. So I feel like I’m rambling ridiculously so I’m just gonna get on with formally introducing Marcus.

Abby Herman 4:44
So Marcus Sheridan is a highly sought after international keynote speaker known for his unique ability to excite, engage and motivate audiences. In 2017 Forbes named Mark is one of the 20 speakers. You don’t want to miss it. He has been dubbed a web marketing guru by the New York Times and featured in ink, the Globe and Mail, Forbes and many more. As an owner of impact, Marcus has established one of the most successful digital sales and marketing agencies in the country. Within his speaking company, Marcus Sheridan International Inc, he gives more than 70 Global keynotes annually, where he inspires audiences in the areas of sales, marketing, leadership and communication. Mashable rated his book they ask you to answer the number one marketing book, and Forbes listed it as one of the 11 marketing books every cmo should read. You can learn more about him at Marcus Sheridan calm. But first listen to our conversation. It is a good one. Hi, Marcus, I am so excited to talk to you today. This is kind of a big deal for me. So thank you so much for being here.

Marcus Sheridan 6:00
Thrilled to be here. Abby, I think we’re gonna have a great conversation. Talk about some contents, right? Let’s dive into it. I’m very happy to be here.

Abby Herman 6:08
Yeah, well, I’ve already introduced you and let everybody know how much I love your book, I would love for you to share with the audience, exactly what you do and who you do it for?

Marcus Sheridan 6:20
Well, I’m many parts, I used to be known as a pool guy, right. And that’s a story of courses in the book. But I started a pool company in 2001. It’s called river pools and spas. And we almost lost the business in 2008, 2009, because of the crash, and I ended up doing a bunch of things online that I didn’t actually realize were very innovative, but they ended up being pretty innovative. And, and that was writing about them and, and I started getting asked to speak about them and teach about them. And so I said I should probably start a consulting company that became an agency and the pool company would go on to become the most trafficked swimming pool website in the world. It became the fastest growing manufacturer of fiberglass pools in the US. And I still owned the company rubber pools. But today, I get to travel around full time when it’s not pandemics and speak to people about digital sales and marketing and have an agency call to impact. And it’s been an amazing ride in the book they ask you to answer really is the story and the philosophy and the framework that started with the pool company, what has now since been applied by I mean really 1000s of companies all over the globe. So it’s been a crazy ride Abby over these last, I guess 11 ish years now, where I really wrote my first blog post, I guess.

Abby Herman 7:42
And that’s exactly what I want to talk about, too, is that journey and what you learned, I guess, through the whole process, and in the book itself. So we’ve done a book study on your book in my membership community, I’ve talked about it on the podcast before. And I invited you here today because I love your book. And it really completely changed the way I work with clients and how I think about content and marketing. Can you share with us? Like Where did What’s the story behind the book? So how did this transition from being the pool guy to the author of they asked you answer. Where’d that come from?

Marcus Sheridan 8:21
Yeah. So I, you know, there’s some meat there in that question, right? Because there’s a couple different levels of where this is, they asked you the answer. Now, for me personally, I’m not good at a lot of things, right? So like, I’m actually not a very good pool guy. I can’t install swimming pools myself, I’m not inclined towards things necessarily with my hands, as much as I would like to be other than maybe fishing a little bit. But it’s one of those things where I, when we were in trouble, and getting ready to lose the business in 2008 really just looked in the mirror. And I said what do I want as a buyer? How have I changed? That’s pretty easy for me to do that’s a strength is thinking exactly like a buyer, like a customer. And so I said, Well, I’m reading all this stuff about inbound marketing, content marketing, digital marketing. And basically what I feel like it’s saying to me is Marcus just answer their stinking questions, do it on your website, do through text do through video. So I said, shoot, there’s one thing I can do is that I can communicate this thing. And so that’s when the process of they asked to answer started. And, you know, I started to you know, I remember the first time I was I think I mentioned the phrase Abby was I was at a HubSpot conference. It was like doing a panel, I guess it was and somebody said to me, so what do you suggest for like, like, how do I get started my blogging strategy. I was like, just literally sit down and brainstorm all the questions that you get asked every single day about your product or your service.

Marcus Sheridan 10:06
Ask it like somebody else would ask it like a buyer would ask it, and then be willing to address those on your website. So I said, and that’s when I said, So basically, like they ask in you answer, it’s really simple. They ask you answer. I noticed everybody in the audience was like, also like tweeting. And because much of marketers in the room, this is back when, like, at conferences, everybody was using Twitter, it was kind of funny. And so I realized that that event, I’m like that that phrase resonates. And so I started, I started to use it. And I would say that the way that it’s evolved over time is this, have you today, if you said to me, what is they ask you to answer today? Number one, it’s still that obsession, keyword obsession with the questions, worries, fears, questions, concerns, etc. buyers are thinking during the buying process, and the willingness to address them. And because you feel like it’s your moral obligation to address them. Because, you know, if you don’t, they’re gonna go somewhere else. And they’re gonna learn it from somebody else, and that appalls you and offends you, as a business leader as a marketer. So that’s number one. Number two, element of the Ask your answer is the willingness to communicate in the way a buyer wants to be communicated with. When I say that, I mean, if somebody’s saying, I want to see it, you can’t say well, now we don’t do video here. This is not our thing. You got to get over yourself, right? So it’s the marketplace ass.

Marcus Sheridan 11:31
There behaviors dictate what we need to do. Our opinions aren’t allowed to script smart business, too often. That is the case. And finally, the third element of the ask you answer. And I would say this is actually more of a newer development, I realized this is what it became. Because that’s what’s so funny about something you think you know what it is like, they actually get to start off as a as a straight blogging strategy. And it became a business framework. And that’s what’s cool about something that is principle based, and that way it can become a movement. But number three is, are you willing to sell it the way they want to buy it? And that is the thing that many companies, especially in the b2b space, are really pushing back on right now. I mean, we could talk for hours about that alone, Abby, a recent study came out 33% of buyers, say they would prefer to have a seller free sales experience. Think about that one out of three buyers say I’ve thought about the choice. I don’t want to work salesperson at all ever. And that might sound anti human. But it is a trend. And so we have to accept it for what it is right? So that’s the essence of they ask you answer. Today, if somebody says what is it today? That’s what it is. But I really meant when I said obsession with the questions were serious issues, concerns that buyers are asking,

Abby Herman 12:48
When you say seller free transaction, do you mean they want to just they want the entire purchase to be online, touch free, person free, and just all

Marcus Sheridan 12:57
service is so much the future of the way we sell. b2b is going to resist this hardcore. And they’re going to be left behind if they’re not very, very careful. So an example of this. So I have a manufacturing company and fiberglass pools, that’s B to B to C, right? Because I sell to a pool builder, who eventually sells it to a home owner. Now with that, though, in the past, somebody would say, No, manufacturer’s ever talked about cost and price on their website. And if you read they ask you to answer, you know, I mean, this is a major part of the book, the psychology of the questions, buyers ask cost and price being one of them how to address it, maybe we’ll talk about that. But think about it is, you know, we were the first swing pool company really in the world to heavily address cost and price on our website. And then we became the first manufacturer in the world to allow you to design and price out your pool with options and features. And we couldn’t give you exact numbers because we have dealers, right? franchisees even, but we could at least give you a range, which is more than 99.9% of the manufacturers in the space. So that’s how you become the trusted voice. That’s how you become the thought leader. That’s the obsession, what they ask you answer because if you said to somebody that’s thinking about a swimming pool or anything for that matter. So if you had a choice, which I like to know, at least roughly what it’s going to cost you for a pool, nobody’s gonna be like, Yes, I just wish somebody would tell me. Okay, so that’s how that’s literally how we simplify that. It’s our litmus test. It’s our moral compass, if you will. If somebody understands, they ask you answer, you really shouldn’t have to debate about should we discuss that in the boardroom? It’s like now, are they asking it? are they searching it? Do they want to know are salespeople dealing with it? Well, then Hello. It’s our job to talk about the thing. Otherwise, we’re saying please go somewhere else and get the answer. And when you’re done getting the answer from someone else, come back to us and they will have a conversation about Ridiculous. Yeah, that happens all the time.

Abby Herman 15:03
Yeah, because I think the mentality in the b2b space is, if you think that if this is valuable to you, if you find what I’m selling valuable, you’re gonna pay it at any price. And I don’t think that’s true, because everybody’s got a budget, everybody has an upper limit of what they’re willing to spend on something. And we don’t put we want to showcase our value on our website, versus, you know, like sharing the price, or at least a price range, I usually will just skip right by if there’s not at least a price range or a starting at, yes, I find value in whatever that service or product is. But it’s clearly out of my reach, if you’re not willing to at least put the price on there or put some sort of starting price.

Marcus Sheridan 15:46
Yeah, so we’ve done a lot of studies on this, right. And, you know, in the book, we call this ostrich marketing, and that’s the process of like the ostrich burying your head in the sand to think of the problem is going to go away and boom, pull your head back out. And still there. For some reason, like, well, it just didn’t magically disappear, right? And fears and concerns of potential buyers and potential customers don’t just magically go away, they’re going to find out the answers. Once again, the question is, how are they going to find out from you when it comes to cost and price? We’ve done the studies on this to your point, somebody is on your website looking for cost and price and they cannot find it. On average, they’ll say 10 seconds before they leave. That’s pretty stunning, right? 10 seconds, all because you weren’t willing to speak to them and their language. And here’s the thing about cost and price that a lot of companies, especially b2b don’t understand because everybody loves to say, but yeah, but we’re customized solutions. Like, my goodness, it doesn’t change the psychology of the way humans act. And the way we develop trust, we have to just go at it. Which means sometimes we can’t always specifically answer the question, but we can always address it. So really, like the best title of the book, if you’re talking about most accurate title would have been, they ask you address it really well. But that was not nearly as like cool sounding. Answer right to say ask answer.

Marcus Sheridan 17:13
So in other words, the answer is well as you possibly can do not ignore it, do not be the ostrich, because the ostrich in the digital information based age that we’re in, does not become the most trusted voice in his or her space just doesn’t work that way. So the moment you accept that is okay, well, we just can’t ignore it. Let’s lean into it. In fact, maybe we could use this as an advantage. So we’re the most expensive ones out there. Great. Let’s talk about why we’re the most expensive, so that by the time we’re done talking about it, somebody says, oh, my goodness, you mean to tell you you’re only 10%? More Good grief, based on what I’m seeing here. You guys should be 20% more than everybody else. Like, that’s the mindset that we should have as businesses. Yes.

Abby Herman 17:54
So you talk about the big five in the book, The Big Five subjects that we should focus on in our content? Can I’d like to go through each of them quickly? And then maybe dive you talked about pricing and costs already. But if we could just talk, you know, some of the key points and yeah, so I’ll let you go. So pricing and cost. So why are we talking about money? We already kind of address that?

Marcus Sheridan 18:20
What about route? Let me let me touch on these five really quick. And if it’s okay with you, Abby, I’ll give an example for each. And I’ll use my marketing agency because as you know, it’s a b2b service based business. Right? That’s more challenging for some people. And with with us, we’re HubSpot partner. Right? And so that’ll be context for this conversation. So when it comes to cost and price, the five, the five are number one, cost, price rates, etc. Okay, buyers are obsessed with cost, price rates, etc. Again, the big five are the five things that buyers want to know. They’re obsessed with. They literally run economies, but businesses generally don’t like to talk about them. Okay. So cost is number one, cost price rates. Okay, number two is problems are negatives. And what we mean by that we see problems or negatives are the things the negative questions that people hear about that product or service that you sell? Is it true that somebody told me that Okay, number three comparisons, you’d love to compare as buyers, constantly comparing because we want to feel like we got the best deal that we did our due diligence, etc. Number four, reviews, love, love, love, love reviews. Number five, best, we love researching the best. Now, the way this might apply to my agency, there’s a lot of different ways that this might apply.

Marcus Sheridan 19:39
So I could in terms of cost and price. It might be how much does it cost to hire an inbound marketing agency or how much does it cost to even do inbound marketing? Or how much does it cost to hire an SEO specialist like there’s all these different, like you can get very, very granular. You can be very broad. Generally, we Towards specificity because that’s where buyers lean towards specificity especially as they get further down the spine funnel. So that’s costs for an agency problems. So problems could be something like what are the drawbacks to HubSpot? What are the pros and cons to HubSpot? Okay. Why is HubSpot so expensive? Like, why is that a problem one? Well, it’s a problem slash cost. But the reason why that’s good is because people actually ask that question. Why is it so expensive? So once again, this is a question of the marketplace. Do not ignore the major questions. So different than as a fiberglass pool builder. I would want to talk about our fiberglass pools cheap. Our fiberglass pools ugly, do fiberglass pools pop out of the ground? Well, those are problem based questions. In other words, the negatives, that maybe the competition or the marketplace asks about the thing that you sell. Now, here’s the thing about problems and negatives. This is critical. Buyers Only research the problems with something when they actually want to buy it. And so in other words, if you’re not even thinking about a fiberglass pool, you’re not researching the problems with fiberglass pools. you’re researching it because you want to buy it. If you’re researching the pros and cons of HubSpot is because you went to buy some HubSpot. That’s how worky worky. Right. Number three is comparisons right? The Big Five. So a comparison might be like HubSpot versus parda versus marchetto, which is the best choice for my small business. Right? That was actually a combo of the Big Five, you picked it up, I did a best. And I did a comparisons there. This is how we search online all the time. Another comparisons, one could be like, you know, inbound, we see like inbound agency versus in house marketing team, which is best for my business.

Marcus Sheridan 21:52
Okay, so that’s a comparison that somebody a choice that somebody is having to make in the buying process reviews. So and I’ll stack these last two, a review of the 10 best inbound marketing agencies of 2021. Right? Or, in my case pool company, and who are the best pool voters in Richmond, Virginia review slash ratings? Right. So once again, we’re really taking what we know people are asking what we know they’re searching, and we’re willing to talk about it. And that’s we’ve already kind of mentioned some of those. But, you know, I might say, one for what is the best marketing automation for churches? What’s the best marketing automation platform for hospitals? That’s the type of question that a marketer within a hospital that’s been tasked to find a marketing automation platform would ask. And so that’s the best base question. So again, these five subjects, they run the economy in terms of the way people research Abby, what’s crazy businesses don’t like to talk about them. And I tell every company, especially b2b, a lesson at 80% of your content right now isn’t related to those five things in some way, shape, or form, you’re off track. And the quick way to test it is if you produce a piece of content, Could your sales team use that piece of content tomorrow to help them help them close more deals? So it’s like, all those questions are questions that sales teams tend to get often. And so if you’re writing content producing content, that is not able to be applied immediately by your sales team, whether you have an army of one on your sales team, that could be yourself if you’re listening, or you actually have sales people. But if you couldn’t use it in your sales process consistently, it probably means you just wasted however much time on that piece of content as a fail, because Dak on it, if we’re going to take the time if we’re strapped especially for time, and we’re producing stuff that’s fluffy that’s never getting used in the sales process. What a tragedy that is. And so that’s your litmus test. And that’s the big five, and boy do they work?

Abby Herman 23:54
Can I ask you about the logic behind spotlighting other businesses or competitors within your own content? So you talk about it in the book, and I would love for you to talk about it here in like, why would I want to spotlight somebody else?

Marcus Sheridan 24:11
Well, first of all, if you go back to philosophy is a great question, Abby, right, the flask for philosophy is they ask you answer. So like, for example, one night, back in the day when I was still selling pools, probably 2012. I was asked by this one couple that had met in Richmond, Virginia, Marcus, hey, we like you. We think we want to get this pool from you. But if we don’t get this poll from you, is there anybody else that you might recommend? This is after I’d sat with him for two hours and gave them a quote for Apple. And I knew that night I wasn’t gonna sell a pool. And I was driving home. I thought to myself as they asked the question, and what’s my rule? My rule is, they ask for it, I need to answer it on my website. And so that’s when I produced who are the best pool builders in Richmond, Virginia review slash ratings. I came with a list of five of the best pool builders in Richmond, Virginia, but here’s what’s wild about it. Now today, if you go online, you search reviews of the best pool builders. Jr, best pool builders Richmond, Virginia, were one of the first ones you’re going to see. If you research many of my competitors, his jersey, it’s really wild.

Marcus Sheridan 25:08
Like if you search for reviews playmore pools, Richmond, Virginia. So playmore is one of my major competitors in Richmond, Virginia. If you search them online right now, again, you can do this, if you got your little Google machine next to you, for the US reviews, playmore pools, Richmond, Virginia, were one of the first couple results you’re going to see. And so today, if you’re researching any of my competitors, oftentimes you’re going to learn about them on my website. And so because we track this stuff, we know that like that one single article, the first year, we wrote it fabby produce over $200,000 in sales that were leads that came. I mean, in fact, I had a lady come to me one time, this is quite a few years ago now. But she came to me and said that a crazy thing happened in the market. I was so close to signing a contract with playmore pools, that before I signed that contract, I decided to go online and research their company a little bit more. And as I was researching their company, as some of the cross articles that you guys have written, I said, my goodness, these guys are so honest, I should probably call them too. And of course, you know, happening if you’re listening to this, because otherwise I wouldn’t be sharing the story that customer bought from us. And sometimes people say to me Still though, but yeah, aren’t you afraid you’ve introduced them to the competition, which is so ridiculous, because I just don’t believe buyers are dumb. Sure, sometimes they can start off as uninformed. But eventually, they’re going to be quite informed. And so if you accept that fact, if you accept that, you know what, they’re not dumb, they’re going to be informed. And so they might as well learn it from me. Oh, my goodness, the doors that it opens up the possibilities now of what it opens up is absolutely amazing. It’s astounding. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Abby Herman 26:45
Yes, yes. So you talk about blogging a lot in the first edition of the book, and the second edition, you add video into there today. And I don’t remember when the second edition was written maybe a year or two ago, went out? Yep. So there are so many options when it comes to creating content. I mean, in addition to video and blogs, we have podcasts, we have all the social media platforms, we have the subsets of all of the social media platforms in there as well. How do you know where to create this content and where to publish this content that you’re creating?

Marcus Sheridan 27:23
I think it’s a tougher question there. Abby, it really is, right? Because there’s factors that are going to dictate this, like number one, what’s my natural strength? Right? Number two, what is my business? And therefore what does it What does it need the most. So as a whole, there’s, when it comes to text based content, that’s still best for SEO and, you know, search engine optimization, it’s still best for that across the board. Not for everybody, but for the majority. So text still wins the day, when it comes to search. Video dominates when it comes to social. But video is also tremendous when it comes to anything that is a visual product at all. Or even a visual service at all. An ideal world, we can do all of them by throwing audio into the mix as well. Right? But the bottom line is, you’re not going to be world class at a multiplicity of things from jump. So like at river pools, I said, Okay, let’s start with text. I got momentum with text. Now I started doing videos, we got momentum with videos, but we never really did social just simply because we’re like, okay, our focus.

Marcus Sheridan 28:50
Our Jim Collins hedgehog concept, if you will, was, hey, let’s become the Wikipedia of fiberglass swimming pools. And so through text and video, we said, we’re gonna, we’re gonna crush this. There’s still to this day, there’s almost no podcast, let’s say, for pool buyers. Why? Because it’s probably not going to be the best fruit, most people don’t think I’m gonna listen to a podcast consistently for a long period of time to figure out what type of pool I should buy. Whereas in your case, Abby, right, it’s potentially a very good lead gen tool for you. Because your audience, every single one of them is a potential lifetime customer. And these are, these are business people, business owners, marketers, etc, that are looking to improve. So you can build a long term relationship with them just aligns well with audio. And so it’s not a very good answer that I’m giving you. But I think we just have to ultimately weigh all these things out, except that you’re not going to be, you don’t want to be a jack of all trades. You’re better off being a master of one than a master of none. And so capture that one first add to it, and then get better that way today. Sure I do more social media with river pools. But I didn’t start that way. Right. We started with that one thing. got great at that one thing, and then we kept going from there.

Abby Herman 30:18
Yeah, yeah. You don’t have to do all of it all at once.

Marcus Sheridan 30:22
Yeah, I know that advice that you hear online or everywhere. It’s such BS. It’s just awful. She’s terrible advice. It’s so unrealistic that it is not feasible, unless you have some bloody team of 10 people just walking around with you, making sure that you’re everywhere. So don’t try to be everywhere, right. You’re way better off. There’s a reason why there’s this, that beautiful phrases of riches are in the niches. The riches are in the niches. Right? It’s totally the case. Yeah. So yeah, that’s a soapbox moment. But I definitely feel that way.

Abby Herman 30:53
Yeah, I love that. So the big takeaway here, I feel like is give your audience what they want, figure out what they want. Give it to them. How do you suggest we find out exactly what they want? Yeah, I know, one of the tools that you’ve used as you just kind of listen to what your customers are asking or listen to what potential customers are asking, Are there other ways to find out what people want to hear from you.

Marcus Sheridan 31:19
But on the, on the occasions that I have a marketer come to me and say I’m just not sure what you should be producing content about. I was asked when was the last time you went out with a salesperson, your organization, or were on a sales call? And they’re like, whoo, like, because let me tell you what the people that are on sales calls, they never run out of content ideas ever, ever, never doesn’t happen. And so that’s really where you start. The best keyword tool in the world is still your ears. For the business owners that are struggling to know the questions that their buyers are asking and searching. That’s an indictment on how they have lost touch with their buyer. It’s it’s a major problem. And I see it all the time. But that’s also why sales and sales departments should be very involved in the content planning and production process. Certainly not just marketing. There are good tools out there. One that I really liked as a simple tool to use for ideation is answer the public comm that’s a good keyword tool that I am a believer in.

Abby Herman 32:18
Yeah, and you give some really good examples in the book too, of how to incorporate the sales team and other parts other departments in the organization within that marketing piece.

Marcus Sheridan 32:31
So assignment selling at that book is awesome. If you get a chance, make sure you Google assignment selling if you haven’t read about it yet, folks, because if you want to really just revolutionize the way your sales team sells, teach them how to integrate content, really intentionally in the sales process. It’s a beautiful thing.

Abby Herman 32:49
Yeah. Mark is this was such a great conversation. I am so excited to have everyone. Listen, thank you so much for your time and for being here.

Marcus Sheridan 32:59
Yeah, it’s my pleasure, Abby, you’ve got a great vibe. And I can see why your audience likes you. So I’m glad I was here. Thank you.

Abby Herman 33:07
So of course, because I’m a fan girl. I love everything about this interview. But I think one of the things that stands out to me a lot is when he talked about finding your natural strength and identifying what your business needs. The most people are all about Tick Tock and Instagram stories and Twitter and all of that right now. But the reality is that these aren’t likely to get seen by new audience members. Like Marcus said, text wins, search, and video wins social. So what are you going for? And yes, you can do them both. If you know where your audience is hanging out, you can find out what your audience needs and once by just listening to them wherever they are. And you can also survey them directly to get their thoughts and ideas. I have a free resource that can help the Ask your audience challenge it we’ll walk you through how to create an audience survey. And I even give you the templates that you need to make my survey your own and the email that you can send to ask them to tell you their thoughts. Go to to get it for free. If you found value in what you learned here today, be sure to share it on social media. Take a screenshot of the episode on your phone and share it over on Instagram stories. You can tag me at the content experiment. The more you share, the more we can get the podcast into the hands of more business owners just like you who need to hear the message that they are not alone. Until next time, take care

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