Ask Me Anything (AMA) Video

We get a lot of questions about how we provide the great content that we do, and the benefits it provides, and we thought it would be good to open it up to you for your questions. This is the recording and transcript of our first Ask Me Anything in May of 2017. The questions are below with the timestamp if you want to pinpoint a certain question you have. We love to hear your questions! Ask a new one on our Contact Us page

Time Marked Sections:

Introduction to ContentOro (01:15)

Technology Update (03:32)

Automated Product Ads (09:10)

Q1 (11:33): Isn’t it a problem when you add a whole bunch of pages at one time. Doesn’t Google see that as cheating?

Q2 (13:26): Can I change the text in the content to talk more specifically about my product?

Q3 (15:43): How does the content get on my website?

Q4 (14:30): How long does it take to set it up?

Q5 (15:50): What happens to the content if I changed my web platform?

Q5 (17:30): How does the content affect SEO?

Q6 (19:00): What can I do with the content?

Q7 (20:50): Can I get your content one post at a time, or do I have to take a whole book at a time?

Q8 (23:45): Will Google index this content if it’s coming from an API?

Q9 (23:45): Can I measure results the same way I do for the rest of my site?

Q10 (25:15): What do I say to my writers when they say your content is not in our company voice?

Q11 (29:00): Can I make the content fit with my website design?

Q12 (29:46): How much does ContentOro cost?

Q13 (32:17): Do I own the content, and how do I make sure someone else doesn’t get the same content?

Q14 (33:00): I’m new to content marketing and I’m looking for good content marketing resources.

Q15 (34:10): What types of companies use content marketing?

Full ContentOro AMA Transcript:

Candace: Hello and welcome to our first Ask Me Anything webinar. I’m Candace Chapman, VP of Marketing for ContentOro, and with me is Bob Chunn the CEO and founder. Say hi, Bob. (Hi, everyone.) We also have Rod Hare, chief operating officer (hello.) How’s it going over there in London, Rod?

Okay, so we get a lot of questions about how we provide the great content that we do, and we thought it would be good to just open it up to you for your questions. I want to thank everyone who submitted questions via email and Twitter, and just invite you to go ahead and continue to submit any questions that you have in the chat, and I will be looking for those. We’re going to start with a brief overview of what we do from Bob, and then we’ll go over a recent technology breakthrough or two, and then we’ll just dive into the questions.

Introduction to ContentOro (01:15)

Bob: I’m happy to to be talking to everyone about ContentOro, which is the company I founded two years ago in order to solve a problem that I was having when I was running websites. And that is: “How do you get great information onto your website that your customers are going to value and that positions you as an expert, so they spend more time on your website and engage with your brand?” So we developed technology that uses the contents of books, where we find the greatest amount of authority.

Books today are not online in a way that users can access, and we’ve designed software to process the millions of books that we get from our publishers to make them usable as web content.

You’d never recognize the content that we deliver to our customer as a book. It’s simply great text and great images, delivered in a way that that establishes expertise for any brand about any subject. And the way that we do that is is very simple.

We’ve designed software to extract the text and images of books, which we load in a relational database, and we give our customers access to that database through a series of application program interfaces, or APIs.

Our content experts, the people like Rod on the phone today, have expertise in finding the best content for any business around any topic. Then we convert it and load it on your website in a matter of 10 minutes, and you have instant content that you can use in social media and email to really power your online digital marketing.

Technology Update (03:32)

We have really advanced our technology very recently, one of the problems that our customers have, and you probably recognize this for yourself: as you’re creating blog entries, it just takes a long time to build up enough content that you can have a robust email campaign, for instance, where you can talk to segments of customers that have common interests in a way that makes them experts in their category.

So what we’ve done is is to simplify adding content to your website by reducing the time it takes to add hundreds of pages of information to your site in a really beautiful way. We’ve designed software to process the contents of books through themes that look a lot like Pinterest, and this saves our customers time so that instead of building up a content library that you can use over years, it’s ten minutes to install hundreds or thousands of articles on your website. So you can talk to your customers individually.

Our implementation is as simple as two lines of code that get added to one page on your website. And the critical piece to our technology is that we take on the look and feel of the rest of your site. As I said, when we load content onto a site, it no longer looks like a book. It actually looks a lot like Pinterest. Those two lines of code are the only thing that you’re having to load onto your site.

So you build a page, one webpage, you insert these two lines of code, and the entire experience is there and searchable by Google, and usable in social media and email campaigns. Really a beautiful experience right out of the box, without having to engage your IT department.

Usually this can be a marketing department function to add content to your website, simply by building a page and inserting those two lines of code. I think Candace is showing you a example of content that is on the demo page of our website; this is about cast-iron cooking. You can imagine if you were a brand like Williams Sonoma or Sur la Table, you want to sell $400 le Creuset cast-iron pots, and what better way to do that than having content literally about cast-iron cooking, adapted to look like your website right out of the box?

Hundreds of articles that help you to rank on the first page of Google, that allows you to talk to those customers who are interested in cast-iron but don’t know a lot about it…not just about recipes, which there are a lot online, but about the care and cleaning and maintenance of cast iron, which brings people effectively down the funnel from being interested in a category to being enthusiastic for a category and being a buyer.

In this example that Candace is showing, this is a live example of our content in use at Citrix. Citrix is one of the largest and most well known technology companies in the United States, and we’re working with their ShareFile division. Citrix very specifically wants to talk to businesses at their earliest stage, when they are thinking about raising money, when they’re thinking about sharing information with their attorneys or with investors, because they have a system to share that data, which is a competitor to Dropbox.

So our solution to that is to install 600 pages of information that would teach anybody about the basics of starting a business from our publisher Wiley, whom we’ve acquired these books from.

You can see in this management strategy area, the font color is green, which matches the Citrix website, and that’s an attribute that we’re picking up from their style sheets. Our customer, or their customer, rather is getting not just a series of articles, but organized in a fashion that helps them to navigate the content right out of the box, even including breadcrumbs that help them go back to the previous article or forward to the one that they just left. We include that in our initial installation, which again takes only 10 minutes.

Automated Product Ads (09:10)

We also help our customers to sell their products, and this is new technology that that we’ve just developed, and is in beta with our customer Vet Approved RX. They sell pet medications to help with issues that your dog or cat may have. We’ve given them hundreds of articles answering the questions that people have about their pet health, and we’ve reached inside of their product database to show their own products next to the content, so when you’re training your dog to sit, stay, and come to you, there are products that Vet Approved RX sells to help you do that.

What better place to sell a pet correction product then when you’re teaching somebody to train their pet? So this content that we’ve given to Vet Approved RX is theirs exclusively, it’s only for their use, and the products that are being shown next to it are not advertisements from someone else, but they are their own products: Vet Approved RX doesn’t have to do anything to have these products on their site. We’re picking them up from their website, entering them in a database, and we’re serving them to their own customers through our feed right alongside the content.

So we’re not just giving you the raw data, the raw content to use to attract customers, but we’re literally helping you to sell your products right next to it. So the translation of this for those of us who are more used to shopping in a physical store is we’ve expanded Vet Approved RX’s footprint. The number of pages, the amount of square footage that they have online to show their customers information. And then in addition, we’re shelving products right alongside the content, so that when their customers are learning about something, they can buy that product at the same time.

Candace: Thanks, Bob, for that brief overview of what’s going on. Now I think we should just go on and get to some of the questions.

Let’s start with an easy one for Bob from Donald.

Q1 (11:33): Isn’t it a problem when you add a whole bunch of pages at one time. Doesn’t Google see that as cheating?

Bob: Donald, I love that question. And the answer is no. Google doesn’t see that as cheating, and in fact, it’s what they want websites to do. Google rates content on websites according to an acronym called EAT, which is Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. And in order to be engaging and trustworthy, you’ve got to have a lot of information all at once. So our solution helps businesses to to become an authority, which is what Google is trying to do.

They want websites who are authorities, who can answer questions from their customers about a very specific issue. Having more content on your website is the best way to do that.

I think that the reason people believe that adding content over time is the right thing to do has more to do with the fact that writing content from scratch takes a lot of time. So blog articles by their very nature because they have to be written and created one at a time, introducing them over time was the only way to do business. But today, we’re able to install enough content to make our customers experts in minutes.

Candace: Thanks, Bob. I’m going to take this next one from Jen. She asks

Q2 (13:26): Can I change the text in the content to talk more specifically about my product?

And you absolutely can. You can change words…if there’s a certain industry term that you want to use and rank for. And if the content that we provide for you uses slightly different words, we can go in and automatically change all of those to the words that you’re looking for.

We can’t change the meaning of the text, but we could certainly change individual words or phrases. Also, you can add a brand name. So, if you were using that cast iron cookbook, you could put in every time it said “cast iron frying pan” you could put in “Calphalon cast-iron frying pan”. So those kind of changes are totally possible.

Next, I grouped some questions from Samantha, Todd, and Myra. These are closely related so I’m going to ask Rod to answer them all in a bunch here if you can.

Q3 (15:43): How does the content get on my website?

Q4 (14:30): How long does it take to set it up? and

Q5 (15:50): What happens to the content if I changed my web platform?

Bob: I’m happy to answer that question since Rod is calling in from London and who knows what the connection is like all the way across the water like that. So the question was how long does it take? It literally is ten minutes, it’s as long as it takes you to make a single web page on your website. And marketing departments, I know, I’ve run many of them, are used to creating landing pages for ads that they run. So making a web page is the work, because installing the content is literally copying and pasting two lines of code onto that page.

Candace: That is actually answering the first question, which was how the content gets on the website. So you set up a page in your CMS and you put those two lines of code in and that takes ten minutes. So what happens to the content if someone changes their web platform?

Bob: Well, we are platform agnostic, so moving to a new website, actually, we have an advantage there. In the past, if you had written a hundred blog articles, you would have a hundred pages that that you would have to recreate in your new platform. With us, you’re again making one web page and inserting those two lines of code in your new website platform, your new CMS. And everything appears there, so it’s very simple to do.

One of the things that businesses do when they migrate from one platform to another is they changed their DNS settings so that they don’t lose the search engine optimization that they’ve acquired over time. So we can be part of that. The content that we’re delivering to our customers is really resident on their site, no different than the blogs that they would write themselves. They’re just pulling it from a different database.

So to the extent, whatever process they’re following to move their website to a new platform, we would fall right into that mix. You wouldn’t have to recreate a new experience, and you would just insert those two lines of code so that’s as simple as it is.

Candace: Great, thank you. and Bob just a follow-up question for you from Sandra:

Q5 (17:30): How does the content affect SEO?

Bob: That’s one of the prime benefits of working with ContentOro, is that we install enough content onto your website to make you immediately findable by Google. Now, SEO is a complicated subject, and the best sites use the content that we give them in order to do two things: one is power their social media and email programs, and the other (and they work together) is to have that content found and answering questions for the seventy-five billion Google searches that happen every month.

The way that they work together is very simple. Google follows social media, so when we set up a customer, we usually take their articles that we give them and we tweet them ourselves so that Google instantly finds them and indexes those pages. So the two things, SEO and social media, and even email, all work together to help a brand be found more frequently by those billions of Google searchers.

Candace: Cool, thank you Bob. I’m going to take this one from @faroutfeatures:

Q6 (19:00): What can I do with the content?

Candace: That is a huge question, and I could go on and on forever. But basically, our content can be used in any digital format: for email, for social media, obviously on your website, in blog posts…you can gate the content… We have this awesome way to get great content on your website, but that’s only half the story. Once it’s there, you need to actually use it.

We’re working on some resources right now to help people know how to use the content. Setting up a knowledge center like you saw on Citrix is the beginning. And just that, if it’s just that, will start to get you traffic. Lots of organic traffic depending on who your customer is and what they’re looking for. But we can also use that content every day, every week to fill your social media, to make your emails informative and not just sales focused.

You can take Knowledge Center articles and put them right in your blog. And you can offer that content behind a paywall if you want, or not a paywall but a login wall. Any digital use is part of the lease, and my goal is to help people to do the most that they can with it. I’m going to go on and skip this one and see if we can figure out Rod’s issues.

Bob, Sam is asking

Q7 (20:50): Can I get your content one post at a time, or do I have to take a whole book at a time?

Bob: You can absolutely get content one post at a time if that’s what you want to do. It’s not my preferred way of doing business, and it just comes down to the point of having a lot of content on your website is more than doing a blog post a week. It accomplishes more than doing a blog post a week, which is an activity.

Having a lot of content on your website allows your customer to see you as an authority, and that’s what we really want our customers to focus on, is becoming an expert to their own customer. And I’ll tell you why: many of you have heard of the Pareto principle, which is that 80% of the result comes from 20% of the work. And that literally applies to us, because an expert is one of the 20% of people that will generate 80% of your sales.

A brand is best off having many people who are highly invested in working with them and knowing things from them. The more you can be seen as an authority in your area, the more you’ll attract people who are experts in that category who are spending the majority of the dollars.

We help our customer instead of adding one page, one blog post a week, which might attract someone who is less than an enthusiast, to being a resource that your customers can come and research that literally ties to their sales. So you can get an article at a time, but our real value is adding hundreds or thousands of articles so that your customers can use it.

Candace: Thanks, Bob. I think it’s just a change in paradigm. It’s just never been possible before, so people aren’t thinking about it in that way. But why wouldn’t you want to start with a huge bunch of content, and just use it while it’s working for you in the background. So I’m going to go ahead and have you answer these questions because we’re still having trouble with Rod’s mute button. These are from Jacob:

Q8 (23:45): Will Google index this content if it’s coming from an API? and related:

Q9 (23:45): Can I measure results the same way I do for the rest of my site?

Bob: Those are great questions, and part of the foundation of our company was to give those tools to our customer. In other words, definitely yes. Your content is indexable by Google, and we help that process along.

Think of it like this: the content we’re delivering from our database is really no different than your blog that you have already, or your products that are on your site. That information is all in your own database, which is called up anytime somebody clicks on a specific action button on your website.

So when they say show me this blog article, it calls that information from your database onto the web page. We’re just another database. So Google does not distinguish our content that we’re delivering to our customers from the content that’s already on your website. It looks the same, so they index it the same way, and it gets attributed to your root URL.

Candace: Great, thanks Bob. This one I’ll take from Johanna:

Q10 (25:15): What do I say to my writers when they say your content is not in our company voice?

That’s a really good question, and I take it seriously. I’m a big brand person. I think it’s really important for a brand to be consistent across all touch points. But what we have found with our customers is that there is such a wide variety of content available that we can find something.

Maybe it doesn’t have the quirk that you might have in some of your product-specific content, but the writing is very straightforward, and doesn’t have a tone that conflicts with your voice. And oftentimes we can find something that’s quite aligned with the voice. If you look at the Citrix example or the Pet Supplies Plus example, no one would know that this is not content that works on their site.

The other option is, you could give credit to the author. Our general RV customers, we found three books for them, and they give credit to the authors because those people are known in the RV community, and it actually helps them to say “this content is written by this person”. So you don’t have to worry about that: It’s in their voice, but you’re kind of taking their expertise on you.

Bob: I think that’s an excellent point, and this is one of the concerns that our customers bring up most frequently. And the way that I like to answer that, because I never want to talk to a brand about not using their voice, they absolutely should.

But I want to ask the audience this question to just have an in your mind. If our customer general RV who sells recreational vehicles valued at $400,000 or less. If they write a blog article about the advantages of RVing, do you trust that, or would you trust a third party who’s written about the RVing lifestyle for their own benefit to sell a book?

They’ve made themselves and expert, and you can use that. And General RV does a great job of it. They talk about not just the author and that this came from someone else, a third party who could be trusted maybe more than they would be because they’re the seller of those products.

But the other advantage is that they can write around the content that we deliver. So expressing their opinion, which might be valuable being that they know about the industry, they can express their opinion about that author’s content and agree with it or disagree with it. It allows you to have as a brand a conversational tone with your customer instead of just one of selling. And you’re talking about trusted content produced by professional publishers and authors.

Candace: Great point, thanks Bob. I’m going to go to another question from Barb for me.

Q11 (29:00): Can I make the content fit with my website design?

I think Bob might have touched on this earlier, but yes, our content feed picks up the the style of the website that it goes on. So it will flow seamlessly with your look and feel.

I know that we’re at a thirty-minute point but I’m just going to keep on going, because what I’m going to do when I post the video is to post minute marks to each question so people can pick and choose what they want to view. There’s a few more questions I just want to get through them so that we can you know, call it.

So Bob, Joseph asks:

Q12 (29:46): How much does ContentOro cost?

Bob: We price by the article, generally speaking at $50 per article per year, allowing our customers to get into and out of content based on its productivity. Think about it this way: by licensing content from us, you can take what works and expand on it, and what doesn’t work and and not do that again. You couldn’t do that if you hired a writer, you’ll be paying upfront for everything, waiting for it to be produced, and then seeing if it provides results.

We specifically built this licensing model so that brands could experiment with content easily without a lot of effort, taking only 10 minutes to put it on their site, and start. And to have it indexed instantly and start seeing results from all of the campaign’s that they run.

So 50 dollars per page per year is the general pricing strategy that we have, which includes imagery and tables and text, all delivered in that way that you saw a little bit earlier, which is like that Pinterest like format that’s really attractive and people can identify with today.

Candace: Which our studies show is about one-tenth the price of AdWords based on how much traffic it generates.

Bob: That’s a great point Candace. I always forget to mention that…one of the most important values of our services is literally that we’re driving traffic to our customers’ websites at one-tenth the cost of using Google Adwords. And when they get there, they’re spending three times as much time on the page and viewing three times as many pages.

We’re giving our customers content that attracts users, that allows them to participate in social media and email, and that is very sticky. So when somebody clicks through and lands on your website, and they’re looking at your website and your product surrounding it, they’re going to look at three times as many pages across your site. and at one-tenth the cost of Google AdWords.

Candace: Yep, pretty awesome. So a couple more questions:

Q13 (32:17): Do I own the content, and how do I make sure someone else doesn’t get the same content?

Bob: Very simply, we do not license the same content to more than one customer. Every piece of our content and images has a unique product identifier, a code, that only can be assigned to one customer at a time. We’ve built our system, our processes, our software, literally around that idea, that we’re delivering exclusive content to our customers.

Candace: Yep, great, Jonah says:

Q14 (33:00): I’m new to content marketing and I’m looking for good content marketing resources.

There are a lot of great people out there that are talking about content marketing. Three of my favorites that come to mind would be ContentMarketingInstitute.com. They put on a show that we’re looking forward to going to this fall, and they’ve got some great stuff. Also, MarketingProfs.com is great. Anne Handley runs that. And then Business2Community.com. This is slightly different from the other two. Business 2 Community is basically, people buy placement on there, but the content I have found, there’s a lot of good stuff on there…there’s probably some not good stuff, but I would definitely check that out.

Bob, there was one last question, it’s pretty open-ended, and I’m looking forward to seeing where you take it. The question is from John:

Q15 (34:10): What types of companies use content marketing?

Bob: That’s a great question. I’ll use my own company as an example to answer that. Content marketing applies to every company, and I’ll tell you why. For any of us marketers and salespeople and eCommerce sellers, we have a numbers problem. We need to talk to a wide audience of people who have a wide variety of interests so that we can convert the small percentage that we will at any given time.

The reason I say that is the average conversion rate online is about 1% (one percent). So you can know for yourself how many customers you need to be talking to at any given time. Now, that’s not an obvious connection to content marketing, so let me draw the line for you. In order to talk to a wide range of customers all at once without having a massive sales team to call them all the time (and, plus, they’re not going to take your call). But for us, we need to talk to 20,000 different companies in order to hit our sales plan for the year.

How do I do that with a 20-person team or less? Well, we warm our customers up with information about advertising and marketing. And we provide information to them that’s useful in their everyday, without selling anything to anybody. We’re just there in the background as an expert to our customer, teaching them how to be better advertisers and marketers and content marketers and how to use social media, and what to consider when they’re building out a content team. We’re there in the background as a trusted authority.

Because some of them are going to walk into their CEOs office or their Monday morning meeting, and the CEO is going to have read an article about content marketing over the weekend and ask “what are you doing about it for our company?” and I want to be the first thing that they think of as a solution.

Content marketing is applicable to everyone. It is necessary to maintain the large number of leads that you need to have so that your small conversion rate (which most of us have) would apply to that large number of customers, and that times your average order value gets you to your sales plan.

Hitting your sales plan is all about content marketing online. That’s how you do it.

Candace: Awesome, thank you Bob. I’m very excited about what’s coming ahead! That is the last of our questions, and I just feel really great. I’m sorry Rod that we weren’t able to get you online there, but we’ll have to do that next time.

Thank you everyone who attended today, and I will send a follow-up email with a link to the video that you can share. Please reach out to us on Twitter (@ContentOro) or email us (hello@contentoro.com)

Thanks again, and we’ll see you next time!

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