Content That Drives Commerce on & off Amazon

with No Additional Ad Dollars Needed

Jul 15, 2021 12:00 PM1:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

Are you a brand struggling to keep up with the ever-changing world of eCommerce? Do you long for a successful content strategy without spending tons of money on ads? How does rich content differ from regular content? Michael Southworth and Troy Dunn have the answers.

Michael, Co-founder and CEO of Elemerce, and Troy, consultant and seasoned content creator, are the experts when it comes to creating successful content that both reaches your target audience and stays abuzz in the eCommerce world. Whether you’re selling grills, technology, or food, they know the ins and outs of making your content stand out and drive sales to your brand.

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant has a conversation with Michael Southworth, Co-founder and CEO of Elemerce, and Troy Dunn, content creator and consultant, about how to boost sales and create successful content. They discuss strategies for developing rich content, crafting a successful content strategy, distributing and raising awareness around content, and much more.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:


  • Troy Dunn shares his definition of “rich content,” and why brands should aim for this kind of content
  • How to plan for the recent shift in eCommerce
  • Creating a content strategy for producing rich content
  • Michael Southworth explains the ways brands can distribute and execute their content — and which campaigns are successful
  • What is the future of content within an organization as a whole?
  • Why every company needs a Chief Content Officer
  • Troy explains the importance of raising awareness around your content
  • Michael talks about knowing your target audience and what they want out of your content
  • Why brands usually have more unharvested content than they realize
  • Michael and Troy give advice about common struggles brands face while creating content
  • How to effectively measure rich content
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Event Partners


Elemerce is a full service eCommerce marketing agency that has successfully launched and developed several multimillion dollar eCommerce brands.

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Guest Speakers

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Michael Southworth

Michael Southworth

Co-founder & CEO at Elemerce

Michael is CEO and Co-founder of Elemerce, has been involved in product marketing for 15 years and eCommerce for the last 10. Michael is a visionary leader and a people person above all. Building strong relationships with partners and delivering value is what drives him daily.

Troy Dunn

Founder at Troy Dunn Consulting

Troy Dunn is an actor, keynote speaker, content creator, and entrepreneur. His media career spans over 25 years, acting in primetime television shows and sittings for interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil, and Barbara Walters. He now consults in his own firm, Troy Dunn Consulting, where he teaches his clientele how to create and distribute rich content successfully.

Event Moderator

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Michael Southworth

Michael Southworth

Co-founder & CEO at Elemerce

Michael is CEO and Co-founder of Elemerce, has been involved in product marketing for 15 years and eCommerce for the last 10. Michael is a visionary leader and a people person above all. Building strong relationships with partners and delivering value is what drives him daily.

Troy Dunn

Founder at Troy Dunn Consulting

Troy Dunn is an actor, keynote speaker, content creator, and entrepreneur. His media career spans over 25 years, acting in primetime television shows and sittings for interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil, and Barbara Walters. He now consults in his own firm, Troy Dunn Consulting, where he teaches his clientele how to create and distribute rich content successfully.

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Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Co-Founder & Managing Director Aaron Conant runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant 0:18

Happy Thursday everybody. My name is Aaron Conant I'm the Co-founder and Managing Director of BWG Connect. We're a networking knowledge sharing group with 1000s of brands who do exactly that. We that work now share together to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, topics, whatever it is, that's top of mind for everybody, the digital landscape will probably do close to 300 virtual events this year. So always love conversations, one on one with anybody that's on the line, just love to jump into a little bit more. That's how we get topics for these calls those one on one conversations that I'm having, I try to connect with 30 to 40 brands a week. And so with that, also, if you're headed to like retail X would love to know we'd love to catch up with you there we're getting back into in person events here in the the end of July, heading into August and the back half of the year. So gonna get back to, you know, networking is this group so we can all meet and rub elbows in person. So looking forward to having conversations and meeting that way. If you want to be involved in any of those, just shoot us an email, we'll put you in the list if we come to a town near you. The last thing here is we get started, I should say two more things we get started, we want this to be as educational and informational as possible. So at any point in time you have questions, comments, just jump in, hit star five a hand go up on the screen, we'll bring you into the conversation. So don't hesitate to that you can always just email me questions as well Aaron, And that includes an hour after the call tomorrow, next week, you have any questions in the digital space, just shoot them over to me, and we'll get you an answer in under a day or so. The last thing is we're starting four or five minutes after the hour, and we're going to wrap up with probably three to four minutes to go in the hour as well. So just a heads up, we'll get you on to your next meeting without being late. This one won't run over. I want to jump into kind of how we landed on this as a whole in, you know, a lot of people struggling with content, there are a lot of calls that we're doing on content right now, as we try to navigate this increased demand for it across every channel that's out there. How do we get it? How do we use it? How do we maximize it? And a lot of that is driven around the strategy behind it. So content that drives commerce on and off Amazon. So that's why we put it on there. It's like, Hey, we're everywhere. But also there's no ad dollars needed, like the strategy wise, you know, what are we thinking about? How should the crafting the plan as a whole. And so they've got some great friends, great partners of the network, at Elemerce. So Michaels on the line today, also have a cool you know, with the friend on the line as well. Troy Dunn is going to jump in as well, but they're going to be open to us throwing as many questions at them as possible. So, you know, Michael, I'm gonna kick it over to you first, if you want to do a brief intro on yourself and Elemerce that'd be awesome. It'll retry next, and then kind of just, you know, kind of kick off the conversation as a whole sound good.

Michael Southworth 3:20

Yeah, that's great. Thanks. I'm the Co-founder of Elemerce. Where digital marketing really an eCommerce Omni channels agency, we started, I started Elemerce as an eCommerce, or sorry, as an Amazon agency about seven years ago, and three years ago, we merged with more traditional digital advertising, building websites, DTC, social media, all paid media channels, so and creating content is a big piece of what we do. So this is a real fun conversation for us and a real focus of our kind of roadmap and plan so grateful to be strategizing and working on things with Troy. And for him joining us on this and always, as always, really grateful to be part of the network. Aaron, we love BWG. Love the conversations that we have with you and and and especially the people the audience's that you, you know, bring to that conversation. So awesome.

Aaron Conant 4:17

Yeah. Awesome for you. Yeah, it appreciate you to Michael for being such a great friend and partner the network as a whole. Troy, you want to jump in brief intro and yourself, that would be awesome. And then we can kind of kick off the conversation.

Troy Dunn 4:30

Okay, I'll be brief right I loathe talking about myself. I just love talking about what I do. But I'll be brief. First of all, Aaron, thank you for inviting me. And I just have to say one of my favorite things about life post COVID is this exact thing. I hope that virtual events continue to be a huge part of our lives. I know there are those who still love old school getting in the room together. I love the convenience of being able to do this and have such a powerful moment and never leaving the house. So anyway, God bless you for doing that. So My name is Troy Dunn. And I come at this from a completely different place. I'm a professional content creator. And I'm blessed to be able to build a company use it app, I started a business back in 1990 that we did building content, I reunite families remind people of long lost missing friends and family members. And we built a substantial business to start it from the back bedroom. And we ended up with 1800 employees in 32 countries, and sold the company to CEO that for a long time, we did that without ever spending any money on advertising or marketing, we simply cracked the code for creating rich content that actually drives commerce because there's a difference between content and commerce content. And we did that through using a lot of national media and publishing and things like that. And that led to the TV industry, I guess, just embracing me. It's been a slow news day, and they were desperate for for good talent, I don't know. But anyway, I ended up getting my own television show called The Locator, which was a hit show and that caused another network TNT to bring me another show and ended up with three shows and working out a fourth. done that for many years. And in the process of cracking that code. We started getting calls from companies I've consulted multiple fortune 50 brands on how to develop brand strategies and how to create content that actually drives commerce and how to drive how to ride this this this new era where the content revolution So anyway, married to my high school sweetheart 33 years of eight children that's me.

Aaron Conant 6:41

Eight children love it. Plenty of facility I stopped at four, I'm I'm amazed at the the age the so I want to jump into So just a quick reminder to everybody who died in the fantastic conversation we're gonna have today around content, everything around content is open. If you have any questions in the space whatsoever, just hit you know, Star five, handle go up in the screen, we can bring you in, you can email me questions, Aaron But it should be a really fun conversation. I'm going to kick it back over You said you had an interesting comment around rich content. Should you want to? Can you expand on what that what you mean by that? So I think it can mean 100 different things is sometimes that word is thrown around or that phrase is thrown around a lot. I would love to hear. You know, Troy, what do you mean by rich Content?

Troy Dunn 7:41

Yeah, great question. So I, for me, it's very simple. I like to keep things simple, rich content is content that the consumer desires and pursues other content is content that we feed them and they tolerate oftentimes, because it's, it's the price they pay, it's the toll to get in. And we're now living in a world thanks to technology where the consumer has more power than ever, to block, bypass, delete, skip over traditional ads and marketing. And they're pursuing content. And we've gotten to a place now where and I and I mean, no disrespect to the traditional marketing model, because it's still alive and carrying brands like crazy. But there, there is no denying that there's a tremendous transition happening somewhere on board, and some are not there yet. And so we're trying to figure out how to get there. And the transition is yes, it is that traditional advertising is simply paying for the opportunity to interrupt somebody else's content. You know, if you pay enough money, they'll stop the Superbowl for you, and put an ad up there and you pay money, they'll they'll stop the article, you're scrolling. And they'll stick an ad between paragraphs four and five. And that's been traditionally what the marketing world was. And consumers just said, well, that's the price you pay to get free content as you go through this. That has evolved and is changing rapidly faster than some people realize. Even some of the big, the big eCommerce companies, you know, like Amazon, you know, Amazon owns a big platform, but they also own Amazon Studios. Shopify has a big platform now. So in Shopify studios, there is something happening just below the surface that others aren't really aware of. And that is that we're moving to a time and a place where if you if your brand is not put out rich content, you're going to struggle to reach your target audience, especially if your competitors are doing instead of rich content is content that people actively pursue. And the great news is that everyone no matter what brand you are, no matter who your consumers, your target audiences, the good news is the one for sure thing that we all share in common, besides the fact that we grieve. The second thing is we all without exception, consume content. And there's content that you pursue that I would not pursue this content I pursue the you have no interest in and so The The opportunity is to identify the rich content, I call it delicious content, right? If you're going to open up a restaurant, you're not, you don't want to say to people we serve good food, we serve decent food. People don't really jump out of their way to make reservations and go to the place that has fine food, they go to a place that has delicious food. And if you're going to take the time to put content out and associate your brand with it, you want it to be delicious content people that things that people set appointments to watch, they make sure to get it, they subscribe to it, they follow it, they eat it. And that is where content is. It's where some brands already are, and are headed further in. And that's where others desperately will need to catch up in order to not get caught off guard, as technology continues to make it easier and easier for people to not see traditional marketing. So that's delicious content to me.

Aaron Conant 10:54

I want to I want to just, you know, I think where a lot of people are sitting right now is I have this kind of just going through it in my in my mind over the past week is where we're at. And it's almost like in in eCommerce right now in digital, even on the content side of the advertising side. It's like COVID has gotten us into, like puberty stage, right, where we realize everything's a little bit different. We don't necessarily know where we're going to end up. But we know we can't we're never going to be like we were before. And so where's the guiding hand to get us to be to a maturity stage as a whole. And so, you know, you know if that was like what's been top of mind for me, is I'm you know, strategizing with different brands on a weekly basis, it seems to be that that's where we're at. So it's like a almost a guide is the right thing, the right phrase, but, you know, as people look to rethink their content strategies, right to rethink I'm making content for Amazon. I'm making content for you know, tik tok, I'm making content for Facebook for my DTC site and making content for Ott my, you know, all these different paid media, how should people as a as a reassess and say, Hey, I need to be, I need to have a different plan going forward for content holistically. What is what do you say to those who they think a lot of people, I would say 95% of brands I talk with are in this spot right now, where they have all these different things going on. But they don't have the holistic plan on how it all ties together.

Troy Dunn 12:37

Sure. So you know, a content strategy is, is step one, is creating a content strategy. And that strategy, if everyone starts to engage now, in creating the content strategy, which to me just means developing the system, and the plans for having delicious content around your brand, then you don't end up with this really awkward heart jerk to the left where suddenly everybody's transitions so fast that you really have to start really just reallocating hand dollars over to content and like, Oh, my gosh, when I prepared for this, who's going to do with who's going to own this, with our schedule look like? You start now, by just starting to try to put out some sample pieces and starting to create little bits here and there. So that you can find your way, you'll find that you already have human assets, sitting, you know, headcount in your organization, who could become a part of your content team, once you have a content strategy who are already there, they're just doing other things. Whether that's your PR person or your social media manager, these are people who already are somewhat engaged in content, but bringing in, you know, bringing in your, your, your Martin, your marketing people, those people and then somebody to actually instruct them on developing the content strategy is, is for sure. Next steps. And that transition, you'll be surprised once you step out there a little bit, you realize, when you see your customers be the path towards you. And you're like, well, this is a new experience for us, we usually have to headhunt the heck out of these people and look at them, like lined up to consume our content. This is so this feels so great. Well, it's because you transition from being stuff that they they consumed because they had to as far as you're marketing to, you're now giving them that delicious content. You know, a couple of examples I love to share just to kind of get people's mind wrapped around something. I know this show goes back a couple of years ago, but there was a show on NBC called Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and it's where they would pick a deserving family and they would rebuild their old home into this gorgeous beautiful home in seven days. And then they move a big bus out of the way and surprise the family. And then we follow them with cameras into the house and go around the entire house and how beautiful it is and the amazing room with the slide and all that that was heavily funded by Sears, for one purpose to grow their appliance business to recapture some lost market share Sears appliances are an every single home that was ever featured on Extreme Makeover Home Edition. And it is not beating you over the head. It is not an infomercial, but it was highly effective for them and moved a ton of appliances and did help them recapture much of their appliance market. Market check. But it was delicious content people lined up to consume it. And they, they may not even even been aware. But because the content is so delicious. It just happened for them. I call it PPP, which is polite product placement. There's other types of rich content that we know No, it's really a marketing tool. But we don't care because they wrapped it in such wonderful content. And I would point to somebody like Jimmy Fallon, that show is just marketing, that's an s just a marketing platform. But because they give us those fun, playful little games and interviews with celebrities and hear their life stories. We're okay with the fact that they're going to pause the interview and show a clip from the movie or hold up the book, the guy just wrote a talk about his new tour of his new album, it's still got commerce involved in it, it's just wrapped in such great content, that we're okay with that. And that space is simpler to get into than you would imagine there are brands who are already interested engaged in that content space. Red Bull is a big one, we were just discussing this before the call, you don't see a ton of product placement in their stuff, but they have their content is so great. their loyalty their brand audience is huge. And it's just about feeding them content. And the great thing about content, two great things, briefs, you can jump in two great things about developing rich, delicious content. One is it's generally far less expensive to produce than it is to brandy traditional advertising. And number two, has a much longer shelf life. You pay for a piece of marketing and advertisement a placement. It comes and goes and about the amount of time that you paid for it, whether it was a number of impressions, or whether it was a number of people reached or whether it was a 32nd spot, or whatever it is rich content is one of those wonderful tools that actually bypasses the delete button, there is no delete button on rich content. And I'll give you a super quick personal example. If you Google. And the last one is attention to myself, just trying to make a point. If you Google my name, and then after my name, throw in, I don't know which one should I pick through an Oprah right there's a name people recognize. You'll see concept at the very top, lots of it actually an Oprah and I, it's probably I'm gonna guess I'm not looking at it. I'm walking around in front of a computer, but I've done it 10 years old, maybe 11 years old. Delete the name Oprah, and then type in CNBC. Right, that's an important brand place for a lot of brands, you're going to see a ton of content in there, delete CNBC, and type in Dr. Phil, or the today show or what have you, I have a ton of content out there and much of it can go back many, many years, because rich content does not go away. And so whatever investment you do make as a brand into developing rich content, pays dividends far longer. It's far more valuable than a one and done in marketing. And I'm not suggesting people have to choose one or the other. I'm simply saying if you have a rich content strategy alongside your traditional advertising and marketing strategies, then you are perfectly positioned for where we are already headed. The momentum is already going there. There are things going on. I just wrote an article on LinkedIn about the next big thing for Amazon. And, and they're not putting this out yet. So I know that one of my relationships over there may be upset with me for writing the article. And so I may take it down. Actually, I'm not positive, but it's still up there. But it's talking about this amazing technology that's coming towards us where you can sit and watch your favorite show. And touch the woman's shoes who's walking across the screen and instantly have those sent to you in your size. You can see them sitting there and eating chocolate and touch it to get a quick information texted to you on what chocolate that is they're eating and have a box of a sent to you. And guess what happens when we start to merge rich content with PPP polite product placement. We've blurred the lines enough that there's no longer interrupting anybody's content, that consumer no longer has to step out of the world they're in with whatever they're reading, whatever they're watching whatever they're listening to, they can stay in a continuous state of enjoying the content while still interacting proactively with your brand. that's already happening that's already coming. That's already on its way. So for your brand to start now finding its own content strategy and developing some interesting content. You get into that river before the you know, before the waves get too big. And then last thing I'll say about great original content is that the original. So you and your competitors might all be doing some of these exact same things, marketing and some of the exact same destinations, trying to reach the exact same customers. The minute that you launch a content strategy, with your own content, you have taken everyone who's a competitor out of the river, because now you're feeding directly into your consumers content desire with something that's yours, that your own content, there is nobody else playing your content, whatever that is, whether it's in publishing, or television, or podcasting, or blogging, or something unrelated live events. So there's so much strategy, benefits to creating this content. And it's not complicated to do it's, and it's not expensive, and it's a wise investment, and it lives for a long time. So with that, I will shut up.

Aaron Conant 20:58

No, no, it was it's awesome. I mean, it's, it's new, I don't know, if it's new. It is then a new way I think of looking at, for our traditional brand, how to tackle, you know, the content generation side and what they should be thinking about, because for the past couple years, especially the past 18 months has been create content that drives sales. Now, I want to hit a cue, you know, quarterly number, what is the now more than ever, with budgets? What is your return on adspend look like? What is the ROI? And how are you? How are we gauging it? What are we doing? And all that comes with is, you know, association with the spend, which is kind of what we said here is no ad dollars needed, you know, for the discussion. And I'm going to, you know, awesome stuff, trying to I've got a couple more questions for you. But I also want to, you know, kick it over to him, Michael. You know, Michael, you're good friends with Troy, you guys are working together, right? How do you see brands on the executional? side? You know, get it right? How do you see them get it wrong? You know, we'd love to hear your thoughts there. Just a reminder, others have you know, topics, anything you want us to discuss, hit star five handled in the screen, and we can bring you in or you can email me, Aaron but, you know, Michael, kind of kick it over to you.

Michael Southworth 22:21

You know, we start with dangers that there's there's all these different levels of content is the top and the very surface level, we just have all of our marketing that's out there, our social media posts, our Amazon detail pages and storefront, you know, and our website, landing pages, it's all it's all content in we have it we see a lot of brands kind of missed the boat right out of the gate, you know, right out right on that very face, face of the brand very surface. And that that trickles all the way down into the deep end, you know, where they're where they're investing the most, in, and even any, that are trying to do kind of long form, if they start with that first sort of foundation, and maybe not really understanding the customer focusing on the customer, like Troy said, what they're consuming what they want to consume, and just pushing their own their own message. And so, you know, just to start with me, I'll start with examples of kind of where where we see getting it wrong, and then shift to more of the right, but really, any just even within Amazon Detail page or marketing campaigns, it's surprising how often brands will be so dead set on specific bullet bursts or specific features. About a product that we have one example of a US air purification company that really was focused on this, NASA technology actually had two totally different companies that were focused at huge on this NASA NASA technology. But it was it wasn't anything about the benefit the actual consumer, and what in what was going to make their life different. But it was kind of prominent person for for most of the messaging. And so we get pushed back a lot of times when we want to change, change those things and focus more on what's actually going to benefit the customer what's going to trigger an emotional response, which is, which is that you know, having to be more rich content, it actually you know, impact them to triggers the emotional. Where we see brands getting it right is the first year when they embrace that and take the time step back and actually take the time to really understand who the customer is and who that audience is and what they're consuming. And you know, what's the what makes a difference to them. And even, like just sorry, I lost my train of thought there but it's really just a matter of they're putting the customer first and in developing, developing stuff that they've heard. They're interested in.

Aaron Conant 25:01

Awesome. Yeah. Was it? A question that comes in around? What is this? You know, are there? Is there new talent that's required? You know, so we're talking about a different way of looking at it, you know, is it you know, what is the cost? Is there a content department, it's being generated, I'll kind of kick that one over to Troy, like, what do you see is the future of, you know, content as a whole? It's, it comes up, I would say out as by 30 to 40 brand conversations a week, it comes up on 25 to 30. FM. I mean, it's becoming more and more important, and to get it right in the cost behind it, the budget that has to be put behind it. The anyways, I'll kind of pause there, I think you understand where I'm getting at is, what is, what do you see the future of content being within an organization as a whole?

Troy Dunn 25:51

Yeah. So I don't want to say it in a scarcity because I don't want to discourage anyone from stepping into the shallow end of the content pool if it's not something you've already engaged in. Because I think once you step into a you realize the waters comfortable and warm, and you can keep walking and get deeper into your mind, you're swimming in it, and it's beautiful. If you ask me, what does it look like? You know, in a few years, I would say every single brand must have, without exception, the CCO Chief Content Officer. And that Chief Content Officer is going to develop the content strategy, and then reinforce it as it goes across every department content and drips to every department of the organization. Literally, once you've got the brand boys nailed, and a lot of people will pay this is what's interesting to me, a lot of people will pay money. And most many of the brands sitting here listening to as a bonus, will pay money to get their brand voice figured out to get their you know, to get their their style guide presented the fonts, they use the colors that match their brand, the do's and don'ts of their of their messaging. And they'll they'll drop that into certain places, they'll tell their web designer use all that stuff, they'll tell her, you know their person who's Martin creating their marketing materials, here's our vocab, here's the things we say don't say, all that stuff is perfect for moving into content. And then everyone just stops, they stop right there. Your Chief Content Officer will make sure that that flows through every department in the organization and the Chief Content Officer is not a direct report to a CMO of I've seen companies do that. And that's a mistake. Because he's an equal to the CMO. Because the marketing material will still come from content. All marketing is content. But not all content is marketing. And so there's there's a reason why there's separation there. And you will have people who's who are on your content team, and their only purpose is to create that rich content. Whether that means that there you know, you move into the world of publishing and articles and education or whether you move into even your social media team, I would say this is this is I want to say this as kindly as I can. But I would say 90% of all brands, social media content is worthless. And I know that's bold. And it's because people aren't really sure it's not because it is ignorant. It's just that they simply are not maximizing that opportunity. And so what happens is we bring somebody in, we're like, hey, she's really good at social media. And she used to be a popular Instagram or let's put it and so they just know how to pump out content. And we all write it off as well. What is it? Is it driving sales? Is it increasing our market? Is it hitting the bottom line? Well, no, it's not measuring it properly, and Bs and putting out the right content. And so we how do we rationalize it? Well, we just call it branding. I guess it's branding. You know, we're just getting the message I was raising awareness. Raising awareness is the phrase people use when they don't know how to measure something, or they don't have great content, because you should be able to do all of that.

Aaron Conant 28:49

So true. True. Love it.

Troy Dunn 28:52

And so you should be able to do that simultaneously. Yes, of course, we want to raise awareness, everything we do should raise awareness, if we're if we're not raising awareness, we missed the target. Even if you're putting out content that your brand is just a subtle piece of, you should still raise awareness. If you look at the, you know, the 500 appearances I did on national talk shows, you're not going to see me out pounding the brand, you're going to see me sharing beautiful stories of amazing human beings and what's happened in their lives. But we're attached to that. It's a marketing strategy. We call GTA guilty by association. Your brand needs to become GTA and he's become guilty by association with really rich, delicious content. So back to your question that you can exist right now creating content with some of your existing headcount. They simply need to be given the tools and the roadmap, the blueprint. And you know, one of the things that we love doing this when Michael and I became close friends, is, you know, I come from the world of rich content. Michael comes from the world of hardcore marketing. Together, we create these beautiful blueprints and we help people find their their content strategy and then And then you know, in some cases, we implement it for them from top to bottom. And in other cases, we actually just hand it over and say, here's what your folks can do. And then you can utilize your own internal resources to build it up. It really is. I will say that most people, if they started a content strategy today, a year from now, probably handle this call to other brands. It is very simple once it's implemented, and it requires less funds, and has a longer shelf life. And by the way, you will love life having customers who are so thankful for the content. How many times have you ever received a message from a consumer who said, I just want to thank you, for the ads you sent, I just want to thank you for the marketing campaign, you're probably never maybe once in a while, when you are in the world of rich content, delicious content, you will have fans, they will go from being customers to fans, you might have fans of your product, they're Oh, I love your product. But I need your content when they become fans of your content. You have somebody who's now gone from becoming who was a customer, now they're a viewer or reader or listener. That is when you have made it you have arrived in the official world of content. brands are the next generation of entertainment. They are the next TV channel. They're the next Netflix, they're the next television network. It is brands brands are the future of all content. 100%

Aaron Conant 28:52

love it. I mean, it's not. I mean, this is

Troy Dunn 30:17

Yeah, no, I just want to say, and I don't want to take off down a rabbit hole because I know the time isn't there. But I'm just like picking this fast glance at some of the brands that use you know, you showed us with you know, we're we're attending a call, I don't even know who's on the call and who's not. But it is I feel like I'm gonna have Tourette's of content because I just sit here, I just look through some of these things. And I don't know who all these organizations are what businesses if I look at the ones that I know, and I'm just like, Oh my gosh, I can see in 30 seconds their entire content strategy. I mean, I can see how can I just throw two out real fast into senior looking? I'm just in my mind I'm sitting here reading these like, Do you have something called is a BBQ or Dorsey BBQ? BBQ BBQ guys. So yeah, most of our barbecue just right there. Why does that not have an entire television network? Why is there not a few I love barbecue. If If you type in into your Google, if you type in the the letters BBQ and then type in the word awards, you'll see there's hundreds, maybe 1000s of these silly little trophies people make that you can buy kind of as a gift, a gag gift to him to your dad on Father's Day world's greatest barbecue or this or that. And then you'll see in little communities, they have their little Cook Off contest. This space is itching, screaming for some formalities, some actual high level content that celebrates the barbecue space. And the fact that people are so passionate about that they want to compete. The fact that there's pride involved in that the people behind that the people who are behind these barbecues, the fathers and the husbands and the sons and the daughters. There are some beautiful human interest stories there. That only barbecues just a tiny, tiny part of it. And I just can't believe that there isn't this massive there should be an academy awards for this freaking there should be an award show every year people should be competing throughout the regions in the country in the cities. To make it to this that content will live forever. I look at you have you have a chocolate company on here. I just recently read a story from psychology today that said something to the effect of a chocolate a day keeps depression away. We're now sitting one of the hottest topics in America right now post COVID is mental health, mental health. This chocolate company should be in the business of turning out in my opinion, whether they're digital virtual or literal books, inspirational self help motivational content, because those are the highest selling books right now on the planet are so self growth, self improvement. This chocolate brands completely aligned with some of the greatest minds in inspiration and mental health and be putting out things that their target audience are already buying and reading anyway, the buyers will read your entire series of books that are brought to them through this chocolate brand. And then then off of that PR strategies and campaigns about how how chocolate has actually improved mental health in this difficult times. And there's just so much content. I could probably take every brand on this page and tell you a story. There is content sitting here right now waiting for somebody to just walk by and pick it up. And the the challenges that somebody will because consumers demand consumers will not build no Have you on this call will go without concepts you all you want a need, and you will get content into your life. And it's sitting there. And all the brands have to do is reach down and claim it. Take ownership of it. Make it yours. That's the beautiful world we live in now.

Aaron Conant 35:16

Yeah, I love it. I want to kick it back over to Michael, from the executional side, as well. You know, how do you see like step one for brands? Right? And in actually making it actionable, the content they have and rolling it out? You know, across the board? And I don't know, if that's, you know, then leveraging it, there's a lot of different ways to leverage it. Right as well. How does it relate to Amazon versus direct consumer versus other marketplaces or paid search social?

Michael Southworth 35:53

Yeah, well, you know, again, it really starts with that, understanding who the audience is, like, Who's the customer base? who's buying right now? What are they consuming? What are what are your reviews, telling you? What's, what's standing out with this, what's important to them, about the product. And then and then going in auditing, and, you know, analyzing what you currently have in content that kind of isn't in alignment with that you understand what resources do already have, that you can repurpose, or, you know, shape to fit that whether it be yours, your ad campaigns, or your your Amazon detail pages, your website, what have you. And that it just needs to go deeper than just, you know, hey, we post a review. You know, it's, we all know, we need to show, you know, social proof, but it's really stepping back to understand at a deeper level of what they you know, what they want? And what is important to them about the brand than they experienced? And then, and then how do we communicate that to the different channels? What What, what current assets do we have that we can work with? And then we can understand what we need to develop and create from there.

Troy Dunn 37:10

I just, I just, I just want to tag on to what he's saying. So if I told Jennifer, my beautiful life, if I told Jennifer that I was having Aaron over for dinner tonight, the first thing she would ask me is, do you know if he has any dietary limitations? She's asked me that many times? And I would say I don't know, I guess I'll ask, do you know what his favorite dessert is do this you're vegetarian this evening. And then based on that she creates the menu for the night. As brands, we want to do the exact same thing, we want to first discover that first action item number one is discovering the content that your customers are already consuming, nothing about you nothing about your brand, nothing about how they use your product, none of that. We just want to know on a very high level, what the content is that they're already consuming. Because we want to be in that space, we don't want to try to come we don't want to be a solution in search of a problem. Right? So that is step one. And then once we understand the content that they're consuming, then it's really just a mechanic's issue of saying, okay, who's going to take this and own this, we have a system called harvest Paste in Place. And harvesting is gathering up that content, whether it's UGC or whether it's coming from an outside source, pacing that is determining when we're going to release it and placing it as where, where are we going to is this going to live on our social media are we going to put a YouTube channel out for this are we going to start a blog is just going to become part of the podcast is going to be our podcasts, we're going to put our CEO out on the world, you know, virtually to do interviews. So it's just a matter of identifying the content. step one, step two, identifying the people within your organization that can take ownership of this. And step three is harvest Paste in Place, which is just the execution of the content. And that's it. That's the whole thing.

Aaron Conant 38:56

How much content Do you find companies already have on hand?

Troy Dunn 38:59

I believe companies have 1 million truckloads more content than they realize they have. Because they Truthfully, I just think they've gotten so used to seeing it in one way that they don't even understand, you know, one man's trash is another man's treasure. There's stuff that they're letting flow past them, but they don't recognize this content, or, or they're simply not really in the right spot. Because what they you know, every company is gathering data, right? gathering data, gathering data, gathering data. They're just not asked if somebody said to me, Troy, come on in here help us develop our strat content strategy. I would say who's who's who's gathering data, who's the information seeker in your organization. Let's start there. Because I just want to add to what they're doing a couple of other things to have them dig up for us. And they'll go did it because it's already there. They're just kind of harvested. And that is where all the beautiful gold is. Right? It's like even spending all your time in the room on the left and the room on the right is across the hall and it's filled. With treasure that nobody's even touched, so they almost everybody has content sitting there, and it lives probably within your customers past present future. And that is another reason why the entertainment industry is going to evolve into just being driven by brands. Because the one thing you have, that the entertainment industry doesn't and has to struggle for, is an audience. You call them customers, we call them viewers, readers, listeners, and you already have a captive audience that you've been selling product to for years. And so all we have to do is create content and slide it over in front of them and not wait for them to notice it and go, Oh, my gosh, I freaking love this. And yeah, you already have that. That's the hardest battle for content. Sorry. Go ahead, Michael.

Michael Southworth 40:45

Well, no, I was just saying like, back to your question here and about what what brands are doing, right. They're harvesting that the brands that have some more interactive engagement with their customers really having conversations with them, and reaching out digging in to understand their stories, and not just Hey, leave us a review. Those are the ones that are harvesting from those stories and have that content, most of them. Like Troy said, that content out there, they just haven't harvested yet, because there hasn't been enough two way kind of engagement with those with the actual audience or with the customers that have purchased the product to use the product, then.

Aaron Conant 41:25

So are there other other things that are like top of mind, I'll kick it to you, Michael first, and then I'll kick it over to Troy and just, you know, remind others you can send in questions or hit star five. But, you know, are there other things that come up on a routine basis in this content space as a whole? That you would say, Hey, I thought might come up on the call today, but didn't? Mike I'll kick it over to you first that you see brands struggling with routinely or, you know, some of the you routinely help people out with would love to hear that and talk to you, Michael first?

Michael Southworth 42:02

Well I don't know that it hasn't come up on the call we, we've discussed it in different, you know, shapes, but it really kind of, we have this very reactive approach in a lot of things. And it's every business is every industry, you know, it's there's every category or situation where it's not intentional enough. And so we see we have to do something. And so we quickly throw together, let's hire a couple people, let's throw some money at this and go, and it's just, it's just the wrong approach, you know, the percentage of the staff, the odds of success in that kind of scenario are just very low. And you end up burning through money and time until you get it right. And in the long run, I think you spend at least as much time or probably often more time. And then you would have to just take your time going into it and really find a plan and go through all those steps the way they need to be before you start throwing money at it. And so that goes with advertising that goes with product launches, many times it goes with, you know, new hires, it goes, you know, so it's definitely true. In this case of content. And in the case of where we're launching different campaigns, and different types of marketing many times where we're kind of like, low in the article is faster.

Aaron Conant 43:25

Awesome. You know, Troy, I'll kind of kick it over to you is there? Are there other things that you thought might come up or like, like, Hey, this is key is coming up all the time? If it could be, you know, really important for people to take away?

Troy Dunn 43:39

Yes. 100%? Yes. There's an old school of thought that still lingers in the hallways of some brands, especially well established brands, where leadership hasn't really fully kept up or embraced technology or doesn't completely understand and grasp it. And one of the that's what that detail is, is that they end up avoiding content. Because in their minds, this is flawed thinking, then you may is those on the call may have to do some hardcore brain shifting with folks above them is blog thinking is to believe that content is not measurable, that it's so hard to sit down at the end of the day and the way we do with our traditional advertising. You know, we get great data batholith Okay, what was our ROI? What was our conversion rate? What is what did it cost us per sale per lead all these wonderful marketing questions that we can answer easily in the marketing department. And yet, we think that the content team can do the exact same thing, and I'm here to testify to you that you can do it exactly to say, you can have just as much reporting just as much accountability just as much measuring rich content that can't be measured is not rich content is not placed properly, not produced properly. It's not distributed properly. great content can be tracked and measured just as easily as marketing. And there are people developing tools rapidly for that because this is the content revolution and eventually content rich content will be your primary channel of marketing. And so measuring sticks are already in place. You can be accountable and you can hold people accountable for content and how it produces.

Aaron Conant 45:11

So a quick question comes in around. How do you measure? Right? What's the best way to measure? The rich content is a whole? Different, like the concept of it is different than the return on ad spend PPC on Amazon, right? So we'd love to hear I think that's where people are thinking like, hey, how do I measure this?

Troy Dunn 45:35

Right? So it would be the same way that you would measure for something else, let's say that you were on, you have an affiliate program for your brand. And affiliates are all expecting complete details on how their brand, how their links have paid out, every piece of content, you could imagine in your mind, just for the sake of this discussion, as an affiliate, each one of them is pushing people to you from there, whatever that platform is blog, podcast, television, print, social media doesn't matter. It's pushing it into you, from a specified price at a specified time, from a piece of specified content that should all land in a spreadsheet, where you can clearly see exactly when it came when the content was distributed, where it was, how many people saw it, how many people follow through on whatever the subtle PPP is the polite product placement, and what the sales and the conversion rate were. Social media is already highly measurable, those mechanisms are in every piece of content. Now that's being distributed, because the content people, even the world of television, have to measure things, because that's how they justify the cost of ads. So those tools are already in place, there is no piece of content you should ever produce right down to a podcast, where you don't have to be bedded into that trackable device, whatever that may be. There's multiple, as you know, there's multiple ways to track.

Aaron Conant 46:58

Awesome, love it, we're kind of getting close to I mean, we've probably got about two minutes left here before we need to hang out, make sure we get everybody on to their next meeting without being late. You know, I do want to say a quick thank you to everybody who dialed in today, everybody who was able to send over questions. You know, obviously Troy, Michael, thanks for your time and your expertise today. You know, look for a follow up email from us, everybody on the line would love to have a conversation with you around, you know, the digital pain points you're having, if you're looking obviously, for any service providers, don't hesitate to reach out, we have a short list of the top ones recommended from within the brand with, obviously, you know, the Michael and team at Elemerce. You know, Troy now in the network as well, more than happy to connect you with with either of them, great friends and partners as a whole. You know, Michael really quick, key takeaway, and I'll kick it over to Troy and then we'll we'll wrap it up.

Michael Southworth 47:52

The biggest takeaway for me, and this is this is this is this revolutions are really fun time, you know, making the shift and kind of figuring these things out. And so that's why we're excited to partner with Troy, we're really, you know, exploring this, this space and how many brands you know, that want to engage in, and kind of taking that to the next level, because I think that it's going to the ones that do are the ones that are going to win in this, there's plenty of examples of those that have done it well. But that's going to become mainstream, like choices out of the brand. So we're just we're just excited to be kind of a part of that in that conversation. And we'd love to talk to any, any brands who want to kind of dig into that a little bit more specifically on their brand. We just love that conversation.

Aaron Conant 48:42

Awesome Troy?

Troy Dunn 48:43

Yeah, my my takeaway would be this, I would say that there's really long term, there's no options here. The rich content space is where the entire world and we're all technology is headed, it's where all the trends are pointed. And so I would say the good news is, you're right on track, if you start now with a content strategy and begin to implement it into your brand. And once you've done so, rather than writing the last, you know, breaths of the old world of marketing to the bottom, you're now on the elevator heading in the direction where you will be perfectly positioned for many years to come by building and implementing this strategy. And I will say it's going to bring a ton of fun, I was gonna use the word fun before Michael said it, but it's gonna bring a ton of fun to the organization, it's going to re energize the brand. And it's going to make your consumers and customers love you even more because of consuming content. creating content is a very, very intimate relationship. So we'll take your relationship with your customers to a very high level and you'll love it. You'll be the hero.

Aaron Conant 49:44

Awesome. Yeah. Yeah, please do.

Michael Southworth 49:49

Yeah. So I know we're like right out of time in one minute but a good friend of mine is CEO of trigger grills here in Utah and he came in there and and something they Yeah, that has just been such a great driver or platform creating content and creating amazing culture. And then they built a kitchen, like a commercial kitchen in the corporate office and they tape smoke up food and feed everybody every Friday. But they're they're constantly producing their own show content around around cooking on the grill, and all these different recipes and all these amazing foods. And it's just, it's had so much of an impact on that company has exploded over the last five years. And so, and that's a huge part of it is just that content was not just for the for the world of grillers out there. But it was also for their own internal, you know, teams and people. So it's been impressive to us. awesome to see if you can't see your path forward. If you can't figure out what the risk content would be for your brand or you don't think your brand you think your brand is the exception. I will promise you your brand is not the exception. There's rich content in your future. challenge us and we will we will come up with a solution for you.

Aaron Conant 51:06

Awesome. Well, thanks again. Troy. Thanks again, Michael. Thanks, everybody who dialed in. We're gonna wrap it up here. hope everybody has a fantastic Thursday. Have a great rest of the week. Everybody, take care, stay safe, look forward to having you at a future event. And maybe it's an in person one. Let us know if you're going into any tier one cities because we're gonna be doing a bunch of dinners going forward. So with that, everybody, take care. Stay safe. We'll be in touch. Thanks again, Michael. Thanks, everybody.

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BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.
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