The Importance of Content in Sales and Marketing With Heather Deveaux

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The Senior Living Sales and Marketing Podcast Episode 3 features an interview with Heather Deveaux freelance writer discussing the importance of content in todays sales and marketing. Heather loves helping clients who need specialized content for websites, blogs, or other writing needs. Heather’s unique ability to create content that conveys your message to customers will result in more value, more authority, and more sales.

Heather can be reached at www.heatherdeveaux.com and see her new project The Freelance Writing School at www.thefreelancewritingschool.com

You can find out more about Roy Barker at www.roybarker.com,www.seniorlivingsalesandmarketing.com and listen to his other podcast at www.thebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com. The podcast is also available for download on iTunes, GooglePlay, and Stitcher. Search Roy Barker or The Senior Living Sales and Marketing Podcast.

Below find the full transcript of the interview.

Roy Barker: Good afternoon and welcome to episode three of the Senior Living Sales and Marketing Podcast. I'm your host Roy Barker. As a reminder, you can find our, this podcast is now on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play, so please do a search, download it, and rate it, and that'll make it easier for others to find the podcast. You can also sign up for our newsletter at www. [00:00:30] seniorlivingsalesandmarketing.com, and you can check out more about me at roybarker.com. You can reach me at roy@roybarker.com. Be glad to talk to you about sales and marketing, or employee retention. Topics that you may have for your particular community.

I wanna introduce our guest today. Heather Deveaux is a freelance writer, and what I [00:01:00] wanted to touch on is content, and basically, how creating content can help in the sales and marketing. Especially in our industry where, it's so very important where you're gonna be moving a family member or a loved one, that a lot of the prospects really check out communities a lot on the internet. And so having content out there is not only a great [00:01:30] way to help them find out about your community, but it's also a great way to start building a relationship with them.

So Heather, thanks a lot for being with us, and welcome to the show.

Heather Deveaux: Thanks, Roy, I'm glad to be here.

Roy Barker: And if you don't mind, just start out by telling us just a little bit about yourself and what you do, and then we can jump right into it.

Heather Deveaux: Sure, so as you said, my name is Heather Deveaux, and I am a freelance writer. [00:02:00] I live in Canada actually, on the east coast of Canada, and I've been freelancing full time now for about a year. And before that, my experiences were in adult education and higher ed, and I worked a lot in college settings with adult learners who were re-training to re-enter the workforce, and before that I did a short stint as a secretary, like an administrative [00:02:30] assistant. And I have a military background as well, so it's a pretty diverse, and it allows me to write on all kinds of different things, and that's what makes my job so much fun.

Roy Barker: Great, great, and just for full disclosure, Heather does help me with a lot of writing. She's a great editor. She makes sure to get all my, "Fixing toos and y'all's," out of there so it sounds much more professional. She does great work and, at the end of the show, we can tell everybody how they can reach [00:03:00] out and get ahold of you, but you also have kind of an exciting other, it's a sister project, but tell us a little bit about what you've got going on.

Heather Deveaux: Yeah, so it's called the Freelance Writing School, and this is, it's happening right now, like it is a live project now, I've been documenting it, sort of on YouTube and I've started a podcast as well, to sort of document how I'm building this project up. But I've [00:03:30] started accepting registrations for the school, and this weekend I'm launching the online version of the school, and so the project is designed to teach people, as I said, my background is in adult education. So the project is designed to teach people how to start and run a freelance writing business of their own. And this is something that I've been literally dreaming of most of my adult life.

It's always been my dream to have a school, to teach people how to [00:04:00] sort of make their own way in the world, and I've always done that through other schools that people owned, and now I'm in the process of developing my own. And so, I always say I'm so excited about it, and as a writer, I should have a better word than excited that I say over, and over, and over again, but it really is something that's really close to my heart and I truly am excited about it, and thank you for asking. So I'm happy to have the chance to talk about it whenever I can.

Roy Barker: Yeah, yeah and that's very good, [00:04:30] because unlike myself, I'm more analytical and numbers focused, even though I love to write. I run into a lot of issues, so I think it's great that you're gonna be able to help and mentor people to be better writers. I myself, I will usually either think I have a great topic and a lot to say, and I get five sentences out and don't know where to go from there. Or, the other thing is, have a great topic and vere off, and end up [00:05:00] down the rabbit hole that doesn't have a lot to do with where I was going, so that I think a school to help people like me to be able to go through and focus, and know the steps that I need to take as a non-writer, to be able to get my message across, I think that'll be great, so I'm excited about that.

And like I said, at the end I'll let you give the websites and podcast where people can find you, but for now I want to kind of jump into, writing [00:05:30] as a sales and marketing tool, and some of the, start off I guess with the basics. Some of the types of content, I know that you've got the easy ones, the blogs and the articles, but what are some other types of content that you use or that you help your clients use, as a sales and marketing tool?

Heather Deveaux: Right, so that's a great question, and the thing that I would start off by saying is that, [00:06:00] I'm a writer but, content takes many different forms. So this podcast is an excellent example of how to do some sales and marketing around your business. It happens to be about sales and marketing but, this is a prime example of the kind of content that you can use to spread the word about your products and services. So the other great thing that is about podcasts, is that you can have a script or a transcript that goes along with it, which [00:06:30] becomes immediately valuable in a text form, which is a second type of content.

From that, you can use excerpts from your transcript and from your podcast, which you could use to promote on social media, which would be a third type of content. You can create graphics, which have quotes related to your podcast or your transcript about your podcast, which can be a fourth type of content, and we could just keep going down. There's rabbit holes we could crawl into all day [00:07:00] long here. But basically content itself is, just anything that you're putting out into the world, to promote your products and services. And although you tend to think that, and when I say you I mean everybody, although we tend to think that content is written, it is much more than that. And ironically, we're sort of moving in this direction of visual and audio, you know video is very popular right now. But content comes into play with that stuff when you're talking [00:07:30] about your SEO, your Meta Tags, your description, that sort of thing.

That all has to kind of come into play, and so the different types of content for sales and marketing are very vast. You know you've got your email marketing list that you would send out to people. These campaigns run anywhere from one email, and up to the most that I have seen yet is 100 emails. I recently had a client contact me and ask for 100 emails.

Roy Barker: Wow.

Heather Deveaux: And that was ... yeah that was incredible. I [00:08:00] was like, "Okay!" That's amazing, I'll clear my calendar for a month I guess, but it's amazing how much content people want, and how much we have to share, and I think that, that's something that's important to point out, is that many people who own businesses struggle with how much content they should put out. Where are they gonna get this content, and often the content is simple a story about your day, a post about something that's going on, a quick [00:08:30] picture with some hashtags about something that you did during the day in your business. It could be a blog, it could be a podcast, it could be a video upload.

It could be anything, so there's really interesting stuff happening with content now, and as a writer, it's both exciting, and it's a little bit scary, because as the market moves away from writing, it becomes, my job becomes more difficult because I need [00:09:00] to find ways to keep injecting written content into that audio, into that video, into that image. And so that just adds one more element of challenge, but people still, they love to read a blog, they love to read an article, and at the end of the day, that's sort of the meat and the potatoes. It still remains, people still know they still need a blog. They still wanna put evergreen articles out there.

And one of the most interesting things [00:09:30] that's happening with content right now is, with the rise of digital currency, cryptocurrency, blockchain, very highly technical products, they're relying heavily on text content to spread their message. So they, these companies have 18, 20 page reports, which are called white papers, and these are like academic reports without the academia. So, you know you're in college [00:10:00] or university, and you write a report and you have to cite all of your references with footnotes and things like that, now these are giant documents with links to other URLs, and other articles, or other white papers. And so they read like a newspaper, they're very simple to read and understand, but they're chock full of gold mine content that is designed to market their digital products.

So, their currency, their cryptocurrency, their [00:10:30] digital coins, blockchain, platforms, things like that, and so I'm very interested right now in how a very technical heavy industry is relying on text to spread their message. And these companies are doing massive blogs, massive articles. They're always putting out written content. They have huge email marketing campaigns. These white papers are massive, and they're [00:11:00] doing a lot of in person content sharing as well. So these companies will go to pitch competitions, and they will go to investor summits, and they'll go to conferences and they'll talk to large groups of people, but that is also a form of content. So there's really, I could talk all day about it, so where content is, and where it's going, and how much there is. There's a lot.

Roy Barker: Well, a couple points that you bring up, first off I was just gonna [00:11:30] touch on the video, that I read an article not long ago, that said that YouTube is basically the unmentioned search engine, and they said that it's actually probably the largest, if not maybe the second largest right behind Google. But the article was just making the point that we don't realize how many searches run through YouTube every day, which is one thing. But when we talk about content, [00:12:00] we kind of went at both spectrums about the shorter, personal messages, versus the longer, evergreen paper.

And I find myself falling into that trap a lot, that I feel like I need to have a very structured longer piece, and sometimes I forego posting because I don't embrace the shorter pieces, which are good and a lot of people [00:12:30] like that. And I think it's, I guess it's kind of finding your own way, but I think it's a good point to make that sometimes, or my opinion is, that sometimes we get too formalized and we try to have this structured piece of paper where, sometimes it's just that shorter, more personal clip about ourself or about our business, that's what attracts people's attention as well.

Heather Deveaux: It is certainly. [00:13:00] Right now that is very true, and I'm seeing a lot of people on social media. They're using social media as a way to ... it's almost like they're commercials. If you watch TV, I don't know if you have cable, but if you watch TV and you watch five minutes of a show and then a commercial comes on, and then years ago, it used to be that you'd have to look in the catalog, or you'd have to pick up the phone and call [00:13:30] a 1-800 number to buy that product. And now you're on the internet and you're looking for something, and then you see this commercial of sorts with some kind of advertisement, or somebody posted something about their business, and then you click on it and you end up there right away.

It's so instant, but what's interesting is that, it's such a disruption of thought as well, that we're, it's almost like your content has to be so cool and crisp that people need [00:14:00] to know exactly what it is they're clicking on, or you're gonna lose them. And so it's tricky because people will, you know people who post pictures of their food all day long, like this is what I'm eating, this is what I'm ... I get the information part of it. But, unless you're sharing a recipe or, you're sending them back to a website where they can get that recipe, or they can read a blog about what you ate today, [00:14:30] or what you did for exercise, or what movie you watched, unless there's some kind of followup to it, that little snippet of information could be lost in all of the masses and masses of information that are out there.

So I think what's happening is, people are really struggling with those shorter pieces, because they don't see how they can tie it back into the bigger pieces, and I struggle with this myself because, [00:15:00] I do a lot of blogging, I do a lot of podcasts. I like to read and write and apply my knowledge that way. But sometimes that stuff is so personal to me, that I struggle with, "Geez, what can I tell someone about this?" Without sounding like a fool, you know like this isn't gonna apply to you, this is only applying to me. And so I think that's where you'll see people jump on social media, and they wanna share a moment of their lives, but it has to be done, especially [00:15:30] for sales and marketing, it has to be done in a way that is genuine, and is authentic, and it speaks to your audience.

So if you're a social media marketer for example, people want to see your work. They want to see the kind of things that you're working on, and they wanna get to know you as a person. And that is done through those minutes and those moments of, "Hey, here I am at a co-working space, I'm working on this project. Send me an email if you're interested in working [00:16:00] with me on a similar project." So it's just about connecting those dots, and bringing them back to the rest of the content. And I sort of see that as now, I think, social media is the turkey dinner. It's here it is, very quick, all of that information. This is who I am, this is what I'm all about, and then you go back to the blog for dessert. So, it's because dessert is the best part, you know? So that turkey dinner is great, but [00:16:30] I'm exhausted from it. You get tired from that. The cost and consumption of the little snippets of information, sometimes you wanna just sit with a blog and consume it. You wanna just enjoy the apple pie, you know?

Roy Barker: Right, and it has become a very noisy world out there. I'm very visual, so I enjoy the pictures and the videos, but one thing I've noticed, I use LinkedIn quite a bit, is that everybody seems to be doing it, and [00:17:00] now I've got to a point where I just generally scroll through, because it's not something that's really gaining my attention. Where a lot of times it's the written word, where you see what's written, and it catches your attention. Makes you wanna click and follow, whereas the video, sometimes you have to sit there and listen to them, for a little bit before you can decide if this is something that you really wanna consume the entire thing.

So, I feel like [00:17:30] even with videos, we still have to have some good text that's wrapped around it, to get to the point and get people's attention. Because, we're being pulled in so many directions, and like you said, the instant gratification. I'm the world's worst about, I'll be listening to a podcast and they have a guy that's just written a good book, and I have pulled over on the side of the interstate to whip out my Amazon app and order that book immediately, while [00:18:00] I'm thinking about it. So but there is a lot going on out there so being able grab that attention, and make people want to know more.

And that's the thing I think too, it's like I said earlier, it's kind of finding your direction, your audience, how do you connect to them, and I think we have to ... sometimes I get a little hung up in thinking that you have to [00:18:30] connect with the masses with this one message, and I'll get your opinion on that. I don't think that's necessarily true. I think if you have something authentic and of value to say, if you just can reach one or five people, then your mission will be accomplished because, they're obviously in need of whatever you're putting out there.

Heather Deveaux: Yeah, absolutely. And I agree with what you're saying. [00:19:00] The struggle is really, you want, no matter how many experts tell you that everybody is not your customer, you don't believe it. You say to yourself, there are seven billion people in the world, I could reach those seven billion people. I think that's just the fault of being an entrepreneur, is that you want to help as many people as you can, you want to impact as many people as you can, but at the end of the day, you're not. The fraction of the market that you're gonna get is [00:19:30] minuscule, compared to the size of the market. And so it becomes a matter of, if those four, five, six people, even if it's four, five, six hundred people, are interacting with your content on a regular basis, it's interesting to understand how that impacts them, and the fact that they keep coming back.

I always wonder, what is it about the blog, what is it about the podcast, what is it about the video? [00:20:00] Do you visit all three, do you visit all five, do you visit one? Are you only on social media, because everybody interacts with the stuff differently, and it's part of the reason why, for a while, everyone was like, "You need to have a blog." Then for a while, everyone was saying, "Oh, you need to be on video." Then for a while, everyone was saying, "No, no, no, now you need to have a podcast." And then there are people who are sort of doing all of it, but they're engaging different audiences at every point.

[00:20:30] But what's interesting is, how you go into LinkedIn, and I do this, this is why I'm saying it, 'cause it's proved very effective for me in promoting my freelance writing business. I'll go into LinkedIn, and I'll share my podcast, and then I'll share some YouTube videos. But then I'll share a blog, and then I'll share on Instagram, I'll share some pictures. And then I'll do [00:21:00] some snippets of my podcast in my Instagram story. So there's just breadcrumbs all over the internet, and I don't know a lot about social media marketing and analytics, so it's hard for me to understand the kind of impact that's having, except for the actual numbers I could see.

But what I do know is that, that is working to reach people who aren't on LinkedIn, people who don't listen to podcasts, are never [00:21:30] going to hear my voice. They're gonna read my blog, but they might never see my YouTube videos. They might never see me on Instagram, might never see me on Twitter, but it's all there if people want it. And that's where the different types of content really come into play. I just started doing Facebook Lives this week, which were very scary for me. I've never done anything like that before, but that's a completely different type of content, for a completely different audience again. [00:22:00] And what you sort of need to find out is, you kind of have to dabble in all of it.

And I used to read articles about how marketing experts would say, "You have to pick and choose, and you have to trial and error," and I would sort of roll my eyes at that and say, "No, no, no, just do Facebook, just do Twitter," and now I'm seeing a real bit uptake across different platforms, and I'm realizing that, that is true. It is true [00:22:30] that you need to touch many points, you need to have lots of different content, and you need to sort of publish a lot. And I have this habit of, I publish towards the end of the week because I'm preparing it all week, and then by the time Thursday and Friday rolls around, I'm ready to publish. But Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday I'm not publishing anything, so I'm losing all of that opportunity to reach my audience, who has come to recognize or expect [00:23:00] that I publish the end of the week, but I'm missing all of that opportunity the rest of the week to engage with them as well.

So there's a lot that goes into it. It's not just the type of content, how much content, how often and where at. You kind of have to have all of it. And that's where people get burnt out, and they just say, "Oh to heck with it. I'm gonna hire a marketer."

Roy Barker: Yeah, because if you think about it, all the different things that we try to do, I mean you actually [00:23:30] write for clients to make a living, to bring money into your business. But you could probably spend 80 hours a week just marketing for yourself, never touching any client work, and it's a struggle to balance that, too. There's so many things out there, just like myself, that I want to do and I need to do, but there's just so many hours in the day, and I think that's where it gets back to what you were saying about, you [00:24:00] testing with your audiences to see where the ... it's not only engagement as far as likes, but where the true engagement where maybe you can have a dialog with somebody, or maybe even, them reach out to you to do some work, or ask you a few more questions, before they actually do.

But I think another thing we can touch on a little bit here will be the consistency, because I think what, [00:24:30] in the unfortunate world we live in with instant gratification, and I will say that I'm guilty of this as well is that, you know we put out a Facebook post or LinkedIn post, we put a Blog out there, put a podcast out there and then we set back and look and if we don't have 10000 visitors, or listeners, or likes or comments, we think well that's not working, and I don't [00:25:00] think that's the truth. I know this is more on the analytical side but I feel like that, sometimes you reach people but they don't necessarily reach out to engage with you.

Sometimes it may take three or four posts, or videos, or podcasts before, you know they will sign up for a newsletter, or reach out to you because they just don't have a need, or they're wanting more information, trying to [00:25:30] really see where you're coming from, which it takes a lot of consistency doing that over and over, whatever you choose to do, wherever you're having some success whether it's a podcast, releasing a Blog and then people become used to seeing more information, and I think they become more comfortable with you at some point.

Heather Deveaux: I think so too, and I think it's important to talk a little bit [00:26:00] about the expectations of your audience. That if people are coming to this podcast, and it's titled sales and marketing, that they want to hear about sales and marketing. And if what they're hearing about is not answering their questions, then that leaves them in a place of struggle, and then that sort of leaves them wondering, "Well what else is there?" And [00:26:30] I recently read a book that was about recognizing trigger events in sales opportunities, and you talk about you post something, and you might have to post this five or six times in different formats, or the same post all the time, you just post it, post it, post it. You run an ad for a week, whatever that looks like.

But I think it goes beyond, that people just don't need you yet, but you always have [00:27:00] to be present in some form because they will need you and if you're the first one in line when they recognize, "Oh my goodness, I need help with sales and marketing," and you're the top of mind, they're going to reach out to you. But as a business owner, it's also our responsibility to make sure that we're staying top-of-mind, so if you've got that email marketing list, then you should be using it, and there's a lot of business owners that I talk to [00:27:30] that say, they only do those first four or five emails, and then it's sort of trails off. And then they think, "Oh well those people know I'm here, they'll come find me. I've got them on my email list."

But if you are not engaging that email list, you're not constantly reminding them that you're there, then those are lost opportunities. And so when I get a call about I need a hundred emails, to me that says this guy is going for a full- [00:28:00] on engagement, like he wants a year's worth of emails to keep his clients, to keep his audience engaged. He wants to stay top of mind, he wants to remind them of all the great things that his company's offering, and he's doing it in a way that creates the least resistance. Email's very easy, it's very actionable, there's many touch points in an email that you can gain someone's attention and get them to take an action. And so I think [00:28:30] that, that's really interesting that we sort of focus on, we need to put out content, we need to put out content, but it needs to be content that is, there has to be language that speaks to your audience. It has to be actionable, it has to be all the time.

Like consistency? You're right, it needs to be super consistent, and consistency is, it's important to point out, that doesn't mean every single day. It might just be every [00:29:00] Wednesday afternoon, but if your clients and your audience know that every Wednesday afternoon, you're posting a podcast, then they can rely on that. If you're posting every day at two o'clock, then they can rely on that. And it's that consistency. Consistency doesn't have to be in your fact, all the time, but it has to be that you're there enough to become top of mind.

So, the idea behind a trigger event is that, as a business owner you recognize in [00:29:30] somebody's business, "Hey you've just had a change in a position," or, "Hey you've just lost a customer," or, "You've just gotten a new customer." You sort of come back top of mind and say, "Has this happened in your business?" For example, if for sales and marketing, "Hey, have you lost any accounts recently, here are three things you can do to find a new account." So just speaking to the problems that they might have, always offering helpful information, and being consistent is really [00:30:00] important.

Roy Barker: Right, right, and you can look at it with expert advice. There may five experts that are all really good in their field and, I myself, maybe I don't choose expert number five because I really haven't, I don't not choose him because I haven't seen anything, but like you're saying, if expert number three is emailing and posting, and then I wake up today [00:30:30] I'm like, "Oh gosh, I really need this service." Well number three is on my mind because I've just seen his post, or his content recently, and so I think that, that it gets back to sometimes we don't not choose somebody because we don't think they're good, we just don't pick them because we haven't heard from them or haven't seen anything lately, and so they're not at the forefront of our mind.

And kind [00:31:00] of touching on this a little bit, another statistic that I read the other day was saying that, we've kind of come to a flip point with content that, used to everybody believed that you had to, that volume was the best. And you could sacrifice a little bit of quality in order to have a high volume of just blowing stuff out, and I think the tables have turned. I'll get your opinion on this. That now, basically it [00:31:30] pays off more to really work on the quality of the content, and then promote it, and they're saying spend probably 20% of your time on the content itself and getting it right. But then you want to spend 80% of your time actually promoting it across all channels, different ways, like you said.

It could be a video clip, it could be snippets through a LinkedIn [00:32:00] post, and if you really stop and think about LinkedIn and Facebook, and the algorithms that they run nowadays, and depending upon how many connections you have, if you've got a thousand connections and you've got a hundred of those people that are constantly posting, if you put something on your, if something pops up on your wall, it's not gonna live there very long before it kind of rolls off [00:32:30] and rolls out. So if I don't log into my account, just at the right time to see what you just posted, I may miss it. Not because it's not there, not because it wasn't good, not because I don't like you or look for you, but just because of the opportunity at that particular time.

Heather Deveaux: It's very true, and recently I posted something on my Instagram account, and then couldn't find it. Like it had disappeared [00:33:00] in the feed, and that has happened to me on LinkedIn as well, where I posted something and it's there, and then the next time I go on it's not there. I don't know if the internet eats it or what happens to it, but you're right there's just so much activity that, it's almost like sometimes what I'll do is I'll go in and I'll edit that post, and then it will show up again. And like I said, I don't claim to know a whole lot about social media. I can write content for days [00:33:30] but, when it comes to analytics and how the algorithms work, sometimes I just think that someone is sitting in a corner watching us on TV, laughing at us trying to figure out how this stuff out, because it's just, it's exhausting. When you post something and then you lose it, like it's your post, you know?

Roy Barker: Right.

Heather Deveaux: And the internet just eats it off. And so, I said this to people before, but I've recently read that you need to be posting on [00:34:00] social media, in some cases, 30 or 40 times a day, and that just boggles my mind, because they don't think people have jobs? Where are they getting the time to post on social media 30 or 40 times a day, and of course, that's automation, and automation is tricky, because the whole point of content these days, getting back to your comment about quality versus quantity, [00:34:30] you can achieve quantity easily. You can pay for it, very simply. You can pay someone to do it, you can buy likes on the internet, you can buy followers, you can buy templates, you can post them, you can schedule them. All of that, money can buy all of that.

But, quality is something, it's very personal to a business. And one of the things that I do with my clients is, I really try hard to capture their voice, [00:35:00] because it's no good if it's my voice. And if they're posting things about their business, and sales and marketing for example, if they wanna talk about sales and marketing, it has to come from them. So one of the things that I do with people, is they'll often send me a draft, and I'll clean it up for them, and I'll send it back to them. But when they ask me to write from scratch, I have to spend a great deal of time with them on the phone, or via email, to make sure that the message is clear, because [00:35:30] if it's my voice, then I'm selling them. But I'm not selling them, my client is selling them.

So your quality comes from a place of authenticity, and that's why engagement is so important, because your engagement shows your audience who you are. And if you're relying on automation, you know automation can just destroy your business if you're not doing it in a way that keeps people coming back. If they're just seeing it and moving on, does that count as [00:36:00] engagement? So like if they have two or three comments on a post, or two or three comments on a blog post to say, "Hey, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, this is really helpful to me. I'm gonna implement this in my business," that's quality. And the two are very different, and it's hard to achieve quantity and quality. And the way that-

Roy Barker: And we also have to discern between [00:36:30] vanity and true engagement, because sometimes we can, in my opinion, we can have a shallower post and people may like it, that doesn't mean that they called you and want to do business. Where if you take the time to write a quality, in depth piece, where you might lead them down the path of what the root of the problem you're trying to solve for them is, then they are much more likely [00:37:00] to engage, either through an email or a phone call, to want to learn more about how you can help them specifically, that's in my opinion.

Heather Deveaux: Oh, I agree 100%, absolutely. And you know there's a dark place on the internet where it is about vanity, and people, that's actually their job. They get paid to be seen, and they get paid to promote, and they get paid to pose. But for the rest of us who are just trying to build our businesses, and [00:37:30] to share our knowledge with the world, those, you know we have a few comments. We don't have hundreds of comments, but we have a few comments. Those few comments, they mean more than a thousand likes ever could, because it means you've talked to someone in a way, and it means that they stopped, like you said, they stopped, they've taken the time to write to you, and that is the thing that a lot of people overlook, is they see all these comments and if they're not engaging back with the comments, that is a lost opportunity.

[00:38:00] And in your posting, one of the things I see people do very frequently is, they'll invite a conversation. And they'll post something, and this is becoming very popular, they'll do polls, or they'll have a quiz, or they'll do would you ever, or just questions like that, and it really does drive engagement. And it just let's you know that, yes people are listening. People are paying attention, they're tuning in. [00:38:30] They care about what you're talking about, but it's hard to do that with automation. Those things have to come from a real person, because you can't just put a poll out, and then never go back and look at the results, you know?

Roy Barker: Right, exactly.

Heather Deveaux: So it requires a lot of personal time, professional time, and the human element of it has to be present, and that's where the quality comes from.

Roy Barker: Yeah and we can talk about that in the aspect of sales, [00:39:00] that followup is huge in sales, that it's not very likely I'm gonna reach out to you or you reach out to me, we're gonna have a conversation, and I'm gonna sell you on the initial call, or email, or however we connected. But if you have some thoughtful followup, that's where you generally close most of your business, and I think we can say that's true in marketing, and in content, is that there is some articles I see that, they get [00:39:30] a lot of comments, but nobody ever reaches back out to try to continue that conversation, and I feel like those are missed opportunities.

Heather Deveaux: Yeah I think so too, and like I said earlier, it is the business owner's job to always maintain top of mind status, and you should never take for granted that, "Look I flipped this out there in the world, people know it's there." People forget all the time. We're so busy, you know like you said, [00:40:00] you pull over on the side of the road to order a book. Do you turn the podcast back on, or do you hit the radio button and you go about your day? We're just in the moment creatures, and if you're not doing your part as a business owner, to keep that sales and marketing line open all the time, then it's unfortunate because there's a lot of opportunity on the internet and off the internet, to engage with content, and to engage with your audience, and to engage with your clients.

[00:40:30] I think we're just all trying to figure it out, like the more you do it, the more comfortable you become with it, and the more authentic it will be, and then I think it just happens. I think your business grows organically, if you're being you, you're being true to your business, you're sharing in a genuine way, you're being helpful, and content does that. It builds that trust, it builds that authority, and it lets people know that, when was the last time you visited a website and did you say [00:41:00] to yourself, "Is this still a business?" Has that happened to you recently? You go on a website and it could be from 2003 and you have no idea if this is still an operational business.

Roy Barker: Exactly. Exactly, and that's one thing that I've heard is that, and it doesn't have to be daily. In some instances, I don't think it has to be weekly, but I do feel like that you've got to have this message that changed, because that's exactly what I will do. I will look at a blog and [00:41:30] it's dated 2003, and that makes you wonder, are they even is business? Was that the last thought that they have, they're not keeping up or innovating. It just makes you wonder about what's going on, and sometimes it can make you wonder about the followup that, what kind of job will they do for you if you do hire them? Are they gonna focus all their energy on making sure that you're a client, and then they tail off and, [00:42:00] that's the kind of service that you get because there is no follow through.

So it can raise a lot of questions, and I guess another, something else I wouldn't wanna talk about, is there seems to be two distinct divides in the theory of content. There are some of the older, and they are probably older in age as well from back in the pre-internet days, that feel that everything that [00:42:30] is written should be very technical. It should be very sales oriented, and it should just be basically an advertisement, sell, sell, sell, consistently. I take a little bit different approach, but I wanna kind of get you to talk about the types of content, and we don't wanna get personal, like I was driving in this morning, had a big fight with the wife on the phone, [00:43:00] and ran into a car.

I mean I know that is not the kind of personal details that we want to put out there, but in my opinion we have to have a good mix of the sale, what we do, what our product is, I would love to help you, reach out to me, versus, in my day, this is what, maybe this is an interesting thing that happened to my day. Maybe I like sailing or maybe [00:43:30] I love dogs, so I may have some posts about that. Then the other thing is, also promoting others, like if I read a good podcast, or listen to a good podcast, there are times that I will go out, find their links, and promote it. Because I want other people that may be listening to me, [00:44:00] to have the opportunity to listen to this other expert, depending on what subject it is. You know it doesn't really matter, but if it's good I will spread it.

So I guess where I try to find a happy medium is, some self promotion versus, some personal based details, versus promoting others. And then also having other experts, just like yourself. I mean I could have gotten on this podcast, or written a blog and [00:44:30] droned on and on, just about my thoughts and theories behind sales, which they may or may not be good. They may or may not be right for everybody, so also having experts either come on, or write, or highlighting experts information in your posts, so. I know that was a long, drawn out question, but those are just some of the examples of ways that we can put content out there. What are your [00:45:00] thoughts on that?

Heather Deveaux: Yeah I agree with you about the personal side of it versus the professional side, in that you sort of have to sprinkle it in a little bit everywhere, and I think that's where authenticity comes into play. And if you're really passionate about what you're doing and you really believe in it, and you've got a good background in it, and you can call to top of mind something that will help somebody just by talking to them, and you come from a place of helpfulness, [00:45:30] then I think that personality and your personal life will start to come through. You wanna share little bits about yourself and what you're doing, but also it's always from the perspective of, "Listen, I'm a business person, you're a business person," or, "You're someone I can help, I'm just like you. I'm a regular person, here's how I can help you. This is all I'm offering, it's just help."

And when you come from a place of helpfulness, [00:46:00] people relax. People, the idea of being sold to, is still such a bad taste in people's mouths that, when you're just talking to them, you're like, "Hey, I have this idea, I have this product, I have this solution," they settle down a little bit and they relax into the conversation. And so, you can strike that balance, and this is where I think social media comes into a great play to help people build their businesses that way, is that the trends now is [00:46:30] to show, you sprinkle in that little bit of personal side. So that's where things like Instagram and Facebook come into play, because they're very accessible, they're very recognizable to people, and the barrier to entry is very low. Anybody and everybody can be on the internet.

Whereas if you're doing something more technical, like if you're publishing a blog, or if you're publishing a white paper that is for a specific audiences, and maybe that is where you're doing your selling, you're doing your call to action. You're looking for engagement [00:47:00] in a very specific way, but there's no reason why you can't say to people, "I hope you have a great weekend," at the end of your blog post. And that, it's just personal enough that you're like, "I know this read like it was a painful technical piece, but I'm a person, I'm writing it, and I care about the people reading it, so I hope you have a great weekend." And I think that the more you share [00:47:30] of yourself, whether that's a video of yourself, or it's a live Facebook, or it's a blog, or whatever, the more you share of yourself, the more people realize that you're not just some salesperson.

And I bought a car two years ago, and the gentleman who sold me the car calls me every quarter. Every three months he picks up the phone, and he calls me, and he asks me how do I like my car. [00:48:00] Am I having any problems with it, is there anything he can do, please stop in and see me next time I'm having an oil change. And that's the conversation he has with me, every three months. I've been driving a long time and I've never had a car salesman or a woman call me ever again, after I bought the car. And this guy just calls. He calls at Christmas, he calls at Easter, and he just calls to say, "Hey, I really appreciate that you bought this car from me two years ago, I hope things are going [00:48:30] well," and what he means is, "I hope you'll think of me the next time you buy a car," and you better believe, I'm gonna think of this guy when I go to buy a car. Because he's doing it right. He's doing it exactly right.

Roy Barker: Or even more importantly, referrals. Because how cheap is that? How cheap of an advertisement or marketing for him, is that phone call to you, and me and you are having a conversation. I tell you, "Well my car just died," and you're like, "Oh my gosh, I could put you on to [00:49:00] this guy." So, to me referrals are the very best source, and I think this is another parallel sales and marketing is that, in sales the general theory is that, while you get a product for your money, you generally buy the salesperson or sales entity, in which you're purchasing this because you have trust in them, you [00:49:30] like them. And it's the same for me in the marketing side, in that I tend to read more and listen more to more podcasts of people who I like, and feel somewhat of a connection.

Like you said earlier, I feel like they're a normal person. So people that, if you compliment them or their story and they take the time to respond to you, to me that means a lot. It means [00:50:00] they really care, they're not just putting stuff out there, hoping that they get somebody to call them, just to make a sale and be done, and move on. Is that they're really invested in this process, they want to build a relationship, get to know you, and then help you solve the problem. Because that's the other thing too, whatever we're marketing, whatever we're writing about, is not gonna solve everybody's problem. We have to actually ask a lot of lead in and followup questions to [00:50:30] determine, is this gonna be a right fit, which all starts with this conversation and engagement.

Heather Deveaux: Absolutely, and you're right about the relationship side of things. My experience is that, when I work with clients, the writing is such a small part, and it's ironic because that's what people pay me to do, but there's so much lead up to that, and there's so much engagement of, "How can I help?" And that is what really [00:51:00] goes the distance, is that people remember that you're there, whether they wanna talk about the weather, or whether they wanna talk about their next marketing piece, it's knowing that they've got someone on their side.

So I go back to my car salesman, I know if my car doesn't start tomorrow, I can call him and he's gonna have my back. And that's all people want, is they want to know that you're not just trying to make a buck, and that's where education, inspiration, [00:51:30] information, and relevance comes into content. And that's, tying it into sales and marketing, it's all about solutions. And I say solutions because, people aren't even talking about the word problems anymore. People have moved away from, "We're not here to solve your problems, like we have solutions. We're starting with the solution." And it's such an interesting shift, because for a long time, business was about, " [00:52:00] You've got a problem, let us help." Now it's about, "We just wanna help."

Whatever you got, if we're sales and marketing people, but you need some help with social media, if we can't do it, we're gonna connect you to someone who can help you with social media, because people come from a place of helpfulness. And I find that the more you offer to do for people, the more you get back in return, ten fold. And whether that you offer to write some content, or you offer to have a conversation [00:52:30] with someone about their social media, or you wanna coach them on marketing, if it comes from a place of, "Look, we've spent an hour talking about this, let me just try and help you," then people are more open to that. And when they get the sense that you're going to look after them, as a sales and marketing expert, I think that's all you really need.

People need to feel like they can trust you. They want to know that you're in your corner. That this is not something [00:53:00] that they know enough about themselves, or they're not comfortable with in doing themselves, and they're paying, first and foremost for the trust, that they can trust you. And that, I think that's really important, and it all comes back into, that's your content piece, that's your sales piece, that's your marketing piece. That all stems from a place of being genuine, being authentic, and being helpful.

Roy Barker: Right, right, and it's so important that, [00:53:30] I guess we take that helpfulness route, that we sometimes even, as a salesperson, saying no is actually the way to build a relationship, and to further that into actually getting a sale later, instead of trying to take on a project or a task that you don't feel that you're equipped to do, or that's not in your expertise. [00:54:00] I think there's a lot of respect from a client, or a potential client, when you say, "You know I would love to do that, but just not what my expertise is in, but I've got five referrals here that I can help you find the right person." I think that goes a long way.

Heather Deveaux: For sure, it does, because it builds a level of trust they you're not taking them for a ride. And this recently happened to me. I had a client that wanted some graphic design word done, with the content that I was writing, [00:54:30] and I laughed and said, "Do you just mean make the words bigger and more colorful?" You don't wanna pay me any amount of money to do graphic design. I don't even pretend to know anything about it. I could write words for you all day long, but don't make me put pictures in this content.

Roy Barker: Oh my God, it's funny you say that, because I've had that experience before. Somebody says, "I'm gonna make you a really nice graphic to go with this," and [00:55:00] it's like five letters that are bolded or maybe in a different color.

Heather Deveaux: Yeah, did I make that? It might have been me.

Roy Barker: No, no, well Heather-

Heather Deveaux: Yeah, but it's true, and it's important to say to somebody, "Look, that's not my wheelhouse." And you've gotta, we've all gotta arsenal of people we can call on to say, look, I'm gonna refer you to Joe, or Bob, or whatever, and he's gonna look after you. And then they remember that [00:55:30] you did that, and that is important.

Roy Barker: Right, right. Well Heather, I've taken a lot of your time today. I certainly do appreciate all the great information. The other thing I, we don't really have time to get in today, but I do want to have you back again. Because as we talk a lot about all these different channels, the different messages, long messages, short messages, curating others, putting information out there, having guests, [00:56:00] the other topic that comes up I think will be a next transition into, is creating some kind of a calendar, or a schedule ahead of time, so you know what you wanna do, and kind of can see these gaps that may or may not be, need to be filled in.

So, what I'd like to do when we get through talking here, we can set up a time to, talk about the scheduling part and the follow through to try to help people, [00:56:30] because it can be daunting. I mean just sitting here thinking about, I've got a podcast to record, I've got to post it, I've got a blog I wanna put out, I've got 12 Facebook posts, and then sometimes, you can just get to a point, like you said, it's just easier to go have a beer and not have to worry about this.

Anyway, what I'd like to do is invite you back. We can talk about the scheduling and the follow through, and how we can make all that happen.

Heather Deveaux: Sounds [00:57:00] great.

Roy Barker: So if you don't mind, go ahead and tell everybody about how they can reach out and get ahold of you.

Heather Deveaux: Sure, so the easiest way to reach me is through my website, and that's triple w.heatherdeveaux.com. And it's H-E-A-T-H-E-R-D-E-V-E-A-U-X.com. And if people want to learn more about my workshops, they can check out the freelancewritingtool.com.

Roy Barker: Okay, [00:57:30] well again, we wanna thank Heather for being a great guest, always providing great information for us. Also, I wanna thank you for being a listener of the Senior Living Sales and Marketing Podcast. Don't forget to go to iTunes, Google Play, or Stitcher, download, rate, and also share with your friends. We'd like to get this out to as many listeners as possible. You can also find us at www.seniorlivingsalesandmarketing. Sign [00:58:00] up for our newsletter. That way we can notify you whenever a new podcast come out. Again, my name is Roy Barker. If you'd like to find out more about me and the advisory consulting services for the senior living industry that I provide, you can reach me at roy@roybarker.com. Thanks a lot and have a great afternoon.

5 episodes available. A new episode about every 59 days averaging 42 mins duration .