Robert Rose of Content Marketing Institute | Dental Marketing Guy Show

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Justin: Welcome to the Dental Marketing Guy Show. I’m Justin, the dental marketing guy and today we have, this is one of the biggest names I’ve had on this show outside of the field of Dentistry and you’re going to want to hear what Robert Rose has to say because even though he’s not been deeply in the dental industry he’s got some ideas that can really, really help you grow your practice in the way that you wanted to grow. we’re talking about content marketing and it’s a new term and it’s something that’s been going on for decades, centuries in fact and it’s really what many people believe is the future of marketing where you actually create and distribute content that your ideal patient actually craves. Instead of doing a sales pitch, instead of doing shooting out mailers for coupons for Invisalign and talking about your dental services it’s a revolutionary idea where you actually give content, you give back to your patients in a way that holds their attention, entertains, and educates them. You end up with better patients, you end up with more educated patients and let me just tell you a little bit about Robert. Robert is the chief strategist for the content advisory board with Content Marketing Institute and if you’ve never heard of content marketing institute let me tell you it’s a huge organization that’s grown through grassroots, grown through content marketing just putting out great information and it hasn’t really penetrated the dental market and so that’s why I really want you to pay attention to this episode because these are new ideas and dentistry, you know, marketing in dentistry is a new thing and I think a lot of dental offices haven’t caught on quite yet and if you’re watching this episode you’re on the cutting edge. You want to hear what Robert Rose has to say. He’s also the senior contributing consultant for Digital Clarity Group and Robert helps develop content and customers experience strategies for large enterprises. I mean, Oracle, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Allstate Insurance, Microsoft, Capital One, AT&T, Petco, UPS, you name it. he’s worked with these huge Fortune 500 companies and he’s also the author of Experiences, the Seventh Era of Marketing and, man, let me tell you it is a huge honor to introduce you, Robert, how are you?

Robert: I’m doing great, thank you. Thank you for that introduction and thank you for having me on the show, I really appreciate it.

Justin: Absolutely, you know, it’s a 100% well deserved. I know I listen to your podcast, this old marketing, you know, I was hoping you could kind of tell me, just kind of jumping into this unscripted. Tell us why is the podcast with you and Joe Pulizzi, the CEO of Content Marketing Institute, why is it called this old marketing?

Robert: Well it’s really about the idea that content marketing at its core is something that’s been around you, I mean, you mentioned it in your introduction- content marketing has been around for hundreds of years, you know, if we even go back to, you know, the eighteen hundreds. we can see companies like John Deere creating magazines and their magazine was called The Furrow and it was really not about tractors or plows or anything like that, it was about teaching farmers how to be better farmers, how to ostensibly be better at their job and if you look all the way through history, through airline magazines, through travel and leisure magazines, through all the different kinds of custom publishing that has gone on from brands from literally hundreds of years ago through, even today, you can see companies creating content to create extra value for customers. now the difference between then and today have been really this idea that content marketing at its core was really a loyalty play, right, until digital really became an important part of our lives. as digital became more prevalent we started to see businesses, small businesses, including dental practices including here, having the ability to create their own media, create their own website, create their own blogs, create their own social media strategy and because they could create their own content strategies that meant that they no longer had to purely rely on renting an audience from an advertisement publisher, right, so the history of advertising is we go out and we rent space on a publisher’s website or a publisher’s magazine or a billboard or a television or a radio station and we rent that audience for 30 seconds or a minute or a minute and a half. because of digital we can now create our own media platform and build our own audience and that’s really the power of content marketing at the top of that sales cycle, before we’ve even met our customers to attract them, to retain them, to make them more interested in what we do and you said it really well which is this idea of creating extra value through content for customers in order to move some sort of business goal. Whether that’s new customers in your practice or whether that’s retained customers, it’s using content as a means of generating value for that customer. So it’s been around forever, it’s just a new application of something that’s been around forever and that’s why we ended up calling the podcast This Old Marketing because we’re really taking old examples and putting them into this new light.

Justin: Absolutely and, you know, one of the things that I noticed on your podcast was one of the episodes mentioned Star Wars and I keep hammering on this in the forums and I don’t know if it’s getting through. Could you tell us a little bit about, you know, the merchandise sales for Star Wars versus the ticket sales and how Star Wars may in fact be the biggest example of content marketing ever.

Robert: Sure, well, you look at any media company really and what you need to understand is that media companies have understood this for a long time, right. nobody ever looks at a media company, like Disney now the way it has Star Wars and says we’re going to create a media property and we’re going to attract an audience and then what we’re going to do is we’re going to build products in order to monetize that. That’s classic 101 media strategy how a film company makes money, how a television show makes money, how any real popular, you know, content makes its money. It creates demand for a product whether that be t-shirts are dolls or cars or stickers or whatever it happens to be. It uses the ability to attract and retain an audience as a means of understanding what products we can use to sell to them and that’s something media companies have understood forever. now when we switch that around we start looking at brands, companies, dental practices, law practices, product companies, these are companies that have historically have products or services for sale and the only media they’re creating is advertising, you know. whether it’s literally a brochure or a television commercial, radio commercials etc. and the lesson we can learn from, you know, Star Wars and Leggo and all these companies, these media companies that have monetized an audience and been able to sell the products to them is that we can do the exact reverse today. We have products and services we want to sell to our consumers, we can now create media that’s valuable to them so that they gather for what they want to consume that they subscribe to it and they become the base of customers that we can sell our products and services to. So it’s just exactly the reverse of being a media company.

Justin: That’s excellent, you know, and I may have erred and saying Star Wars is the biggest example. I just think of movies in terms of, I mean nobody’s going out there buying lightsabers without the Star Wars movie so it’s really the stories that kind of create demand and, you know, my background in SEO and, you know, that has a lot to do with reacting to demand, you know, and so what you guys did over a Content Marketing Institute is you actually created the term content marketing. you actually, it may have existed previously on a small scale but you guys popularized it and it used to be called like custom publishing and brand of, you know, the various different names but, you know, it was the idea that hey we could take out an ad in this magazine- Vogue or Men’s Fitness or whatever or we could create our own magazine that isn’t salesy and doesn’t really run ads in the same way but just delivers value in a niche specific way. so it really focuses on your ideal patient and what I really like about that is that it’s very, very valuable compared to mass media where if you have mass media, the shows they get picked up, they get dropped off and picked up, they get dropped off because no one really knows how to appeal to everyone because when you try and appeal to everyone you sometimes appeal to no one or at least not enough people

Robert: It’s a great point, I mean, the, you know, one of the, so here’s, I mean here is a direct example, right, there was a dental practice here in Los Angeles. I didn’t work with them as a client but I certainly knew them as a success story and this, you know, a relatively small dental practice there were a few dentists in this sort of, you know, in this one office and they created a blog where they talked about all of the wonderful proactive ways and means of managing your health care by managing your teeth and it was both SEO focused so it was really focused on putting content out that would rank high especially in local search engines, obvious for the obvious reason they want to rank high locally but, two, it was really about engaging moms and dads, parents, so that they could show their kids how important a dental health was and so it was written in such a way that it was really friendly, really easy to understand, how top’s and the reason not just to keep your teeth clean, not to just keep your breath crash but also how have you know pertain to heart disease and high blood pressure and on all of these things that you really need to do to keep your, you know, really good dental health and it basically help them drive a lot of awareness for their practice in the local market because they got a lot of attention. Local news with some time turned to them for being an expert, they were often brought in to speak to, you know, whether it was at a university crowd or a civics group or something like that. they were thought of as thought leaders within the local, you know, within the local facility and they would be turned to as experts and thought leaders as well as quite frankly kind of entertaining and the content was what really drove that. So they were using content as a means of sort of saying “Hey we’re out here and we’re experts and we care about your, you know, your dental health and that’s why we’re here” and it really drove a lot of success for them.

Justin: Yeah and I can tell you as someone who knows about dental marketing the disconnect from patients, people who don’t have a dentist or even people who do have dentist, the disconnect between going to the dentist and your overall health, there’s a big disconnect there and dentists know about this and they educate chairside but they haven’t, by and large, sort of doing this online in a scalable, repeatable, efficient way of using digital media or even print media but, you know, we don’t have to get into the media but what we can talk about, you know, maybe, you know what I skipped a step here. Could I ask, you know, you’re such a legend in this industry. Could you just tell us, for most of the dentist haven’t heard of you, could you tell us your history of, you know, how you got into content marketing and maybe just tell us a little bit about yourself.

Robert: Sure, happy to do that. So I’ve been in marketing for 25 years and that, you know, that shows a little bit of my age plus my gray hair as you can see and I’ve been, you know, I started in the entertainment business side. I live here in Los Angeles and work for a number of years for a television networks and also the entertainment business in the marketing side of things and then as the dot-com era got going and in the early 2000 I ended up running marketing on the ad agency side, working with lots of different clients on their marketing strategies, mostly in the interactive gaming and entertainment business but then I got into technology. I got into the technology business and I was a CMO- chief marketing officer of a software company here in LA for a good number of years until about 2008 and without even really realizing that what I did was during the eight years I was a CMO of that software company I ended up building a content marketing organization because we were competing with lots and lots and lots of big companies, you know, the Oracles and Microsoft’s and IBM’s of the world and I needed for us to be able to rank in the search as well as for us to really be able to compete with them because we’re a really small company and so I knew we would never be able to compete with their ad budget or there, you know, the way that they would approach marketing so what I did was I hired journalists and I hired designers and writers and I turned this into a little media company because I figured if our clients would go and look at our company website and they would see how deep it was even though we weren’t as big as IBM or Hewlett-Packard or any of those big competitors would be competing with. They would at least see that our thought our depth of knowledge was as or deeper than any of those competitors and that worked turning us into a little media company really worked. we start getting better leads, we started closing deals faster, we started to really succeed and when I was out on the speaking circuit sort of telling my story I met this guy, Joe Pulizzi, who is forming this group called the Content Marketing Institute, he said “Hey you and I are basically giving the same speech, we we’re talking the same language.” and I was talking about it from the marketing practitioner side and he was talking about it from the publisher side which is his background, Dolan Publishing, and so we said let’s work together. so we ended up writing the book together, Managing Content Marketing and then I quit the company I was working for and joined up with them as their chief strategy officer and have been there for the last seven and a half year so it’s been a great ride and so really my job now is to run around the planet and talk to companies of all sizes including small dental practices and law firms and all kinds of businesses talking to them about how the power of content and creating a smart focused owned media strategy. when I say owned media I mean your blog, in your website or your resource center or whatever it is you’re creating and how that can make all of the marketing things you’re doing better. Whether it’s better advertising, better SEO, better PR, better, you know, just better marketing in general and it’s a really fun job.

Justin: Excellent. Yeah, thanks for sharing that, you know, it’s really interesting because most dental offices they start with tactics. they say “Okay, let’s try mailers, let’s try AdWords, let’s try SEO, let’s try building a website that’s a pretty standard one nowadays but maybe less standard is let’s try photography or even less common is let’s try professional cinematography.” And, man, it’s great to try different mediums, it’s great to try different tactics but it’s, at the end of the day, what you really helped a lot of businesses with, Robert, is you help them with the strategy, you help them put together a plan so that they’re not just throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks. they’re actually putting together a mission statement, putting together, you know, this is who we are, this is who were targeting, this is why we’re doing it, this is how, and then finally then we get to “How are we going to do this? How we’re going to implement this?”

Robert Yeah, yeah. And that’s, you just described my average day but it’s one of those things where, you know, when I’m working with a, you know, typically a smaller business, right. So dental practice is really fit into this where it’s a smaller locally focused business. the real key here is that yeah you’re trying lots of different things, you’re trying mailers, you’re trying I’m direct mail, email maybe, you’re trying some kind of advertising, you’re trying local events or you’re trying, you know, you’re trying various things trying to stand out in the marketplace and either build your business or quite frankly keep it, you know, where it is in other words keep the number of patients that you have on a regular basis the way it is and so either of those goals can be supported with content marketing. The real key is that, one, marketing isn’t what you do for a living, right. marketing is a very small piece of what it is you do is they either a sole proprietor or the owner and a business or practice and it needs to be integrated into all the other things you do and then content marketing needs to be integrated into that, you know, one of the biggest challenges I hear all the time is yeah great I get it blogging is important, creating an email newsletter would be really effective, doing something educational would be really interesting but I don’t have time I don’t have time for any of that and so the key is, is that looking to what we can stop doing in other words what is that we can look at from sending mail, sending direct mails figuring out where our budgets are and start to just integrate slightly even if it’s just one a week or two a week or something like that where we can start to take a small piece of our marketing time to really focus on creating high-quality content. It will, if you continue to do it over time, if you continue consistently over time to do it and really be focused around it. It can pay a lot of dividends in terms of exactly what you just said, not just throwing more spaghetti against the wall but understanding what’s working better. Is advertising working better? Is PR working better? Is SEO working better? Is direct email working better because content can integrate into all of those things and really help you understand how each of those things can be made more effective.

Justin: You know what actually got me into content marketing, if I could be egotistical for a minute and talk about myself, my favorite topic.

Robert: Enough about you, what do you think about me.

Justin: You know I sat down and I said okay I’m doing SEO how would I beat Justin? How do I beat the dental marketing guy at SEO and almost immediately I knew I said I would use content marketing to build an audience, build rating fans for dental office and the googles artificial intelligence and everything they would just figure it out. we continue to do traditional SEO, we continue to find back linking opportunities, we continue to make sure the coatings done correctly, we continue to do all these things, create buzz off of the website but on the website which is the hub of any dental practices campaign is we would absolutely create content that people actually crave that spoke to the specific patient that the dental office wants. so I instantly knew and then that’s when I started looking into content marketing and I said “You know what this is a real thing.” so all that, the point of that is SEO is inextricably linked to content marketing and what I tell all my clients isLook what we’re doing, yes, I understand you’re ranked number one. I understand we got you on page 1 and X amount of weeks. I know its working, we know we’re comfortable there and you’re happy with it however, five to ten years from now the tactics that were using, and they may not work.” Now I never put my clients at risk with any kind of black hat SEO, you know, it’s not a good thing to do that and a lot of SEO companies do that sort of thing but it doesn’t mean that it’s black hat. it just means that right now we’re giving google enough to like what we’re doing but ten years down the road it may not work so what I wanted to emphasize is that SEO and content marketing are the future of SEO and marketing in general. so if your dentist watching the show and you’re saying like look I’m already ranked, I’m already happy with where I’m at.” the bottom line is that’s not a guarantee, that is not your property, google. you don’t own Google, they can do whatever they want, they can mix you in an instant and they have every right to do that so what I try and say is, and this is a, I know we’re coming to close on our time but, you know, one of the best phrases I love which you and Joe Pulizzi uses is don’t build your house on rented land and that includes Google and that includes Facebook and that includes everywhere where the distribution of the content is outside your control.

Robert: Right.

Justin: Could you talk to that a little bit and maybe tell dentists what you mean by don’t build your house on rented land.

Robert: Sure. so really the, you know, and this is probably evident for your audience members who have either started a Facebook page or started working in social media and have really found a frustration in terms of the how the organic reaches declined over the last, you know, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, you know, the promise from Facebook especially was spend money, build a page, build your community on this Facebook page because everybody’s on Facebook and you’ll be able to talk with them and communicate with them and all of that and especially for businesses like dental practices that are focused on a community and that was a very enticing offer, right. to build your Google+ page and to build your Facebook page and to build your twitter following, to build a LinkedIn profile and all of that and the challenges, of course, is that all of those platforms need to monetize themselves and all of them have and so when we look at something like Facebook as an example of this we can see them slowly and slowly and slowly deprecating down, organically, the reach that you have as a brand, as a company page on Facebook to the point where, you know, it used to be maybe you’d, when you put a post-up you see 50%, you know, of your audience would see your post and then it was 30% and then it was 10 and then it was 6 and then it was 4 and now you’re lucky if you get 1 or 2% of your, basically the people that you spent time and effort to get to, to actually see the post that you’re making and of course that’s a horrible thing if you’re really relying on that is your main means of communicating with your constituents. these patients that you want to bring in more frequently or if you want to bring in new ones from your community and so the real key here is and what you’re speaking to very eloquently there is this idea that you can either build your own property, your own website, your own blog, your own email newsletter, whatever it is, you’re owned media and really have the right to be able to reach those people, as few as they may be, there may be 100, there may be a 50, there maybe 3,000, depending on your practice size and you get to communicate with them frequently whenever you like and you know you’re at least reaching them, you know, maybe you have to be good for them not to delete it and you have to be good for them to read it but it’s a fair playing field. You own that audience and therefore you get to speak with them and it’s up to you to actually engage them. Challenge with spending so much time and money on a Facebook or Google or LinkedIn or Twitter or basically what you’re calling rented land which is a great word for it is that you’re only able to communicate as they allow you to communicate and they can change the rules any time they like and they will. any rented land, whether new ones like medium or snapchat or anything like that, that promise you anything that has to do with sort of building a community organically online don’t believe it because in order to, basically in order to for them to fund the continued existence of that social channel they have to monetize it and they monetize it by making it harder for you as a brand, as a company to reach those people so that ultimately you pay money through advertising to be able to reach them and that’s the whole context of not building your house on rented land. Use those channels to Facebook’s, to LinkedIn, to Twitter what they’re good for, their advertising networks. So, yeah, pay for an ad for targeting, pay for something that gets, you know, in front of people and then bring them back into your website, bring them back into your blog, bring them into your e-mail newsletter so that you actually own that audience.

Justin: Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. And, you know, I think a lot of dentists are going to hear email and think oh my goodness spam, spam, spam but the bottom line is everyone has those one or two emails that they always open because they know who it’s from and what they want and the person that, the person that it’s from is always delivering value and if you can be that person, if you, the dental office can be the one who delivers that value then, man, you’re in, you’re in.

Robert: And, you know, here’s the thing with, as a dental office you have a very unique opportunity to be able to create that relationship, you know, going to the dentist is and I’m sure I don’t know this industry very well but I have to imagine because it is for me, it’s a very intimate thing, right. it’s a very deep and emotional thing for most people to go to the dentist and have a relationship with the dentist that they have and thus if you have that you immediately have that relationship with patients and so the likelihood that they’re going to be at least willing to try a message from you whether it be an email or subscribe to a blog is pretty high and then it’s just up to you to create content that’s good enough to make them want to stick around and keep subscribed to it.

Justin: Absolutely. Well, you know, for those dentists don’t want to take the DIY route well where could they find you?

Robert: Well I’m easy to find, my website is robertrose.net, of course, Content Marketing Institute is contentmarketinginstitute.com and you can get to either one of us through those websites and all the social channels that sort of feed off of that so either of those two places will be the place to either find. My book, our events, the webinars and all the blog post that we put out on a daily basis.

Justin: Excellent, yeah. There’s an immense amount of value there. Well, hey, I’d love to put an offer out there for our viewers. let’s take this interview, let’s go a little bit more in depth on this on some of the ideas that Robert shared and if you want to enter your email, if you find this on the Dental Marketing Guy blog we will put the video, we’ll put the audio as well for you dentist who are driving to and from work every day and you’re looking for ideas on well how exactly can I create content to just, you know, this all sounds really great but I don’t know how to put together the strategy. Well we’ve got a strategy for you and you can download the dental marketing of the content marketing launch program for dental offices and I would love to have you do that. all you got to do is check this out on the blog and we will be able to get your email in there and you will get this strategy and let me tell you by the time you’re halfway through it you’re going to see this is real and this is the future and if you ignore this you do it at your own peril. So thank you very much, Robert Rose, it’s been a huge honor.

Robert: Thank you very, very much for having me. I really appreciate it.

Justin: Absolutely. So, hey, guys if you have any questions for Robert feel free to reach out in the comments below. If you find this on Dental Town, social media wherever you find it, feel free to reach out and, man, just a huge amount of value from this guy. I’ve learned so much from your podcast and so guy’s thanks for watching The Dental Marketing Guy Show.