How Being More Authentic (and even transparent) with Your Marketing Can Help You Grow Your Business - with Ashley Stryker

It’s time for marketing to evolve. stopwatch
How? Go from dry SEO optimization or lead generating to interpreting data with a human variable and get the results your company is actually looking for. 
Too often companies get stuck in the rut of producing in high quantity without spending the time to determine whether the QUALITY of the leads or traffic is what will convert to sales and real clients. light bulb 
It’s time marketing gets a facelift. 
Meet Ashley Stryker, Director of Marketing at Alaniz Marketing and host of the β€œProfessional Confessional” podcast. studio microphone 
Her professional insight as a marketer for B2B companies will help any business leader or marketer perfect their craft and exponentially multiply their marketing effectiveness. 
right arrow If you’re looking for a reason to improve your marketing or ideas for your own video podcast, this episode of B2B Podcasting is for you! 
Main Takeaways:
gem stone Content creation marketing can give you an edge in the marketing world
gem stone Learn how to bring the human element to the way you interpret marketing
gem stone Update your B2B marketing tactics to better reach your audience
gem stone How a video podcast can help you create content for your own thought leadership
gem stone Discover the best ways to distribute your podcast content 
alarm clock 00:00-04:54 | Where a career in content marketing can take you
alarm clock 04:54-10:38 | How to perfect content creation for the stages of marketing
alarm clock 10:38-17:17 | What not to do as a marketing professional
alarm clock 17:17-23:26 | Create something to inspire yourself like a video podcast
alarm clock 23:26-30:48 | How to be a great podcast guest
alarm clock 30:48-43:28 | Learn to distribute your video podcast content the best possible way
alarm clock 43:28-48:34 | How a video podcast can help your B2B marketing
alarm clock 48:34-51:09 | Learn and connect with Askley Stryker
speech balloon β€œI think the mantra of "if you build it, they will come" is the most irresponsible way to do marketing that has ever been promoted.” - Ashley Stryker
speech balloon β€œYou need to be deliberate, considerate, and engendering conversations where you’re actually inviting additional conversation and engaging with people who are already in your space.β€œ - Ashley Stryker
speech balloon β€œIt's ultimately the creation of conversations in the communities that is going to drive content marketing in general.” - Ashley Stryker
speech balloon β€œI'm a full believer in using content at every stage of the customer journey from the point where they don't even realize they're a customer.” - Ashley Stryker
speech balloon β€œDoesn't matter how amazing the computer tells you it's going to performβ€”if people in your own organization or your own customers won't engage with it or work with it, then it's a useless waste of time.” - Ashley Stryker
speech balloon β€œAt some point, as a creator, you get burned out if you're not creating something that you personally find fulfilling.” - Ashley Stryker
speech balloon β€œPeople are impressed by our strengths, but they connect with our weaknesses.” - Kap Chatfield
speech balloon β€œIt's not just about presenting yourself in a certain wayβ€”it's about understanding yourself.” - Kap Chatfield
speech balloon β€œWhen you're doing a podcast, a blog, or a webinar, don't just think of that one piece of content that one timeβ€”think of the different ways in which you can share it on social, promote it in a press release, use it to create an email drip campaign, or a white paper, inspire some research, do a keynote talk. There are a bazillion different ways you can leverage a single episode of content, don't waste that time you've put in there.” - Ashley Stryker
speech balloon β€œThe story and its relevancy to your audience is going to be more important than who's talking.” - Ashley Stryker
speech balloon β€œYou need to make sure that the content is actually worth listening to and has some sort of unique and empathetic angle that your audience will understand and resonate with on an emotional level and not just a rational level.” - Ashley Stryker
Reach out to Rveal Media:

210501_RM_B2BP_Ep_How being more authentic with your marketing can help you grow your business - with Ashley Stryker_QG1

Full transcription: 

Kap Chatfield  00:20

Hey guys, welcome back to B2B Podcasting. Today I have a really special guest, her name is Ashley Stryker. She is the Director of Marketing at Alaniz. And she is a content marketing, marketing wizard just so brilliant at what she does, I love the content she's putting out on LinkedIn, by the way. And she's also the host of Professional Confessional. It's probably one of the most unique business related podcasts out there. It's not a ton of tips and techniques and strategies. Sometimes you might hear some of that, but really, it's about professional people being real and showing the personality behind who they are, and also sharing some of their biggest mistakes. I think, I don't want to take the thunder away from you, so we'll talk a little bit about what it means to be transparent in the digital space. But Ashley, it's so great to have you on the show today.


Ashley Stryker  01:06

Thanks so much, Kap. I'm genuinely excited. I love talking with people about marketing and about podcasts. So this is kind of like the perfect blend of the two personally.


Kap Chatfield  01:17

Awesome. Well, let's start just with like a little bit of context. So explain to us a little bit about what your company does, the company that you're the director of marketing for and how how do you see content marketing or your perspective, content marketing play out in that world?


Ashley Stryker  01:32

Oh, that's a good one. All right. So first of all, I'm the Director of Marketing, like Kap said for Alaniz Marketing. We're a fully remote inbound marketing agency. And one of the things that attracted me to Alaniz, I was actually originally a client of theirs. I had a website built I needed, I was an in house marketer for a very long time, which means that I worked directly for a company and led their marketing efforts. And for this particular law firm, they desperately needed website help. And I'm not a website builder, I can do a lot of things, building website wasn't one of them. So I needed help building it on a particular tech stack, HubSpot actually, I wanted the website built on. So Alaniz happened to be a very well reviewed agency. And one of the big differentiators for me that made me choose them ultimately over a competitor was the fact that they took ownership of what they did. And I think this has to do in part with what I believe content marketing is as well. They took ownership, not just of their own deployment of the website build, but they listened to me and took into account what my ultimate ultimate business goals were. And then were proactive in suggesting adjustments and, and making sure that what they were commissioned to do would serve the broader purpose. So they didn't just say, "Okay, we gave you a fancy website, see ya!". They really worked with me to make sure that my plan, my my search engine plan, my content creation plan, my distribution plan, my analysis, all of that would be set up so that the website would just be a tool in my overall arsenal that I could bring to bear and get really great results. In the same way content marketing, for me, has to be more than just creating and praying, spray and pray never does anything. Sure, yeah, I hate. I'm not a baseball person anyway, so forgive me, but I hate the Field of Dreams. I think the mantra of "if you build it, they will come" is the most irresponsible and stupidest way to do marketing that has ever been promoted. Because, and a lot of people will conflate content marketing with SEO, search engine optimization, not realizing that those are actually two discrete fields. And it's a district a single distribution strategy. If the only way you think your content is getting out there is by someone happening upon it on Google, then that is stupid, and not going to work for you long term. You need to be deliberate, need to be considerate, and you need to be engendering conversations and not just what I call soapbox marketing, which is where you're standing on top of your social media profiles and blasting how great you are to everyone else without actually inviting additional conversation and engaging with people who are already in your space. Whether that's your customers, whether that's the other thought leaders in the space, you're trying to get into, whether, however, that form that takes it's ultimately the creation of conversations in the communities that is going to drive content marketing in general creation thereof. And I feel if you approach it that way, content marketing has bottom line, trackable, traceable, scalable ways to move the bottom line and to really see that return on your investment, both in terms of time and any sort of monetary investment that you've made.


Kap Chatfield  04:54

I for the sake of sparing our audience, US nerding out too much, because as soon as you said, no, no, no, you're fine. I'm just saying, as soon as you said HubSpot, my mind went to like, oh, yeah, let's go. Let's start talking about how to like, how to be able to track the effectiveness of all that stuff. It's such a beautiful platform. So I'm not surprised that you're like, yeah, how do we get our website on HubSpot for that reason. But I do want to, I do want to acknowledge that you made a really great point about the difference between SEO and you know, traditional, or really the true intention behind content marketing, because they really serve two different purposes. They're both important, but you can't, they're not the same thing. And so you know, what you're talking about is, and just to kind of like, don't mean to put words in your mouth, if I'm not saying what you said correctly. But what I'm hearing you say is, SEO, obviously, search engine optimization is helpful if you're trying to be found on Google for the specific keywords people are looking for, especially if you already have a brand that's associated with those keywords. So they're thinking, maybe they saw a post, maybe they saw an ad, and they're like, "What was that thing again? Was it like a video subscription service?" They type that in in Google, and then you pop up, and you're able to, like, remind them of who you are. But the content marketing piece, I had to write this down, It's such a great, great couple of words, generating conversation, and finding ways to use content really, to build relationship with your audience. So I, if I'm not mistaken, you have a writing background, correct? 


Ashley Stryker  04:55

I do. 


Kap Chatfield  05:27

Okay, so how, when you're looking at creating content and writing, what goes, what goes through your creation process in order to create something, a piece of content that's meaningful, that might not have the intention of how do we get a sale out of this initial piece of content? But but really, how do we generate some sort of conversation to build relationship with an audience that would eventually want to do business with us?


Ashley Stryker  06:58

So there's a couple different ways that you can approach content creation, and it depends on what the point of the content is, right? So I'm a full believer in using content at every stage of what you call the customer journey from the point where they don't even realize they're a customer, but they will be, all the way through to the point where they buy to the point where you're trying to get them to tell everybody else how amazingly wonderful you are, right? Content serves a role at all of those different stages, but the same content will not serve each of those different stages. So if your goal is to produce content from to be found in search, let's say, right? Then you would start your ideation process by doing solid keyword research using any one of a variety of tools, and then refine your topic based on what you think people, not just the robots want to read. Right? I actually, I had a very short stint at a startup. And they had an SEO specialists who created content, and they were getting 10s of 1000s of visits, but no requests for demos. And I was so confused by this. And I went through the keywords. And it turns out their SEO consultant had picked out a keyword that had a whole bunch of traffic, but didn't realize that the people who were searching that were looking for quiz answers because they were students, not our actual target or demographic. 

210501_RM_B2BP_Ep_How being more authentic with your marketing can help you grow your business - with Ashley Stryker_QG2

Kap Chatfield  08:21

Bummer. Oh man,


Ashley Stryker  08:24

No lie, like 10,000 visits a month were from students searching this. And on a superficial look, if you were just running it through like SEMrush, or Ahrefs, or one of those other keyword generators, it would look like a viable topic, given what the service was. But unless you looked at it from a human point of view of what they were trying to accomplish when they searched it, which was very obvious, by the way, when you search this keyword in an incognito window, you would have no idea that they were just looking at test answers, and thus 95% of our traffic, it's just absolutely trash, because there was no human element involved. So I think I think no matter what stage you're at, you need to involve the human, right? But if I were looking at something, for example, that I wanted to close, and I wanted to do some sales enablement. So the best piece of content is the one that actually gets used. Straight up, doesn't matter how good it is, doesn't matter how well it's formatted. Doesn't matter how amazing the computer tells you it's going to perform. If people in your own organization or your own customers won't engage with it or work with it, then it's a useless waste of time. So if you're doing anything for sales enablement, this carries over also to later stages of the buyers journey for customer success and evangelism and review programs. You ask them what content they want. And then you make it for them as well as you can. So open your mouth and ask your sales people what they want, and then give it to them. And then when you've earned enough trust with them, you will say hey, I think maybe this might help you more given how you've react, how this particular piece of content has done, and at that point, you've earned enough internal reputation so they'll take your word for it, and they'll actually use it. One of the cheat codes to this, by the way, if you're never sure what would actually be effective, or if your sales and your customer service people don't know it would be effective, ask them to check their outbox. They get questions from prospects, from current clients all the dang time. And they're answering those questions all the dang time. So you ask them to forward the questions and the responses that they've given to you. And that is immediately an amazing piece of content that your competitors won't be able to replicate because it comes from your own internal data sources. So,


Kap Chatfield  10:38

That's, okay, there's so many different things about what you said that are really valuable. And there, it's also consistent with a lot of the conversations we're having on this show. One of them being which you didn't necessarily say verbatim, but I could tell this is where you're getting at, is marketing nowadays, in order for businesses to really thrive in the digital landscape, because the digital landscape has completely flipped upside down, how we think about marketing and sales, at least in the past decade. I mean, for so long, it's been marketing team gets a lead, hands it over to the sales team, sales team closes the lead and that's the that's the extent of their relationship. But now what we're what we're seeing in the marketplace, is marketing and sales need to work hand in glove to really understand each other's needs. Marketing is obviously in the field, they're developing relationship firsthand through the content that they're creating, and from the feedback that they're getting, whether it's in social media, comments, webinars, things like that. And now, so they have a really good pulse on "Hey, this is what people are interested in and what they care about". And then the sales team, they're saying, "Hey, I'm actually on the call with these people. And here's the objections that they actually have". Now you're able, if you can get these two teams to communicate with each other, you can create some really meaningful content that actually makes the human as you said, the human on the other side of the screen, or the phone, phone call, feel heard and seen. And that allows you to actually close more deals with the content that you're creating. So it's so clear, and just just so people know, when we get to talk about your show in a little bit, you have, it's clear that you have like a Whoa, or a burden for doing marketing and doing really being a professional in the marketplace, like a human and to stop looking at it as like this automated content creation as this automated robotic thing, but how do you actually create something meaningful? And if you can do that, that's actually what's going to build your business more in the long run. And so curious, I want to know if there's any piece of content that you've been able to help create within your own organization or for your clients, the sales enablement side, particularly, that you heard some feedback and you and you came around, and you said, "Hey, let's create this" and you saw that be effective.


Ashley Stryker  12:52

Okay, we'll take recent example for me. In light of my own podcast, you're gonna find this funny because this is a mistake that I made that I had to recover from. 


Kap Chatfield  13:02

Okay, awesome 


Ashley Stryker  13:03

Or a moment of arrogance that I learned from. So recently that my new position at Alaniz is very new. I came on board full time in September 15. And I've been doing freelance work for them for a while, and I was a client even before that. So my relationship with Alaniz has been pretty extensive for a while. But one of the things that I took on when I first came on board was this email database. And they have been so inundated with work, that they've let their email marketing program kind of lapse, which happens to the best of us. And, again, their referral program is like, wow. And that's where I would want any sort of ongoing business focus to be anyway. So it's, it's not a weakness, it's just an opportunity. So I took a look at their email database and identified 6000 contacts that I thought need to be retired, because they haven't reached out in forever. They were formed in 2014 and the last time they opened an email from us is 2017. And it's now 2021. Let's, let's clean some of this stuff up, right? And I go to my, my founder, Roxanne, and I'm like, hey, I want to get rid of all this. And she said, No. And I said, I know that objection. Everybody has trouble letting go of their emails, let me explain to you exactly why I don't want to let them go. So I explained to her exactly why she should let them go and just trust me on this one. She's like, I get you and I know exactly what you're saying. But I'd like to give them a shot at re engaging with us. And I'm like, "You're an idiot, Ashley, you know better than to just scrap without asking if they want to be scrapped". So I said "Hot dog! Let me do that reengagement campaign for your Roxanne because that's a brilliant idea". So instead of just proceeding, and the agency right now is small enough that our founder serves as our primary salesperson. She's a wonderfully dynamic and engaging person so this is truly a sales enablement moment for me. So I listened to what essentially was my sales team who said, no, just give them another shot. I'm like, "All right, marketing, I will give it a go. I will act as your SDR for a moment". And I put together a reengagement email campaign. Basic email, it was a basic, plain text email, had a couple automation moments in it, where insert a name and an email address and all that kind of fun, fun stuff. And my mistake number two, you never send out an email address when it's closing time, and my email system said it was about 2pm. So I will give me three hours before the end of the workday to handle any sort of repercussions. Except that the whole database is scheduled for Pacific Time and I'm Eastern time. So I sent out that email at 5pm. Oh, I have literally had responded to about 150 responses of people who were confused about why they were getting a reengagement email or wanted to know who I was or wanting to engage with me, per the request of the re engagement email. So that was mistake number two of that particular one, would never recommend sending out something at closing time ever. My husband had to give me a he actually brought in a cider to my desk because I was still working at like 6:30. And we have dinner as a family at five. That was that was a bad evening. But we got like, we've restarted conversations with lapse clients that I would have just thrown out. That's so great. We're working on a proposal that's a big proposal with a lapsed client who had abandoned work with us when COVID hit. So they hadn't reached out to us in a year and a half, because and and now that everybody's getting their feet back underneath them, it was the perfect opportunity for them to restart. And I as the marketing professional looked at the data and said, "we should get rid of these emails". And my salesperson said, "Let's try to touch them one last time". Between the two of us, we ended up on a really awesome reengagement campaign. Talk about a wonderful content marketing initiative there.


Kap Chatfield  17:17

Yeah, seriously. That's, I mean, that's, that's so encouraging. It's actually making my gears turn a little bit about like, I wonder, I wonder who some people that have went cold for a while that it's it's time to kind of reawaken that relationship with some meaningful content. That's super interesting. Thanks for sharing that. I'd love to do a soft transition now into how you are leveraging your show currently. Or really, if you could actually give us a quick pitch for your show. Because you're you're the host of Professional Confessional. You're not just doing content for the agency that you work for. But you're you're actually porposing to create content and collaborate in creating content with other really interesting people. So what's the show about?


Ashley Stryker  18:00

Sure. So my own transition here as a professional content creator, which is what content marketing is, you make content for a living, for businesses in order to achieve business objectives. Your audience, when you're creating content for content marketing is never yourself. It's not even the person who pays you, it's the person who pays them. So it's the person who's paying for that service or product that you're pitching. So if somebody internal ever comes to you and says, "I don't like that", you have every right as a professional to say, I don't care, because the person who pays you who's paying me, they're the people who actually care about this content. So it's true, you always have to have that audience first mindset. This podcast came about because I was really, I really wanted to make something for me. Over the years, I've made content on behalf of criminal defense lawyers who defend people accused of child pornography. I've made content on behalf of industrial manufacturers. I've made content on behalf of private school administrators, people who own massive car dealerships and and now I'm working on content for a chiropractic school. So like, there's this huge range, it's a spectrum talk to Yeah, none of them are me, none of them. I don't, none of them. I don't care about any of the things I care about. And so at some point as a creator, and I would I would highly encourage anyone who is in creation to think about this, you get burned out if you're not creating something that you personally find fulfilling. Even if that's the job, like I said, you need to hold it down. Absolutely. In order to make sure that you feel fulfilled and can continue to think of an audience first at your day job. You have to create something for yourself. And I was simultaneously feeling very discouraged. I was feeling like I couldn't do anything right. I was feeling like every time I opened my mouth, it was wrong. Every time I tried to stick up for something, fight the good fight internally. Something else would come and swat me down. Like every thing I tried or suggested just wasn't working, I felt like success was always out of my reach. And so, and I was venting about this to somebody, Scott Stratten. He founded Un Marketing, great, absolutely wonderful keynote speaker has like 10 different marketing books out. I personally prefer the self titled, Unmarketing. It's really great stuff. But he was running this live cast on LinkedIn. And I was listening to it over lunch, because I just needed to do something for me. And he's like, "Yeah, anybody can do it. Everybody's got a unique voice. Everybody's got a unique mindset. Everybody can do their own content creation". And I spoke up, and like, I call baloney all over that. Dude, you've had years and years and years and years to build up an audience. You could start up a snowball stand right now and you'd have people out in England, trying to buy your snowballs because you have that dedicated of an audience. Yeah, exactly. The rest of us, poor schmucks out in the middle of nowhere, will never be able to just find the same kind of success. And he said, I don't believe that. I don't believe that. I think if you did it, you could do it. And I said, "You know what? I'm going to, of talking about your tongue, and like, fine, fine, I'm gonna do this", and if in six months, this is a complete waste of time, then I will get the satisfaction of saying I told you so. And if you end up being right, I won't care because then I'll have a nice successful content, whatever it is. And so the Professional Confessional podcast came about because of that as a way to prove Scott Stratten wrong. And its whole premise is everybody's heard about everybody else's successes there. You don't need another talking head podcast about all the things you did, right? What you want, what I needed, in that moment, the content for me that I made, and I'm hoping finds a home with other people, too, because I can't be the only one who feels this way, is they must have screwed up. So how did you screw up? But I know you had to have succeeded because I know about you and I admire the work that you've done. So it's like, it's like, a nice cross between business gossip of lingering, having some short and froideur. I can't pronounce that with things, that 


Kap Chatfield  22:15

I couldn't either you're,

210501_RM_B2BP_Ep_How being more authentic with your marketing can help you grow your business - with Ashley Stryker_QG3

Ashley Stryker  22:18

Both spell it, we can't say it. The short and froideur of someone doing something completely wrong. And glorying in somebody's borrowed pain for just a little while with all of the feel good moments of they had to have come out of it, because they're talking right now. And they've succeeded wildly. And so what are these moments that you can overcome too? And and as you said earlier, Kap, there are moments where how do you avoid these particular mistakes? How do you move forward? What are some signs you could be falling into them? We I love to go into that. But what I think really tells the story of podcast is making these huge unattainably wildly successful figures into something more human. And something that is relatable in a way that's selling a business for multi millions like Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute and the Tilt Now. That feels so unattainable, but that moment of walking into your backyard and feeling like I am a complete and utter failure that he describes on the podcast that that gives me inspiration encouraged to keep moving forward when the Greatest Hits Marketing podcast won't.


Kap Chatfield  23:26

You even did that on this podcast. In the first half, yeah, you did, because you were sharing. When I was asking you about like, what's one piece of marketing collateral that you worked on for sales enablement for your organization? You went right into, I'll tell you some things that we did wrong. And I think that's so it is rare. It is rare for people, especially on LinkedIn, and really in social media in general, it's, you know, it's, we have to think twice about putting something on there that would you know, that we think would discredit our brand or tarnish our reputation. But what we discovered, and we talked about this on the pre show call was, people are impressed by our strengths, but they connect with our weaknesses. And so when you were willing to share that, you might have felt like, man, like, I'm just gonna put myself out there. And I and I don't know if you've ever if you felt like this through that process of dealing with some of those things you maybe wouldn't do again, I might have failure or whatever. But I'll tell you what it actually it gives you a lot more credibility, because you've gone that path and you're able to say, "Hey, I've tried that before. Don't Don't try doing that like I did". It actually makes you a more effective leader with your content. So first, just want to give you props on that, I think you doing the show is actually making you a more effective teacher of your craft, which is content marketing. And I'd also I'm just curious too, out of your experience doing this show, what it would have. I know that you've just started doing this show over the past couple months. or something like that. But what if what has been one of the most impactful moments that you had? Having guests on the show share it within this virtual kind of confession space?


Ashley Stryker  25:10

Oh, man. I mean, there's been a lot of really interesting observations. So I'm going to, and we can take it to what has it taught me in terms of content promotion and distribution? Because there's some interesting lessons there. Think,


Kap Chatfield  25:26

Put a pin in that because I definitely want to go there.


Ashley Stryker  25:28

On that. Yes, yes. Because I think I think I actually shared with you some of the graphs and insights in prepping for this particular interview. It was really cool to look at and the trend is held. But I think there were two moments that stick out to me the most two guests in particular. The first that I'll talk about was the propensity for people to how easy it is to slip into my greatest strength. My greatest strength is also my greatest weakness kind of mode. 


Kap Chatfield  26:04

Oh, yeah. Like when people say, "What's your greatest weakness?" And you're like, "Oh, I just work too hard". Like, okay, great. Yeah. Yes, or some, weakness.


Ashley Stryker  26:14

I had a guest on and I admire him greatly. So I don't want to to label which episode it is, you'd have to guess I guess you'd have to listen to us here. Who's mistake wasn't actually his own. His mistake that he gave me was actually a teammate's that he covered for, but it wasn't his own. So and it wasn't until I had interviewed for quite a while that I realized what had happened. Now, this particular individual is very well versed in, in self presentation. And so they had a particular story and a particular narrative that they were working very hard to simultaneously promote, while illustrating the possible authenticity. And if I had known then what I have experienced and learned how to do now, I would have pressed. I would have asked for another mistake. And I would have said, "That's really great that you stepped up. But what about your own biggest mistake?" Right? So so that's, that was interesting to me. And something I want to watch out for in current interviews as well. And I will, I will talk until I get to the core mistake, even if it seems superficial, even if it seems, or ridiculously niche that nobody else can get there. I can go wide, or I can go broad. I want it to be applicable. And I want it to be your mistake, right? So that's first. And the second. One of the most defining moments I've ever had, in a very long time of interviewing people in general, because I've interviewed for case studies I've, I interviewed really well for jobs. Talking with other people and digging out material is part of what I do as a content marketer. But one of the most impactful conversations I've ever had happened with Robert Rose's episode. He's he's the co founder of the Tilt Advisory of the Content Advisory, excuse me. And he works with Joe Pulizzi, who owns The Tilt. That's the conflation there for a moment. But Robert Rose actually emceed this year's Content Marketing World, which is one of my favorite conferences. Really spectacular individual, very down to earth. And you should ask him about rock and roll sometime. But he actually has a private demon where he feels like a failure. And I remember just being completely taken aback by that, because I'm thinking, this guy has a consultancy, that has told businesses with more money than they know what to do with it they're doing everything wrong. He has the connections and the insights. And the platform. I mean, this guy's wildly successful. And he said, Yeah, I think I'm a failure, because I can't finish anything. And I'm like, what? Because that's my own problem. I can start things great, but I can't finish things. And he's like, Yeah, I had just recently discovered about myself at the time of this mistake, that I was really good at finishing things in short timeframes. So having limited engagements, the maintenance kind of stuff, a lot of people succeed with that. That's not where he his love lot lay. But he had this string of failures. So he didn't finish college the right way. I didn't either. Right? I left college, I walked with six out of my seven classes, not finished my final semester of college. And it wasn't until 2015, three years after I left college that I actually got my degree. One of my personal greatest achievements is getting my first marketing gig on the strength of my portfolio and my writing sample. Not not because I had my degree. Wow. And so the fact that and Robert, he says to this day, some of the emails that he never deletes out of his inbox are those asking to complete his degree. Because it's a reminder to him and that own little self inadequacy. I know, right? It made me cry, because it was like here's a man who who suffers with the sam  private, it's now it's not so private but private security. Sure, sure I have suffered for, and felt like I can't do anything right. And yet, he found a way to approach and modify his own work style, his consultancy, to make it work for him, and truly turning that weakness into a strength. And it's something he's still works at every day. So I'm not a failure for not fixing this fixing this in myself for 10 years. And so for me, and that, I swear to God, I interview and I cried that oh, yeah, for on a personal level. That was the moment at which that podcast was doing for me what I was what I hoped it would do.


Kap Chatfield  30:48

That is really incredible. And I think one thing that I try to tell business leaders in general is because you know, we're in the marketing world, we do marketing for other organizations, as well. So obviously, for us to have a job, they need to outsource their content creation to us, but I do challenge business leaders. And I really try to get them into testing the waters of doing their own content creation, because there's such an exploratory internal exploratory process that happens when you start putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard, or you start a podcast and you just start sharing your own thoughts or generating conversation with others, you begin to understand yourself more. It's not just about presenting yourself in a certain way. But it's about understanding yourself. And so I'm like, I'm really impressed by what you've been what you really had the privilege of doing on your own show with giving people the opportunity to understand themselves better by sharing this because you learn so much through your failures. But then look at how that's helped you out too. It's, it's, it's really made you more secure and who you are and, and learn how to overcome some of those shortcomings.


Ashley Stryker  31:59

Yeah, no, it definitely has. It's been absolutely amazing. I an episode for me right now, it takes anywhere from four to six hours, including recording all of the editing, and it is edited way down to about 10 to 15 minutes segments, including the intro and the outro and are caught my conversations have run over an hour and a half. So and doing all of the socials, all of the metadata, all of the the show notes and the transcripting and the posting and the graphics that will eventually I pray be outsourced. So I am all for outsourcing so long as you have a plan and a template and you know what you want, and you have an idea of the core. But, but all of that time is worth it for those conversations for those moments. It's just, it's absolute for me, even if I don't get a penny out of this, and I do have a support link or whatever, I'm going to try and turn this into a content business one day. But for now, if all I ever get out of this are those conversations with people and learning more about myself and how to do this? I'll be happy.


Kap Chatfield  33:14

Man. That is, that's really cool. I'm really proud of you for taking that that challenge. Just give it a shot to just to start because it's, I feel like what you're experiencing right now is the value of, of doing content for yourself is actually is actually more rewarding than just being a financial opportunity. And I believe you keep doing this, there is going to be some sort of opportunity. Maybe there's a book that comes out where every chapter is like the best of.


Ashley Stryker  33:44

You are not the only person who said that. No, it's exactly cool. Oh, yeah, no, there's amazing things. And one of the things that I am selling as part of the membership is the whole conversation. Because like I said, these are like 16 minute conversations that are edited down to a 15 minute story edit. So I'm offering, for five bucks a month, you have access to that complete conversation with Robert Rose, where we talk about the fact that we're both college, not dropouts, but kind of. So, like, yeah, so like, you have access to those conversations and so there's value. I think, I think one of the lessons if you're especially if you're gonna be doing this for a b2b scenario, if you're going to be doing this, not just for your own satisfaction, but for an audience that you eventually want to monetize or are currently trying to monetize, there's value in the edit where your front facing, you don't just throw it up there and have all the ums removed. You think about what you have and what you're producing. And think about what they're going to find most entertaining, scary, informative, educational, newsy whatever. And then you remember to not that that final product is just one of many things that can be repurposed from the general conversatin, right? That general conversation I'm using as part of my memberships, in order to encourage people to come with me on a recurring basis. So I started having some sort of sustainable alternative revenue streams. But if I were doing this for my business, there's at least half of an episode. If I were doing this on behalf of a marketing agency, for example, where I wanted to sell marketing business, Scott Stratton's episode of 90 plus minutes, and that raw edit, had some amazing insights on what not to send to your boss. That's a funny story. But there's also some other bits and pieces in that particular episode, that would make fantastic articles, they just didn't fit the theme of the podcast. Sure, I can repurpose that into an article, into an email series, into any sort of a wide array of topics. Don't just think content is one and done. So when you're doing a podcast, when you're doing a blog, when you're doing a webinar, don't just think of that one piece of content. And you can only use that that one time. Think of the different ways in which you can share it on social, the different ways you can promote it in a press release, the different ways in which you can use it to create an email drip campaign, or a white paper, inspire some research, do a keynote talk. There are a bazillion different ways you can leverage a single episode of content, don't waste that time you've put in there.


Kap Chatfield  36:22

That's that's one thing that we're so passionate about with this format of, of content is the resourcefulness of it, right? Like you spend, I mean, you spend 90 minutes, in the grand scheme of things, 90 minutes to create a really meaningful piece of content is not a long time. But you now have that thing that you can repurpose into all of these different channels. And you can use them on the marketing side, top of funnel stuff. Or you could even use them in the sales enablement enablement side of, bottom of the funnel. So you get it. Now I wanted, I really do want to go back to the pin that we put in our conversation,


Ashley Stryker  37:00

About about a distribution of said podcast. Yes, yes.


Kap Chatfield  37:03

Yes, so give us some of your insights on that. 


Ashley Stryker  37:05

First of all, I am not a viral sensation, I will not be the next Joe Rogan experience anytime soon. And I think that that's setting your expectations accordingly is really important. It's it's so first of all, no matter what I tell you to do right now understand you will not be a viral sensation. You won't! Just you won't, and I don't have a half bad network. I have a network who actively thinks this is a cool project. And I I broke 300 total podcast downloads this weekend. Wow, I've been in existence for 80, 90 days. And I've broken 300 podcasts out and you're applauding because you know, that's actually not bad. 


Kap Chatfield  37:51

That's not good. It's not bad. 


Ashley Stryker  37:54

You compare that to something. Now, if you have a traditional content marketing outlet, I'm used for example, I'm used to blogs, I'm used to articles. So that was my original bread and butter. That's where I'm most comfortable. 300 views on a blog is kind of anemic, especially if you have some sort of distribution strategy aside from organic reach. So if you've got an email, if you've got any sort of active socials, I would expect a blog post to reach 300 views if you've done it right, etc, etc. Within two months, if and that's if you're really not doing well. So for me accepting the fact that my top podcast episode still hasn't hasn't, I think it has 81 downloads total right now. So like accepting that and embracing that is really important. That said, there's some interest, there's two interesting things to note here. One, people tend to download things that are recommended to them. So your podcast guests network is only relevant if they share the damn thing. The big wig names you get on your podcast, if you get them within your industry, right? And it doesn't matter if they're a micro influencer, who has a hyper targeted niche or whatever. Name recognition only gets you so far in terms of legitimacy, it is especially helpful in securing some guests to come on. For example, I only got Andrew Davis a bigwig within MySpace. Once I had two other big guests kind of vouch for me. So sure getting it helps with getting guests on. But the episodes that performed the best were the ones that were actually shared by the people who appeared on them regardless of how big the name was. Interesting. Mark Schaefer came on and he's actually has a very, he has an excellent social network. I thought I was going to get a huge boost from him. I thought his name in the title and featuring him was going to get me a whole bunch of downloads. He performed worse on his first seven days of existing his episode did then the guy who came right after him, who is a complete nobody. Interesting, because Rob shared it and Mark didn't. 


Kap Chatfield  40:17

Yeah, there you go. 

210501_RM_B2BP_Ep_How being more authentic with your marketing can help you grow your business - with Ashley Stryker_QG4

Ashley Stryker  40:19

So, so you can't count on these big names unless they're going to actually share the episode. The big name networks don't matter. Right? And then the second part, and this is the only thing I can think of that was really different. The story and it's relevant, its relevancy to your audience is going to be more important than who's talking. So hopefully, the content that you're getting from me, as somebody your audience doesn't know, is going to be worth the downloads, right? That's kind of the hope, I'm sure. Which is why you're willing to have me on even though my own network isn't that big, right? As opposed to trying to get somebody else really big on right. The and that's not a slight to myself, it's just kind of indicative of how this game is played. Sure, the best performing episode of my podcast so far, that was not boosted artificially beyond kind of the general distribution stuff I was doing. And Scott Stratton did share his episode, which means he's my top performing right now. And he has a big network. It's my episode, the one where Wow, the title is, I almost got fired. For Yeah, for because for speaking up in a meeting. I figured I can't ask people to come on without sharing my own worst story. And my story happens to have you immediately react to it because it's very relatable to a lot of people. A lot of people have been scared to open up their mouth for fear of losing their job. And I was dumb enough to do it at the time. And mercifully did not lose my job. But it changed the entire way I approach feedback and interoffice politics. So but that episode was one of the best performing by far, especially in the first seven days, because of the topic and the content, not the person who was talking. So if you're going to run content distribution strategies, one, you need to make sure that the content is actually worth listening to and has some sort of unique and empathetic angle that your audience will understand and resonate with, on an emotional level, not just a rational. Remember, statistics and money is a rational kind of approach. People make decisions with their emotions first, and use the data to rationalize it later. So if you want a successful podcast, go for the emotions first, use the data second. Make sure you're telling a story and make sure that pain is felt every time. The second part is that if you think that you're going to use your guest audience to distribute, one, you should really rethink that primary distribution strategy because it won't happen. And two if you're going to just try it, and you're going to give me the middle finger and say, "Ashley, you don't know what you're talking about this will work", at least supply them with the social posts. So you have to give them what to share in order for them to share. And if you don't, they won't share it. That's been my experience. And out. Yeah,


Kap Chatfield  43:28

I love first of all, I love those those tactics. I love those tips. And I love that you're pioneering this for yourself. And but you also mentioned earlier, and you don't have to disclose it too much, if it's still a project that you guys are kind of developing behind the scenes. But I am interested because you said that now you're the agency you work for is thinking about starting its own show. So is there a timeline for when that's going to be? What's the show going to be about? What's the goal of the show? Can you disclose any of that to us?


Ashley Stryker  43:55

The goal of the show is to kill me slowly. No. It's ambitious. It's an ambitious release schedule. And Roxanne herself will be the first to tell you that, but we're we're figuring out a way to make it happen. And I think you'll be interested in this. Alright, so the podcast is going to be called Rev Up with Alaniz Marketing is going to feature Roxanne Alaniz, my founder. And she'll be talking with business leaders in every different industry about the single points around which that they can rev up their revenue strategy. Ways in which that they can see a bottom line impact on results without having to subscribe without having to download without having to pay a bunch of money. It's things that you could do right as soon as you're done listening to the episode that will make incremental improvements to multi figure improvements to your revenue. It's the whole incremental improvement leads to big outsized results kind of philosophy, which you and I in marketing are very familiar with. Yeah. And so she's hoping to release every day, every workday which is, 


Kap Chatfield  45:01

That's aggressive, but I like it it. That's my style.


Ashley Stryker  45:04

Yeah. So what we're doing in order to do that I said, "Okay, first of all, once we figure out how we're going to do this internally", so we're going to do the first few episodes internally with myself producing in order to figure out what it is we want. And then we're going to outsource this baby, because I'm not going to be able to do this all myself. And still no


Kap Chatfield  45:23

No way. That's way too much.


Ashley Stryker  45:25

Uh huh. So we're going to figure out what the format is and what we want. So that when we hand it off to a production company, we can say, "this is what our expectations are, this is what we need. This is what this is exactly how many socials, how many audio grams", which are those little playable audio clips that you share on social. This is the transcript. This is the metadata. This is how we want the show notes. This is how we want the title card and the album cover. And this is when it should upload every day. Once we have that worked out, we can just hand it off to somebody. And it means that the production company knows how they're being measured and what their output needs to be. And we know what's coming out. And we can and we can start to make beats from there. So we're doing so that's one of the ways in which we're going to be doing that. The other part is, she's going to sit down for about an hour, hour and a half, with big leaders that she knows of across all different industries. With the stated goal of getting about three to four episodes out per conversation. She's not going to post everything all at once. She's going to sit down with a leader and and come up with three to four to five stories per interview. And then each of those individual stories can be cut up into its own episode in this format. Once you have four or five or six different interviews like this, you have 30 some odd podcast episodes that we're going to do that can then be kind of sectioned. And so it's not just the same person for five days, and then it's the next person for five days. We are going to vary them up and tweak them up and, and so that you can have and maintain this insanely aggressive release schedule with a minimal amount of effort. In order to do this, however, you have to go in there with a mindset as to what you need out of them. You need, we need to prep the guests with, okay, this is going to be the format, we need you to give me one story, you need to tell me how bad it hurt before you did this. And you need to give me one tip that they don't have to pay for. That's going to be an episode. And we kind of put, we put a carrot on a stick by saying the more of those you can get out of yourself, the more good ones you can get out in, in an interview with Roxanne, the more episodes you'll have, which is the more opportunities for backlinks so that they're incentivized to keep it concise. And that way, I've learned some things from my own podcast if you haven't figured that one out. So it's going to be a very aggressive schedule, this is coming out and Oh, knock on wood, first quarter of 2022, which gives me about two months, two months to really get a whole bunch of interviews done with the woman whose calendar is so booked up, we've had to put off recording her very first intro now for four days. So it's gonna be fun. But that's the challenge. Right? That's, that's,


Kap Chatfield  48:02

It is it is the challenge. But it's cool, because you've already seen the success of what it looks like to put together a show, to bring on guests, to you have the process already mapped out, you know exactly how long it takes you to do each episode, you're going to get better at that. And I'm confident this is a really strong move for your for your agency. And I don't think if I'm not mistaken, this probably wouldn't be happening right now as a true initiative, if you hadn't taken the initiative to do it yourself. So,


Ashley Stryker  48:29

She's been taking about it for ages, yeah, no, she's been, 


Kap Chatfield  48:32

You're actually doing it.  So, it's creating strategic relationships for you in the marketplace and, and the contents really meaningful. So I was just actually we're coming up to the end of our time recording here, I just want to thank you so much for sharing and for sharing A, as we mentioned before some of your own, so some, let's not even say failures, some of your own happy accidents, as Bob Ross would say. And in your experience in marketing, but also just in how you've been putting the show together, some of the episodes that you have. How you've how you've grown as a host, and how to really mine the gold out of your guests. Even some of the tactical stuff about marketing and sales enablement. This has been a really rich episode. And so just want to thank you for coming on and sharing. And I would love for you to just share if there's any way that someone could follow you, follow your story and just connect with you, what's the best way for them to do that?


Ashley Stryker  48:34

Exactly.  Sure. Um, so if you want to see what my agency is doing, the agency is Alaniz Marketing that's A L A N I Z Marketing dot com. And you'll be seeing some rather dramatic moves there here very soon as I revamp our own marketing. I'm very excited about that. On a personal level if you want to hear more episodes from the Professional Confessional podcast, head to p c dash That's where you can hear the final story edits. We go live with new episodes every Tuesday at 7pm eastern. And then if you want to hear the full episode, as in the full conversation, not just the story edit that we discussed, you can head over to my cofee subscription page which is at PC dash And there for a couple bucks a month you can hear the whole conversation with some really incredibly insightful people who are way smarter than I'll ever hope to be. Also, Hot Tip, getting vanity links like that is amazing for distribution highly recommend getting a rebrand lee subscription for that. Just,


Kap Chatfield  50:40

There you go. Hey, the tips and tricks that make a successful podcast. We'll put those links in the show notes and in the description of this episode for those to check it out. Ashley, thank you so much for joining us today on B2B Podcasting.


Ashley Stryker  50:52

Thank you so much for having me, Kap any time.

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