"Knowing your audience isn't enough. It's becoming your audience"

Content and Community, a podcast for entrepreneurs 🎧

Episode 9: Product marketing consultant Zach Messler and I chat about branding, positioning and customer relationship building in general in the digital business world.

Episode recorded in late 2021
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Ashley: Hi I'm Ashley Ashbee and welcome to the Content and Community Podcast. My guests and I chat about community engagement strategies and workflows to make content and community successful in even the smallest business.

I'm sponsoring this episode to tell you I'm preparing to launch a course and book on making content work for your business. Visit me at ashleyashbee.com/learn to sign up to get notified when I've launched the book and course.

My guest today is Zach Messler. He's a seasoned product marketing consultant and I had a blast chatting with him about branding, positioning and customer relationship building in general. Enjoy!

Zach: And who knows? Maybe we've even started the podcast. I do public address announcing for University of Maryland for women's volleyball. I took the last -- because of covid of taking the last couple years off, but I'm planning on going back. Public address announcing is part of it is announcing what's going on in the game and that, of course, is just free form. Whatever happens, but a good portion of it is reading in between sets in between Innings, if you're doing baseball, Periods, whatever. There's always copy to read. 

And so, you have to get really good at reading because it's public address. It is, it's the microphone inside the stadium or inside the arena. And so if you stumble over words, there's no going back. So you learn, you have to learn, but you learn to sound like, you're not reading, even though you're reading. It's definitely a skill. It took me a long table to do it but it is definitely a skill.

Ashley: Yeah. Did you take theatre or anything in school?

Zach: No, I mean, I did some theatre just for fun when I was in school, I did some community theatre afterwards. I had gotten a voiceover coach because I wanted to do radio commercials and that's where I learned how to do it because it's the same thing. When you hear commercials, you could always tell the people that are reading. Well, that's not true. You can tell the people that are not good at reading and sounding like, they're not reading with a commercial, but I mean I gotta find something to read here. This isn't going to be ad copy though. I just pulled a book off the shelf, right? So... 

Let's let's see. Okay, here's just a paragraph. I just open to this is Page. 217 of, Tim Ferriss, the 4-Hour Workweek. Don't explain it at all. Hey, if someone asks you about after the first time, this is terrible because there's no, I gotta find something that was terrible. Oh, here you go.

Ashley It's never a good page.

Zach: No, of course. And I know I just did it again page 284. 

"So if you're in the mountains of Nepal, let's say you're on a remote island. You want this peace of mind? You have a phone nearby. So satellite phones, are the way to go because they work without Towers. They work with satellites and you know the best one that I found is iridium. It's been recommended for the widest reception. Global star, that's a good one. You can rent those, you can purchase them." 

So he didn't write it exactly like that but it sounded like I'm having a conversation. 

Ashley: Right. Yeah. What's the general word for the way you put your personality into your voice? I can't remember it. It's how you inflect --

Zach: Intonation.  

Ashley: Yes, thank you. Yes. How you inflect things. How you take a breath. All that stuff is uniquely you and I think a lot of people it's just try: "Okay. I don't want to sound like I'm breathing, I don't you know I don't want you to hear the the saliva in my mouth. 

Zach: You think about that stuff and then you throw off everything else.

Ashley: Yes, yes. It's so true. It's really, I don't know. Then you're not thinking about the content you're thinking about "What if people judge me?" And that's never engaging content.

Zach: That's right. 

Ashley: Yeah, for sure. Is that a volunteer thing? that volleyball a public address announcing?

Zach: Oh no. It's a paid thing. It's not much. It's not much for sure. It goes back to 
2002. It's been a long time, a long time, but back in 2002, I like I said, I wanted to get into radio commercials and I was doing voiceover stuff and my wife had a friend who was in school. The grad school of communications at University of Maryland and they had a baseball coach, who was this Old School baseball coach at the previous year they had students doing public address and they were doing it vintage Chicago Bulls style which if you're not familiar with vintage Chicago Bulls, public address, announcers. It would be like: (In an exaggerated, gritty voice) "Now batting number 6. Ashley Ashbee!" 

This baseball coach was  was straight out of Central Casting. He would chew tobacco, he insisted on country music being played. He spoke in grunts. He wanted no part of that. It was like Mom, baseball, apple pie. He said to Sports Marketing in Maryland, who was responsible for getting the public address announcer, pay somebody. Pay somebody to do this. And so they had an open tryout and it was a paid position doesn't pay much we when I started I want to say, it was 35 dollars a game so it's not a lot of money. 

And I remember the tryout was the beginning of February, because baseball in the NCAA, baseball starts really towards the end of February and this was the beginning of February and it was a snowy day and it doesn't snow a ton in Maryland but it snows enough. And the thing is though, drivers here, They're terrible, especially that, when they just don't understand how to drive in snow. So I was the only one who showed up. So I got the job and then after it was probably after the first or second game, the assistant coach for volleyball, showed up and asked me if I wanted to do public address for volleyball, at -- back in those days, I had two rules at Merrill. There were two rules, it was always be on time. And never say no. And so I said to her, "Well, I don't know volleyball" and she said, "That's okay, we'll teach you if you want to do it" and I said, "Sure." 

So I started doing volleyball back in 2002 and I'm still doing it.

Ashley: Good for you. I feel like yeah, I feel like a lot of us  communications consultants have like communications-related hobbies or volunteer things or side things. For example, in high school, I started out Shakespeare plays and things like that and I learned how to project my voice and I learned how to get feedback on what the audience is giving me. And I was also training to be a journalist at the same time and it was really interesting to see how those two things cross-pollinated each other. 

And then I found the same thing when I went to like Professional writing degree and then I did a corporate communications certificate and it's amazing how many times I've used what I learned doing Shakespeare on stage at every part of my in terms of like, getting a sense of a feedback and learning to project my voice and trying not to sound scripted. It's, I don't know. It's really, it's really interesting how many things you can transfer that to.

Zach: Oh, totally. Well doing Shakespeare, too, I mean that's challenging. I can't imagine. So you could I mean I feel like you can if you can do Shakespeare like that you can do anything. 

Ashley: Yeah. And it's -- well, thank you by the way -- I like to think that's true. I mean it's Midsummer Night's Dream. So it's like an action-packed one. It's not all, kings reciting monologues the whole time but it is really interesting. How do you make a two-page monologue interesting and also relatable? How do you make teenagers relate to something that was written 400 years ago and it's like one person talking to a crowd and it's like three pages long.

Zach: Iambic pentameter.

Ashley: Yeah I didn't take Shakespeare to kind of figure out like how I could make myself more adaptable, but I I still use it, I still use it to kind of figure out how receptive an audiences is to what I'm doing. And I think that's also part of my branding to because I was a really goofy kid, and I loved to make people laugh and and yeah, it's just really interesting all those, all those things kind of helped you in your career but also give you a bit of a boost because you're getting a confirmation from an audience. So then think. Oh well, maybe I should try this or that or whatever. 

Zach: Totally. Well, I'm part of it, too, is having the guts to do those things in your branding to marry those things.

Ashley: Yes.

Zach: far too many people are, I can't do that for my business or I can't do that.

Ashley: Yes. Especially in B2B.

Zach: Oh, especially in B2B. I'm a, obviously, and be Gibby.

Ashley: Oh yeah, suit and tie. Really formal. It's like -- I had this Conversation with a prospect of few weeks ago. And it was really refreshing to hear that. I think he's like telling his to CMO or something that it's okay for us to have personality in our organic content especially. It's okay if we, you know, make people laugh like that. That doesn't detract from our message, it can kind of help develop our message. 

Zach: Oh yeah. Absolutely. It also makes you more human. It makes the brand for human and especially today. A conversational tone these days, just goes so far.

Ashley: Yeah. I mean, I didn't make a big fuss over that on my website because I haven't figured out how receptive people are, but on my website. I said explicitly in my copywriting page that if I think that humour and personality are important for the project, I'll suggest it and I don't know. I kind of felt like maybe that might deter some People who are not quite there yet about, you know, the humanity of of B2B marketing. I don't know. I'll have to see if it works or not, but I'm totally big on that. I mean other businesses are people too, they're run by people who are driven by, I don't want to say Primal urges but where we're still relating one human to another just because it's not, you know, direct-to-consumer.

Zach:Well, that's exactly right. It's funny. It's been a little while now years, but I wrote a big piece on this and it's it's called I think it's oh Here's Why Your Message Isn't Resonating. That's that's what I called it and it -- basically it was written for B2B and it basically said everyone is a consumer, everyone is a consumer. 

I come out of B2B tech. I spent 20 years in product marketing for Enterprise technology and in Enterprise Tech, the way that by the buying process goes, is it's a buying group. I'm almost always, it, is a group of people that are involved in the buying process. Even if, even if one person is the person that quote unquote signs their name, they're multiple people involved and the question, the pushback I used to get all the time is "Oh this is a buying group it's B2B, not B2C."

Yes. And every single one of them is a consumer and the reason that is, is because of this because of that phone in your pocket because of the launch of the iPhone, really changed everyone and we've continued to evolve and attend change because of it because prior to the iPhone. Yeah, the internet was around but it was most likely dial up unless I was lucky enough to be able to pay the money for Broadband. It was either dial up or with slow broadband and I could find out stuff. But yeah, if I am tethered to my computer I have to go find it it before that.

Before that when it truly was dial up there wasn't enough information out there. So I couldn't find information, B2B, I needed a salesperson to find stuff to learn stuff. It was much more difficult for me to get a good sense of, what's this product, what's the problem it solves? Why do I want this? I was much more dependent on the salesperson and that was really forever up until that iPhone came out.

What happened was, everyone started to turn inward because now all of a sudden I can get access to anything I want in the very moment that I want, I don't need you anymore, salesperson, I can figure out all of this. On my own Wherever Whenever I want. Not only that. It also made us really for or selfish or inward book itself. He's right selfies didn't exist. Now you look at pictures most pictures that people post online and I know it's you know, b2c B2B whatever its people posting pictures, you see people post online it's not the way it used to be. Where if I'm at a concert right I'm taking a picture of the concert. I have pictures from when I was a kid where I took a camera to a concert, I took a picture, right? "Yo, I'm at a concert. Look at our seats!" Click. What do you do now? You're taking a picture of you at that concert.

And so, and so this ties back to messaging and positioning and ties back to this whole discussion even about conversational writing and humanizing the message and humanizing the content. It's it's about the audience, it's about the audience. If you know that your buyers are super serious people, if you know that there are they don't respond to quirky and silly messaging. You don't use it. You speak the way your audience speaks, use the language and the tone. The way that your your audience, Your audience, not just expects, its not so much expects, but will will react to and even in a situation like that I can be conversational, conversational among a bunch of scientists might be different than conversational around a bunch of race car drivers, but still conversational.

Ashley: Yeah, yeah for sure. And I that really goes back to the importance of -- you wrote a blog post about this recently about like knowing your audience and what they expect and building for that rather than prescribing a narrative or whatever.

Zach: Oh yeah. 

Ashley: A lot of companies do that. 

Zach: Yeah. Oh, they totally do. It's one of the dirty secrets in marketing. Everybody says that they do buyer personas and everybody says that the do audience research, they don't, they just say that they were they doing what they say that? Oh, I did it. But these days it's just knowing your audience isn't enough. It's becoming your audience. It's finding out where they're hanging out online --

Ashley: Being on the same plane.

Zach: Exactly, exactly. Hanging out, interacting engaging. That's how you learn how to talk the talk. 

Ashley: Yes, I have been on about this for so long. Like a lot of people just so many clients I've had just don't want to invest in community engagement. I'm always telling them. Yes, you're not getting direct sales from this but that's not the goal. You're trying to get a sense of what your audience. You get so much intelligence about about your industry and your personas and everything just by listening to what people are saying and having conversations with them. 

And it's like anyone if you walk into a room and you start having a conversation, you end up starting to talk like the people you're talking to because y you want to have a rapport with them and you can't do that unless you're listening unless you're in the space where your people are and you kind of need to be part of that community to do that. 

I'm always telling people Things. Like, you know, if you want to know what, what what people who use this kind of product care about, Stop shutting down retargeting ads, like read the comment sections. People tell you what they want, and what they like, and what they don't like. There's so many ways to get intelligence just by listening and being in the place where your people are.

Zach: Totally. 

Ashley: So yeah. Yeah. It's like, I don't know. I just find that a lot of people are still stuck in that mode of, you know, marketing is only valid. If, you know, we can we can prove a direct attribution, that this this tactic got a direct sale and it's like that's not what content marketing is youre kind of building a case for something, you're building rapport with people. You're listening. Like I'm so big on writing to listen writing as a way of exploring something, not just opening and closing a sale with a social media post.

Zach: Doesn't happen. I just had this conversation today. I have a product marketing advisory agency  firm offer I call The Sounding Board. So Sounding Board is basically access to me. We do sessions a couple sessions a month where we work through different things and then it's unlimited ask me anything. And on the session today, sometimes it's high-level strategy. Sometimes it's down. In the weeds execution. And today, we were down in the weeds execution, this one client with me, and we were taking just a blog post and we were lifting it up and making it better. 

And in that blog post, I took out, they had a call to action and that call to action was -- it was like a demo or get a, that's what it was. It was sign up for free to try out our product, right? It wasn't like the word, it wasn't exactly. Look like that but that's basically what it was and I said nobody's going to do that. Nobody's going to do that. It's like I said to my client it's like you're walking down the street and someone comes up to you and they're kind of cute and they start talking to you and your kind of diggin this vibe and then they say all right, "ey let's go back to my place. What do you say?" Click whoo-hoo. Hold on. Hold on let's just wait. Hold on or or even take it a step further, right? That person gets down on one knee and says you're amazing. Will you marry me? Or you're amazing. Will you come with me on a trip to Bali? That's probably the best one. Like, wait a second. Wait a second. 

And so we took that call to action out completely and, and changed it up with. We took the company's new tagline that we came up with, which is something that it's really a message. I'm not going to say it here but it's really a message that everyone can get behind and and then we wrote, so we wrote that and then we wrote at the end of the blog and that tied back, of course. Course to the blog post because every anything that they do falls off of that core message that you came up with everything and anything. So we wrote it out and then we said something like, it was all first person. I believe this works. This can be everyone's Mantra, don't you think? And that was the end of the blog. There's no call to action. 

The purpose of it is to drive interest, just to create -- it's not even creating demand. It's creating demand long-term creating demand does not happen from a single blog post or from a single anything but over time and you're consistent with that message. And you take that message and make sure that that that message eaks into everything you do, even if it's not a quote, 

You know what a great example. Of this company. There's a company, I work with called cork are the Court Care. There, is there a startup company tech company in the healthcare space. And they work with long-term care and in long-term care in the state's long-term care. Pardon, my language, long-term care is a shitshow. It's all based a lot of income for long-term care facilities is based on reimbursement, is managed care. So it's Reimbursement, from insurance companies and reimbursement from the government. The problem is every one of those entities has different systems, different technology, different portals that you have to log into to get data from and even though it's one patient, one patient could have data and will have data across all of these different systems because this data is logged in manually over time, what happens is there are Errors, all over the place. On top of that. Getting into this, technology is a bear because it's a lot of it's old. It doesn't necessarily work with all the different new systems and there's no incentive for the insurance companies or the government and fix it. So it stays old. And so what happens is in long-term care, I read a stat they it was as of 2018 long-term care facillities on average were writing off five million dollars a year per facility. So if you have a company that has, let's say 20 facilities. They're writing off a hundred million dollars a year because they can't get reimbursed for it's so much money. So what it's a fight, right? So for the biller to try and reconcile all this stuff, it feels like a fight because they're fighting with this portal there, fighting with this insurance company there. Fighting with this technology to try and get it to work. And so, what we came up with, was stop fighting start getting paid. 

So everything we do that. Core Care is around that core message. Stop fighting. Start getting paid and you can kind of see when you understand what their technology does, which is it converges all data to a single place to a biller, can see it all in one place and with AI and machine learning it identities errors and then it fixes them. It shows you where they are and then it tells you right now, at least it tells me how to fix them. So instead of fighting, you're just getting paid faster. And so now, all of a sudden, if we're doing early, buyer journey type content. It's all about the fight to stop fighting, and start getting paid. If we're doing later by buyer journey, stop or sales enablement, materials, it's all about getting paid all of the things under that of that umbrella. It's the content. It's like creating these these simple umbrellas through a message, or through a position. 

Ashley: Yeah. And I think it's so important to understand
 the person you're trying to engage. What what do they find painful and what is the degree of that pain? And how do you alleviate that and then tailoring the message to that instead of positioning it like it like you're doing a favour for someone? No it's like your life is going to be better. This is what the outcome is going to be. If you do this and then people are driven because they have a stake in it now. 

For sure and they key to that goes back to what we were talking about before becoming your audience because it used to be you could talk feature benefit feature benefit. In fact, it was taught feature benefit feature benefit and then someone got smart and they said, oh, we can't talk about the features. We got to talk about the benefit. Why this thing matters, what's the benefit of it? So it flipped benefit-feature benefit-feature.

This lasted for a while, probably through the most of the 90s and then and then companies and marketers got a little smarter and it became problem-solution. We don't want to be focused on our product. Benefit is still about our product, we want to be focused on solving problems. So it's a problem-solution, problem-solution. And now we've reached another inflection point. Again, my theory is because of the phone, everybody's turned inward but now problem-solution doesn't work so much anymore. You know, all the you'll see lots of messaging out there or posts out there about sell the problem, sell the problem that you solve not the product that you offer. 

And I think that's terrible advice because it's missing one thing. Well, it's missing one. Thing. And this goes back, this is what goes back to our earlier, conversation, its context. And if you don't engage with your audience, if you don't interact with your audience, you have no idea what the context of that problem is. 

Ashley: Yeah, yeah, problem solution doesn't really speak to rapport, really.

Zach: No, not at all. 

Ashley: Yeah. It's like you can't you? Yeah, you can know someone's problem, but that's not going to help you unless you actually know like what drives them and what they care about and what affects them and whatever it is that you're trying to sell. 

Zach: One of the things that works really well too is to get to why that really matters. Now, of course you have to know your audience, engage and everything but it's asking why a bunch of times there's this this it's a from process manufacturing. And this comes out of process manufacturing in Japan. It's called the five wise. And the five wise is to its to get to a root cause. You learn, you learn Learn all about this stuff in process work. Like Six Sigma. I work for GE back in the day and so everyone had to become Six Sigma certified. I was a green belt in Six Sigma and you learn. So you learn about root causes causes of problems and it's the same thing with the message or positioning where to get to the problem. It's just asking why a lot maybe five times and maybe a little more, maybe a little less, but for 

Another thing you'll hear people say is you don't sell the drill, you sell the hole and that's not right either because selling the hole is selling the problem, or really, it's still selling the solution. I guess, it's selling the outcome, but you don't sell the whole, because the asking why. 

So, why do I want to drill a hole in my wall? Well, I want to attach my bookshelf, to the wall. Well, why do I want to Catch my bookshelf to the wall? Because I don't want it to fall on my kids. Well why don't I want it to fall on my kids? like what kid is going to climb this book shelf? Why don't I want this to happen? Well I leave my Hershey bars at the top shelf and my three-year-old knows it and he's really good at climbing and I don't want to be to fall. So okay, so now I know that the reason why the hole exist is I want to protect my kids.

Ashley: Right. (In a singing voice) Context!

Zach: Exactly who's going to think about that? Drill a hole, protect your kids - what?! But when you segment out your audiences and you understand who's buying who's buying and why they're buying, it just gives you a superpower and asking why can help you do that? Yeah segmenting -- So, I can't I don't think we've ever talked about this but I'm a huge fan of knowledge bases for cloud software, I guess because I'm a freelancer, I'm always exploring with what I could use for information product kind of workflows and things once I'm there and I've noticed that in most knowledge bases, there's no segment-related content. 

Like it's all how to how to install this how to troubleshoot this. There's usually nothing about specific segments, and how to, how to help their particular problems and then you talk to these companies. And it's like, you don't even know about this stuff because they're not, they're not asking why, first of all. They're not investing in that. They're investing in like troubleshooting content and ads, they're not investing in contextual segment kind of based content and it's amazing how common this is because, like you're saying it's a superpower, and you don't necessarily have to invest a lot of money into it to leverage it. You just have to at least try. 

Zach: Well yeah, yeah, it's so in the tech world, it was always product management, right? So product management its understanding, not just how we intend our audience to use are offering. Integrity. I say product a lot. So if I slip and say product here, I mean, anything product, to me is an offer. It's a product, is a product of product is a service of product, can be an idea, I always use product. 

So, so not just how do we want our clients, or how do we intend our customers to use our product? But how are they? Using our product, and a lot of companies, a lot of companies end up and a lot of entrepreneurs, too and even Freelancers have this view of what their offering is, what it does and why their audience should care about it. But sometimes how your audience is or how your customers are actually using what you do, or what you produce is different from what you intended. And, and it's important to get that, and it's important to be flexible with that because you can find new opportunity in that.

Ashley: I feel like maybe people will be more likely to do it if they felt like a spy, that's kind of what you are in a way,

Zach: (Laughs and hums the James Bond theme)

Ashley: I just picture Inspector Inspector listening in to conversations and stuff.

Zach: (Laughs and claps once) That's awesome.

Ashley: It's a little different than spying but it is exciting. 

Zach: Go, go, Gadget Google machine!

Ashley: Exactly. Yeah. That's going to be my new branding. 

But yeah I just I feel like maybe that's what I should be doing. Instead of wagging my finger at people I should I should help people see how exciting this is. It's really exciting to get to know what makes people tick. Yeah. 

Zach: Do it! 


Yeah, exactly. I should do that. I should stupid. But yeah, that's one of my goals for 2022 is to get more heavily into coaching. I've only done it off here and there but I just I'm so big on that, and it's just unfortunate that a lot of people just don't see it that way. We're maybe they do. And there you have the C Suite is telling them just, you know, try to get direct sales. Maybe that's it. And it's hard to say why. It's so it's not heard at least, he didn't see that. Comment approach. Well, part of it, high-tech development, part of part of it is because of what you brought up before is because of all the measurements in place and Archer, Yeah, people focus so much on the attribution, they lose, they lose a lot of value because they're so focused on that. Tribution content, marketing, sure, you have all the typical metrics, right? But it reminds me I'm going to get really old school year, but it reminds me of an ad that I used to see when I was a kid. It's for a company called BASF and they make Polly. Yes. Yeah, they make polymers. And they make, they don't even know what they make, but it's all chemical stuff, right? But they say that, the ad said that, if they were always beautifully, has with me. 

But they the voiceover would go at the ASF, you don't make railroad tracks. We make them stronger. We don't do, we don't make bullet trains. We make them faster, we don't write it. So it was, it was that type of thing and that's content marketing to me these content marketing, when you do it right, makes that buying process smoother and quicker. And at the end of the day at the end of the day, there's only one metric, that matters another, that's Revenue, that's revenue and so for a company, right? You make money, you grow, you don't make you lose money, you don't grow you, you shrink natural. Yes. Yeah, what you're saying earlier about? Like how, how much marketing is evolved and now for 

You know, people have different expectations because they can access anything online. I wrote, and I wrote a blog post about this a while ago. And so I was doing a bunch of research for it and stature totally proved that. Information is part of the buying process. It's when you, when you buy something you want to get You want to know how to get the value of it. You want that that Insight on a product when you buy it, and That can determine everything from what you charge for it. If people buy it at all, who buys it and II mean I as a consumer, I do the same thing myself. If I can't see, how I'm going to get a return on something for my particular case, if I keep that's are admitted to me or I can't see how I can do that within a 30-day trial, I'm not giving you any consider buying it. Because now, you've just given me homework and you're expecting me to do all this homework, to figure it out. 

You know, figure out something that you should teach me. So I'm not going to buy it. And so I see, I mean, I wasn't around 34 years ago, but I see like maybe people didn't buy that way, because they knew that information wasn't out there and they could get it from a sales rep. Below the sales. Rep doesn't even have it because marketing isn't giving it to them, and it's not accessible online to the consumer to search either. So what do you do? You just don't buy it that? Well, that's right, that's right, yeah. It becomes it becomes an annoyance. If you have an old-school Market or an old-school seller on your case, it's annoying. It's annoying and we don't buy from people who are annoying, you don't know. No. And especially it also said to me kind of sheds, light on customer service, you have a customer service, we might be really attentive and nice. But if in their, in their internal databases of information, you know, their internal knowledge hub. For example, they don't have any resources to educate that salesperson on what my problems are. Well now, I've just spent 20 minutes, Talking to someone at. They can't help me or Ivor. I've talked to a chatbot that has no, it can't pull any resources that would help me because they haven't written any, you know, and it's like, you talk to a sales rep and they've never heard of the question that I'm asking for. Problem that I'm asking and it's like well I only know to ask that because I work in marketing, you know, that's that's probably why you've never heard that question asked before because you can do their research to figure it out. And I'm only telling just because I'm a nice person and I think you should know because our product But all the more this this totally backs up the theory. Yeah, well, on this, you are a marketer and you expect you identify that way. And you expect the sales person who is interacting with you to know that to understand that and to take your perspective because they're selling you something, I'm going to I am Ashley, I'm going to buy something because it helps me as a marketer. So how how are you going to sell me something? If you don't understand by my needs, my pains my desires, we need that context. If we don't have that sales person doesn't have that context and hasn't done the research. Well then they're annoying. They haven't done that work. They're annoying. This is that expectation that has changed and so many sales pros and marketers have not changed. 

Adopted that have adapted with the times and witness. It's relatively new so you know relative but it doesn't mean it's acceptable. Yeah. And also I mean for me it goes even beyond what my needs and pain points are as a marketer. It's like I know how to fully leverage a software to get the best return on it, but I need You know what, it does that technology is capable of in order to do that. And so if you don't, if you don't even know, he was as a customer Sales and Service person doesn't even know what a workflow is or isn't familiar with the Integrations that are possible, or you say something as possible, but it turns out it is and you just don't know the technology. Well now you've kind of led me on and I vesting in something that actually isn't going to work. And it's not your fault necessarily because that's, you know, maybe not part of your training. But yet, when you, when you have a prospect, that Prospect has all of these boxes that they need to take in order to figure out if something is right for them. So you not only need to know the problems that person and what they care about. But what are those boxes that they need to take? And it's remarkable how many companies just don't have that and even if you talk to the CEO, It's like they ever collected. If they're not doing any, you know, of lack of a better term field research to figure out like, what exactly are the boxes I need to check. You know and it's amazing the comment I just don't understand it you because I'm the new school marketer so it's amazingly common. It's it's crazy. I don't get it either. Yeah. Like I've actually You know. Some companies not not intending to try to be a copywriter for them but but just, you know, realized how much they need to do that. They are doing and that sort of offering something based on that, based on what it can do for them, for their, for their buying cycle, and they say, oh, we're not interested in that, you know, we're investing in SEO, or investing in ads right now. Let's like hope ads are fine, but what are you advertising? If you don't understand the person you're connecting with. I love have another story for you, so I worked for this unicorn of a company and eventually went public and everything. But when I started, the guy who ran marketing at the time was super into sto super into web traffic because he was getting measured on that, he was getting measured on that, he did not care what the content was and so we had hired this company to do blog posts. And they were terrible. It was just cooking utter crap. They were just awful but it didn't like the keyword stuffing SEO. Yes, answer the question for me. Okay great we drive traffic to the site and then the content sucks. What are we doing? Are you do, we think that these people who are coming to our site because they're driven there By SEO by paid ads. They're driven to a particular page and then that page is terrible. And then the content in the blog is D. Haribol, what are we actually doing? We're not attracting them. We are initially attracting them and then we're attracting them to repel them and then if you think they are ever coming back, you're nuts. Yeah, yeah. It's like when you I've seen this quite a lot quite a lot. It's like they they put all their eggs in to quote, unquote SEO, but it's not in 10 days. They still see over smile because they don't even know what the intent is. It's based on some industry keyword that you haven't even verified your audience actually uses when they're searching for things. And so that's that's one of the main problems is that there's no intent related to the strategy. And then number two, is You're only design and strategy around ranking ranking, doesn't mean that first of all, that anyone's going to click, it open ranking, doesn't mean that they're going to go down a funnel. Once they open the page, if it's not engaging, if it doesn't speak to them. It's, I just don't understand this obsession with ranking like, you know, something converts. And that's what your ranking and the content is great. That's awesome. But just, this obsession with trying to rank for industry keywords, 

I don't, I don't get it. Like why it reminds me? It reminds me intact where someone would have a data issue. And so what they would do like to there's too much data, but we have too much data. We can't. We can't find stuff. So what are we going to do? We're going to buy view service tax because that has to be for data. That doesn't okay, it's kind of the same sort of thing. You're trying to add people to your site but there's nothing there. That's attractive to them. There's nothing there that they can consume, there's nothing there that positions the company or positions the offering or positions. Even the point of view in a high quality way that's engaging to our particular audience segments that were targeted and so what we're doing is we're just eliminating buyers, that's what our SEO is doing. Its Eliminating ourselves from the buying process before it even starts. Yeah, and I think that's also probably Made made more misleading and worse when the whole the whole strategies around ranking for a keyword and that's what totally are are paid for, you know, it's like when they do their performance review, it's based on if they got this keyword on X bottom, the first page. And so, You know, you show that to the board or whatever and said, like look, everyone's everything's on track. Well it's not on track because you're not tracking the right things and you're all so obsessed with attribution that doesn't account for anything that we've been talking about. Yes, not because back to happens. I'm glad those five wise could help a company here. Why do we care about SEO ranking? Well, because we want to cut people to come to our site. Why do we want people to come to our site? Because we want them to Read our content. Why do we want them to read our content? Because it gives them a good view of our good sense of our point of view. And we believe it's going to be engaging in attractive to them. So they can. What's when they're ready, enter a buying cycle. Well, now of a sudden, we understand why SEO is important to our company. Well, we should make sure that we know we need to make sure that the content is high quality. We need to make sure that the content demonstrates. Our point of view shares that overarching message does all of these different things. Well, okay, we got to work on that first. Before we really invest in SEO, look, I think SEO. Is super important, but it's super, super important at a point. And if you're not as don't have that Foundation set yet, it's worse than a waste of money and a waste of time. It's worse than hurting your energy from things that do. Well, if it's worse than that too. Because because if you, if you implement an SEO program, even I was gonna say comprehensive SEO program, but if you implement an SEO initiative, 

Before you've laid the foundation of solid content that speaks to the audience that helps address issues. That is either funny or educational or Both all of the, all of the, all of it. If you implement it before, you have that stuff in that brand voice with the right message, then you're pulling people too. A site that's not going to speak to them. You're pulling them to content that isn't ready for prime time. You're putting the cart before the horse. 

Yeah, and another argument I've seen many times is like, well, yeah, the content we're putting on to try to rank. This keyword is crap, but we need so much content, you know, we need so many backlinks and internal links that, you know, we can't afford to have quality content for every one of those things. It's like, well, Google is a lot smarter than that. Now, you know, they're not going to rank something just because of has all the, the linking structure, right? I mean, that's, that's certainly part of it. Well, and it's the same but it doesn't help you. It's the same question, okay? 

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Yes, say that we take. 

Ranked number one on Google and we get thousands and thousands and thousands of visitors to this page. Okay, now what it's crap content. Yeah, attracted people to a shitty page. Yeah, they're not going to be your best people either. Like, you know, it's like the people who consider crab content or not, you know, the staff he has fires. There was there was a few years ago, I went to this beer, festival with my wife and there's a mic, it's not someone, that's not so micro anymore. There used to be a microbrewery. Now there are more macro year us called Flying Dog. I don't know if you know flying dog or future beer or anything. I'm not Ah, but based on the name, I kind of want to try. It's so good. There's stuff is so good and they're marketing is brilliant. So they it's definitely craft beer but it's not, it's not Budweiser. It's not, you know, I don't know what in Canada is the equivalent to Budweiser maybe labatt's. I don't know. Probably Molson Canadian. I would think there you go. Molson Canadian. So it's not Molson. Canadian it's not Budweiser, Bud. Light Co. 

Slight any of this stuff and the brewmaster is there. And he's giving a talk were in the tent and he starts his this has stayed with me, will forever, stay with me. He starts off his talk and he says, good people, drink could be here. I want you to think about that for a second. I want you to think of all the bad beer out there in the world and now picture all the people that drink you at it. It was really funny and it was totally elitist and totally snobby and totally fit their brand and it was just dead on. It was dead on. It was so funny. Yeah, as a freelancer. Even I've noticed this, it's like, when I Was having a work and I was New World. I was sort of, I'll do whatever you want for whatever money you have, you know, I didn't say that but it was pretty well known that I, you know, was not terribly you know that's a beggar Beggars, can't be choosers, kind of thing. And that's how I positioned myself pretty much. And I just got the worst clients just like, bleed, you dry. And for it took me, I think a year, almost to realize that 

This wasn't just a Yeah, we'll pray on that, that's who you attract, you attract Predators literally. And once I changed once, I shifted from that and also geared towards people who Who are companies that were more respectful and understood the value of. What I, what I can do, that's when I stop getting those crappy planes, that's when I stopped getting. Getting exploited basically, it's amazing how much that plays a role in, not only attracted to you. But why? And how they find you? And they recommend you to like, and I would, I would get them. I just got a couple of really bad referrals about three years ago from someone who I'd known forever, and they were just the worst clients I've ever had and it was just because that's how my contact was positioning me, you know. So it people say things, Like, well, you know, will will, will kind of do this low-end kind of sleazy positioning for now and then we'll turn it into something else. But it's like sleazy people connect with sleazy people, you know, this isn't going to turn into some high level thing that's going to get you out of your out of the hole, it's just going to dig the hole even deeper and once I realized that and started switching it, that's where my career started improving. And that's when I started getting a lot that our clients and our respect and 

It's amazing. It's amazing. How many people just don't figure that out and also sad because they're opening themselves up, it's Fierce, it's fear really. And I mean I've been there too. Of course, the because everybody who's gone this path, because I started out as a Content real answer after I left corporate because it was easy, right? I could write blogs. I could read ebooks, I could write this up, it's easy. And I ended up quitting it because I was burning out. I didn't want to do it anymore. But in the beginning, it was the same thing. I was attracting the wrong people because I needed work and it's, it's beer. It's totally fear. But when you, when you stand in your power, which sounds super whoo, but it doesn't sound. Okay. I know what you mean, but it works when you stand in your power, you have the confidence, right? And you raise your prices. It's a miss. My brother, she's totally helps my brother, my brother's photographer, and he was doing Does he does corporate stuff. He's doing head shots. Now he's super talented, I'm biased, but he is he's real. He does head shots now and for the longest time he did and he still does events. So how weddings bar mitzvahs, that sort of thing and he was sick of doing these? Like I don't want to do these. I don't want to do these events and he's like, so I've decided I'm going to double my rates 

And I said to him, I don't think you're going to have less any less opportunity if you w rates. Is I come on. It's like, I'm doubling my wrist. I don't be like, change your clientele, but I don't think you're gonna going to have any less demand and he doubled his rates and he got insane demand. He changed his clients. Different be more coming to him. This is such a good lesson not just for A for anyone but he changed the type of people that were coming to that were attracted by it because it was more money. It was seen as a higher end product, it was already a high-end product. Like I said, I'm biased, but he is super, super talented. It was already a high-end product. He had the testimonials to back it up, but He he got demand from a different type of clientele who is easier to work with and he raised the let his game The Experience. Now that he provides is a for those types of events is a lot different than it was when he was doing it for half price but it is he's actually doing less because people don't bitch yes yes a lot of I've done some talks to you young Freelancers or more people needed Communications and that's always one of my key points is that 

Brain fart, this ever happened to you and you're like, in the middle of a sentence, always always. We're talking about dump, my brother doubled as rates and and the clientele are just easier to work with the clients. Just, they don't bitch, they don't complain, they don't nickel and dimed him. Yes, yes, thank you. Yes. I in the talks, I've done and Comments and posts that I've left him in forums and things for people. Who are you freelancing or having trouble getting clients? Is that good clients know like we were talking about before they know that they get what they pay for. And so they're not only going to be skeptical of you for Gigi, but You know, they're the might not even consider you at all where, you know, where someone who doesn't understand the value of what you do, I had this chat with the stuff and paleo sin, another freelancer in another podcast. It's like 

They're the ones who nickel and dime you because all they see is the money. They don't see the outcome, they don't see. 

The thing all they see is the money and they see it as a loss, right out, the gate, the it, as an investment, they don't understand what they're buying and then they're judging you based Not knowing how to get a return on something not knowing how to leverage what you've given them. So, and that creates problems do because then they don't achieve their goal and they blame you for it. So now you don't have anything for your resume, you probably don't have a testimonial, they might talk smack about your other people. So there's all these implications about you know when you when you connect the wrong people with something that is just going to attract Predators. There's so much follow. It's not just about getting more crappy car. Um, That's right. Where is it software to give all your doing and ice box? Everything's about other things about the sale and it's like if that's all you're trying to do to get my business is like eating discounting and discounting your product. I have less faith in the product now because that's literally the only value you can give me a discount. Like I'm happy to pay. If you know, if I understand the You. But if all, you're all you have to say to me, is that it's easier like no. Well I think you end up costing yourself not only not only do you end up costing yourself sales but as you point out, you end up. Costing yourself. Good clients because there's a there's a there's a guy on LinkedIn. There are there are a bunch of people. I'm like to do this but there's a guy on LinkedIn who has a particular course that he's always Hawking and every so often he'll put the course on sale and you know, 50% Dom 60% off 40% of something like that. So 50 or 60% off sounds like a lot of money it might be 100 bucks. 150 bucks something like that, right? It's a lot of money but it's not it's not a lot of money for the amount of 

Formation that is Promised. Why wouldn't I just pay 300 bucks cares? And so, and so, he's costing himself, money one and two is costing himself solid clients, because anyone who's ways says, oh, I'm just going to wait. I'm just going to wait for this to go down by 50%. Then I'll buy it. Okay. 

They, yeah. They they don't understand that and leverage it discounts. I think discounts are evil. I really do. Yeah, you do have that. What you do? You. Yeah. When you when you put this below, Black Friday is a little different because it's it is so accepted as a deal type day that I think you can get away with doing a Black Friday deal. The problem with that is it's just so noisy but but If you discount too much or too often than everybody knows that you discount. So why am I going to pay a painful price? It's kind of like there's a pulse scarcity, thing, 24 hours. We'll know. But in two weeks, for the next time I uploaded a clothing store, I don't know if they're International, we're not worried, but Joseph A banks rights Joseph, A Bank. Everything is always on sale. I don't hear the ads anymore used to hear the 

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One suit, get two. For 50 %. L there's always has seriously, there's always the sale and if you go in there and something people, why are you going to pay full price in that store? What is this whole price? And that could be their strategy. Maybe their full price is the sale price. But when you, when you go down the path of discounts you get your audience focused and fixated on price and if you get your audience fix, Stated on price. Well, then you are selling a commodity that somebody is going to buy for the lowest possible price. Yeah. Yeah, one of the reasons I dislike Black Friday, even for like, software stuff or or anything like that, is these. I find that two problems, one, start annoying, people who are recurring, customers because you're not doing anything for them. You're only doing things, 20 people in the door and then once they're in the drawer, Or you don't care about them, like that's not a good energy to put into the world. You know, that doesn't exactly instill loyalty and second of all because it's so urgent, you're encouraging people to buy something without having thought about it. So, there's a lot of regret that happens with it and then 

Like what people do when they regret things, they get, they get angry and they start. So, I don't know. I have bought things on Black Friday for my business, but I'm just not a fan of trying to get me to buy something on impulse instead of trying to get me by something based on educating and educating me and getting me value, showing me how to get it to get the most value. And I just find a Black Friday kind of I don't know. It just gets in the way of that and I don't know. Yeah, and let me be. I'm also just my angry and some things that I thought Frank wells in my pocket, the life of an entrepreneur and running your own business. I have a I have a boatload of different softwares software packages that I bought that, you know, I don't use. We're had never used. We're used once. Yeah, yeah. And it's I mean, that's that's partly why I decided to shift towards educational kind of content and coaching about that is that I was finding that I want. I want desperately wanted to get the value out of these things but there was no information anywhere. So and it's it's I don't know. It's something I have to work on because it's hard to build a case for it because you basically have to coach people about why it matters and I don't do that for free. 

Yeah yeah sure no no and I know now usually when I you know, for copywriting things I put coaching into that package so I'm not just charging for thank you because to get what I need from the client and also to help them get the most value out of something. I have to educate them and just not only gives more value to the product but It also protects me because they you know their expectations are not going to be skewed and then they're not going to hold me accountable for that, you know. Well, that's right. 

Oh yeah. Okay. Good. You just cut out for a second. All right, cool. What were you saying? Try to remember. Yeah, I know. I know. Oh my goodness. 

Oh, you were trying to put educating and how that should be part of your offering. Because that, is that something that you do in your work? Or do you mainly work with people who already understand that in your kind of working with us? No, it's a little of both. In fact, I, I used to do something for free. As part of my sales process, which I evolved into a product and offering and now, that offering is a part of my sales process, but it's an offering I called the message Clarity Workshop, or message Clarity session. But so, as product marketing guide for Tech, I'm not technical at all, but I was in tech forever and as a product marketer. So, I'm in product marketing for a technical product, and I'm not technical So, I know. Way to get to the essence of this offer, F essence of this product. So I could understand what it was, what it did, why it matters to our audience and so that's what I did. I answered answered those questions. I talked to product managers and developers and salespeople and founder the founder or the CEO of the company that I talk to all of, you know, as many customers I'd sit in on sales, calls, and listen. It and just pull all that in and I'd answer those questions. What is it? What does it do? And why does it matter from? The very top level all the way down into the most obscure little feature. What is it? What does it do? Why does it matter? And that's how I get to my understanding of the offering. So that's what I would do in my sales process because it also shows people not to Pat myself on the back. Back. I'm really good at what I do and right and it gives people a taste of that because it happens very quickly and that why it matters turns into a strategic narrative that's going to take most people. You know, it's not perfect, but it'll take most people or agencies four, five, six weeks to do. We do it in two or three hours. So, 

I do that now and I started pricing it you know I started out doing it for nothing and what I would find is nobody would buy they do that. Thank you very much and they leave and that would be that. So I started I started pricing it. God I think I started pricing it $250, it's ridiculous help. Still. The thing is I still think it is dramatically undervalued for what underpriced not under value. So it's a thousand bucks now but it is still, it is still 0. I'm going to double it again soon because it's still way way low for what people get and even just like the process itself. Like if you asking questions and that Illuminating things from them, It's well yeah, it's coaching and you're also That's also a snapshot of what the kinds of questions that you could get from our Prospect. You know, the kind of intelligence you could leverage for our Prospect. If you you need to know how to be open to that, you need to know you need to give people enough to work with that. They know what questions to ask and they have an incentive to ask them. That's when you start, teasing a lot of that info. So that's right itself is huge value. Right here has U SS. Well it at the same time for me working with that client. If we do end up moving forward with a sounding board engagement or something else, that's that advisory. Then, excuse me. Then from that session alone, I have a good enough understanding of the company or the product that I'm good. That's usually all I need and now great. Let's go. 

Just so much for that and right contact. Yep. Create multi-purpose content and that's another thing. Like people think that, you know, oh, you know, I spent $300 on a Blog posting out of monies. We students like, well if it's if it's good, if it's on brand and it's right for the audience, that's intended to started it to. There's a million different ways you can repurpose that and leverage and also and also, you know II think more people should, you know, in their in their product. Sit research, you know, if they have focus groups, if they have DieHard fans like have those people, write your content or at least like give you ideas of what the content should be, you know, will flick. Why are you relying on hiring people from outside? Nothing about anything and it's the other. This people have a lot of value. I mean, I'm certainly, one of them. I don't want to address, but I mean, people like me, need something to work with. It. So why not start with the people who already? Already really dig your product or have to have done a focus group or, you know, like so I don't know. Thank you. You and I just see so many companies relying on like getting a nice to sell on a Marketplace. I used to sell. Shout out tweets. Because I'm quite a few, Twitter followers, and, and I just wanted to do things like kind of in Tech, and I explicitly said in the product page, I only will tweet things like informative blog posts, educational things like that almost every I had to stop the gate because almost every single an accord. I got people who wanted to push either a product page, or at home page. No one cares, it doesn't work people well informed, but they want to be entertained, they don't want a bunch of cte's and, you know, industry jargon like no one cares. And so, I just, I mean, I think people should invest in Advocates people who advocate for what it is they do, instead of relying on, trying to get an influencer to post something about them, like, it just, it doesn't work. It's obsession with influencers. 

Micro influencers, it's like people people buy things because their neighbor across the road recommended it. Their neighbor understands their needs and recommended it, you know, and it's the same online people buy from whose reputable gives them the most Insight. They need to make that an educated decision. It's like even Kim Kardashian doesn't hustle home pages because it doesn't work, but one characters Anyway, I think I just checked out your Twitter. You're not kidding. That's awesome. Thank you. Yeah, I I just feel like conversations are so valuable in terms of getting it business intelligence and finding in terms of finding out your people are and how to engage them. And Community engagement is really like a research tool and I'm just so big on using it as a anything. You know, why aren't you looking through Quora threads to see what we were talking about? Why aren't you looking through, you know, Facebook ads in your editor and see what people like and dislike? It's like it's all there. If you, if you open yourself for conversation, people will talk, people love talking about what they care about. They're not going to talk unless you ask them. That's exactly right or you're helping them. You know, you have to be present helping, I think. Anyway, Nice, nice. So for your Before, I Let You Go, if someone wanted to do a workshop with you or something, do you any of that online or is it over your sin? Like, I've been doing these, the message Clarity Workshop, has been is 100% on Zoom. I've done them before in person. I've done them before a person, but it's really covid brought those 

So now my Du Monde Zoom. I did one with a company that had people from all over the place. This last one, there were five of us on two were in the states. One was in Saudi Arabia. One was somewhere else in the world. So yeah. Yeah, amazing. And I mean, I'm partly just curious as a fellow consultant, but do you do anything. Automated you do any courses, do you do? Any information kind of product things. Yeah. So that is actually, that is actually on my docket for 2022 fact. I have a business coach who I adore, and that's what I told her. I want the focus to be so that's our Focus for 2022 is information products, so, it'll probably start out with a group program, which has not yet been devised, but it'll start off with a group program, which, I'll open up as About probably won't announce it as a beta, but I'll open it up as a beta so I can just learn a little do server and everything and then the longer term goal. So by the end of the year, I do want to have some coursework and then some other stuff I have I have 20 years of stuff and yeah, you know, I can do, I can half the battle is just organizing thoughts and figuring out what hooking it. It's right. Figure out the Right audience. But but then, then creating coursework or creating templates, and approaches with direction, that people need that solves some issue for them. And I know I have it. I know I have it. I have this terabyte drive that has all of my stuff going back. Pretty much forever. Wow, that's awesome. So nice, when you can talk That yeah, yeah. Yeah. It's one of these. It's one of these things where, for me, I haven't done it yet. It's kind of a combination of fear of. I don't know where to start. Yeah, I'm why this it's hard. It's hard. I'm in the same boat. I've been saying for literally almost four years. Now, I'm gonna have courses on my making horses and I am making personal son. I am like working on a book but I'm doing like The research stuff. And he sure that I everything is secure and it's amazing how much stuff you need to learn in order to sell things automatically online. It's, it's a huge learning curve. Yeah, I do have them. Do you have a mailing list on your website is born? I do you. It's so calm. She okay, H, so Zach with an h and then messler em essm. ER, Awesome. Yeah, that'd be a great way for people. I think, you know, if they wanted to take a course on their own terms or whatever, they can look out for what you're doing. For sure. Really fun. Email segment on my list. Oh yeah. Okay. I got I don't scrub to you. I'll do that. I have, I'm terrible at sending emails. I should say that on a podcast. I hope you. I have to edit that out, but, but it has has the Spice Girls in it, which one's your favorite favorite Spice? Girl. Yeah, I just like the music. I have no idea. I like my loveness knows he's the best. But when I was I was like 10 when they came out and I loved Victoria style. You know, I would never wear any of it, that's awesome. The jaw and everything. All right. Yeah, there's that one song. There's one song that I could play, this is like embarrassing stories. There's one song that I could play all day on movement, not get sick up. That's the Spice Girls song. Love, that's all. Yeah. It almost kind of has like an 80s kind of throwback. That's totally You like late 80s? And be or something. Yeah. Let's see. That's my vibe. Late 80s. Early 90s. That's my vibe. That's like, yeah, I late 80s and early 90s for me, was high school and college and okay. Like, I don't know if you've seen like my LinkedIn, my hashtag. You do this because we connected on LinkedIn. My hashtag I use is boom shakalaka Yeah. Yeah, yeah. That totally comes from, from NBA Jam in the 90s video game. We used to play all the time and I used to play street hockey with my brothers and neighborhood kids all the time. And when you did something great and somebody would say boom shakalaka. I mean, I know it was kind of NBA Jam a basketball thing, but we use it as a street hockey, boom shakalaka. And so I I used to say that when I manage teams, if somebody did read something really cool really great, they get a boom shakalaka it would be in a team meeting. It would be over email, whatever, boom shakalaka that job because it's celebration, and it's excitement. Its its Excellence. It's all of these things wrapped into one and so one of us, the latter is a totally. So, the last place I worked, I had a super 

A super young team. I think the oldest person on my team might have been 24 and it was I was running content, learning content marketing, and, and bunch of writers, and creators. And this one woman on my team was just, she was brilliant. And she said to me, you know, I dare you to write a link to an article about boom shakalaka and okay, and I Did and then, that was super fun. And then and got some some good metrics, let's say and and then she said, well, you know, That's okay. But I dare you to put boom, shakalaka on your LinkedIn profile. Okay? So if you go to my profile under the company where I worked at the time, it says at this company maybe the company I bring the boom shakalaka to marketing and then I said, what's that? And explain what it was. And then the next thing after that, just seemed logical. I'm just going to make my hashtag boom shakalaka and eventually that boom shakalaka turned into 

An emoji signature, which I use. Now on every post, on every comment. Everything is just, you know, it's the horns of fist the collision and sunglasses, you know, the happy face with the sunglasses, the cool. But then that last one I'll change up that it's the last one, the son of a cool sunglasses becomes kind of the emotion of the time, or the emotion of the post. So if somebody says something in a comment and its really A compliment. Right? I'll do the thank you. Hands at the end. So it'll be horns fist Collision. Thank you hands. So it's become. It's become this Emoji signature for boom shakalaka. And now it's, you know, I got boom, shakalaka stickers, I got, I've all sorts of stuff, but it's all boom, shakalaka, and it came from that one, interaction with that team member of mine. Calm down. If you're ever you're listening, you're amazing. Who dared me to put boom, shakalaka out into the world. Sometimes we just need a good dare to keep going. Holy yeah, actually, before I let you go, what one of the huge kind of aha moments. I had when I decided to stop gearing, or enabling myself to be exploited. 

A fellow person. She's just no, no, she has her own company. And she basically just said this like fire up our the client and she just said something else. That was I can't remember what it was but it was something very like transformative. It's like you don't have to do this. You can just make a shift and it's amazing. Like someone can just say like a little someone you respect can just say a little you know command and you do it and it's amazing. What can happen. Absolutely, absolutely. Well, that's what I think. That's why I think coaches are worth every penny. 

Because you can see what they are. Yeah, I mean you can't see yourself the way, others? See you? Yes. And sometimes it just takes that nudge and sometimes it just takes a really big push but you are nine times out of ten far more capable than you ever. Give yourself credit for me. We all need a high percent especially when they know what they're doing. It's exactly. Well, that's the key. Yeah, I have to know. You doing yeah. Well, I respected her so much that I could tell that she suspected her for that, especially in business and you know that made her feel comfortable and then obviously. Yeah. And I think, like the next day, I canceled that clean enough comprises like, I can't do this anymore, and I felt so much better after. Yeah, well, oh yeah, exactly. All right, so, I'm not sure when this will come out probably and I'll delete all this. I'm just chatting to, you know, probably within a couple of weeks. I'm not really sure yet. Exact tree, I have to edit the transcription find time for that everything but yeah, probably, with an icky stuff. If you send me stuff before you launch it before you post it like give me a few days like let's say, You're done with it, send me some stuff, a few days or a week ahead of time before we actually post it on, create content to and all promoted. Thank you. You also Yeah. Use I used to do a lot of work. The same. Where are you? I love it because it just got too complicated but it's pretty actually easy to just to make a draft. I'm like have everything ready? And then all I literally and then I can just send some the URL without have to having meeting with out of being alive. You can do that on WordPress to but it's, I don't know why more people don't do that. Well, why does everything only happen when the something is like all righty? Well, I will do that and If you think of anything else that you would like to put in the show notes or anything, just drop me a line and I'll be. All right. I'll do that. I have a question for you too. Yeah, sure what are? So I don't do a lot of content writing anymore, but I'm always always have needs clients. Always have needs when it comes to that sort of thing. We don't have to talk about it right now, but I'd love to talk. 

About what you're, what you do, and your rates and all that stuff. Because I'm always looking for really solid partners and writers that sort of thing. I don't have an agency. I never wanted to build an agency. That's why I quit the content game because I just had too much coming in and it was too much pressure and I hated having I-20 bosses. I felt like, like I can't do this anymore, it's no fun. Yeah. So we'll have said to people said to me, you know what, you start your own agency and then just park up but they I don't want the hassle exactly how I felt exactly. I felt like I could be super successful with an agency and be super miserable. All at the same time. Yeah. Screw that I don't need to feel big and important. I have my own companies. I don't know if you like I almost feel like there's a stigma against freelancer is like to have your own agency to fear Philly. 

Yesterday 6:57 p.m.

Successful, I think it's 

So think that here's a position a pig for you, if I were you, I want to position yourself as a freelancer, okay? Because a freelancer is a freelancer is the upper crowd of Freelancers, especially with what we yes, the fiber crowd. And if I go to fiber, right? So one of my clients, for example, loves fiber and he'll take the stuff that we write and he'll get somebody. To lay it out. And it's like this cost me 20 bucks. So you're competing their against the cheapest of the cheap and I think that it's something you don't have to write. So what's your name? Remember named Ali? Someone post on LinkedIn all the time. She's a she's a copywriter and post on LinkedIn. All the time about how to get good. Like another name, not five or the other 10 perk up work, how to Great, how to get great up, work contracts, and the great upward clients. And so, I'm sure you can. But to me, the term freelancer means, you are lower level. You are in the brains of your, your prospects, not in the brains of be, not in the, yeah, just just a freelancer is less. 

Expensive than something else. It's just writing some in air quotes in air quotes. Just a freelancer. So, I would have position yourself as a freelancer. A copywriter sure. I'm a copywriter or I'm an inbound marketer or I'm an inbound marketing coach or inbound marketing advisor. But I would never ever, ever use the term, real answer. Yeah, and I think also I was thinking about this a little while ago actually because I'm focusing more on my website on my own stuff. Now instead of just pushing what other people would too. But I think it also confuses people. I've noticed you know, they don't they don't understand that. I do more than just writing something, it's actually learn a lot about marketing. A lot about your prospects. When you work with me it's not just Text. Yeah. Yeah. I I've also found that. I usually describe myself as like an inbound marketing consultant and copywriter and I do find that like just what you're saying, like, people seem to take it a little more seriously than and it also, you know, I'm not in this big pool of people because not a whole lot of people coach, what I coach. And also write the thing other coaching you want. Well, then, what are the things that help me? Considerably and hopefully it can help you to is I changed my mindset about competition and I used to it's the 20 years in corporate that maybe really just like was afraid of competition. I get wrapped up in competition and what I recognize that it sounds kind of cliche because you hear this a lot now, besides I have Maybe you look for it and you start seeing it but I don't have competition. They're definitely people who do messaging were they're definitely people that do similar things to what I do. But I have no competition because the competition I have is, is me, because, and it's just one of these things where someone wants to work with me or they don't. And if they don't, I don't care. I don't care. There is more than enough. Opportunity out there there is more than enough by saying that I mean there are more than enough to companies and Founders and entrepreneurs who need so much help with messaging and positioning and copywriting it, all that stuff. I have I have my Approach at my signature system. My way of doing things that I've honed over the past two decades and I'm great at, and No one else is as good as what at what I do specifically, as I am just like you. No one in the world does what you do the way that you do it. They don't ya. They can't. It's impossible. And so you have no competition. There are others that do a version of what you do. Sure. But there's so much work out there. And once I started Living that way, it was free. And yeah. I'm sure. There's one, there's a woman on on, please don't put this in the podcast. I think we're done. There's a, there's a woman in on LinkedIn. Her name is Emma Stratton. I don't know if you don't have a sheet. Yes, she's awesome. She's awesome. And we're like, like, siblings from another mother. I'd be like yellow for LinkedIn post. She's awesome. She's awesome old me would have been worried about her. And oh my gosh, I love what she's writing. Why can't I write that? And because our stuff is very similar. It's very similar and she targeting product markets. Now I don't really Target product marketers but the nest you know I could certainly could but instead of being afraid or ass instead of being combative internally about Emma and Punchy. I reached out to her and we had an amazing. This is a while ago, we had an amazing Zoom I told her she should, I gave her advice said you should use a hashtag because she complimented me on boomshakalaka. So I said how about getting Punchy and she's like oh my God, that's amazing. Oh that was you that was me. And she's trying and and ever and her husband is her business. Partner Tom. Emma, Tom. They said be referrals all the time all the time. Yeah. That never would have happened if I, if I had been, oh, my competition, because are they in a traditional world yet, for sure. Absolutely my competition. They do more or less in a very different way. The outcome that they deliver is the exact same outcome that I believe or hey, it's for sure. They go about it in a very different way. Their target, their own agency. They can they call themselves an agency? They have multiple People. They do, they do it differently but not everyone is right for them, just like that, everyone is right for me. And so when someone's not right, when someone's not right for them, they'll send them to me. That's awesome. And if I have someone who's not right for me, I'll send them to them and it's awesome. Yes, it really is. I that's partly why I started getting more into language and people are so supportive like when they believe in you and I do know what you mean about, how much she's great. I don't like, I don't think I really know her. But she's so good at she plans on my feet all the time. I don't know how she does it, but I'm not at all surprised that she's supportive like that. 
Thanks so much for chatting with me. Zach, I had a great time. Again, visit me at ashleyashbee.com/Learn to sign up about my course and all that jazz and you can also find the podcast notes at ashleyashbee.com/podcast. Thanks for listening.