Blogging is a big part of content marketing that keeps readers engaged. It helps brands build a solid audience that’s constantly looking for solutions to their pain points, interesting insights/updates in the field, and specific information about a product or service.
But not everyone can leverage content to generate leads and conversions. After all, 70M posts are shared each month on WordPress alone.
How do you stand out in this clutter?
Ryan Robinson, the pro blogger and content lead at Close comes to our rescue! We got talking to him about his professional journey and the success mantra Close follows closely 🙂
We present to you excerpts from our conversation.
Let’s hear more about Close’s winning journey from Ryan, who’s been applying his content expertise here.
Hey Ryan! Thank you for taking the time to talk to us about your blogging journey and Close’s brand story.
Our audience is keen on knowing more about you.
Can you tell us about your personal and professional journey so far?
Hey, thank you again for the interview request. It’s nice to connect!
I’m Ryan Robinson. I’m a blogger and a podcaster based out of Los Angeles. I have been a content marketing consultant for Fortune 500 brands like Google, LinkedIn, Adobe, Zendesk, and more.
These days, I’m the head of content at Close and on my blog www.ryrob.com. My writing is regularly featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Business Insider, and other authoritative publications.
I teach over 500,000 monthly readers how to start a blog and grow an online business related to their purpose. On my blog, I share in-depth and practicable content that captures the exciting ups, downs, and unpredictable experiments of building businesses.
At Close, I work with dozens of the world’s top experts and growing startups and established brands to drive content marketing strategy and rapid execution. Here, at Close, I spearhead content efforts with our content being shared tens of thousands of times, and by influencers with millions of followers.
So that’s my focus. I’ve been investing most of my time and expertise in teaching people how to build a relevant audience and monetize their purpose. Besides, I have a YouTube channel and a podcast that’s coming back to life here soon.
Tell us about Close and how it impacts your customers.
Close is a Sales CRM for startups and small businesses.
We focus on these sales teams that are kind of in the range of somewhere between 1-25 sales reps. So the smaller sales team but where we can drive high impact because our tools are primarily designed around sales productivity.
The platform is built for speed, productivity, and growth. Since 2013, our key focus has been building a CRM for better communication, minus the hassle of manual data entry or complex UI.
Businesses usually get the bulky CRM experience with Salesforce or HubSpot when they struggle with million features inside. It’s complicated! You’ve got to click around and do complex stuff all the time in there. This often ends with businesses struggling with disengaged, frustrated sales reps.
Close is unbelievably simple. It’s designed around salespeople instead of things like complex reporting or for, you know, senior leadership. It’s about helping salespeople sell and that’s why you’ve been so successful.
We’ve carved out a sharp niche for ourselves by being just the best sales CRM for sales teams.
What’s been your demand generation strategy?
We’ve done great with SEO as a demand gen channel as it has helped us optimize our content for organic search. So we have content that ranks for phrases like cold email templates, sales forecasting templates, and what is CRM.
When it comes to content, we’ve mainly focused on sharing educational content for sales teams. And we’ve been doing it well for over 10 years now. On our blog, you’ll find deep-dive resources like sales guides, webinars, help docs, and more that touch upon every aspect of the sales pipeline – from pitching and pipeline management to CRM implementation, and more.
I believe, being consistent with sharing and updating in-depth value-adding content in the niche is central to your demand gen strategy – generating interest and accelerating demand creation.
Our CEO, Steli’s done a couple of thousand videos on YouTube around sales education. This has helped us engage our target audience.
So that’s baked into our DNA.
That’s our expertise.
Besides, updating content has been key for us. We keep going back to live content and updating. We’ve seen 40% traffic growth in 4 months with content updates.
Here’s a screenshot of the raw numbers on our GA.
A recent campaign I’m super proud of is our free cold email generator.
So, if you just Google cold email generator, I’m pretty sure we’re number one for that term. Usually, we are.
And we’ve been building more free tools that we’re launching for salespeople to come get a feel for what it’s like to use Close. They get free value from these tools.
So free tools. That’s been our best growth hack this year, I’d say.
Content is an important component of our growth strategy. It’s like this cycle that fuels itself. If you check out our free tools page, you’ll see we have a lot of education as well.
It’s not just a tool and a container, and then the page is over. We teach you the art and the science of writing. And using this tool to do that effectively right there on the page. And that’s why our tool pages have been successful.
Have you explored any link-building strategies? If yes, can you share a bit about it?
When we talk of link-building strategies, we do a lot of guest posting. So, we have someone specifically on our team who basically only does outreach pitching guest posts and we usually have somewhere in the neighborhood of like 20 to 30 guest posts in progress at any given time.
So, that is someone’s job to own that for us. We like To.
We like to do link building that way in a way that’s more authentic where we’re providing some genuine value to a host site.
We sometimes do links in return or use a web property like my blog. We have a couple of other sites that we publish content on other than Close.
So we try and do indirect exchanges to make everyone happy.
Any advice you’d like to give to marketing professionals, especially in the SaaS domain?
The pursuit of content that ‘guarantees’ achieving business goals almost always leads teams astray.
We need to rework our content creation process to breathe more life, love, heart, soul, and art… into our creations from the start. And often ask yourself ‘why?’ It’s the compass that will keep you on track, always.
Treat the content you share as an ongoing experiment. Listen to what your audience has to say, identify their pressing needs, and discover what truly resonates with them. This is the basis of exploring, adapting, and refining your content. That’s what I do – What I am sharing today is miles away from where I started… reinvention is part of us – but only if we allow it to be!
A last piece of advice – update your content! That’s a big learning I had during my 10-year journey blogging at ryrob. I have seen huge swings in the number of readers month on month (I wouldn’t be the first to say this!). And all this because of not updating content.
So, now I make it a point to revisit important articles at least once a quarter to make sure they are fresh and relevant
Any new skills you are planning to learn?
A good one right now is video. So, obviously, YouTube is a huge acquisition channel and we are working on training our team to all be able to speak on camera, to do quick videos, to talk about sales education or marketing education – these topics that we’re experts at.
We have people who are true pros within our company at these skills. We’re leaning toward using our internal experts to create videos. That’s the big one.
Is there any piece of content that you own (ebook/ whitepaper/ podcast) you’d like to tell us about?
Yes. The cold email generator tool that’s been a huge success for us.
And then I have on my blog the free AI article writer tool that I’d love to surface as well because what we’re doing today at Close is replicating my blog strategy for the past year.
So, that’d be a good example to showcase and show you guys basically just how to make these pages a huge success.
I urge you guys to replicate that success in your niche too!
Sharing high-intent and deep content in the sales domain has helped Close build its authority and attract relevant traffic to its site.
Thanks, Ryan for sharing interesting tidbits on how content can power a business’s demand gen. I am sure our audience got several insights and hacks they can put into practice immediately.
As a SaaS content marketing agency, we’ve also prioritized high-intent content. It’s something we believe in and practice.
If you have any questions on how Close works or can help you, we’d recommend getting in touch with Ryan on LinkedIn. You can also visit his blog to get practical tips in the content domain.