The Marketing Companion

This headline is a bit misleading. In fact, you will probably receive far more than 20 incredible insights from our Marketing Companion conversation with BuzzSumo founder Steve Rayson. The episode posted a few days ago and we have already received more comments on this conversation than any other episode.

Arguably, Steve Rayson analyzes more content than any other person in the world -- billions of pieces in all. Tom Webster and I tap into his years of experience and I think you'll find some of his insights both remarkable ... and perhaps even a little controversial. Here's a sample:

Content doesn't go viral

Don’t bank on your content going viral. Content NEVER goes viral in the true sense of two people share and two of their friends share, then two of their friends share etc. It just doesn’t happen. Studies show that over 90 percent of content people read from social comes from just one point of separation from the original source. To get content to "move," you need multiple influential broadcasters at the same time.

Links are more important than shares. Links give your content longevity.

Most people share without reading

A big influencer recently shared a post on Twitter but forgot to include the link. It was still shared more than 50 times. None of them added the link and I assume few, if any, of them read the post. We see many examples where a post gets more shares than views.

People link and share for different reasons (can discuss the different reasons)

Both shares and links matter but links give your content longevity. Personally I much prefer links to shares.

Content marketing is hard work, not rocket science.

You need to produce regular content that is helpful to your audience. However, to produce unique and valuable content you need to be an expert or very knowledgeable. Otherwise it is difficult for you to add value. The data show the value of original research content as it gains both shares and links.

Try to help people and expect nothing in return. Share your knowledge, your network and your compassion. In time this will be returned and more.

Steve hates pop up forms and landing pages

As Mark Schaefer says in his speeches, "love is the killer app." Give away your content for free, don’t barter for an email address.

"I hate landing pages," Steve said. "I never use them on our site. If people like our content they can sign up. I particularly hate the forms that say sign up or click agree I am an idiot who doesn’t want more sales. However, the data suggests that pop up firms work, so we are likely to see more of them."

Content shock hasn’t even started yet.

Content Shock is real and here but we are just starting to see the impact. The number of internet users is growing, tools to create content are easier to use, and BuzzSumo is seeing significant growth in auto-generated content. Still early days. but content writing algorithms and tools are getting better every day. They will also get cheaper.

More content means you can cater to a wider range of audience interests, the long tail. It's easier to cater for multiple niche audiences if you write ten articles a week rather than one. Steve's research suggests that as sites increase frequency of content publishing they actually get more traffic and more shares, not less, though often less per article on average.

Once people realize "more is more" we will see very significant growth in content.  There are limitations like minimum quality, max frequency, etc. but lots of scope for growth.

Starting to get the picture? This episode is jam-packed with interesting insights you won't want to miss. let's get started ...

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com.

SaneBox is like a super-smart assistant who’s been with you for years and knows what’s important to you. It moves unimportant emails from the inbox into a new folder and summarizes them in a digest, where you can quickly bulk-process them. An average SaneBox customer saves 12+ hours/month. It works with any email provider, client or device. And we have a special offer for you. Simply go to sanebox.com/marketing to receive a risk-free 14-day trial and $25 off your initial subscription! With glowing reviews from TechCrunch, Forbes, The New York Times and emailers everywhere, you will fall in love with email again.

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers, and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. It is an indispensable application for content research, analysis and SEO. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

Direct download: TMC_-_Known-latest.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 2:35am EDT

I recently had a conversation with pioneering blogger Chris Brogan and he mentioned that he had ended his latest podcast series and had begun a new one. "I just thought it was time to create something new," he said. This seems like such a simple idea, and yet it set my wheels spinning. Creating content means building equity in an audience and a body of work. What would make you decide to walk away from that? My promise to you on this blog is that it will always be relevant, interesting, timely, and entertaining. It will be worth your time and I will never let you down. But what if the ideas no longer come to me? What if it becomes a chore? When is it time to end this thing ... or any content project on the web?

The art and science of stopping

I've been consistently creating content for eight years. I've blogged at least twice a week, every week, since 2009. I've written six marketing books in that timeframe. Tom Webster and I have published more than 100 episodes of The Marketing Companion podcast over four years. I've consistently posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn (and less consistently on YouTube and Snapchat) ... and I've never considered the thought of quitting. It's a delicate subject but an important one. What are the signs that you're getting stale, that your audience is dis-interested, or that it's simply time to start something new? Tom and I had never debated this before. We started The Marketing Companion in 2013 without ever having a discussion about our long-term goals, and our purpose ... let alone the end the game. We did it to learn about podcasting and have a little fun along the way (and we do). But the show has become a "thing" now. We have sponsors. We have thousands of people all around the world who listen to every show. But one day we will have to pull the trigger and stop. What does that look like? So this new episode of the podcast is dedicated to "stopping." Tom and I have a frank discussion about our expectations and endings. We reveal for the first time a period last year when the show was in crisis and what we did about it.  We're NOT stopping, but I think you'll enjoy this very unusual show on endings ...

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com.

SaneBox is like a super-smart assistant who’s been with you for years and knows what’s important to you. It moves unimportant emails from the inbox into a new folder and summarizes them in a digest, where you can quickly bulk-process them. An average SaneBox customer saves 12+ hours/month. It works with any email provider, client or device. And we have a special offer for you. Simply go to sanebox.com/marketing to receive a risk-free 14-day trial and $25 off your initial subscription! With glowing reviews from TechCrunch, Forbes, The New York Times and emailers everywhere, you will fall in love with email again.

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers, and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. It is an indispensable application for content research, analysis and SEO. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

Direct download: Your_content-_When_is_it_time_to_pivot_or_quit.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 7:38pm EDT

In 2012, I escaped the crazy crowds of SXSW to have dinner with my friend Tom Webster and his wife Tamsen. We had a magical evening and at the end of our time together I commented that I wish we had recorded the conversation. A lot of people would have loved to hear that debate! A year later, I was thinking about starting a podcast. It was a difficult decision because I didn't want to begin anything that would distract me from creating great content on the blog. I decided I needed a podcasting partner and there was literally only one person I could do it with -- Tom. When I asked him, he didn't hesitate. Would he want to do a podcast with me? "Absolutely," he said. And with that one word, we began a four-year journey together that has culminated this week in the 100th episode of our show. For 99 episodes, we have torn into marketing's biggest issues but for this milestone, we asked our friend Douglas Burdette to interview us about the process and perils of creating 100 episodes of a podcast. I think you'll enjoy a bit of reflection on our show and as always, we can't let a show go by without having a good bit of fun along the way. Thank you so much for supporting us in this journey. We never take you for granted and we'll always be committed to creating the world's most entertaining business podcast for you!

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com.

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

Direct download: A_special_100th_episode_1.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 6:48am EDT

Is social media turning into a three-horse race? New research by Edison indicates that Americans are starting to migrate to three big social media platforms, while usage and preference is flattening out on secondary platforms. In this scintillating, 99th episode of The Marketing Companion, Tom Webster reveals a study 2o years in the making: The Infinite Dial. Some of the highlights of this show:

  • The social media shake-out: Why Snapchat will last and Twitter is in trouble
  • Emergence of smart speakers (like Google Home and Alexa) ... and why Apple is falling behind.
  • The profound implications of the extraordinary growth in video subscriptions
  • The decline of advertising opportunities and the impact on marketing
  • Surprising listener trends in podcasts (and why young people aren't going there)
  • The rise of YouTube as a music channel

In this episode, Tom and I also read our spam, because we can. Who's ready to rumble? Resources mentioned in this podcast: Edison's Infinite Dial Report Norm McDonald's Moth Joke.

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com.

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!


If you've been following popular culture at all, you've probably learned by now of the downfall (at least temporarily) of YouTube's greatest star, PewDie Pie. PewDiePie, a Swedish gamer and humorist, is the first person alive to hit 10 billion views on YouTube. He pulls in more money each year than most Hollywood movie stars and he's the epicenter of YouTube culture. And then it all went south. The Wall Street Journal documented at least nine of his videos that had anti-Semitic messages. Two in particular went viral, one were two people in Africa held up a provocative sign and another where an actor dressed as Jesus explained that Hitler had done nothing wrong. The outfall was swift. An affiliate of Disney terminated his contract with a thud. His career was over, right? Not so fast. Here's the rest of the story.

  • In his initial apology video, PewDiePie seemed stunned. He said, "What I really don't understand is how you people did not get the joke." In a second video he railed at The Wall Street Journal for not understanding new media and accused the organization of targeting him.
  • Millions of online fans around the world defended him, and after the article, his subscriber base increased at its fastest rate ever.
  • Several journalists also came to his defense, including a prominent Jewish writer.
  • Nonplussed, PewDiePie created a video where he goes back in time and kills Hitler to clear his name. It received over 6.5 million views.

On the surface this makes no sense. How can people rally behind a person who sponsored those kind of messages? The truth is deeper, more subtle, and there is a profound message here for every company employing Millennials or selling to them. Something has changed. This is the topic of a fascinating new episode of The Marketing Companion. Any show that begins with rich Corinthian leather and ends with Hitler has to be interesting (you have to hear it to believe it). I think this is one of better shows and it pulls in some help from Chris Brogan. If you've never listened to the Marketing Companion before, give it a try. If you don't laugh in the first 90 seconds I'll give you your money back. Here we go ...

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com.

 BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

Direct download: New_media_influencers_are_changing_marketing_forever.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 5:12am EDT

Three years ago, I was working on what would be the biggest consulting contract of my career. It was a potential deal with a U.S. government agency and as part of the bidding process I had to be interviewed by their senior procurement professionals via Skype.

It was a bit intimidating. The stakes were high and I was facing a table full of people I didn't know.

I started to introduce myself but two sentences into my presentation, the procurement director interrupted me. "Oh Mr. Schaefer, we all know who you are," she said. "We've read your blog for years."

At that moment, I knew the competition was over. I was going to get that contract, for this simple reason: I was known, and the other bidders were not. Of course I was capable and competitive, but all things being equal, being known provides a powerful edge in the business world. I knew this contract was going to come my way ... and it did.

This is a powerful example of the critical role your personal brand can play in the world today. Whether you just want more doors to open for you, you want to write a book someday, or speak before an important industry event, if you're known, you're going to have more success. There are so many personal and professional benefits that depend on becoming known today.

And it might mean something more than that very soon. Being known might mean "relevance" in an imploding world of white-collar employment. Economists say that technology could kill 5 million jobs in the next three years -- mostly "knowledge worker" positions. Things are going to get competitive out there.

Becoming known may be the only permanent, sustainable competitive advantage we have in this tumultuous world. But where do you start? How do you do this? What is the role of social media? Blogs and video? Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat? How much time does it take?

This seems so overwhelming.

Well, until now. It does not have to be.

In this new episode of The Marketing Companion, I give the inside story of my new book. How I wrote it, why I wrote it, and how you, too, can become known.

Please enjoy a FREE CHAPTER of the new book > Free chapter of KNOWN

Now, on to the podcast -- KNOWN, or "GNOME," as Tom refers to it, lays out an actionable plan to develop a profound digital presence that is accessible and achievable. Let's dig into this together, shall we?

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com.

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

Direct download: Fame_fortune_and_the_art_of_becoming_known.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 7:56am EDT

Is your head spinning over the prospect of digital transformation and marketing? Certainly the change ahead might seem dizzying. Social media and social selling, Big Data and analytics, new listening platforms, and artificial intelligence are just a few of the ideas gaining momentum. How does a marketing leader manage through this level of change? In this new episode of The Marketing Companion, Tom Webster and I interview Bryan E. Jones, VP North America Commercial Marketing for Dell Technologies. I have known Bryan for four years and I always learn something from him. In all my travels, I've never met another executive who is more tuned-in when it comes to the integration of technology and sales and marketing. Our latest episode of The Marketing Companion is an extraordinary conversation, revealing:

  • The importance of cultural support and leadership in a digital transformation.
  • Why you can't "metric" a digital culture.
  • How Dell is using training as a core component of employee involvement and social selling.
  • What is the difference between IT transformation and digital transformation?
  • How do we make technology work for us in marketing?
  • How Bryan challenges his commercial team to take risks, experiment, and push the boundaries of social media through innovation contests.
  • How do you keep focused on the technologies that will have really have an impact?
  • The shift toward video.

And of course Tom and I have a little fun along the way, revealing the secret behind the Marketing Companion Headquarters and why Meerkat is the ideal sponsor: Ready for this?

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com.

BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!.

Direct download: What_does_digital_transformation_mean_to_marketing_.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 4:51pm EDT

The polish is off the Apple.

  • One tech commentator said there was something missing from the recent Consumer Electronics Show: Nobody was saying they were the "next Apple of ..."
  • Paypal founder Peter Thiel told the New York Times that the age of Apple is over. Provocative? Sensational? Or is there a kernel of truth there?
  • The company seems to be focusing on incremental change instead of bold new life-changing tech. They are falling behind in AI and smart speakers. IOS-based phone sales have been flat to declining for years.
  • The Apple laptops are getting unfavorable reviews from consumer sites. The company seems to be solving problems that consumers aren't having. Microsoft sales are surging with historically Apple markets like creatives.

What's going on and what can be done? Is the Age of Apple over? Sounds like a great topic for a podcast, right? Right! Tune-in as Tom Webster and I explore the future of the world's most valuable brand and their decision to get into original content.

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com.

 BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

Direct download: Is_the_Age_of_Apple_over_.mp3
Category:Social Media Marketing -- posted at: 6:03pm EDT

I've been in marketing more than 30 years and I think we're facing the period of greatest change in my experience, probably the greatest period of change in the history of marketing. In this new episode of The Marketing Companion, Tom Webster and explore the bold ideas that will have a profound impact on marketers including smart speakers, artificial intelligence, and the "streamification" of content. You won't want to miss this episode. We also get into our new app SlapChat. You need it. We all need it. Resources mentioned in this podcast The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future By Kevin Kelly

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com.

 BuzzSumo is the world’s best way to discover, analyze and amplify your content. Run over to BuzzSumo today for a 14 day free trial. Beyond data, BuzzSumo offers priceless insights into content discovery, monitoring, influencers and outreach, content research and planning, and competitor research. Find out why so many Marketing Companion fans are now hooked on Buzzsumo. Check out BuzzSumo’s powerful technology to look at the hottest content trends down to the hour!

Affinio is now offering a FREE eBook co-authored with Mark Schaefer called How to Identify, Understand and Grow Your Ideal Content Audience. Check it out, as well as their new free audience Discovery tool. Affinio is an advanced marketing intelligence platform that leverages the interest graph to understand today’s consumers. Affinio believes that if we can understand individuals at a deeper and richer level, then we can fundamentally change the way people relate to one another. By understanding the interests and cultural DNA of key audience segments, marketers are empowered to take an audience-first approach to making meaningful connections with ideal consumers. Find out how at Affinio.com.