Adrie: Everyone in content knows the feeling of being less than happy with a piece of content that they've just made, but that feeling, unfortunately, doesn't always stop there. You might even feel it at a critical career juncture enter perfectly content, the podcast. I'm your host. Content strategist at Foleon.
In every episode, we'll be joined by a guest to explore a real life scenario where they tackle a content challenge and that nagging feeling of less than perfection we'll hear about impactful content, stronger strategies, and more inspiring brands so that we can all become a little more perfect and more content.
Welcome everyone to another episode. Today, I'm joined by Francesca Chong from Mention, Mention if you don't know them already is actually really interesting for the content marketing space, mostly because they're working in social listening. Social listening is basically how people monitor conversations that are around them. Both on the web and social media.
Francesca is currently working as the head of content there. And I find this particularly fun to speak with people who work for products that are in the content marketing space or kind of in around the area. But then people who are also doing content marketing for those companies, because it's like a double whammy.
So I'm really excited to have you on board Francesca, excited to have you here today.
Francesca: So it's really great to be here and to chat with you today. So yeah, I can tell you a little bit about how I got started and my journey up until now.
Adrie: Yeah. So that's always my first question. I think it's always yeah, nobody studies, well, not nobody, but very few people study content marketing in university, or kind of trained to do that. It's mostly kind of fall into it. So I want to know how you fell into content, marketing.
Francesca: Yeah, sure. Yeah. I totally agree. I remember doing my my business degree sometime ago now. And there was definitely, you know, nothing about content marketing, so, but it's not a new field or anything it's always been around.
For some reason, it just seems to skip the university curriculum for some reason. So that being said, so I, yeah, I started in digital marketing. Yeah, since I graduated university in 2017, I, if I remember rightly it seems like such a long time ago now, but, you know, time goes quick. And I've had a lot of really great experiences since then.
I, I always knew that I wanted to go into digital marketing. For me it was just a. You know, a space that was ever evolving way seemed like there was a lot of opportunities and, you know, there's so many different aspects of digital marketing that is, it's quite impossible to get bored. In my opinion, and I, I still believe that.
Of course, I think at the beginning, my, my initial roles were more into kind of PPC marketing. So paid search a, I worked for a paid search agency called brain labs in London. Which was a great experience. They have a really great vision and a great approach to, you know, digital marketing and to PPC.
What's really interesting. It was really great working with different clients as well. The agency environment is really dynamic. We had a big range of big clients and small clients charities as well. Yeah. So working with such a range of companies and then moving on to more startup. In a more kind of prevalent role where I was doing a little bit of Google ads, but other things as well.
And that's kind of how I fell into content, I suppose. I never applied at the beginning for any specific content roles. I would say my, my role at Mention is the first role where I've been completely dedicated to content, but I've always had touch points with content along, along the way along the journey.
I would say, yeah, the main reason why I decided to focus on content is that I, I found it to be the most like honest channel and ethical not to say that, you know, marketing or digital marketing is dishonest by default. I definitely had some experiences with startups, with smaller companies where we would.
You know, exaggerate or be encouraged to exaggerate you know, how good the product is. Even though it didn't quite perform as advertised. And to me that that left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I was always told by these marketing leaders that at the beginning, you have to you should bend the truth a little bit because you need to get established.
You need to get your foot into the door. And I didn't quite agree with that approach. I feel like, you know, Customers and and our audiences and consumers are generally quite forgiving. If you're new in a market you don't have to kind of claim to be everything that you're not. You can just be more honest with it, but in terms of content marketing, I would say.
Content genuinely adds value to people's lives. Well, good content. Anyway, in my opinion, you know, whether it's entertainment, value or inspiration or something educational. So it's not just about, you know, the hard sell, trying to make yourself out of something that you're not because I can be really quite creative with your approach to content.
It can be a subtle, or it can be as direct as you want it to be. So, yeah, I think that's the main reason why I stuck with content marketing and I'm quite happy with the role so far, especially at Mention it's a great brand to work for, as you mentioned, it's really a, it's really interesting because of the social listening side and our audience is mostly marketers like ourselves.
So first of all, it's quite easy to, to, to speak to other people like ourselves, because we're already in the same mindset we already know. At what the main challenges are and how we can address them. So, yeah, that's a bit of a longer introduction that you where we are now.
Adrie: Yeah, no, I mean, I think, I think it's a good one because every person who works in content also experiences their journey to where they are completely differently.
But I do like what you said. About kind of the transactional nature. I find sometimes particularly for ads in the ad space for digital marketing, it is very much a you have a, like, basically a one-shot chance to get their business. Whereas content is much more long-term. And as you said, it's intended to generate value for your target audience.
So I, I totally agree with that. I think that's also why I love content as well. So it's good to hear that from somebody else.
Francesca: Yeah, I think definitely the focus is more on the relationship that you're building with the audience rather than, you know, that one shot lucky sale. As you mentioned, we've kind of more paid channels.
So yeah, it's a, it's a, really a, it's a really great space to be in. And I think in terms of, you know, the various marketing channels so far, I enjoy content the most.
Adrie: All right. So I'm going to dive into it because I know we spoke before about a specific challenge that you had at Mention. And I find this particularly interesting because you're in the social, I guess, social media space.
And you. Experience that creating content for social is actually not straightforward and can be quite challenging. And I, that's something that resonates a lot with me as well. I think there's no one right way to do it. So I'd love to hear your perspective on this particular challenge, how it came to be for you.
Yeah. Tell us a little bit about it.
Francesca: Yeah, sure. So I think the challenge can just be summarized by a social media for B2B. Full-stop, I genuinely don't think that any B2B brand has really, you know, hit the money has really kind of figured out the, the golden strategy. I think with B2C it's a lot easier just because of the nature of the audience that we're targeting.
They're consumers they use in social media, in in their everyday lives. You know, it's easier to kind of reach out to them and have a message that, that speaks to them. Whereas for, you know, B2B prospects or B2B kind of customers, you know, we're not spending our work day scrolling through social media.
Not all of us are, maybe some of us are, but but in general, you know, the mindset when you're thinking about work and the challenges that are responding to your work needs, you usually don't find the answers to those challenges on social media. Usually you're, you're looking for those answers elsewhere, or, you know, there are other channels that you can.
Kind of go-to to try and answer your, your business needs and your business questions. And then at the end of the day, you know, you kind of log off from your work mode and then you go into home mode and that's when you're scrolling on social media and you don't, you don't really want to hear about, you know, work-related, work-related topics kind of wants to have that time to, to switch off, into, to almost shift your mindset back into.
You know, real life almost, but yeah, I would say we do have an active social media strategy, you know, trying a lot of different things particularly on LinkedIn, which is the main channel for us being the B2B company. And you know, having that kind of business professional network is, is yeah. As much relevant for us.
We're also trying a little bit on, on Instagram, Twitter as well. We post on Facebook. Definitely don't get that much interaction on Facebook anymore. It's a challenging platform as it is for B2C brands anyway as, and for B2B brands. It really, it really is another, another kind of challenge, but yeah.
It does come into play when we are promoting our evergreen content, our eBooks but also just having social first content. So, so posts and themes that we talk about on social media that we don't talk about anywhere else. I would say the, the main goals for our social media channels. It's a little bit of brand building, a little bit of brand authority.
We're not new to the market per se, but we're definitely not the biggest. So you know, someone discovering us for the first time wants to have a look around of course our website, also our social media presence, just to get an idea of what kind of, you know, authority we have what kind of knowledge we have in space.
That's definitely. A key, a key factor for us in terms of our social strategy. On the other hand, there is a little bit of a lead generation kind of aspect, which is more the part that's more measurable that we can we can attribute some kind of ROI too to see how successful our, so to speak successful our content is.
On social since our strategy is, is mostly reliant on inbound leads. So we, we're always kind of promoting our premium reports and that kind of thing to not only our database, but also our social media or. Yeah, I would say some of the main challenges particularly with LinkedIn is that we don't really understand the algorithm and I've, I've even had some chats with the, the LinkedIn support about this.
One of the main, you know, examples of how this was a challenge for us. Most recently we started promoting our kind of biggest event of the year. So the, the state of social actually, where we're talking about the future of social media marketing. We wanted to launch a competition. So encouraging people to share the events on social media using one of the event, hashtags particularly on LinkedIn, as that was the channel we wanted to, to focus on.
And we did find people did actually engage with this strategy. So they were sharing the event on LinkedIn. They were using the hashtag but the problem was LinkedIn. Wasn't showing us those posts. So we couldn't really track people who had entered into the competition. Unfortunately, LinkedIn is the only channel that Mention that our social listing tool doesn't work with the, because of the LinkedIn API it's quite closed off.
So that's just like one example of a, of a practical challenge related to the algorithm because LinkedIn is only. Showing this content that they deem is relevant for us and they will just ignore anything else. That's not within what they consider our realm of interest. So yeah, w we're still kind of working that out and trying to figure it out.
In terms of Instagram, there's a lot more data out there and there's a lot more insights from other brands who have tried and succeeded at cracking Instagram. So we can kind of use some of those techniques to help support our strategy there. But yeah, LinkedIn is a, is a learning curve.
Adrie: Yeah, definitely.
And I think just to kind of pick up on, I think like the foundational challenge, which you mentioned really at the very beginning, which is essentially that the intent of a lot of your audience on the social media channels is not actually to browse business content or content from a company or an organization.
Albeit. They might even like this company, but they're not really willing to download an eBook on Facebook , that is particularly challenging. So you don't have to have cracked this, but I'd love to hear already your kind of progress on how you started to address that particular challenge on a few channels, but how do you actually make your brand relevant to those people and to that intent?
Francesca: Yeah. So one of the things that we need to think about is. You know, when we're targeting these individuals with our content and where we're kind of considering them, we do have to consider them as a, as a whole person and not just their job role often. It's quite, you know, it's quite easy just to assume, you know what, there are content marketers, so we have to speak to them in this way.
Or they're you know, SEO specialists. We have to talk to them in this way, but outside of work, we are human too. And we have our own personal ambitions, our motivations, and often our motivation for going to work isn't necessarily just to do a great job for the company and, and make revenue. You know, we have our own personal goals attached to our job roles.
You know, personal development kind of learning just being better at what we do. And being able to pick up extra skills that can, that can help us in our future careers and in our own entrepreneurial projects. You know, and I think that's a really important aspect to focus on specialty with content.
I find in a way educational content can help to bridge that gap, you know, help marketers not only do better in their own jobs, but just general upskilling and helping them to, to be better at what they do. Full-stop and yeah, not just in the context of the, of the company they're working for right now.
Yeah. Pushing more educational content and more of this educational content. Another thing as well, inspirational sides of things. So what we recently started doing was going around our company and interfering in interviewing of our colleagues. So first of all, you know, leveraging the. Internal network within, within Mention.
We have so many interesting people working at Mention with with different stories and different backgrounds. I mean, I was here today just telling my story. But every one of us that works at Mention has our stories as well, and not only in the marketing team, but in, in the sales team, in our product team.
And it's just really interesting to get this kind of insight and background. So I think that. Can really help people to listen to their stories and to see, you know, how did that journey get to get them to where they are today? So that was the kind of approach we took with our thought leadership kind of campaign.
I think we've interviewed now maybe 10 or 15 of our colleagues and, and you can see them on our, on our LinkedIn and on our Instagram some of the snippets of the interviews that we did with our with our colleagues. So, yeah, and I think another advantage of doing that, it was more human and approachable. So rather than, rather than just trying to push an ebook or a random resource that you know, someone in their downtime.
Isn't necessarily going to want to read at that point, you know, even on LinkedIn, LinkedIn is definitely taken more of a personal approach these days. You're seeing a lot of people sharing their stories and people sharing you know, things that have happened to them on a day to day and kind of the inspiration or the, I don't know, the lesson that they learned from these stories.
And I would say that. Almost the kind of approach that we want us to take with our thought leadership campaigns. And, you know, it's a little bit of a twist as well. We didn't just stick with interviewing our human colleagues, but we even interviewed our office dog, Ivy which adds an extra kind of spin on things.
Honestly, I thought the, the dog thought leadership would have performed better than it did if we did a little ranking quite recently, of a. Of which of our colleagues actually got more engagement on LinkedIn. And surprisingly, even though our audience is mostly kind of marketing it was one of our colleagues in the kind of sales and customer support role.
You've got most engagement. And I think it was interesting because he's more of a junior and he's recently started out. I think a lot of people can relate to that, particularly on LinkedIn, like the kind of lessons that you pick up at the beginning when you're starting out your career. And those kinds of insights are really, really quite interesting.
Adrie: What social media posts have overall have performed best for you? Have they been those thought leadership ones?
Francesca: Actually, yeah. The thought leadership pieces definitely performed better than our other social media content. Some other types of content that we do. We do have a kind of a campaign running called battle of the brands.
So this is where we use Mention to pull in some insights about two competitors. So it's almost like a soft way of showing how the tool works and. Sharing really what kind of insights you'd be able to get by using Mention but in a more kind of digestible and, and fun format and using brands that we all have a kind of knowledge of like Spotify versus apple music, this kind of thing.
And they're definitely informative. And I would say the. They're definitely interesting, but we didn't get as much engagement with those as we did with our kind of thought leadership pieces with our, with our colleagues. I honestly think it's just the human factor. I think every time you see someone's face or someone's talking like it's hard to ignore and you it's just more engaging, listening to someone, give you the information or speak to you a while, seeing their face versus just reading.
You know, if you points or or an analysis.
Adrie: Yeah, I think, well, social media content is definitely tricky. So is this kind of a tactic that you would encourage others to use as well?
Francesca: Yeah, I think, you know, it's a really easy way to get started because yeah, if you're working for a company, most likely you have colleagues and, you know, you can leverage, you know, that their experiences and their knowledge to, to your advantage.
And I think people, people really, really like that as well, seeing the human side to a brand, I think at the beginning, it did start off as more of a employer branding goal, as we're trying to hire more people at Mention. So we wanted to, you know, really show off that our team is is quite friendly, quite approachable.
But in the end, I think the goal kind of transformed to be even more than that. And even people who were not necessarily looking to start a new role or looking for a new job did engage with these posts and, and, you know, we've got some really great feedback from people. You know, this is really interesting.
It's nice to, to see these kinds of insights and the video format helps us. I think in general video, even if we don't really understand the algorithms of, of these platforms, I think all of the platforms are trying to be more video first because we know that video is more engaging and you're more likely to sit there and stick around to the end of the video, rather than a reader, kind of a long post or a long essay.
Adrie: Yeah, no, I just think it is, it's a simple tactic, then anyone can pick up, I guess, if they are really struggling, because I do think that the human element does help. Right. It's something that I've experienced as well before. And I think once you're perhaps a more established brand in the market, you do have kind of the baseline of social social engagement.
That's where you can start to take a few more, I guess like experiments or risks to start testing. Okay. With other stuff that might work as well.
Francesca: We're definitely trying a lot of new things, you know, it might work, it might not, we do have more video content planned and we are always kind of brainstorming and discussing, you know, what else can we do for, for our videos, social and hopefully before the end of the year, we'll have some, some new new types of content that we can try and test and see if it does.
Well. I think the main thing is just don't get discouraged at the beginning. You know, when you're starting out, you're never going to see fantastic results. You're not going to go viral immediately, unless you're really, really lucky. Usually when you start out with something new, whether it's a kind of a new social media strategy or a new campaign, it's going to take a while to kind of learn like what's the right fit for your audience.
What parts of this campaign do they engage with the most on a emotional more human level? You just have to get started and just keep posting stuff and don't worry about whether it's going to perform well or not. And I would say don't, don't even focus too much on the figures on the, on the so-called results, especially if not at the beginning, if you do that, you can see.
You know, maybe it didn't have as many likes or as many comments as you would like, and then you might feel kind of discouraged and you are wondering whether it's a good use of your time or whether you're wasting your time. But. So it's all about the learning experience. First of all, and it's more also the, the kind of compounding of everything that you're doing.
It is a slow growth, I would say. There are definitely channels that you can grow quicker in mostly pay channels, because that's just generally how the world works. But. Yeah, my advice is just, just get started. Just just do it. Don't overthink it too much. You'll get feedback along the process. So don't get too too bogged down into the, into the figures.
Reporting is always good. Of course, as you can track and see how your progress is doing, but don't let that be the. Defining factor of whether your social content has been successful.
Adrie: Definitely. Well, thanks for that advice. So one last question that I'd love to ask at the end of our podcast recording is what is one person, a course, a thing, a concept that really changed the way that you look at content or content marketing.
Francesca: Yeah. So this was a really difficult question because there are so many pieces of content and courses and people out there that I, I really admire and have really inspired me. At this point. I think one thing that I found recently as someone on, well, he's on LinkedIn, but he's also everywhere else as everyone is he's called the one hour professor.
I'm not sure if you've heard of him. He started a, a course or a blog on helping others at, to get started with blogging essentially. So kind of, but more serious blogging. So using blogging as a, as your main source of revenue, kind of your, your, your full-time job. Which I know there are a lot of resources out there on the same topic, but one of the approaches that Ron took that I really liked, I discovered it for the first time.
I think last month was every month, he writes a very detailed and very honest breakdown of his earnings from from his freelance activity. And I think what made this quite different and what stood out to me was, was the sheer honesty. It was like, you were essentially seeing his bank balance out there, publicly on, on his blog, but it was, it's more as well, like a reflection of yeah, what went well, what different channels he's using, because I think, you know, a lot of these kind of freelance gurus, they talk about how much money they've made, but they don't actually go into.
Very actionable steps that you can take to do the same thing. So yeah, it was, for me, it was just really refreshing, I think from like a human perspective. We're a little bit nosy. It's almost like, oh, well, yeah. I want to want to see how much you made from, from blogging this month. I think there's always the the kind of preconception that you can't really make that much money from blogging, but actually it appears that you can so.
I would recommend, especially anyone getting into blogging or or thinking about chatting more towards a, you know, full-time freelancing on hour professor view is definitely a good guy to follow and to, to kind of get in tune with and yeah, on a, on a personal note. We've we spoke as well and he's a really neat, he's a really great guy, so definitely check him out.
Adrie: Definitely will. Well, thank you so much for joining us today, Francesca and yeah, we'll keep in touch.
Francesca: Thank you very much. It was really fun.
Adrie: All right. Well, that's it for this week's episode of perfectly content. Thank you so much for listening. And if you liked this episode and want to stay tuned for more click subscribe, wherever you're listening and you'll receive updates on our very next episode.
And finally one last thing, we have an editorial style newsletter that goes out once a week, called The Crave. We talk about all of the content that we've been craving this week and each week it's curated by a different content person from the full-on team. You can check it out at foleon.com/the-crave.
See you there.