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E2A 021: Using Anchor Content to Superpower Your Content Creation Machine 

 January 18, 2022

By  Scott A. MacMillan

A book…well-conceived and well-executed can serve as a master content asset that delivers results well beyond its initial publication.

Done well, you’ll have nailed your message, clarified your audience, and articulated the value of your ideas and approach for helping those you serve.

So, it only makes sense that the work you’ve already put in can be leveraged beyond the pages of the book itself.

But is a book the only way to approach this?

In this episode of The Entrepreneur to Author Podcast, your host and author Scott MacMillan talks with CEO of c+p digital and fellow podcast host Susan Diaz about the why and how of content creation and how content anchors may be just what you need to supercharge yours.

GUEST BIO: Susan Diaz

Susan Diaz is the CEO of Toronto digital marketing firm c+p digital, focussed on helping small businesses leverage podcasting as their key marketing anchor. She's the mom of a 10-year-old, wicked smart little girl, who inspires her everyday to simplify things and educate better. Susan is obsessed with podcasting and co-hosts 2 podcasts: The 4 am Report – on what keeps marketers and founders up at night, and ABCDEI – conversations around unlearning bias, one alphabet at a time.

CONNECT WITH SUSAN

C+P Digital https://cp.digital

Susan on Instagram: @wearywordsmith

Susan on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/susandiaz/

The 4 am Report podcast

The ABCDEI podcast

FREE OFFER

All the podcasting resources you need, by pain point: https://cp.digital/podcasting-hub/

Browse these resources to see what stage of the content creation journey you’re in. And chances are we have a podcast for that (or video, or article, or guide, or masterclass – or, really, if we’re honest, all of it.)

CONNECT WITH SCOTT

Entrepreneur to Author™ Select membership
entrepreneurtoauthor.com
grammarfactory.com
scott@grammarfactory.com

Scott on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/scottmacmillan/
Scott on Instagram: @scottamacmillan
Scott on Twitter: @scottamacmillan
Scott on Medium: @scottamacmillan

Episode Transcript

Scott A. MacMillan:

You're listening to the Entrepreneur to Author podcast, episode number 21.

Mike Manz:

Welcome to the Entrepreneur to Author Podcast, the podcast that brings you practical strategies for building authority and growing your business, and now, here's your host, Scott MacMillan.

Scott A. MacMillan: 

Can a single piece of thought leadership actually spawn a wide swath of high quality content for your business? Can you genuinely produce once and publish across all media and content platforms easily and with incredible impact for your authority and your business? A book well-conceived and well-executed can serve as a master content asset that delivers results well beyond its initial publication. Done well, you'll have nailed your message, clarified your audience and articulated the value of your ideas and approach for helping those you serve.

So it only makes sense that the work you've done already can be leveraged beyond the pages of the book itself. But is a book the only way to accomplish this? Today's guest has mastered not only the art but the operational discipline of content creation and publication to develop a library of valuable engaging content that gets results. But is it as easy as it sounds? Well, it rarely is, but is it? Is there a magic button that you can press to solve all your content creation needs? Is there? We're going to get the answer to that question and much, much more in this value-packed edition of Entrepreneur to Author.

Today I'm speaking with Susan Diaz. Susan is the CEO of Toronto digital marketing firm, C+P Digital focused on helping small businesses leverage podcasting as their key marketing anchor. Susan is obsessed with podcasting and co-hosts two podcasts, The 4AM Report on what keeps marketers and founders up at night, an ABCDEI, a podcast with conversations about unlearning bias, one alphabet at a time. And if that's not enough, she's the mom of a 10-year-old wicked smart little girl who inspires her every day to simplify things and educate better. Please join me in welcoming Susan Diaz to the podcast. Susan, welcome. Thank you for joining us today.

Susan Diaz:

Thank you for having me, Scott. I'm really excited to chat with you. Big fan of the name of your podcast. It's really that's value well-articulated right there.

Scott MacMillan:

I appreciate that, thank you. Why don't we start by... Could you give listeners a little bit of a sense of your background and what you do and for whom?

Susan Diaz:

Sure. So I'm a marketer by trade, been one for about 20 something years, started with advertising. Copywriting was my first job, moved through advertising for quite a while, and then eventually corporate communications, some government thrown in there and then you might hear the story from a lot of entrepreneurs both of my child, 10 years ago, my daughter consolidated my need for a better flexibility, a bit of freedom and that sort of thing. So that's when the... I'd say it started off as a freelance do work when I can sort of thing, which is built into C+P and about seven years into the entrepreneurial journey.So that's me.

What does the company do? We're a digital marketing firm. Obviously podcasting is the hill that I would die on and we'll dig into the why and the how of it a little bit as we go. But yeah, podcasting is, we call it the anchor. You need to like drop anchor in larger pieces of infrastructure. And so it's my submission. That podcast is a pretty solid a way to do that in 2022 and beyond.So that's what we do.

Who do we do it for? Our clients tend to be either corporate firms who are doing podcasts as a part of their existing marketing plan and then there's room for improvement. So in those cases we come in and add panel episodes. We come in and give them extra podcasts, private podcasting, that kind of thing. And then the bulk of our clients are smaller businesses, much like the audience that you're speaking to on this podcast who are entrepreneurs with strong thought leadership, great intellectual that they're sharing with the world. As a book is one of those things, I think a podcast is two. And then there's lots of crossovers between the two as we'll no doubt chat about in a bit.

Scott MacMillan:

Yeah, absolutely. I can't wait to get into the whole idea of anchor content. Now I was a guest on your podcast, The 4AM Report back in I think it was April, 2020 or thereabouts right after COVID hit. And at the time I think you were maybe 40 episodes in or so and now you've got more than 150 episodes which is massive growth. So talk to me a little bit about the content creation philosophy that you have behind the podcast but more generally behind your business. Why is content important and why do you prioritize it in your own business?

Susan Diaz:

I think essentially it's back to that anchor idea, the fact that you need infrastructure right now. There was a time when a certain kind of lead generation marketing worked where you made a one off effort, you built a campaign, people responded to it, you expected it to pay a 2% return and then that played out and that time has passed. You now need to start thinking about really creating a few key pieces of infrastructure or foundational pieces because we've moved into a place where, and to answer your philosophy question, educate.

You have to educate your audience and help them understand and generate that demand for the things that you're trying to sell them, whether it's product or service. That is the is idea behind why we started looking at ways in which like, what can we do regularly? How can we create a publishing platform and for what it was worth when we did this three years ago, a book felt like imposter syndrome central, like no, no, that's not me, not let alone me. So what small way could you start?

And so we picked up an iPhone and recorded and said, we'll give this a shot. So that's why we started podcasting. Why did I continue to invest in it? Because you know what, any type of publishing, whether it's authorship or broadcast or whatever it is, can have two possible goals. You could be building audience, or you could be building business. And we firmly fall in that ladder category. Building business through this is the goal. So many of us is B2B especially service industries. It's hard to articulate the value of what you bring. It's hard to put down a package saying, you'll get the following things for 49, 99 or whatever. So what do you do instead? You show people a piece of your brain.

We found that the podcast was a pretty powerful way to do that and the results came in the form of business. About three months into doing this, the reason we got into podcasting as a niche was a client called and said, do you do podcasting for others? And in true entrepreneur fashion, I was like, we do now. So that was our first foray into doing this and then that went well and then we consolidated our articulation of the thing. And since then in one form or another, that does tend to be a pillar.

So for example, in the case of a book, there's a couple of our clients who are authors who have then come to us saying, how can I use this material and put it on podcast and own my stuff as opposed to depending on Facebook or someone else in their rules. So that's why the why and the part that led us there and we found that it was working. Clients kept coming out of it, and then it's easy. I like cadence, Scott, if I may. I like to know what's coming and do things in a certain way.

So we often say the 4AM Report comes out on Thursdays at 4:00 AM, not Thursday-ish, not 4:00 AM-ish. Consistency and cadence is one step at a time. So what you were saying, the introduction there about, is it easy? No, no, no. It's not easy but there's gratification that comes from it and there's a flywheel way. It's really hard to move the wheel at first. But then after some time you're like, "Oh, this is just going and I'm not putting a whole lot of effort into it and I quite enjoy it, so why not?"

Scott MacMillan:

I love a few things that you said there. I love that you talked about that difference between building an audience versus building a business. I think that's really important whether somebody is long launching a podcast or whether they're writing a book is to really understand why they're doing it. I spend a lot of time talking to our authors about what is your goal. Is your goal simply to attract readers, which is a perfectly fine goal but that's probably not or it's often not the most powerful goal for a business owner. It sounds to me like the same philosophy applies to podcasting.

So I really appreciate that thread through what you just said and then also what you talked about around the flywheel and you've talked a little bit about this whole notion of content anchor. And so I'd love to dig into that a little bit further. So we talked about the why. So let's talk about the how a little bit. Because content creation can be, I think a little bit overwhelming for many business owners, particularly if content isn't their core business. Ideas are often the core business or client service or whatever their specialty is. So from what you've seen, how can entrepreneurs make it a little bit less onerous to produce all of this content while seeing those benefits of creating and publishing tons of great content that supports their business?

Susan Diaz:

I think the first thing is to... I want to get quite granular about the how, if I may.

Scott MacMillan:

Yeah, please.

Susan Diaz:

The first thing is to audit. And often I think we don't know quite how much material is sitting on and the earlier way of producing content, like I said, was one and done, like you run a campaign and it's done or you put out a blog and it's done. Now I think you need to pull up stuff, dust it off, reuse it, reimagine it in a different format. People talk about repurpose all the time. And I think it's important to remember that repurpose is not just sending out the same link over and over again. It's not asking people to come to your website.

It's essentially about breaking down the content. So an interview like this where you and I are chatting about this, how would this breakdown and eventually you could get 30 pieces of content out of it if you wanted. And the way that you would do that is you'd obviously have your show notes. Any part of those show notes, any one of these quotes, not just the guest. I think that's a mistake that sometimes people make. You're like, don't only feature the guest. Talk about your ideas strongly as well cause it's an opportunity for you to do both.

So yeah, you would break that down. There's pieces of... Let's say an average 30 minute interview would have like three or four key points that you're going to dig into. Those could become shorter blog posts or even just like LinkedIn posts, you could take video from this and use it. Video has never gone away. It continues to keep the results that it does. Even though it's hard to, it can get expensive. So that's the way you do it.

Now how do entrepreneurs find time? Now that's a business question in terms of what is the value of your time. Don't DIY. Find the level of support you want. There's Rand Fishkin of SparkToro who talks about this quite eloquently. He says there's two of them and everything else is done through specialists in their field. So this I think as you grow in as a bit and if content creation becomes a priority, you definitely do want to think about what that format is. Do you like writing? Then stick with the writing and get help for other things?

Do you find that you're awesome at creating your video? Then do the video and then yet people to write from the transcripts of the video. So I do think that you need to find the time for your highest value. Where can you contribute most to the thing? And then the last part is the how in terms of if you have a book, how does that break down into other things? A podcast has gone both ways. There's people who've a bunch of episodes, joined them together and then made a book, which is a little bit of what we did. We're working on, as we did the 4AM Report and people told us what kept them up at night, which I remember you answering as well.

We would unearth these nuggets of like humour and resilience and those kind of things, which eventually is what became the things that I dug a little bit deeper into to write what is going to be my book. So that's one way. And then the other way is take the book and break it down. If you've got 18 chapters that explore 18 ideas, then that's 18 episodes right over there. And keeping it casual, I think is a little bit important as well. You want to really take down your perfectionism, a tiny smidge cause if the last two years have done anything for us, it made us realize that quality is not about the bells and the whistles as much as it is about the depth of thought and the levels of showing up and teaching and offering value.

That's gotten awfully stale in the marketing world. What is value? Value is giving people what is your actual service for free because you believe that they'll eventually come to you when they want to. So that's sort of, that I think if you keep thinking about choosing the maximum out of every single piece. I showed up here the value of me as a founder is this much, I'm going to get this much out of it. I need at least 12 pieces of content to come out of it. If I throw an event, we need to break that up and make sure this amount of our calendar gets coverage from that event.

That doesn't mean just here I went to this event, here is a screenshot of my Zoom. That's just lazy content. You need it to be better than that I think in 2022. So that does happen a little bit with support. Either way you hire internally if the company's at a stage where you want to be able to do that or you get a variety of partners to fulfill your needs.

Scott MacMillan:

Really well put. I like that philosophy of thinking about everything that you do in terms of return. How can I leverage what I'm doing, leverage the time that I've spent here not just for what you're doing, the primary purpose, but also how can I leverage that for creating all sorts of great content from it. I'd love to double click a little bit into a part of what you were talking about cause I think there's a perception among some and perhaps it's true.

But I'd love to get your point of view on this that you can create your master content asset whether that's a book or podcast episodes or videos, what have you and simply either pull it together, maybe tweak a few things and republish it as a book if you're coming from the podcast end or if you're starting from a book, cut it up and just basically copy paste it into social media posts and blog articles and things like that. What's your point of view on that? Is it that simple? Do you have to just work with the core concept and then recreate it effectively from scratch or is there a happy medium in between?

Susan Diaz:

There's a happy medium and mastery. There's nuance to the thing. Even we're inside the bubble, we know how to do what we know how to do deeply. So it's easy to be like, "Oh, just do this and this and this." Well, how? It goes back to, do you build your own house? Do you do your own broken foot? There's value to expertise. So I definitely don't think it's that easy. The way that you want to think about it is what is your zone of genius? Again, this is another book that I'm talking about.

If you are really good at the planning parts of it, keep those, and then find people to help you with the others. But I don't think that it's even that someone can drop in do something like this. Even if you have all the templates and you've paid all the consultants to tell you exactly how to do it, unless it's someone's full-time job and there's KPIs associated with it, this is hard because obviously you do want to have some basics, which I think most people can do like a regular publishing of a blog and making sure that those are being joined together into whatever version of deeper pieces you want.

I do think it's possible to record a podcast in house. Where people tend to stumble is the breaking up of it cause it's not that simple to then churn out a regular amount of writing from it. It's not that simple to be like, oh, here's what works as an email and here's what works as a social media post and that sort of thing. That's where the nuance is, I think. Yeah, you can do some of it. And again, I don't think you should be jumping into it and saying, I want to do all the things. It's like, again, flywheel.

You do a little bit at a time, add a layer, add another layer to it. Have you started with a podcast and just show notes or do you have just the book and some of the social media stuff from it? What else can you add? Can you add a series of workshops to it? Can it be an open mastermind? There are some things that you can do which could eventually lead to a much bigger goal. Before, like you said, when you chatted with us on our podcast it was 40 and when you're saying 150, my own eyes widen, I'm like, that's a lot of episodes.

And that's because you just look back and you're like, whoa, that's happened because of consistency. You stick with it and you increase it. There were some times during the early part of the pandemic, we did a whole bunch of crisis management episodes because it made sense. And we were doing twice a week or thrice a week in some cases and that's how the episodes build up. And then here we are, and now I've gone back to doing it once a week and I've gone into doing it a live format because that's what's fun for me right now. And I really don't need to be producing the volume of content that we did three years ago. We need to be producing more effectively and drinking some of that Kool-Aid.

Scott MacMillan:

Absolutely. Very well put. So let's talk audio a little bit, because it C+P you've you've really in on audio like you said earlier on and podcasting specifically, why is that? What is it about audio that works for you?

Susan Diaz:

A few things. My deep background, my very first job was as a radio jockey. I was on radio.

Scott MacMillan:

Oh really, I didn't know that.

Susan Diaz:It's so far away but it was cool. It was a way for me to add to my college lifestyle experiences, [inaudible], like good brown parents. My college education was paid for. So it was only the lifestyle parts that I supported with my own money. So this was my earliest job. So I knew a little bit about that space and it was much later about a decade later that someone reminded me of that. I'd pretty much forgotten it in my practice. And then when we came to podcasting it was... I'll be honest, like with most things it's because you hit a wall. We were hitting a wall with writing alone. You're like, "Okay, we're good writers. We've gotten what we can with publishing as a writer. How are we going to take it to the next level?" And like I said sound was making sense for a few reasons. One, the rise of the smart speaker.

I think more and more... I have a 10-year-old and her way of interacting with the world and learning is to ask Google. And I'm afraid to say it out loud in case someone speaks in the middle of the interview, but that's the way that you're going to continue to learn. So that's point one. The next part of it is just the sheer volume of it. You've got 50 million blogs or 50 million YouTube videos and 500 million blogs, which you've only got a couple million of podcasts. So there's an opportunity there. It hasn't quite gotten the level of exposure that it could.

And I think the other point is as well the fact that we are just using audio right now or podcasting specifically for marketing. There's so much beyond that you could do, the accessibility implications of it. Not everyone loves video, not everyone wants to be in that broadcast, not wants to write. So here's a really viable alternative. And I, for one find, even on the business front that I take a lot more calls in audio format because it allows me to focus a little bit more.

I certainly have ADHD characteristics though at my age I've never been officially diagnosed but I find if I can just listen to voice, my focus is better. So that accessibility thing I think is a strong thing going forward. Right now education is provided heavily in one medium which is assuming that you can read and write and do it that way. This way whether it's certifications or trainings or private membership content, the podcast we've just to the tip of the iceberg and I think this is the best time to be alive and be a part of that.

Scott MacMillan:

That's so true. I'm all in on audio as a consumer. Even though my business is first and foremost printed books, I'm listening to audio books to and from the office every day and podcasts and it's my default way of consuming content just because you can get through so much more stuff doing other things which is fantastic. But from a production point of view, what would you say is the difference between let's say audio, video and written word in terms of how you use one to then be the source for creating the others. Again, whether it's written word and using that as the inspiration for audio and video, or it's using audio as inspiration for the video and the printed word. Any difference there, or is it more or less the same approach?

Susan Diaz:

I'd say it's more or less the same but the way you break it down is probably going to be a little bit different. If you do intend to start out with video, that tends to be a little bit different than if you were starting with the other two. So I'll deal with that for a second. With video if you are presenting in video format, you do want to think a little bit about the ease of watching for someone. And you want to provide some relief by the way of images to support your point and breakups a little bit of definitely captioning because I'm sure you've heard the statistic about how like 80% of people watch it on silent or those kind of things.

So those kind of details you definitely want to think about if video is your primary medium. The other way to go about it is to do lives, which has that energy of interaction. If you do manage to round up a live audience, I would say it's probably hard in today's world to get people to commit to coming live to most things. With audio and books I think there's a lot of crossover because let's assume you are going to generate your content through a series of interviews with people. Put those in this format, put those in a recording format and then that allows you to work with those in more than one medium.

Obviously it's going to get smith and shine and get a lot better, maybe even different as it goes, but this is behind the scenes raw footage. And you could totally be using that. You could use that in the podcast. And then again, there could be let's say once you've done with the interview portion of it, if you have frameworks or if you have specific templates that you are sharing that can become written medium, it can become material for teaching episodes of podcasts.

So I definitely think there's a lot of crossover and if you do have the luxury of being able to do them close to each other, cause I wouldn't suggest anyone is and I write a book and I'm going to make a podcast that's probably too much for one human brain to manage, but definitely having a plan that within six months of each other, you leverage them heavily is probably what I would say.

Scott MacMillan:

Very good. That's really good suggestion. So what's next for you in C+P, what trends are you seeing that you're excited about? What do you have on the horizon that you're particularly passionate about?

Susan Diaz:

I think what we're seeing that we are excited about is just the level of entertainment that's going into the creation of content. It's now seized to be only about informing. And I think it's a little bit more about like inform me while it's a level of fun for me. So I think we're certainly enjoying that, so the news aspect of what's happening in the world around us and then having hot takes on it and commentary and just having fun with it as content is what we are trying to like do in our own material because that's what we're seeing is resonating for people.

So I think tapping into that is the trend that I'm most excited for. I would say in terms of specific things for me that I'm really looking forward to. I'm finally publishing that book, Scott. It's called The Other EQ and it's how to kill boarding content. So it's a whole lot of material in there about how to just cut the scroll a little bit. We've all learned how to show up and provide some info but can we take it to that next level?

Scott MacMillan:

Love it, I can't wait. I can't wait for that to be a real thing. That's so exciting. This is great. So what's the best way for listeners to learn more about you, your business and to get in touch with you if they want to have a chat?

Susan Diaz:

Our website itself is pretty... The insight section has a whole lot of stuff, so cp.digital. I spend an unhealthy amount of time on LinkedIn. So connecting with me there is always a good idea.

Scott MacMillan:

Okay, good. We'll put the link to your LinkedIn profile in the show notes, for sure. Thank you again, Susan, for sharing your immense experience with us today. I think you're one of those all important connectors who bring people together in ways that multiply and that's something that I truly value and that we absolutely need more of today, more than ever. So I appreciate you. Thank you for being on the show.

Susan Diaz:

Thank you, Scott. This is awesome.

Scott MacMillan:

Susan's insights were bang on and is clear to me and to you too I'm sure that she's got experience and credibility on this whole topic of content creation. As I think about our conversation with Susan, there are so many important takeaways. So remember this, when writing a book or launching a podcast, it's so important that you be clear about why you're doing it. If you don't, you'll never realize the full potential of all of that effort, whether audio, video or the written word content anchors, what I often call your master content asset can and should act as your primary medium for content creation, inspiring all sorts of related content that can be published across any other platform important to your business.

You don't need to do it all on your own. As entrepreneurs, we have enough on our hands generating sales, serving clients and developing our core business. So think about the value of your time. Focus on your zone of genius, your superpower and then find other experts to work with to make sure everything else supports it. Now is the time, time to write, time to publish and time to grow. I'm Scott McMillan, until next time.

Scott A. MacMillan


Scott A. MacMillan is a speaker, international best-selling author, entrepreneur, and the President and Executive Publisher at Grammar Factory Publishing. He and his team help expert entrepreneurs write and publish books that build their authority and grow their business.

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