Marketing Content Marketing to Marketers


Cathy McPhillips

Featuring: Cathy McPhillips

Recorded on: May 26, 2015


Links for Cathy McPhillips:

LinkedIn Twitter CMWorld Conference

Show Description

Marketing to marketers can be a difficult task.  Now imagine you are directing content marketing efforts for marketers about content marketing.  That is the responsibility of Cathy McPhillips, Marketing Director for the Content Marketing Institute.  On this show, we learn how Cathy got into marketing and what it looks like to be part of the marketing team at CMI.  We also discuss what goes into the marketing efforts for Chief Content Officer, the CMI print magazine and what we can look forward to this year at Content Marketing World.

The Threes

For the threes, I ask Cathy what are three lessons she has learned while marketing the Chief Content Officer magazine.  Here is her response:

  • Customers like to hold a print copy so look beyond digital.
  • Address all aspects of the target reader, not just the stuff that interest you.
  • Promote everything you are doing on multiple channels.

Influencers


Show Transcript

Jeff Julian
All right. Thanks for joining us again on the Midwest Marketing Show. This week, very special guest. We have Cathy McPhillips from the Content Marketing Institute. When I started marketing and moving out of the developer role, I picked up "Epic Content Marketing" and that book just shaped the way I viewed marketing and started to see the stuff I was already doing and how it works. I very much appreciate the job that Content Marketing Institute does. Cathy, welcome to the show.
Cathy McPhillips
Thank you so much. It's great to be here.
Jeff Julian
Great. I'm definitely excited to get to these questions. To kick off the show, why don't you give us a little background in how you got started in marketing and lead us up to today.
Cathy McPhillips
All right. Right now, I'm Marketing Director at CMI. Way back when, I kind of went through this stage when I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and this is dating back in High School and I was sitting in my English class and our English teacher said to me, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" We all had to write a paper and give a presentation in front of our class. I said, "Honestly, I don't know." She said, "What are your talents?" I said, "Art and math." To me, she got on a said, "You can't be good at both of those things." I said, "Well, I am and I don't know what I should do." She said, "Go to the library." I'm doing what I'm told, I went to the library, did that and Marketing came up. I said, "Okay."

I ended up going to Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and majored in Journalism with a specialization in Marketing. I had this professor named Cassandra Reese who was just phenomenal and she had come off of a couple decades working in Kraft as a Media Planner and said, "This is something that you'd be really good at." "There's analytics to use your math side and there's creativity to use your art side." I kind of followed in her footsteps. It took me to two agencies in Cleveland where I was doing Media Planning.

Way back then, our goal for media was how much tv can we be on in a given year? As the years have progressed, it's how much tv can we be off and how can we really reach our target audience one on one? I had 15 years of doing my own consulting and then I met Joe on Twitter and now I'm doing marketing for him.
Jeff Julian
Oh, that's great. That's an awesome back story. I love the math and art integration. We have some awesome math developers here too. They have great backgrounds in math and they're like, "Hey, I really like software." The art behind it is just pretty cool to see both sides of each brain firing.
Cathy McPhillips
Then I realized as the years went on, I really wasn't good at art. Looking at all the Creative Directors and what they're doing, it wasn't my skill but I have a creative side in me too.
Jeff Julian
Always compare your art to somebody who's really bad at it and then that way, you appreciate yours better.
Cathy McPhillips
Exactly.
Jeff Julian
Most of our listeners probably know who the Content Marketing Institute is and if you don't, grab a book and smack yourself on the head. We appreciate all that you do and all the different ways that we can interact with the organization. Can you give us a little bit of insight, what it means to be the Marketing Director and what your day to day responsibilities are?
Cathy McPhillips
Sure. I'm sure you hear this answer a lot but every day is always different and being the Marketing Director for everything at CMI, it includes our events, our website, our email, the podcast network, the training program, our webinars. All the different events for we're running right now and Joe keeps purchasing events so now we've have the Intelligent Content Conference and we have the Content Marketing Show and then our flagship is to present Content Marketing World. Depending upon what's happening at that time of the year or that time of the week, that's what I'm focusing on. My two biggest business goals are to gain ML subscribers and to get people to come to our events. With that said, all of the content we're publishing through our editorial team is all focusing on those two goals as well. We work hard to practice what we preach so we use content and content marketing to keep our own business objectives and adhere to the mission of CMI which is Advancing the practice of Content Marketing.

I hired a Community Manager recently, Mo Waggoner, and he's been amazing. That's been nice to get that social size, having someone else help me with that. I was spending so much time running our community that picking ... to do all that keeping up with all the pieces of CMI. Now, I have some time to focus on that.

Right now, we're working on a big project where we're looking at Google Analytics to determine which of our hosts are converting the best, which not only helps us grow our business but also gives our readers what they want. It tells us which topics we should be promoting with some Ad dollars. Which topics we should continue because it's resonating well with our community and just watching our page to see what people are sharing, what people are talking about. We actually recently just did a four-page capabilities brochure that we sent out to some people that may not know about CMI. It kind of really helped our whole team look at it and say, "Oh, okay so we have a Content Marketing section, a Content Strategy Section, we have a new tool for entrepreneurs and then for business leaders." That's kind of helped us kind of fine-tune what we're doing on our end as well which has been really nice.

Marketing, Mo and I, we both work with the Editorial Team, the Sales Team, the Design Team and the marketing concept is all pieces parts of everything, which is fun.
Jeff Julian
It sounds like it. I put my email and I knew from reading the book is the whole reason that I'm putting my email in is so that I will go to one of these events. I knew that's what you guys were selling. I was like, "Ah, I don't need to go to one of these events." Some of the great content that is coming out has made me love the brand more, you guys built the trust and I signed up for Content Marketing World. The minute I hit submit, I was like, "Oh wow, it does work." "I did what they wanted me to do."
Cathy McPhillips
Honestly, I know one of my jobs is to get people to come to the events but there was nothing better last year than seeing people in person that I had talked to for a year online. We were hugging and it was so good to talk to you and how is your family. We knew all these things because we're online with them all day. We talk to them and they know us and we know them and it's just so nice to see someone one on one.
Jeff Julian
Oh, definitely. We used to do a lot of the Microsoft events. Our community had 4,000 bloggers but we had about 200 influencers and so every year, we would all look forward to coming together and just throwing a big ol' party. It was so much fun. I don't think people understand how important those live events are for the relationship building aspect.
Cathy McPhillips
Absolutely.
Jeff Julian
One of the great things that I think sets CMI apart, we call it, "Dog Fooding", where you practice what you preach and the product that you put out is what you're selling. Your guys' approach to the printed magazine and getting out of kind of having a trade that you are advertising in but actually having your own in-house magazine and that's the Chief Content Officer. I have probably, 20 subscriptions to magazines, stuff that I read, stuff that I don't read. CCO, when it comes, I get a huge smile on my face. I set it aside. I put it on top of the books that I'm reading and I focus in on that book, you know, the magazine. The content's so rich, the design is amazing, it feels expensive. Who all in CMI is involved in putting this together and what's your role?
Cathy McPhillips
It's a very big group. We have an Editor, a Publisher, a Design Team. We have contributors, the writers. We have a Project Director who keeps everything on a very, very, very firm schedule. We have a sales team and Marketing actually plays a pretty small, but obviously important role in that as well. My job is really to make sure that when Joe and Robert go on their speaking gigs, we make sure that we send subscription forms with them so that people that are sitting in the audience, they find out how they can get more involved with CMI and they can get some more information that would help them. We add Calls to Action on some of our blog posts to make sure that people, if they are reading the article it will say, "Subscribe to CCO to see some more work from this person." Just making sure that people know there is another arm to CMI where they can get more information.

When you were talking about how it feels and getting that in the mail, I have been with Joe Pulizzi a couple times when the box of magazines arrive at his desk. He opens it and he just stands there and holds it. It's like such a great feeling. I know that from my perspective, I'm a pretty typical Marketer, that we're on our computers, I'm on my computer sometimes 12 hours a day. Just to actually want to read something, I can't go on my Ipad or on my phone to read magazines. I love getting the hard copy and sitting down and shutting everything else down and reading that. There is something to be said for how you feel of having something.

To answer your question, my role is to make sure people are getting the information on the magazine, knowing how to subscribe, knowing that it's even out there and then getting it to them the way they want to receive it. If people are traveling, maybe electronic is what's best for them but if they do want to get it in their hands, then knowing there is a print option available.

Then, from an Editorial standpoint, my role in that is pretty small. There's a huge Editorial team that handles it but I can go to them and say, "Hey, on Twitter this week, people have really been talking about this topic and is this something that we'd ever think about covering?" Or working with Cover Influencers to go to Claire, who is our Editor and say, "Here is some people who I think might be really great contributors that you may not have seen because you've been really honed in on writing some articles for the next issue." Then, we have this Executive Forum event every Spring which brings together 50 plus leaders, CCO level and there about who get together and we listen to them and we say, "What do you want to hear and what's important to you and what are you struggling with?" We take a lot of those topics and we get them back to the magazine staff who can then address some of those issues.
Jeff Julian
There's your persona development, right?
Cathy McPhillips
Right. Exactly.
Jeff Julian
Great. Like I said, I've been jealous of this print magazine. Geeks have blogged over 100,000 posts on it and I always wanted a print version but it was so hard from just a person who is inexperienced in print or anything like that to even fathom how to get started.

What do you think the biggest impact has been for CCO on CMI and how do you measure success? If I'm looking at a print option, I can see that these measurements might take me over that hill that is the fear behind getting into something to print.
Cathy McPhillips
I know it's something that Joe and the team didn't take lightly when they were starting and it's still not something but we spend a lot of time working of it every hour and then we step back and say, "Wow this is a huge amount of time, money and investment for something that we're not making a lot of money on" necessarily but the value it brings to us at CMI and the value it brings to the community is overwhelming. From a thought leadership standpoint, one of the things Joe says is he helps brands and he helps Thought Leaders write a book. Not any book, and his quote is, "It'll make some big thud when dropped on a desk book that's produced from dead trees." That just kind of puts you in a whole new realm that other people aren't in. He's found his niche' and he found his niche' because he started writing a book about it. That would apply to the magazine as well is when brands or media companies publish magazines on certain topics, it's just elevates them, their position in the market.

That's been great for us. For impact it's had on CMI from a marketing standpoint, from a business standpoint, it's really given us a lot of information on our readers because with audit statements and subscription forms, people are telling us all about themselves. They're much more willing to do something in that environment to receive a magazine than they would say for to download a white paper or to ... which is still great for us but with the magazine, people are just willing to share more. All that data has made it really beneficial for us to know what's right about, know how to segment things, know how to go to some of our vendors and partners and go, "Here's some information on our data base." We're not divulging names necessarily, but say, "Here's who's coming to CMI." "Here's why he's a valued COO." Data, data, data. It's just been really good for us since we have the magazine as that tool to tell us more about our audience.
Jeff Julian
You never even think about that whether somebody actually reads those cards or not. You just kind of start filling them out.
Cathy McPhillips
Oh we do!
Jeff Julian
That's awesome. I love that you guys, in the annual reports you put out I'm sure you're gathering a lot of the information from just the subscription pool or the surveys. Looking at that data, that is excellent way of getting a return on the investment. One, research is hard and most people aren't doing proper research. You can ask the right questions. Then, also you get that one on one interaction you get with rich CRM in the background and actually are caring about your customers.
Cathy McPhillips
Right. Ours has evolved over the years. A couple of years ago, we weren't asking the right questions and as we've gotten to know our audience more, our questions have changed. Start somewhere and then adapt your questions as you feel that you need them or as you learn more about your audience.
Jeff Julian
Perfect. Well, that leads us to the Three section here. The Three questions I want to ask you are: What are three lessons that you learned Marketing CCO that you've learned over the years?
Cathy McPhillips
Well, CCO as I mentioned before and this is much more in Claire McDermott's daily work. She's the Editor. From a marketing standpoint, I'd say a couple of things.

One, I addressed this earlier but online magazines are really convenient many folks like holding a physical magazine. We really focus a lot on getting print in people's hand. While electronic may be a more efficient model for us, the print has been really successful. It's been more successful. Here's an analogy. Similar to dressing for the job you want to have, I remember back in the day, I was trying to get promoted, I wanted to move up so I dressed for that job.

We've kind of made the magazine we're writing for the folks who not only have the CCO title but are poised to step into that role. We're giving them some tools from an Editorial standpoint that will help elevate them. Additionally, the Editorial gets to address other sides of the CCO job title such as time management and workflow and not always about Content Marketing just so it's an all-encompassing magazine and something that applies to them in different areas of their role.

The third thing I've learned the most is I just continue to promote everything that we're doing in the magazine because I see our content every single day. I read it every single day and I get tired of it. Just because someone's getting our magazine means they've had time to read it yet. Magazines have much longer shelf life than a blog post. Cutting up the content within the magazine, quick taping an article from the magazine, and posting it as a blog post. Redirecting that traffic back to the website. Just reusing it and that is something that Joe has said over and over again is, "Don't just write one piece of content and be done with it." How can you use it? How can you put it into a podcast? How can you put it into his book? Many of the pieces from his book are things he's written over the years throughout the blogs, things he's said in some of his presentations and things just being able to reuse everything we've done in the magazine in other ways.
Jeff Julian
The reshaping of the content. You guys do it very well. I want to take a quick turn because I think this is the right timing being the beginning of the summer and as Joe and Robert said on their podcast this morning, I can't believe it's June already. Content Marketing World is right around the corner and so how awesome is it to be able to work on an event of this scale and what do you most look forward to?
Cathy McPhillips
It's amazing to work on it. Every year, we want to get more people there. This year, we're opening up the whole convention center to the event so we have even more spaces. Some of the things that I like ... Some of the concerns people had last year, that's first on my list of things I want to fix this year and make better. I want every single person that walks in there just to have an awesome experience and to love Cleveland. Some of the things that I'm looking forward to this year, again seeing people that I've met in the past couple of years but especially in the past year that I have never met in person. That's really important to me. I'm showing off our great city. We're under construction a little bit because RNC is coming here next summer.
Jeff Julian
Yeah, you guys beat us out on that.
Cathy McPhillips
We did but we're really excited about it and it's going to be great. Showing off this great city and there's so much to offer here and September's absolutely the best month in Cleveland. It's not too hot, not too cold and the sun's finger's crossed, shining. At the event specifically, this year's theme is "Bright Lights, Big Concept." It's a Hollywood theme and one of the pieces we're doing is we're building a 30 foot high Hollywood Squares game show set.
Jeff Julian
Wow. That's awesome.
Cathy McPhillips
Our contestants were selected last week. We did a contest online. The squares are filled with Joe is Center Square, Jay Baer, Jenny Dietrich, Carmen Hill, Andrew Davis is going to be in some of the squares and that's super exciting for me. We have lights, we have questions, we have the people there and that's going to be during one of our breaks. That's going to be so great. I can't wait for that. We've been just laughing, thinking about how we're going to execute this whole thing. That's been really fun for us.
Jeff Julian
I can imagine.
Cathy McPhillips
A couple of years ago, we had ... I worked with Joe Kalinowski who is our Creative Director to come up with some posters that were geared around each of our tracks being Processing Workflow and Content Strategy or Social and Certs and things like that. This year, we have Hollywood themed posters that look like movie posters that will say the speakers names and I'll have some all revolve around some specific movie from Hollywood. That's something. We have a nice twist to that this year. We've done it the past two years and this year, we've got another twist. I don't want to divulge but I'm super excited about that. It's going to be great. I can't believe it's June because one, that's great because I can't wait until September comes but I'm also panicked because we have a lot to do but we're in good shape. This is our fifth year so we have some really, really fun things in store.
Jeff Julian
It sounds so much fun. I plan on driving over so that way, I can kind of experience the city and then go around and check out all the scenes. I am definitely looking forward to the Keynoter. I think that's going to be just an amazing experience to have John Cleese there and just the followup after. You had the President there last year.
Cathy McPhillips
Right. I have to say, John Cleese, when we were looking at him, I said, "Oh, that's great." We've talked about him in the previous years and some of the Content Marketing he had done and I'm not a hot Monty Python fan. I'm not really into that but as I keep reading more about him and watch some of his videos and listen to his speeches on creativity, I'm super excited to hear what he has to say.
Jeff Julian
Plus, anybody with an accent like that, I could sit and listen to them for hours.
Cathy McPhillips
Yes. I like talking to Todd Leland because I like listening to his accent.
Jeff Julian
Yeah, exactly. Then, you got the Bare Naked Ladies, which is not a small band. It's not like some obscure, Cleveland band. You've got a very popular band that I'm looking forward to seeing. I've never seen them before.
Cathy McPhillips
Yes. I've seen them a half dozen times when they've come to Cleveland and they're just so much fun. Talk about story telling, listen to their songs and they're all about telling stories so that should be great.
Jeff Julian
Yeah. You've done well. Microsoft events, they usually get a band and it's some kind of obscure band. One year, they rented out Fenway Park and they brought this well-known band, I won't mention their names but it sounded so horrible and I swear the lead singer was drunk and it was just awful. I was like, wow how much money went into this bomb of an event right here? Sitting in the middle of Red Sox Stadium with a well-known band, it was just ... everybody was leaving.
Cathy McPhillips
Oh wow. We had a few local bands last year and I've learned while it's wonderful to have a big name and I'm so excited for Bare Naked Ladies, I think it's the attendees. The attendees last year, we had three local Cleveland bands. They had so much fun. I think our attendees can have fun pretty much anywhere but we're glad to be able to bring them some of the big names like the Bare Naked Ladies.
Jeff Julian
Oh yeah. I think you guys have done well with that. As we start to wrap this show up, I always ask our guest on who they get their influence from. Who do you look for, because you know everyone in the industry, who do you look for influence in the Midwest and kind of world wide for what you do?
Cathy McPhillips
I thought about this when you sent me this question earlier. This list is so long. We're so lucky to have so many people that we're close with and are friends with TMI and friends of mine that we've gotten to watch over the past couple of years. Right now, it seems like there's a couple of people that I'm influenced by. I'm drawn to people that are questioning Content Marketing and helping differentiate great content marketing from simply good content. Dave Mucungo in Boston is someone I really look up to for that because he's always questioning and always pushing people to do better. He's really important and I love reading his stuff. I think people that are taking their storytelling further with things like podcasts and videos and new visuals and Jay Baer is leading that. He's phenomenal.
Jeff Julian
Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Cathy McPhillips
I think people that are tackling the not so sexy part of the job. Things like Analytics and Tools and the in Chicago at Orbitz. I can read his blog posts and I will instantly be able to fix something that I'm doing. Every single time he tells me something useful, which is amazing.
Jeff Julian
Absolutely. I print him and then I just sit down and step by step, write up the lines that I've went through.
Cathy McPhillips
Exactly. I do the exact same thing.
Jeff Julian
Yeah. It's ... He's awesome.
Cathy McPhillips
Then, people that are taking risks. I like to think that I do but I'm a little guarded in trying new things. Joe Pulizzi is so good at that. I was on a plane with him going to Chicago, a while ago, I don't even know when it was. It was before he started his podcast with Robert. This Old Marketing Podcast. He said, "What do you think about starting a podcast?" I said, "Sure." My thought process is, go back to our jobs, do some analytics, figure out what should the topics be, what day of the week, all these questions. Two weeks later, I get an email and Joe just list his first podcast and I said, "Oh, all right I guess we're going to do to this as we go along." It's been great. It would have taken me how many months to get the nerve to say, "Okay, let's do this." That's always nice to be around someone who's willing to jump in.
Jeff Julian
It's also dangerous.
Cathy McPhillips
Take us along for the ride.
Jeff Julian
Yeah, exactly. You've just got to be willing to grab on and then clean up a little bit afterwards. I know we've jumped the gun and done some initiatives like podcasting or community building and you need somebody behind the scenes like you that's crunching the numbers, that's analyzing it because it can very quickly become your baby and if it's a non-profitable baby, then it's hard to get that to turn it off unless somebody's actually doing the research for you.
Cathy McPhillips
So right.
Jeff Julian
You are definitely appreciated, I'm sure. Thanks again for coming on the show and all the insight you have and I look forward to meeting you at Content Marketing World. It should be a blast.
Cathy McPhillips
It should be a blast. Please, let me know how I can help. I can tell you all about Cleveland. I've been here my whole life and most of our team has as well. It's a great place and we can't wait to show off the city and the event to everybody.
Jeff Julian
Yeah, I'm looking forward to doing a photo op. Maybe I'll put something out on Eventbrite and see who we can get going.
Cathy McPhillips
Fun.
Jeff Julian
Yeah. All right. Well, thanks a lot for coming on.
Cathy McPhillips
Thank you so much.