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The Contextual Customer Journey

Kerry Guard • Wednesday, November 23, 2022 • 52 minutes to listen

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Anna Hrach

Anna Hrach Liao is the Senior Strategist at Convince and Convert.



Hello, I'm Kerry Guard and welcome to Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders.

Anna joined us back in the day when we were a little old, the MKG Marketing podcast. Back then, we talked about the myths of SEO being related to content. The episode is in the show notes. It's a great episode. It's all the reasons why people talk themselves out of SEO and content. A whole lot of not right now, which is for SEO and content. If you never start, then you never start.

In this episode, Anna and I talk about the power of content marketing and how it impacts your bottom line, intent users, and what they need when they need it. Taking users from having never heard of you to buying from you. Content is the bridge. It's a very powerful thing when done well, which Anna walks you through. She gives you the blueprint. Listen up and learn a little about Anna; if you haven't heard the first episode.

Anna is a senior strategist at Convince and Convert. She's a hardworking, collaborative, and extremely driven professional who loves cleverly crafted, purposeful, and meaningful content.

Here's my conversation with Anna.


Kerry Guard: Hello, Anna. Welcome back to Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders. I'm stoked to have you just over two years later.

Anna Hrach: Thank you so much for having me back. Things were so different two years ago, and I am so glad to be back because I feel like we're coming full circle as we talked two years ago, pre-pandemic, and as things were shutting down. We had some great conversations. And then, recently, you did the best and resurfaced the conversation. I'm so excited to dig back in and talk to you today because I loved our first conversation, and I can't wait to talk again.

Kerry Guard: Thanks to Trevor. We're going to dig in a bit deeper on our first conversation. But before we get there, can you remind our audience of your story? Where are you now? And how did you get there?

Anna Hrach: I'm a senior strategist at Convince and Convert. We are a digital marketing consultancy. It was originally founded by Jay Baer, a New York Times bestselling author and public speaker. People who listened to your podcast know who Jay Baer is. I've been with Convince and Convert for six years. Before that, I started as a digital or a traditional advertising copywriter before moving into digital content creation and content strategy. I've been doing content in some way, shape, or form for the last 15 or 16 years. It's weird to be on this side of the interview because I am the co-host of the Social Pros podcast. I'm used to asking questions, but it's great to be here. And this is where I am today—content in some way, shape, or form for the last 16 years.

Kerry Guard: Six years at Convince and Convert; that's a long time to be in a company.

Anna Hrach: It's great. We like to say there is no B team. We're a very small, very nimble team. We do everything. Every strategist is a project manager. An account manager is a strategist. So it's cool just to do what we do best. It's really fun, and it's a great team. I love it.

Kerry Guard: That's awesome. It's just crazy to think about, especially with everything going on in the world right now between the Great Resignation and all the layoffs and offers being rescinded. Knowing people sticking around at their companies is sort of unheard of. And I love what you're saying about your team. Is there anything else in terms of the culture of Convince and Convert that keeping you there? Is it really the team and being small and nimble? Or is it something about the culture?

Anna Hrach: It's the culture and the people. It's so funny because I often tell Jay, especially our president, Kelly Santana. She's amazing and wonderful; just been working with her. She has worked with Jay and got her to start her entire career. She's amazing. Especially when the pandemic hit and even before this, we've always been a very culture-oriented team. And that's obviously because of leadership. You're seeing these things coming out now with great resignation and leadership. But it's always been there, and it's always been a very people-focused team. And typically, when you are at a company, they say, “Oh, we're just like family. That's like a red flag alert, number one.” But like Convince and Convert, we are there for each other. We go through this because we are such a small team. We know each other so well; we know each other's personal lives are connected. It is about putting people first, and then business comes after. We treat our clients the same way. We have these beautiful partnerships, and they're not typical agency-client partnerships but true partnerships. We get amazing clients who work with us. It's just totally different.

Kerry Guard: We're trying to be as well from people first standpoint and treating our team as people but then extending that to our clients and giving them a breath of fresh air, so to speak, from the agency. So yes to all of that. And before I move on to my next question, do you have any wise words for people trying to find their next place? What questions should they be asking? What should they be looking for and trying to find somewhere they might stick around for six years?

Anna Hrach: That's a great question. I got to Convince and Convert through trial and error and knowing people, just like I always say that finding a job and a great place feels so much like dating, which is so awful sometimes, too, especially the trial and error part of it. Find something you can excel at; find a place that values what you bring. There have been so many places where. I've come to the table, and it's not the right fit or not that level of respect, but find a place that values you and what you bring in. However, you show up to bring it. There's no one right fit and no one right place, especially in America, where there's this expectation of overextending yourself. If you don't work best that way, find a place that values work-life balance. If you are somebody that loves the hustle, you love to drive, and you want more work all the time, find a place that values your hustle. Find a place that values you and what you bring.

Kerry Guard: I’ve been calling it given things have gotten remote, given work-life balance, it's more. And for those who are into the hustle and who are not, it's more about work-life integration. These things blend now, and they're all the same. One does not end and the other begins. It is your life, and you work while you're living. How do these things fit together? How can you live your best life? How can work support that and be part of your journey, rather than this other thing you must do to do this other thing? They're all the same now.

Anna Hrach: I've had conversations before with coworkers where it sometimes depends on a project that's going on, and you see your coworker sometimes more than you see your family in a week, which shouldn't be the case. You do have to respect them and vice versa.

Kerry Guard: I totally agree. I love the people I work with, and there's something to be said about that. And that wasn't always the case. But does it make a difference?

Anna Hrach: It makes a difference. 100%.

Kerry Guard: Tell me, Anna, in what you're doing now in Convince and Convert six years later, and two years after we've talked since, what's one challenge you're currently facing?

Anna Hrach: It's funny, and we just touched on it. It's unplugging. I found through the course of, which sounds weird because I genuinely love my job. I love Convince and Convert. I'm not being paid to say that, and nobody is holding me hostage in the back. I don't need to blink or anything. You mentioned it exactly about work-life balance. And even though I've worked from home for six years with Convince and Convert, because we are totally distributed remote team, I found a lot of safety and security throughout the pandemic at work. I dove into it harder than ever before because it was a constant thing that I enjoyed and loved and, for lack of a better phrase, control it. It was very structured and found a lot of safety and security. It's that things they're opening vaccines are much more prevalent than they were before. I'm finding it hard to let go a little when we're going on vacations, a couple of them soon. I'm getting a little panicking and like, how do I leave my laptop, but it's been connected to me more than ever over the last two years.

Kerry Guard: I want to say you do. But I do want to say to as somebody who's recently done both unplugged and not unplugged on vacation; it’s really what works for you. It's finding a balance as I unplugged on my first vacation because we were off Island, and it was full-on with the kids. There was no way that even if I wanted to plug in, I really could. But at the same time, when I came back to an onslaught of trying to catch up and the anxiety, I felt like I was working in the dark, and everyone had all these questions for me. And I have no answers. I'm still trying to catch up, I'm in the dark, and this is a terrible feeling. And so a few weeks later, when I was on vacation, I didn't bring my laptop, but I did check my phone. I did start emails, and I just stayed in the not so much to respond or to show up because my team had it. I needed them to have it, know they had it, and not feel like I had to step on their toes. But I also didn't want to come back in the dark. It is like finding what works for you and that integration but being able to go beyond vacation and enjoy it.

Anna Hrach: Sometimes, it's nice to unplug, but sometimes, it's nice to browse occasionally and have that peace of mind. So totally agree. I don't know what I'm going to do yet. I'm hoping to unplug. I will probably check my phone, but I don't want to. I'm just going to make a commitment to unplug. It's taped here, maybe in round three when we talk.

Kerry Guard: I'm going to check in with you after your vacation and say how to go and do my intro/outro. I'm going to mention how it went. Let's do it.

Anna Hrach: If I respond to you on vacation, you will know I have failed. It’s like an instant litmus test.

Kerry Guard: There we go. Everybody heard it. Let's talk about content. So we're going to sit today, and it's what we talked about two years ago, but more of what we talked about two years ago, which, if you haven't listened, listen because it's so good. Debunks content myths as it relates to SEO, which is so helpful and powerful because we do think we know what we don't know. It was a lot, and it was really good. But now we want to talk about the ROI of that—how does content breed revenue? What does that even mean? We have a lot of things you could start with. Let's talk about the funnel. We're talking about revenue; what better place to start within the funnel? What are your thoughts on the funnel?

Anna Hrach: I have a lot of thoughts on the funnel. When you put together a PowerPoint deck, a funnel looks beautiful. In reality, we all know that the funnel does not exist as it looks on the slide. I use the funnel anecdotally because it's a very simple and helpful tool to talk about a consumer's progression, a journey, or the stages that somebody might go through. But we all know that's been outdated forever. But it is still a helpful tool to talk through some things.

One of the things that I still don't see quite as much with any organization, whether B2B or B2C, is really talking about audience journeys and digging into them. I do still see the funnel used a slight bit too literally. The funnel is okay for anecdotes and talking in generalized terms, but if we start talking about content and looking at what it's doing for us, we really need those audience journeys.

Kerry Guard: Journeys feel big and complicated because there's no right journey. Everybody's journey is their own journey, and half the journey you can't even measure. From a content standpoint and journey mapping, what's your approach to that, given those complications?

Anna Hrach: It's a great question. You bring up such a good point. When we do talk about audience journeys, we do have this tendency to say,” Okay, this is going to be a six-month project, at minimum.” We are going to talk to 50 of our customers and do UX testing and sentiment surveys. We're going to do all of these things that take an extraordinary amount of time and resources that we potentially don't have right now within our organizations, or maybe we just need to launch something and don't have time to invest in all this.

There are other ways to have loose customer journeys. First and foremost, if you're talking about the ROI of content and want it to convert or to affect change in your audience, you can only do that by talking to your audience. The lack of audience research that I see is primarily in having interviews with customers; even talking to customers and hearing about how they went through their process is enlightening. Hearing and even talking to five audiences, then generalizing some of those themes and understanding the paths they took can help you find some overlapping points in which there's a loose journey. When I say audience journeys, it's a great point that you bring up. They don't have to be $100,000 plus projects; they could be lightweight research to understand the steps your audiences take.

Kerry Guard: You need to be my good friend, Dani Woolf. You would, and that needs to happen. I'm going to make that happen. Because in terms of what she talks about, from an audience-first standpoint, literally just picking up the phone and talking to your audience is important for you. Is it that simple as picking up the phone? Or is it over LinkedIn? Or is it one-to-one? How are you getting in front of your audience to have these conversations?

Anna Hrach: It could be anything. A direct conversation is always the best and easiest because you can change and shift the conversation, or you can dig in a little bit deeper into some areas and make it more like a loose conversation. I get that sometimes. It's hard to get customers on the phone, or maybe you work in an industry with some privacy restrictions, so I understand. But even surveys to talk about, lightweight surveys, we're talking like ten questions. You can get this firsthand audience feedback in via zoom. You can do them. Even social polls can help get you a little bit further there like an Instagram story with a poll. A couple of polls in it to get their feedback is even better than nothing.

Kerry Guard: LinkedIn, too, has them, which has been interesting to see how people use them. Sometimes they're complicated. Sometimes you just see, it's really simple, like, gut feeling checks. I am seeing this happen in the world. This is actually what's happening. And then I will say, "Just as an FYI to LinkedIn, Instagram, and social." I don't know how you feel about this, but you probably ended up in your echo chamber. Be wary of the fact that you might get the results you weren't anticipated because you're with potential CRC and what you're saying.

Anna Hrach: 100% right. It's not an exact science, but it's better than nothing. The people who follow you love you already. You're probably getting get better feedback than you would have doing blind research for sure.

Kerry Guard: What do you do with it? So you gather this research, whether it's one-on-one conversations or over these polls or surveys, and then we're talking about content here, such as intent and journey mapping. What do you do with it?

Anna Hrach: Another beautiful point. We never want to create content for content's sake; we only want to research for research's sake. You should have a goal in mind of what you need to find out. Is there a new form on the website that people are not using and bypassing it and contacting someone directly? Or is it that people add something to their cart but then they leave it consistently? There's a disproportionately high number of cart abandonments. Find out what that problem spot is before you research to figure out exactly what you're trying to do in the change you're trying to affect.

Kerry Guard: That's important and to clarify because you said it, but I want to make sure everybody heard it. Do that before you do your surveys. What is it you're out to understand? Because that's so important. Sometimes, we look at the big picture and want to understand people's problems, but if you're specific about it in terms of intent, I love what you said: is it the form? Is it this landing page? Is this a specific product? Is it this piece of specific content that's been sitting here forever and not getting any traction? I love the specificity. I get to that specific of what you're saying in regards to that, because a lot of the times, like I said, our son by the big picture, don't know where to start. So start with one very small tiny problem right here. Build a question around it, and then go survey your customers to find the answer.

Anna Hrach: Take the feedback and the information you get, fix your content, and circle.

Kerry Guard: Full circle. Fix your content. That's so actionable of all the things we can do right now. So listeners, pause, hit the pause button, do that, and then come back for the next.

Anna Hrach: Do full on audience research, and then come back.

Kerry Guard: We’ll wait here. Because my next question comes to new content, I imagine that when you find those nuggets that aren't related, you might have this aha moment in your research of, "Oh, I never thought of that." then go build something brand new. What do you do with that? In terms of journey mapping and your audience, it's not linear. How do you know when you're creating the content, and you're on the journey? Let's come back to the funnel for a second because it is easy. And you talk about awareness because there is essentially an intent as to where people are and how you create content. How do you find that next step for somebody? How do you even bring them in the first place?

Anna Hrach: In terms of bringing them into the funnel?

Kerry Guard: Yes, in terms of that initial journey and from just starting them out in terms of catching their attention, and you have this research, but you still gotta. Because you build it doesn't mean they'll come.

Anna Hrach: That's true. That's where we start getting into some of the distribution and getting into. Audiences will come from everywhere, especially now that there is more information than ever before for people to process, sort through, and do their own research. When it comes to looking at that awareness stage and bringing people in, you can't always control that. You can try distributing content, atomizing content, and trying to be everywhere, all at once and creating surround sound content. But ultimately, that's where it really is. You have to look at where people are coming from the most and at least get a good gut check. Start with looking at what audiences need to hear from you and their interest, not just what you have to say. So, in order to increase awareness, you can't just jump off in the middle of the funnel and say, "Hey, our product is great." "Hey, the service is amazing. Get it now." What are people looking at from the very most basic search term? Or what is their basic pain point and core need, and show up where they are? At least try as best as possible to show up where they are and try to get them in that way. You can't necessarily just assume people are going to start at the top of your funnel, either, right?

One of the things that I love is that Google a couple of years ago did this study about the messy middle. There's an entry point, an exit point, and a customer journey. The messy middle is everything that happens in between, and basically, the way they illustrated it is this constant infinite loop between research and refinement in terms of what they're looking for. They're aware of something; however they become aware of it, they're interested in it, and that whole messy middle is just a series of refining and educating information. That's an insane, messy middle, it really is. Finally, they find information that satisfies all their questions and needs; they've refined their questions enough to make a decision. So, we don't control where people get in the funnel, which is a very long-winded answer to the question you asked me.

Kerry Guard: I wanted to get to the messy middle. That's where I was trying to go without hitting you over the head. But the rest of the middle is so important, and I'd love to. Google's graphic is not messy at all.

Anna Hrach: Not at all, and so Google.

Kerry Guard: But it is this figure eight, that's the infinity sign that's happening, and then you the trigger of them entering the infinity, and then the trigger of the next update in terms of purchase. And so I think that's perfect of how you do from a content standpoint. Is this what I hear? You're gonna correct me. It feels like you want to keep them there, to some degree. You don't want to trap them and make them feel like they are, but you do want to keep bringing them in. From an awareness standpoint, it's education. To hear more here is more a little bit about prompts, but bringing them back into more of that awareness and education. It's just keeping it going, but to your point, mean them where they are and the content they need, and be useful and helpful.

Anna Hrach: I totally agree. It's keeping them there by progressively helping them satisfy what they're looking for. There is an amazing content strategist, Kristina Halvorson, who, something she said long ago, stuck with me, basically that there's no such thing as passive searching. It's absolutely true. If you even think about your own intent, every single thing we do is with intention, with purpose, or with a goal. It's not just like cable TV, where we can flip it on and keep scrolling through, to a certain extent, on social media sites with endless scrolls. But even then, we're still searching for something; we're not just blindly scrolling through; we're looking or getting updates from people. Going into content and recognizing that somebody is going to read this with intent and they have a goal for consuming this content can help us better frame how that content takes shape.

Kerry Guard: Every piece of content should have a goal. It doesn't necessarily need to be by now. There should be clear intent on our end as marketers to meet the audience where they are. There should be a clear next step.

Anna Hrach: A clear next step and a clear goal to satisfy what our audience is looking for and what they need. So how does this content piece satisfy our audience's goal when they read it? What does our audience need from this piece of content? And how can where can we send them next for the next best step?

Kerry Guard: So it's not our goal?

Anna Hrach: Yes, it is not always our goal. Absolutely. If we just start saying by now, “get this thing. It's amazing.” That's probably not going to satisfy their needs, and they're just gonna tune out.

Kerry Guard: It doesn't work. Maybe it never worked, but we’re quantity over quality. We freaked ourselves out to think that worked at some point.

Anna Hrach: Maybe when we had less options available. It was like, “Do you want widget A or widget B?” And it was like, “Well, I guess I'll take one of these.” But now you have widget A-Z, infinite widgets available.

Kerry Guard: It's hard as a brand. There's a lot of competition out there, and it's up to you anymore. It comes down to the customer and then making that decision of what is going to work for them and why. It's tough now.

Anna Hrach: It's really tough. It's getting tougher by the day, and people are bombarded. We experienced this in our own lives, trying to find basic things. It's easy to talk through and make it sound so easy, but some of these things, especially when you're dealing with layers upon layers at work and trying to get these things through were getting tougher. One of the things that we continue to come back to, which was a Jay Baer book, and also a principle that we still use to this day is the concept of utility, which is marketing that helps instead of heights. So, going into content with the goal of helping our audiences.

Kerry Guard: 100% agree. That's really what it needs to come down to. It really does. Let's go back to conversion for a second. You talked about meeting the customer and where they are in meeting their goals and us having the next step for them on the content we're creating. Is the next step and conversion the same thing? Or is there a clear conversion that you're going to download this thing, and you're going to be a lead, that's a conversion versus third more and read on?

Anna Hrach: Great! I like how you made those. It varies across companies. Companies really care about that final click and buy or that intends to take action and become a customer, client, or whatever that may be. But I've also worked with organizations that might be on the customer service side. Giving somebody a five star review is a conversion. Emailing or signing up for an email is a conversion. So it depends on how you're looking at it. When people talk about content and conversion, they are talking about the bottom of the funnel. And many people still think about that ultimate end goal in mind, which does the content disservice throughout. There are so many different touchpoints, and we've already been talking about to just boil it down to that one action, which misses the whole goal of creating all of this content in the first place. And also just doesn't do our audiences any favors either.

Kerry Guard: I live on a tiny island, and 16-year-olds are allowed to ride loud, obnoxious motorbikes before they're allowed to drive. So if you hear those sounds, that is what that is. That's so important when you're talking about conversion, and it comes down to what you, as the brand needs and how soft you want the conversion to be versus how heavy-handed. I've seen anywhere from the Latin continent being a contact button, and everything else is open, and you have a contact button, and they will contact you when they are ready. Leave them alone to free trial to people being. I'm getting everything, and this is just how we're rolling. This is what we need. This is how it is, and finding what works for you. There may be a happy medium between the two, but it's just about the intent, and being clear and being consistent is what I hear you say.

Anna Hrach: I love that you just talked about gated versus ungated content, because this is something that I'm seeing lately kind of split opinion on, which does we gate or ungate content, because a lot of people have used gated content historically as a conversion point, or as the ultimate conversion so that they can get that contact information. But now, with people seeing so much success getting content, I'm seeing many split opinions on this. It's really interesting to see how companies are dealing with this. What's your opinion as a consumer? I love ungated content. If it is something that is so incredibly high value, I will happily provide my contact information. And that is just the general world that I've always talked to. That's typically what works as well, at least what we see.

If you're getting a super simple infographic, that's not worth somebody's time, necessarily. Depending on the industry, if you're an entire beautifully written ebook with worksheets, that will probably be a bigger sell to give somebody their information. You get it when it's worth it. If it's a really specific point in the funnel for everything else, just give it away for free because chances are you're not getting things they can't find elsewhere.

Kerry Guard: You want them to find it from you because you want to be the source of truth.

Anna Hrach: Yes, exactly. That was so beautifully worded to. Thank you for refining all of that into a super succinct, beautiful statement.

Kerry Guard: It's true, though. We have to show up as the experts at the end of the day, no matter who we are or what we're doing, and to do that, you have to showcase it. You got to give away your secret sauce like this idea of when I started my podcast three years ago, and I asked people to be on; there was a lot of skepticism. I'd ask really hard questions, and they're like, “you can edit this, right?” I don't know if I should say this, and what if I'm giving away how to do this and my secret sauce? You have to open up about your expertise, what you can do, and how you do it. And somebody will do it and figure it out on their own. That's just what they're going to do. They're never going to fire you, regardless, but if they decide that, they know what they're doing. I just want them to do it. There has been this shift, and I'm so thankful for it.

Anna Hrach: I am 100% with you on that. I don't believe in the secret sauce, especially when it comes to marketing. There's so much we can learn from each other by sharing methodologies, making things better, and pushing ideas and concepts forward. Get rid of the secret sauce. It doesn't exist.

Kerry Guard: Somebody's done it. I went to school for photography, and we had to study all the Greeks because they were like, you're not doing anything new. So look at the people who got paid to do this and figure out what they did well, and then incorporate that in the story you're trying to tell, because you're not reinventing the wheel here.

Anna Hrach: Exactly. Agreed.

Kerry Guard: Content is beautiful, amazing, and needed. It is the heart of everything we do, but where the content comes from, and the resources we need to create really good content are tough. Creating amazing, thoughtful, well-done content is a lot of work, and resources are needed. Let's talk about editing and copywriting and the importance of those because you can always start with that. Don't let that hold you back. At the end of the day, go.

Anna Hrach: Perfect is the enemy of good. Some phrases of that sword nature, perfect is the enemy of done.

Kerry Guard: All those things, but if you can get your hands on a helpful writer of some description, It's twofold. It's having a really good writer, but you also need editing to go with that.

Anna Hrach: I am a firm believer in that. As a writer, I will firmly plant myself on the writer's side. I cannot tell you how better my content is with a dedicated editor. I love writing, it's what I do, but it's not the same as editing. It's not a weakness of a writer to have an editor. It's absolutely necessary.

A writer is different from an editor and a proofreader, but nobody treats them as different and everybody wants to lump them into one. And that is still one of my biggest sticking points is just how undervalued, underpaid, and overlooked those positions are within organizations. They're still low people on the totem pole. They're still drastically underpaid for a very skilled, unique set between writing, editing, and proofreading. Those are all unique skill sets. And that is one of my biggest sticking points when I go out there.

Kerry Guard: I'm not any of those. I'm not a writer or editor. I'm certainly not a proofreader, but I do write because that's what's needed for our company. I won't say I have the most time because I have a different lot of time. I put effort and time into writing because I want people in my company who can have the time to do it. I'm not a skilled writer. I write how I speak, which isn't always good, and I use many filler words because I talk a lot. I recently started writing our stories, my story, and then MKGs story, and now I'm going to get into how remote leadership works from what we've built and what we've learned. And in starting to do that, my managing director came in, and she said, "I'm going to be your copy editor." I said, "I have no idea what that means, but that sounds amazing." It was a game-changer. If you're not a writer, that's okay. Just sit down and get stuff down, but have somebody mirror it back to you. Ask questions such as, "I thought I had written 14 pages?" She was like, "Oh, remove this." She kept saying she wanted more. But that's really what they're there to do: just help you figure out what matters and what doesn't and then pull out more of the real meaning of what you're trying to say. And that's what I got from it.

Anna Hrach: Absolutely. And that's what I get from it, too. When writing content for brands, I obviously have their goal in mind. I'm thinking about the audience, all of these different pieces, and how to pull them together to tell a story. It helps to have somebody who hasn't been in the weeds and is assembling all of the jigsaw pieces together perfectly to say, "Hey, this is great, but did you mean to say this?" Or "should we elaborate more on this?" Or "hey, there's kind of a disconnect between these two things." "We need to bridge them a little better, tighten everything up, and make it beautiful." From your story, you have this beautiful story that you're telling, but an editor's helping you piece it together.

Kerry Guard: Not everything is necessary. What are you trying to say? If I'm talking about remote leadership, then do I need to talk to you about this piece about my cat? But that's not what I did. It's an example of that. They help you focus on the point—you're the goal of the piece of content that you're trying to create. And that person is imperative to making that happen and doesn't have to be a quote, unquote "If you can hire somebody, it would ideally be a copy editor." I don't say anybody. My managing director just so happens to have gone to school for advice or writing.

Anna Hrach: 42:26
If you happen to find somebody on your team, use them. It doesn't necessarily have to be just having somebody read it. The ideal scenario would be that you could split those positions into different roles. However, if you don't have the volume to support a full time editor, or the budget right now to do a dedicated proofreader, pair writing or flip-flopping and having somebody else read it even at least to get a good gut check on it is always good. It's just here, especially hearing what other people get from what you've written, and it's so powerful, like, did you hear this? Or, what did you hear? Or what did you get from this piece of content? Then, they can reflect it to you. He'd say, "Yes, that's what I was trying to communicate." It's clear or not. I need to refine that. Funny enough, when I was getting my start as a traditional copywriter, my poor, amazing, wonderful, supportive husband was that person for me because I was starting. I was super insecure. I was working with a lot of amazing writers. I would come home at night and work on stuff and then say, "Can I just read this out loud to you?" and he'd say, "Sure." He has done that to me for the last 20 years. He has been my sounding board for "Does this sound okay?" and that helps.

Kerry Guard: I like what you said about reading it out loud. My mom taught me because she works in technology and knows all d outs. She showed me how your computer could read it to you, which is also helpful. Because if you wrote it and tried to read it out loud, you might skim it or skip over it, you can have your computer read it back to you.

Anna Hrach: If you don't want to subject your spouse or partner, you can select your computer.

Kerry Guard:If you're like me, and you have weird working hours, and it's nine o'clock in the morning, you can have your computer read it to you. It's very good. This was so helpful, Anna, in terms of content and conversion, and how to bring that to life from the journey mapping to using the funnel. Going beyond that and what that really means to build in the content towards a goal and your audience and what they're trying to get out of it with a click. Your conversion point, even if that's just a "Contact Us Now" button to a download for a very deep piece of content, and how to write that content for your audience and get that feedback through copywriting If people don't feel inspired to go right after this. I don't know what else to talk about, because this should get everybody in gear. It's gonna be awesome.

Anna Hrach: Oh, I'm glad. Thank you for letting me talk about this. I always love talking about content, especially with you. Thank you.

Kerry Guard: Anytime. Before we leave, I have my people's first questions, which I don't know I asked you last time. I didn't, which is great because you get to answer them for the first time. So tell me, Anna, in the last two years, have you picked up any new hobbies?

Anna Hrach: I think about this all the time. I wish I had picked up some amazing hobby. I didn't get on the breadmaking train. I didn't try all those crazy, weird Tiktok recipes. What was the famous one? It was spicy salmon, or spicy tuna, in a bowl. So, unfortunately, because of the pandemic, I had to stop doing roller derby, which is a very high-contact, in-your-face sport. I've been skating since 2018, but I recently picked it up over the last year. And now that vaccines are back in, the numbers are a little bit better, so I picked up an old hobby, roller derby.

Kerry Guard: That's so fun. I love that you're getting back in. It must be a little relief to feel a bit normal in that aspect.

Anna Hrach: It is, and I'm like, "Go hit people and get hit." It's fun. It's a really fun time. That's awesome.

Kerry Guard: If you could be with your team in person, what song would you want playing overhead to set the vibe?

Anna Hrach: I love this question. Before I answer this, I have to say that it would be my team with Convince and Convert. We do have an annual retreat that we all attend. It's the only time every year that we all see each other. We go so long, even though we see each other every day on Zoom, and we talk all day long, regardless of what we're doing. But in person we see each other once a year fully. I would have to have Legos. It's about damn time. It's a giant reunion every year, and everyone is so excited to see each other. We have so much fun. We just wait all year to see each other.

Kerry Guard: We do the same thing. We have many pods that get together throughout the year. But we all get together once a year.

Anna Hrach: It's such a good time.

Kerry Guard: Let's pent up. We follow each other energy that goes into it for four strong days, and then you all pass out. It's great—the last question for you. If you could travel anywhere in the world and your side sounds like you will start traveling here soon. But without vaccines and passes, and I've heard traveling right now, we're insane. But assuming all of that was not in your way, where would you go and why?

Anna Hrach: My husband and I talked about this quite a bit. I have been wanting to go back to Japan because that was the last big international trip we took in 2019. It was such a beautiful, amazing country. We had such a wonderful time. Everything was just so gorgeous and so much fun to explore. We only spent 10 days there, and we left. It was one of those places you leave, and you can say, "That was not enough time." There will never be enough time to spend here to get as much as I want out of it. I have to go back because it was such an amazing trip. We loved every minute of it. Everything about it is amazing and wonderful. When you go, let me know, and I'll give you what recommendations I know. I'm sure it's different from the two years I've been there.

Kerry Guard: I will, for sure. So good to see you. Thanks for hanging out with me.

Anna Hrach: It's so good to see you too. Thank you so much for having me back. This was so much fun.


And that was my conversation with Anna Hrach. If you haven't listened to the first episode from way back, check that out. If you'd like to connect with Anna, you can find her on LinkedIn, hang out, shoot the breeze, and get going. Build that content engine you've been putting off for far too long.

If you're looking for help or ideas, I'm happy to hang out and brainstorm. My chemistry call link is in the show notes. As an SEO agency, we can help you with all of the above.

What are you waiting for?

Let's go. Let's build you that content engine that will take users from never having heard from you to buy from you. And that's what it's all about, the bridge that content creates. Let's go.

Thank you for listening to this episode of Tea Time with Tech Marketing Leaders. If you found this conversation with Anna Hrach helpful, subscribe, share, and like. I appreciate your support.

This episode is brought to you by MKG Marketing the digital marketing agency that helps complex tech companies like cybersecurity, grow their businesses and fuel their mission through SEO, digital ads, and analytics.

Hosted by Kerry Guard, CEO co-founder MKG Marketing. Music Mix and mastering done by Austin Ellis.

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