About 5 years ago, I almost invested $300k in a content crowdsourcing / blog writing startup.
Well, $100k was my own money and the other $200K was from other angel investors I brought to the table.
Why did I consider this kind of strategic investment? Because I wanted to be part of solving the #1 problem agencies had back then – and that we still have today:
Getting Consistent Affordable High Quality Blog Writing for Agencies
I have tried just about every 3rd party content writing provider out there and have invested 10’s of thousands of dollars into blog writing services over the years.
All of them turned out to be a disappointment, usually because of a lack of quality control and consistency.
I am sure there are some good solutions out there, but to date, no one has come close to The Content Company.
In this episode of Local Business Leaders, I interview Cara McCarron, founder of The Content Company.
I just had to interview Cara on the Local Business Leaders podcast to find out how she’s been able to crack the code to producing a high quality outsourced writing solution.
If you are an agency owner or marketing consultant, you’re going to love this one, including the FREE sample blog post she offers (to agencies / marketers only).
Be sure to check out The Content Company
Are you an agency? Get a FREE sample blog post by contacting The Content Company and mention that you heard on the Local Business Leaders podcast.
About Cara McCarron & The Content Company
Phil Singleton: Hello, everybody. Welcome to another episode of the Local Business Leaders podcast. Today I’ve got a special guest Cara McCarron, co-founder of the Content Company. Cara has worked in the sales and marketing world for more than 12 years in a variety of different roles. Her journey has seen as a sales rep, an account manager, marketing manager, a director for some of Canada’s best known brands and agencies.
She’s also spent a few years learning the ropes and perfecting her techniques as the owner of her own agency. Cool. Before, getting into digital marketing Cara spent time in retail on the store level. She also has experience with both sides of the buying process and she knows what it takes to get people to take specific actions. This wealth of experience has led to the knowledge that through various forms of marketing Content is one common denominator that gets your message across and increases sales. Oh, yeah. Welcome to the show, Cara.
Cara McCarron: Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate it.
Phil Singleton: Well, let’s before we get started and dive into maybe some of your lead generation tips and tactics that you’ve seen maybe work for other people and especially for your own business, let’s fill in the gaps and learn a little bit about your story. Maybe those first steps out of high school or college or whatever took you into the real world for the first time and got you to the business that you’ve got going today.
Cara McCarron: Yeah. I think a lot of times we think it’s this whole entrepreneurship is really romanticized and it’s really not. I think you start off learning and you spend a lot of time learning. That’s just what I did. When I was finished school I went into retail and I learned a lot about the buyer journey and what customers want and what the businesses can provide and all that sort of thing. Seeing that relationship grow between even when you’re selling pants and t-shirts.
Over a time my marketing … I started to get more interested in digital marketing. This was sort of before Google really to be honest. It was my first agency or advertising sales job was selling in publications and boiler room type stuff. There was a floor of 20 or 30 guys and me and we were selling ad space in association publications.
Over a time Google launched, all the digital marketing world started to come into its own. I started a couple businesses. I started a company, two actually, that were marketing/consulting/branding/website development. All that kind of stuff. Even back then really the conversation was still …
People didn’t realize it was a conversation at the time but looking back it was still always about content, which is obviously what we do now. Again, building that relationship through writing and not just about the link building side of things and not just about the quick wins.
Over a time I started that business. It did okay. It provided for our family and that was amazing. There was a point where I really felt I wanted to go back into the workforce and really get a better idea and better sense of what digital marketing actually was beyond my low level knowledge of what it was at the time.
I went back into the workforce for about five years. Like you said, I worked for some of the most incredible SEO companies and agencies in Canada. I learned more than I had ever learned before that. Really, social media was just getting ramped up. Pay per click is and was really huge at the time and SEO. It’s just over a time … It’s sort of like you come full circle. In the beginning people thought, “There’s some content element but let’s do all these other tricks to try and get around link building” and all those tactics.
Really, full circle, it comes back to content. That’s always the conversation that we see happening is that if you’ve got relevant content and all that kind of stuff then you’re marketing wins. It’s really that simple. Yeah, we’ve been in business for we’re in our fourth year now. Things are growing very quickly. We take a totally different approach to content writing because it’s like anything good. You can’t rush it. That’s the same with writing. Yeah, that’s kind of a bit about us.
Phil Singleton: That’s awesome. The one thing I would say also is because I remember in college for me one of the first internships I had I thought it was going to be cooler than it was. I worked for this company called Paine Weber. It was really this investment bank where they just had me cold calling people all day long to try and get leads.
Cara McCarron: Doesn’t sound fun.
Phil Singleton: Yeah. It’s funny because that does kind of thicken your skin a little bit. You look back and I’m actually glad I had that opportunity to do that kind of stuff. It sounds like what you’re doing. It’s kind of scary in the beginning but then after a while it really does help you in a lot of different areas.
Starting Out and Dialing for Dollars
Cara McCarron: Well, our first big break … I’ll tell you just to speak to that is for the first two years of this company I was on the phones. I was dialing for dollars.
Phil Singleton: That’s awesome. If that doesn’t say entrepreneur nothing does. Sometimes you’ve just got to roll up your sleeve. I was on the Youpreneur Podcsast with Chris Ducker, he’s got a big following and a big podcast for people and agencies and solopreneurs. His whole thing he’s got one where same deal. He got a virtual assistant’s business in the Philippines. His company almost went down.
He’s like, “Man, at some point I just had to be the superhero and roll up my sleeves and just dial until the cow came home.” He literally dialed his way to save his company type of thing.
Cara McCarron: Amazing.
Phil Singleton: Same thing. You got yours off the ground the same way. I think all that kind of stuff just really thickens your skin and also makes you more confident to some degree. It’s like you don’t get … You heard somebody say no so many times. You almost become fearless.
Cara McCarron: I don’t hear it anymore. I don’t hear the word “no” ever.
Phil Singleton: That’s awesome.
Cara McCarron: Ever.
Phil Singleton: I’m going to give you a little bit of experience about … Full disclosure here, I’ve been running my business for 12 years. We’ve tried every content production, article writing, blog writing company under the sun. You guys are the very best at what you do. I have some ideas on why but I want to get some more insight on what makes you guys so good.
Phil Singleton: Tell us a little bit more. We talked about your entrepreneurial journey. We mentioned the name of your company The Content Company at the start of the show. Let’s really get down to the definition of what you guys do. I perceive you as a premium, concierge, agency type of a business that provides great consistent quality business for agencies but also for their clients. Fill in the gaps there and tell us what other stuff that you guys do. I know the things that you help us out with. You’re probably doing some other things. You’re better at pitching your company than I am. Fire away.
Cara McCarron: Well, thanks for the props. I appreciate it. We love hearing that. We’re fortunate that we hear that quite a bit. We’re lucky. I think there’s a couple of big distinctions. The biggest one for us is that … My husband and I started the company four years ago. He was a writer, I was an agency person. We came together and looked at what are the pain points that me on the agency side would feel when I would be ordering content for my clients? Then as a writer, what are some of the pain points that the writers will see?
Phil Singleton: Wait. I want to hold you … When you were doing this and you saw some of it were you actually ordering from some of the folks that are out there today that are more crowdsource?
Cara McCarron: Yeah.
Phil Singleton: That’s what you … Okay.
Cara McCarron: Yeah. That’s what I saw.
Phil Singleton: Okay, so you saw that?
I’m not giving this garbage to my client. I’m embarrassed to read it.
Cara McCarron: Oh, yeah. It was painful because not to be whatever about it but at the end of the day I said flat out, “I’m not giving this garbage to my client. I’m embarrassed to read it. I’m not going to pass it to my client. You have two choices. Either I’m not giving it to the client or we need to find a different solution.”
Cara McCarron: My solution was Ken because I’d known his writing for a long time, a long time relationship. Beyond that he’s good. He’s incredible. I would say, “Try him out. If you like him, great, use him. If not, don’t.” Every time I was with an agency he would be full. His roster would be full with their clients writing. That was it.
Cara McCarron: For us, we do high volume for sure but for us it’s about the integrity of the writing. You don’t have to charge 10 times what everybody else is charging. That business model doesn’t work either. For us, we don’t have crowdsourced anything. We know our writers, we’ve got a team of 20 writers. They’re all North American. That will never change. We always want to keep our North American writers busy.
A Concierge Approach to Service
Cara McCarron: When a client comes to us our account manager, you have a human that you talk to. That human then assigns it to the writer. It comes back and we do the editing via humans. We don’t automate that part at all. Then the client gets it back perfect ready to go. They can upload to whatever space they need it. It’s SEO-friendly. All that sort of thing.
Cara McCarron: I think as much as we are so into digital in general we’re so into automation for everything. This piece you can’t automate like that. It’s just like not possible. That’s it.
Phil Singleton: I think that’s where a lot of people miss it because I can see a lot of the other crowdsourced that I’ve tried … Again, I’ve tried many, many, many. It just seems like once they get you in, whatever little system they have, it starts to become distant. It’s like me and this invisible writer. There’s no personal connection or touch to it or whatever it is that you guys have figured out. Then you just lose the consistency.
Phil Singleton: Once it takes too long to start … If you have to read through stuff and edit and edit over all of a sudden it’s just, “What’s the point? I’ll just write it myself.” You know what I mean? Hire somebody locally. Whatever that piece of it that you’ve got down you guys have nailed it, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to have you on the show to figure out what is it? It’s definitely part of your secret sauce.
Cara McCarron: It’s just being human again. It’s bringing it back to that human element because people miss it. No matter what we say, we miss it. I’m the co-founder. If a client’s really in trouble they can call me still.
Phil Singleton: That’s awesome.
Cara McCarron: That never happens.
Serving to Agencies Instead of Directly to Businesses
Phil Singleton: Some of this is the same because I know when we first met and talked your focus was really, kind of your niche really, working with agencies versus the end client. Has that changed at all or is it still kind of your primary?
Cara McCarron: No, it hasn’t. We do focus on working with the agency simply because if we’re working with the end user and they don’t have a strategy in place we can’t help them. We’re not a strategy company. We’re a writing company. Often what we’ll do is we’ll push them to clients that we have because if we’re representing all these agencies we have relationships with them.
Cara McCarron: If there’s an opportunity where we can say, “Look, you’re not ready to use us yet but here’s the marketing person or here’s an agency that you can work with. We’ll happily write it but we need that middle ground.” The last thing is I don’t want a small business coming to me who has X amount of dollars budgeted for content, us write it, and they have no idea what to do with it. That’s a total waste of resources for everyone.
Cara McCarron: For that reason, we’re very much focused on if you’ve got a marketing person or you are within an agency or you’re an agency yourself, that’s really where our sweet spot is. If the person is new and they’re just starting out we’re happy to recommend the people that we work with so that they have … You can have a great idea. The best entrepreneur can have the most incredible idea but if you don’t have somebody market it you’re done. In my opinion.
Phil Singleton: Yeah. One of the reasons I’m so excited to talk to you is one of the things we were talking about before the show started … It’s a pain point and it’s an important part for everybody in marketing and has been for a long time. It’s so serious for me because, as I was telling you before, about four years ago I literally got $300,000 together, $100,000 of my own money to try and invest in one of these startup crowdsourced content. I was like, “This is such an important piece. It’s never going to go away. Somebody’s got to figure out a way to get this together.”
Phil Singleton: Now we weren’t able to do a deal with this company who is still around but it really underscores what my point was was I wanted to have a lead-in to somebody that was going to be consistent because four, five years ago blogging everybody was talking about it was important. We knew it was important. Now nothing has really changed. I have tried literally everybody under the sun.
Blogging, no matter what anybody says, it is the cornerstone of inbound marketing
Phil Singleton: Blogging, no matter what anybody says, it is the cornerstone of inbound marketing. There’s all sorts of content I know that you guys do but really for somebody to do digital and SEO there’s got to be a consistent flow under the website. There has to be a strategy piece like you’re talking about, which makes perfect sense. That’s why you work with agencies.
When it comes in for us we’re not just blogging for the sake of blogging. Hopefully we’re blogging with an end result in mind and somebody has put some thought into what’s trending, what keywords we’re going after, so there’s a lot of things baked into it and not just another page of copy going onto the website.
The fact that you guys have really cracked the nut on this is super important. Not only did I almost invest $100,000 into another company because I thought it was so important. I’ve tried literally every single one I think out there that I could find. New ones are cropping all the time but they all have the same problem, which is you sign up where they’ve got this great inbound process.
You get into this fully automated funnel or system that they have and all of a sudden you don’t know if it’s some automated person or somebody offshore or whatever. The end result it ends up being what you think it will be. Every once in a while somebody will get some one-off halfway piece of quality and it’s like okay. At the end you always get disappointed. I know because I have tried this over and over and over again. To the point where [crosstalk 00:13:19]
Cara McCarron: You’ve done the homework.
Oh, yeah. The other thing is you can if you’ve got the time, like I do, we do have our own stock of freelance writers that we’ve used. There’s a big problem with that too because, one, they’re freelancers. Two, because they flake out. They get [inaudible 00:13:34] and sometimes [inaudible 00:13:35] It’s just hard to do it. Plus you’ve got a whole other thing to manage.
Or you hire somebody in-house, which a lot of people just don’t have the bandwidth or the resources to do. Ideally you’d write them by yourself but nobody is going to do that. I’m the expert at my company. I can’t write all my stuff. There’s just no way. I wouldn’t have time to help my other clients out. To the point where we come and finally …
Again, I’m going to take one more step forward to be like you know that I’m a part of the Duct Tape Marketing Network. A lot of people that listen to this show or that know me know that. We have seen in the Duct Tape Marketing Network over 120 very seasoned, talented, digital marketers in there that either have a few clients or scores of clients like I have that have had digital content writers and suppliers come through the network.
Nobody has really been able to stand and deliver consistently. They come in and they leave and people end up having high hopes for them. They get disappointed. You’re the only one that’s been in there that’s been able to produce and been, in my opinion … I’m not John. It’s John Jantsch. It’s his network. But I know that you’re thought of highly in that group.
That really says a lot because these are people that routinely … This is one of the reasons why we’re in the group is that we’re vetting other services and things. As a small agency I can’t try every single new thing out there. I can’t try every new content provider. When somebody says, “Hey, we’ve got something good here. Here’s a golden nugget. Let’s use this as part of our strategic providers.” You’re one of those golden children that are in the Duct Tape Marketing Network. I can’t speak highly enough about it.
Cara McCarron: Thank you. I’m blushing all over the place.
Phil Singleton: Well, that’s really why I’m so passionate about this. In order to get results we have to get consistent quality onto our clients’ website. It just has to happen. Without the content piece, the thing falls apart. To the extent that you guys have cracked that and been able to get a solid team deliver consistent quality … The last thing we want to do is get a piece of content and have to read through it and edit it a bunch of times.
Cara McCarron: Yeah. I hear that all the time.
Phil Singleton: If it’s 90% good it still takes a long time to clean that 10% up. That’s got to be good enough where it’s light touch and publish, right? That’s what you guys have cracked. That’s my experience. That’s why I’m so happy to have you on the show.
Cara McCarron: Cool.
Phil Singleton: I’m glad that you got your piece out and shared some of the reasons and things that get you to make it work. I want to drill down a little bit and be like, hey, you’re a digital provider just like I am and some of the rest of the people that listen” at least half the people that listen to this show.
Going to Trade Shows for Leads
What things are you doing to help generate leads for your own business? I don’t care if you go to all the trade shows or you’re still cold calling some. Anything. Tell us what’s generating clients.
I think for us because … We’ve tried a few things over the years. There’s a couple of things that definitely don’t work. Really, it doesn’t work because our market is pretty niche. Our buyer percent are spot on. We don’t have to think about them anymore. We know exactly who we want to talk to. We know who wants to talk to us.
Blogging for sure is a big element. This year we’re really going to … It’s always the shoemaker’s son situation. We’ve not done a great job of content creation ourselves just because we’re busy. This year the big focus is going to be a lot more content in the form of blogging and all that kind of stuff.
You know, being the husband and wife team is he’s really good at operations, he’s really good at the internal marketing. I’m stronger at going to conferences, trade shows, cold calling too. I’m networking my butt off. That’s still even after four years there’s still … Our biggest frustration is there’s so many people to get to to share what we can do for them that it’s overwhelming sometimes.
I think in terms of my role the biggest wins I’ve had for sure … It’s not even just being at the show and presenting and having a booth. It’s me going to the shows and sitting there and having a conversation with somebody. Picking the shows that are strategic. I’m not just going to go to a show that’s about pay per click marketing, let’s say. I’m going to go to a show that’s about inbound marketing or I’m going to go to a show that’s about content marketing.
If I’m sitting next to people I’ll be the first one to strike up, “Hey, what’s your business? How are you doing?” That kind of thing. People are … It’s funny and it’s kind of sad but every business on Earth is looking for a better solution to their content. Like really truly. I’m not just saying that to sound pompous or whatever. It’s true.
I have yet to meet anybody that I’ve talked to in the last, let’s say, year or two years where they’ve said, “No, we’ve got a great provider. It’s amazing.” It’s, “Well, it’s okay.” The way that we always approach it is, “Look, I’ll give you a free sample. We’ll write you your first one for free. No strings attached. Give me a blog topic, give me a keyword, strategy, give me your buyer persona and we’ll get it back to you in five days.” Done.
I’m telling you every time we win the business that way. Every time. Maybe 99 out of 100. It reads. You know we care. You know there’s integrity in what we’re producing. That’s a huge one, offering a free sample. I know it’s a lot more challenging when you’re a digital agency. It’s hard to do that. In our experience that’s one of the biggest ways.
Then your traditional lead source stuff, guest blogging, all that kind of stuff. For me, on my side of things by far trade shows, conferences, cold calling, relationship building is massive, massive. It continues to be.
Phil Singleton: For trade shows are there any particular ones that you go to that are chock-full of the agency type stuff?
Cara McCarron: Yes.
Phil Singleton: I have never been to one single one.
Cara McCarron: No?
Phil Singleton: I’m interested though, I hear more people, I know a lot of people get a ton of business from events and shows and a variety of things.
Cara McCarron: Yeah, it is. You have to be careful. I can go to pretty much any digital marketing conference and I’ll get something out of it. If I was an agency I would be more strategic about it.
Phil Singleton: Are there any recommended ones that you’ve been to?
Cara McCarron: Inbound.
Phil Singleton: That’s a good one?
Cara McCarron: Yeah.
Phil Singleton: That makes sense because that’s the whole thing there.
Cara McCarron: It is. It’s a bit larger than … It’s getting to be where it’s a bit too big. It’s 20,000 people. It’s hard to network with that many people. For sure, that’s a good one. That’s a really good one for knowledge.
Cara McCarron: I just came back actually from New York last month. I was at the Innovation Enterprise Summit and they had a content arm of it this year. It was pretty good. I made some incredible connections there. It was very, very small. It was really good connections.
Cara McCarron: Then there’s a couple local ones here in Toronto, like there’s a couple of digital marketing shows. They’re not all consistent. I think last time I checked there was about 4000. SMX is one really good one. There’s 4000 shows, though!
Phil Singleton: Yeah, I was going to say.
Cara McCarron: It’s crazy.
Phil Singleton: It’s like an investment. You’ve got to go, you’re away from home. It’s time.
Cara McCarron: For sure.
Phil Singleton: That’s the thing. You have to almost come back with something or some really good leads to make those …
Cara McCarron: I’m not allowed to come home unless I have four solid leads, I’ve been told. That’s the rule in our family.
Phil Singleton: That’s awesome.
Cara McCarron: The kids are a part of it. Everyone is like, “Did you do what you’re supposed to do?” I’m like, “I sure did.” “Okay, you can come home.”
More Requests for Long Form Content
Phil Singleton: I’m wondering. You might not be able to answer this but I want to ask anyway. You work with a lot of agencies. Most of them are inbound marketing, web design, or SEO folks, that type of thing. Do you know what works for those guys in terms of what they’re doing? Or do you have any insight?
Cara McCarron: Yeah. Obviously you’ve got to be careful. We don’t see a lot of that strategy from them. I can say that when it comes to content the interesting thing that’s happening over the last, say, 18 months or so is the long-form blog posts. It’s becoming where definitely there’s a lot more 1500 word posts.
I always say to clients and people and even when I’m being interviewed, “Be really careful with that.” Obviously if you’re working with us it’s going to cost you more money. It’s never a bad thing to make more on our end. However, if it doesn’t work there’s no point of doing it. I think it’s really important … What we see is they’ll do a couple of 400 to 600 word posts and then throw in a long-form every so often.
If you have long-form all of the time I would … I don’t know for sure the metrics. I’m just going based on my experience. I don’t know that that would get as much engagement all of the time because it’s long. 1500 words is a long piece.
Phil Singleton: I totally get that. That’s really more of a search engine play to some degree.
Cara McCarron: For sure. I would agree with that too.
Phil Singleton: For us, even, we’re trying to think, “Okay, let’s do one really long one like once a quarter” and then, just like you said, if you only concentrate on that then to us when you put a blog post out a week it’s just like what you said. That gets fed into social media and at least there’s some kind of messaging, one.
Two, unless you’re going to really have some kind of in-depth guide that requires that much stuff then you’re just writing a long-form post for something else and not for the user. That’s interesting. Yeah, that’s what moves the needle for some folks.
Cara McCarron: It does.
Phil Singleton: You say long-form, 1000, 1500 …
Cara McCarron: Yeah. We’ve seen even up to 2000 lately. You’re right. It becomes less about engagement and conversion and pleasing the person who is reading it and more about pleasing Google or whatever search engine. I think it’s just a slippery slope. I’ll be the first to say to you if somebody comes to us and says, “We want to do 15 posts” and there’s not much richness to it I’ll say, “Do 10 really amazing ones.”
It’s not about quantity anymore. It’s about quality. You need to produce. There’s no question. There is a balance between putting it out there just to say, “Yeah, we put out 15 blogs this month” versus, “We put 10 really incredible pieces out. We did a really cool downloadable PDF for our inbound and we did an ebook.” There’s got to be some kind of rhyme and reason to it or it’s just nonsense. [crosstalk 00:23:29]
Phil Singleton: Some of the ways we’re getting around it is, like I’m saying, I still like a good well-written 500, 600 word post and it gets fed out. For the long-form stuff part of the reasons why I have a podcast right now, get great content, get to talk to somebody, get it transcribed on Rev.com for a dollar a minute by a human person. All of a sudden you’ve got an 8000 word transcription on your website you can tweak a little bit. That stuff ranks too.
If you’re really worried about having some things a transcript is a nice natural way to actually say, “Here is something useful for the user. Listen to it. Here’s some long-form text you can break up and maybe turn it into a post” but then focus on your actual blog. Make that real good stuff that’s focused on not just long for the sake of long.
It’s interesting to see … You’re seeing that because you’re a great source to see what people are actually ordering. I don’t see that.
Cara McCarron: I see the backend. Yeah.
Phil Singleton: Right. Right. Any other tidbits there?
That’s it at the end of the day. The content has to be useful.
Cara McCarron: Well, you nailed it, though. You said useful. That’s it at the end of the day. It’s got to be useful. Podcasts, super useful. Transcribing those, very useful. There’s purpose to it. Any other tidbits? Yeah, I don’t know [crosstalk 00:24:36]
Phil Singleton: That’s really insightful. We don’t see that. You get to see what other people are ordering. Any other forms of stuff? Are you seeing a lot of people that are asking for things to be turned into ebooks?
Cara McCarron: Yeah. Ebooks are really, really picking up steam. It’s funny because people will say, “We want a 10 page ebook” and I’ll quote them. I’ll say, “This is how much it costs.” I’ll say, “But you don’t really want a 10 page ebook, written 10 pages. That’s like a 30 page book.” They’re like, “Oh, you’re right.”
Cara McCarron: One thing I always caution people is you’re really getting three pages of written content and then your designer is going to take that and turn it into 10 pages. You never want to see an ebook that’s just page, page, page, page. Unless you’re writing an actual book, that’s not cutting it. We are seeing a lot more ebooks where … We have just started to add the element of design for those clients who don’t have an in-house designer who want to just … It’s not a big piece of what we’re doing.
Phil Singleton: Like a combination type thing.
Cara McCarron: Yeah. If you’re stuck we’ll give you a hand. We’ve got an incredible designer. We’ll put something together. By and large, you’re looking at a three page ebook that you can have 10 pages. Ebooks are definitely ramping up. Landing pages, there’s a lot of product [crosstalk 00:25:42]
Phil Singleton: Yeah. I was going to say, page copying and that stuff?
Cara McCarron: Yeah. Everything. We do tons of blogs, tons of website content.
Phil Singleton: Press releases?
Cara McCarron: A lot of press releases. We don’t do any social updates or anything like that because again that’s more strategy and once you have the post you can chop it up in a million different ways and utilize different portions of it. Yeah, if I had to say the top three it would be blog posts, website content, and ebooks right now. Huge.
Phil Singleton: That’s really awesome. Now we’re getting down to the end of the show here but I do want to ask what I like to call the $10,000 Question. That is you are going to wake up tomorrow with none of your business. We’re going to let you keep your family and all of your bills. I’m going to give you $10,000 cash, a computer, and a phone and you’ve got to start rebuilding what you have today.
Phil Singleton: I’m not giving you a new life. I’m just giving you a chance to say here’s all your knowledge, none of your connections. How are you going to start applying that to rebuild what you have, rebuild The Content Company? What’s the first step? Is it the phone? Tell us.
Cara McCarron: Yeah. The first step would be get my website up immediately.
Phil Singleton: Website. All right.
Cara McCarron: For sure. Fill it full of amazing content. Get Ken’s butt back in the chair and get him writing like crazy. My next step would be finding a trade show and just work that like my life depended on it. Finding a really good trade show that had all of you digital marketers searching, searching, searching for a good content provider. $10,000 is not a ton of money to start a business.
Phil Singleton: I was going to say how many trade shows do you think that gets for a decent …
Cara McCarron: I could probably do two on $10,000.
Phil Singleton: Two? Wow.
Cara McCarron: Yeah. I could probably do two.
Phil Singleton: Is that because of the booth fees or just traveling and access? I’ve never done one. When you say that is that you being a booth or you just working the show?
Cara McCarron: Oh, no. I work it.
Phil Singleton: Plus the travel, the hotel, and the ticket for the event?
Cara McCarron: Yeah. For sure. I think the one I went to New York I went and the ticket was like … Remember, I’m in Canada. Your $1000 ticket really costs me $1300. For sure that would be my first thing. Then get my ass back on the phone. Just dialing for dollars.
Phil Singleton: You know you can get it. Yeah.
Cara McCarron: My pitch is so much more refined now, right? We’ve had four years to really refine what we do.
Phil Singleton: Plus it’s like of all things if somebody … They don’t get that. Every time you get pitched or cold called from somebody as an agency it’s somebody trying to sell you your own service, “I want to do web design for you”, “I want to do SEO for you.” It’s like call me up and tell me you’ve got really great content that I know you’re struggling with because everybody is looking for a better solution or has got problems with it. Or just to have somebody else give it a shot. Every once in a while you outgrow whatever it is.
Cara McCarron: For sure.
Phil Singleton: You’ve got your own freelance or freelancers and you’re growing then you’re going to max them out pretty soon. That makes perfect sense.
Cara McCarron: I will tell you the first … Actually, probably maybe the fourth phone call that I ever made with our company they’re still a client. They give us the other 50% of the business that we didn’t have when we first started with them.
Phil Singleton: Wow.
Cara McCarron: Just to give you a sense of our retention because we’re … We behave like a small business but we think globally. We’ve got the best of both worlds.
Phil Singleton: Well, you care also. You take pride in what you do. If you don’t you’re just trying to make money and you’re going to just … People are going to roll in and out. That’s just not going to last. You’re going to get your butt kicked. Everybody, all of us, are going to get our butt kicked if we don’t really have any pride in what we’re doing.
Cara McCarron: Awesome. Yup.
Phil Singleton: Okay. Let’s wrap it up by telling people how can they get a hold of you. What kind of cool things do you have? You mentioned one thing that I think is really awesome. If you’re an agency people can actually contact you and sample the goods for no string attached just to show them. That’s pretty powerful. I would recommend anybody, any digital agency, any marketer out there that’s got business that could benefit from having many posts in a month from a partner like this should try you out. No? How do we do that?
Cara McCarron: We’re like content crack dealers basically is what we call ourselves.
Phil Singleton: That’s awesome.
Cara McCarron: Yeah. At the end of the day. If you hop on our site www dot Get Awesome Content dot com I’m sure you’re going to leave it for [crosstalk 00:29:48]
Phil Singleton: Yup. Show notes. All over the place.
Cara McCarron: Just mention Phil’s name and you will get a free sample just so we know where you all came from because we have to make sure that we’re following and measuring. Yeah, if you just hit me up, go on the website, reach out, and we’ll send you a link for a free sample.
Phil Singleton: Nice.
Cara McCarron: That’s it.
Phil Singleton: Man, if you’re a marketing agency then I’m telling you this will be the best decision that you’re going to make in a long time.
Cara McCarron: Sorry, jumping in. We don’t have contracts either. This is the magic I think. This is what keeps us exactly where we need to be. We don’t have any contracts. We rely on every single time we deliver you have to love it or you’re not coming back. That’s it.
Phil Singleton: I think this is [inaudible 00:30:31] for you guys, know this with anybody, when we start working with you folks it’s like there’s always got to be a get to know the thing period. The cool thing I noticed about you guys is you’re pretty much on the money close out of the gate. It gets better and better because it’s just human nature. The more people that know what you want and what you’re doing the more you’re focused. You get a rhythm going. It even gets better.
Phil Singleton: I think the one thing I noticed about you guys is that that process is really accelerated and it starts off almost where you need to be at the very beginning. It does actually improve even more I think as you get it because that’s just part of I think just developing a relationship.
Cara McCarron: Yeah. You just get to know each other a bit. For sure.
Phil Singleton: Then on social media where’s the best places to hang out with you and your company and connect you on? Are you active on Facebook more? LinkedIn?
Cara McCarron: I would say Facebook and LinkedIn for sure. Instagram, I’m a total Instagram junkie but we’ve got other people who are going to start working that since I don’t have time for it. Personally I’m an Instagram junkie. For business definitely we’ve got The Content Company group on Facebook and LinkedIn as well. You can always reach out on any of those channels and we’ll get it as well.
Phil Singleton: We’ll keep those links up. The last thing I have to throw a little bit of a curveball but I usually do this more in the middle of the show. You’re in Toronto?
Cara McCarron: Yup.
Phil Singleton: Tell anybody who would be a first time visitor there what places … I’m talking local places. Don’t send us to a franchise or something. Where are a couple cool places that you’d send people to go for the best whatever? Great food. Just get a couple shout outs to two or three places.
Cara McCarron: For sure, one of my favorite places in the world is Pearl on King. It has the most ridiculous dim sum. It will change your life. It’s on King Street West.
Phil Singleton: Dim sum. Yeah.
Cara McCarron: Dim sum. Yeah. Oh my gosh. Their soy sauce is in-house. I’m sure there’s a grandfather with an ancient recipe back there making this stuff. It’s so, so incredible. Then the tourist-y stuff, I got to say the CN Tower is still one of the coolest things. I’ve been living here for 11 years. I’ll still go there. We take the kids there sometimes. That’s a really, really cool experience. What else would I do?
Phil Singleton: Yeah. Food-wise you really jones for, “I’ve been away for a long time and I got to have this”? Dim sum is great.
Cara McCarron: There’s a ramen noodle place that I’m obsessed with now called Ebisu on Queen West. E-B-I-S-U. Off the chain. Change your life ramen noodles. So, so good. Those would be the three things that I would say.
Phil Singleton: It’s getting close to dinner time. You just made me … I haven’t had dim sum in so long. Probably there’s not a place that awesome. I was in Asia for 10 years.
Cara McCarron: Oh, wow. Wicked.
Phil Singleton: There was some awesome stuff.
Cara McCarron: I bet.
Phil Singleton: This is so great. Thank you so much for being on the show. Thank you for really just being great at what you do because you’re filling a void there that 90% of the people that are out there that are doing this don’t do the best job. They only do okay. I don’t know if they care so much. They just want to do a passable amount of work. You guys don’t. You’ve cracked the code and I hope you keep growing. I hope we’re partners for a long time.
Cara McCarron: Awesome. Thanks, Phil.
Phil Singleton: All right. Have a great one.
Cara McCarron: You too. Cheers.