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Let’s chat AI Marketing. Welcome, Jeff Coyle of MarketMuse!
Transcript of Marketing AI CEO Chat with Jeff Coyle of MarketMuse.
Scott: Good morning. This is Scott Sweeney and I’m with my co-founder John CA welcome to the AIContentGen video blog. And today we’re talking to AI content generation companies. And today we have Jeff Coyle with us from MarketMuse. He’s the co-founder and chief strategy officer of MarketMuse. Welcome, Jeff.
Jeff: Oh, thanks. I look forward to our discussion today and also really your shirt and the logo.
Scott: Hey, thanks a lot. Awesome. You know as you probably know both myself and John are background in a long time in marketing, so we’ve bootstrapped a lot of what we do and we created this logo. I love it ourselves. So, yeah, so it’s a lot of fun. Thanks for mentioning that. Jeff, we wanna start out by just finding out a little bit about yourself and your background. You wanna tell us a little bit about yourself?
Jeff: Yeah, sure. So I have been in the content strategy lead gen search space for now 24 years. I went to Georgia Tech for computer science, my background’s in computer science with a specialization in usability. So usability theory. And I also worked on some of the earliest search engine information retrieval work during my time there. Wow. I worked at a company called knowledge storm from 2000 to 2007. We were one of the first people who were selling leads to software companies. So we were convincing IBMs and Dells of the world to have content on their sites. Wow. Where they weren’t even, you know, they were like digitizing, like scanning brochures was like a big stretch. Right. But how did we generate leads with that? How do we market across the buyer journey when nobody even were thinking about that?
Jeff: So we were selling millions of leads you know, a month to software companies. And I managed in-house and I was a product manager for them. We were acquired in 2007 by tech target who may be familiar with the major business to business technology and certain niche B to C publishers who sold leads to solve our companies primarily. And then also has now become a data company where I led their in-house team from search content, traffic, anything that was people going to a website and then turning into something good was you know, managed by my team there. When I left there to go work at a private equity firm, right before that time I met my now co-founder AKI who had built the earliest technology for tech for market news. And it was technology that really focused on natural language processing and topic modeling.
Jeff: And it was focused on really telling the story about what it means to be an expert on a concept. And that was something that I had been looking for for a very long time. And it worked and it cut a, you know, 40-hour process down to four minutes. And this was now over seven years ago. When I went and had, when I left tech target few, few months into another gig, I AKI reached out and said he was really gonna take this to market and wondered if I wanted to be, a late co-founder of market news. And then the rest is history jumped right off that cliff landed and bounced a few times. And now we have, you know kind of a, we created the market for content optimization and now our continuing to create for the content strategy and content intelligence markets that kind of don’t still exist.
Scott: Wow. Yeah. Thanks so much. Well, that’s quite a background. You know I, I could tell you some stories about myself in the pre-internet days, even too. Yeah. <Laugh>
Jeff: You can still find some of that stuff if you look hard enough
Scott: Doing it for a real long time. Absolutely. That’s great. What’s one thing I found doing a little research on your background, Jeff, is that you actually are a brewer and have a tap room.
Jeff): Ah, yes. <Laugh> so, yeah, I’m the co-founder of a silver bluff brewing company. It’s a microbrewery based in south Georgia in Brunswick, Georgia, the golden ISS. So I’m the co-founder and did all the branding identity work. And I am, don’t spend a huge amount of my actual physical time because when you’re, you know, a SAS company eats up the majority, however, yeah. The business runs really well. We have an amazing team there. US Open 2020 silver medal winners. So we’re not just fooling around in the garage. We’ve got, a pretty significant organization and operation going there with a really talented team.
Scott: So that’s great.
Jeff: I love, I love beer and brew and it’s, it’s, it’s amazing, my it’s, it’s 95% sanitation and 5% everything else. If you’ve ever known anyone, who’s a brother, if you don’t like to clean, you should just stick to drinking. That’s what I say. <Laugh>
Scott: <Laugh>, that’s great. Super actually, it’s kind of interesting. I just ordered a keg for a very large family party this Saturday for my father-in-law’s turning 90 and oh, wow. Yeah,
Jeff: What was it? You’re in, you’re in Northeast. So it’s gotta be
Scott: Yeah, yeah. What kinda beer?
Jeff: Yeah. Right. I gotta ask
Scott: Ganett of course. All right,
Jeff: Cool. I actually was in a call that’s fun, fun aside tangent. I was on a call early on in fundraising for market use live. And we were at the venture capital firm or private equity firm. I forget who had been the major investor in NA GSET when they reached up. No kidding.
Jeff: So yeah. And there, if you go look it up, I don’t remember exactly who they were, but you look up VC NA against it. It probably is like 2014, the 16 timeframes they actually had funding from someone who also funds SA companies, which is just super unique.
Scott: That’s crazy. I actually met the CFO on Cape Cod just going into a beer store on the way to, you know, going into where we go for the summer. And he just started telling me about it and I have a son, in Rhode Island. So they’ve, they’ve done a great rebrand, really excited about
Jeff: That. Huge, huge rebrand. Yeah. It’s good standard around water.
Scott: So let’s get into this you know, MarketMuse. You’ve been, you guys are, you know, probably old timers in this industry now, right? Oh yeah. And so we have like questions. John, do you wanna kick off question number one for Jeff, or I can
John: Absolutely. Absolutely. So so what, what exactly does the software do?
Jeff: Great question. So we work with the entire content life cycle. So we’re able to analyze a topic basically and say whether it, what does it mean to be an expert on that topic? Right. And so then we apply that to all the most common workflows that content teams, content strategists, and GMs and editor inchi editors in chief, but also SEOs run into in their life. Right. And we don’t want them doing them manually. So we’re able to look at a page and say where it maybe has gaps from a lens of quality and comprehensiveness. It’s not exhibiting signals of expertise and give insights on how to improve an existing page, or if you haven’t begun authoring a page we have the ability to create a content brief. But it’s not just a report which a lot of the industry has kind of evolved.
Jeff: And, you know, when we first launched our initial content brief, there, there was no content briefs in as software in the market. Now there are 50 different things calling it 50 different briefs. Right. so one thing I always tell folks is to look at what is that brief, how customized is, is it just a report that some other people are using it’s like inside the application, or is it a brief we’re able to give you a way to build your own briefs that are customized. We’ll also help you build them using our customization, we have custom forms. You can do a managed brief or even more specific customization. We have solutions that analyze the competitive landscape for a particular term from a lens of quality, who’s got great high-quality content that doesn’t also have keyword ideation solutions built-in questions, analysis, internal and external linking recommendations.
Jeff: And then our premium offering analyzes an entire site and understands where it has strengths, weaknesses, and competitive differentiation. So that’s where, you know, the important decisions are made. A lot of folks want to jump to the end and get content, but maybe they shouldn’t even have created it in the first place. Or it’s not gonna have an impact, even if it’s the best page ever. I like to say this one a lot, but cuz I have a visual layout. It is always near me as I can go write the best brand new iPhone review and I can go throw it on John CAEs, blog.com and it could be the best thing in the world. It’s not gonna impact my business at all. Right. I go throw the same review on CNET and it’s gonna own, and it’s not just because of links it’s because I have exhibited expertise.
Jeff: I have exhibited topic authority, which we represent as breadth and depth of coverage, quality of coverage, comprehensiveness exhibition on particular intents that I have written about reviews. I’ve written about phones, I’ve written about electronics, so I deserve it. Right. a lot of those folks are really writing whatever, not semantically related to anything I’ve ever done. And the expectation is that one page on a PA on a topic is enough to get it done and it’s not reality. So we’re the only in-market solution for content intelligence and strategy that tells teams how much content they should create on topics. How hard’s it gonna be? So it effectively gives you know, a business a real predictive return on investment and predictive expectations of what that investment should be in the first place. So I need to go write 50 articles about you know, promotional tap handles in order to own that topic.
Jeff: Right? Well, am I willing to invest in that or not? Right. Those are the types of questions that a lot of teams don’t even know to ask. Because the industry is this industry from a writing perspective is very much run by the mass writing and SEO user profile. But the real tough decision-making is made by the GMs, by the editors in chief who have to decide what they’re gonna invest in in the first place. And that’s where briefs are critical, cuz they create that source of truth. So the GM says, I need an article about the best phone conductive headphones, right? They don’t just say that to a writer and that’s it. If they do that, first of all, the writer’s gonna be completely inefficient. They’re gonna go, okay, well maybe I can use this G B T three thing over here and then they send something back and the GM’s like, that’s not what I wanted. Right. And that feedback loop is devastating to teams. So our goal as a business is to improve your hit rate on picking what to write, to know how much to write, and also improve the communications between decision-makers, writers, and SEOs. That’s where the real loss the unknown losses happen in our space. And that’s what we’re looking to. So
John: I remember going to the basement of the Arlington public library a couple of years ago and seeing ake speak about you know, his new tool and which, which was sort of focused on the topical SEO stuff at the time. And it was kind of interesting cuz I’ve been working in SEO for 20 years or so. You know, I was with port interactive with Ian Laurie on, on the west coast. Right. That
John: Well mm-hmm <affirmative> and I think what struck me is the time was that it was edging towards how Google was changing. But I, I think a big factor of that is, you know, you talk about content strategists or content designers it’s what do you need to write about? I mean, I, I think that’s what we’re getting at here with some of these new tools that the AI content generation industry is providing like yourselves, right? Is helping the companies to understand what you need to write about, right?
Jeff: Yep. Well, no, you’ve nailed it. And, and it’s really, it’s, that’s the evolution. I think that the next phase of evolution for this market is people getting to the decision, making processes and kind of getting out of the this ground swell or the excitement about kind of cheating or <laugh> gaming a system. It’s just, that it’s not a path to longevity. And that has always been the case, but the SEO world, as you know, you’ve been in this space you know right, you know, around probably injured it right around the same time is, is it cycles, it cycles with new technology will come out, then it breaks into how can we use it to game the system then it’s, how can we build real sustainable workflows for business? And then new technology will come out and that same happens.
Jeff: And we have just seen this all happen with product content over the past few years with the Amazon affiliate boom and massive investments in that. And then you’ve seen, you know, at the end of last year, the crash from product reviews, update where if you aren’t actually reviewing the products and you, you write a review for it, we go and get ya. Right. and then you see, you’re going to see that again, there’s a huge ground swell in generated content. That’s not checked and then you’re gonna see police of that ensemble approaches to detection and ensemble approaches to detection are already in place in house in various shapes and forms. And you’re gonna see what the impact of that is. And you know, it’s gonna be tough when people are using outsource writing professionals who are using these types of technologies, who knows what’s gonna happen.
Jeff: Right. but that’s, so the ebb and flow aren’t unusual here. So in my, in my situation, you know, with market use, we’re looking at the entire content life cycle, all the decisions that get made each one can either be manual or have some automation or some artificial intelligence, automation components to increase performance and efficiency and impacting each stage has always been our focus. And if we can improve your hit rate on what, what you said, John decision making, I like to think of it when we were talking about baseball and, and batting average, and then also slugging percentage, right? So if more of your content you publish or the content you touch is successful, whatever success means to you, let’s say you’re the, and the average team that we profile is about 10% efficient, right? So one article out of 10 does what they expect it to. That’s terrible. That’s why content teams are you know, considered to be like some sort of voodoo, right? Let’s say that’s 30, 40% efficient. Right. And that changes everything for that team. That’s huge. I mean, that changed everything for that team.
Scott: Right. Jeff, you mentioned something that tickled my ears as because as a former CMO and also, you know just, I consult with many different companies on business in general, they’re looking for ROI and you said predictive ROI. Can you just expand on that a little bit more?
Jeff: Yeah, sure. I can give, you know, piles of examples, but the core value of market use is predictive ROI for content. So being able to say how much content needs to be created on a topic to either maintain or grow your presence and your authority on a concept gives you the basic infrastructure to be able to ask for budget and answer the question. Why, why for content, instead of just saying nothing relates to data, I mean, which is most of the case, or you’re fighting rankings, or you’re doing tail wagging the dog, you know, justification where you’re like I am to update this page and had words to it. Right. Well, what if that won’t have that impact, right? How much content do we need to create? How much competitive advantage have all the other aspects of the CMOs efforts your efforts impacted our business?
Jeff: That’s the branding, the identity, the off-page factors, links, and just the power of the site. Right? And so having all those things distilled into a topic, specific metrics can tell us information, like I just described it can say, okay, well, I mean, here’s a great example, a B2B technology company that work with I use this example a lot but has two product lines and they want to grow leads 30% to each product line. Okay. Well, a typical B2B technology company, what happens, you get 50,000, you’ll get 50,000, but that’s not the reality of content. And that’s where businesses do it wrong. And so what market use can say is, well, to grow 30% in this one, the segment’s gonna cost you eight times as much as the other one, cuz you don’t have an existing competitive advantage. So you gotta write 150 articles on this and update 80. Well, for this one, you only have to create 30, right? So measuring and managing and predicting return on investment for content changes the way that CMOs both reports define and then justify their investments. So I know for example, what the content item that Steve jet, my head content strategist should write next on our blog. It’s gonna have the biggest impact on our business. And having that knowledge is the ultimate power for content teams.
Scott: Great. Thanks. Yep. That sounds that’s, that’s pretty exciting. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> so I think you gave us a really good overview. I mean it’s very comprehensive. Is there one main focus that your company really what’s does a sweet spot for, for market news?
Jeff: Yeah, I think it’s it. Well, it’s role dependent is key and that’s really tough. That’s why it’s tough to sell into this world of content and strategy and SEO and and, and writers is what a writer loves. Isn’t what the CMO loves. All right. So you see all these products that you’ve profiled with this visualization at, you know, visualizations that you do. And I love those, but you can’t sell the same product to the CMO as you do to the writer. They’re just, they’re not looking for the same stuff. Right? so from my perspective, I like to think of the aha moments with market muse for each role. And so if I’m a writer I’m writing and by the way, if you want your writers to write what don’t, you want them to build great narratives, you want them to build and focus on production value.
Jeff: What don’t you want writers to do keyword research <laugh> you don’t want your writers necessarily worrying about SEO. You want the data they have at their disposal to naturally yield and optimize page. That’s where a brief comes in. That’s where data about competitive data. How can I differentiate my page? So those that drive against in our case debriefs and the applications are really built for writers. The SEO’s aha moment is all the stuff you do manually. I used to do it manually. I have lots of tears to cry. And so when an SEO sees a 10-hour workflow getting knocked down to a minute, that’s their moment. And that’s really where the page-level optimization goes from a strategist or editor’s perspective. The aha moment for us is that personalized metric for difficulty. How hard is it gonna be for us to grow on this topic? What pages should I update? So they can give direction that’s back to data, not just backed with subjectivity. So where we focus, we’re focused on decision-makers, cuz they got the budgets <laugh> and then we’re focused on providing a great writing and SEO experience. Terrific. Mm-hmm <affirmative> good.
John: So, Jeff you know, how do you support the client’s content design team’s approach in, in some of those areas for the, you know, the content strategy approach, you’ve talked a little, you talked a lot about research and ideas and also about the briefing. I don’t know if you’ve anything else to add there, but what about perhaps writing optimization expansion metrics, some of those other factors in the, in the whole process?
Jeff: So those the kind of, well, we have an on-demand basically per me, an on-demand content inventory or topic inventory or keyword inventory that gives you all these decision-making capabilities, you can create content plans based on any slice and dice filter data, data point. So I can say, for example, you know, what are the five pages that I should update on my site? Or maybe the five pages from this section of my site that are gonna have the biggest impact on performance. I can turn that into either a content brief for each one or I can actually go do the work myself and doing the work myself inside the applications would be analyzing the page. How can I optimize it, analyzing the competitive landscape? What’s the haves and have nots of all my competitors here. Where should I add internal links? So it’s those manual workflows.
Jeff: All those can get also distilled in a brief, which can be sent to a writer in house or external. And those are really where our core areas are. We’ve been in and out of the generation market. And we are considering what are ways that we can do that more appropriately for our real market, which is the kind of business decision makers where generation has to be woven into a workflow to as almost an assistant, not a replacement because that is the future. And that’s our hypothesis is the future is how can natural language processing and generation components be woven into the entire workflow so that it is the ultimate you know, writer’s block defender, it’s the ultimate kind of ideation component, but it’s not focused on draft development.
Scott: Got it
John: Great, great. Super. So Jeff, this has been great. It’s been wonderful to have the opportunity to learn a bit more about the company and ask you some questions, and see your success in brewing,
Scott: Which Is excellent. You happen to have a tap handle handy. Oh boy, of your brews
Jeff: I do, here we go. This is my Mexican Lager, this is our flagship. And that was bluff.
Scott: And you buy that at your beer garden. Is that right?
Jeff: Just, you can get that in the beer garden or the tap room cool, right. About to have our second anniversary open on July 1st. So it’s yeah. Awesome. It’s a cool, cool project is definitely a passion project. And one that is, is super special. Mark amuse is doing some amazing things as well. And I think, you know, to be able to take kind of the two things that I’ve the most passion for and turn them into businesses has been a fun part of my life.
Scot: Congratulations. That’s awesome. I have one final question for you. And it’s one that I love to ask people. It’s it’s what’s one thing about AI content generation that most people believe is true, but you think is not
Jeff: All right. Good question. One thing would be that God, I have so many things but, one thing is that there are methodologies of the past that involved copying competitors, right? Or aggregation or stitching of competitive information in a generation. And those, there’s still a perception that one can rush to the end of the content process and actually get a draft and edit it more efficiently, more efficiently, all in than doing it with a repeatable process. That is still the myth, the myth of. And I’ve got this thing that is now going to add efficiency without having thought through the process. I’ve seen it work so few times in practice that it, grinds my gears and I wish for folks to really do the analysis for themselves, if they are using any sort of software, any sort of generation, do the analysis of understanding how much content do we create, how much time did we actually touch it, how much resource the true cost of content is one. And then the true cost of an effective page of content is two. So the biggest myth I have is how much content actually costs.
Scott: Great. Thank you. I appreciate that. Very, very insightful.
John: Well, thank you, Jeff. We really appreciate you joining us today. And thanks for joining us on the AI content video podcast, and also thank you to the audience for supporting us. We’ll see you next time.
Scott: Great. Pleasure. See you take care. Yeah.