Bullhorns & Bullseyes Podcast

For All Intents and Purposes

Guest: Curtis Hays & Tom Nixon
January 30, 2024

Episode 9

You may have heard of the immensely popular Ted Talk, Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle,” or “The Power of Why.”  In this week’s episode, Tom and Curtis explore the concepts of “why” and “user intent” to build off of the ideas in Sinek’s talk, in both a bullhorn context and that of bullseyes.
 
Tom begins by explaining the theory behind his “Why—>How—>What” messaging hierarchy for content development of all kinds, whether it be thought leadership content, marketing copy, or even video production.
 
Curtis then explains the concepts behind “intent” in search engine analytics and why it’s so important to understand the algorithmic methodology behind search intent when creating websites and web pages.
 
Takeaways:
  • Understanding and communicating the audience’s why when doing content development is crucial for engaging audiences and addressing their pain points.
  • Tom and Curtis both highlight the importance of collaboration between writers and SEOs to optimize content for search engines and user engagement.
  • A formula for effective content writing follows the structure of why, how, then what…no matter what that content may be!
  • Understanding the user’s why and addressing their motivations is key to creating compelling content.
  • Search intent plays a significant role in search/website indexing
  • Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (EAT) are important factors for search engine optimization.
Play Video about Episode 9

Tom Nixon (00:00.95)
Welcome back everyone. Yes, this is Bullhorns and Bullseyes. Hey Curtis, how have you been?

Curtis Hays (00:05.363)
I’ve been great. How are you?

Tom Nixon (00:06.99)
good. Uh well, we are going to do, I guess another meta episode but the first in a series that you and I are going to tackle and we are going to get right to it specifically a bullhorn and a bull’s eye and by that, I mean I’m going to pick your brain about some things that you’re expert on that I might not be in terms of bull’s eye tactics which we’ve discussed and uh you’re going to pick my brain such that it is on um bullhorn activities and

Today we’re going to talk about a subject matter near and dear to my heart, and that’s content development.

Curtis Hays (00:40.391)
Yep, yeah, I mean asked quite frequently among clients, writing content or doing SEO. I think it’s near and dear to everybody’s heart is creating good, engaging content for their audiences.

Tom Nixon (00:55.966)
Yeah, I think most people like having the content created, but I know the reason I get hired is because people hate creating the content. They think, she’s a 1200 word article. That sounds like a high school assignment, like an essay. So thankfully, that happens to be in my wheelhouse. And actually, what are my interests? So.

Curtis Hays (01:02.909)
Hehehehe

Curtis Hays (01:11.503)
Right. Well, I mean, and sometimes just building a website, oftentimes, you know, we’ll say, oh, that’s a three month project, but that’s dependent on whether or not you have content ready for that. We’ve seen projects go from three months to over a year because the client has difficulty creating content. Either written word or photography, video, you know, oftentimes those are things that really, really hold things up.

Um, so yeah, I mean, I’d love to hear from you, like what kind of process or how you approach, uh, content writing because that, you know, a lot of clients just, just don’t even know where to start. I certainly don’t.

Tom Nixon (01:54.154)
Yeah. I think it helps to have a formula and I want to draw the distinction between a formula and like a cookie cutter template, because I don’t, I’m not in favor of a cookie cutter template necessarily, but, um, as you’ve heard me say a million times, I’ll say it again for the listening audience. I always follow what doesn’t matter what kind of content we’re creating. It could be website copy. It could just be brand voice messaging. It could be a video. I always advocate for a simple hierarchy that follows the structure. Why, how.

And what and if what you get used to writing or creating content in that format or at least thinking in that format, it becomes a lot more intuitive and easier, I think, to get from inception to completion. So I’ll walk you through it real quick if you don’t mind. Yeah, so I always lead with a why the why is this bridge that is just between the rest of the article and wherever the reader or user or viewer.

Curtis Hays (02:38.759)
That’s perfect.

Tom Nixon (02:49.818)
is when they come across the article. So it could be on social media, they see a post, it could be they’re on YouTube, and they see the title of a video, it could be a newsletter, something gets emailed to them. And there’s this decision that they have to make, which is, why would I click on this? Why would I care? So when we’re structuring any piece of content, we always lead with why. And there’s two important components to this. One is understanding exactly even the step before why which is getting clear about who

And a lot of times we don’t get clear about who because we want to market to everybody because we feel as though as we cast a wide net, there’s a better chance of, you know, even a low hit rate on a high, you know, percentage is better than, you know, maybe going too narrow and missing some opportunities. I find the opposite. Actually, I feel like you can go much deeper with a smaller pool of who’s if you narrow your focus. So I always want to talk with, you know, tell me explicitly who is this for?

Curtis Hays (03:44.875)
Mm-hmm.

Tom Nixon (03:48.234)
you know, describe the person, give me an actual user, an actual client of yours, they’re thinking who they are and tell me who they are. And then the why part is the other component is that I don’t want people to mistake the why as if you know, look inward and tell people your why that’s not what I’m talking about. Few people care about you when they’re reading or consuming or viewing or deciding and shopping. They care about themselves. So we want to understand what are the motivators, the demotivators of the consumer of the content.

the reader. And we want to open with this. We want the headline to be clear who it’s for and what they’re going to get out of, you know, participating or consuming this content. Why? How to, you know, demonstrating with that why that we understand those pain points or those aspirations, or we’re actually maybe presenting new potential pain points or aspirations that do align genuinely with that who’s particular why. So that’s easy. I’m not easy, but once you understand it through that context, then it becomes a lot more easier to think of subjects.

You know, what to write about, who is this for, what’s the headline going to be, what should happen in the first three paragraphs? Because all you’re focusing on is either articulating some new whys or re-articulating the whys that already exist in your intended audience’s mind and heart. The house section is then sure. Yeah, absolutely.

Curtis Hays (05:04.923)
Can I pause you there before you go to how Tom? So how many probably hundreds of views are on the Simon, Simon Sinek video, you know, leading with why and you know, yeah, it’s, it’s in hundreds of millions. I’m sure that people have seen that across different platforms. So I think most companies are familiar with that, but it sounds like what you’re saying is, is different than that. So you’re going to have like the internal company, more culture, why there is a connection of that to like your customer piece. So like.

Tom Nixon (05:14.7)
millions.

Curtis Hays (05:34.867)
You know, for a marketer, how do you then make that, that jump and that distinction to the cultural why, which is why you exist in the first place to the, why would, why would this person, this audience be interested in what I’m about to write or the video I’m creating or the social media post I’m going to put up.

Tom Nixon (05:45.742)
Mm-hmm.

Tom Nixon (05:58.206)
Well, usually those things map together pretty intuitively because I think of most companies are founded on a why. So a founder runs into a problem that they can’t solve or can’t find a solution for out in the marketplace. They decide to start the company and they’re motivated by this why, because they have this pain point and they built a whole business first around a kitchen table and then they built a whole enterprise around a why. And if they’re doing it right, that corporate culture maps right back to the whole reason the company started to begin with and as a reflection of that founder.

Curtis Hays (06:12.232)
Mm-hmm.

Tom Nixon (06:27.478)
So I think usually those things map intuitively. If they don’t though, I would say in terms of creating, let’s say content from a marketing standpoint, not a selling standpoint necessarily, but more like thought leadership content or articles or newsletters, I would say discard your culture in the beginning of this and we could always weave those elements into the article along the way. But if you’re leading with your own.

Curtis Hays (06:41.163)
Mm-hmm.

Tom Nixon (06:52.346)
why, and you’re very explicit about this is why we exist. And this is the problem that we solve. You’ve already turned off potentially the audience because they don’t care about you yet. They only care about themselves. And what they’re there to do is to discover and learn whether or not you are the right service provider consultant, whatever. And it starts with you articulating that you get their why. And as you’re going through these next two sections,

the how and the what, that’s when you start to sort of bake in some of your brand voice in your culture and you do it in a sophisticated way, maybe, but just a non-obvious way. Cause the type of content I’m talking about is that today is not advertising copy, although that also I think follows the why, how, what I’m talking about long form contents and videos and articles and things like that, even messaging. So I do think it’s important, but I, you know, I’d rather people put that aside because the temptation is always to lead with that. And I’d rather you lead with the.

Curtis Hays (07:27.86)
Mm-hmm.

Curtis Hays (07:38.46)
Right.

Tom Nixon (07:47.293)
users why.

Curtis Hays (07:48.083)
I think that’s the distinction, and I think that’s why I wanted to bring it up, was in one case you’re talking about why you exist, so you’re talking about you, and in the other case, which is this educational and informative content, you’re putting yourself in the place of that audience, and you’re trying to discover what their why is, and you’re writing for them. It’s like an selfish approach versus an unselfish approach. And I think…

A lot of companies get caught up in that because we’re just selfish as human beings and we want to write about ourselves. Like we’re proud of our company. We’re proud of what we can do. We’re proud of our case studies and all these other things that we’ve been able to do in the marketplace. And so that’s what we write about, but nobody or very few people will find that interesting. Um, yeah.

Tom Nixon (08:23.96)
Yes.

Tom Nixon (08:39.702)
And they won’t find it compelling either. They won’t find it convincing because those things need to be proven. Not, you know, not boasted about it. So my tip for that is the shorthand I always use is if it sounds to me like you’re looking in the mirror, turn that mirror into a window and look through it and see the customer or the user or the audience on the other side and talk to them about them as opposed to looking in the mirror. So it’s a simple little twist on it.

Curtis Hays (08:46.26)
Mm-hmm.

Curtis Hays (09:04.036)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Tom Nixon (09:08.79)
And then you get to the how. So how is where you can in a in fridge. What’s the word I want to use? Um, you can implicitly, as opposed to explicitly boast in the section, because here’s, you’re going to talk about how you solve that problem that you just articulated that the user says that’s me or that aspiration that they have, uh, as a thought leader. Hopefully you’re, you’re a thought leader and you think about things differently or you have a unique perspective or you’ve got a proven solution.

And so in the second section of the content, I like to talk to demonstrate how you think about things, how you solve this problem and how you approach it differently than what’s been done in the past and perhaps failed. So this is where you can really create some differentiation. And this is also where now you’re starting to earn that user’s trust because they’re, they’re reading this. They’re thinking, Hmm, this is different. And they’re also, whether or not they know it, they’re thinking. This is a pretty generous.

article that is solving a problem for me out in the open and they’re doing it for free. Why would they do this? Right. But you’re earning that trust and you’re establishing that authority and you’re establishing the bona fides that this person knows what they’re talking about. The last section is the what’s and I think the what’s is where you keep them either coming back for more or picking up the phone. So the what is you leave people with three to five specific things that they can do to start their journey to solve the problem themselves.

Curtis Hays (10:08.124)
Mm-hmm.

Tom Nixon (10:32.582)
Um, these are tips, these are takeaways, these are download this white paper. This is, um, call this person, call your financial advisor, whatever is your specific things. Yes, you’re giving away free advice. So that is actually the, um, that’s the point really, because that person takes that away 99 times out of a hundred. The person in search of a service provider, isn’t looking to like learn your secret sauce and go do it themselves.

Curtis Hays (10:48.107)
Mm-hmm.

Tom Nixon (10:58.274)
They’re out there looking for who is the right person to whom I can entrust this problem or this aspiration. And this is where you’re finally earning that. All right. And hopefully the takeaway is either I’m going to call this person. I’m going to fill out this form. I’m going to email. If not those things, then what you’ve done is you’ve earned the right for them to want to return to the next piece of content that you share because they know, or at least you’ve, um, earned their trust that at the end, you know, there’s, they hooked you with the Y, right? So they’re like, I.

Last time I read this person’s article, he really understood, or she really articulated to me, myself and my pain points. They were generous with their advice. And at the end of it, I had three things that I could go and apply to my business the very next day. And so they’re going to want to come back the next time. So that’s it. That’s just why, how, what, and if you follow that again, is formula.

I think it becomes a lot easier to sort of eliminate that writer’s block. And for me, I find that, you know, I’m at 1500 words like that, and I need to start trimming down because it just flows through me that way.

Curtis Hays (11:57.867)
Mm-hmm.

Curtis Hays (12:01.856)
Does it sound like you could really use chat GPT to write in this way, can you?

Tom Nixon (12:06.438)
I think they could probably take some shortcuts with the what, but I think the why you’re going to at least need to write that bridge because that needs to be a hook that needs to be a headline. That needs to be a reason to linger beyond just the first paragraph. So that’s really important. The house should be unique. And this is I’m glad you brought up chat GPT, because obviously a lot of people will rely on the language learning models to do writing going forward.

Curtis Hays (12:10.952)
Mm-hmm.

Curtis Hays (12:22.376)
Mm-hmm.

Tom Nixon (12:31.37)
But a lot of that is all going to be the same by just the way it’s structured, right? It goes out and scrubs the internet and it tries to learn as much as it can in milliseconds and then spit it back. So that by its very nature is already things that exist out in the internet, probably in mass, because what they’re doing is they’re summarizing as much as they can and saying, this is basically what you asked. This is kind of what the internet says. This house section should be so unique to you that chat GPT couldn’t replicate it and that your competitors can’t.

Curtis Hays (12:49.781)
Mm-hmm.

Tom Nixon (12:58.482)
because you think differently or you think more deeply. And I think that human created content is going to stand out more so going forward. Once we get through this initial period where we’re at now, where I think people are just flooding the zone with AI generated content. And I think people are already starting to tell the difference to be honest, but it’s a good point.

Curtis Hays (13:19.579)
I also want to ask too, because it sounds, you explain it, it’s simple, it’s three steps, but when you really get into it, there is a lot that goes into it, discovering the why. And I know you’ve done, for some of my clients, customer interviews, where you’re interviewing their customers to find out why. Like, why did you pick this company? And why do you continue to work with them? And those types of things. But.

I’ve seen the way you work too. And it’s not like, I think once you get it, it actually, it seems to me, allows you to write, like you said, a lot faster. Like you got to 1500, you can get to 1500 words actually pretty quickly. This is like almost enables you that once you have that framework and you, uh, have that in front of you, it’s, it’s repeatable that like, oh, well, here’s a new topic I want to go write about so I can kind of have that framework in place already. I know my value propositions and different things and.

get started a lot easier and write pretty a lot quicker. So, um,

Tom Nixon (14:22.314)
Yeah, it’s an important step. It’s counterintuitive because I think if there’s ever resistance to going through that process, it’s born from I don’t want to slow things down. I don’t want to wait 60 days to get this going. I want to do it right now because I want the leads. The why that’s counterintuitive though is because it actually speeds things up. It pauses things for a second, but then it speeds things up as you’re suggesting down the road because and then you’ve got this playbook and you know, it’s already been put through if you’re doing it correctly.

Curtis Hays (14:35.467)
Hehehe

Curtis Hays (14:42.538)
Mm-hmm.

Tom Nixon (14:50.006)
You go through the work, it’s already been put through a stress test, right? You’ve tested it against the market because the market tells you kind of where they are and what they’re feeling. You bring it back to, in my case, like the client, they can validate things. They can expound on things. So once you get to that, first we call it the brand voice, the Bible, whatever you want to call it. That brand voice is the load starts. And it makes everything else easy because you’ve already gone through the work. And if you don’t, a lot of times you’re stuck.

Not so much because you have writer’s block, it’s because you’re just like, there’s this lack of conviction that you know, what makes the customer tick. And so you’re second guessing what you’re writing or creating or saying on your website. So.

Curtis Hays (15:23.467)
Mm-hmm.

Curtis Hays (15:30.631)
And you could do this not just with your long form content, but your home page, other pieces of content that might exist on your website, right?

Tom Nixon (15:34.879)
I do it with everything.

Tom Nixon (15:38.686)
I do it with literally everything video, a LinkedIn post, even if it’s 60 words, it’s always why, how, what? Which is interesting recently because of some things that you and I have been discussing relative to SEO in search. And if just to tee you up, the word that we’ve been talking about in learning more and more about is intent, which sounds to be an awful lot like why. What is search intent?

Curtis Hays (15:46.59)
Okay.

Curtis Hays (16:07.515)
Yeah, well, okay, so we have to remember, I mean, search SEO in general, I’ll kind of frame this a bit, is extremely competitive these days, especially in the sense that we have chat GPT and these other AI platforms that can spit out content virtually at will. And I mean, I spoke at a WordCamp event, I think in 2019.

I don’t even remember the numbers that I spoke about, but I done the research, how many billions of web pages are on the internet and the millions of new pages that are created every day, like the index that is Google and the library of web pages that they have, just do a search result and see how many hundreds of thousands of listings are there for that one search query. And to think that you’re going to get

on the first page, which is where 99% of the clicks happen, the first 10 positions, let alone get into the top three positions where the most of the clicks happen. I mean, you’re a needle in a haystack, right? So your content has got to be outstanding. Like it’s SEO is not about putting keywords in an article anymore and making sure you have good markup and getting a couple of links and share it out on social media, like there is way more to it. So.

Search intent, like there’s been some Google updates, there’s like the helpful content update, and I might talk a little bit about EAT, which is a formula that Google’s using now. But yeah, I mean essentially Google’s job as a search engine is to answer people’s questions. But it doesn’t create the content, it uses other people’s content to answer those questions. So it has a bit of

AI in and of itself in the algorithm that then looks at a user’s behavior. So they do a search for a query. Google serves up a list of articles that user clicks and depending on how they and then engage with that article, or even depending on whether or not they click as who they click as they scroll through the list, because that messaging, why should I click right? Is in your titles and your method descriptions, not just at the top of the article. So, um,

Curtis Hays (18:30.599)
Should I, and then just remember that every, every mouse movement or click a user takes is a decision, right? Like it’s a decision or make, right. Oh yeah, totally. So, um, so, you know, a user goes and looks at an article and, uh, engages with it, scrolls down the page, maybe clicks another page, um, and, uh, you know, stays on the site for a minute or two that’s likely regarded as a good, you know, experience.

Tom Nixon (18:38.739)
it’s recorded, right? Yeah.

Curtis Hays (18:59.951)
And Google may favor that article over its competitors versus an article where a user clicks and they don’t do anything on the page. Uh, this is where like mobile, uh, speed and those types of things come into play. Because if you, if the site isn’t fast enough to give the user a good experience and the content isn’t there visible to them right away, we’re impatient people, especially on our phones, and we’re going to click the back button and go somewhere else.

So Google’s looking at that. I think one of the terms Google’s using for it now is like dwell time. So how long do they dwell on a page? And if they quote unquote bounce or don’t engage, Google sees that and could potentially penalize you because if it’s ranking pages that aren’t good quality pages in its index, it’s not giving a good experience to users. And then what would users do?

You know, go use DuckDuckGo, go use Bang, go use Yahoo. I mean, it’s a competitive, yeah, I mean, it’s a competitive world for them. So they essentially have to do this.

Tom Nixon (19:57.966)
chat GPT.

Tom Nixon (20:05.73)
Can I so paraphrase for a novice user like myself. So it used to be their job to sort of pattern match keyword searches to the words existing in content. And now what they’re trying to match is what or they’re trying to understand what was the user’s intent in typing the actual query? What were they looking for and then learning about who is getting who is solving these problems that the person intended to solve?

And that now is baked into the algorithm more than keyword matching was. So this intent, this why is again, in a technical sense, is it not also matching to the users? Why it’s like, why? Yeah.

Curtis Hays (20:44.559)
Yeah, totally. It’s whatever, what’s the goal of that user? Um, I actually wrote down a couple kind of intent, um, type searches here, uh, which I can go over and I just put them as notes here on the side so I can reference them. But that old world you just spoke about and referenced, um, that I would call like relevancy, which is still important, right? Google still has to crawl your article and index it for relevancy of a topic. So.

You still have to do those things, but does that article, if it covers a specific topic, does it answer that person’s question? So like informational intent would be users who seek information or answers. Like how does SEO work? Or how do I become a better content writer? Like those would be looking for informational type articles that would allow a person to learn.

Tom Nixon (21:32.91)
Hehehe

Curtis Hays (21:43.367)
versus a user who would be more of at a commercial intent versus informational who’s like maybe wants to buy a book. So they’re at a different part in their journey who’s like best SEO books. And then that’s more of a commercial intent or a transactional intent where then that person’s gonna go and potentially purchase.

So Google is going to change what it’s like, all of the search results are going to be, um, you know, relevant to SEO, but based on what the user’s query context is, Google is going to provide different content. Um, so it’s gonna. Right. Exactly. That’s what I was just going to say. So it’s going to show books. It’s going to show a, uh, a shopping carousel versus the other one where the person’s asking a question, like a how to question.

Tom Nixon (22:28.98)
more shopping links. So, maybe

Curtis Hays (22:40.679)
you might see what we would call like FAQ snippets, which is like a knowledge graph area where you would see all these additional FAQs and links to articles or pages that answer those questions and then you could choose which one you might want to go to.

Tom Nixon (22:57.014)
The other thing that seems relatively new. I can’t tell you when I started noticing this. It’s probably years now, but the you know, you searched for this and people always also asked this and I find myself going to those more and more now because maybe my search query wasn’t perfect. But Google figured out my intent and said, well, other people that kind of search for that were actually looking for this. And then there’s another section even further down, maybe at the bottom of the page related searches.

So it’s like in two different ways, they’re trying to anticipate your intent and then provide again, provide you the answer more cleanly, more quickly, more intuitively, then just say, here’s a list of 10 blue links. Find what you’re looking for.

Curtis Hays (23:24.96)
Mm-hmm.

Curtis Hays (23:38.375)
Right, well I would say I don’t have the data on this. I would anticipate not a lot of people probably click those. I do think they’re there to help guide a user. I know people in our industry will use those as sort of launch points to find additional or related topics.

for the article they’re writing, because Google favors that. It’s like, oh, I put in a query for this and I’m doing a little bit of research and Google suggesting these other things too. So I should probably include them in my article. But yeah, totally. I mean, that’s just how you know that Google’s creating these relationships, all based off of user’s behavior and Google’s learning off of user’s behavior because in the way Google’s coming up with that, at least in one way is a user does a search

Tom Nixon (24:03.659)
Yes.

Curtis Hays (24:31.711)
for one thing, maybe doesn’t find their answer and then rephrases their question and searches again, right? And then they find their answer, right? So Google’s making those connective dots, capturing that information, and then updating its algorithm based on the masses. I think at one point in time, it was somewhere around 30% of queries created every day are new, that Google’s never seen any before. Now I don’t know if that’s still true,

Tom Nixon (24:56.942)
Wow, really?

Curtis Hays (25:01.555)
Going back five, six years ago, you know, that was, that was pretty much the statistics. So you just had this large percentage of queries that are coming up every day that are new questions that are never been asked before.

Tom Nixon (25:14.666)
You mentioned EAT earlier. So before we, I do want to talk when we close up about how we marry these two things, you know, my approach to content and your, this approach to SEO, but what are EATs you mentioned those earlier?

Curtis Hays (25:22.16)
Yeah.

Curtis Hays (25:27.815)
Well, yeah, so briefly on this, so we talked about this, a lot of this is relevancy and then, you know, solving that user question, that user intent. But EAT adds a layer to all of this, which is expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthy. There’s now EEAT, which is they added experience to this. So there’s now two E’s. And essentially, again,

I think with the adaption of AI and chat GBT could be writing articles and those types of things. Google is going to prefer articles that essentially have an author behind them with experience, who’s an authority on the topic and can be trusted. Right. So how will Google know that? There’s a couple of techniques to that. I won’t go into too big a detail, but, you know, just simply getting author bios.

on your articles, if you’re creating long form, say blog content, get an avatar or photo up there of the person, put their name and job title, link to other articles from their name so you have an author sort of bio page on that author box on the actual article itself, maybe put a short little bio that has a sentence or two that shows why are they an expert in that specific field.

And so that’s going to add credibility to the user that could be up at the top of the page. That would be the preference. You could put a larger author box with more detail at the bottom of the page, but that way a user sees that and is like, oh, okay, you know, I think I could trust who this came from. And then the other piece of that, it doesn’t always have to come from a user. It could come just say from the company itself. A company could be trustworthy on specific topics.

So the company would be the author at that point. There’s HTML and markup that we can do on the pages that inform Google of that. And again, there’s ways to structure pages from a user experience perspective that makes the user sort of feel the warm and fuzzies when they go to the website that they can trust the website that they’re on and the content that’s being delivered there.

Tom Nixon (27:50.55)
people here in that robots but LinkedIn also recently updated their algorithm to do much of the same as they want to favor content in their algorithm, which dictates which posts show up in your feed that are written for humans by humans. And how do they know because they know everything about everything I’ve done.

Curtis Hays (27:57.957)
Mm-hmm.

Tom Nixon (28:11.542)
At least that I’ve shared with LinkedIn, what my background is. So they know what I am an authority on or what I do have experience on. And if I’m sharing content on LinkedIn, I am feeding that algorithm. I am earning the E and the A and the T. So that’s just a side note that you should be doing that because of the more LinkedIn knows about you and the more that LinkedIn thinks that you are experienced, authoritative and trustworthy, the higher your posts will rank in the algorithm.

Curtis Hays (28:16.53)
Mm-hmm.

Curtis Hays (28:35.003)
And we got a great podcast that was a previous podcast with Jay Harrington, or he gets into that, how to do that on LinkedIn. So if you didn’t catch that episode, go back and watch Jay Harrington.

Tom Nixon (28:42.346)
Exactly.

Yeah. Yep. Exactly. That was the prior episode. So but to wrap up this episode, what I find fascinating is that I’ve had this why how what hierarchy for as long as I can remember. And then this intent thing comes along. And like I said earlier, it maps right to the technical side, the SEO side of things. So this is like, I think a good thing for most of us. How do we I’m going to ask you that how do writers learn from SEOs?

terms of how to write or at least how to pick topics and then, um, how do the SEOs take content or maybe inform the writers and say, this is how you should be writing or what you should be writing about or adding.

Curtis Hays (29:24.527)
Right. So I see my job really changed a bit to, even though I was doing some of these activities previously, I’m doing them more now of researcher. So who are your competitors? Getting a list of their keywords. Who’s your audience? What are they searching? What are you currently ranking for? Build that matrix. Measure over time. As we do activities, how do you test what?

Tom Nixon (29:35.726)
Mm-hmm.

Curtis Hays (29:54.067)
you’re doing, I’ve got a future episode we’re gonna do, we’re gonna bring in an expert in this area of SEO testing, in the world of testing. So really just connecting those dots, so I can help somebody like you, who’s a writer, is just from that research perspective, collecting the data, collecting the keywords, looking at what’s working and what’s not working in the search engine, using Google Search Console, which would have the real data on a specific website.

and giving you feedback. So I think that’s probably most important is giving the writer feedback. Here’s articles that are working, here’s articles that users are spending more time on, here’s additional questions or queries that we’re now showing up for search on, but we’re not fully answering those questions, but Google’s showing our pages anyway. So maybe we should address these specific topics in a deeper, maybe more meaningful way.

reorganizing and restructuring content. We’ll write content on a website for a couple years and then it very easily can become a bit unorganized. But we realize now that we’ve created some themes and we’re revisiting articles and rewriting those articles and we can create those things. So I think a big win for us right now from an SEO perspective is going back to that older content.

and create what we’re calling content hubs. So just reorganizing and kind of like, hey, here’s a topic we’ve covered with five or six different articles. Let’s bundle that all together in a nice informational page where people can launch out and get the deep dives. Here’s the beginners of, here’s a more intermediate article, here’s an FAQ type of article. And then we can send users to those hubs or those hubs become really good things.

for other people to share, your users to like share the hub on social media or a friend or a family member of like, Hey, here’s a great art, great like content hub on this specific topic you might find useful and shoot that out. So that’s kind of how I’m, I mean, it’s become very sort of data driven and analytical more than anything. There’s still some HTML and like best practices we’re doing. There’s still some of those technical pieces.

Tom Nixon (32:04.152)
Yeah.

Tom Nixon (32:11.886)
The other thing that I think like a developer can help a content creator with is if I provide an article in, let’s say there is an intent. I’ll use that word. Let’s say there is a the notion that we are going to try to perform well for this given search phrase for this article. Right. And you could go then and do a search keyword search and relatedly and find out if the search engine result page, they call that the SERP. Right. If the SERP shows a lot of images at the top.

Well, that shows that they understand the intent of that query to be. I want to see some pictures so I can hand off an article to you and say, Curtis, we need like eight great images so that this performs a little better for search because that seems to be Google’s interpretation of the intent of this type of article. So it’s really helpful. I mean, there’s a lot more reasons now where I think the left and the right brains need to be working together because if they’re not, then chat GPT will outpace us all. But I think if we’re being smart about it, we leverage chat GPT and we

Curtis Hays (32:46.761)
Yeah.

Curtis Hays (33:07.102)
Yeah.

Tom Nixon (33:11.403)
use it against it.

Curtis Hays (33:13.551)
Yeah, there are definitely ways of using it. Again, just more as a research tool or organized content and those types of things allow us to do that research and organization of data a lot faster. And what you’re just mentioning there is really, I guess what we would call content frameworks. Right, so there’s different ways to lay out content on a page or approach a piece of content.

And so, yeah, maybe it’s a gallery that people are interested in. There’s another good one I like, which is an expert roundup, right? So like, it’s not you writing all the content. You might start with the why, but then you go and get 20 other professionals who provide their expert opinion that, you know, they’re in there, it’s in there, right? So there’s these content frameworks, which are really good frameworks for, and then you just want to.

Tom Nixon (33:55.874)
There’s your house.

Curtis Hays (34:03.435)
Uh, experiment with different frameworks and see what your audience likes. And again, that could be part of a content hub to say, yeah, we have a specific topic here where we have all these different types of pieces of content, depending on where you’re at in your journey, uh, that you could, you could potentially interact with. So.

Tom Nixon (34:20.102)
Cool. Great. Well, this is a good discussion. I guess the chief takeaways are Bullhorn. Write your content or create your content and why, how, what? And then from a bull’s eye perspective, make sure that you are aligning your bull’s eye activities to the intent of the user or what Google thinks the intent of the user is. Is that about right? All right. Well, then.

Curtis Hays (34:42.195)
That sounds perfect. Yeah, I think we covered it in depth today, Tom. Yeah.

Tom Nixon (34:46.198)
That is it. Yes. So, until next time, thank you all for being on us. Fix that. Make sure you tell Alan. So, until next time, thank you everyone for joining us for this episode and future episodes of Bullhorns and Bullseyes.

Tom Nixon (35:03.842)
Cool.

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Additional episodes:

Curtis Stefanie Hays

Episode 7: The Entrepreneur's Journey

A familiar face and name joins the podcast this week, as Stefanie Hays (Curtis's better half) joins the show to share her journey as an "accidental" entrepreneur.

Aimee Schuster Episode 5

Episode 5: Aligning Sales and Marketing

Fractional CMO, author and frequent podcast interviewee Aimee Schuster joins our pod to break down her view of what ails many sales and marketing departments in organizations today.

Tom Nixon Curtis Hays

Episode 4: Going Meta on Bullhorns & Bullseyes

In a very "meta" episode, Curtis and Tom discuss the meaning behind "Bullhorns and Bullseyes." What are some examples of "bullhorn" tactics, and what are some examples of "bullseye" methodologies?

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