Storytelling for Small Business Owners With Todd Jones

Episode 2 January 17, 2022 00:22:32
Storytelling for Small Business Owners With Todd Jones
Launch With Words
Storytelling for Small Business Owners With Todd Jones

Jan 17 2022 | 00:22:32

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Hosted By

Bridget Willard

Show Notes

Why should your small business value blog posts and customer storytelling on your website? In this episode of the second season of the Launch With Words Podcast, Bridget is joined by writer Todd Jones for an episode about storytelling, email lists, and differentiation.


Follow Todd Jones at @tejones on Twitter and check out his website at https://www.copyflight.com/.

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Transcript

00:26.38
Bridget Willard
Hey welcome to season 2 episode 2. I am sitting here with my good friend Todd Jones. Todd Jones is a writer among other amazing things. Hey Todd want to say hi to our audience.

00:42.48
Todd E Jones
Howdy!

00:44.13
Bridget Willard
Okay, so um, you write for small businesses. All kinds of small businesses of a variety of backgrounds you want to hit off some of those industries.

00:55.65
Todd E Jones
Well probably my biggest content right in client right now is MainWP.com which is a WordPress plugin that helps consultants and agencies manage multiple sites. It's hosted. You can host it on your It's not a SaaS in the sense that it's on. Ah, third party servers. It's one you and put on your own server which is why the people who actually use the plugin really like it so that is a big ah client for me and then I do a a local business size like a hyperlocal top thing. You've seen those kind of sites and we talk about a lot of different things and so it it really is geared toward both the the residents of the Conway area where I live and small businesses as well and so I started a email newsletter last year that I call local digital. And it's kind of the business armor that if you will and I had been written writing emails each month from sometime early last year I can't remember when we started and I was I was telling you before we got on I had enough stuff there that I was able to do a little ebook. Getting started in digital marketing for the local small business so it was a lot of fun I may refine it and sell it later.

02:16.44
Bridget Willard
Nice. So what do you find is the biggest struggle for your small businesses that you interact with?

02:24.91
Todd E Jones
Um, yeah, there was a variety of reasons I think you know I was talking to my friend Laura who runs the little bakery that I was at before I came back to the office and get on to get on with you and it's kind of a specialized bakery. They do like keto and gluten-free type stuff and so and I was getting the cacao drink cacao you know chocolate cacao and the other stuff that they have there as well and you know you can just tell from talking to her. She's like she's busy, right? She's being front for 12 hours a day or whatever she like when I got what I pulled up.

02:47.39
Bridget Willard
Um.

03:02.70
Todd E Jones
She was unloading out of her SUV all the stuff she'd been buying for the store. They're busy I mean just just for the local business. We don't understand sometimes how busy or some people in our business, our industry, don't understand how busy they are from. From beginning the end and they do everything right? So she was playing distributor right? there going out and getting stuff for the to the for the shop while while the other ladies were actually manning the shop so she's got good employees. She can do that she can run off and she has to go different places to get the things they need to make the items they make.

03:22.87
Bridget Willard
Mm.

03:40.19
Todd E Jones
You know and then um, they don't consider themselves writers. You know it's 1 thing to write a text to somebody or write an email maybe but writing writing in a professional setting. You know like on ah like on their own company blog or something like that. That's not a skill that they have. And why cases it's not what they want to have really they they're they're they're happy doing what they want what they do Um, sure.

04:02.16
Bridget Willard
Yeah I mean but at the end of the day they want people to continue coming into their store to continue using their service buying their products. So how do we explain or advocate for Ah, words on their website? You know this podcast called Launch With Words because I believe you know the internet is blind. You and I know that so it's the words that matter. We all like to use pictures, but when it comes to search, SEO, um, ranking and people finding you -- it's those words.

04:22.57
Todd E Jones
A Ah yeah.

04:35.47
Todd E Jones
Um, yeah, yeah.

04:40.66
Bridget Willard
Make a difference. So how do you explain to a business owner the importance of spending either their own time or hiring someone to do this writing?

04:50.13
Todd E Jones
Well, yeah, and that's a billion dollar question right? and I think twelve thirteen years ago is helping a nonprofit and I I told them say look google doesn't see pictures Google sees words and and that was ah that's a very simplistic way of saying that. You know it's reading the the words behind what you see on the website I saw the other day somebody and I don't remember who it was it could have been you I don't know basically said I mean this is a very generalized thing too. But basically the more words you have on your site. The more you know Google has something to pick up basically but we know the nuances and those complications a little bit more than that. But when you boil it down to it. Yeah I mean the more words you have on your site the the more likely Google is to pick that up now it it comes down to.

05:29.25
Bridget Willard
Yeah, yeah.

05:47.44
Todd E Jones
Yeah, I'm thinking about this all the time cause I've started branched out into this whole. How do I help local businesses and because they're there. Um you and I have interacted in a software world for years now right? um.

06:01.20
Bridget Willard
Right.

06:04.91
Todd E Jones
So it's easier for them to understand that they need to write content for their website for the most part because they're basically an online business and the way they're gonna get found is from people searching online. You talk about blue bar bakery in Conway Arkansas that's largely word ofmout.

06:11.68
Bridget Willard
Right.

06:24.80
Todd E Jones
Um, do they they have a Facebook page and they put Facebook content in they're working through on their their business website and their their emphasis right now is their there wouldn't do a Shopify site and I totally understand because you can sell the stuff in their store. So I get that and a lot of lot of businesses around here that have a site. That are are like that are Shopify driven so they can do the eCommerce side of it. You know it's it's ah the businesses that we're dealing with here. They just have a different totally different model than you know, somebody like MainWP.

06:57.82
Bridget Willard
Yeah.

07:00.24
Todd E Jones
You know some SaaS website out there. You go there. It's a it's a calm. It really is a variation of marketing channels in the sense of word of mouth using social media which social media is changing rapidly and and what we used to do twelve years ago doesn't work as well now. Um. Um, um, I'm trying to emphasize email marketing. You know, get people to use to build an email list and start doing that because that is I'm say this the most effective way to pull your people back to your website email marketing when.

07:30.26
Bridget Willard
Well right? and and that's that's so my whole point with words right? So when you're using Facebook instagram whatever that's somebody else's platform and they could go out of business or they could shut down or whatever or they could just flag you or.

07:38.44
Todd E Jones
Um, exactly oh. Yeah, absolutely.

07:49.51
Bridget Willard
Or or or or it's not yours in the WordPress world. We talk about this a lot and that's our kind of a mantra is you need to own your own content and a small business owner's like well it's hard enough for me to do that. Okay, that's fine.

08:03.57
Todd E Jones
A.

08:06.99
Bridget Willard
But maybe set aside 15% of your you know, gross profit toward marketing and maybe repurpose some of those things that you're putting on Facebook on your website so that it lives longer because the internet has a long memory.

08:10.12
Todd E Jones
Now a.

08:20.70
Todd E Jones
Yeah, yeah, I mean and that's what I tried to emphasize with the email newsletter and subsequently the ebook is like there are 2 things you need to own and these are not negotiable your website and your email list that made that is your hub that is your home your home plate. And that's what you need to have everything else should direct people in and so've I've added email list to that and email list is an interesting thing because you own the list. No matter what platform you have so let's say you're using constant of contact today and you want to switch to Mailer Light the list goes with you right.

08:56.88
Bridget Willard
Right.

08:59.41
Todd E Jones
You You may leave and go to another platform but the list goes with you So you on the list. It doesn't matter what tool you're using to send emails to the list is yours and the the really cool thing about people who use Square or something like that to to take payment. Is they you can get the emails from that.

09:07.80
Bridget Willard
Right.

09:15.14
Bridget Willard
M.

09:19.19
Todd E Jones
And suddenly you have it's It's more of a marketing list a customer list versus email like what we know the Opt-in list you know, but it is a list unless and I've had local companies that send me an email saying hey you've got.

09:26.53
Bridget Willard
Right.

09:35.45
Todd E Jones
10 stars that's about to expire. You can get 20% off on your next coffee purchase. Well guess where I'm going to get coffee next you know I go there and get my 20% off or by free coffee or whatever and I think that's very important so there's a lot of ways to execute this. We we certainly think about it.

09:38.69
Bridget Willard
Right.

09:55.35
Todd E Jones
As a consultant the ways we're used to thinking about it. It's it's a different It's a little different game when you get into the local business. You know I'm still stand by the principles that you need to own your website and your email list and everything else should be sending them there I like the idea of repurpose that. You know I've heard you and can Kim Dole talk about that word if you follow Ross Simmons on Twitter from foundation inc he will call it remixing and I like that because what you're doing is and really what you should do is put it on your website first and then remix it for other platforms. That's really what.

10:31.41
Bridget Willard
Right.

10:34.31
Todd E Jones
You know what? you're talking about is like hey you put this on Facebook you can put it on your website too. That's absolutely true true what your yeah exactly you should really put it on your website first and then you can remix it for different platforms. 1 of the things that I've discovered in the last year not done a really good job of it.

10:38.22
Bridget Willard
Which should be the other way round. Yes.

10:53.75
Todd E Jones
But the audiograms that people will use for basically promoting a podcast episode so you could take you probably know about all this but you could take this episode. You say there's something that Todd said that was really profound I'm gonna pull that out and make an audiogram and then I'm gonna put it on you know, um.

11:00.21
Bridget Willard
Mm.

11:11.20
Bridget Willard
Yep. Or Instagram because that's the perfect place to put that because Instagram doesn't allow you to share links and I'm all about getting people traffic to your website and do that with these stories I know you're really into stories use cases those kinds of things. Um I have a.

11:13.47
Todd E Jones
Facebook or LinkedIn or whatever with a link back to the episode. Yeah yeah, yeah, ah absolutely.

11:32.00
Bridget Willard
Big background of construction which is why the pure premium content backs are very construction heavy at the moment. Um, but like that's completely untapped.

11:39.89
Todd E Jones
Contract contractors. It seems to me to be an untapped area and and when I see people who work and when I see people who work with them I tend to not like how they do things. So for the most part. So yeah.

11:54.89
Bridget Willard
They're raking them over the coals and there's ah and there's it's the same way with the travel Industry. It's really it makes me sad. Um, it's ah what you know? what? a lot of people talk to me about when I tell them about my premium content packs is they. They say well isn't that an issue with duplicate content and I'm I'm always saying like that's the wrong problem and so I'll tell them what's worse than duplicate content. No content and that's the problem that small businesses have whereas franchises.

12:23.50
Todd E Jones
Um, and and a.

12:29.33
Bridget Willard
Have the money and the resources they hire Pr agencies that write fluff bullshit articles that say absolutely nothing and they're terrible and they pay $2000 an article for like these tiny 300

12:34.35
Todd E Jones
Um, ah yeah, yeah.

12:48.95
Bridget Willard
Word articles to say nothing go to any like ah RE/MAX. I was just talking about RE/MAX. RE/MAX they're their articles say nothing. They they're just so thin. They're very thin and.

12:54.85
Todd E Jones
All of my the real estate industry. You know.

13:04.31
Bridget Willard
I was writing just for RE/MAX I would have I would have so much more in those articles but they're not. They're outsourcing it and then those articles can go on. Um when I was working at Trip Designs, They they had ah the travel agency they had.

13:13.80
Todd E Jones
An earth.

13:22.26
Bridget Willard
Bought into this multisite website and then they would they would get the syndicated content. It was crap content. Like it would be all about cruises. We didn't want to sell cruises. So I started writing articles to buff that up. It's the same with my real estate client.

13:26.87
Todd E Jones
1

13:34.50
Todd E Jones
It has. Now.

13:40.18
Bridget Willard
I started writing articles to buff that up and the thing is that you and I know that we can reuse. So we're of the generation of, you know, "reduce, reuse, recycle." So that's why I say repurpose So you.

13:50.36
Todd E Jones
A.

13:56.83
Bridget Willard
Maybe you're not a great writer that's fine. I wasn't a great writer. Dr Bussio from Eighth grade would have could I sometimes I wish I could so send him all my books like I did this you know? I'm not. I write to teach. Okay, so and I started doing this because I worked at a contractor.

14:09.73
Todd E Jones
The ah.

14:16.31
Bridget Willard
And and I wanted people to know we are still in business. That is the primary reason why I think it's very important for local businesses to do that and then they have something to share in social that goes back to their own website right.

14:19.39
Todd E Jones
Um, yeah.

14:31.19
Todd E Jones
Yeah I.

14:34.50
Bridget Willard
So if you're not a good writer podcasting. If you're not a good writer video and then send that to Temi.com and then have your secretary fix all the grammar errors and then throw it up on your website right? so.

14:36.42
Todd E Jones
Um, yeah.

14:43.77
Todd E Jones
Well yeah, or even better find you a good writer and hire them to to hammer out your content for you? Yeah yeah.

14:51.87
Bridget Willard
Well I mean a worst case scenario because that's literally what I did. I was the secretary that wrote those. I was building the WordPress website, writing on the blog. I was doing that. That's how I had this career right? I just had a hidden talent.

15:02.50
Todd E Jones
Anyway, yeah. Death.

15:11.63
Bridget Willard
But but Todd I know we only have a few minutes left and I really want to touch on the storytelling part. Like these mom and pop businesses that have been in business. Their family businesses like how can they extract those stories. For their own advantage on their website.

15:33.90
Todd E Jones
There's a couple things that I would you know talk tell people to do and and I say when it comes to website copy and and I'm talking about the pages but this this also goes with the content as well. There's 2 stories you want to tell at least two stories. The first one is your own story is maybe it's your origin story. Maybe it's stories stories throughout the the life of the company. There's there's a Ford dealership in town that says they've been in business a hundred years. Imagine the stories in 100 years that they have. The second story you want to tell is your customer story and that is what we typically call case studies I don't like to call them case studies because case studies usually end up written boring make it a customer success story does it have to be.

16:20.30
Bridget Willard
Ah.

16:23.41
Todd E Jones
This long drawn out thing. But if you've got a customer. Ah if you have what my friend Brittany Hodak would call a superfan. Take that superfan and tell their story of how um you know you as a business help them accomplish. Whatever it is now. Course you if it's B2C. It's like you know. Okay, we have there's ah, there's a good food feet store in little rock and I think it's a chain but they do these good feet commercials and I'll laugh them sometimes because they seem to be a little cheesy but it's so effective because it's got somebody and. And they're telling this story about how their feet hurt. They went to the good feet store. They couldn't hardly walk. They couldn't enjoy the the girl couldn't enjoy the hiking that she enjoyed and she went to the good feet store. She got the shoes and now you know got got it fixed it. It made her. Feel better and now she's back to hiking and in nature like she loves or whatever you know and it's just simple. It's It's if you if you're looking for a simple framework for that. It's before during and after that's it no need to complicate it before during after what was going on before.

17:23.33
Bridget Willard
Um, yeah.

17:39.59
Todd E Jones
What made you decide to choose you know your product or your service and then how did things improve for you afterwards, very simple. So those are the 2 stories you need to tell they're not 1 story each. There's there's tons of stories you can pull out of that.

17:45.61
Bridget Willard
Yeah.

17:55.15
Todd E Jones
And there there I follow Kendra Hall's stories that stick um and and we don't have time to go in debt to that but she talks about four stories I actually did a video you've seen it because you commented on it. Um, but those are 2 of the four stories. The customer story. And you can start with your origin story. You know why in the world. Did you decide to start this contract business. Funny ah funny, not really funny, but there's a story kinder tells in the book about a contractor and how he used to love to build things as a kid and they used that. As a why story if you will for his business and it's a very big business in the southwest. So yeah, there's you know if you're like what is your why story? What your your origin story your why lot times are the same sometimes they're not but what is that why? Story? What is that origin story?

18:40.22
Bridget Willard
Yeah, yeah.

18:50.27
Todd E Jones
You know and that is you know and I say put that on your about page at least the highlights of it and you can always do it a more in depth as a blog post or a series of blog posts and then customer stories.

19:00.63
Bridget Willard
Right? right? because yeah because we do business with people that we know like and trust and in the service based industry I mean yeah, you're going to get it. Maybe you're going to go to this bakery you like their scones. You don't need to know.

19:08.15
Todd E Jones
Um, the his. I like Laura.

19:18.58
Bridget Willard
Or you like the person right? But but sometimes it doesn't matter what their story is. But in the service-based business I feel like that's even more important because we're gonna be spending time with them. They're gonna be doing our hair. Ah, they're gonna be redoing our roof like. This is personal. Service is personal. Yeah.

19:38.60
Todd E Jones
Is it. It's differentiation. So your story. Okay, there's hundreds of bakers in you and your you know depend on how big your city is San Antonio slightly bigger in Conway. So what we're pushing about 70,000 what are you about seven hundred eight hundred thousand couple million

19:53.20
Bridget Willard
Um, we're one point seven. We're the seventh largest city in the United States.

19:56.82
Todd E Jones
Okay, okay, there's thousands of bakeries in San Antonio there are thousands of hairdressers, thousands of roofers, thousands of contractors. And in San Antonio how do you stand out? And you know what what makes you different. You know, um.

20:09.40
Bridget Willard
Yeah, yeah.

20:16.58
Todd E Jones
You know, maybe you are the the in your town. You probably have more than one um place like Blue barn but you know that owner you know makes a difference that kind of thing. So yes, woman on woman on.

20:26.58
Bridget Willard
Yeah, if you're veteran owned that's gonna relate to the veterans I mean these are important stories. Yeah I mean it that we have to tell it and we cannot rely upon the overlords of the internet.

20:35.52
Todd E Jones
Minority on. Yeah.

20:45.23
Bridget Willard
To rule our story but I ah have enjoyed this extremely I think we could have broken this into 3 more episodes who knows I might have you back this season. Ah, thank you so much Todd how can people find you on the internet?

21:00.68
Todd E Jones
Ah, well I'm a really active on Twitter my handle is @tejones so you can stalk me there or if you want to know more about my brand messaging services I guess you might call it, that's copyflight.com. So that's the 2 main places to find me.

21:21.45
Bridget Willard
Awesome! That sounds great. Well thanks for being here.

21:25.91
Todd E Jones
Thanks for let me come and hang.

 

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