O/SEO/O™ E15: Opinions About Strategic Content & Paid Promotions

Published on: 
April 14, 2023
Updated on: 
April 14, 2023
Sam Torres
Sam Torres
Tory Gray
Tory Gray

In this episode of Opinionated SEO Opinions™, Toshi Jones (Cathedral Agency) and Ben Dankiw (Nav43) join the Gray Dot Company team to chat strategic content SEO and paid promotions.

Here’s what we cover in this episode full of insights on the interplay of content, PPC, and SEO:

If you have #SeoQuestions, send them our way at!

Video Transcript

Sam Torres  0:00  
Hi everyone, and welcome to another episode of Opinionated SEO Opinions™. I'm Sam Torres, joined by our other host Tory Gray, and today we're going to have a really fun conversation about the relationship of content and paid promotion.

Sam Torres  0:20  
So we are joined today by Toshi Jones and Ben Dankiw? That's right, Dankiw. Okay. So would love...Toshi, if you can just introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about yourself.

Toshi Jones  0:33  
Hi, my name is Toshi Jones. My husband and I run a boutique agency out of Atlanta focusing on brand strategy, content and design asset work. So this is right up our alley.

Sam Torres  0:44  
Awesome. And Ben, how about from you?

Ben Dankiw  0:45  
Hi, Ben Dankiw here. I'm the CEO and founder of an agency called Nav43. We kind of focus on SEO and PPC - I have a split focus, so I have kind of two way vision across these two areas. And yeah, we've been around since 2016. My business partner and I started this together and looking forward to this crazy landscape of search and to talk about this conversation today.

Sam Torres  1:11  
Awesome. Thanks so much.

Tory Gray  1:13  
Ben is near me here in Canada, near Toronto, Hamilton, so fun to have neighbors all around.

Question #1

Sam Torres  1:20  
Awesome. Well, again, thank you so much, y'all for joining us. And yeah, I'm pretty excited. So let's just dig in. When does pay distribution for your strategic content actually makes sense?

Toshi Jones  1:31  
For us, and for our clients, I look at paid distribution as an accelerant. I... we don't do PPC. And we don't do a lot of search, but we do a lot of content. And when a client doesn't have a content ecosystem in place, paid distribution across all channels can expose some valuable ways to distribute content that are outside of the slow and steady model.

Toshi Jones  1:33  
So we often look to page distribution when a client really needs to promote a product or a vertical, but doesn't have the ecosystem built,  say they don't have enough content to provide significant ranking, or the client is behind on their content calendar and they just don't have their campaign strategy ready and executable, then we'll look to paid for... for that.

Toshi Jones  2:22  
They...when they have something great, we try to latch on to that and use what they have. So say they have an excellent webinar with an SME (subject matter expert), who really knows their stuff, then we'll put together an effective pre-launch campaign, and something like a teaser for LinkedIn or Instagram. And we can get the ball rolling without having the full ecosystem built.

Sam Torres  2:47  
That makes sense.

Ben Dankiw  2:48  
I love...I love what you said on the ecosystem, that's so important for us. Like, we'll come across businesses and like where they are in like their funding, their marketing structure, like it really does depend.

Ben Dankiw  3:01  
For paid promotion for us, like you said, if they don't have enough content yet, and like say, for example, they're like starting ground-zero with like, an audit, and they have like 10 pages, and it's like, 'Hey, yeah, we can definitely build up a keyword map and do all this stuff and build the SEO route. But in the meantime, like, do you have goals? Like are you trying to test with customers?'

Ben Dankiw  3:21  
'Are you trying to, you know, are you early to [market], is your product just launching, and you need to see how it's actually working in people's hands like... this week?'

Ben Dankiw  3:30  
Like, there's a lot of things that come into play about like, where they are in their own journey of growing their company. And like I find that often maps, like to your point on the ecosystem of like, the size of the company, like a lot of times I'll get like a small business. And it's like, 'Listen, like, do you have $60,000 to expect to spend on something that's going to grow your brand long term right now in terms of SEO? Or do you want to start small, let's figure out what's working for you and kind of go that route and then invest into areas we know.'

Ben Dankiw  4:00  
So whereas I come into an enterprise company, it's like, 'Listen, we have all these webinars, we have all these, we just want you to like...the paid promotion is a tactic for you to like, come in and optimize what we kind of already have.'

Ben Dankiw  4:12  
So it definitely, like you said depends on the ecosystem depends on the business like goals and times where they are in their in their lifecycle. But oftentimes, I find myself having to, you know, ask someone, do you want...are you looking to invest in this? Sometimes we'll have someone come to us with like, 'I want to invest in SEO', and I find it tricky to like...'Hey, well, you should do paid.' It's like what are you looking to do? And how do you want to grow your company kind of thing?

Sam Torres  4:39  
Yeah, I think that's a great point. Because also I think there's definitely times for SEO. We've done paid promotion of content to try to really just...and Toshi, I love the word you use to accelerate understanding - is this meshing with the right audience? Because I will, say the targeting tools within paid promotion is just really quite phenomenal, and then you get a lot more data back on the paid side than the organic.

Sam Torres  5:04  
Now, of course, it's getting less and less all the time - thanks, Googs, we'll talk about that another time. But I think sometimes the learnings that you can get from that can really help to influence your organic and your overall content and brand strategy. Because you can just...instead of having to wait 60 days to see what's the reception, maybe you only need like five days, just depending on...on how much money you put behind it, and your targeting and all that good stuff.

Ben Dankiw  5:28  
On that point about when - I know this lovely group of SEO people here are looking for signals on their content, like is paid promotional content going to give signals that help you rank? And you can debate about, of course, what Google says and what people see there.

Ben Dankiw  5:46  
So that's one thing, but I do find one thing that can''s not so much about whether it's a rank signal, it's if you are using paid promotion with content that is looking to rank, in that kind of lead up phase.

Ben Dankiw  5:59  
If your pay promotion is promoting strong, helpful content, which hopefully you're building to rank, it getting shared, and it getting naturally, like expanded across different channels is going to help that. Like, it's not about whether you're sending that paid traffic, that initial paid traffic might not give it that rank boost.

Ben Dankiw  6:18  
But if it's actually helpful content, and you're promoting it, and users are sharing it, engaging on it, going throughout your website converting, there's, in my opinion, a very strong tie towards like just that overall kind of like growth across the two channels.

Sam Torres  6:32  
I agree.

Question #2

Tory Gray  6:33  
Love that. Love that. I'd love to hear more about when in the lifecycle of, you know, any individual piece of content, you guys are using these sorts of paid distribution tactics.

Toshi Jones  6:46  
We're using them all the time, but we change our strategy depending on where the client is in the lifecycle. So a lot of the work that we do is brand work. So for a client who is coming to us and has something of a brand strategy in place, we can take their existing strategy and start to model off of their voice, their tone, what they want to say, if they already know what they want to say.

Toshi Jones  7:10  
We tend to use paid distribution in different ways,at different times in the lifecycle. In the beginning, if we can get their grand strategy done right away, then we'll come in, and if it's, let's say, B2B, we'll hit it hard on LinkedIn, we'll go...LinkedIn, and Instagram do really, really well for us.

Toshi Jones  7:30  
No matter if it's B2C, or B2B. We find that we can get great targeted content out to the right people at the right time. We're actually pulling away from making Facebook ads and Facebook campaigns more and more, the space just seems to be really muddy.

Toshi Jones  7:48  
And we're not getting the kind of results that clients you know...they really want that the high value and KPIs and they're just not getting it there. So we're actually looking to TikTok reels and Instagram stories, and we're bundling all of those together. And the play is really interesting for's harder. But we can execute that anytime in the lifecycle.

Toshi Jones  8:15  
Whereas we previously used to have to sort of have things built up a little bit more. Instagram reels and stories are a little bit more loose, a little bit more fun and we can get them executed pretty quickly.

Tory Gray  8:31  

Ben Dankiw  8:32  
I have like two different points on kind of timelines - one of them would be like seasonality. So we have some clients where search volume goes up and say we're actually ranking, usually it's like either top five or top three. And we're already ranking in the SEO front, so this is for a mature...a mature campaign client. In...there's certain...some...some clients that have, have like peak periods where they'll do 80% of their business and like a three month, four month period.

Ben Dankiw  8:59  
Think about any sort of eCommerce that might be like, you know, up until Christmas time, or potentially gardening, and I'm just kind of giving examples, but we'll actually use that seasonal time. So one, if we have content ranking, can we use pay promotion to get even more leads during that high business time, as long as their sales team can scale to it?

Ben Dankiw  9:21  
Or two, if we don't have content, like say, for example we thought of something like three months before it got late into our content calendar, and we just posted like the month before that this seasonal time will happen?

Ben Dankiw  9:31  
Then we're like, 'Okay, well, this isn't going to rank for this year and great for next year. But this year, it's not going to be there yet in time. Let's let's boost it, let's push it just to see' like, 'Hey, we were already invested in this content. We put this money into it, like let's see what kind of happens.' So that's like...seasonality is huge for us.

Ben Dankiw  9:49  
And the other point on time would just be depending on...depending on their budgets...upfront starting off on the campaigns. A lot of times they'll come to us and be like, 'Hey, like, what should we do first?' And it's like, 'Hey, what's your budget?' and if you're funded and you have have already a monetization path, like, we know that if we get this client in the door, they're going to buy and we're gonna make money, not we're still kind of guessing and testing.

Ben Dankiw  10:16  
With those clients it's like, 'Well, let's do that. Let's start your SEO journey.' But during that time, right up front, let's already start like once we get some content live, and that first like, two, three months, let's start pushing some campaigns then. But that totally depends on like, what they' how mature is our marketing program and their budget?

Tory Gray  10:38  
Interesting, so accelerating at the launch of an individual piece in order to like help it boost? And then if maybe if they have an ongoing budget, keeping up with that to make sure it stays out there, but okay. That absolutely makes sense.

Question #3

Tory Gray  10:51  
I'd love to question you more about the seasonality piece, because that's super interesting. What kinds of pieces is that? Is that like, I don't know, like buying guides that you're advertising, like, the months before, and then leading up to Christmas, right? To help them plan?

Ben Dankiw  11:05  

Tory Gray  11:05  
Or what does that look like?

Ben Dankiw  11:06  
No, that's...that's a great question. So that is a great hook piece right there. The ones I've had...I've had experience with, like I've seen like a lot of case studies of that kind of stuff happening. So I can't speak to it directly. But I think that's a great one.

Ben Dankiw  11:19  
Ones we've used and I've tried, I'll just use one of our travel clients that we do is like, helping them kind's like soft, kind of mid-to-top funnel-style conversions where you're're just trying to look for an email, and you're just trying to look for interest.

Ben Dankiw  11:33  
In this peak time when we know people are looking like, we're not going to sell someone on a $15,000 Expedition, you know, just through this, but we're trying to get them into it. So we're seeing things for peak times of a B2B. It's like know, could be a webinar, a free piece of content, something helpful.

Ben Dankiw  11:51  
But kind of back to that travel one, like you mentioned, a buyer's guide would be a good one. We've used like these quizzes and like it's' we actually have a piece of content that we're ranking.

Ben Dankiw  12:01  
So it's not just the quiz, but built in that content, like a...high into it is a quiz that takes you into like a conversion, except kind of out of that piece of content. So we're ranking like, 'Hey, how to explore this country', or, you know, 'Ever thought about visiting X?' or something that like is interest capturing, and it still has a keyword in there for like 'visiting x.' So it kind of bridges that like SEO, and then for paid, we're saying, 'Hey, like, have you ever like...have you been there before?' We're asking them questions, little quizzes, but really trying to like, 'Do you want to see polar bears?' Do you want to things that we're like...

Sam Torres  12:39  
Yes, yes, I do.

Tory Gray  12:39  
I was gonna say - absolutely, yes!

Ben Dankiw  12:42  
Just not up close! Just like, up close, but protected.

Tory Gray  12:45  
From a distance.

Ben Dankiw  12:46  

Question #4

Tory Gray  12:47  
Absolutely. Toshi, you mentioned this a little, but what paid channels are you experimenting with? And what's working and not? As well as like, what sorts of campaigns or individual pieces of contents...content do or don't work? What about like keyword targeting?

Tory Gray  13:01  
You know, I get the piece on LinkedIn where you're more persona targeting and Instagram you're kind of doing a similar, you know, demographics and stuff like that. But in the paid search world, I'm also curious, are there keywords you do and don't go after? How does that work? Channels, content, keywords - tell me more. What's...what's working and what's not?

Toshi Jones  13:25  
Well, a lot of the content we do is long form. So we do a ton of B2B. And that for us means at its core, most successful content ladders up from thoughtful brand strategy. So we always really try to focus on brand, and then move from there.

Toshi Jones  13:41  
Knowing who you are, and what you want to say, is really important. So a lot of times when clients come to us, they don't know what to say. So we really focus on you know, getting their...their voice down, getting their tone down, and then targeting that...that to their audience.

Toshi Jones  13:56  
It's not to say that you can't be successful if you haven't executed a brand strategy yet. But you'll have a much easier time getting your goals, if you've taken the time to figure out what your audience wants, and then define exactly how you'll give it to them.

Toshi Jones  14:12  
The value is at the heart of the explorations and the different...the solid...having solid differentiators and the 'why us?' And if you take especially those things, and you take them to LinkedIn, if you're B2B, that is like an easy sell. So...

Ben Dankiw  14:26  
That's so important. It sounds like...we often like a challenge with that a lot where it's what they want us to like get leads, here's our performance goals in that, but we're not...we don't actually have that same offering where you like...that brand story side. So do you have like people come to you who are like really kind of further down and 'We want leads and sales' and you kind of make them step back? And you're like, 'Hey, first we need to figure this out.'

Toshi Jones  14:51  
Yeah, totally. And it's...a lot of companies will have done their brand strategy way back, and so they'll hand it to us, and then a lot of their stakeholders will tell us, 'That's, you're hearing from the stakeholders. And that's not quite what we do anymore.'

Toshi Jones  15:06  
And then if we hear enough of that, we kind of sit down and say, 'Hey, it might be time to rethink and realign your brand strategy to how you guys are operating today, to the current market, to your current goals.'

Toshi Jones  15:20  
And usually, clients are really excited to hear a new voice and a new targeting, especially since we work a lot in tech and tech changes every single day. And so we're always on our toes. And we work with a lot of companies that are in flux.

Toshi Jones  15:39  
And so when you're in flux, it's crucial to have your brand realignment, to know what your pillars are, what your core offerings are. And we take that information right over to the advertising campaigns. So we'll create campaigns that are right off of your...your core company pillars, and run those to your target audiences, we'll do all the audience targeting.

Toshi Jones  16:10  
That's one thing that I think a lot of companies don't have. And if you're B2B, and you're going to LinkedIn...more of our clients are experimenting with B2B on Instagram, and Instagram's targeting is excellent.

Toshi Jones  16:19  
It's that you have to have the right message and the right pacing, because Instagram requires the sort of excited and involved pacing, where LinkedIn does not. Like you can get audience with slow and steady, and easy and...and sort of chill on...on LinkedIn. Whereas Instagram wants excitement. So you have to you have to adjust your tone.

Toshi Jones  16:41  
But I think for a lot of organizations, they're not thinking that they can be in those spaces like TikTok, or YouTube's...YouTube stories. So we're adjusting there, and we're seeing some good success. But it really takes patient on the client side...patience on the client side, because I think they want to be just as exciting as the young, you know, hip thing that kids are dropshipping on Instagram, or on...on TikTok.

Toshi Jones  17:11  
And they're not going to be that. So as long as they understand that they're not going to be that, then we can get them in there and and get them to their target audiences. Because just like teenagers, executives are also scrolling through TikTok all day long, so.

Sam Torres  17:25  
Oh yeah, I had to take TikTok off my phone. I would realize, I was like 'And 45 minutes just passed, okay. No longer doing this.' So I have a device that is just TikTok for work, and that's it hahaha.

Question #5

How do you adapt long-form content into other mediums

Sam Torres  17:41  
How are you adapting from like...I think you said you normally do long form content. So how is that translating into actually creating video? And what are some of the strategies or the techniques you're using to really get into that, like the YouTube reels and Instagram stories and TikTok?

Toshi Jones  17:57  
So we take a client...we do a pretty thorough brand exploration if the client will give us the opportunity to, and we do tons of workshops, we get the client involved in the process. And once we nail down voice and tone, we take that voice and tone into core messaging, and the core messaging carries right over into every single asset that we work on. So we do a lot of takeaway assets for clients, we do white papers, sell sheets, infographics, those sorts of things, or the owned content is great for LinkedIn.

Toshi Jones  18:30  
When we start doing videos, those can 30-second video can turn into four or five assets, if...if you'll allow it. You can take it down to 5-second pieces and 15-second pieces for YouTube and for TikTok and stories and reels. If you go into creating the content with the mindset that you can...when you create your scripts, you can write...this first 5 seconds is multi-version, and it can go in these three places.

Toshi Jones  19:02  
And then this big chunk of meaty content in the middle is what we'll use for say, the opening of a webinar, or the closing of another piece of owned content, maybe a video on the homepage that describes a particular piece of product. So it really comes down to planning ahead of time and knowing that you're going to need lots of content. And then having your writers execute on that and making sure that that content ripples out and distributes throughout.

Ben Dankiw  19:34  
I've definitely found some...across the different channels, like right now there's a lot of change in the air, of course - moving to cookieless future, first like data privacy concerns, ie GDPR with the EU, you know Apple's protection of data, all these different things. Some of them are in place, some of them are coming. But kind of the result of that right now is I see this value. And we...I say we see this value in that first party data.

Ben Dankiw  20:06  
So a lot of we've had some great successes in terms of like a specific tactic, in turn, is using that first-party data, mapping it to some of those audiences and building out those, and we've seen some big lifts. Like, a lot of times, it'll convert at like know, 20...20%, higher than some of our other best campaigns.

Ben Dankiw  20:25  
And, and at scale, that makes a big difference. So definitely, like it's worth your weight in gold to have that first-party data these days.

And, and at scale, that makes a big difference. So definitely, like it's worth your weight in gold to have that first-party data these days.

Ben Dankiw  20:36  
So that's kind of where like, we're seeing a little bit of a crossover of like, if...even if we're ranking that content from an SEO perspective, getting that traffic - I know, there's a lot of problems with cookies and you know, third party - but first-party data, and that traffic, leveraging that as much as possible.

Ben Dankiw  20:53  
So like, Toshi, what you kind of mentioned in terms of like mapping there, like in that early exercise, it's exactly that but like in this...I'm sure you do this in the second phase, 'Okay, now we have that initial mapping. What are we seeing? And can we evolve some of those audiences?'

Ben Dankiw  21:08  
So kind of those two different phases - one mapping, sort of, like audiences, and two, seeing like what is our first-party data we can leverage?

Tory Gray  21:15  

Ben Dankiw  21:15  
And we'll typically have like prospecting campaigns, like I mentioned before with Toshi, either on Instagram...same thing, we've actually been pulling away from Facebook a lot too, just seeing better results on Instagram. And then from...

Tory Gray  21:29  
That's interesting...

Ben Dankiw  21:31  

Tory Gray  21:31  
That they're the same owner, is it like different pricing? Or is there like audience mismatch? Or what do we think is the difference there between [them.]

Toshi Jones  21:39  
For us it's audience. I think I...I would just, like, the best way for me to describe it is muddy. It's like, there's a lot...there are a lot of people on Facebook, and they're all there to do a lot of different things. And it feels like the algorithms are designed in such different ways that we can't get the kind of attention and focus that we can get on Instagram.

Toshi Jones  22:04  
And I think it might have to do with number one, like size of screen, and...and viewing, like just the viewing experience. The viewing experience is really sleek in Instagram, especially in Instagram stories. And so what effectively would be a 5-second piece, you can break it into, you know, three parts are whatever they have to click through.

Toshi Jones  22:26  
But you can really get people engaged using that medium. And we're just finding that whatever it is about Facebook, whether it's the shape of the ads, or just the presentation of them, they're not as sticky. That's really what it feels like, to me.

Ben Dankiw  22:45  
That's a great insight. Like, it is really around the audience and the, like the format. Like I find...there's so many different use-cases for how people leverage it. And I know...I know, specific like Facebook, you know, gurus or marketers who get great results. But usually it's when they have this like super targeted audience that they know they're going after within the platform.

Ben Dankiw  23:12  
But to your point, like when we want to...when we want to actually like explore some of our clients that we have, it makes more sense to be on Instagram, just because of that,'s this experience, we can give them this content, and this targeting audience, and it is much more like streamlined,'s just cleaner, like you mentioned. So yeah, I mean, it's hard to blanket an overall statement. But I totally I agree with that. It's very audience dependent for us.

Sam Torres  23:37  
Yeah, I would say I think the...the, you know, having the full screen takeover in Instagram has got to be meaningful. Plus...and maybe it's just the the age group that I'm in, but I feel like more and more, my age group, we were the first adopters of Facebook.

Sam Torres  23:55  
And so we used to be the power users. And yet across the board, like we're like, 'I don't trust Facebook anymore.' The ads just seem lower quality. They're like, it's really funny because like you say, Tory, Facebook and Instagram are the same people. And yet, I can very visually see my privacy is not a thing on Facebook.

Tory Gray  24:17  

Sam Torres  24:17  
But it still feels like I have a little bit of it...I'm really terrible at saying this word, but anonymity...I know how to spell it, that's what matters...on Instagram. Like, I'll see things that I'm interested in, but not like...I don't see the ad for the Amazon product that I was just looking at or talking about in my kitchen. Like, I don't get that same experience on Instagram.

Sam Torres  24:45  
So yeah, like I say, I do wonder how much of it is bias just to my own experiences and how it's different across different demographics and geo locations and all that kind of stuff. Yeah, it just feels like privacy is completely gone.

Sam Torres  25:00  
Plus, I don't know about y'all, but Facebook is a really good exercise for me to get frustrated, because I'm gonna see people who have very differing opinions sometimes and just be like, 'Why do I know these stupid people, and I'm related to all of them.' Just that kind of stuff. So I don't know if anybody else has that same experience, so...

Ben Dankiw  25:18  
Or that person you traveled and met like, 10 years ago, who you're like, 'I have no idea who you are, you know, you're just you're having a child. Cool.'

Sam Torres  25:26  
Yeah, exactly.

Ben Dankiw  25:27  
Yeah, I get that.

Sam Torres  25:28  
So that kind of stuff. Um, yeah, I just feel like the trust for Facebook has been deteriorating over time.

Tory Gray  25:36  
And that would affect the audience as a whole, potentially willingness to interact with an ad at all, trust whoever they're linking to, that kind of thing. I mean, I feel like some of the advertisers themselves have been shifty. I've noticed this on like Pinterest too, know, maybe the ad standard should be a little higher.

Tory Gray  25:55  
And maybe you shouldn't be allowed to advertise here, because you're definitely somewhere...I don't know, like I had an experience with like buying something from know, one of those sites you haven't heard of like in China? And then like, do they send you stuff? Do they...are they a real company or not?

Tory Gray  26:09  
Like, they're letting them set up and sell their stuff, and they're not doing anything about it. And that, I mean...that's another reason trust is breaking down. Of course, the creepiness and now the new story with what Home Depot and other people sharing receipts with Facebook, so they can use your data. Lots of creepy corporate things happening.

Toshi Jones  26:30  
And there are a lot of things too, that I think it's...that factor in and there are trends that factor in, and trends get to be really heavy, and really expensive. One thing right now that's like all the rage is dropshipping, among really, really, really young people. So it's like a YouTube craze. And a lot of kids are teaching kids how to dropship. And so a lot of the things people bought over Christmas, were sold by children and sold to adults.

Toshi Jones  27:00  
And now, they're...we have friends in the credit card industry who are saying, 'Well, yeah, chargebacks are at an all time high.' Because there are a lot of companies out there that aren't real companies that are just know, a website that someone threw up in an afternoon, and they're dropshipping off Alibaba or something like that. So they're...and that...that's that muddy landscape that we were talking about before, right?

Toshi Jones  27:24  
There are a lot of organizations that sell really sleek, really quick ads that you can get in less than 24 hours. And you can have a store up with products that you've never had in your hands. And that product will...may or may not come before Christmas, right?

Toshi Jones  27:43  
And your advertisers that are in that sort of tight window that are like, 'I have from August to December, it's go time' are competing against a kid who decided they wanted to, you know, dropship nail polish in November, and they've got their site up by like December 2. And...and now it''s go time against that.

Toshi Jones  28:04  
So I think that there's...when that...that's when your brand strategy really does well for you. Because if your landing pages are excellent, and they're explanatory, and can really come through on that proof, I think probably not this year, maybe not yet next year, but consumers will get the clues. There've...there have got to be clues.

Toshi Jones  28:26  
I mean, we were duped in December, we definitely bought the nail polish from somebody who was using a post office in New York as their business address. And we should have known, so we won't make that mistake twice, right? And so perhaps next year, the the landscape is going to be different. Google may respond and change up some of their policies. Credit card companies are definitely going to change their policies. So I think that it's going to take time, but the consumers are gonna get savvy to it.

Sam Torres  28:55  

Tory Gray  28:56  
Lots of fraud!

Sam Torres  29:00  
So to kind of completely change subjects here, I'm just gonna just pull something out of way over here.

Question #6

Sam Torres  29:07  
So Tory, you were talking about keywords earlier, so I'd love to one of the things, one of the tactics that I've gotten to use in past lives, that was really fun, so I want to know if it's still being used now. Any kind of Twitter advertising that you guys are doing with paid promotion to get like a specific content piece in front of eyes at a specific time? And like examples I have of this was this is unfortunately when I used to work at an agency that we did a lot of personal injury - never again, but been there.

Sam Torres  29:40  
But basically, as soon as somebody tweeted out that they had been in a car accident, we would send them a guide. And so we had a bot set up, so this was yeah, so A. we had a bot that was messaging and then we also had, you know the advertising would flip on.

Sam Torres  29:48  
But yeah, we would just send them a piece of 'Here's everything you should do. And here's the information you need to get from the other driver' and...all that kind of stuff. And it obviously works really well at the time - anything like that, that you guys are trying or curious about or seeing any success for your own campaigns?

Ben Dankiw  29:48  
Yeah, I mean I haven't done...I haven't done any Twitter ads. But I've definitely, in terms of that like search term, like we have different, like campaign structures in Google ads, where we'll go after like more exploratory keywords like that, and then try to remarket to them.

Sam Torres  30:29  

Ben Dankiw  30:29  
So, well, when we layer that extra layer of data on that we have them on a remarketing list, and then they search for photography, or something a little bit more out there, like going back to this travel example, like, you know, taking, you know, bird photography or something like that.

Ben Dankiw  30:46  
Like, 'Oh, they like bird photography, they've they're looking for a certain type of bird' or you know, whatever a certain type of bird or certain type of something. We can bring them back to like a 'Hey, here's this trip that is really focused around, you know, this bird photography.' So I've done it from a search term, but I've not done it from Twitter. That sounds really cool, I don't know if Toshi's done that.

Toshi Jones  31:03  
Right now we've...we're paused on Twitter. In fact, we've pitched two or three Twitter campaigns since Elon Musk took over.

Sam Torres  31:14  

Toshi Jones  31:14  
And I think that...I think clients right now are not sure...first of all, they're not sure about the landscape, because content moderation matters. And so there's not content moderation there.

Ben Dankiw  31:26  

Toshi Jones  31:26  
They don't want to waste money, which I think is really important. You know, a lot of clients have a ton of budget, and they can spend, and then they want know, obviously they want to get the best results they can. And so we're looking at, like, tried and true, which is...for us is LinkedIn, and Instagram, and then exciting and new, which is TikTok.

Toshi Jones  31:26  
And so I think, right now, since the big advertisers have pulled out of Twitter, the clients that we're looking at, are just not sure that, number one, that their audience is there anymore, because we don't have enough data to know that it's only been like a few months. So we're gonna kind of hold out. So we're, I think we're in a holding pattern on that.

... since the big advertisers have pulled out of Twitter, the clients that we're looking at, are just not sure that, number one, that their audience is there anymore, because we don't have enough data to know that it's only been like a few months. So we're gonna kind of hold out. So we're, I think we're in a holding pattern on that.

Toshi Jones  32:07  
But with regards to keywords, a lot of times, like I said, when we do our brand strategy, we look at what the foundational keywords will be for a client. And we try to forecast given all of their products, what we can do from a keyword standpoint. I mean, we're not SEO by any means. But keywords come into play at every single phase of the journey.

Toshi Jones  32:31  
And we're always revisiting, like you said, you can find things that are interrelated, and as long as you like...we'll call them keyword seeds. As long as you have a keyword seed, we'll hand that over to an SEO company and say, 'Hey, here's how these two things interlink', because we do a lot of relational work in those workshops, and leave it up to the SEO and PPC companies to just like, you know, blow that out of the water as far conversion attraction.

Ben Dankiw  33:00  
Yeah, I agree on that, like, TikTok as like one of the more exploratory and fun, exciting platforms. We've just seen, like really great CPMs on there. So can''s liken it to like Facebook was in 2012 when it was like, 'Oh, this is...'

Sam Torres  33:18  
It was so good!

Ben Dankiw  33:19  
It was so good! And, and to your point on like Twitter, I...and I haven't done any of these campaigns yet, but I want to explore more Reddit advertising. And that's an area that I'd love to...I just haven't had the right client for because it is similar to Twitter brand guide, brand safety at that and whatnot. There's definitely little bit more freedom in Reddit. So you need to have a brand that's okay with a little bit more like, you know, tongue-in-cheek playfulness.

Tory Gray  33:48  
An irreverence.

Ben Dankiw  33:49  
Yeah. Yes, exactly.

Tory Gray  33:53  

Toshi Jones  33:53  
I think Reddit and Quora do a really good job for, like, solidifying brand authority or thought leadership. And if you can convince an organization to...I mean, the...even just to create content in that space, and to nurture that, they have to be ready to nurture it, they can't just put it out there and ignore it.

Ben Dankiw  34:16  
Just put it out there. Yeah. Exactly.

Toshi Jones  34:17  
That's the tough thing, is that I think a lot of clients are really wary of like being a part of a community. And then there's a little bit of that impostor syndrome, like, should we even be here talking about our thing in a space that's supposed to be authentic?

Toshi Jones  34:32  
But they can authentically do it, and it takes the right resources, and the time, and also that brand voice really plays and comes back in when when we encourage clients to do that. We haven't done a ton of Reddit, but Quora is fun as heck. Clients love once...if you can get them to take it, it's really, really fun.

Sam Torres  34:53  
Interesting. Yeah, also, I will say when it comes to Reddit, there's been times working with brands, that they hadn't even realized that they had a customer base that had created a subreddit dedicated to their brand.

Tory Gray  35:07  

Sam Torres  35:08  
And so there's this whole community talking about their products or, 'Hey, what's going on, what's such and such?' And they had no idea the conversation was going on.

Ben Dankiw  35:18  

Sam Torres  35:18  
So I would say definitely make sure if...if you, especially if you're B2C, or eComm, like...check it out, because we have an eComm client that they have a subreddit, that was created by their fans, and now they have, you know, part of their customer service team is managing that Reddit community.

Sam Torres  35:38  
But it's also a great source of information for figuring out like, 'What product features are your best customers looking for?' So there's just...but again, that's another whole conversation, but still really fun. And like you say, some of that data that you can really mine influence some of your other decisions.

Ben Dankiw  35:56  
Yeah, actually thing I thought about, in that sense is sometimes, we've run campaigns for a client on TikTok. And you don't think about...people don't think about TikTok as much as a search engine. But it is often used as a validation factor by people searching for.

Ben Dankiw  36:17  
So we had one client where we were having great...some great success with their TikTok ads. It was like great, and then just one day one of our like staff just like search their brand on TikTok, and like the second video is someone like smashing the like...not even smashing their product, but actually saying kind of they hadn't done it before, and like 'This is so expensive. Why would you spend this money kind of stuff', but it just wasn't the image you'd want as someone who Googled the brand.

Ben Dankiw  35:56  
And like, if you start to Google their name in Google or whatever.'s there's like this strong like...we...they obviously have a we want you to see all this content and then like TikTok, where they're searching a lot...I think nowadays, it's like this just raw content that someone didn't,they're not even trying to smash.

Ben Dankiw  36:43  
They're not trying to's just like, they made a video about why they thought it was expensive. And you need to have that kind of like, brand presence, even if you're running just paid ads. So that was interesting for us to find, too, similar to like your subreddit story.

Sam Torres  37:21  
Yeah, it's just wild.

Question #7

What are the key motivations for experimenting with YouTube in new ways?

Tory Gray  37:24  
It's also interesting. Like, I feel like I'm getting a lot more questions about YouTube in the last year relative to the prior years, like...just curious, like what's happening there that suddenly people are more curious about exploring YouTube in ways they haven't been necessarily historically.

Toshi Jones  37:32  
For us, I think, clients were really worried about YouTube because it takes a certain production factor. And I think that the production level has gone [down] ... come down quite a bit. And now there's a very clear model, especially set by you know, like, young, outrageous YouTubers. And it's funny because the aesthetic is carrying over into to B2B.

Toshi Jones  37:57  
If you look at companies like Airtable, or Miro, that they're putting out their, what, webinars, but if you look at their... their thumbnails, they look very similar to what a, you know, Brent, like a Mr. Beast, or something looks like in their thumbnails. So there's an aesthetic there for sure.

Toshi Jones  38:18  
So there's a model that, that customers can really see, 'Hey, this is working for other businesses', or even in a B2C context, 'There are plenty of viable models to follow, is that something we could get into relatively cheaply, and not have to spend all the production you know of like a full commercial sort of setup?' And the answer is, yes, absolutely.

Ben Dankiw  38:41  
I think there's a few different areas there to expand on. Like you said, the production costs coming down, I think that's been huge. Like the result...we always had the stigma of how expensive it was going to be to create it.

Ben Dankiw  38:56  
But nowadays, you can get an editor a pretty good price, you can get... raw video, like you can get a microphone and you know, create decent content for a much more affordable price. Like so I think combining that like ease of creation, with the fact that YouTube is a monetization channel.

Ben Dankiw  39:14  
I've seen so many different brands say 'This is the year to invest in video.' And it kind of lines up, like there's all these different changes of like AI within search and the search, you know, data concerns and all these different like cookieless world, but video isn't going anywhere.

Ben Dankiw  39:34  
And if you can, like I don't see YouTube' I can see how a lot of search volumes are gonna be affected in the next couple of years and... but I don't see people as much lessening their search volume on YouTube for fun creative content, and their algorithm's just so good versus like a Netflix or for like... it's just... they know it's like, you go on YouTube, but I'm sure you're within like 30 seconds to a minute you're like 'I want to watch this.'

Ben Dankiw  39:59  
Like, if you're on Netflix, you might be like walking around going, what am I gonna like...what do I want to watch?

Sam Torres  40:03  
That's true.

Ben Dankiw  40:04  
So their algorithm strength, there's just all these different factors that I think, like, I've anecdotally heard multiple people say, 'I'm gonna invest in YouTube this year.' And us as well, I've been doing as well.

Tory Gray  40:16  
I'm also seeing, bigger tech companies or like, you know, not necessarily like the Googles of the world, but like, maybe the second tier, I'm seeing all the time.

Tory Gray  40:24  
I cannot turn on YouTube for my morning yoga without seeing Semrush, or Webflow, or you know, they're...they're all these like - Shopify, everyone is constantly like - they know me. They know where I'm at on the web, and they're constantly showing me all the tech company ads. It's fascinating.

Sam Torres  40:42  
Oh yeah, I have to imagine that YouTube finds my user very confusing, because my daughter watches Minecraft videos all the time. And then I watched my SEO videos, that it's pretty funny, like, the ads that she gets are definitely for me. But then the videos that YouTube thinks I want to watch, are like, 'No, I do not.'

Sam Torres  41:00  
But, um, yeah, I think...and to that point of like production, I think it's also become a lot more accepted of you said, Ben, just have a camera and a good mic, and 'Oh, hey, we all had to do that anyways, when we started working from home'.

Sam Torres  41:17  
Like even...even this, right? Like our own podcast that Tory and I do, one of the reasons we do it is because it's easy. It's just a conversation with people that we like, and we hit record. And we have a phenomenal editor who makes us look much more polished than we actually are. And it's great. And it also comes together pretty quickly.

Sam Torres  41:38  
Whereas I remember 10 years ago, I was working at an agency that had a video production department. Those were three, six-month long projects. And they were so expensive, because we had to get a studio, you had all the equipment, the script writing, like, it was a lot.

Sam Torres  41:55  
And especially once you started putting in, like, if you want any custom animation, those were expensive, right? So the requirement for a B2B was just so much more because it needed kind of needed to be something that could theoretically go on TV commercials, right? I think there was kind of that stigma. And we're out of that now.

Ben Dankiw  42:15  

Sam Torres  42:16  
And I think it's becoming...and I like it, I like that we're...I feel like as corporate America is starting to focus more and more on authentic conversations and realizing that, like, that storytelling, is really what your audiences are looking for, regardless of whether they're buying $10 nail polish, or a $10 million ERP, right?

Sam Torres  42:37  
We're all just looking for that story and something to connect to. But yeah, I think that part is just becoming a lot more rich, and it's just interesting to see how this continues to evolve.

Ben Dankiw  42:47  

Sam Torres  42:48  

Tory Gray  42:49  
Well this has been a wonderful conversation. Thank you all so much for joining us and teaching us all about paid distribution. It's been lots of learnings, lots of social media conversations too. Much more macro than I even expected, which I always love.

Ben Dankiw  43:02  
Thanks for having us on. This was great.

Toshi Jones  43:03  
Thank you.

Sam Torres  43:04  
Thank you so much, and we will catch you all next time.

Tory Gray  43:07  
Yep! Thanks, everyone for joining Opinionated SEO Opinions™. Check us out and submit your questions at, and we'll see you next time. Thanks!

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