Jeff-Bullas- interview

You probably discovered Jeff Bullas on his blog, dealing with Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing. Jeff kindly accepted my invitation to answer some question about his vision as an expert of Web & Digital marketing.

AG: How did you come to write and speak about Web & Digital marketing?

JB: In the last decades I went through quite some revolutions, from the PC revolution to the web revolution, from the social web to the mobile web revolution emerging in the last six or seven years and I found that fascinating. I became very curious about this as I considered this at the corner of humanity and technology. I started my blog on the topic of Social Media. It was just six years ago and now we have about five million visitors a year, which I must say still surprise me very much, as those number keeps evolving rapidly!

AG: What do you think made your blog that successful so quickly? What differentiates you from all the existing marketing blogs?

JB: I was particularly passionate about it I think. I always tried to create the most engaging content I could. You need to put yourself in the visitors’ shoes and make sure to publish consistent content.  It it also important to ensure your own online distribution. I discovered Twitter early on, which appeared to be a great tool to generate what I call “top of mind brand awareness”. So I started to tweet and follow people early on. It has been a big part of the success source of and led me to be followed by more than 374.000 people today on Twitter. I always made sure to stick to the basics of digital, creating proper email lists, optimizing search engine optimization of the blog, which generate a huge part of my overall traffic. It really came down to three things: one is creating the best content I can, the second is persisting in terms of content generation (and content sourcing) and the last thing is ensuring an efficient online distribution.

AG: At the beginning of a YouTube video presenting you, you quote “If you want to write a lot, read a lot.” What blogs or books would you recommend anyone to read before becoming a blogger and potentially a digital marketing expert?

JB: When I started I read a book from David Meerman Scott about Marketing & PR. I also looked into a lot of articles from HubSpot, which were a big inspiration for me. I also learnt a lot from a book of Stephen King: “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” which “documents his experiences as a writer and also serves as a guide book for those who choose to enter the craft” (source: Wikipedia). I invite anyone to read this book, which is a real “writing tool box”. The advantage of blogs is their ability to maintain a certain content dynamism, this is a real-time and fully up-to-date source of information, compared to a book which can take two years from its first draft to its publication.

AG: I see that you also work as a consultant for companies to help them to optimize their online presence and company brands with digital, content and social media marketing. Are you working with a lot of BtoB companies and in your opinion what are the main differences between BtoC and BtoB digital marketing?

JB: I think that there is not much difference. In both cases it is “marketing” to “humans”. The messaging might be different, the platforms you use might be different, the networks you focus on might be different. Maybe Linked In will be particularly appropriate for B2B marketing, but on the other hand Facebook can also be very powerful in BtoB marketing as well (re-targeting, custom audiences). The content might be different but at the end of the day your objective is still to educate, inform, entertain and engage with your audience. I think that by making too much different between both “worlds” you can get lost.

AG: David Meerman Scott wrote an article entitled “B2B do not mean to be boring”. What is your personal opinion about this statement. I think that people see BtoC marketing much more fancy than BtoB overall. Of course a fancy two million euros Dior TV campaign sounds more fancy than a industry-oriented BtoB seminar to people… What type of fancy BtoC communication could be reused by BtoB marketers?

JB: I think that Social Web is changing that game. As David Meerman Scott means, a very corporate communication can be full of imagination and as fancy as any BtoC communication. BtoB marketing can also be a lot of fun. As a BtoB marketer you might use more formal and corporate networks to communicate, but it doesn’t mean that your content cannot be fancy! BtoB communication is not only about “big words”, acronyms and corporate language, you still need to address humans at the end of the day, and humans like to be told stories…

AG: What type of marketing tools do you personally use to develop your business and generally to manage your presence on the web?

JB: I use Twitter a lot of course. I use InfusionSoft, a marketing automation tool dedicated to small businesses, which will allow me to be much more targeted in my messaging. This is actually a big trend happening in marketing at the moment: the automation of marketing. Besides the value of your content and the network you use to spread the word, it is the ability to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time that matters the most. It is about one-to-one messaging. This implies to involve more and more technology [automation, tracking] in your marketing strategy.

AG: I personally find difficult sometimes (so do marketing people in general…) to benchmark and choose between the profusion of marketing tools that you can find on the market. Any advice in the area?

JB: I always watch at the marketplace very closely. I follow different influencers in the industries that interest me in particular. They are so many tools out there, this is very complicated to pick up the right ones, but unfortunately I didn’t find a magic recipe yet. I chose WordPress because it is used by some many people and it is easy to manage, I use HubSpot and InfusionSoft people these are the online marketing offers that suit me the most. But every case is different, every company has its own challenges. You need to choose particularly well when you are a small company, because you probably can’t afford to have a specialist working full-time on manage this or that marketing tool. You have got to get smart, not just work hard…

AG: Inbound marketing is at the heart of the marketing community concerns these days. According to your experience, what should be the balance between the use of inbound and outbound marketing in a marketing strategy?

JB: It is true that inbound marketing became the king since several years while the visibility of outbound marketing is decreasing. Content marketing represents a huge part of inbound marketing. There are two words in “content marketing”: “content” and “marketing”. You can’t only write content and expect new prospects to show up. You need to push this content out via the appropriate networks. You need to cover the full range of communication networks, and this implies emailing as well, as far as they are personalized of course. You need to reach out to your customers. It is important that they find you on Google of course, but SEO doesn’t get the whole job done when it comes to develop a business.

Written by Aurélien Gohier