The Ultimate Guide to Pillar-Based Marketing Strategies
Speaker 1: Welcome back to Page One or Bust, your ultimate guide to getting on page one of search engines. Get ready for an exciting episode as we welcome Christopher Day, better known as Toph, back to the show. Toph is the former CEO of DamandJump, and is now leading the charge as the CEO of Elevate Ventures, the number one most active seed and early stage investor in the Great Lakes region and ranks 20th in the entire US. But that's not all. Toph is also a co- author of a groundbreaking new book, Pillar- Based Marketing, which he wrote with co- host Ryan Brock. Whether you're a CMO or CEO in the B2B or B2C world, or even if you run a small or large company, you won't want to miss out on the valuable insights offered in today's episode. But first, a word from our sponsor. Page One or Bust is brought to you by DemandJump. Get insights, drive outcomes with DemandJump. Get started creating content that ranks for free at demandjump. com today. And now, here are your co- hosts, Drew Detzler and Ryan Brock.
Drew Detzler: Welcome to Page One or Bust. This is Drew Detzler, your host. As always, I'm joined by my co- host, Ryan Brock. Ryan, how are we doing?
Ryan Brock: Yo, I'm doing well. It's my birthday and I am not working today, so I'd rather not be her. But when Toph comes knocking, I got to show up, I guess.
Christopher Day (Toph): I love it.
Drew Detzler: I love it. Well, today, as Ryan mentioned, we are rejoined by a previous host of the show, Toph Day. Toph, welcome back.
Christopher Day (Toph): Thanks, Drew. It's awesome and exciting to be here. It's amazing that Page One or Bust podcast, you guys have taken it to heights unseen. It's awesome.
Ryan Brock: Yeah. It feels like it's been forever since you were here, Toph. But yeah, we've had a lot of fun with this show. I can't believe how far we've made it and how big of an audience we've been able to build. But almost every person who listens to the show called me and just said, " We're in because Toph's gone and we're just really glad."
Christopher Day (Toph): I love it.
Drew Detzler: All right. Well, for those that listened when Toph was the host, Toph, where'd you go?
Christopher Day (Toph): So I joined Elevate Ventures as the CEO back in late July of 2022. And Elevate Ventures is the#1 most active seed and early stage investor in the Great Lakes region, # 24 in the United States.
Ryan Brock: That's huge.
Drew Detzler: Yeah.
Ryan Brock: It's so crazy. People who aren't from Indiana and aren't steeped in this maybe have no idea that, of all places, Indiana is a hotbed for innovation and for technology and high growth startups. And I think it's probably going to be surprising to some people who aren't from the Midwest to here that Elevate plays such a big role in that economy in our country.
Christopher Day (Toph): Yeah. It's really an amazing innovation ecosystem here in Indiana. And there are so many things going on that the world, at some level, is just not aware of yet, but we plan to change that with some major initiatives we have.
Drew Detzler: I love it.
Ryan Brock: Speaking of major initiatives, Toph, I heard that you somehow have found the time to write a book some time in the last year.
Christopher Day (Toph): Ryan, you just gave me chills. It was such an incredible journey with you. We spent, what, about a year? We decided roughly a year ago to write a book on pillar- based marketing, and it took us about a year, I guess, to get through it all. And I am so excited about the upcoming launch of Pillar- Based Marketing. It's going to be an amazing book that's going to add massive value to executive teams across sector.
Drew Detzler: Why a book? What inspired you to write a book?
Christopher Day (Toph): If we go back and think about marketing over the last 30 years and all the evolution of changes, right, so the internet comes along, these emails come along various types of marketing. Then email marketing became a thing, became a major category, and then a thing called account- based marketing showed up. But there's been one elusive thing in marketing that has been the Achilles heel, I think, of marketers, and that's trying to figure out this thing called SEO and how to become seen authentically and organically on the internet. There's so many ebbs and flows and evolutions of the SEO ways. We talk about a lot of the early tactics that were used over the years, where people try to cheat the system or try to cheat Google or Bing or whatever search engine is being used. And what became apparent is that there's this new category in marketing that's called pillar- based marketing. And so, I think of it as the sister or parallel to account- based marketing. Account- based marketing has become, for many companies, it's just a requirement in your marketing tech stack, and now pillar- based marketing has become that same thing. It's just a requirement in your marketing tech stack, and if you're not deploying pillar- based marketing to organically be seen by your potential customers, then those companies are just missing out.
Ryan Brock: Well, I could not have worded that better myself. Yeah. It was a year ago, I had just joined on at DemandJump. Toph had taken me through the whole, " Hey, let's acquire your agency" thing. The whole reason for that, Drew, you were as part of this as anyone else, was we spent how many months, 18 months before that point, building a process around the data that we now had access to that we never did before. And that was the thing that brought me in and said, " I want to partner with these guys," because I'd been looking for the right data for organic content for a decade, and I'd been failing. And I'd been struggling so much to prove to myself and my clients that, " What you're giving me in terms of resources and spend is going to translate to something understandable and something that drives growth and something that you can hold up against any other digital marketing tactic and say, 'This is worthwhile. This is something that I'm doing.'" And it was tough for a long, long time. Then we find this data and I start collaborating with you guys, and all of a sudden, we're building out this strategy that every time you do it, it works.
Drew Detzler: It's shocking, right? Like I always said, I have the easiest job in the company, because it works. So no, it's not normal. It's not what usually happens. So it's beautiful that this methodology works. Let me ask you something sort of off script here. AI content, all the buzz, Chat GPT, Bard, all of that, does that impact or change anything that you all are talking about in and around the pillar- based marketing methodology and the book you wrote about it?
Ryan Brock: Do I wish that we knew about this onset of AI technology before we locked the manuscript of the book? Yes. Do I think it changes a single thing about the understanding we have now of people's behavior and how they search and what we can do with that data to inform our content? No. I think we're a while away from any of the tech that we're seeing coming out of Bard or coming out of Chat GPT actually changing fundamentally the way people search. It's going to happen eventually, but right now what matters is we understand how people find information. And as long as we keep on top of that, pillar- based marketing as a methodology is relevant and it's important and it's critical.
Christopher Day (Toph): So I actually just searched here on my phone while you were talking, Ryan. So on April 19th, 2019, we wrote the first blog based on pillar- based marketing, and it was to answer the question, " What is a good CAC?" It still ranks number two. Number one right under people also asked, I think that's the proof in the pudding. So Chat GPT, does it have use cases, right? You want to write a product description or you're just trying to write filler content, are there use cases for it? Sure. It should not be used to write content that is authentic, that relates to the human brain as it's demonstrated or put into action on the internet. Those models are trained with content or words at large on the internet, and they don't take into effect how those words are related to each other, the connectivity between questions, between words. That's the magic. That's the hard part.
Ryan Brock: What's happening right now, to me, is no different than what happened when Panda launched, I think it was 12 years ago today, I think I read somewhere. Literally 12 years ago today, Panda made it out into the world, and people realized that what they were doing to cheat wasn't going to work anymore. I think there's a lot of room for AI in helping people find their audiences, and we're just going to continue learning about how to use it as writers and things like that. But the game changer outside of the step- by- step process we go through in the book, which I think is great because it's simple and it just teaches you, forget about all the stuff you've heard about SEO. Forget about all the buzz and everything else, just do these things in order and you are going to drive faster, better rankings, results, and traffic and all the other stuff that comes with it. If you do it, it's almost like an assumption we make, Toph, that it's better to shut your mouth, listen to what people are actually asking, give people answers to their questions when they're asking them, and then make it as easy as possible for them to work with you, rather than interrupt them in their day and shove an ad in their face or choose to write about things that you think are going to lead to conversions, but honestly never do because nobody ever sees.
Christopher Day (Toph): Yeah. I think that's exactly right, Ryan. I think of it as the only appreciating asset in marketing. Just back to that blog I just referenced, right? April 19th, 2019, it has not been touched. It still ranks number two right below the" people also ask" box. And I think to be where we've seen all the customers of DemandJump have so much success, is you're authentically and organically meeting people along their journey wherever they may be.
Ryan Brock: Yeah.
Christopher Day (Toph): And whenever they're asking whatever question they're asking, so whether they're in research mode, decision mode, or buy mode, you're authentically showing up with the relevant content along that journey. And when they land on your site, they are thinking about that pain in that moment, and they land on your site and you're saying, " Hey, whatever widget or service you're selling, you're right there to take care of them, to solve that pain and make their life better."
Drew Detzler: I love what you said about the only appreciating asset in marketing. Think about all the other things that month that we wrote that blog. Think about all the other things that we spent$ 300, $400, $500 on. We probably spent$ 300 on key chains or something. It's just something stupid, right?
Christopher Day (Toph): Right.
Drew Detzler: Where that's still driving leads almost four years later.
Ryan Brock: And look, Drew, since I work so closely with you every day, I know as a marketer, you in 2023 have taken a considerable amount of our budget away from digital ads and put it into events. And we are already, because we know we have the secret sauce here with pillar- based marketing, we're already doing a bunch of organic content, so it's not like we're... We're probably doing more than most organizations, right? But I think it's the same idea, to watch you say actually when we can tell a story and we can connect with a real human being, whether it's virtual events or whether it's a conference somewhere and we can talk to them, that's where the world happens. That's where magic happens, where we find solutions and we solve problems together. And whether you're doing it through organic content center or events, it's the same.
Christopher Day (Toph): One of the things I remember that Drew said to me that hit me so hard, I think it was about a year into all of this, and I asked Drew, " If you look at the companies you were with previously, running marketing, how do you feel today versus then?" And Drew said, " I go to sleep at night confident that the decisions I made were the right ones."
Drew Detzler: Yep.
Christopher Day (Toph): And you think about work/ life balance, just that piece alone, how powerful is that?
Drew Detzler: Massive, seriously. I still feel that today. Being able to leave, being confident in the action you took that day is massive. So that leads me to my next question, which is around what readers will walk away with from this book, from this pillar- based marketing methodology book.
Ryan Brock: It's pretty simple. You will walk away with a new perspective on how to do what we've called search engine optimization for the longest time. You're going to walk away with a methodology. And we call it a methodology, I think the subtitle of the book is A Data- Driven Methodology for Content and SEO That Actually Works. That's what we call it, because this is repeatable. You're going to get a step- by- step process. So we talk about what kind of data you need, what to do with that data, and then how to go through the steps of choosing a pillar topic, building a strategy around it that's networked in the right way, writing content that actually serves its purpose and provides value. All of the best practices that we've experimented to find and say, " This works really well around publishing order, publishing velocity, frequency of content, the amount of content you need, the structure of that content and what goes in it and all of that." There's nothing left to guesswork. Guesswork has been what SEO has been for the last, for however long SEO has been out there. We've all been guessing, grasping at straws, trying to figure out how to get an edge over everybody else. And there's so much room in this structure for creativity. That's not what I'm saying. I'm not saying that it's just mindless, but what it is, is you can give this to a new writer, someone who's a writer and they've never worked in marketing before, give them the book, give them the DemandJump platform that is based on these principles and gives them the data they need, and in a week they're going to be producing content that rises to page one in a matter of just four or five, six weeks. And it's amazing. So I think any marketer who says, " I wish that managing my organic content strategy was as straightforward and simple as any other part of my digital marketing life," this is what you need.
Drew Detzler: Toph, from a CEO's perspective, what will readers walk away with?
Christopher Day (Toph): Yeah. Yeah. I agree with everything Ryan said. So I want to talk about alignment of your leadership team, and I want to talk about a seat at the table, and also a study that was recently done on who the next generation of CEOs will be. So everything that Ryan just said is absolutely true. There's a whole nother layer of benefit. So Sangram Vajre, for example, wrote this book called Move, right? He talks about go- to- market is a product in of itself, meaning you must have complete alignment between your sales leadership, your marketing leadership, your customer success leadership, your product leadership. And that is so true more than ever. And so, I think of it as Pac- man, you know how Pac- man and Ms. Pac- man meet in the middle and a little heart appears?
Drew Detzler: Yep.
Christopher Day (Toph): So the age- old problem of sales says, " Marketing, you're not sending us any leads" and marking says, " You don't know how to sell" to the sales team. And so, complete alignment of your target customer, your ideal customer profile, increasing or improving the value of those leads being your target market, and putting the sales team in a much better position to have more shots on goal with the customers that you actually want to buy. It works in B2C or B2B, whether you're selling a service or SaaS or tennis shoes or wallets or reading glasses. It works for anything. That's what I find truly amazing about it. And actually, in the B2C market, that's instant gratification, right? Because they can buy whatever widget you're selling right there. There was a study that was done recently, and that study predicts that most CEOs in the future will come from marketing backgrounds, people who understand how to break through the noise and accelerate a company's growth or trajectory more efficiently than their competitive set. And so, this gives the marketer a seat at the strategy table, right? It raises their profile within the organization of critical importance to the strategy and the future of that company. And once they have done that for a few cycles, then it maybe puts them in a position to go become, if they haven't already become the CMO, to get to the CMO chair, and then ultimately to the CEO chair, whether it's in that company or another company. That's what I think is truly exciting about deploying this type of a strategy. The one other thing I wanted to mention is I was talking to a CEO the other day, and they were so excited that they were deploying this concept of pillar- based marketing. And they showed me these pictures. They had pictures of their living room, of their kitchen, kitchen island, the kitchen table, the couch. They had papers that they had printed out just strung all over the entire house. And they had gone in and manually done searches on Google and looked at the questions that people asked, and then they just kept trying to follow these rabbit holes with all of those things. And they were literally printing all of these things out as they went. And I'm not kidding. They had thousands of pieces of paper printed out, sitting everywhere, and then trying to figure out how they were going to piece them all together to deploy this strategy. And I'm like, " Number one, that's amazing. You just catapulted yourself to the top, probably 3% of people trying to execute strategy. But did you know that you could actually go subscribe to a platform and click a button and what you just did over the course of a month, could be done in 10 minutes, and you could actually have an entire pillar up and running right now?" And they're like, " Huh?" And of course, that's DemandJump, right?
Drew Detzler: Yep.
Christopher Day (Toph): It does that automatically. So time is precious. That's one of our most... We can never get back more time, right?
Drew Detzler: Yep.
Christopher Day (Toph): And so, that's why I find really it exciting as well.
Ryan Brock: To have that time and energy to dedicate to other problems in the business is what I think makes a CMO become a really influential leader at the executive level, because they're not scrambling and spinning their tires trying to drive as much good traffic as they can or spending their whole budget on bad traffic. Instead, they're taken for granted that they've got this foundation of traffic that's going to keep growing, and that frees up their brain for something else. And that's so cool.
Christopher Day (Toph): I've even heard stories, and these are public companies, Fortune 100 companies, that are leveraging this data when they're thinking about their strategy 10 and 20 years out. They're leveraging this data to understand who are the new entrants into the marketplace that are showing up, talking about future types of technologies, and they're actually acquiring those companies, right?
Drew Detzler: Yeah.
Christopher Day (Toph): So the use cases for this type of data become even more than ranking on page one.
Drew Detzler: Oh, yeah, much more, much more.
Ryan Brock: Fascinating.
Drew Detzler: All right. At this point, you have the listener's attention, so where can they get the book?
Ryan Brock: So it comes out March 28th, so you might be listening to this a few days before that, depending on when this hits your inbox. So pillar- basedmarketing. com is the best place to go. If it's before launch day, you can sign up and get information about it. And then, if it's after March 28th, 2023, go to Amazon or go wherever you buy books online and you'll be able to find it. Pillar- Based Marketing: A Data- Driven Methodology for SEO and Content That Actually Works. I can't even get the subtitle of my own book right, Toph. Do you have it memorized?
Christopher Day (Toph): A Data- Driven Methodology for SEO and Content That Actually Works.
Ryan Brock: Yes. Yes, it is probably. Good job.
Drew Detzler: Before we get out of here, I know you guys are doing some really cool stuff over at Elevate, especially with some events and some things upcoming. So why don't you tell the listeners what you have cooking?
Christopher Day (Toph): Yeah. So one of the things that we're doing is we are launching the world's largest cross- sector innovation conference, and we're working with the same event producer that does the content tracks and pitch competition for South by Southwest. And so, the inaugural year for this event, it's called Rally, R- A- L- L- Y, and the website is rallyinnovation. com. It's going to be amazing. We have six innovation studio tracks. There's going to be software, hard tech, sports tech, healthcare, ag and food. And then, the sixth one will be entrepreneurship, which is kind of a catchall for industries we can't get to in our first year. There's going to be a$ 5 million pitch competition. So those five tracks I mentioned-
Ryan Brock: Wow.
Christopher Day (Toph): ...there'll be a$ 1 million winner for investment of each of those tracks, so we're really excited about that. There'll be one- on- one meetings with investors and companies. We're going to have some major keynotes that will be there. We're going to have at least 5, 000 people in year one. It's going to be at the Convention Center in Indianapolis. The Westin Hotel is booked out. We have the Hyatt on backup, and we are really excited. So I think this podcast might come out just a little bit before the tickets go on sale officially, but tickets will go on sale officially on March 15th this year. And again, the event will be August 29th, 30th, and 31st of this year. It'll be the first year of many to come, and we hope that we're pushing 50, 100, 000 attendees at that event by year three, four, and five. So we're really excited. So rallyinnovation. com, you definitely want to be there.
Drew Detzler: This is so cool. Ever since I met you, Toph, you've been talking about an event like this, so I love to see it come to fruition. I can't wait. It's going to be a big one.
Christopher Day (Toph): It's going to be incredible.
Drew Detzler: Thanks, Toph. Thanks for rejoining. Thanks for being an awesome guest. And March 28th, the Pillar- Based Marketing book will be out there. What's the subtitle again?
Christopher Day (Toph): A Data- Driven Methodology for SEO and Content That Actually Works.
Ryan Brock: Boom.
Christopher Day (Toph): Yeah, you got it. Awesome.
Speaker 1: Page One or Bust is brought to you by DemandJump. Know the exact content to create to increase first page rankings and drive outcomes with DemandJump. Get started for free today at demandjump. com.
Get ready for an exciting episode as we welcome Christopher Day, better known as Toph, back to the show! Toph is the former CEO of DemandJump and is now leading the charge as the CEO of Elevate Ventures, the #1 most active Seed and Early Stage investor in the Great Lakes Region and ranked 20th in the entire US. Toph is also a co-author of a groundbreaking new book, Pillar Based Marketing, which he wrote with co-host Ryan Brock. Whether you're a CMO or CEO in the B2B or B2C world, or even if you run a small or large company, you won't want to miss out on the valuable insights offered in this episode.
Got a topic idea? Hot take? Guest pitch? We’d love to hear from you! Reach out to us at PageOne@DemandJump.com.