Dr. Fio Dossetto, Sr. Content Strategist at Float.com and Founder of the contentfolks newsletter, shares her E.A.S.Y. content framework.
What does great content look like? Some may say it’s short. Others might say that it’s educational and entertaining at the same time.
Dr. Fio Dossetto, who has led content strategy and marketing at companies like Hotjar, ActiveCampaign Postmark, and (now) Float, had to answer this question. She wanted to ensure the content quality remained high across content writers, freelancers, and creators that her team worked with.
Enter Fio’s EASY framework, a set of four content principles she uses to gauge the quality of a piece of content.
Today, she goes into detail about her framework.
In this Marketing Powerups episode, you’ll learn:
- The four principles in Fio’s EASY framework.
- Common content and writing mistakes Fio sees way too often.
- Examples of high-quality content.
- A career powerup that’s helped accelerate Fio’s career.
When you're in scale-up mode, and you have KPIs to hit, the pressure is on to deliver demos and signups.
And it's a lot to handle: demand gen, email sequences, revenue ops, and more! That’s where 42/Agency, founded by my friend Kamil Rextin, can help you.
They’re a strategic partner that’s helped B2B SaaS companies like ProfitWell, Teamwork, Sprout Social and Hubdoc build a predictable revenue engine.
If you’re looking for performance experts and creatives to solve your marketing problems at a fraction of the cost of in-house, look no further.
Go to https://www.42agency.com/ to talk to a strategist to learn how you can build a high-efficiency revenue engine now.
⭐️ The E.A.S.Y. content framework
Creating great content that resonates with your audience is hard. How do you ensure your content is high-quality, stands out from the crowd, and achieves your goals?
Dr. Fio Dossetto, an experienced content strategist who has led teams at companies like Hotjar, ActiveCampaign Postmark, and Float, developed the E.A.S.Y. content framework to address this challenge. She created this set of principles to help align her team and give clear criteria for evaluating content quality.
The EASY framework has four core elements - Expert, Actionable, Simple, and Yours. Let's explore each principle in depth and hear Fio's advice:
1. Be an expert. 🤓
"As content marketers, we often find ourselves in a situation where the topic is complex and we don't have a matching level of expertise. If you don't talk to subject matter experts and force your way into it, you won't get excellent results."
Leveraging expertise is key to creating convincing, authoritative content. Fio advocates interviewing subject matter experts and customers to incorporate their words and stories into your content. This adds credibility from their first-hand experience and gives a distinctive perspective you can't get otherwise.
For example, when writing about a complex topic she didn't have experience with, Fio interviewed industry veterans at her company. She asked them questions like "What are some things that non-experts believe about this topic and are wrong about?" This allowed her to tap into their years of knowledge.
2. Make it actionable. 🏃♂️
"I think our jobs is to never let people leave asking themselves, okay, but what does this mean and how do I actually do this?"
Help your audience accomplish something important to them. Provide clear next steps and instructions so they know what to do. Show your product or service solving problems and let people see it in action. Actionable content has tangible utility and value.
Fio advocates for "product-led content" where your content features the product as part of the story. For example, you can showcase your software by including screenshots of the dashboard and pointing to relevant features. This naturally makes the content more actionable.
3. Keep it simple. 💡
"Do not make them work to understand you, communicate in a way that is clear and easy to follow without jargon or idioms."
Respect your audience's time by getting straight to the point. Avoid unnecessary complexity, jargon, idioms, and tangents that make comprehension harder. Simplify, but don't dumb things down. Clear communication enhances engagement.
Fio notes that concise writing often takes more effort than verbose text. But putting in that work to prune and refine is worth it. The result is focused content that delivers value quickly for the reader.
4. Make it uniquely yours. 🦄
"Use your unique voice and experience to create this kind of connection with the people you're creating content for."
Reflect your distinctive brand voice and assets in your content. For example, Fio leveraged the quirky, helpful brand voice of Postmark to create offbeat comics explaining concepts like email deliverability.
Also, feature customer stories showcasing your product or service in action. Consistent elements like this make your content uniquely yours. Readers will come to associate these with your brand specifically.
Free powerups cheatsheet
🎉 About Fio Dossetto
Dr. Fio Dossetto is the Senior Content Strategist at Float.com and Creator of the contentfolks newsletter. She has over a decade of experience in content strategy, branding, and marketing. She has worked at companies like Hotjar, ActiveCampaign Postmark, and more. At these companies, she helped set the strategy and ensured content quality across writers and creators.
🕰️ Timestamps and transcript
- [00:01:03] Discussing Common Mistakes in Content Marketing
- [00:07:38] Approaching Content Marketing through Expert Interviews
- [00:13:10] 42 Agency — my number one recommended growth agency
- [00:13:52] Riverside FM — my number one recommended video recording call
- [00:14:40] Interview with Fio Dossetto: How to Create Unique and Defensible Content
- [00:17:36] Making Content More Actionable
- [00:22:46] Achieving Simplicity in Content Writing
- [00:27:57] Making Content Distinctiveness
- [00:35:48] The Importance of Building a Network in Content Marketing
- [00:42:05] Fio Dossetto on Building a Professional Network
- [00:46:35] Marketing Powerups Newsletter
[00:00:00] Fio Dossetto on Creating High-Quality Content: The Easy Framework
Ramli John: What does great content look like?
Ramli John: Some would say that it's short.
Ramli John: Others might say it's educational and entertaining at the same time.
Ramli John: Now, Dr. Fio Dossetto.
Ramli John: She has led content strategy and marketing at companies like Hotchar, ActiveCampaign, Postmark, and now at Float.
Ramli John: And she had to answer this question.
Ramli John: She wanted to make sure that the content quality remained high across content writers, freelancers creators that her team worked with.
Ramli John: That's where Fio's Easy Framework, a set of four content principles that she uses to gauge the quality of a piece of content.
Ramli John: Today, she goes into detail into this framework.
Ramli John: In this marketing Powerups episode, you learn first the four principles in Fio's easy framework.
Ramli John: Second, common mistakes that Fio sees in writers and freelancers and content marketers.
Ramli John: Third, examples of great high quality content.
Ramli John: And fourth, a career power up that's helped accelerate FIO's career.
Ramli John: Now, before I get started, I created a free Power Ups cheat sheet that you can use and download and apply Fio's Easy Framework to your content right now.
Ramli John: You can find that on marketingpowerups.com or you can find the link in the show notes and description below.
[00:01:03] Discussing Common Mistakes in Content Marketing with Fio Dossetto
Ramli John: Are you ready?
Ramli John: Let's go.
Ramli John: Marketing Powerups.
Ramli John: Ready?
Ramli John: Go.
Ramli John: Here's your host, Ramli John.
Ramli John: Finally glad to have you on the show.
Ramli John: I've been a big fan of your content.
Ramli John: I'm a newsletter subscriber of content folks.
Ramli John: I'm going to add it to the link.
Ramli John: I'm going to tell people, hey, subscribe to this newsletter.
Ramli John: If you're a content marketer, people would love it.
Ramli John: Now, you've had over a decade of experience in branding, content editor, and marketer, working for companies like Hotjar and Postmark.
Ramli John: I'm sure you've seen common mistakes and you've written about it probably in your newsletter and things that just make your blood boil.
Ramli John: Are there ones specifically that you've seen?
Fio Dossetto: Yes.
Fio Dossetto: And not just mistakes I've seen it's also mistakes I've made.
Fio Dossetto: So a double boiling of the blood there.
Fio Dossetto: I think there are two.
Fio Dossetto: One is a tactical mistake and the other one is a bit more of about the overall approach.
Fio Dossetto: So I'm going to tell you about both.
Fio Dossetto: But I will say I come from B two B tech software.
Fio Dossetto: So I think this applies across other industries as well.
Fio Dossetto: But just this is the lens through which we're having this conversation.
Fio Dossetto: So the tactical mistake is that not enough content marketers talk to the customers and audiences we're creating content for, by which I mean literally being on a zoom call and talking to the people who buy the product or service that we offer.
Fio Dossetto: And we're all overwhelmed.
Fio Dossetto: There is a lot of stuff to do.
Fio Dossetto: There is so much going on and it's so much easier not to.
Fio Dossetto: But I think I don't know if this is also your experience, but when you work at a company, you kind of live inside of a bubble and your vision becomes distorted.
Fio Dossetto: And so you start assuming that your work will be met with the same interest and enthusiasm that you put into it, and it won't.
Fio Dossetto: So what to you may have been a week of intense work and back and forth with your team and contributors and designers to build this beautiful experience.
Fio Dossetto: It's maybe somebody else's five minutes while they scroll through LinkedIn or Commute or whatever.
Fio Dossetto: And I think the more you are removed from customers, the more you stay inside this bubble, the more it's easy to forget the human situations where your content gets seen and used.
Fio Dossetto: And also I think there is a difference between creating content for sort of an abstract audience or an idea of an audience versus being on a call for 25 minutes with your customer.
Fio Dossetto: Let's call her, I don't know, Samira who tells you all the ways in which she was struggling before finding your product and all the jobs that she couldn't do and now she can because suddenly you're invested and there is a face and there is a voice that you can think about when you're creating something.
Fio Dossetto: So there is a connection and that wasn't there before.
Fio Dossetto: So yes, this is to sum up, the tactical mistake is not talking to customers.
Fio Dossetto: And then on a more high level note, I think not enough content marketers think like business owners.
Fio Dossetto: So we focus on craft and we deliver competently like tacticians.
Fio Dossetto: But I don't think we spend anywhere near enough time thinking about how the content we produce will solve a business challenge or impact the business moving forward.
Fio Dossetto: And also we also don't communicate this information to everyone else stakeholders in the company so that people are aware of the value we bring and the potential collaborations and partnerships we can build.
Fio Dossetto: I think this may be my controversial opinion.
Ramli John: I don't know, but okay, hot take.
Fio Dossetto: I think it comes because I've grown up as a marketer on demand generation teams.
Fio Dossetto: We're very in tune with the ROI of our work.
Fio Dossetto: So I'm thinking about content in relation to the business.
Fio Dossetto: And also because I am a small business owner, I own my side projects and side business as a consultant.
Fio Dossetto: So I guess I'm forever borrowing this kind of business owner hat mentality where I'm like, okay, if I do X, Y and Z, how are these things going to help me or not get to my own goals type thing.
Fio Dossetto: So yes, long story short, to sum up, talk to your customers and start thinking like a business owner and you'll be a better marketer and you'll do better work as well.
Ramli John: And I feel like those things might be tied to each other really well, where talking to the customers help you figure out how your content can have the customer impact, but also business impact.
Ramli John: Because I'm guessing there is like a tie between the two of them, would you say?
Fio Dossetto: For sure.
Fio Dossetto: And also when you get to hear how hopefully when you get to hear how your content has either helped these people learn about the company or learn how to use the product.
Fio Dossetto: Then you can see like at the erect line of success between what you do and how that's impacting the business.
Fio Dossetto: And then I don't know, I think you kind of automatically just want to do more because you can see your contribution.
Fio Dossetto: And I think that's exciting, you know, that your work makes sense and is also helping people, which I think is great.
Fio Dossetto: I mean, I think I like to say that when I roll the world of content marketing, I'll make customer interviews mandatory for everybody because that's how it should be.
Ramli John: Yeah, it builds that empathy and makes your content and writing more real.
Ramli John: You can use the words, their exact words and problems right in the piece of content.
Fio Dossetto: You have also 100% steal from what they're saying, take their words.
Fio Dossetto: I mean, give credit, obviously, but the way somebody describes your products as they use it, as they're in the weeds is better than what you can come up with on your own in your little room without having ever experienced the product yourself.
Fio Dossetto: So there's all sorts of benefits really to that.
[00:07:38] Approaching Content Marketing through Customer & Expert Interviews
Ramli John: I know we're going to be talking about the easy content framework that you have.
Ramli John: One part of it is around being an expert because I feel like you actually wrote another post, I'm going to link in the description around how to interview experts and that could also apply to customers.
Ramli John: And I guess my question around this is what is your approach?
Ramli John: Do you have a more structured approach?
Ramli John: If you want, you're suggesting contact folks, talk to customers.
Ramli John: Do you have questions that you like asking or a specific, maybe not a question but like a flow or what are you trying to dig into specifically when you're talking to customers and interviewing them?
Fio Dossetto: Of course, I mean, I think the marketer answer to your question is it depends on what you're trying to do.
Fio Dossetto: I think that article or the newsletter you were talking about comes from my understanding of the fact that the ideal way to create content that is helpful and convincing and good, really about anything is to match topical expertise on one end or sorry, topical complexity on one end with subject matter expertise.
Fio Dossetto: But we as content marketers, we often find ourselves in a situation where the topic is complex and we don't have a matching level of expertise and if we just try to force our way into it, we might not have excellent results.
Fio Dossetto: So to give an example, I worked for postmark you mentioned before this is an email delivery service and prior to getting to postmark I had never in my life even wondered how emails get delivered.
Fio Dossetto: To me it's just a thing.
Fio Dossetto: Like you click the email, gets delivered, the end and there is so much more to it than that, obviously.
Fio Dossetto: But I couldn't possibly plan or execute convincing content around email, deliverability on my own, and never mind convince other people to use our product after reading it.
Fio Dossetto: So one thing I could do, and I obviously did, was piece information together through independent research and Googling, et cetera.
Fio Dossetto: But so can anybody else.
Fio Dossetto: And this is where actually, the distinctive element in the work comes from talking to experts who can share verifiable information and tangible data, point and even unique and controversial opinions.
Fio Dossetto: And you can use them and you can use interview transcripts as your foundations.
Fio Dossetto: So it doesn't mean that you have to become the expert, but you have to learn how to leverage other people's expertise.
Fio Dossetto: And so if you're writing about a topic, you can ask questions such as how would you define this topic for a beginner?
Fio Dossetto: And how do you talk about this topic to your peers?
Fio Dossetto: Because there may be a difference.
Fio Dossetto: What is something that nonexperts believe about this topic and are wrong about?
Fio Dossetto: What's the most common reason people struggle with this topic?
Fio Dossetto: And then if you're talking about the product, you can ask other types of questions, like what problems are you facing when you first looked for the product?
Fio Dossetto: What objections did you have, how's your life changed since using it, what can you do now that you couldn't before and what would you do if you couldn't use the product anymore?
Fio Dossetto: So it's different kinds of questions, and you can balance them and deploy them strategically depending on what it is that you're trying to create.
Ramli John: I guess that makes sense.
Ramli John: What I'm hearing here is I just wanted to recap for people who are tuning in there's, the subject matter experts who you want to be knowing.
Ramli John: I love it like hot takes.
Ramli John: What are some things that you know that people know that actually is wrong?
Ramli John: Or what are some things I love?
Ramli John: How would you explain this to a beginner?
Ramli John: I think that's like, there's a subreddit called explain it like it's like I'm five, where you try to explain the concept to a five year old, which might not make sense if it's SEO or something technical like AI, but at least it gets them thinking about that.
Ramli John: But also there's the other product experts which could apply to customers who are like, tell me what life looked like before the product and how did it help you, how did it change your life?
Ramli John: And then weaving that into your content is super important because that makes your content from mediocre to great.
Ramli John: When you add all of that other stuff information in content, essentially, it also.
Fio Dossetto: Makes your content more unique and therefore harder to copy.
Fio Dossetto: Because especially if you have in house experts like I had at postmark, these deliverability folks who've been in the industry for decades at this point, they sure had plenty of opinions and they were happy to share them.
Fio Dossetto: And they had, as you said, Hot Takes.
Fio Dossetto: And that made our content different because if you wanted to hear the truth about some pet peeves, about email, you knew where to go.
Fio Dossetto: And these people knew what they were doing.
Fio Dossetto: Obviously they'd been doing it for years.
Fio Dossetto: So they were a trusted voice.
Fio Dossetto: More so than if it was me trying to make some sort of argument about the pros and cons of me.
Fio Dossetto: What do I know about it?
Fio Dossetto: I don't know.
Fio Dossetto: I was just the bridge in between the expert and the audience.
Fio Dossetto: And I think sometimes your role as a content person is just to be again the bridge that puts in touch the folks who have the real knowledge with the folks who are looking for it.
[00:13:10] Interview by Ramli John on Scale up Growth and Revenue Generation with 42 Agency and Riverside FM
Ramli John: Before I continue, I want to thank the sponsor for this episode, 42 Agency.
Ramli John: Now, when you're in scale up growth mode and you have to hit your KPIs, the pressure is on to deliver demos and sign ups and it's a lot to handle.
Ramli John: There's demand gen, email sequences, rev ops and more.
Ramli John: And that's where 42 Agency, founded by my good friend Camille Rexton, can help you.
Ramli John: They are a strategic partner that's help B, two B SaaS companies like Profit to Wall, Teamwork, Sprout, Social and Hubdoc to build a predictable revenue engine.
Ramli John: If you're looking for performance experts and creatives to solve your marketing growth problems today and help you build the foundations for the future, look no further.
Ramli John: Visit 42 Agency.com to talk to a strategist right now to learn how you can build a high efficiency revenue engine.
Ramli John: Thank you.
Ramli John: Also to sponsor for this episode, Riverside FM.
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Ramli John: What I love about it is that it's almost like being in a virtual studio, which makes it possible to record and edit at the highest quality possible.
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[00:14:40] Interview with Fio Dossetto: How to Create Unique and Defensible Content
Ramli John: Anyway, let's get back to our episode.
Ramli John: This is a really good point.
Ramli John: Your content can become a defensible moat where people think about what is something that you can create that other people would be finding it hard to copy.
Ramli John: And adding all this stuff just makes it if they do copy it, hopefully they attribute back to your content and give you a backlink.
Ramli John: But that's not always the case.
Ramli John: But it's hard to quote somebody who you interviewed with and not do that.
Ramli John: Love that.
Ramli John: I think this is starting to sorry.
Fio Dossetto: And I was going to say it's hard to copy somebody's opinions.
Fio Dossetto: I mean, everybody can plagiarize everybody else, we all know, but it's a little bit harder, I think, and also makes your content stand out because, as I said before, technically everybody can just do the same research that I did and write the same thing I did, just using sources that you find on Google or existing content or watching YouTube videos, etc.
Fio Dossetto: Whatever.
Fio Dossetto: So what are you adding in that is different from everybody else?
Fio Dossetto: What is uniquely yours?
Fio Dossetto: And I think actually Sneakily, I'm talking about the easy framework right now.
Fio Dossetto: Yes, I was going to say that said uniquely yours.
Fio Dossetto: So there you go.
Ramli John: Let's talk about that.
Ramli John: How did this easy framework come about?
Ramli John: And can you go through just the five principles, bare, high level so that we can dig into each one?
Fio Dossetto: Of course.
Fio Dossetto: So the easy framework is a set of principles that I introduced at Hotjar.
Fio Dossetto: And the Easy is a very convenient acronym.
Fio Dossetto: The E stands for expert, the A stands for actionable, the S for simple, and the Y for yours.
Fio Dossetto: So expert actionable simple.
Fio Dossetto: And yours?
Fio Dossetto: And I'm a big fan.
Fio Dossetto: Easy framework and processes and templates and anything that really helps create alignment.
Fio Dossetto: So this came out of a need to align myself and my team on the kind of content must haves versus nice to haves have a set of principles that we could hold one another accountable to and also help us edit or give feedback to other people's work.
Fio Dossetto: So instead of giving nebulous feedback, we could say this piece is great, but it's not yet actionable enough.
Fio Dossetto: So can you work on it?
Fio Dossetto: Or this piece lacks some expertise.
Fio Dossetto: Can you figure out a way to bring that in?
Fio Dossetto: And so, yeah, I came out with this and I've used it at Oddjar and I've kept using it since because frankly, I think it's just really a clear path to good content.
Ramli John: I totally agree.
Ramli John: I love how easy it is.
Ramli John: Understand try to add a pun in there.
Ramli John: But we've already talked about the Expert piece.
Ramli John: Let's talk about actionable.
[00:17:36] Making Content More Actionable: A Converstaion with Fio Dossetto
Ramli John: What are some ways that you can make content marketers and marketers in general can make their content more actionable?
Fio Dossetto: Yeah, I think I personally believe that your content should have a high level of utility so it helps your audience do something that's important to them.
Fio Dossetto: I think our jobs is to never let people never leave people asking themselves, okay, but what does this mean and how do I actually do this?
Fio Dossetto: Because I think we've all seen the content that is just vaguely telling you to do something and then you're completely left on your own when it comes to how to actually do the thing that the content is talking about.
Fio Dossetto: And I think this also pairs with the fact that I try to practice what I call product led content.
Fio Dossetto: Aka I try to have an approach whereby the content I create kind of hinges around the product.
Fio Dossetto: So the product is part of the story, and making the piece actionable sometimes simply means showcasing your product in action, showing people, excuse me, something went very wrong.
Ramli John: It's okay.
Fio Dossetto: Let's go back I'll just start back to the point where I was talking about product Led content.
Fio Dossetto: I'm sorry about that.
Ramli John: So no problem.
Ramli John: No need to apologize.
Ramli John: We are not live.
Fio Dossetto: Something went very wrong in my throat.
Ramli John: No?
Fio Dossetto: Okay, I'll try again.
Fio Dossetto: Anyway.
Fio Dossetto: I have an approach to content that I call product led content, whereby I like to make the product part of the story, part of the content that I'm creating.
Fio Dossetto: And sometimes what that means is showing the product in action, showing how a feature works, showing how you can use it to do something that we've just talked about, and that's a way to make it actionable.
Fio Dossetto: You can add sort of how to get started or an equivalent box in the flow of your content and use it to just direct people to the specific actions that they need to take next.
Fio Dossetto: It doesn't mean that you need to explain how everything gets done, because you don't want to go into a million tangents.
Fio Dossetto: But if you just signpost the next right step or just give some instructions and some ways to help people do something or get started with something they came to you for, I think that gives a high level of utility that people appreciate as opposed to just telling them something needs to happen and then giving them absolutely no idea of how that works or what they should do.
Fio Dossetto: So then how do they know you're the expert?
Fio Dossetto: Hence the first parts of the framework.
Fio Dossetto: You're the expert.
Fio Dossetto: So you don't just tell them what the thing is.
Fio Dossetto: You also tell them how to make it happen or how to get it done.
Ramli John: And it's essentially answering your question, what's next?
Ramli John: Sure, you educated me here.
Ramli John: You gave me some examples of what's different about the world, what's a new thing to do?
Ramli John: And then usually the reader's mind is like, okay, what's next?
Ramli John: How do I apply this?
Ramli John: And you're really answering that.
Ramli John: And it's a great way to weave in your content, like your product, like you mentioned, where what's next?
Ramli John: Is, like, sign up for free.
Ramli John: Or what's next could be download this template.
Ramli John: So you're really answering that question, what's next?
Ramli John: Is what makes it more actionable.
Fio Dossetto: Yeah, and it's not even just about the written word.
Fio Dossetto: Sometimes, like, a strategically placed screenshot with an arrow that says do.
Fio Dossetto: This can make a lot of difference in helping people understand when, where, or how to take action.
Fio Dossetto: So, for example, this is pretty much how I approached content at Hotjar throughout my tenure there.
Fio Dossetto: We would just take screenshots of the dashboard or of a particular product and just point to the thing we were talking about.
Fio Dossetto: Like, this is how you start if you're using Hot jar, just go here, click there, and this is how it works.
Fio Dossetto: And then we just kept talking about whatever topic we were talking about.
Fio Dossetto: But I think it's just a high level of actionability.
Fio Dossetto: It's a good thing.
Ramli John: In my book, that's really great example.
Ramli John: This is just a simple arrow.
Ramli John: Yeah, that makes sense.
Ramli John: I'm laughing because yeah, I know, right?
Ramli John: I'm laughing because I've been looking at YouTube thumbnails and that arrow and pointing at something interesting adds a lot of click through and it just increases the curiosity of people to act on something.
Ramli John: So that's a great example with that there.
[00:22:46] Achieving Simplicity in Content Writing
Ramli John: The next part to this framework is around making it more simple.
Ramli John: And you actually gave a warning that this is the hardest element to this framework to pull off because it's easy to make things complicated or complex.
Ramli John: It is.
Fio Dossetto: I think we know from working in content that creating tightly written and deeply considered content is really freaking hard.
Fio Dossetto: And anybody who works as an editor or with an editor will know there is whatever misquoted sentence that is, that is like if I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.
Fio Dossetto: Because actually it's much easier to well, it's not easy, but it's comparatively easier to sit down and just bang out 2000 words about something than it is to then take them and then condense them into 1200 words about the same thing.
Fio Dossetto: But having cut all the fluff and the jargon and the unnecessary tangents and all of that, I called it simple, but it's really not that simple to do it.
Fio Dossetto: And the principle is just simply to again, not simply because it's hard, but the principle is to get straight to the point, to respect your audience and their time.
Fio Dossetto: Do not make them work to understand you, communicate in a way that is clear and easy to follow without jargon or if jargon is needed, just explain it idioms, tangents, all of that.
Fio Dossetto: Sometimes we forget that we have global audiences not everybody understands in jokes or idiomatic expressions or I'm not a native speaker myself.
Fio Dossetto: Some of the things that I was hearing made no sense to me.
Fio Dossetto: And some of the things I was hearing also made no sense to me.
Fio Dossetto: Don't even get me started.
Fio Dossetto: Like baseball metaphors and whatever.
Fio Dossetto: I don't know what you folks are talking about, but sports metaphors, yeah, just don't make your audience work over time to understand what you're trying to say.
Fio Dossetto: I think personality is fine, the occasional baseball metaphor is acceptable.
Fio Dossetto: They make sense to me if I am finally but yeah, I think the point is gain straight to the point and just be helpful.
Fio Dossetto: And that sounds much easier than it is in practice to do.
Ramli John: That's true.
Ramli John: I was thinking a lot about this.
Ramli John: Like how certain content when I read on LinkedIn be like that sounds like it's written by Chat GPT because there's a lot of jargon or unnecessary adverbs or adjective and I'm like, it just makes it harder to read.
Ramli John: Would you say like, when all of this stuff is there where just get to the point.
Fio Dossetto: I think it just adds to the cognitive load of your audience.
Fio Dossetto: They're already trying to learn about a new topic.
Fio Dossetto: You don't need to make it any harder than it already is.
Fio Dossetto: I come from an academic background and that's the opposite of simple.
Fio Dossetto: I don't know, read an abstract you don't even know what you're reading about as an average user person.
Fio Dossetto: So I was very guilty of this because, again, coming from academia, I was trained in a kind of writing that does not work well with B, two B audiences.
Fio Dossetto: So I learned how to simplify things and then I saw the elegance in simplicity.
Fio Dossetto: And now I'm a big advocate for that approach as well.
Ramli John: Yeah, that makes sense.
Ramli John: I forgot who said this.
Ramli John: I'm not sure if you agree with it where they suggested or I read somewhere that writing for in terms of a lower grade level, maybe like high school level writing, so that it's easier to read per se rather than longer sentences might work better.
Ramli John: I see this on LinkedIn a lot, where the way that they, I guess, make it simple, quote unquote is like shorter sentences, one line per paragraph, where the typical thing it's a little extreme.
Fio Dossetto: Poetry and probably should stay in the realm of poetry.
Fio Dossetto: I don't know.
Fio Dossetto: I don't want to be prescriptive like short sentences, long sentences, whatever, but I think the point is just dumbing it down is the wrong thing to do.
Fio Dossetto: So finding clarity by whichever way you arrive and if it's one line poetry, hey, go for it.
Fio Dossetto: I don't think that's how it works, but some audiences might respond really well to it.
Fio Dossetto: Who am I to say different audiences respond well to different things?
Fio Dossetto: And if that's the style yours likes, absolutely, go for it.
Fio Dossetto: I don't think it works when you're writing a listicle comparing software I might be wrong and welding to be proven wrong.
Ramli John: If that's the case, that's so funny.
[00:27:57] Making content distinctive in the realm of marketing
Ramli John: I want to talk about the last piece here about yours.
Ramli John: I know we've already started chatting about this.
Ramli John: It could be that quotes, how can marketers make their content sound like it can only come from them or their company or from their own specific voice?
Fio Dossetto: Yeah, I think there are different ways, but I think I'll take one step back and I'll explain why I think this is important and why it made it into the framework.
Fio Dossetto: I think, as I was saying before, our perception of our work and the interest with which it will be met is kind of skewed like in reality, the hard truth that we need to face as marketers is that most brands, like all brands, are of low interest to most people most of the time.
Fio Dossetto: So the amount of time we spend caring about a brand is not the same amount that people will spend thinking about.
Fio Dossetto: They will think about our brand maybe for five minutes if they have a problem, and that's pretty much it.
Fio Dossetto: So facing this fact can be hard, but it can also turn into a sharper practitioner.
Fio Dossetto: Because once you know that the thing you work on for days will be consumed in minutes and then quickly forgotten, you understand the urgent need to make your work distinctive enough so that it stands out in an ocean of sameness, is what I like to say.
Fio Dossetto: And also evoke some sort of emotional response in people who stumble upon your work so that maybe they might one day remember you in the future.
Fio Dossetto: And so with all of this in mind, I think what I was trying to say is you should use your unique voice and experience to create this kind of connection with the people you're creating content for, and make each piece feel like it could come from you.
Fio Dossetto: Either you the individual or you the brand.
Fio Dossetto: And that really depends different things based on your brand voice, whatever guidelines you've got.
Fio Dossetto: For example, Postmark has a wonderful brand that is known for being helpful and quirky and occasionally weird, and you can really lean into it and go wild with that.
Fio Dossetto: So we did web comics about email deliverability.
Fio Dossetto: They used dogs as a metaphor for email being delivered.
Fio Dossetto: Or we wrote a web comic about Churn, the problem that affects most SaaS companies.
Fio Dossetto: And Churn in this web comic was a villainous, Skunk.
Fio Dossetto: And so we had a personification of cool.
Fio Dossetto: I guarantee that no other company has ever talked about in the same way.
Fio Dossetto: I also guarantee that this approach doesn't work for everybody else.
Fio Dossetto: So if you're working in a heavily regulated industry like health or finance, probably do not do web comics about it because it might not be met with the right that's good with the right level of appreciation.
Fio Dossetto: But whatever is your unique assets or voice or approach, use it to your advantage because your uniqueness helps you stand out and helps people remember, hopefully you and your brand and your product, et cetera.
Ramli John: That's such a good idea with the comics.
Ramli John: People would remember now.
Ramli John: Exactly.
Ramli John: Skunkus journey.
Ramli John: And that came from postmark.
Ramli John: Hopefully that connects there.
Ramli John: And it's really about embracing that weirdness, which I find like, as companies become more enterprise, they start to lose.
Ramli John: I'm not sure.
Ramli John: I've just seen Margaret Kelsey, who I had on the show here, used to work at App, user now OpenView now our own thing, she called it.
Ramli John: Companies start embracing the enterprise.
Fio Dossetto: Blue.
Ramli John: All these Androids companies become more blue, where they all start looking the same.
Ramli John: And I think that's a challenge.
Fio Dossetto: I can see that, and I think I can see an argument for why it happens.
Fio Dossetto: I've been at companies where this happened after a certain scale, you got a lot to lose more.
Fio Dossetto: So.
Fio Dossetto: Than you maybe had before when you could go wild with your drawings.
Fio Dossetto: Like we're talking about thousands of people, millions in revenue and stuff like that.
Fio Dossetto: And people maybe tend to be a bit more conservative.
Fio Dossetto: But at the same time, I think there are still other ways.
Fio Dossetto: As I said, you don't have to be weird with your brand.
Fio Dossetto: There are other ways to make things yours at any scale and in any industry.
Fio Dossetto: But I was particularly lucky, to be honest, that Hotjar and Postmark had a very similar vision of the world where they were not concerned about coming across as gently controversial.
Fio Dossetto: They were not just doing it for the sake of it, but they were opinionated.
Fio Dossetto: They had strong opinions and strong beliefs and they like to share them and bring more people into that kind of worldview.
Fio Dossetto: Yeah, I was lucky that I could do that, really.
Ramli John: Yeah, that's true.
Ramli John: And those strong opinions is what could be yours.
Ramli John: That opinion that you have, maybe other people have said it, but when you publish that, that's an opinion that somebody from the company or a person has that we talked about this before being hard to copy and that's exactly what you're talking about here, essentially.
Fio Dossetto: And it also goes back to even talking to your customer because that's also yours in a different way.
Fio Dossetto: But other people's experience with your product are also unique to you and the way they used it and the way they use it to solve their problems or do their jobs.
Fio Dossetto: And if they tell you about it, that's again, uniquely yours.
Fio Dossetto: So you don't even need to create a new format.
Fio Dossetto: You don't need to do web comics.
Fio Dossetto: You can just add somebody's experience or you can be on a call with somebody and cut a clip of like two minutes in which they tell you how they use the product or whatever.
Fio Dossetto: You can add it to your pages, to your blog post, et cetera.
Fio Dossetto: That's still yours.
Fio Dossetto: And over the course of many iterations of this, you start building a library of it.
Fio Dossetto: So if people do continue to use your content, they will keep seeing this recurring element of customers being interviewed, customers talking, and they will be thinking, oh well, this is the brand where the customers are always giving their opinion or this is the brand that shows you how things are done.
Fio Dossetto: That's it really.
Fio Dossetto: It doesn't need to be any more complex than this, to be honest.
Fio Dossetto: This is very easy for everybody to do, I think.
Fio Dossetto: And I'm kind of surprised not everybody's doing it already because it seems like an easy ish solution.
Ramli John: Maybe the challenge is especially the idea of more content means higher organic ranking is the challenge here, where adding those customer interviews is harder to scale than creating more and more content.
Ramli John: So it's often the hard stuff that makes you you essentially makes your content more unique than trying to, I guess, produce more, would you say?
Fio Dossetto: Because otherwise everybody else can do it and they probably are.
Ramli John: Yeah, I love that.
[00:35:48] The Importance of Building a Network in Content Marketing
Ramli John: Well, thank you for sharing this framework.
Ramli John: I actually want to shift gears and talk about career power up.
Ramli John: Now, we already talked about your experience.
Ramli John: You've worked at Hotjar and Postscript and you have this over a decade of experience in content, in marketing and brand editorial.
Ramli John: I'm curious, is there something that a career power up has helped you accelerate your career?
Ramli John: It could be something soft like making friends with other marketers or something more a specific marketing skill that we've already talked about.
Ramli John: It could be a couple or however many you want.
Fio Dossetto: I think you got that exactly right already.
Fio Dossetto: I think I have a must have and a nice to have and the must have was having a network of marketing friends and the nice to have was starting my own side project as a newsletter and I'll tell you why the network was such a must have.
Fio Dossetto: So I joined Hotjar at the 30% stage and it was a wonderful time of growth.
Fio Dossetto: The company was self funded, profitable, had found product market fit.
Fio Dossetto: So it was kind of know this rocket ship that was being built as we were all there and it was super exciting and I got to meet a lot of people and I was so immersed into the life of Hajjar that I forgot to look outside of Hajjar.
Fio Dossetto: So all my conversations at Hajjar were with my content partner and they were about so all my conversations about content were with my content partner and they were about content at Hajjar.
Fio Dossetto: They were not about content per se but they were very specific to the place we were and the thing we were trying to build.
Fio Dossetto: And so the week after leaving Hajjar was very quiet and very silent because suddenly I had nobody to talk shop with and I realized that I hadn't been as intentional at building connections with peers and mentors as I'd been in building connections with other folks at Hodger.
Fio Dossetto: Which was great in its own way because building bridges across functions and departments really helps you understand how a company grows and how companies build and how you all work together.
Fio Dossetto: But I didn't have a counterpart in other marketers who could teach me how they'd built their thing and what problems they'd encountered or what experiments they'd run, et cetera.
Fio Dossetto: So I realized I needed a solution very quickly and I needed a network.
Fio Dossetto: And so I started by asking for a couple of intros and then getting virtual coffees with people.
Fio Dossetto: It was, I should say the height of the pandemic.
Fio Dossetto: So we were all at home anyway.
Fio Dossetto: There were a lot of calls going on back then in 2020.
Fio Dossetto: But the other thing I did was I started my passion project, my newsletter Content Folks because also a lot of the learning and the things I'd mastered in my journey at Hajjar were either staying there or just coming with me.
Fio Dossetto: But they hadn't really been seen by anybody else.
Fio Dossetto: And I thought it was kind of a waste of a lot of learning because surely some people could read and compare to their experience and maybe learn something or teach me something just by virtue of me saying something publicly.
Fio Dossetto: And so in addition to getting interest to other people, I also started saying yes to people who came my way after reading my newsletter and wanted to talk about content, which I'm obviously very happy to do.
Fio Dossetto: And then I started being invited of podcasts and now here I am with you today.
Fio Dossetto: But that was not something I had at all while I was at Hodger.
Fio Dossetto: So that's a mistake I made.
Fio Dossetto: And I think if anybody is listening to it and recognize themselves in my words, just take action now.
Fio Dossetto: Just go and build a couple of content friendships outside of your company bubble because that will also mean that you have a good network and when opportunities pop up, people might think of you or might put you in touch with somebody who has opportunities.
Fio Dossetto: So the last two jobs I got were not because I applied for a job.
Fio Dossetto: It's because somebody in my network had a need and also the understanding that I was probably the right person to help them do whatever it is that they wanted to do.
Fio Dossetto: Yeah, that's the story.
Fio Dossetto: But I also wanted to say that the network is a must have but the newsletter wasn't nice to have because I understand not everybody has the time, the mental energy or the desire to have a side project and they shouldn't.
Fio Dossetto: I'm very lucky that during the pandemic I did not have kids.
Fio Dossetto: So I was just at home in my own four walls and being like, I guess I'll just start a newsletter now.
Fio Dossetto: What do I do?
Fio Dossetto: But not everybody can.
Fio Dossetto: And absolutely not everybody should.
Fio Dossetto: But the network.
Fio Dossetto: Yes, because everybody can do that in whichever format works.
Fio Dossetto: If it's calls in person, if you want to have a slack community, if you want to chat with people in writing, whatever, just reach out to someone and share expertise and experiences with them.
Ramli John: I love how you called out, how it's helped you.
Ramli John: Past two roles have been through your network.
Ramli John: And I think that's a real advantage to that.
Ramli John: Especially when a lot of stuff happening in tech right now with the layoffs building that network, you can really, I guess, almost have a safety net, almost that can help you.
Ramli John: People who want to root for you and open doors for you, essentially, is what the potential, I guess, advantages of having I call it friends and content who love what you do and would be willing to help you out.
Ramli John: And likewise.
Ramli John: I think that's a really cool thing you mentioned.
Fio Dossetto: Yeah, and the likewise element is important because you can do the same for them as well.
Fio Dossetto: So you can also connect people with a skill to people with a need for that skill, like, building bridges across the big wild world of content marketing is very important.
[00:42:05] Fio Dossetto on Building a Professional Network
Ramli John: Do you have any advice for people on how to reach out?
Ramli John: For example, one of the ways that I've done it would be like we're both content, we're both incant, would just love to talk about content and talk about life and shop.
Ramli John: I'm not sure.
Ramli John: What was your approach to reaching out to a couple of folks?
Ramli John: Do you get introduced to them?
Ramli John: Because I know that's a challenge for people who's never made friends in their network before.
Fio Dossetto: Yeah, I actually went the way of introductions first.
Fio Dossetto: So I had a good friend who was a good connector.
Fio Dossetto: So I asked them to put me in touch with a couple of people.
Fio Dossetto: And then from then on, everybody gets asked to put me in touch with somebody else.
Fio Dossetto: So all you need is just like, one person.
Fio Dossetto: And I'm sure that the vast majority of people probably have one person.
Fio Dossetto: Doesn't even need to be a content person, by the way.
Fio Dossetto: It can be just anyone as long as they know a content person that they can connect to you.
Fio Dossetto: So that's one way.
Fio Dossetto: I think if you follow somebody, if somebody's writing a newsletter or something, if you engage with them a little bit regularly, maybe after a while you can also ask them to be on a call.
Fio Dossetto: I wouldn't, out of the blue, pop up in somebody's email and be like, hey, let's chat.
Fio Dossetto: Because that's true.
Fio Dossetto: Well, maybe some people respond well to that.
Fio Dossetto: I don't know.
Fio Dossetto: As I said, you do.
Fio Dossetto: You just being respectful of people's time and being courteous and kind goes a really long way.
Ramli John: That's such a good point.
Ramli John: I think the goal of this is like to I keep saying make friends, but during those calls I have been reached out to and it ended up turning into interrogation where I feel like I'm being interrogated.
Ramli John: I'm guessing your approach was different when you got on those calls.
Ramli John: What was the conversation?
Ramli John: How did it flow?
Ramli John: Essentially, because I think there's an important lesson for people who have never done this.
Ramli John: They approach it like, what do you do?
Ramli John: And then it's just like 50 questions at that person rather than a conversation.
Fio Dossetto: No.
Fio Dossetto: So there were a couple of things because I had a newsletter, I would usually have conversations that I might end up using in my newsletter.
Fio Dossetto: So early on I had a couple of conversations where I asked practitioners very tactical questions like how did you do X?
Fio Dossetto: How did this work?
Fio Dossetto: And then I wrote stories.
Fio Dossetto: Like, I wrote little stories of how they did that.
Fio Dossetto: In some other cases, I was just know I'd left my work at Hajjar and I was a bit lost about what to do next.
Fio Dossetto: So I sought out people who could probably be more like less peers and maybe mentors.
Fio Dossetto: And I was like, hey, I'm a bit lost right now.
Fio Dossetto: And I know that you have got so much experience.
Fio Dossetto: Do you have two pointers to give me or just one thing?
Fio Dossetto: Like, what can I do?
Fio Dossetto: What should I do?
Fio Dossetto: What do you recommend?
Fio Dossetto: And it could be anything, really.
Fio Dossetto: And some people I did that in Slack.
Fio Dossetto: Some people sent me one line.
Fio Dossetto: Some people sent me like, a wall of text of recommendations.
Fio Dossetto: Other people were like, yeah, just let's have a 15 minutes call.
Fio Dossetto: I think the format will vary, but yeah, that's how it works for me.
Ramli John: I think.
Ramli John: I love how you approach that, being vulnerable and asking for help.
Ramli John: People in general want to help other people, especially if you're in the same industry or same content folks.
Ramli John: If any content folks reached out to me, I know in SuperPath, this network for content marketers, a few people have reached out to us for advice.
Ramli John: And in general, people want to help.
Ramli John: I think people forget that that if you ask for help, usually you mentioned they can give you a short note or if they have more time to give you a wall of text or even if they want, they can jump on a call to help you out with that.
Fio Dossetto: Yeah, and SuperPath, as you mentioned, is a very good place for that.
Fio Dossetto: So that's actually where I built some of my good connect.
Fio Dossetto: There are people that I've never talked to face to face, but I've been exchanging Slack messages with for a while.
Fio Dossetto: And yeah, that's network as well.
Fio Dossetto: It's not just being on a call with somebody, it's just having the conversation in whichever format or medium or place.
Fio Dossetto: I don't think it matters that much.
[00:46:35] Marketing Powerups Newsletter: Actionable Takeaways from World-Class Marketers
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Ramli John: That's all for now.
Ramli John: Have a powered update.
Ramli John: Marketing Powerups until the next episode.
Fio Dossetto: Sam.
✨ Useful links
- Fio's website: https://contentfolks.com/
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/fiorenzadossetto/
- The contentfolks newsletter: https://contentfolks.substack.com/
- The EASY Content Framework: https://contentfolks.substack.com/p/the-easy-framework
- How to interview customers: https://contentfolks.substack.com/p/how-to-interview-experts