Carlos Meza: The Road to a Multi-Million-Dollar Content Marketing Company – EP. 157

About This Episode:

Carlos Meza is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Crowd Content, a content creation service that does millions in revenue per year.

Many of you out there are interested in SEO, digital marketing, and how to get more people to look at your s***, well it’s no secret that great content is the key.

But making content is a grind, trust me. What if you could have pieces written for you at scale? That’s the idea behind Crowd Content.

And more importantly, we’ll talk about Carlos’s journey from leaving finance behind to being caught by the entrepreneurial bug, a bug that in my opinion feels like a mixture between the flu and RSV.

Or maybe I’m just sick, who knows. In any case, there’s lots of practical advice and inspiration in today’s episode!

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3:08 – “Is AI going to replace content marketers? I don’t think it’s as simple as that. I think AI will be able to do a lot of things that in the past we could only do by using humans. But I think it’s going to make content marketers more efficient and the smart ones are going to use it as a power tool to make them much more efficient. And after talking to a lot of people in the industry – clients, experts – I think what will happen is that AI will help people reclaim a lot of time that goes into a lot of drudgery work, and that time will be available to be reinvested into the creative side. So rather ironically, I think now highly crafted, human driven content is going to become more and more important than ever because when everybody’s going to start sounding the same…that’s how you going to be able to stand out is by putting more creativity, more human element into it.”

5:17 – “I think content marketing is a way to reach audiences, right? And I think today more than ever, all businesses are content businesses, right? Because we are all online, we’re all really in the digital economy. And even brick and mortar businesses are online. And if you want to be found, you need to be able to get the voice out. You need to spread the message. And the only way to do it is producing content, right? Whether it’s talking about your brand, talking about your products or helping clients with information that is relevant to their buyer’s journey. That all requires content. Even internally, you need content to communicate with your teams, with your employees, with your vendors, etc. So it’s all about communication and really helping people with a message. So content marketing helps companies get their message around, generate demand or generate trust, communicate with their clients. I think sometimes it gets boxed into the SEO and getting found online but I think it’s bigger than that.”

7:45 – (Ross) “In the SEO world, you have for over a decade, for 20 years, had this kind of hackneyed content that is just put together for the purposes of SEO, where they’re trying to rank for a keyword. So the article feels very, very keyword stuffed and it’s just, ‘Are you looking for the best law firm in Los Angeles? Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got the best law firm in Los Angeles.’ ‘Many people wonder, what is the best law firm in Los Angeles? Well, we know what the best law firm in Los Angeles is.’ It’s like – Jesus Christ. We’ve seen that content everywhere…And of course, Google has this cat and mouse game where they try to deprioritized that kind of content that’s trying to game the system. So it’s always marketers trying to one up the system, Google trying to shut them down, marketers trying to find a new tactic, Google trying to shut them down again. So we’re always talking about the algorithm in some sense. And now we’re in a position where the algorithm might be able to write the content and also judge the content.”

11:43 – “What I tell our team when we talk about content, and why is content important, you need to earn the right to ask for the business. The fact that you have a good product doesn’t mean you automatically have the right to ask for the business. Now, in this day and age, when there’s so much competition and there’s so many alternatives and information is in our hands at all times, you need to earn the right and to earn the right, you need to create trust. And to create trust, you need to help people. And to help people, you need to give them something that it’s going to be helpful for them. What can they thank you for after they read your content or after they consume your content? It might be written, might be a video, whatever. But what can they be thankful for? Can you make their day better?”

16:05 – (Ross) “I sort of believe that almost every human, they begin their quest when they graduate college or they’re 18 years old with how do I make the most money possible doing nothing? Because every human just wants money to just pour into their bank account doing nothing. So we Google, ‘how to make money from home doing absolutely nothing.’ And then you see some articles like, ‘Hey, you could make a course, you could write a book, you can get passive income,’ and you start going down this journey and then you say, ‘Okay, but I’ve made a course. How do I get people to come to my course?’ Ah well, you need to write content because you want to rank and you want people to see that and discover, and then the end goal is to buy your course’…And then you end up in this cycle where everybody’s doing all this content machine. I would argue that some people forget the original reason that they were doing it. Some people are so focused on the thing that they forget that the whole point originally was to drive sales back to something else or to make money, right? And then content becomes content for content’s sake.”

21:50 – “In the future, I think AI is going to create a tsunami of content coming online. And when everybody starts sounding the same, then that will kind of diminish, right? And then the winners will be people creating really, really interesting, very unique content.”

22:38 – (Ross) “I quickly realized on my own journey, and this was many years ago in the early days, that people had very unrealistic expectations about what content could do or SEO could do. And somebody would say, ‘Hey, I just opened my law firm, we’re brand new. How do I rank number one for best law firm in Los Angeles?’ And you say, ‘That’s never going to happen, dude, it’s impossible because are you the best law firm in Los Angeles? What makes you the best law firm? You just want to rank for that term. You want the trap. But are you really the best law firm in Los Angeles? Hell, no. You’re just a law firm, and there are probably a thousand others that are statistically better than you in every possible way.’…So that’s why I made my decision as an agency owner to only take on clients that have that unique message, that have that human element.”

24:45 – “You don’t need to be the best law firm or the best whatever. But can you put something out there that is genuine and is unique? Maybe you’re not the best – best at what, right? Maybe you’re the best law firm for minorities or for single parents or for labor…But can you find, okay, what are you the best at? You know one of the things about brands is the lack of authenticity. It sounds so fucking rehearsed and produced. And I think, you know, why is YouTube and the influencer industry now becomes such a thing? Because people are more real, more authentic, right? You don’t see the stuffy corporate video with somebody with a model, with a scripted thing. You’re now seeing a lot of very genuine things.”

27:42 – (Ross) “People always ask me why I don’t make my own content for me, for myself, for my personal journey, why I don’t use SEO or keyword, why I don’t digital market myself for this when I do stuff like that for my clients. And I think the fact that people like me don’t, should tell people something that you can become an expert in these fields and you can understand these tools and then you may still choose not to use them because there’s this other thing, human expression, authenticity, what you want to say, what you believe in, and living your life in a way that is not just a slave to the algorithm itself. I could make every video keyword focused, but I don’t do that.”

30:29 – “You still need the fundamentals. You still need a decent website…easy to navigate and easy to read. Again, don’t hate your customers. If you like them, help them to go to your website and your blog easy, help them understand it easily, right?”

39:00 – “After 13 years in banking with a pension waiting for me, all benefits and all that, and my wife pregnant with our third kid, I come to her and say, ‘Hey, honey, you know what? I have these ideas. So listen, I’m going to quit my job and I’m going to go and ask a bunch of people that I don’t know for money to buy a business. I don’t know what it is. How do you think of that?’ She’s like, ‘Well, sounds like the stupidest thing ever. But you know what? I’ll be with you even if it is under a bridge.’ So that’s why you always have to have the right partner.”

41:26 – “We knew it could be done because there’s people that have done it, right? And there’s a model, and it’s called the search firm model. And we knew it existed and these people are invested in it, and there’s a lot of logic to it. So we just kept plugging away and we just needed to get somebody, one person to say yes – that’s all that we needed, one person to say yes, because then it’s easy to get the second person and then the third person and so on and so on. But the good thing is that the first ‘Nos’ trained us to the first ‘Yes’. It’s just part of the process. Again, it’s getting the reps, just get the reps in. You have to just get out there, get told no, being called a clown and all this stuff until you get somebody that buys into it.”

42:40 – “The advice at the beginning is that you shouldn’t buy any business that is bigger than 20 million enterprise value. If you’re a first-time CEO, if you’re a first time doing all this stuff. Because, the stakes are much higher, when it gets bigger. There’s more complexity to it.”

54:03 – “For somebody in content marketing. Look, think very hard what you have to say and make sure that it’s going to be helpful to someone. I’m sure there is somebody out there that wants to hear what you have to say. So focus on that and then have the SEO and everything, the techniques, those are the fundamentals but that cannot be your base. That cannot be your focus. Your focus need to be, ‘Okay, what’s the message? What am I’m trying to say? How am I trying to help someone? Right? That’s the philosophy. And then use all the techniques and everything around it. Not the techniques at the center, but your message and your audience at the center.”

54:40 – “For somebody that wants to be an entrepreneur, ask yourself why do you really want to do this? Yeah, I want to make money, but there’s many ways to make money. It doesn’t have to be entrepreneurship, right? Like, entrepreneurship is hard. And the best entrepreneurs, they just do it for the sake of it, right? I know people in their 70s that are starting companies like why? You have more than plenty of money. ‘I think it’s fun!’ They just like the challenge. So be very, very honest with yourself about why are you doing this? And if you’re willing to go to adventure because an adventure with ups and downs – maybe a lot of downs and maybe some, a few, very high ups – that’s how probably it is. So if you’re ready for that then go for it. And if you’re convinced and just keep going, but always with an open mind because you might need to pivot and divert a little bit from the plan.”

55:35 – “Somebody who wants to change careers. Just ask your ten-year-older self or fifteen-year-older self. Picture yourself there. Would this person would have regret not making the decision right now of changed the career. If the answer is absolutely yes, they would have regret, then that’s whatyou need to do. And not necessarily – don’t burn the boats. Don’t just go and tell your boss, ‘fuck you, I quit.’ Just have a plan. But start working towards it. You got to make the time. Many people will say, ‘Well, but I don’t have time.’ Not true. If it is important, you have the time. If it is not important, you won’t make the time.”

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