Selling through the back door with SEO and Content Marketing

SEO and Content Marketing doesn’t have to be root canal. Although in the area of regenerative thinking and sustainability it easy for people to switch off and lose interest. What Leigh Baker from Balance 3 is and will be doing is creating a compelling story to engage entrepreneurs and sustainability practitioners.


Ian: Good morning, Ian Hopkinson and special guest Leigh Baker.

Leigh: Good morning.

Ian: Leigh Baker is an author, blogger and business analyst and many many other things which you will find out about in our discussions. This morning we’re going to be talking about selling through the back door with SEO and Content Marketing. It’s an intriguing heading and we’ll try and make it an intriguing discussion. So Leigh we were talking earlier, which I thought was interesting with getting people to your website or to read your blog when you’ve got topics such as sustainability coaching. Where these aren’t particularly exciting and buzzing terms and so I suppose what we were trying to get to the bottom of was, how do you attract people to finding out these kinds of subjects that you cover in the work that you do if there isn’t that sort of buzzy, exciting traffic around them?

Leigh: That’s a really interesting question and it’s been for me how do I talk about the opportunities I see are to accelerate what’s happening in a new field of sustainability when sustainability is about as interesting as a used tea bag for a lot if people.

Ian: Well the language seems to be intriguing I suppose because I know more about it having discussed it with you. I am intrigued by the whole concept of it. But the language tends to put up barriers doesn’t it, the nature if words, the combination of words, people hear things like ‘regenerative thinking’ and they go “oh that just sounds all too hard”.

Leigh: Yeah and say okay well what is regenerable thinking and why would I care? You know this is outside anything I ever heard of before and so for me where I think and perceive that this is the beginning almost a new industrial revolution and new technology revolution so in the same way that we suddenly have smart phones and tablets that virtually didn’t exist 10 years ago. Where will we be in another 10 years once people begin to see there’s a new way to think about environment and sustainability? and guess what its not about technology, its about the process of people learning new ways to get what they want more effectively.

Ian: Yeah that’s right and the thing is what’s gotten me hooked into it is the compelling stories and examples of regenerative thinking and this thinking smarter about what we put into the world, the kinds of product we put into the world. One particular example was that the cradle to cradle dell example, I think if more people knew about that then they would be more sort of inclined to search this stuff out and become involved and demand from their companies that they deliver a product in this way. Can you give us a quick spiel on what is the dell example.

Leigh: Okay this was not in the mass media a couple of weeks ago but was in the alternative green media I suppose you’d say. Cradle to cradle started years and years ago it’s part of a movement that’s been going on since the 80’s and basically its a really simple turn around in thinking. This turnaround in thinking says what if we actually actively design to do good what if we actually design to make safe products out of endlessly recyclable material and a couple of guys called William McDonough and Michael Braungart  set out to do that decades ago. What happened in about 2010 was all the work that they had done to design this new form of product certification called cradle to cradle they put out into the public arena as a non-profit institute.

Ian: Okay.

Leigh: So cradle to cradle product certification can be done by any manufacturer to certify that their products are just not less bad. Which is how we’ve tended to think about this whole sustainability thing while being a bit less poisonous and a bit more efficient or using a bit less energy or do a bit less waste. The thinking is no that’s the old paradigm the new paradigm is designed to actively do good. The really smart entrepreneurs have been doing this for 20 years now and now it’s coming to the floor where dell must, coming back to your original query, Dell last month I think it is now announced that their next computers are going to be made of cradle to cradle plastic. The plastic that they’re made of is actually designed not as a weird combination with convenient chemicals but as a thing called a technical nutrient where the plastic can be used and taken back and reused and taken back and reused. So the plastic is never going to end up in landfill.

Ian: See and this just ultimately fits in with a lot of Dells vision too.

Leigh: Yeah Dells been doing sustainability for a long time now. What we now have is the tools and the certifications. Not only is the computer of a cradle to cradle plastic but the packaging is actually carbon-negative.

Ian: Yes.

Leigh: Okay… In a world where national governments are complaining and saying there’s going to be a terrible struggle to get a 10% reduction or a 20% reduction, they’ll go now how about we have some packaging and consume carbon.

Ian: Yeah and amazing really I was actually having a cuppa with my neighbours last night. We were talking about carbon tax which is a whole other topic which we could get into, but it was funny because they just got straight to the point and said why are these people who are making and obviously doing things that are not carbon efficient and they are actually spoiling the environment, they are getting rewarded by just paying for that privilege as opposed to being stopped or being regulated to do things better more positively and in the sense that Dell is.

Leigh: Yeah and then you come back to this 20th century nation that this sustainability is something that the government has to do and that completely ignores all the entrepreneurial opportunities to actually make more money. That comes back to if we design to do good with intention we get a different result and all the entrepreneurs who have tried this have come away scratching their heads saying “Hey, you know what our people are on board with this!”  and you know what when they started looking at it we found that the regenerative way to do this “is saving us money and its making us money”

Ian: Yeah yeah.

Leigh: How stupid were we thinking that sustainability was a cost  and a compliance issue. That’s the biggest opportunity since the invention of money!

Ian: That’s right! It’s a no-brainer.

Leigh: Yeah so let’s maybe bring this back to SEO.

Ian: Well yeah that’s what I’m getting at. What you’ve just told is a compelling story. I’ve got examples there I’ve got a perspective that gives me the substance I guess is what I need and it gets me excited and motivated to get involved and as you say to be a change agent. You know it’s something we’ve been talking about a lot and that’s also another hangout. But that’s what get’s me excited. I think that’s you know I won’t go so far to sound normal. But that’s generally what people are wanting in their content marketing and SEO is obviously a huge part of that. So this is the stuff that you know makes content making such an important aspect and tool to have in arsenal at the moment, particularly in the area that you’re concentrated on.

Leigh: This is a new profession that I am inventing this is where I coaching meets entrepreneurs meets sustainability and it’s a whole lot of fun. I want people to play the fun side of the game but who’s going to look up ‘regenerative thinking’ in the search engine?

Ian: No they’re not… I might but as I said before it’s arguable that I’m normal.

Leigh: Well I’ve been infecting you for a couple of months now.

Ian:  Yeah see this is it i’m hooked. I guess this is something that entrepreneurs have come across for decades and decades since the entrepreneurs was a word and even before that. I guess what’s exciting about it from silicon valley point of view is that silicon valley and the culture of silicon valley is gets behind these ideas and wants to tell the story wants to support these kinds of movements, but it is coming up with that compelling story and that language that evangelizes people, and I guess that is another word that people aren’t scared to use in silicon valley because anywhere else in the world people go “religion, religion” but essentially what you’re doing is educating and converting people and this is no different. I wonder if you could tell us a little bit about the way you communicate with people through your newsletter because you did that very regularly it’s actually quite impressive? How diligently you get that newsletter out because that’s something that’s very hard for people out there to do regularly.

Leigh: I have three themes in the work that I do. I have a theme that first of all you’ve got to get a new thinking. This is a shift in worldview and so in my newsletter I always have an article about the world. It could be low economy, it could be industrial ecology, it could be collaborative consumption. There a lots of different names for the fundamental shifts that’s going on. In my newsletter one short article about that, if you want this thing to happen then you need to be in the change making game. You need to not only get it, you need to be able to do it and do it in a way that doesn’t involve suffering. Do it the way that humans have always done things together by successful collaboration. So get it, do it and then thrive doing it. The other ‘S’ that seems to come with the sustainability word is a subtext of suffering… We’ll have to have less, do less, enjoy life less, we need more regulation and more reporting. While we buy into the struggle and the suffering, we lose something, we lose that humans are at their best when most creative problem-solving in their waste of being when they’re not stressed.

Ian: That’s right.

Leigh: So yes you’ve got to get the new thinking, yes you’ve got to know the doing of how human systems change and to be attractive as a really seductive offer in the sustainability game. You need to be thriving, you need to be having fun.

Ian: That’s right and I saw this great Tedx speech and I can’t think of the guys name it’s terrible but it’s the guy that wrote ‘the book thief.’  He’s an Australian guy and he was talking about how as a writer, to be a big failure and suffering and wallowing in your own self pity was such a great place to be. However I think what he was meaning was that it’s okay for a little while but then you have to learn from that and move into a positive space to create the solution, which sounds like what you’re saying.

Leigh: It’s the difference between having the emotion in the moment and being trapped in a mood, a habit that’s so deeply trenched that it’s like a person with a stoop they don’t even know that they’re doing it, they’re stuck in it. It’s not until you get the feedback to straighten up and listen out.

Ian: Yeah that’s right.

Leigh: So again it comes back to we can try and scare people into submission and then actually create learned helplessness or we can engage people. So again in terms of the newsletter I write there are 3 different themes. You’ve got to understand the new thinking, you’ve got to have skills as a change agent and… *Phone rang* So the change agents get it, do it and thrive. In my newsletter 3 short articles plus links back to my blog which I do on a regular basis and the newsletter is about bi-monthly. Blog posts during the month with more deeper articles and then the third element is a LinkedIn discussion group… So they’re my main themes for social media.

Ian: Absolutely, because I suppose the fact that you do the newsletter bi-monthly is really positive because believe it or not some of the research says that people’s phones ringing in the middle of something are really distracting. Anyway so if you communicate with people more often, the research shows that you are less likely to lose them and…

Leigh: Less likely or more likely?

Ian: No less likely to lose them which is really weird. When I saw some of these statistics, communicating with people through a newsletter up to 2-3 time per week apparently is a better way of engaging but I don’t get that at all. I don’t understand that at all. I like the frequency of your newsletter getting out a couple of times a month. Obviously I’m a different audience because we know each other but lets say I didn’t know you and I got something once a week i’d probably think that was too frequent and if I was somewhat interested in the subject matter I would probably unsubscribe at some point. So…

Leigh: It’s a balancing act.

Ian: It’s a balancing act.

Leigh: The people who are really interested in what I do they can follow the blog and they can get involved in discussions. Maybe there’s multiple avenues.

Ian: Well that’s it, it is a balancing act. One of the key things is that when you have a  loyal following or you have people who are coming at things from a different angle, then you’ve got this balance of okay you can deliver something in their inbox which is somewhat regular and then you can give them the option if they’re in a LinkedIn group or they’re a Facebook friend or Twitter friend. The more regular content at their own subscription and then that way you are sort of covering, you know you’re verbal in their life without being intrusive and I think that’s kind of the key. As you could tell we could talk about this all day… we’re actually going to have Leigh at the next hangout and we’re going to be a little bit more focused on Leigh Baker and her background and what she’s up to. The content marketing side of things, if you’re in sustainability or a similar area and you’ve got some questions about content marketing or comments then definitely visit our website “” you can send us an email through the contact area there that’s probably the best way to get in touch with us and we will reply. We actually do reply to everybody who sends messages through and the same if you want a digital health check done we do actually do all the digital health checks and we do reply. So please get in touch. Leigh thank you very much for your time.

Leigh: Thank you.

Ian: We’ll see you again shortly.

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