- [01:08] What sets this era of the content game apart for you?
- [01:32] You once said AI was evil, what triggered your shift in that perspective?
- [04:36] How does Content at Scale outshine other similar tools?
- [06:20] In what ways does AI excel in content writing that can challenge even human writers?
- [07:56] What guidance do you have for content writers looking to embrace AI?
- [09:50] How can we encourage individuals to view content as a central element of their business strategy?
- [10:56] How do you create content that generates results?
- [13:01] How does this AI tool optimize for SEO and what formats can it use?
- [15:04] What’s your advice for marketers looking to repurpose existing content effectively?
- [16:18] What’s the best way to start exploring Content at Scale?
- [18:15] Where else can people connect with you and learn more about your work?
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John Jantsch (00:08): Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Julia McCoy. She is the president of Content at Scale, where she is leading big initiatives for one of the fastest growing AI content writing tools for SEO Marketers on the Planet. She's an eight time author and built a writing agency express writers to $5 million in revenue and over 100 on staff. She's named one of the top 10 content marketers to Follow in 2023, and is best known for teaching powerful content strategies that bring real business revenue and growth, and now how to use AI to 10 x your blog and content authority, volume and traffic. So welcome, Julia.
Julia McCoy (00:56): Thank you, John. That was quite an introduction. I love it.
John Jantsch (00:59): Well, I don't know, I just read what you gave me came from Diana, so it came from somewhere. Hey, so I mentioned Express Writers. We used to work together at Express Writers, and you sold that business got out of the content. Well, not totally out of the content game, but out of that business now you're back in it in a different way, aren't you?
Julia McCoy (01:17): Yes, in a completely different way. I can't believe how much some days I pinch myself.
John Jantsch (01:23): So back in your former life, you had humans completely in charge of writing the content, and I think I actually even found a video clip of you on stage talking about how AI was evil for writing. I think I found that. So what happened?
Julia McCoy (01:44): This is the question, the million dollar question. Yes. So as you do too, I live in a very real world where if we can't use something ourselves, we better not recommend it. If it doesn't save time, if it actually doesn't help us, then we're looked at as trusted resources. So when Chat G Boutique came out last fall, didn't do realtime research, it didn't quote or find facts, it didn't actually write with intelligence and depth and all of that is part of my process. It's critical to the process of writing good content. So I was like, Ooh. And that's where you found that clip of me on Digital Marketer Stage After Chat, GPT came out saying, AI is garbage. So yes, I was actually saying that, and then in January I was researching all the AI tools. I'm like, well, let's see if somebody's going to build it, the AI tool stack that could replace me as a writer.
(02:33): So as I was researching tools, I found one and I was like, whoa. What I was looking at was my entire workflow developed by somebody who obviously knew the SEO content workflow, and it was the tool on our work at T scale. So it had all this done inside the app, real-time research, a hundred percent original content. It's telling you exactly where it's sourcing every fact from, there's a list of resources, a list of links, and then there's an SEO optimization grade score right there in the app. So everything that I needed in one place, and it's writing really good content all there in five minutes, a 2000 word piece. So I'm like, okay, this looks like the one. And I definitely was tough on the founder. I ask all these founders questions. I was doing this all last year, and I'm like, what are your thoughts on inaccurate content?
(03:24): Are you building any kind of barrier here? What's your protocol for this? And he had good answers for everything they had thought through all of it. So I'm like, okay, well, I better go join the dark side before it swallows up my job. I kid you not. So I pitched a marketing plan, signed on as the VP of marketing a day a couple days later, and then in three months I just pitched the founder, can you just make me the president of the company because I was doing so much? And he said, yes, he's a great person to work with Justin McGill. And now I'm a partner in the company. I actually sold Content Hacker, my consultancy to the company this August. So it's been a wild ride. And this company just passed 2000 users. So it is in the clouds with growth right now. But what I love is it's functional. It's something that we can actually use that gives us original content and it doesn't share the input of the user with other users, which is another big concern in ai.
John Jantsch (04:20): Yeah. So you just mentioned one, but in comparing the actual, let's strip away all the other features that are part of the process in comparing the actual finished written product, so to speak, to what you would get with a similar prompt, say in chat GPT, how do you tell people, well, here's why ours is better, or here's why this process is better. Essentially using some of the same technology.
Julia McCoy (04:49): So chat, GPT is one LLM, and what you get, you get. So it's predicting and detecting and it's just one pattern. So oftentimes what happens is in that prediction detection, in that occurrence, you're getting data that's completely false. So it could say, John Jantz is the creator of the hot air balloon technique, and it could really go off the lines just because I think that sounds amazing actually. But it fabricates the facts. And so there's no barrier there. And what ours does, it's a stack of three LMSs plus a realtime semantic search crawler that goes and gets faxed the minute you hit write post and it's current. That's from the web real time. So that's built into the technology. It's much different than say somebody that's remarketing chat, GBT as an API call because there's a lot of those, but it's just got other technology built in that actually makes it robust, something that produces useful content.
John Jantsch (05:49): So even when I would hire a good writer to write, say blog post a human being to write a blog post that was hopefully got lots of guidance, lots of research wrote the post and submitted, I always still felt like it was only 80% there for my own use because there were tone things, there were things that context things that there's no way that person could know. Where would you say we are, and you can dispute my numbers, but where would you say we are with AI written content in that regard, especially using what you feel like is a better process?
Julia McCoy (06:26): Well, I completely agree. In 10 years of hiring writers, I feel like even the best writer got to 80% because of that client and their particular tone. I remember writing for some of your clients, they were tough. They had a specific style that kind of lived in their head. So here's the crazy part, and I'll tell you goosebumps here, and this is why I'm working in ai. I think that AI is actually better at that part than a human ever will be because we can feed this language model existing content that we've written that we love,
(07:00): And then that model uses ai, artificial intelligence to actually learn how to write and speak like us. And so what we're seeing in these training models, which we're building our own way to do this at Continent Scale, is pretty, I would say close anywhere from 90 to 95% accuracy to that specific user style. Once it's trained on their style to a point where you can't tell if I'm writing it or if AI is writing it. If I'm using our tool to write a blog for Content Hacker, it's gotten that good. Now, it's a little scary. I won't lie, to open it up and read a blog hook that reads as good as the hooks. I spent nine years learning how to write, but AI is,
John Jantsch (07:46): So what you're saying is that it could write run on sentences for me.
Julia McCoy (07:50): If that is your style,
John Jantsch (07:53): Ask any editor that is edited by writing. That's my style. So if somebody is a marketer who has been on a content team, should they be thinking, I need to develop different skills, or I need to focus on different skills, I'm never going to have to write metadata again. So what would you tell somebody coming, especially somebody coming up that wants to be in that, do they need to have a different point of view about what content even is as far as their input?
Julia McCoy (08:23): A hundred percent. That's a great question. Yeah. IBM did a study this fall and they found out of 22,000 workers, 1.4 billion, there's a prediction made out of that 1.4 billion people will have to reskill in the next three years. That's how much AI will shift our work. So in content, what I'm seeing is we're going to have to step into the role of what we call AIO, which is artificial intelligence optimization. So you basically take the AI and you sit in the driver's seat as the skilled writer, as the skilled marketer, and you drive that machine. You tell it what to do, you guide it with the topics, the research, and maybe that's something you do for your clients as well. But if we are not using AI in our process, we absolutely risk going under because it's just sometimes 25 times cheaper. I saw it in one specific use case, and you actually get better content sometimes. So we have to adapt. It's adapt or die a hundred percent. And this is me a snobby writer. So I came over to what is unquote the dark sign, but we have to rescale and change how we work.
John Jantsch (09:31): Well, one of the things that I've been saying for a long time, content was king. Remember that statement, then it really became air, it couldn't even exist, right? Well, I've been telling people for the last five years that I think content's the voice of strategy, and a lot of people are still waking up on Monday and saying, what should I write for my blog posts this week? How do we get people to think in terms of really the overarching place of content in their strategy for their business?
Julia McCoy (09:57): Yes, I think it's education. It's like what you're doing on this podcast, sharing with them behind what drives content, what's actually the reason we should use it. I was just talking to a social media influencer today who sold 500,000 in courses, and she's like, it's 2023, and I'm still battling with the business owner doesn't know they need a website, really. We're still there. So it's really up to us to educate and share that whole world, I think, and we just need to add AI to it. How do you reduce your workload of content creation by up to 80%? Because you can do that with ai, but we have to educate them so that they're just not opening the AI generating content. And then, well, why isn't this working? Because you need a strategy. You need a website. You need all your foundations first in order for that content to work
John Jantsch (10:49): Well. I do think that's one of the temptations with a tool like this, it's so fast that you can say, oh, I'll just go gin up some content today. But how do you step back? How do you advise? So I agree with you education, but if you were educating me, how would you advise that I step back and look at content as like for the entire year, what the overall structure should be? Because the one blog post that I might create is obviously one little tiny tactic of that, but how do I think about content that's actually going to help me achieve my business objectives?
Julia McCoy (11:23): Yeah, so first of all, you want to think about your goals. If your goals are traffic recurring revenue, then it's your website. It's the blog, because that is the only evergreen traffic stream other than above Instagram, TikTok. Those are not evergreen. So it's always going to be the website in the blog. That's your sustainable engine. So if you know, okay, I want evergreen traffic, then it's, well, how do I get there? And then you're going to break down a strategy of quantity and quality because you can't have good results without quantity. You do need, the idea is topical authority. You need to build topical authority on your website and answer every question that someone would have on that topic. So if you're talking about marketing, well, that's a huge area, and you can literally write hundreds of posts. Now, you can use AI to do that so much faster to get more traffic out around that topic. As long as you're doing keyword research, you're finding the right keywords to talk about. You're doing topical research, you're looking into your topics, you're making sure you're not writing on the same thing twice and you're not cannibalizing those topics. So the strategy there is going to be just as important as the content creation.
John Jantsch (12:33): Let's talk a little bit, and again, I've actually demoed the tool, and so I've seen how it does this, but let's talk a little bit about content structure. So I have found that just writing 300 or 3000 words on a topic is not enough to really make it without the right structure. So I mean, we can go back to writing 1 0 1 on that, right? But I'm obviously outlining with subtopics and all that. I mean, that's just basic writing. How does the AI employ that kind of structure? And then also things like internal linking structures as part of the overall SEO picture or AI optimization picture that you're talking about.
Julia McCoy (13:14): Yes, yes, you're right. It's not just enough to fill a word count. It really has to be the structures. That's your headers, that's your subheaders, and it's the actual structure of the piece as it relates to the topic. That's FAQ schema markup at the end. Are you covering all the outlying questions that somebody would have on that topic in that piece? So as you structure this piece, you want to think about all of that. Links is also critical. If you're linking to a study, make sure it's a high quality source, whether it's like a.gov link or an actual IBM Capterra study. Make sure it's an authoritative study. And then with internal linking, that's critical. You want to map out your website in your content itself and send people out to related pieces of content. And what's interesting about content scale in particular is it's built to do all of that inside of the editor. So it's formatting everything. It's even doing interactive click to tweets, automating that inside of your blog, which you can turn on or off depending on what features you have. But those are things you want to think about in the content piece. So it's not just, God forbid you're publishing an essay, you need the structure and you need the links.
John Jantsch (14:27): I think you can make a case in terms of Google's view structure. Is every business important as the overall topic itself? I think talk a little bit. Formats content is primarily a text format. Is that correct?
Julia McCoy (14:41): Continent scale
John Jantsch (14:43): At scale, not in demand at scale. Sorry. We've had a lot of podcasts today. So one of the things that we have actually found and we do with particular types of business owners is we find it's a lot easier to get them to record 12 five minute videos in a month and then repurpose the transcripts of that in various formats. If I came to you and said, that's what I've got, how would you advise a marketer then to use your tool to make the most of that?
Julia McCoy (15:13): Yes, I love that. And I think that video audio, just speaking, does come so naturally to especially the experienced business owner that really knows their stuff, which is a large part of your audience. So in our tool, in the input section we have, and it's all secure, so none of this data actually goes out to any other user. It doesn't build LLM, it doesn't go into any of that. So in this input section, we have a place where you can upload a video as your input. And in that video, you could be talking about, oh, here's the top three reasons to include TikTok in your marketing strategy. And then you talk for five minutes. So that can become a full blog that's original written to rank and Google for that keyword. And RAI does all of it based on that five minute video, and all you do is upload it.
John Jantsch (16:01): Awesome. Well tell people, do you have a special offer for me today? Did you come with one of those? I'll tell people how they could try this tool out and maybe give a little advice on, because I do think on a new tool, it's really easy to jump in and go, let's make it do this, because that's pretty obvious. How would you tell somebody that if they're going to get started with the tool, that they ought to think about it, approach it, give it a good thorough test?
Julia McCoy (16:27): Yes. Well, I always recommend if you have a writer and that's the team member that's producing a lot of content, or maybe it's an SEO or a content manager, give them the tool. You want to put the tool in the hands of the person who's actually producing content. So if it's not, you give it to your writer. But if you're the one producing content and maybe you have no time, this is the perfect solution. Because like we just said, you can upload a video or that could be an audio file even that you're uploading, and it's turning it into not just a transcript, but we're talking a fully formatted 3000 word blog with all the embedded things ready to go with some optimization from you, human editing, we always recommend that. Look through it, make it your own, but ready to go to the top of Google. So to get started, why don't we do this, John, after this call right away before this podcast publishes, I'm going to make this link live. So let's draw consummate scale.ai/duct tape.
John Jantsch (17:23): And
Julia McCoy (17:23): What we're going to do is make that a referral link for John, give you guys 20% in additional free credits. And then John gets all those. Everyone who signs up will be under his network. So that's a great way to keep this to your audience, but 20% and additional free credits when you sign up with that link content scale.ai/duct tape. And the best way to get started is think about who's going to use this. Secondly, just jump in. There's really no better way to do it. And we have a guided tool tip tutorial series that will take you through every single step when you sign up. So it'll highlight where to start with a tool tip, what to do. So you'll be guided through pretty deeply there.
John Jantsch (18:06): Awesome. Well, Julia, it was great catching up with you. I appreciate you taking a moment to draw by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. We'll have that link in the show notes as well. Anywhere else you want to have people connect with you and learn more about what you're up to.
Julia McCoy (18:19): Sure. Yeah. Well, this was great to chat because something we mentioned before we hit record was we haven't chatted since I ran a human writing agency.
John Jantsch (18:27): That's right.
Julia McCoy (18:28): So different. I love
John Jantsch (18:29): It. Yeah. Awesome. Well, again,
Julia McCoy (18:31): Yes. Well, we can also connect on LinkedIn. I'm there, Julie McCoy.
John Jantsch (18:35): Awesome. I again, appreciate you stopping. Bye-Bye. And hopefully we'll run into you one of these days out there on the road.
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