Today I’d like to share with you the recording of a live interview I did yesterday with Brandon Pecharich from Promo Corner, in which we discussed The Four Levels of Content. If you need to get clients on social media, this will explain how to do it. It’s available below as video, audio or text. I hope you find it helpful.

Brandon: Hey everybody, Happy Tuesday! I hope you’re having a super productive week out there. You are watching Express Training Bites here at Promo Corner. You’re probably watching it on Promo Corner’s Facebook Page, Promo Show’s Facebook page or maybe Promo Corner’s LinkedIn or YouTube. So we are on all types of different social media. And we have today on Express Training Bites an industry icon. Somebody who I have looked up to as a sales professional in the industry. And it is Mr. David Blaise. Thank you so much for being here today. And you’re actually going to be speaking about something that you spoke about in January at Expo. Is that correct?

David: Yeah, it was part of what we covered at Expo. At Expo, we were talking about just this whole idea of migrating people from social media into your sales funnel, essentially, and how that happens. Because it’s not like throwing spaghetti against a wall and hoping it sticks. There’s actually some strategy to it, methodology to it. If you choose to go in that direction.

Brandon: That is awesome. That is such a huge and valuable piece of content that we’ve got here today on Express Training Bites. So for people that don’t know who you are — because this industry is constantly evolving and there’s new people almost every day — why don’t you take a couple of minutes and kind of introduce yourself, David?

David: Sure. David Blaise from, also I’ve been in the promotional products industry since 1988. I feel like I should be sitting down instead of sanding up , but, I’ve just been in the industry for a long time. Love the industry. Started speaking at some of the major industry trade shows back in 2001. I’ve spoken at nearly every one of them since. I was at Expo in January. And that’s what led to this discussion.

You know, in the early days of the training that I did, a lot of it was related to people who were just getting started in the industry. And we created a training program called Getting Started: How to Launch a Wildly Successful Career in Promotional Products Sales. And to this day we have new people who are coming in and they go through that training. And within about six or seven hours, they’re pretty much grounded and up to speed, so that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to have them stand in front of a prospect and represent your company.

But over the years, what I’ve found is that a lot of the training that I do, particularly for private groups, I love interacting with people who have been doing it for a long time, who may be running into different struggles that they hadn’t encountered before. And to say, “okay, where do we go from here?” One of my favorite trainings that I did, of all time, was I was hired to speak in front of a group of people who’ve been in the industry for 25 plus years. And this was easily 10 years ago. I was quite a bit younger myself. The people that I was speaking to were older, and we were trying to figure out what am I going to talk about to these people?

And, we finally decided I was just going to bring a flip chart and go around the room and say, “okay, what’s the biggest issue you’re dealing with?” And we just did that. We went around the room and it was fantastic. Because when you’re able to interact with people who understand the industry and who know the ins and outs, but who perhaps have gotten stuck in a tunnel or funnel or somewhere it’s, “I’m so used to doing things a certain way.” You lose sight of the fact that there are a lot of different things that are going on. The industry has changed. And the things we do to interact with people have to change as well.

Brandon: That is so true. And we learned it the past two years, right? Everything kind of switched.

David: Right.

Brandon: We weren’t able to see people face to face, so we had to figure out another way to communicate to people. And one of the things that came out was a ton of new content creators, right? A bunch of people out there creating podcast, videos, all of that stuff, to help their distributorship kind of keep going. To help their supplier company keep going.

The Four Levels of Content

Brandon: So you talked about four. There are four different types of content and how you can take those viewers and make them customers. So let’s kind of go through those four different types of content.

David: Sure.

Brandon: And kind of break them down, and how each one can help you get new customers. Sound good?

David: Perfect. Yeah.

Brandon: Awesome.

David: I tend to think of it as Four Levels of Content. And the reason I define it as “levels” is that each level sort of goes deeper and deeper and deeper. And you start out at sort of the top level, which is more superficial. But it’s also the thing that everybody sees.

Level 1: Public Content

So the first level would be Public content. That’s content that you put out there that anybody can see. If I post something to my Facebook page and anybody who’s connected with me can see it, or if I post it publicly, anybody on Facebook could theoretically see it. So that’s the first level of content. And that’s where a lot of people tend to think that things start and end. But it’s really just the beginning. And I think one of the things that I’ve struggled with over the years in hearing people talk about “content” is the idea that… I mean, when I think of content, I think of a bucket. Right? Now, whatever’s inside that bucket is your content. It could be gold, or it could be cow flop. It could be whatever is in that bucket. And so all content is certainly not created equal. And so the idea of saying, well, “content, content, content,” to me, I was always like, well, yes, but what is your content? And what is it designed to do?

And when we think about the way that things have evolved, as you were talking about, particularly in our industry, the way that prospecting has changed over the years. And in some ways, it hasn’t changed. Because there are people who have done business all over the country in the past. They did a lot of work by phone and email previously. So that’s not really different. But there are a lot of people in our industry who work locally or regionally. And they’re used to getting out in front of people. They go to networking functions. So they do different things. They get in front of people physically. And when that went away, it was kind of terrifying for some people.

Brandon: Yeah.

David: And particularly for the industries that were impacted. We won’t go there, because that’s a whole different thing.

Brandon: Yeah.

David: So when we think about the different levels of content, it starts with public content. What am I putting out there to get people’s attention and to let them know that I’m taking in air on the planet? I’m breathing, I’m here and I can help them with what it is that they’re looking to do. But if you just put out content, if you’re just constantly throwing stuff out there, it’s not going to accomplish your goal. Because the goal, ultimately, is to get people really into your sales process. Whatever your sales process is. To get them on the phone, or to get them into your office or do you see them? Whatever that is. And so when we think about the Four Levels… Originally, when I talked about this, probably close to ten years ago, I really identified three primary levels of content, but more recently I’ve added a fourth. And that’s the second one that we’ll cover here.

So we’re starting at the top. We’re saying there’s public content. Then the next level, the one I added fairly recently is Protected Content.

Level 2: Protected Content

Protected content only goes out to the people who have made themselves known you, and expressed interest in what you do. So for example, if you have a Facebook group and people have to apply to get in, that’s an example of protected content. Because the only people who see what’s in there are the people who registered to be there and who are approved and accepted to be able to come in.

Brandon: Yep.

David: So the difference between public content and protected is that with protected, you now have some idea of who you’re talking to. It at least limits it. Instead of however many hundreds of millions of people are on Facebook, now you know it’s limited to the 60 or 500 or 800 or a thousand, however many people are in that group. And so it limits it. It also allows you to get more focused. If it’s a group that is related to an industry that you’re selling to, you can become known to that group of people and you can establish yourself as an expert within that protected content.

Brandon: I think that, so I’m super pumped that you added that, because that is something that I feel like you can use the public realm to practice and refine your skill. And then as your content starts to grow, then you can slide it or share it to multiple places like this piece of content. This is out in public and for anybody who follows Promo Corner. But I also share it over to a small subset of groups that we are a part of, and that is kind of more directed towards distributors and learning.

So right now, those people, it’s kind of like a little captive audience. They get to see that as well. It’s just another place to kind of connect with more people. So I’m super pumped that you added that because this is a very powerful level.

David: Thank you. And I agree. It’s a very powerful level, often overlooked.

Brandon: Yeah.

David: And so if we think about that, so we’ve got public and then we’ve got protected. And also when I talk about flow, the reason I refer to it as flow is that in some sense, what you want to do is flow people from public content to protected content, to the next level of content, which we’ll talk about, which is private content.

Level 3: Private Content

Now for many salespeople, everything started with private content. And I define private content as a conversation between two people. So from that description, a cold call would be private content. If I pick up the phone, you have no idea who I am and I call you. And I say, “Hi Brandon. I’m Dave. I sell promos.” Okay. That is an example of private content.

Brandon: Mm-hmm

David: Now you’re diving right in. You’re skipping over the public and the protected. You’re going right to private, for someone who doesn’t know who you are. Not always ideal for positioning, but a lot of people start out that way. They’re just going right for the private content, trying to get you qualified in or out, or trying to set an appointment even before I know whether or not you have any money to spend. Right? How often does that happen in our industry? Too often is the answer!

But a lot of people in the past started at private content. But when you recognize that you can use these other levels, the higher levels, to sort of tenderize your audience, to get them to understand what you’re all about and how you can help and what you’re able to do.

Then by the time you get to a private conversation, it’s a lot more personal. You’ve already established who you are, what you’re able to do, how you’re able to help. They either like you or they don’t like you by that point. If you’re putting out videos, they know whether or not they like you. They’re like, “oh man, I can’t stand this guy.” Right? Or it’s like, “oh, okay, I kind of resonate with some of what this person is saying.” So by the time you get on the phone with them, it feels, not just like an organic conversation, but almost like you’re talking to a bit of a celebrity, right?

Cause when we’re in this box, like we’re in now, other people are seeing us, they’re watching us on their screens. It’s like watching TV. So, you know, we’ve got this, this “mini-celebrity status” because we’re in the box on the screen. Of course, it’s not like being on network television. But people see it that way. So by the time you have a one-on-one conversation, they already feel like they know you and it just makes everything a hundred times easier.

Brandon: And you’ve had the practice, right? Because you’ve gone through the levels, you’ve had the practice. So it’s much more professional, too. So that hopefully when you are having that private content, that private conversation, one on one, it’s actually fruitful. And it’s going to lead to something. Instead of sounding like you’re struggling through everything and you’re grabbing papers and you’re not quite prepared, like at least you can be prepared and you’ve got some structure. Inside the private… where’s the best place to have these private conversations? Or is there no best place? It’s just anywhere that you can have private…

Where Should We Engage in Private Content?

David: Great question. And the answer is when you think in terms of one-on-one communication, that can happen inside DMs, it can happen inside Facebook messenger, LinkedIn messenger. It can be a text. It can be a phone call. It can be email. Email is one-on-one communication. So really all, all of the above. And again, recognizing that the goal is to go from public to protected to private. That also determines what you say, right? Cause if you’re putting out a lot of public content and it doesn’t guide people to the next step, which is either…  sometimes people just wanna skip over the protected and go right to private. To have a one on one conversation.

So if you’re doing a live broadcast or you’re doing a video, you put it up there and you say, “if you’d like more information, or if you’d like to get a free copy of my thing, go to this web address” or whatever. They can opt-in for something. Or you can say, “message me right here on Facebook and I’d be happy to have a conversation with you there.” Because it’s so much easier. And of course, Facebook likes that better. If you’re trying to direct people from Facebook off of Facebook, Facebook hates that!

Brandon: <laughs>

David: But if you’re directing them from one area of Facebook to another, they’re like, “okay, cool. We’ll do that. That sounds good.” So, does that answer your question? I mean, it’s pretty much wherever you can have one-on-one.

Brandon: Absolutely. I love that. And it’s one of those things too, where I think people are so concerned that content has to be super-polished as soon as they come out. One of the things that I get asked all the time is “how did you get started?” I said, “I just did.”

David: Yeah!

Brandon: I just started. And I go back and look at some of those first episodes and I was like, “oh my gosh, how did people like this?” But it’s turned into something because I progressed up those levels.

David: Because you’re willing to do it. And, you know, hats off to you, Brandon, because I mean, you have really been an inspiration in this industry, for content for a long time.

Brandon: Thank you. I appreciate that. I mean, started out just getting really upset at a guy when I was trying to sell him some promotional products and he told me that he doesn’t use promotional products. And I was like, “dude, you use promotional products every day.” And then, come to find out you can reach so many more people, so quickly. And I was an outside sales rep in the state of Texas

David: mm-hmm .

Brandon: So you’re trying to reach all of Texas in one meeting? That’s kind of difficult. But the internet really allows you to be able to do that. So that’s awesome. What is the fourth level so that we can kind of pull these all together and talk about how they work together?

Level 4: Paid Content

David: Okay. Right. So the fourth level is paid content. So this is content that is reserved for your paying clients. And I have not heard anybody ever talk about this or think about this, or even consider it. But when you really think about it, the people who pay you money, the people who buy promotional products from you, they’re responsible for every single dollar you’ve made in your business, right? The content you create for them, whether it’s the product recommendations you’re making, whether it’s the emails you’re sending them, the phone conversations you’re having with them, all of that needs to be better than the conversation that’s taking place at other levels, right? If you’re putting your best stuff out as public content, and then they finally have a conversation with you, and they’re like, “well, you got nothing for me, man,” that’s not good.

So you want to make sure that your public content is interesting enough to get them interested and involved in your protected content, eventually to the private. And when I say eventually, I don’t mean a long period of time. You want to get them to that one-on-one communication as quickly as possible. And then from there, once they’ve purchased something from you, the communication changes again. And now they’re getting information and access to content that they wouldn’t have, unless they are a paying client. So examples of this could be, if you’ve got a separate group set aside — Facebook group, LinkedIn group, whatever — set aside for your clients only.

Brandon: mm-hmm

David: So you could have one group, for people who are not yet your clients. And another one that for people who are, and the people who are your best clients need to get the best content. Right?

Avoiding the Paywall

Brandon: Mm-hmm. I love how some people, some content creators, like “I don’t like to hide my content behind a paywall.” But that kind of sounds negative. So how do you get around that sounding negative? I think you kind of answered that already, but just kind of say it again. How it’s your best, your most, I don’t know how to say it. It’s your best content.

David: Yeah. And it doesn’t even have to have to be hidden behind a paywall necessarily. In other words, if you put together, let’s say you’re doing videos on YouTube. You could just do a link that is not public. It’s not publicly shared. And you could send that out via email to your customers and say, “Hey, I shot this quick video for you. This is for clients only, please do not share.” So it carries with it that air of exclusivity…

Brandon: Yep.

David: But it doesn’t require passwords and all that kind of stuff.

Brandon: I love that. And so can you, can you take any of those viewers from any one of those levels and turn them into a customer? Or is it easier at a specific level to create a customer?

David: Well, I think normally creating a customer is going to happen at the private level. You’re having a one-on-one conversation. But I mean, that could just as easily be going back and forth via email. It could be going back and forth via messenger, whatever it is. One-on-one communication is generally where the sale happens.

Brandon: Mm-hmm

More than One Way to Sell

David: And I think a lot of salespeople, particularly those who have been around a long time — I’ve been around a long time — those who have been around a long time, tend to think, “well, you have to do it a certain way.” You have to be on the phone or you have to be face to face. I remember my general manager at my promotional products business. He was so great. And he was an in-person, in-your-face kind of guy. And I just always remember him saying, “when you’re selling, you gotta be face-to-face, belly-to-belly, buffalo breath to buffalo breath.” I’m like, “what does that even mean? I have no idea what you’re talking about here.”  That just painted a horrible picture in my mind. <laughing>

But his view was that you need to be in front of people to be able to sell. And in my promotional products business, most of my clients were not local. Most of my clients were all around the country and most of it was done, you know, starting a long time ago, via phone and fax. And that’s how we did it. But some people prefer being in person.

And this is another key point is that I think whenever you try to, you know, bang a square peg into a round hole, like if I were to say to you, “you must do cold calls to initiate first contact with a customer.” If you hate cold calls, you’re not going to do a fantastic job of that. You know, set aside everything about the fact that a cold call might not be the ideal form of first contact? Setting all that aside. If you absolutely hate it, you’re going to be reluctant to do it. You’re not going to want to do it. If you do it, you’re probably not going to be enthused. You’re not going to do it well. You’re not going to be excited. And it becomes self-fulfilling prophecy.

And there are so many different ways of initiating first contact with a prospect. This is a lot of what we do with our clients. In our Total Market Domination course, we work with people on things like this. What is the very best first contact that you could use to initiate with a new prospect so that they go, “Wow, this person is different. I haven’t heard that before.”

Brandon: Mm-hmm. The four levels, again you guys, they are at the bottom there. I love content. I love creating content. I love putting myself out there. Because I’m not good at cold calls. I will be the first to admit it. First of all, I am naturally lazy. And so I will put it off as long as I possibly can and do the cold call at the wrong time. But if I have enough content out there, in the public level, then it’s kind of doing the cold call for me. Is that, kind of, right?

Using The Four Levels of Content to Leverage Yourself

David: Yeah. That’s, that’s exactly right. I mean, the content is not going to do a cold call for you. But what the content is going to do, is it will position you much better as an expert than your old call will. Because if they see you in a video talking about something that makes sense to them in their business, you are now being seen as the expert. If you’re picking up the phone and calling them, and they have no idea who you are, you are now being seen as the annoying salesperson who I don’t know. And I think that also is so key to what we’re talking about here. Which is the fact that you know, 10, 20 years ago, you didn’t have the ability to do this.

You couldn’t just put out content. And when you think about the leverage, I mean, you shoot a three minute video and you get that out in front of a hundred people you have now gotten 300 minutes of face time with somebody, right? As opposed to having to go see a hundred people. There’s just no comparison.

So I think for people who are hesitant to adopt this, they need to recognize that it’s not that different. Right?

Prospecting, presenting, following up. None of that has changed. It’s just, how can we do it more efficiently, more effectively? How can we engage the people that would actually like to engage with us? Because it’s not about just trying to get anybody and everybody. We want to find the people who resonate with us, who we resonate with so that we can actually have a business we want to live in

Brandon: People they know, like and trust, correct?

David: Yeah, exactly.

Brandon: There it is. I love it. So, David, actually one last little thing. You talked about driving somebody to get something like, “go somewhere, go…”

David: Exactly. Right.

Brandon: I think you have something…

Coincidentally, I have a free gift that I would like to offer to anyone who is watching this. If you go to, that’s, you will actually get access to five free gifts, which are geared toward promotional product industry professionals.

It includes… I’ve got to actually take a look and see what it includes now. I’m trying to remember. It includes an online profit calculator, to calculate the ideal profit margin. If you figure out what profit margin you want, you enter the purchase price and it’ll calculate what you should sell it for, a mini-seminar on finding time for prospecting, a mini-poster on what’s important to promotional products clients, the first two chapters of our book, The Power of Promotional Products and access to our Top Secrets of Promotional Product sales emails, newsletters, podcasts, all that sort of stuff. I mean, there’s just a treasure trove of content available. That’s a great place to start.

Brandon: I love it. David, thank you so much for taking time out of your day.

David: Thank you. It’s been a pleasure. I mean, I really feel like I’ve advanced here in the world getting to be on here with you and to be able to talk to you about something other than, “yeah, here’s what you need to do, to do prospecting.” It’s a different world. We gotta start are treating it like that.

Brandon: Absolutely, and that’s why we have created Express Training Bites. You guys, thank you so much for taking a little bit of time out of your day. Hopefully during like the lunch day or just during a nice little coffee break, and taking this down. Remember, you can always put your questions or your comments in the sections down below, after the fact. Even if you’re watching this a couple of days from when this aired. But Express Training Bites does air live. Or sometimes it’s premiered. So it’s sometimes recorded, on the first and third Tuesdays of every month at Promo Corner social media, whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube. I don’t know why I always get stuck on LinkedIn. I think it’s because I want to say Instagram instead of LinkedIn, but whatever. So David, thanks again. You guys, thank you so much for watching and we will see you guys next time. Thank you so much.

David: Thank you.

Ready to Put The Four Levels of Content to Work for You?

If so, check out the five primary ways we help promotional product distributors grow:

  1. Just Getting Started? If you (or someone on your team) is just getting started in promotional products sales, learn how we can help.
  2. Need Clients Now? If you’re already grounded in the essentials of promotional product sales and just need to get clients now, click here.
  3. Want EQP/Preferential Pricing? Are you an established industry veteran doing a significant volume of sales? If so, click here to get End Quantity Pricing from many of the top supplier lines in the promo industry.
  4. Time to Hire Salespeople? If you want to hire others to grow your promo sales, click here.
  5. Ready to Dominate Your Market? If you’re serious about creating top-of-mind-awareness with the very best prospects in your market, schedule a one-on-one Strategy Session here.

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