In this episode Adam (@AdamVazquez) and Carlton (@CarltonRiffel) are joined by Bradley Chambers (@bradleychambers) who is the Senior Digital and Web Marketing Manager at Cribl.io. Bradley shares how content creation vaulted his career & how to use content effectively for technical sales.
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* (4:32) Have you Heard?
* (8:23) Why Cribl is a $200m business
* (12:20) How to use content in highly technical sales
* (16:12) Tracking attribution in long sales cycles
* (23:32) The piece of content Bradley is most proud of over his career (HomeKit Review on 9 to 5 Mac)
* (26:32) How to spend $150k on content marketing
Links & Resources:
Transcription generated by Otter.ai
Adam Vazquez 0:06
Bradley chambers is the senior Digital and Web Marketing email@example.com, the data pipeline company that gets you the right data where you want it in the format that you need. Bradley is also a seasoned writer at nine to five Mac where he covers HomeKit technology, enterprise software, enterprise hardware, and how Apple fits into the enterprise environment on the whole. I met Bradley in Chattanooga, Tennessee through my co hosts Carlton riffle and have become a huge fan of his work as well as just him as a person ever since meeting him. Bradley is a true polymath who understands both how complex technologies work as well as the need to explain difficult concepts simply unusably to customer audiences. During this episode, we discussed how Bradley thinks about content for a technical audience and how he’s made creating a part of his daily routine across all his various interests. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode I think you will too let’s get into it with the guy who works nine to five and a whole lot more Bradley chambers
Adam Vazquez 1:26
I welcome back into content is for closers. I’m Rosanna Vasquez with me as always is Carleton riffle on this weekly show where we talk about how marketers, entrepreneurs, business owners, and sometimes reporters and writers use content to start or run their business, Carlton. How are you doing? What’s going on this
Carlton Riffel 1:44
week? I’m good, man. I’m good. Just recording the podcast.
Adam Vazquez 1:48
It’s what I like to hear what is our icebreaker? Before we get to the interview with Bradley?
Carlton Riffel 1:52
Yeah, so enemy. I mean, you’ve been on hundreds and hundreds of podcasts before your pod famous many, many. So what’s a zero cool person or experience you’ve had on a podcast or related to a podcast? Somebody you’ve met?
Adam Vazquez 2:08
So the easy answer here is I got to be on like we produce tourismus podcast but I got to be on it last NFL playoff season, and we just like broke down football. Which was an all time experience for me because Adam was in his element for sure. I was I just loved it. The Eagles weren’t even in it. I just it was a all time experience. But aside from that, I would say when we first started this, or with this feed, it was called the startup show. We got some incredible guests that we had no business talking to I mean, authors, writers, entrepreneurs, etc. And so one that I just personally really was a fan of that I reached out to and who came on our podcast was named Cory Gregory. And he is was and is the the CEO of a nutrition company. And he’s also kind of like a just a fitness influencer and somebody who I’ve followed for a long period of time. And he spent he and his business partner spent like an hour and a half with us. Just talking through business ideas, the combination of fitness and business and all these different sorts of things. So it was just a really cool experience that he was willing to share his time with us that way. But what about you, anybody that you’ve met in, in real life or on a podcast through through content?
Carlton Riffel 3:26
Yeah, that’s awesome. There’s actually a couple of different podcasts experiences that I’ve had that have been pretty fun, but one that’s just sticks out specifically because we’re interviewing Bradley is I actually heard him on a podcast, a friend of mines podcast that was talking about basically iOS and Mac tech. And and heard that he wrote for nine to five Mac, it was really interesting episode about some things. So I just hit him up on LinkedIn afterwards. And we’re actually looking at the time about moving to Chattanooga. And so I heard that he lived there. And I was like, Hey, we’re going to be visiting in a few weeks. You want to grab lunch? And the rest is history. So he gave Chattanooga a hard sell. It was good.
Adam Vazquez 4:05
I don’t know if I realized that was because I think you stayed at my house. Yeah.
Carlton Riffel 4:09
Yeah. Actually. There’s actually had nothing to do with it. Yeah, yeah. Don’t move to Chattanooga.
Adam Vazquez 4:17
You did not say that. There’s no way. Yeah, that that’s, that’s cool. Yeah. Bradley is a great guy really enjoyed the episode with him today. He’s done, as we said in the open a bunch of different things. Before we get to the conversation with him. Carlson, what’s one thing you’ve heard this week that the audience will benefit from?
Carlton Riffel 4:35
Yeah, so kind of in the same what Bradley writes about with nine to five Mac is just HomeKit automation. I know a lot of people are familiar with that. But I think there’s some really neat things coming out coming down the line.
Adam Vazquez 4:47
One just one thing real quick. Let me just pause for some of us who are less described what HomeKit automation means?
Carlton Riffel 4:53
Yeah, so you’ve got the HomeKit platform, which is Apple’s basically Their platform for developing products for the internet of things. So all the home pod the home pod mini that has its basically a hub functions as a hub as well. And that even your iPad can be a hub to execute different automations for things that are connected in your home. So anything from lights to, we’ve got a few different things here, we’ve got like sensors, temperature, some sensors, we’ve got some, I even have a thing underneath underneath my bed that senses if I’m in bed or not. We’ve got all sorts of things around our house that are smart. So basically what it does is it helps automate those things. So Bradley has written several articles about that. But another one is Matthew Cass anelli. He’s a podcaster, a blogger as well. And he has written several shortcut codes for HomeKit automation and in different things on your, on your iPhone or on your iPad. So he’s a great resource for any shortcuts. There’s some just really cool, quick things that he’s that he’s made. So if any of you aren’t familiar shortcuts is the app on your phone. If you have iPhone, that lets you build like little mini workflows that will quickly let you do things. So that’s that’s my pick of the week, as they would say.
Adam Vazquez 6:19
It’s crazy because no one watching this show listening to it or listening to Bradley talk would understand just how deeply you are both nerds. But it’s true. And I love the enthusiasm you have and obviously that he has with with HomeKit all that kind of thing I can barely like Siri, I can’t use lights,
Carlton Riffel 6:38
which is like your hand.
Adam Vazquez 6:41
The clapper is like my my smart home.
Carlton Riffel 6:45
Smart Home device.
Adam Vazquez 6:46
Yeah. My Have you heard I went to totally different direction, but it is related to Bradley, I want to recommend free shout outs only the book falling by TJ Newman. So this is this has nothing to do with technology with content. But Bradley tweeted about it about I don’t know three or four months ago, and and how much he enjoyed it, how great of a bucket if it was and how he couldn’t put it down. So I at the time was looking for something to read, I guess and downloaded on my Kindle and had read it by the next time the next day, like the same time that I said it was no good. Yeah. And it’s just like if, if you need it’s a fiction book. Yep. It’s a fiction book. It’s written by a former airline employee. And it I’m not gonna give away the plot, but it has to do with flights and all these sorts of things. And if you just need a great like, listen, daylight savings time just happen. You just need a book to sit down with and forget about everything for like a day, for some reason you have that amount of time, I would highly recommend it. It’s not going to necessarily teach you anything, but it’s gonna be a lot of fun. So so check that book out. But without further ado, unless you have anything else, Carlton, I think we should get to. Alright, let’s get to it.
All right, we’ve got Bradley chambers here on the show with us, Bradley. Thanks for joining us.
Unknown Speaker 8:08
Hey, I’m glad to be here. Thank you for having me.
Adam Vazquez 8:11
Yeah, of course. So Bradley is the senior Digital and Web Marketing Manager at kraebel. He’s also an author at nine to five MAC, which, as a rabid audience, and you’ve done a million other things. But Bradley maybe just tell us to start off as a baseline what criminal is and what you do over there.
Unknown Speaker 8:29
Yeah, Cripple is a neat story. And unless you run in the industry that we kind of play in, which is we sell to DevOps, and it people you probably have never heard a cripple, and you may never hear a cripple, but that’s okay, because we solve a really unique problem for people in those industries. So cripple is about a four year old company. And we just took our Series C funding $200 million dollars. So we are excited about the future. But what we do, so your modern enterprises, they have a set of sources on one hand that output terabytes and terabytes and terabytes a day of logs. So all of your servers, all of your SaaS applications, your software, your service applications, it’s not just for on site servers, like your most enterprises are pumping out. Just terabytes and terabytes and terabytes today of logging data, not data, logging data. So every time an organization makes a transaction, you think, think about like, if you’re a retailer, every transaction generates logs, and you have to store those logs for compliance reasons. Well, the problem is storing those logs gets really, really expensive. And also like they often come out in the wrong formats. It’s like impossible to parcel them and like it’s just it’s a mess. Well, so what we do is we set between all of your sources, and then all of your destinations. So a lot of the times you let’s say you’ve got this like one set of logs that like you want to put into your log analytics tool, but it’s like in the wrong format. Well, we will let you basically reformat it on the fly in your system. Or let’s say, for example, you have a system that like you it outputs and you don’t often need it, but you might, but you really don’t want to pay to store it in your log analytics system. Well, we let you route it to the destination of your choice. So maybe we let you send it to Amazon s3, or Azure or Google Cloud similar, but it’s cheaper. And if you need it back in your log analytics system, we let you replay it. So that’s kind of the high level, we’re a log routing, or a system for your all of your logs, that sits between your sources and destinations. So we basically kind of put you back in charge of what they call an observability pipeline. So it’s all this observability data. And we really solve a lot of problems for a lot of big industries, we’ve got a very, very generous free firstname.lastname@example.org, you can download it into your own data center, you can get five terabytes a day for free. And our cloud version, which is a crippled cloud, you can get one terabyte a day for free. And you can try it, we also have a free sandbox that sandbox cripple.io You can even play with it for someone that’s like listening that like you doesn’t really run in this industry. Go to the sandbox, you can kind of at least see what we do. But like we were in a situation like we had this product, it’s like just a breath of fresh air for a lot of DevOps, IT professionals, because they have problems that like it before cripple and before our main product log stream, there was no solution for it. And so it’s a really fun environment to be in.
Adam Vazquez 11:35
Yeah, obviously a super technical solution. I also link in the show notes why I think one of your one of your investors, you tweeted, wrote a Medium post, essentially explaining in layman’s terms, why he made the investment in crypto, why is funded, and also explained to me at least, what cripple does, so that was super helpful. But being a technical solution, like you all are, you have to have a different content theory, a different content strategy. And this relates a lot to the audience’s that listen to this show who may or may not be in data and infrastructure, things like that, but have a technical solution that they’re selling. And I know you have a unique perspective on how to do that effectively. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Unknown Speaker 12:17
One of the things that we realized at cripple is again, our our audience is highly technical. I mean, obviously, like business professionals do come to our page. But most of the time, like we start, like discussion with a customer first and customer hears about us, is this going to be again, a highly technical person? Well, when how like that people come to a website, they kind of don’t want the marketing spiel, they want to look at your tech docs. And they want to see the bits like Okay, tell me tell me technically, how does this work? What does it do? And then let me try it. So they want to like, not read the marketing bluff, the puff pieces, we don’t have those, but like, that’s what they’re, they don’t want to be marketed to. They want to see how it works. And so one of the strategies, what we try to do, like with our blog content, for example, we don’t try to spend a lot of time telling people what we do, we show them. So like what we’ll do a blog post, and one of the most popular ones is how to improve performance of your Splunk environments. Splunk is a popular log analytics tool. So we kind of just break through, hey, here’s how you use log stream to improve Splunk performance. Well, this blog post is like super long, super detailed tons of pictures, code, you can copy straight into our product and us. And we’re showing you how to improve Splunk How to Improve Your Splunk environment. So again, we’re not just saying, Hey, we can do that. At cripple, we’re saying we can do that. And here’s how you do it. And it really impacts how kind of how we promote our webinars as well. So like, for example, we had our big release of like, we had a big kind of point release and August and we caught it our August update. So block stream. So our product manager over last summer head of product, he was hosting a webinar for our customers. Well, he had most webinars, they’re going to be 1520 30 slides are talking through all the exciting announcements. No, that’s not what we did. He had four slides, work through it from a high level, hit Command H hit it brought up his own instance, a log stream, it says, Hey, I’m gonna show you how these new features work. And we actually had, I’d never seen this in my life. We had a webinar that grew in its audience that longer it went on. I mean, I’ve never happens that way ever, ever, ever and it but it’s because again, we know who we’re selling to what worse, we’re not gonna, we’re not trying to market to you. We had this awesome product. We just want to show it to you and get your hands on it. Because we know that as soon as you get your hands on this product, you will be running too. to go, you know, purchase it, whatever you need to do, because it solves a real problem. So we just again, we want to get you again, our audience, they want to see it in action there used to see marketing pieces about how the software is gonna change your life. And we’re in a situation which is No, our software is life changing for your business. So we just want you to try it.
Adam Vazquez 15:19
Yeah, I love that I think show Intel is such a underused strategy when it comes to especially technical solutions or complex solutions, like you’re talking about, but I do wonder how you would like with traditional content marketing, or a more, whatever you want to call it consumer, direct to consumer type model, where you’re creating or producing some type of story and then distributing it, there’s there’s pretty easy measurement as to is this working or not? How does that relate to a more Show and Tell model? Like, how do you all think and do what it’s,
Unknown Speaker 15:55
it’s tricky, because we don’t sell widgets. So like, if we, if you’re a consumer focused product, and you’re trying to get somebody to download an app from the App Store, and you can put you can track that very easily to see is this blog article converting, it’s very easy to see. And that we can sorta see that, like, we can see what they do. But like, our sales cycle can be long. I mean, like, it’s like, someone hears about the first time, they may try it in the cloud for a little bit, they may use the sandbox, and then they may say, okay, okay, another thing because there too, a lot of times the people that are installing our software don’t have like necessarily like the authority to hook up the sources, maybe the all the sources of their organization or something, somebody else controls. So they have to get approval to hook those up to try in the demo. It’s like it can be a long process. And so it is a challenge to kind of say, Okay, did this content convert yes or no is very much challenged. But our kind of goal is like, look, we know our products, awesome. We, we know we’re going to make really good content, and we’re going to explain how to use our software, how to get more out of it. And then really trust that like, as our business grows, that strategy is paying off.
Adam Vazquez 17:14
Yeah, makes sense. And it seems like from from what you’ve told me, the the measurement side of things can change and has changed based on even just stuff that’s out of your control, regardless of the solution that you’re selling. But but more like GDPR, the way that cookies are handled today, and all of that sort of thing. So how, first of all, explain what you mean, when you are referring to that, because I think some people may or may not be familiar with with all the changes that are that are going on, but also explain how that affects the way that you view measurement and how you all talk about that internally to
Unknown Speaker 17:51
Adam Vazquez 21:02
Yeah, and so just to like, say it in very plain speak, what you’re describing is taking jetpack or, you know, whatever the equivalent is for the the CMS that somebody might be using, and using that as kind of a general baseline for some of those main analytics. And then, if so, if you see a dip in Google Analytics, because of this cookie issue, just double checking that maybe it’s not actually a dip in traffic or consideration, or consumption or whatever, maybe it’s just that your audience, especially in your case, is savvy enough to say, No, I don’t want you tracking me. So that didn’t get captured in the Google Analytics says that that’s essentially what you’re saying, right?
Unknown Speaker 21:43
Yep. And it’s not just your Google Analytics, it’s against it’s things like hot jar, that measure where are people clicking, so you can know like, what what kind of, if you’re a B testing, where a buttons that like, it’s that kind of stuff, you may or may not have access, have access to long term. And again, I know the level evolve, I’m sure Google will evolve their tools, they’re obviously very aware of this. It’s just, it’s something that you’re going to have to be aware of as a marketer that, like the traditional ways you’ve shown measurement, and the traditional tools are not always gonna be there may not always be the same kind of going forward.
Adam Vazquez 22:17
Yeah, I think it’s a great point. And it also just alludes to a bigger point on measurement, which I think often gets lost in these things. So often, marketers and business owners get stuck on AV we converted into dollars, have we seen a major sales push or something like that? There’s all these different things that ladder up to that big conversion, so to speak. So making sure that you understand what those measurement tools are, are they even accurate to your point with with this specific scenario? Or is there something else that you need to be looking at to determine whether your content is successful or not that that’s a great conversation to be had internally. But switching gears for a second, I know you obviously spent a lot of your time working on crude oil, but you do a bunch of different stuff, you’re you write a you read, as we were talking about before, before the interview here. And so I was just curious, as a content maker, as a creator, as a marketer, whatever you want to call it, what’s what’s one of the pieces that you have pieces, or just pieces of content or whatever that you’re most proud of, and that could be a criminal or, or elsewhere.
Unknown Speaker 23:22
The piece of content I’m probably most proud of, is my home kit series on nine to five Mac I write, I kind of write these on the weekend. These are kind of like passionate labor of love or something for me, but I love smart home technology. And HomeKit is Apple’s framework where you can say, hey, I’m gonna take this light bulb from this vendor, and this outlet from this vendor and this door lock from this vendor. And they as long as they support HomeKit, they all can work together. And so I love kind of reviewing products. So I every Friday, basically review a different HomeKit product or kind of go deep into something with HomeKit or just talk about what HomeKit should do. And it’s been fun. I’ve met a lot of interesting people. My Smart Home setup is so complicated, it almost is overwhelming at times, because things stop working. And I’m always deleting and adding stuff. But it’s been fun. I kind of started it on a whim and it’s been fun and and is you really learn the ins and outs of these products and what makes them great, what makes them go. And then like one good example is maybe good. One Friday, I accidentally published two I hadn’t appreciated actually just put two on the same day, which was fine. Just let them roll. So the next week, I just didn’t do one because I kind of give myself a buffer. Well, then someone sent me a DM on Twitter. And we’re like, Hey, where’s your HomeKit arc this week? And it made me feel good, cool, because it was like people clearly have gotten used to reading it. And so it is, it is fun. It’s really fun when you like don’t do something and then people ask
Adam Vazquez 24:44
you about it. Yeah. Oh, that’s the best. I mean, sometimes you can feel you’re shouting into the void. So I’m sure that that felt right. Confirming affirming. Yeah, yeah. We love finding different ways to match hobbies with production, I guess you could say and I think That’s a great example. You’ve done it in multiple ways over your career. So really, really enjoy that. All right, last question we ask every guest here on the show is if you this could be in your own criminal or this could be 95. Matt kind of wherever it’s appropriate. But if you were gifted, donated $150,000 worth of budget that had to be spent on content or growth, where are you allocating that? How are you thinking about that? Or where’s that fitting in the budget?
Unknown Speaker 25:30
Super easy. So what I would do is one of the things we do at cripple is we, our sales engineers write blogs for us, because I mean, they’re awesome, like they are using the product daily, they see, they see the pains that customers go through, like and where we saw those solutions. So like their nose to the ground, they get their hands on the product, they’re talking to customers daily, and Mike, and we really are one of our main values is customer service, like we are cut, we are definitely customers first, like we’re, for example, I’m working with one of our partners at in the UK on they’re going to kind of write some blog posts for our blog, some of our channel partners. Well, they’re in the UK. So like the obviously they’re way ahead of us. And I said, Hey, what I’m up at five, when you want to have a call. And so because they’re, they’re my customer, it’s like when you don’t, I’m not gonna You don’t have to work on my schedule. I’m on I’m on your schedule. So we really invited that customers first. And it really RSCs kind of really embody that. So what I would do is I would want to hire someone that’s like s e level skill as a content writer, and just pay them to churn out blogs all day, like not all day, not all day, but like really, maybe even work with a customer for a few weeks, come back into a blog. I mean, that’s just what we hear these and we do, obviously do case studies as well, like, when you read our case studies and you read things we’re doing for customers, it’s it’s not like we are selling them a better thing, if something exists already. We there’s no other product like ours on the market. And so it’s really just almost rewarding. When you can go to a customer and say, you get this massive problem. And they’ll say, Yeah, I do. And then you can say we fix it, we make it better, we put you back in control. And they it’s it’s so good. They almost don’t believe it until they see it. So I would just want somebody to focus on writing content and creating content of like how to make our product better how to solve the real problems that our customers have. So it would be content production, because as I say, content is king. But I think I think you take that further, it’s well written, well thought out, and very actionable content to me, is key.
Adam Vazquez 27:36
Yeah, we that’s a great solution. It’s been funny to hear how many people would have said, like you would expect with this question, I’m gonna go spend it on Instagram, or I’m gonna buy a camera or whatever I mean, expensive camera, but I mean, like, whatever it is. And people I think in this business are so underrated and so needed anytime you talk about talk to someone in the industry, like yourself, or the other guests that we’ve had on the show, finding people who and people who can do both who are a little bit Polymathic. And understanding the industry or the product in a very, very deep way, as well as being able to communicate, I think is super, super rare and super sought after in across really any any industry. So could totally see that. And I think that’d be a wise use of your investment. Well, Bradley, this has been super helpful, I think especially just hearing about how to talk about technical problems and solutions, and then how to measure the output of that effort, I think people will be able to apply that directly to to their businesses and to their efforts. If people want to follow up with you, or or just kind of keep track of what you’re doing. What’s the best way across all the different things that you do.
Unknown Speaker 28:46
I am on Twitter at Bradley chambers, and I am on LinkedIn. And I’m gonna say I’m gonna say, Adam, you post something on LinkedIn yesterday, that day, this recording, you said, I don’t get on LinkedIn much. But so I’m going to tell you, you if there’s one social network you got to lean into as a business owner as a marketer is LinkedIn. I, eight years ago, 10 years ago, I thought LinkedIn was worthless. I am more bullish on LinkedIn as a platform to reach people, especially in the b2b space. If any social network ever invented like Twitter, I love Twitter for a lot of things. Twitter has gotten different over the past couple years. It’s getting very political. It’s a lot of stuff. Yes, LinkedIn is everybody’s on their best behavior, because they know basically, it’s the resume too. And I love one of the things I’ll say like I get so much industry news from LinkedIn, because you could follow. Like, for example, I always like to see what’s the latest with Spotify? Well, you can follow Spotify as a topic. And it just like weaves in articles that people have shared about Spotify, that are like sort of in my network. And so I really think if people that are listening to show that create content, they’re in marketing, if you’re in the b2b space, you need to be in LinkedIn and likely LinkedIn is as important to you as too And it’s as important as Facebook is for business to consumer. LinkedIn is that so LinkedIn and gosh, it is so so important. So you can love to connect with people on LinkedIn. And then I obviously write for nine to five Mac as well. But our website for scribble is scribble.io.
Adam Vazquez 30:18
Yeah, you’re right, I need to give it another chance. What what happened there is I got on LinkedIn probably whatever, 10 years ago, and my first probably five years of experience on there was just being hawked by salespeople their product or their and usually by what not good salespeople, like people who’ve done very little research, or knew what what what I ever did during my career, and honestly, selling me duplicative products or services to what I did. So what maybe maybe I’m just looking in the wrong places, it sounds like that following topics thing is a good tactic to help curate the experience a little bit, any other LinkedIn tidbits as I as I go away and try to maybe use it again.
Unknown Speaker 30:59
Well, I’ll give you it is you’re going to get people selling your stuff over your direct messages, I get that. And especially now that our company has done it Series C funding round it amps up big time. But yeah, just again, kind of make it as part of your daily social routine, good follow companies and follow topics also follow companies you’re interested in, I find just Lincoln’s algorithm again, they’re owned by Microsoft, LinkedIn algorithm does a good job of showing me relevant content and things I’m interested in. And then I feel like their ads are also relevant for me being in business I just, it’s a nice place. And again, people are allowed on the best behavior like there’s there’s no political stuff, I get enough of that my life i i just want business content. And LinkedIn is where I go to get that now. And it’s again, I’m the same like I’m not looking for a job. I don’t want to I don’t really sold stuff. But I have found it invaluable for keeping up with the latest business trends. Keeping up with what kind of what’s late. It’s just, it’s been awesome.
Adam Vazquez 31:57
Alright, this is good to hear. I to be honest, I’ve given it no thought. So I will. I will give it some effort. Give it some time. And maybe we’ll have to catch up on another episode on on how that’s going and how we’re using LinkedIn more effectively. But yeah, I appreciate you Bradley. Thanks for joining the show and we’ll catch up soon.
Unknown Speaker 32:13
Transcribed by https://otter.ai