Iterative Marketing Podcast Episode 36: Content Marketing To The ‘See’ State

To see the greatest return on investment, it’s necessary to continually improve our awareness state content marketing. In order to boost our efforts, we must understand our marketing objectives and how these differ by journey state.  In this episode, we explore the best ways to deliver content, measure engagement, improve and successfully optimize our content to the ‘See’ audience, the people that are qualified but aren’t currently in the market, to make a purchase.

Episode Show Notes

Introduction to Marketing to the See State

(0:00 – 3:45) Introduction to the Iterative Marketing Podcast: Welcome to the Iterative Marketing Podcast, where, each week, hosts Steve Robinson and Elizabeth Earin provide marketers and entrepreneurs with actionable ideas, techniques, and examples to improve marketing results. 

This podcast episode focuses on content marketing to the See State. For more information on the five consideration states of your audience, please watch Episode 16: See, Think, Do, Grow, Give. Today, we’ll focus on defining content goals for the See State, effectively targeting and delivering this content, and assessing its success. We’ll also look at improving content iteratively and the key elements for effective content optimization.

The resources discussed on the show can be found at, which includes a blog and a LinkedIn group for community interaction.

Strategizing Marketing for the See State Audience

(3:45 – 6:31) Identifying and Understanding the See State Audience: The See State audience is a specific group of potential customers who are suitable for a company’s product but aren’t currently in the buying phase. These individuals may not yet realize they want to purchase the company’s product.

Marketing Goals: Unlike other audiences, the goal for the See State audience is to assemble a consistent group to market to continuously until they decide to become customers. It’s crucial to avoid bombarding this audience with sales pitches, as it may repel them permanently. Instead, the aim is to ensure high awareness of the brand, products, or services and nurture their interest over time until they are prepared to make a purchase.

Building Trust and Consistency with Content: The goal of the content is to foster a relationship between the brand and the audience, encouraging audience growth over time. To achieve this, it is vital to communicate with the audience using meaningful, relevant content consistently. The frequency of communication should be determined by the nature of the product, service, and brand.

Measuring Success Differently: Traditional marketing measures success in terms of conversions and sales connections. However, for the See State audience, it’s about tracking an increase in engagement and repeat visits. The aim is to see the same individuals returning repeatedly, indicating a successfully nurtured audience.

The PESO Model for Audience Engagement: The PESO model, introduced by Gini Dietrich, serves as a strategy for finding and nurturing the See State audience. It encompasses paid, earned, shared, and owned avenues of engagement. This model was discussed in greater detail in Episode 35: The PESO Model.

Applying the PESO Model to Content Marketing 

(6:31 – 9:32) The PESO model, comprising Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned strategies, provides a comprehensive and actionable framework for targeting the See State audience through content marketing. Here’s a breakdown of how to use PESO when marketing to the See State audience:

  1. Paid Content Marketing: This strategy involves purchasing advertising to reach and nurture the See State audience, particularly in the early stages of a marketing effort. Various forms of advertising, including native and social media advertising, can be used to expand the audience and build brand awareness.
  2. Earned Content Marketing: Here, the value of content is traded for access to another’s audience. This strategy is reminiscent of traditional PR practices but can also incorporate modern approaches like influencer marketing.
  3. Shared Content Marketing: This approach involves the audience themselves promoting the content and the brand. Although the interpretation of ‘shared’ can vary, it essentially harnesses the audience’s power to spread awareness about the brand.
  4. Owned Content Marketing: This strategy focuses on building an audience and providing them with valuable content. As the See State audience may not initially be part of the owned category, emphasis should be placed on the first three elements of the PESO model to build the audience effectively.

Applying the PESO model to content marketing allows for comprehensive coverage of all marketing aspects, providing actionable steps to nurture and grow the See State audience effectively.

Paid Content Marketing

(9:32 – 17:35) Paid content marketing is critical in the initial stages to grow the audience base and raise awareness about the brand. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are commonly used for this purpose.

Measuring Success: Success in paid marketing efforts is measured by determining which channels drive the most subscriptions, which content drives the most subscriptions, and which channels drive repeat traffic to the site. These metrics can be used to optimize marketing strategies and get the most value from the marketing spend.

Significance of Repeat Traffic: Repeat traffic is important in building an audience. A lack of repeat traffic can indicate that either the advertising isn’t reaching the same person twice or it’s targeting the wrong audience. Thus, it’s crucial to track repeat traffic metrics to ensure a solid core audience is being built over time.

Maximizing New Audience: Before iterating, ensure a clear path to newsletter subscription is in place and the ability to track it is set up. An easy path to subscription helps in maintaining regular engagement with the audience through their inbox. Choosing paid media channels wisely and structuring the buys to enable continuous marketing to the same audience is critical.

Leveraging Retargeting: Retargeting can help bring back visitors to the site who haven’t subscribed to the newsletter yet. It’s an effective tool to remind visitors about the brand and content and earn their trust for the subscription.

Iterating on Paid Channels: To improve channels, pit different media channels and targeting methods against each other and use net new subscriptions as a KPI to determine which channel performs best. Conduct testing with headlines to understand what resonates with the audience and results in more subscriptions.

Utilizing Tools for Headline Testing: Tools like CoSchedule’s headline analyzer, BuzzSumo, and Ahrefs can assist in testing headlines and understanding what content is trending. However, it’s essential to conduct individual testing to cater to your specific audience personas better.

Charity Outreach

(17:35 – 18:24) Charity Break: Feeding America

Earned Content Marketing

(18:24 – 22:02)  Earned media involves trading the value of your content for access to someone else’s audience. This is often achieved through traditional PR efforts or influencer marketing.

Measuring Success: The key metrics to consider here include the quantity and quality of audience you can acquire, as well as the extent of word-of-mouth generated. You need to figure out which influencers or media outlets drive the most traffic and the best traffic that can amplify your brand’s position as a content authority.

Quality of Audience: The focus is not just on any audience but on the audience of authorities or influencers that have large followings or significant sway.

Iteration: Start by presenting varied content to different media outlets, and perform A/B testing to see what resonates with their audiences. As this progresses, focus on who’s driving repeat visitors and how to increase these repeat visits. This could mean concentrating on certain media outlets or influencers over others.

Measurement of Branded Searches: After high-profile press mentions, tracking branded searches can indicate a lift in brand awareness. It gives insights into the reach of your brand and which outlets or influencers have the greatest impact.

Strategy for Growth: Once you identify the influencers and media outlets that result in increased brand awareness and high-quality subscribers, focus on these channels. Evaluate the effects from various aspects, including the lift in brand awareness and the quantity and quality of subscribers.

Adapt and Grow: In this process, it’s crucial to prune underperforming strategies and seek new influencers and media opportunities for growth. This iterative process aids in aligning your content with the right audiences and driving valuable outcomes.

Shared Content Marketing

(22:02 – 27:37)  Shared content refers to having your content propagated by your audience. This could mean sharing it with their peers who are also potential audience members. This is achieved through social media and by providing sharing mechanisms on your content.

Overlap with Earned Media: Shared content overlaps with earned media in that it can reach influencers or respected media outlets. There is a fuzzy spectrum where an individual goes from being someone with a large network to being an influencer, with micro-influencers falling into the shared audience category.

Objective: The goal is to create content that people want to share because it is entertaining, valuable, or makes them look good. Moreover, efforts should be made to reduce the friction associated with sharing and to promote the sharing of content.

Strategy: Research tools like BuzzSumo can help identify the type of content being shared by audiences similar to yours. This helps inform the kind of content you could create that is likely to be shared.

Implementation: Make sure sharing buttons are set up, prominent, easy to use, and frequent. Understanding the algorithms of the key social platforms you’re using can help create content that takes advantage of these mechanisms.

Leveraging Internal Networks: Don’t overlook the sharing potential of your team or employees. Sales teams, customer service teams, and others connected with your customer base can help spread your content to their networks.

Iteration: A/B testing can be used to find out which social lead-ins drive the most traffic and how to position your content best. Test different platforms and post frequencies to figure out where to put your best effort. Consider even testing the placement, size, and frequency of sharing buttons on your site to maximize sharing. While this kind of testing may not yield deep insights, the potential benefits of increased sharing are worth the effort.

Owned Content Marketing

(27:37 – 35:13)  Owned media refers to the platforms and channels that a brand controls, such as a website and a blog. This is significant as the brand controls the messages it puts out without any interference from algorithms.


  1. Evergreen Content Development: The main aim here is to develop a body of evergreen content that continues to attract new people through backlinks, shares, referrals, and searches over time.
  2. Nurturing Existing Audience: It’s important to consistently publish relevant content to stay connected with the earned audience and keep them engaged.

Evaluation of Effectiveness: The effectiveness of owned media is determined by the following:

  • Attracting New Subscribers and Repeat Visitors: This can be accomplished via search and referral, mainly through backlinks.
  • Subscriber Retention and Engagement: The objective is to keep subscribers engaged and retain them through targeted content distribution.

Technical Aspects: 

  • Search Engine Accessibility: The owned site should be accessible by search engines. Ensuring a basic SEO setup is vital.
  • Backlinks: It’s crucial to make an effort to build backlinks for each content piece published.
  • Title and Meta Descriptions: Special attention must be paid to the title and meta descriptions as they directly impact click-through rates from search results.

Striking Balance in Content Type: It’s essential to strike a balance between evergreen content that serves as a reference over a long period and content that may have a shorter shelf life but is very effective in attracting a new audience.

Consistent Publishing and Promotion: Set a regular publishing cadence and maintain a standard for promotion to ensure continuous engagement with the audience.

Leveraging Email and First-Party Data: Email and first-party data are invaluable in establishing and nurturing your audience. It’s crucial to continue engaging with them even after they have subscribed.

A/B Testing and Iterating Owned Content: Constant improvement of owned content can be accomplished by A/B testing headlines, subject lines for emails, HTML vs. plain text emails, etc., to get insights into audience preferences and behavior.

Handling Unsubscribes: Keeping an eye on unsubscribes and processing the reasons can provide a feedback loop for future improvement.

Open Rate Comparison: Comparing open rates should be done only for A/B testing and not across different lists or sends, as not all lists and emails are created equal. It’s important to compare apples to apples to gain meaningful insights.

Key Considerations for Successful Content Marketing to the See State

(35:15 – 38:42) Understanding the Journey and Audience Needs: In implementing content marketing, it’s crucial to understand the journey that you’re introducing content into. It’s important to know what your audience wants to consume. Otherwise, you might be missing the mark more often than hitting it. Developing content isn’t cheap; it requires time, resources, and money. Without a clear starting point, it’s easy to deviate and end up in an unfavorable position.

Importance of Right Metrics: To track the success of your content marketing strategy, having the right metrics in place is essential. While the subscription rate might be a key metric, there are other metrics like the percentage of new audience versus returning visitors, dwell time, scroll depth, and conversions. These help you understand if you’re attracting the right audience and if they are engaging effectively with your content.

Time Factor in Data Collection: In order to track conversions and understand where your most valuable traffic is coming from, consistent data collection over a long period is required. This process can be time-consuming, but the insights gleaned from such data can be powerful.

Newsletter Subscribers: Newsletter subscribers are another vital metric. If you don’t have a system to track this in place, it’s important to work with a web team or a third-party vendor to set this up correctly.

Content Production and Iteration: Everyone underestimates the amount of effort that goes into producing content. When introducing A/B tests and iterative approaches to content marketing, the work multiplies. Not only do you need to produce the original content, but multiple versions of it on a regular basis. In addition, as you learn more about your audience, you may have to update or change existing content. The better your content strategy gets, the more work you’ll have to do. So, it’s vital to set reasonable expectations about content effort, whether you’re launching a new content marketing initiative, amping up an existing one, or introducing more iterative marketing into your existing content marketing efforts.

Join Us Next Time

(38:42 – 40:11Conclusion: In this episode, we explored the PESO model’s applications in content marketing to the See State. We delved into Paid content, focusing on metrics, setting goals, and optimizing campaigns. We also discussed Earned content and how to measure its effectiveness. We further examined Shared content, discussing how to optimize and improve it using A/B testing and monitoring engagement metrics. Lastly, we tackled Owned content, which revolves around creating evergreen content and nurturing the audience alongside key SEO practices. Finally, we highlighted the importance of understanding the audience journey, implementing the right metrics, and recognizing the effort required in content creation and iteration for a successful content marketing strategy.

In the next episode, we shift our focus towards the critical aspect of content optimization in the Think state. These are potential consumers who have our product on their minds but aren’t quite ready to purchase yet. Understanding our marketing objectives tailored to this unique journey state is key to boosting our content marketing. We’ll delve into the most effective strategies for delivering content to this audience, measuring their engagement, and improving our outreach. Join us as we explore how to enhance our content marketing efforts and see a greater return on investment. Stay tuned!

Have a great week and we’ll see you next time. This concludes this week’s episode. For notes and links to resources discussed on the show, sign up to the Brilliant Metrics newsletter.

Iterative Marketing is a part of the Brilliant Metrics organization. If you would like more information on the marketing services provided by the expert team at Brilliant Metrics, reach out today for a free discovery call.

The Iterative Marketing Podcast,  a production of Brilliant Metrics, ran from February 2016 to September 2017. Music by SeaStock Audio.

Learn more about Iterative Marketing and listen to other episodes on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.

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