‘Before Creating Any Content, You Need To Have A Goal And Do Market Research On Your Competitors’, Says Semrush’s Market Research Manager

Updated: April 19, 2022
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Content Marketing has evolved a lot in the last few years. We started talking about content experiences, digital transformation, Mobile Marketing and so on. In 2022, we can expect some trends in Content Marketing to continue and others to begin rising. But how can you start your strategies this year?

That was the topic discussed by Fernando Angulo, Senior Market Research Manager at Semrush, in his interview for the last Jam Session, Rock Content’s webinar series with the best global marketers. He talked about strategies and processes that every brand needs to set up if they want to get real results from Content Marketing this year.

One of the most important phases is market research, according to Angulo. Before producing any piece of content for your audience, you need to understand the landscape your company is a part of and who you are competing with.

“You need to do the market research by following companies similar in size and numbers to yours. So if you are a restaurant, you need to go to other restaurants that are similar to the products that they’re selling. If you are an agency, you need to compare yourself with a similar business. So pick three or four similar businesses and compare your numbers with their numbers and do the market analysis with the sources of traffic,” advises Angulo.

And then, you need to look for differentiation. For Angulo, even though SEO is a data-based content creation process, you have to be creative to catch people’s attention. “You need to be more human. Do things that you would like to do with others with the content that you’re creating.”

Angulo also talked about new privacy regulations and how they impact marketers’ work and brand strategies, digital PR processes, trends for 2022 and much more.

Check out the full video interview (or read the transcription below):


[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] And we’re live. Right on time. Okay, folks. Hey, everyone. It’s a great pleasure to have all of you here.

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, that depends on where you are in the world. My name is Vitor Pecanha, co-founder and CMO at Rock Content. It is my pleasure to be the host here today.

Our Jam Sessions are a mix of interviews, like the one today, that are going to become podcasts. We have other webinars, always hosted by us. We feature the top Marketing and SaaS experts and innovators.

We have one common theme throughout. We aim to provide advice, share trends and best practices on how to master premium content experiences.

Today we have, as a guest, Fernando Angulo.

Welcome, Fernando. Thanks for being here. He’s a Senior Market Research Manager at Semrush. Formerly S-E-M Rush. I learned that it changed now. Global keynote speaker as well. Pretty sure there are plenty of interesting things for us to learn.

Welcome, Fernando. Why don’t you introduce yourself a little bit?

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Sure. Thank you. Thank you very much, Vitor. It’s so good to be here. It’s so good to see you again. It’s so good to have all of you here today in this session.

I’m Fernando Angulo. In my biography in Semrush, I’m the most well known face in Semrush because I was doing, before the pandemic, about three to four presentations per week in different countries.

Basically, we were working, we are still working in, Content Marketing, social media Marketing, of course, SEO, and paid advertising. The core of everything, of course, is content, that’s why we’re here, right? With all the tools that we have generated, and that we have created, we have tons of data.

Actually, for today, I have a study that we launched about two months ago. Actually, last month, because we are still in March. It is called “The State of Content Marketing in 2022”. So, I have a lot of information to talk about today.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Awesome. Okay, so that’s not only a conversation but it’s based on real data and reports. Okay, let’s start by talking about Content Marketing, right? Because that’s the topic of our talk.

Well, the first steps in Content Marketing. I know that it’s 2022, so Content Marketing has been around for a while. But I believe that a lot has changed since Joe Pulizzi was first talking about Content Marketing 20 years ago. I believe that, especially over the last two years because of the pandemic, in two years a lot has changed.

So talking about our current scenario, like how Content Marketing looks today. What would you say would need to be the first steps for someone who’s just starting out with Content Marketing. What would you recommend?

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] For starters, the first tip I would say, the first piece of advice that is to have a goal. You want to be knowledgeable. You want to be visible online because of what? What is your purpose? What is the main reason for you doing that? Without a purpose, without a goal, you can’t build a plan. You can’t build a strategy.

You’re going to be creating content just for the sake of creating content. The internet is full of that, so you need to be original. You need to be special, talking to the people that want to hear your message. That’s why you need to have a goal. What is the purpose of your goal?

You can choose as many goals as they have or around. You want to bring your expertise. You want to share your knowledge. You want to generate more leads. You want to create something unique for, I don’t know, generations to come. What is the purpose of your content?

First, start with the goal. Why am I mentioning this? Because most of the companies were forced to become online businesses in the last two years. They were offline all the time when this digital transformation started, like you mentioned 20 years ago or so, they were not interested in that, to be visible online.

But right now, it’s something that you are not even forced to do. You must be online. You need to have your online presence. It’s the requirement for any business right now. That’s why, if you start with a goal, you can follow the next procedures. You can create your own plan. So, first thing, easy, start with the goal.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Okay, so that’s step number one. It’s the same as what I like to say, right? Don’t start with the content, people.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Yeah

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] I think that’s the biggest mistake in Content Marketing. Okay, folks, start with the goal, and then, after that, the goal will help you choose the channels, and the formats, but remember to be original and special.

Speaking of which, since you started with the goal, and I think that’s great advice, one thing that has become more and more clear in 2022, and over the last two or three years, is that companies, brands, are becoming publishers. Not only do they launch their own online presence like we do, I don’t know, like Hubspot does, like Semrush does. But, they are also actually acquiring publishers, right?

So Hubspot bought The Hustle, Binance bought a stake at Forbes. That was very high profile, very fancy. Semrush acquired Backlinko. I think that was very clever, by the way. For brands who don’t have, let’s say, this kind of money or this kind of maturity, how can they compete? How can brands just starting out now or don’t have such a big online presence compete in such a landscape? What would be your suggestions for that?

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Yeah, that’s a great question and that’s the following question… what to do next? I have my goal. I have something unique to share. I have something special. Maybe it’s not that unique but I can improve that. I can be better with the things that I’m doing right now.

For example, I remember 10 years ago when I started working for Semrush, we were a small company. We were basically a startup with no more than 30 people on the team. Right now, of course, there are more than one and a half thousand people working all over the world. But, in the beginning, we just wanted to share data to provide benefits. Actually, to save time and money for all digital marketers. That was our main goal: to have really good data, accurate data, and to share that with the audience.

To do that, we needed to have a plan. Actually, that’s the second step. When you have your goal, you’re gonna start with your plan, and the very first step for the plan I would recommend is to do market research. You don’t need to go and start competing with the leaders of the market. You need to follow them because the whole market, the whole industry, is basically defined by them, the leaders of the market.

You need to do the market research starting with the companies that are similar in size, and numbers to yours. So if you are, I don’t know, a restaurant, you need to go to other restaurants that have similar products to what you are selling. If you are, I don’t know, you are an agency, you need to compare yourself with a similar business. So pick three or four similar businesses and compare your numbers with their numbers and do the market analysis with the sources of traffic.

How well are they working online? How well are they working with their organic positioning? How well is their positioning on Google? How much money are they spending on social media, on ads? Do they have ads? Are they doing social media? Do they have a presence? Do people like their products? Where are the most? All the market research activities need to be this way.

Why is that? There are a lot of companies that are just skipping this first step with the planning. And that’s a mistake because you will go to the market where the rules are not only for the bigger, for the stronger, but the winner of the market is usually faster. If you want to compete with them, you need to know what they are doing, and with the online knowledge that we have these days, you can basically know how much they are investing. You can know where they are getting their users, and their leads.

How is the process of the lead acquisition? How is the funnel that they’re working on? What is the content that they are providing for the top of the funnel and for the middle of the funnel? And for the last step, basically, once you have all the results of the market research, you can go with step one, which is, okay, I want to have my online visibility. I need to have my own keywords. My DNA keywords that are going to be providing me with most of the users for the products or services that I want to sell. Basically, the first step is the goal. Second, go with a plan to do market research.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Got it. Awesome. Do very thorough competitive research.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] You know, even in some cases, I remember when we started Semrush, we also checked Linkedin to understand how many professionals our competitors had. How many of them had roles similar to ours? We also checked how many of them were, I don’t know, how many had university degrees or they were only, I don’t know, working since after school. So, we also checked their professional backgrounds.

That’s a part of the market research because, once you have all the information, you can be more confident about what you need to do next. You need to invest here. You need to invest here. You need to have a salesperson here. You need to have more content based on this. Once you have the results you can act.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Awesome.

You would go and create, you know a secret profile of every competitor and say, hey, that’s what we’re up against. [laughing]

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] The competitor profile and people who were working there. Imagine, we wanted to create a social media team ten years ago and none of our competitors were doing something similar. So, we were going to be opening this channel for the rest of our competitors, or we’re going to be the innovators of this market. We’re going to spend that money because, you know, when you are entering, when you are creating a new channel for a private advertisement you need to invest a lot of money first. Then, your competitor is going to be the second one there. It’s going to be easier for them to come to a market that’s prepared for something like that. So, being the first is not always a good idea but in some cases, when you have the possibility, you need to do it.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Got it. Awesome.

One thing that I want to remind everyone who’s watching us, we’re going to take questions at the end. But, if you have questions already just put them in the chat. So, we’re gonna start collecting them and maybe one of them will fit what we already have in store for you and we can maybe fit it into our conversation.

Awesome. Okay, so you have got to have a goal. You have got to do your research and then you have got to start creating content right.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Yeah.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Yeah, so based on something that… Andrew Warden, right? The Semrush CMO.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Yeah.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Yeah, I haven’t met him yet but anyway, he said that one of the trends, according to him, one of the trends for 2022 is to be human in the content you create. Well, I don’t know how, it’s kind of broad, I understand. But I know that because everything is about human connection. Even if you’re based on numbers.

But here’s a provocation for you because it’s a question that I get asked a lot of times and you, well, working for Semrush, probably get that as well. You just mentioned that, after you do the research, after you know your goal, you have got to have a reason. You have got to be special. I know that Semrush has a lot of, like, research, and brings a lot of data to a lot of cool content.

But sometimes people ask me: but isn’t SEO a data-based content creation approach? Because you have got to look at what people are already looking for and, then, you got to answer those questions. And a lot of people tell me: well, so SEO is not creative, it is not original. How can you be human with SEO? Or special?

What’s your answer to that? Because, in the end, people believe that, for example, if I’m going to rank for, I don’t know, “the best sunglasses”, everyone’s gonna look at the same data set and then everyone’s going to be the same, but that’s not true, right? What’s your perception regarding this?

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Well, let me give you an example. I remember, three years ago, I was at a conference in India. Actually, it was a workshop for e-commerce owners back in India. And you can imagine, India’s population is 1.2 billion people. So, if you open an e-commerce, you’re going to have, like, 200,000 people the next day because there are a lot of people. There are a lot of users and they love to buy online so being original where you have so many local competitors is very difficult.

I remember I started the workshop with similar questions. So, how can we be more user-friendly and also human to our users when we have so many other people that want to be the same. And I remember that I asked this question to all of them. I asked them: okay, guys, how many of you, because you’re the business owners, are buying from your own stores? Please raise your hand. And you can imagine: zero. Nobody was buying from their own stores. So they were expecting to sell to other people things that they are not willing to buy themselves.

So, I say, okay, now I can start from the beginning. You have, well, I really like this metric, or this KPI that is measuring the user suffering. How much does the user suffer when they are trying to go from the landing page to the product that they want to buy? So the user experience, I call this “user suffering”, is gonna be how many clicks they’re gonna do to get to their product.

So, if they are not buying, they are not experiencing that suffering. Well, once they know how the user is feeling, they’re going to be saying: okay, it’s not possible to buy from here. I don’t see the checkout page. I don’t know if I can buy it online. I don’t see a telephone number. Actually, I don’t see the description of this product.

So, all these pain points that create all the suffering are the ones that you need to correct, to improve with content. That’s why content is useful because you’re going to be just eliminating all the suffering from your users, from your client. So, that’s gonna be the first thing, create content that is going to eliminate all the suffering for your users once they’re in your store, once they’re on your blog page, once they’re in your whole domain.

That’s the first point. Actually, content that you are willing to consume, as well. If you like the content that you are reading, imagine that your friend, the friend of your friend, your parents, whatever, they’re gonna like that too. Because it’s something that you already like and you can comment on, and you basically can also share if you like the content, you will be willing to share, recommend it to others, and, of course, comment. You are going to be creating engagement.

So, basically, that’s the example: you need to be more human being human. Do things that you would like to do with others with the content that you’re creating.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Got it. It’s right, something like you’re proud of even if it’s a database right.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Yeah.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] I like your idea of measuring suffering. You could imagine pain points. Hey, man, I have like 10 pain points.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Yeah.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] That’s too much suffering for one experience.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Yeah. Imagine, I remember I was with a friend from Amsterdam. Actually, it was Arnold, Arnold Helmut. We were going to the hotel, a commercial hotel and I remember we were trying to buy some gas at a gas station. Basically, you are in Amsterdam, right? You are in Holland and the thing is: we wanted to pay with our mobile device. We entered the webpage of the gas station but it was not mobile-friendly.

You can imagine, we couldn’t do it, so we couldn’t pay for the gas. So, we needed to go to an ATM, get the money, and return and pay with cash. So, they had a page. It really was not mobile-friendly so we couldn’t do the zoom. To click the button was a pain.

So, through too much pain just for an easy activity, a common activity that’s paying for gas. So, those were our moments of suffering with content, right?

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Yep, and I would say that even before you decide to engage in the activity, when people are still discovering what they need, that’s the fun of the journey, they have some sort of pain points. Not interacting with you, but they have their pain points. What they want to learn. What they want to solve, etc.

And then in that case it says that not only SEO is the entire experience, but you also had to go to the ATM and take paper cash, right, like, the old roman times. Like you used to do back in Ancient Rome.

Awesome. Great, man.

I think that’s a great approach. Basically, solve the pain points. Content is the best way to do it. I like your approach and also the user experience of course. And then you’re years ahead of everyone who doesn’t do that.

Great. Great. Awesome, man.

And since we’re talking, since we are already asking about SEO, one question about the past, a few questions about the future.

You’ve been at Semrush for what, nine years now?

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Yeah, it’s going to be 10 this year.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] It’s going to be 10 this year.

Okay, so what hasn’t changed at all in SEO over the last 10 years? What has stayed the same?

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Basically, backlinks. They’re still important. Yes, they’re still there. They’re still important, of course. I believe that content without backlinks still can be promoted, and can run. You don’t need to have backlinks everywhere but they’re still important, more for corporate clients. And one of the other things that haven’t changed: SEO as a process is still the same. In the last 10 years, you have all the techniques. You have the SEO title. You have the keywords. You have the H1 and the structure of the content that you need to build. It’s basically the same. I will say it’s very human because it hasn’t changed.

It’s like classical music. You still like it. People are gonna be hearing that for the next, I don’t know, fifty, hundred years as we are doing the last, I don’t know, 300 years or more.

There are some key points with technology that have advanced a lot, and that is mixed with data protection that is also changing a lot. In terms of content, well, basically we have tons, tons, and masses of content that can be created right now by artificial intelligence. In most cases people can’t recognize something created by a person or by a bot. Actually, we are consuming a lot of content that is created by artificial intelligence. And we don’t care if it’s created by artificial intelligence or not, we are just consuming it because it’s presented in a good way.

But in SEO, the core of SEO, the whole process is still there, it’s not changing. Only the technology and some of the implementations in terms of data protection and, of course, in Europe, GDPR has also changed the way that people are writing and sharing data a lot, just an example.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Okay. So you mentioned A.I. and other stuff that is changing, new technologies. So, about the future, what’s the most important thing if you’re an SEO professional or a Marketing professional who’s involved with SEO? What’s the most important thing you should be doing to prepare for the future? What’s coming now?

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Well, yes. Basically, now that we have, for the last two years, more people willing to buy online, more people are online, with online education. We basically  have more people able to consume content. You need to have, of course, a website with your products. If you’re a business, you’re not allowed to be offline only. Of course, you can have that, but the whole world is going to be changing so fast at this point that you’re going to be just years away from the point that we are right now.

In this matter, let me give you some examples about what will happen in the upcoming years. Basically, the content that businesses are going to be creating is going to increase, but more and more with Marketing budgets in this sense. We are going to be seeing that. Most of the companies are going to be hiring content marketers or they’re going to be allocating budgets for content agencies which are working really well.

As you guys are doing, of course. And of course, the expenditure on Content Marketing is just going to be increasing. Right now, the important step that you need to be following today is to have a documented plan on what you want to do for the next three months, the next six months, or, maybe, if you can, have some time for what you want to do the next upcoming year. Why is that? Because that’s basically the plan that you need to follow if you want to go with Content Marketing. You need to have a content calendar. So, that’s why you can plan for the next three months, the next six months, and the next year.

In some cases, I saw companies that are building their content calendar for the next five years. I believe that’s a little bit too much, but still, you need to have that plan today. If you don’t have any plan at all, no problem. Think about allocating your budget. Basically one of the golden rules of Content Marketing that I have and that we used in December was to allocate the time and the budget for your content production in this way.

This is the golden rule: 80 percent of your time you are spending on promoting content and 20 percent of your time and your money,you are using to create that content. Basically, you have the plan, you have the content calendar and you have all the rules. Think about that in the upcoming years. Basically, if you are creating content that you are waiting for, just expecting to be ranked on Google, maybe it’s not gonna happen. That’s why eighty percent of the time is advertising. It’s promoting that content. Make that content useful to others.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Awesome. Okay, great.

And you did mention advertising. So, I’ll change the subject to a topic that I really like right now. That’s privacy. And I’m just going to get the advertising hook and you’re probably following it. But there’s a lot of changes going on, right? iOS 14 blocking the ID share data between apps, you have the GDPR. The end of third-party cookies that they keep delaying, but will come at some point.

The most recent one – and that one was very impactful – is: Google announced they’re going to sunset Universal Analytics. I think a lot of people got really worried about this because of access to data. So, privacy has become a serious topic, right? It’s affecting advertising, it’s affecting some practices that are not cool, like buying lists, etc. a lot.

So, based on that, what do you believe are going to be the biggest changes when it comes to Marketing in this privacy-oriented world? And how can we act today to be ready for that?

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Good.

Actually, with the third-party changes that will be made, these are actually for advertisers. It’s going to be difficult to target large groups of people. It’s going to be difficult to see for other audiences, but we are returning to 2005. We’re returning to the past when we needed to create our buyer persona from zero and we need to focus more on our best products and our best services and build around that.

The thing here is that, basically, nothing bad is going to be happening for the user. For the marketers, there’s going to be a lot of work. They’re going to need to use more techniques, tactics, and actually, just do Marketing right. Because you cannot target a large group of people on Facebook. When you say, for this keyword, I want this location.

You’re not able to do that anymore on Google. But when you’re creating content, you’re going to be thinking more about the needs, the solutions, about these other aspects. For this situation that is going to be happening right now, with all the data privacy, we actually have to understand where the user is.

What is the path of the user? Even with anonymous data, you need to be studying a lot. Who is your user? Let’s go back to that time when you asked your user, the client that is coming to your office. What is it, the thing that you like most about my business? Why did you choose us? Why do you recommend us? Will you be willing to recommend us?

So, those questions most of the businesses are avoiding because they have data to answer those questions. So, nothing bad is gonna be happening for the users. For us, the marketers, we’re going to be having a lot of work to reach more people.

I remember at some point in Semrush, I was asked to find 5,000 new users. And I remember I asked: ok, what is the deadline? Tomorrow. So, one day to find 5,000 new users, right? Okay, with advertising, you can do that but the quality of the users, the knowledge that the users have of your product, you are missing all of that.

With this GDPR situation, you’re going to be willing, as a marketer, to understand your users better. Actually, you need to know them. In some cases, I remember in one conference in Spain, they were telling us that, in the upcoming years, you need to be willing to go to a bar with your users or your clients. You need to know what’s the name of their, I don’t know, of their pets or of their dogs. So that’s the approach that you need to have and this is actually supporting the first topic that we were talking about.

How can you be more human, right? We are just allowed to know something about the user, not everything as we do now. Right now, the amount of information that companies like Google have about one user is just too much. It’s just a lot for marketers. Again, it’s going to be a lot of work.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Awesome.

So, in your personal opinion, do you think that’s a positive thing or is a bad thing?

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Well, as a marketer, of course, it is something that I will love to skip. Not to have. But, as a person, well I remember when my wife was pregnant, we received a lot of ads around diapers for kids. And we were not even searching for that. So, we were thinking:oh my God, what is happening? How does Google or Facebook register this, and they know so much about me that they were offering me things that I didn’t even search for.

But, of course, we searched for clinical attention. We search for similar stuff, but we were just targeted as potential clients because they knew. They had all the information about that. In the next step there was: okay, my child was born, and I was not in need of diapers anymore. But the thing is: I was still receiving that even when I was not searching for that. So, the information that they have from me was not that accurate. I was searching for other stuff.

For the user, things are not going to be changing. For marketers, yes.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] You know it’s funny, that you gave the example of your wife being pregnant, because you know that one of the first famous cases about targeted advertising was because of a pregnancy at Target.

Because a teenage girl started getting coupons for baby stuff. Then. the father got really angry and said: you know what? Do you think that my little teenage daughter is pregnant?

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Oh, my goodness.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] According to the story, I think that was back in 2014, 2013. According to the story, he went to this store and said: that’s absurd. Why are you sending me this? Somebody like my little princess, whatever. Then he came back the next day and said: yeah, guys, you know what, you were right. Geez, there were some things happening in my house that I didn’t know about.

That is a very famous case from like, I would say, like eight years ago.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Yeah.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Yeah.

In the end, that’s gonna be positive because it’s good for the end-users. Over the last 10-15 years, we had a lot of people that got into Marketing but without understanding the core principles of Marketing, right? It was more like: I know how to operate a tool that is Facebook Ads and I get really good at it. So, I’m really good at putting in one dollar, and getting out three dollars.

But, that’s not actual Marketing, right? That’s hyper targeting, etc. But I think old stuff is coming back. I think branding, backlinking, being extremely relevant again, especially with zero-click searches on Google.

So, like, if you’re into Content Marketing, that’s great because that’s what I do, right? And of course, SEO is also great because you’re attracting people, you’re not relying on ad networks. You’re attracting people with good content.

Okay. Awesome.

Good topic. And now, for one thing that is a hot trend right now in the US and in Europe, in Brazil not so much. But, I would love to hear from you, it is about digital PR.

Right, so what can you explain to us, what is digital PR? Do you work with that?

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Of course, we have a large digital PR team. So basically, yes, we have a team that is working with data. They are creating our brand awareness based on data and they’re doing PR stuff. They are pitching material but the data that they are showing is provided by our tools.

In this case, we have a data-first approach when we are creating a story, let’s say. For example, this year, we are working with La Liga from Spain. La Liga, of football. They’re using our data to fight digital piracy.

When people are trying to watch a match from a pirate link, they’re using our data to identify the most popular sources from different parts of the world. Actually, in one single year, they were able to fight one million pirate websites with just the data. So this is a case where you could do that with a PR agency, but we have a PR team. We can promote this news to order resources through teaching.

We can create more content by interacting with other media outlets out there. This is generating for us a lot of really great backlinks. Yes, that was the first reason at the beginning. After that, we understood that, of course, in order to keep the attention, to catch the attention of decision-makers from corporations, for big companies, for big brands, we cannot rely only on Google. We need to go to PR outlets. We need to go to the media.

We need to have something on, let’s say, on Forbes. We need to have something on the Wall Street Journal or we need to have something on a certain media. So, with digital PR, what we were doing is basically common PR, pitching two outlets but with the help of the old outreach and pools.

Two years ago, we acquired a company called Prowly. This is a PR kit instrument that is helping PR professionals, journalists and also content marketers to create the space, and it’s like a CRM database for PR outlets.

So, you can connect to everyone. You can pitch your idea not only to one single PR media outlet, but to 100, or 200 and you have the possibility of doing that. So, basically, you’re going to be promoting yourself to the world thanks to data and online.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Got it.

And I think that one of the biggest changes compared to traditional PR is you have got to promote good content, right? It’s not only about yourself, I think. Like you said you were creating content about piracy related to La Liga.

Right, and then that even helped take down some websites. That’s cool.


Okay folks, for everyone who’s listening we already have a few questions here. We’re going to start taking questions in a few minutes, so please start sending them now. Before that I want to do a round of honest opinions, Fernando, about a few things.

What’s your honest opinion, topic number one, about Clubhouse.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Oh, my God.

I went so late to that one. I remember last year or two years ago, I was asking on my Facebook page: please, can I get an invitation to the Clubhouse? And the trend was already down. I entered there and, oh my God, I found a couple of people. Well, actually, I was very late. That was a hype, I believe that was a really interesting project that was over-hyped. In my personal opinion, I’m not an Apple user. I’m more of an Android user.

I like to change things. I like to work with that. So, that’s why I was late because the app was launched first on Apple devices only when they have a limited number of people. Well, limited, millions and millions, I know. But still some of the people were just outsiders. It was a hype, the expectation of, I believe, of the audience, was to have that, I don’t know, for years to come.

Because people were investing a lot of money, even for their IPO. I don’t know if Clubhouse got an IPO, or if it was acquired by someone. Who was the company that acquired it? I don’t know if it was Apple. I don’t think it was Apple, or something like that.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] No, it was, I don’t know. They raised a lot of money.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] They raised a lot of money, well, it was a lot of hype, a lot of attention to that. But me, as an Android user, I was really pissed about: Okay, I’m an outsider. Why? Because I have a Samsung Galaxy.

Sorry, but I’m not going to use that if I’m not allowed to go there. At the end of the day, they launched on Android, but the app was already down, so…

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Yeah, it was Twitter who… they didn’t acquire Clubhouse. They were in talks to acquire Clubhouse, I think.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Oh, okay.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Four billion dollars.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Yeah.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] But, in the end, Twitter just launched their own version of Clubhouse.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Oh, my God, yes. And it’s working, right?

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] And, it’s working. Yeah,

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Yeah.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] The SEO crowd loves that. I think, like I said, it was a big hype.

Okay, that was Clubhouse.


[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Oh, I believe it’s the future not only for engagement but also for music professionals, for banks, and for groups. If I want to hear something new and it’s not popular on TikTok, oh my God.

I say, well, what is the problem? It’s not popular for news, for information. Basically, if I check my answers right now, the time that I spend on YouTube compared to last year, now is on TikTok, the same amount of time.

So it’s a lot of attention that is out there and it’s a good place to have advertisements. But there, you need to be really special. You need to do really good stuff because people have only two options. They’re going to hate you, or they’re going to love you. And you need to create things that people are going to love, for your own brand.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Is Semrush on TikTok?

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Oh yes! For the last three months. And the things that we are doing there are really, really amazing.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] I haven’t checked it. I’m going to check this.

Okay. Awesome.

I also believe that it is the future, I’ve been studying it. We haven’t done it yet, but it’s interesting.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Well, you see short videos on TikTok, right? Then you see the Reels on Instagram. You see the short videos on YouTube. So, everybody’s copying but it’s not the same thing at the end of the day.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Yeah, that’s, well, Instagram has been copying a lot of people recently. [laughs]

Okay, so third opinion.


[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Oh, yes. It is something huge. I’m actually really into cryptocurrencies and NFTs. I believe it is a game-changer. Right now, the utilities that they have are limited because the market is still new right now.

We know that some guys were selling and buying NFTs for millions of millions of dollars, for like 500 Ethereum, or for more. And they’re still there but the price went down a little bit because they don’t have much utility right now.

Once we have, I don’t know, an NFT as a passport or NFT as, I don’t know, like some movie theaters in the US that have their NFTs. I believe AMC, they have their NFT tickets for The Batman right now. Oh my God, I want to have one of those. Not only for going to watch Batman, right, but because the NFT is such a cool thing.

For a concert, for example, this guy was named Bad Bunny. For the Bad Bunny concert, they had an NFT as tickets for their concert in Miami. So, that’s brilliant.

That’s the usage that they’re giving. Imagine, I don’t know, for the next, or for this year, the World Cup in Qatar, they’re going to be having an NFT as a ticket for NFT that you can preserve, for I don’t know how many years, for an eternity.

Because they’re going to last for a long time. That’s something very huge. The potential is not yet there. But there’s a lot of potential there if you are in the digital world, in Digital Marketing, even more, if you are in crypto, you need to have your NFT.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Awesome. Okay, and the last one, and you may have guessed it, your opinion on the metaverse.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Oh, yes, well, when this thing had started, I was not one of the first testers but I was investigating it. I tested it myself and I wanted to buy a digital property there. They are just too expensive right now. They are just crazy expensive but, at some point, I believe this is something that will, I don’t know, will become more popular in more and more projects if you have, I don’t know, your online brand. As I believe McDonald’s already did. I saw a Tesla outlet there for apps.

You need to be on the metaverse as well, as a brand. It’s a good opportunity for advertising, of course. It’s kind of expensive right now. I believe they’re going to be increasing the amount of, I don’t know, fields. I don’t know how to quantify the size of the metaverse. It’s quite big right now but still there are a lot of companies, people that are just buying profitable properties out there.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Awesome, okay, so those are the four topics I wanted to hear your opinion on. So, let’s go.

We have a few questions here. I think we have some time to answer some of them.

From Vanessa, she talks about interactivity and hyper-personalization, right? And she’s asking how can those two topics help engage and retain user attention as well as improve conversion rates? So, what is your take on interactive personalization, etc.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Well, hyper-personalization is good at the moment when you are doing that with a funnel. You need to have your funnel and you need to create content specifically for every stage of the funnel.

When you are at the top of the funnel, you need to attract people. The more attraction you create, the better. Always, I believe. But you need to create that attraction with, I will say this: you need to be very respectful with the people because there is a lot of, even these days, clickbait.

There are a lot of irresponsible topics that people like to create when they’re attracting people. If you want to attract people you need to follow the very simple rules of: first, you need to understand what the question that people are using to find your topics is. How are they questioning Google?

At some point, you need to realize that Google is always answering people’s questions. I remember John Mueller said in Brighton SEO in 2018 that Google turned from a search engine to an answer engine. So, they’re basically giving you the answer for everything.

Top of the funnel: cover it with a lot of questions you’re going to be receiving. As well, leverage these unique resources from Google that are called the SERP features. My favorite is, of course, the feature snippet, and then you will have the answer for the people. People also ask if you have images about your answer. That’s perfect. You will also be in the carousel of images. You just have to be even better to answer people’s questions.

After that, the next thing that you need to do is, you need to have the people’s attention. The second stage, you need to keep them informed about what you’re doing, about what solutions you have. So information on content here is really, really needed, and basically how-tos. How to use, I don’t know, the service that you have. How to use the product that you have, guides, tutorials, all those types of materials are really great for getting people more informed.

And the last one, make them an offer or give them something for free which is basically a really great strategy as well. How can you do this with data? Do the market research. Understand where the users are. How many users you have depends on your competitor’s content as well. Add your competitor’s products and services and you’re going to see the numbers.

I see that, for example, for X company, my competitors are reading these competitors’ contents but they are acquiring more products for this order. Something is happening in the market. These guys have created really brilliant content for attraction. But the ones that are taking the last sell points are the competitors. You need to enter and analyze those sites, take a look. What is the content?

What is the position of this content and then go to their URLs to their pages and see, okay, they are acquiring which products from this other company? And after that, which part of the market research where they are going after, after  they switch from one website to another website. They are going from a cart, to a payout place. They are going to, I don’t know, to other competitors you need to understand where they are going. That’s why you need to use data. That’s the real usage of data, understand where your users are going after they’re closing their web browser.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Okay.

So, I think what you said connects with another question so maybe you have answered that already. This is from Raphael.

In your opinion what’s most important when we’re talking about relevance and accuracy from the top to the bottom of the funnel? It’s related to what you just said, right?

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Yes. Yes, basically. Well, what’s the most important thing? When you have a funnel, a real funnel, you will see the real conversion rate. I don’t know the number these days but I remember how it was in 2018 before the pandemic. It was like 3 percent, 2.5 percent of the conversion rate of the funnel, which is very low.

I believe right now it must be higher for most countries. I mean in Europe, for example. I’m based in Prague, the Czech Republic. We saw that the conversion rate was around 1.5. That means that out of 100 people, only one and a half are gonna be buying from you. Which is really low right but you need to just take higher numbers. You don’t need 100 users, you need 10,000 users and your conversion rate is going to be growing. This is a number that you need to keep in your mind. What is the conversion rate right now for businesses like yours?

For example, you are, I don’t know, a restaurant, you are an energy company, you are a bank, what is the commercial rate for businesses like you? That’s why market research is so unique because you can have those numbers. Are you on the standard of that metric? Are you above that metric? Things are working better for you? If things are working better for you, you can think about expansion or internationalization.

If things are not working for you, you need to have something optimized. You need to work with others, with other channels. So in this case, the most accurate information that you have from your own business compared to other ones is going to be just aligning the data for your next steps in the market.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Okay. Great. Awesome.

So one last question, and from Marina.

When we talk about formats and sizes of content, what are the best practices and tendencies for 2022? Trends for 2022?

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] That’s a good question. Actually, that’s one of the points of data that we release, which is in the State of Content Marketing. Basically for 2022, the number one format of content is video and, as we were mentioning during the four questions, TikTok is a great platform.

It’s video, it’s very easy to use, and to consume it as a user. But, again, people are still reading a lot of stuff. They are working on their informational status on Google when they’re searching for something. So they want to be informed.

That’s why Google created these featured snippets which are basically paragraphs, lists, and tables. So, if you have content and you are creating a piece of content, it’s a good idea to create small paragraphs that are going to fit on your mobile device screen.

Nobody likes to read walls of content, just plain content, plain words, so create paragraphs with no more than 32 or 33 words. That’s the number that we took from the research we made: 32, 33 words, that’s enough. Then, you need to have a list on your content, number it, and an order list just with bullet points. For example, have at least one listing in your home page.

When you ask Google, you can just practice today as well. When you ask Google about, let’s say, what is the price of the gas right now in Portugal, Brazil, or in Spain, in any country. That you are going to be receiving a list or a table of content about that information. What is the weather, let’s say, in the Bahamas, right? You’re going to be receiving a snippet of the weather. What is the distance between, let’s say, Madrid and Paris? You are going to be receiving a map. Those are snippets that Google is creating to make life easier for the end-user. That’s the way you need to create content. Easy content that is going to be easy to consume for the end-user.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Awesome. Great, man.

Well, we finished exactly at six, so you’re a pro. Right on time.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Right on time.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Right on time. So, Fernando, once again, thank you very much for this interview, and for being here, bringing such valuable knowledge.

For everyone who’s watching us or listening to us, I hope you enjoyed it. So, how can people get in touch with you, Fernando, if they want to follow up, or contact you.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Well

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Your last words right after that.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Fantastic, if you have a question if you want to reach out to connect, use Linkedin first. Fernando Angulo. There are not so many. Actually, there are like 100 of them.

But, Fernando Angulo Semrush. It’s only me on Twitter again, on Instagram, on Facebook, everywhere. Actually, I have my TikTok page as well. So, yes, I’m basically everywhere. For any professional question, use a professional place such as Linkedin. And, of course, you can find my latest articles on the Semrush blog on semrush.com.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Awesome and hopefully you’re going to be back traveling all over the world again soon.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Oh yes. Starting this year.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Oh man, I missed that as well.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] I know.

[Vitor Peçanha Rock Content] Ok, Fernando. Thank you very much. Thanks, everyone. Bye. See you at the next jam session.

[Fernando Angulo – Semrush] Thank you.

Extra Content

The State of Content Marketing 2022

Semrush released a very detailed report with the most important trends in Content Marketing for this year. They surveyed 1,500 marketers and analyzed 500,000 blog posts, 200,000 tweets, and 500,000 content topics. It’s a pretty huge document.

There’s a lot of good insights in the report regarding performing content, optimization, niche industries, and a lot more. They even used their own tools as part of the methodology to gather data.

You can download the full report here.

The Golden Rule in Content Creation

Angulo mentioned a “golden rule” that states: you need to spend 80% of your efforts in promoting your content and 20% of your time and money on creating that content. That’s the Pareto Principle applied to content creation.

If you create a lot of content, but few people see it, you are wasting time and money. So it is a smart thing to apply this principle to your Marketing efforts.

These articles here and here go a little deeper into the whys and hows of the 80/20 rule in content creation.


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