Full Transcript of “SiteSell Presents: ENTREPRENEURSHIP with Guy Kawasaki, Mia Voss and Kenneth Manesse Sr.”
Mike: Hello everyone, welcome to the first episode of SiteSell Presents. I’m your host Mike Allton and today we’re talking about entrepreneurship. And I’m incredibly excited to be joined by three brilliant entrepreneurs. I’ll introduce each of them before I get to the questions for the panel but before I do, I’d like to remind all of you watching live that this is your big chance. If there’s something you’re hoping to learn or hear about entrepreneurship, leave a comment and we’ll try to get to it. With that, let’s say hello to our guests.
Mike: Guy Kawasaki is the Chief Evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool that I use every single day. Formerly an advisor to the CEO of Motorola and Chief Evangelist of Apple, he’s written 13 books including the Art of Social Media, Power Tips for Power Users, the Art of the Start, What the Plus, Google Plus for the Rest of Us, and Enchantment, the Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. Hello Guy, and welcome to the show.
Guy: Hi. Thank you for having me Mike.
Mike: My pleasure. And then we have Mia Voss. She’s a professional show host, interviewer, and video content brand host. She’s produced and appeared in over 300 programs and I have been fortunate to have been her guest on multiple occasions. Her energized interview style brings out her best in her guests, engages and entertains the audience, and always provides infotainment. Hello Mia, and welcome to the show.
Mia: Brother Mike Allton, how are you?
Mike: Fantastic. Good to have you here.
Mia: Good to be here, thank you. Congrats by the way, first show.
Mike: Thank you. Thank you very much. And then finally let me introduce Kenneth Manesse Sr. who is a micro-entrepreneur specialist with over 25 years of business experience. He’s provided help to small business owners and organizations to implement sustainable positive transformation and his approach with CEO’s, executives, managers, professionals, and start-up entrepreneurs gets them to realize personal success and profitability and join the 5%. Hello Ken, and welcome to the show.
Ken: Hey Mike, how you doing? This is exciting. Glad to be here.
Mike: Thank you, thank you very much. Great so now that we’re all introduced, let’s get to it. We’ll start off in a round-robin format giving you each a chance to get a swing at a question and I’m sure at the end we will have abandoned all form and format and throughout the time, certainly if there are questions from the audience I’ll be checking the comment tracker and if any of you see one come up that you want to take a swing at, just let me know.
Mike: So first, I’d love it if I…I mean the audience of course, could get to know each of you better as it relates to entrepreneurship. Can you tell us when it was when you first thought of yourself as an entrepreneur and what that meant to you? And Guy, we’ll just start with you.
Guy: Yeah, so I don’t have this great story that I had a lemonade stand at nine, and all that kind of stuff, and delivered papers and all that. I had a really sort of normal, if there is such a thing, a normal, lower-middle class upbringing. I probably really got hooked on the concept when I attended Stanford in Silicon Valley and when you come to Silicon Valley from Honolulu it’s kind of an eye opening experience. If you’re from Hawaii, you think you know, the top of the career in Hawaii is you manage a hotel or you manage a retail store or something and then you go to Hawaii and you see people running, I mean you go to California and you see people running Intel and National Semiconductorr and HP and all that and all your horizons open up. And so it’s probably at Stanford that I decided I wanted to start a company and join the Silicon Valley thing.
Mike: Cool, very cool, and Mia, how about you?
Mia: Dude really, you’re going to make me talk after Guy Kawasaki? I’m just going to sit here and like whatever he said. So I call myself an accidental entrepreneur. Definitely I think anything I’ve done has been like, oh that might be a good idea. I was working full-time. I started as an insurance agent when I was 18 and I actually loved that industry. I thought it was so fun and then I moved to New York City and got kind of distracted by shiny bright lights like you do when you’re in your 20s. And then when I moved out to Colorado in ’95, dabbled a little bit working in the architecture industry, more as more of an admin type of thing, and then this accidental job came together of me becoming a building inspector, which I still do by the way. I remove the tiara and I put on a hard hat, seriously. Yeah, guess that one, right Guy? But that business, they just kept hiring me back. “We know you’re picky and you type fast.” Why don’t you come with us on these job sites and help us pick out flaws in buildings?
Mia: And I started doing that in 2001 and finally in 2003 when I kept getting hired consistently, I said all right this must be it. But I also figured out after the crash in 2009, that I really was just more a well-paid sort of employee because I didn’t have a business plan in place that actually worked while I wasn’t working. So I was working my ass off going to job sites and all these cool places and I had a little bit of a business plan set up, so that was kind of when I knew I was an entrepreneur, was when I started getting hired consistently, if that makes sense.
Mike: Cool, all right, and Ken?
Ken: Well, living in Southern California, it’s all about catching waves and not that I’m a surfer or even pretend to surf but what ended up happening way back in the 80s, there was this huge wave that started and I was just lucky enough to get on the wave. The wave was, at the time, auto-detailing. And in Newport Beach, California this guy opens up, (look at Guy he’s laughing he knows what I’m talking about), this guy called Steve’s Auto Detailing opens up right on PCH down in Newport Beach, and this huge wave starts. And I get this friend that gives me a call, hey listen, I’ve got this Honda Prelude. Now if you can even remember what those Honda Prelude trunks were, they were about the size of, you know, a small, small suitcase, so out of the back of his car, we started auto-detailing. And that wave literally was the thing that kind of pushed me into entrepreneurship and it was really at that time, I was like, man, I really love this stuff. I really love doing this kind of work and that was the beginning for me and literally after a couple years of getting that mobile auto-detailing into a permanent location and really starting to see how business works, I got bit by the bug. So, for me, it was that first wave that I caught. That’s how I got started in this whole entrepreneurship and then for the next five years I tried to learn how to spell entrepreneurship. I mean that’s a hard word to spell, let’s be honest.
Mike: More of those French words.
Mia: It’s that “eu” that gets you every time, right?
7:30 – Should Entrepreneurs Crowdsource Financing?
Mike: It’s interesting because the one thing I didn’t hear any of you say was, well I just went to Kickstarter and floated an idea and got $25,000 and that’s how I started my business. What do you think about that? It seems to be all the trend these days, come up with an idea and get some money before you have a real business. Do you think that’s a good idea? Do you think that’s a recipe for long-term success?
Guy: I think it’s fantastic. I think Kickstarter and Indiegogo are great developments. It removes barriers. It democratizes fundraising. It’s non-dilutive. It proves that people want to eat the dog food, not just invest in future dog food, and I think that because of the lower cost of entrepreneurship with cloud-based computing, free tools, open-source, social media, it’s much easier and faster and cheaper to start a company and for the several hundred thousand dollars you might need, Kickstarter and Indiegogo is a much better was for most people than venture capital.
Ken: I also believe that what Peter Drucker says, “The purpose of a business is to create a customer.” And on these platforms you can immediately find out in the marketplace if this is a viable product or service. And before you empty your 401, borrow all the money from your relatives, you get an opportunity to really take a look at the marketplace and say is this idea viable? And let’s face it. If you can get people to say they’re willing to pay for that, then you’ve got a customer started and then it’s just about the launch.
Mia: And I’ll tip in on that too. I think the only caveat I would add though is that I think people just have to make sure that they’ve got the purpose down because the only thing that I was kind of like “mmm” when you asked that question was at times it can just seem, you don’t really go through the pain of having skin in the game so to speak, so I just think you have to make sure that you’ve really got your purpose down and okay, this is what I want to do. But I do also like the idea that you can fail without as much, like losing your 401k and things like that. And on the other part of it too I like is that with everybody else having skin in the game, they’re watching you, and they’re like hey, are you on the up and up? Are you doing this the right way? And they can give you good feedback on it too.
10.00– What Challenges Do Entrepreneurs Face Today?
Mike: Yeah no doubt. Now Guy and Ken, you both mentioned some of the things that are different today like there’s availability of cloud and other internet social media things that are available to entrepreneurs, what do you think are some of the unique challenges that entrepreneurs face today that maybe they didn’t face ten or even five years ago?
Guy: I’ll let my colleagues go first. I need to think.
Mia: I think visibility. The same thing I was just saying, right now you have this visibility and you have…I actually got to talk before Guy! I’m actually going to soak this up for a second… I think visibility has allowed you to have a lot more transparency. We didn’t have that as much so you could sort of fail quietly without as much fanfare except for the people around you. So I would say that, more than anything, you’re kind of out there than it used to be when you could just have this quiet thing. But on the flip side you’ve got the bull horn that you could use to just blast that out when you’re doing really well.
Ken: And there’s no doubt about it. You’ve got to be marketing in the times that we live in. And for any business to thrive in today’s marketplace, you’re going to have to, not only consider, but make part of your plan social. I mean, Mike you and I have talked and we’ve gone at lengths with ZMOT [Zero Moment Of Truth] and why it is that people buy now and more importantly, the landscape in which we get out information, we actually find the product or service that is the right product and service. It’s all about now who you know and who’s got the product. Obviously people still buy from people, so being social and having your social platform set up for success is key in these times that we live in.
Mia: Preach it.
Mike: Guy, are you there? We don’t have a video feed for you.
Guy: Yeah I’m here. I don’t have anything valuable to add. I have meaningless crap I could add, nothing valuable.
Mia: Your meaningless crap is other people’s treasure though Guy, you know?
Guy: If I could only monetize meaningless crap.
12:37– How Can Entrepreneurs Keep Focused Every Day?
Mike: Well it’s been said that what gets scheduled gets done and I know Mia is fond of talking about GSD [Get Stuff Done]. So what if anything, do you do to keep focused and productive each day?
Mia: A lot of alcohol. It’s really great. Just kidding – I think meditating, how about you guys? I start with that.
Ken: Well I’m a fan of, if it’s not in writing, it doesn’t exist. So, everything that I do is about capturing it first in writing. And for me that’s the start point for everything I do. A number of years ago I was introducing to the idea of you plan the work, and then work the plan. And if you don’t have a plan in writing, there’s nothing to work. You’re just flying by the seat of your pants. It’s about being very intentional and for me it’s about being very purposeful with the work that I do so for me, it’s at the very beginning, you’ve got to have it in writing. And I’m not talking about a business plan because at the end of the day, a business plan you may need if you can prove that your business is profitable but you need to be very strategic in marketing and also in your intentions each day about the work that you’re doing. So that’s my two cents.
Mia: I love strategic plans and then the process maps that comes with it. I’m a huge nerd for process. That doesn’t mean I’m always into doing it but I like having it written out. I had to have a process for Google Hangouts because they were so intricate that having this process map that I could just do, boom, boom, boom, and get through. Evernote has been awesome for me. And Mike, every time we’d had those shows about tools (drink), we loved it. Because everybody has these different tools you could use and everybody’s brain works differently so it’s good to hear what works for them. Evernote I absolutely love and I know you too.
Mike: Yeah, I’m in Evernote every day because blogging obviously is really important to me. Every idea that I have for a blog post or great idea I have for a marketing strategy, a campaign that I want to run, it all goes into Evernote and kind of evolves from there.
Guy: Well I hate to tell the three of you but I’m just like the total opposite of all of you. I have nothing written down. I have no plan. I operate kind of totally ad-hoc.
Guy: After the third email from somebody I finally get around and do it. What keeps me on track at all is that I have four children and two are in private school and two are in college so that I know every day I have four tuitions. And that just keeps me going.
Mia: That’s called an incentive plan, Guy.
Guy: That’s right, that’s right. When my kids are all gone, God help me because I’m really not going to do anything.
15:36– What Or Who Do You Read On Entrepreneurship?
Mike: That’s funny. One of the things that people tell me every day that I’m supposed to be reading. I’m supposed to be reading articles, blogs, books, what do you guys think about that? Are there particular entrepreneurs within the entrepreneurship field that you like to read? Do you think that’s a good idea?
Ken: I’ll take a jump on that because a long time ago I was introduced the idea that leaders are learners. And as soon as you stop learning, you stop leading. And so some 20 years ago, one of my coaches told me, “Listen Ken, you need three things; you need to follow thought leaders.” And that’s one of the reasons why I started following Guy Kawasaki. And then he said you need to talk to your mentors. And third, you need to hire a coach if you want to get some traction fast. So thought leaders, mentors, and coaches and always be learning. That’s for me one of the things that I’m just so consumed with and that is what are thought leaders saying? What is Guy saying? And I follow his stuff. I mean, I want to be in the know. So and then for me, mentors, people who are having success in my industry, in my field; I’m talking to them on a regular basis. And then if I ever get stuck or if I needed to get to the next level, hire a coach. Those are the three things that I’m making sure I’m always doing.
Mia: Spend some money on yourself, right?
Ken: Best investment in town.
Mia: Hey Guy, just to let you know, everybody on the Periscope says he’s got Peg Fitzpatrick. He’s going to be just fine. That’s from Ileane Smith.
Guy: That’s true. I was going to say that. So much of my efforts have to do with social media and so much of my social media has to do with filling the content, feeding the content monster, so every day I need to find a lot of good stories so I am reading veraciously. I am reading my Facebook timeline, my Google+ timeline; I have Alltop organized by specific topics. Almost everything NPR puts out, I think it re-shareable. So as a result of my need to fill the content monster, feed the content monster, I am reading veraciously. It’s all I ever do really.
Mia: I read The Martian because of you by the way.
Guy: Isn’t that a great book?
Mia: That’s amazing and they’re putting out the movie too. I remember, that was last year when you were on the show and you’re like read The Martian and boom. I got right into Amazon and read it.
Guy: No kidding, The Martian, I think I enjoyed that book more than any other book in my life, really. I hate to tell Shakespeare and all these other people but man, The Martian is the one that really. I love that book.
Ken: Guy, for the people who don’t know, talk about APE for a minute because that’s right on point for the show too.
Guy: So APE is a book that I wrote. It’s called Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur. And it’s basically, I self-published a couple books and I learned so much about self-publishing that wasn’t really out there, documented. So with Shawn Welch we co-wrote a book about how to self-publish a book. Not just write it, not just publish it, but also market it and it really helped a lot of people because the publishing business in very much in flux, completely democratized also. Now you don’t have to suck up to New York publishers. I mean, you can publish your own book. And that is a really great thing. I mean, that’s like, everybody has a printing press now. It’s not just Gutenberg. It’s a whole new world out there.
Ken: And Mike, just to piggyback on that, what Guy said, at a 30,000 foot view, I started to learn very quick in business and that is this: I didn’t have time to start to question with how. I really needed to start to question with who. And like Guy said, when I started a question with how, how did I do this? How do I learn this? I figured this all out and when I pivoted my question it started with who.
Ken: Who’s already doing this? Who knows how to do this in this space? Who are the people that are finding success? And then start following them or like, when Guy put the book out, I was the very first one that asked to be part of the tribe that was able to look at it and stuff like that, because I wanted to know what he had learned. I wanted to figure out, okay, he’s already figured it out, he’s already spent the time, energy, and effort. Now I can capitalize on that and because of who, looking for the people in the industry that have already done that, I can find entrepreneurship and speed up a lot faster instead of trying to figure it all out. I just don’t have time anymore. I mean I’m 50 years old but that’s a different story altogether. But if I could figure out who first before how, it’s a quick way to success.
Guy: Seriously, how do you figure out who though because there are a lot of people who are full of shit and nobody exactly says I’m full of shit. Everybody says they’re an expert, so how do you separate the experts from the full of shit people?
Ken: Isn’t that a good one? First of all…
Guy: Because I might be full of shit. I might have fooled you.
Ken: Well to go back to the idea of thought leaders, mentors, and coaches; my mentors are the ones that have literally over the years have been the reason why I’ve found any success. I’m not the smartest person in this room. There’s no doubt about it. What I like to say is the only grade I got straight A’s in was kindergarten. So after that it was all downhill but I learned early on in entrepreneurship how to ask the right questions. And how to ask the right question was, who is finding success in this and who can I learn from going back to leaders or learners. And knowing that thought leaders like yourself, and Guy I consider you a thought leader because you have not only the knowledge but you have the experience. And those two things, you know a lot of people have knowledge without experience so they can… it’s the kind of people that use the words but you’re in the wrong context. The people that have the experience are those that have the knowledge and the experience. So to answer your question, I look for those two things, track record, obviously, the experience of people that have been in business, that know how business works, that are operating in business right now because things happen so fast, and change happens so fast. The people that are still in business right now are seeing the things that are happening, marketing, social, all of those things, so for me, to answer your question Guy, it’s about experience and knowledge and I look for those two things.
Mike: I couldn’t have written and published APE last year. As a first-time author, who would have bought it? They’re buying it from somebody who’s got a dozen books under his belt and they’re like okay yeah, he obviously knows what he’s talking so that makes sense.
Mia: I loved Enchantment [“Enchantment, the Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions” by Guy Kawasaki]. Can I jump in on that too? The way I choose to, because a lot of people just love to share things that are just based on it’s kind of cute, wow I just want to share it just to get the attention of the influencer that’s written the content, but what I go for is my A-listed people like you Mike and all of you guys. I love following what you’re doing so I’m kind of going to my small team of people. I love their style that they have anyway so if they’re reading, Yifat Cohen, I kind of follow where she’s going, so it’s a little bit of cheating but it’s more like if these are what my friends and my influencers and my A-team people are reading, that’s who I want to follow and they don’t have time for the bullshit. So they’re going to be reading people that they love their content.
23:58– How Do Entrepreneurs Acquire New Customers?
Mike: Right, and like I said before, that’s exactly why we’re here because I know you guys know what you’re talking about and the audience wants to learn from us. It’s kind of that short-cut that Kenneth was talking about. Along those lines, Nicholas Cardot had a question, let me see if I can bring it up here, he says, “What are your primary marketing strategies for your online businesses? How are you acquiring new clients or customers?”
Mia: Work in progress. WIP.
Ken: Well I think it’s all about the move, isn’t it? I mean, if you’re going to be in business, you’re moving people and if you’re using social, the idea of social is moving people. It’s about moving them from the relational to the transactional. And that’s what a lot of the things that we see that people who are having success with social do and that is they are not doing social, they’re being social and that process. I mean at the end of the day, people still buy from people.
Ken: So we buy from people we know, like, and trust. We’re on social media platforms where it’s following again, the know, like, and trust and those are the people we’re going to buy from. So for me, it’s really about am I providing and we can all go through this. We’re providing value. That’s one of the things about social. Are we giving something that is more than just our opinion but based on our experience? Are we communicating, “Hey listen, this does work.” This book APE is going to help you solve that problem. That’s why you need to check it out and buy it. So that’s for me how social works. It’s about the move.
Mia: I think it’s definitely also the authenticity that you bring so if you’re always being very clear about you’re not blowing smoke up anybody’s ass, because, I can say that, right Mike? Because I just did. You’re always going to be very authentic and if you’re a cheerleader for something you’re going to be really consistent about it and then you do have the know, like, trust factor. I love that though moving from relationship to transactional. That is a little bit of a slippery slope so I think there’s also something to be said for always having a consistent message, what it is that you do, and then you can kind of ebb and flow with what’s popular. Like right now we’re doing Periscope and we’re doing these different things of trial and error just to see what works to get attention, get your message out there without being too promotional. That’s a balance.
Mike: Guy, do you have anything to add?
Guy: Yeah for me, the question started off with about getting customers and stuff. And for me social media is just such a game changer because it’s basically fast and free and it’s everywhere and it’s also a meritocracy because you could be a Fortune 500 brand and you really can’t buy social media credibility. Now don’t get me wrong, paying for Facebook promotion is effective and obviously the deeper pocket can promote more, but unless you want to cross the line and start buying likes and followers, it’s all about the quality of your posts. And I think that is a good thing because I could never buy a Super Bowl commercial but I bet you I can post better than most people who are running Super Bowl commercials. So that’s why I love social media. I think it’s such the great equalizer.
27:32– Final Advice For SiteSell Customers And Online Entrepreneurs
Mike: That’s an excellent point. At SiteSell, every one of our customers are entrepreneurs. They’re all working hard to build a business for themselves and kind of transform their corner of the Internet. So what final advice would you have for someone today given the incredible amount of choices that we were just talking about, the opportunities that people have to create and build a business online.
Ken: That’s a tough one. I’ll take a swing at it. You know, at the end of the day when we buy something and we take the money out of our pocket, that hard earned dollar that we spent all week earning, we want to know that we’re giving it to somebody or for a product or service that is really going to give us the benefits of that. And if you’re going to launch out into business, the one thing that I say that you need to be an expert about is your buyer. And when you become an expert of your buyer, you’re really knowing that your product or service really just fits them and really gives them value, really gives them something that is going to solve their problem, that is really going to at the end of the day change their life, then you’ve done something with your life and your business that so many people hope for and that is, to coin a phrase, ding the universe. You literally have…
Guy: Ken, Ken, Ken, it’s not ding – dent.
Ken: Dent – sorry. I’m an Android guy, sorry. Anyways, it’s really about… your business is not about you, it’s about your customers, about solving their problems and giving them benefits. That at the end of the day, if you become an expert on your buyers and really know them and can really solve their problem and give them a huge amount of value, your products give the benefits that you say that they do, then you can really do something in this space of entrepreneurship that can not only benefit you and your family, and your lifestyle, and leave a legacy
Ken: but at the end of the day really causes people to say, you know what, Mike Allton has the products and the services that are genuine, authentic, and really do work. I recommend that people go to SiteSell and start there because that, at the end of the day, is what this is about and you’ve done your homework Mike. We know that. We’ve talked about that, and more importantly, we know that the product is going to do and deliver on its promise. So that’s for me, what I see it as.
Mia: Boom. I like that.
Mike: Guy, anything to add there?
Guy: No, what else can I say? I think it’s all about empowering people and that’s what I want to do. That’s why I live. So I want to empower people with my writing, my books, my presentations, and let everything else get sorted out at the end. But that’s what I do.
Mia: So I’ll go on a take on what Kenneth said and make it even more simple. I think if you can figure out what lights you up, I mean figuring out that I had to have fun in everything that I do really made my life a lot easier and then if you can match that, what lights you up and what’s your Big Why or your big pain-point or something you saw with other people, you’re winning. I mean that’s my boiled down, dumbed-down version of it.
31:33 – What Our Guests Are Working On And Where To Find Them
Mike: Great, no that’s fantastic just from everyone. So what I’d like for each of you to do is just share real quick before we leave what it is that you’re working on today and where people can find you and what they should do. And Guy, why don’t you go first?
Guy: Yeah, so right now I’m the Chief Evangelist of a company called Canva out of Sydney, Australia. It is an online graphics design service. So think of it as a fast, free, and easy version of Photoshop. Basically we’ve created all kinds of designs and templates in advance and when I started my career in the Macintosh division [at Apple], I was trying to democratize computing. And now, I’m going to end my career democratizing design. So I want to enable people to create great designs quickly and cheaply. That’s what I do.
Mike: It is really is awesome. I mean you can look at this show, this whole series – every graphic I made with Canva, and I’m not a graphic designer.
Guy: Oh really? Cool.
Mike: Because, yeah, you put me in front of Photoshop and three days later it wouldn’t get any better.
Mia: Canva was made for you and me Mike.
Mike: It was. Thank you Melanie [Perkins, founder of Canva]. Ken, final thoughts?
Ken: Yeah, it was interesting. I was sitting here listening to Guy a minute ago and going back to this thought about leaders are learners and stuff, one of the things I heard Guy say and it was interesting because when I think of leaders, here is the thing that I recognize in leaders and that is that they have the ability to inspire you. And it was interesting as Guy was kind of talking, he talked about that. And so if people are not following Guy, obviously they need to but it’s interesting that he said that he looks to do just that. Figure out ways to inspire more, to help more people, and those are the kind of people that you really want to have as a thought leader, have as a mentor, hire as a coach, because they are the people who are going to invest in you. And that’s important for any business. For me, I didn’t know a lot about entrepreneurship. I shared that I caught a wave but hey, let’s face it. At the time I was young. I was just 18 years old. I really didn’t understand business. I really didn’t even understand what was happening. It was happening so fast. And now fast forward 30 years, having five different businesses in four different industries. I’m starting to see that for the first time, now at 50, how business works and to me that’s the key. So many people get into the driver seat and think they are It. Turn on the radio, get the window down, look at me, I’m an entrepreneur. And one of the things that happened to me, and again, my story was that I got into the driver’s seat too soon and I really didn’t understand how business worked. I was focusing in on marketing, what we call the two big gauges, the marketing and the profit growth, kind of like your RPM’s and your miles per hour. But I didn’t know about the other five gauges that for me were more important and if anybody has had kids, and have taught their kids how to drive, you know you’re going to get the telephone. “Hey dad, the car doesn’t start. It’s not moving. It’s making these weird sounds.”
Ken: That was my big ‘aha’ because I realized then that how business works, those five other gauges like you think about your car, the five gauges that really are going to help get you to your destination, your gas gauge, your water gauge, your oil gauge, your alternator gauge, all those things are really the five things that are more important and what we see now is over the last twenty years that entrepreneurs that understand how business works, that understand the five things, we call them the five mindsets. They’re the ones that join the 5% faster. So this is what I do now. I help entrepreneurs understand strategic, systemic, inspirational, duplication, and service style leadership, so that their business cannot just start but thrive. At the end of the day Mike, 70% of our economy is ran from micro-entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs that have one to five employees. And for a lot of entrepreneurs, they kind of get stuck there. They want to get to the next level but they’re stuck there, so we help them transition out of the micro into the small business and so if you want to have a hundred or five hundred employees, you can make that shift. So that’s what I’ve been doing and that’s what I love and I also love Canva because we use that for all of our clients and for everything I do to because again I’m not the smartest person in the room and I don’t have time to learn Photoshop either so I love the product Guy, good job.
Guy: Thank you. I didn’t mean to turn this into a Canva commercial.
Mike: That’s okay.
Mia: We’re all “Canvangelists” Guy.
Guy: Thank you.
Mike: So Mia, what are you working on and where can people find you?
Mia: I am working on three things so as you guys know, I actually am doing video as based on doing two years of shows so I’m putting together short, fun, interview-style videos for clients who are afraid to get in front of the camera because you know that’s the number one fear, is speaking in front of a crowd. A version of that is video. And then I’m also helping people set up their own broadcast now with the “How to Give Great Video” product which is fun. And then speaking of 50 and so apart of my 50 in 2015 right here, I am doing “Mia on the Go” so I’m launching a new website, which is Mia on the Go. I’m spending a month down here in Austin, eating and drinking my way through Austin and having experiential adventures and I’ll be putting out interviews and Periscopes for the people that I talk with and then I did Italy for three weeks about two months ago and that was fun and I think I’m going to La Hoya. So I’m kind of going, I’m doing an RV trip from Denver to Toronto and it’s just Mia on the Go, so that’s it.
Mike: But you’re not actually in Greece now?
Mia: I’m not actually in Greece but what was fun is I was able to create a product that I can take with me because I can do videos for clients using Google Hangouts because I can still be me on the go and still make my money because momma loves shoes.
Ken: Hey Mike, can I just say something? I know we’re obviously here on for SiteSell but what Mia said was so important. If people didn’t hear that and that is that marketing in the times that we live in, video is so important. And if somebody is struggling with that, reach out to Mia. She’s got a handle on that and she really understands it, she gets it, and more importantly, I’ve done some work on the back side of stuff, and I’ve seen Mia work and worked with some of the stuff that she’s done, and that is important for business, to get out there, kind of like Guy was saying. The C-suite is no longer behind the curtain or up in an Ivory tower. It’s being social. It’s being attainable. And video does that so for those entrepreneurs that are thinking about what step they need to go with social, contact Mia. I mean it’s important for business. It really is.
Guy: So my tip on top of that tip is if you’re going to do video, be sure you upload it natively to Facebook. Don’t just upload it to YouTube and embed your YouTube video in Facebook. You should upload natively… you’re disagreeing?
Mia: No I’m like, yeah, preach on it. I love that it counts as a view after three seconds, Guy.
Guy: From my experience, is that if you upload a video to Facebook natively versus embed the same video via YouTube, it’s like four or five times better in terms of Reach if you upload natively.
Mia: It is and I’ll tip on the tip, you also should upload it to your business page and you can add a call-to-action on it and then share it to your personal page. Boom, good tip.
Mike: Cool, well this has been fantastic. That’s it for the show. I want to humbly thank you guys, Guy, Mia, Ken; you’ve been so generous in sharing your time and wisdom and I also want to thank everyone in the audience for listening and I hope you’ve learned as much as I have and I want to just invite you to join us next Monday when I’m going to be here with Demian Farnworth, Wade Harman, and Kevan Lee, to talk about one of my favorite topics, writing and blogging. All right!
Guy: And Bane wants to say goodbye too.
Mike: Goodbye Bane. Thanks everybody.
Mia: I love him.
If You Prefer To Use Video It,s All Here
Full Transcript of “SiteSell Presents: WRITING / BLOGGING with Demian Farnworth, Wade Harman and Kevan Lee”
Mike: Hello everyone, welcome to the second episode of SiteSell Presents. I’m your host Mike Allton and today we’re talking about writing and blogging. And I couldn’t be more excited to be joined by these three brilliant writers. I’ll introduce each and then we’ll get into some questions for the panel but before I do, I’d like to remind all of you watching live that if you leave a comment with a question on the event page, we’ll try to get to it during the show. With that, let’s say hello to our guests.
Mike: Demian Farnworth is the chief copywriter at Copyblogger. His main gig is to write web copy that conquers the web’s two main problems: obscurity and neglect. And he may be one of the last remaining St. Louis Rams fans. Hello Demian and welcome to the show.
Demian: Thank you, thank you Mike, appreciate it.
Mike: My pleasure.
Demian: I’ll follow them out to LA if that’s where they end up. That’s where they started.
Mike: Wade Harman is a full-time social media marketing blogger. He has a psychology degree and he uses it to help people create action from their updates on social media. Hello Wade, and welcome to the show.
Wade: Hey thanks so much for having me on the show Mike. And I am a Rams fan as well.
Mike: Are you? I didn’t know that.
Wade: I’m on the bandwagon, yep.
Mike: Didn’t I convert you into a Cardinal’s fan when you were up here?
Wade: You did, you did, I started watching them and was like yeah I love them.
Mike: Awesome, awesome – and finally Kevan Lee is the content-crafter of Buffer. This is where he shares his best actionable advice on content marketing, his favorite writing tips, and his top time-saving tools. Hello Kevan, and welcome to the show.
Kevan: Hi Mike, thanks for having me and I’ll say I’m a Blues fan. I don’t know if that counts but it’s something from St. Louis.
Mike: All right, we’ve got a lot of St. Louis connections here today. Awesome, so now that we’re all introduced let’s get to it. First, I think it would be great if each of you took a moment to share with us a bit more about yourselves. When did you realise that you had a knack for wielding the written word? And whoever would like to go first.
Demian: Wade likes to go first.
Wade: Oh man, okay I’m the least among all these people in this Hangout. My name is Wade Harman. I used to be a coal miner out here in Southwest Virginia, and I hurt my knee and couldn’t really work. The only thing I knew how to do was coal mine, so I started seeing that people could make money with blogging, so that’s how my journey started. And here I am today, I like to write for the reader and we all say that yes we need to write for the reader but it’s not only writing – it’s in the building of the relationships and I learned a lot whenever I first started my first blog, and I made up a lot of mistakes. So bad that I just killed that blog and started WadeHarman.com. So from there I just started building from what I knew. I mean, I’m literally learning this as I go, and I’ve followed great writers like Demian and Kevan for a long time. There was a point in my career where I just literally watched Demian and what he did and the way he wrote so I could make myself better. And I think it’s all about learning from each other too so, that’s about me in a nutshell.
Kevan: Yeah I can piggyback off of that to say that I spent some time watching Demian too and just kind of observing from the sidelines and learning. My story began probably back in high school when I started my own school newspaper using Microsoft Publisher and printing it on a copy machine in the office and just very much a creative outlet for me that really kind of sparked my interest in writing. I followed the writing down the journalism angle and went to school, studied journalism, and it was right around the time the newspaper industry was changing quite significantly so I hopped off of that and I took my passion for sports online and I started this very snarky, silly, dumb sports blog that was a wonderful, wonderful time for me and a chance to kind of learn on the fly and experiment and then it kind of went from there. I transitioned slowly into networking and getting connections with people in the SaaS space and the blogging space and grateful for the chance to learn from lots of cool people out there and fortunate to come on to Buffer and be where I am now.
Demian: So it’s an honor to be with these two guys because they may have borrowed from me but I clearly borrowed from them too because they are very talented writers and I enjoy watching them just grow and get better and the traction that they get. And it’s a real treat, man. It’s a treasure to watch people come in and enjoy what I enjoy doing and watch other people do it too.
Demian: I’m always honored when someone borrows my stuff because it’s not about my success; it’s about everybody just doing something. I always feel honored when that happens. I think I enjoyed writing poetry back in high school but I wasn’t very good at it like most people and it wasn’t until I was probably 25 that somebody told me that what you do as far as writing is not something like normal, most people can’t do that. It’s something you do well and special. And so at that point I was like okay, so I decided to go back to school and I told my counsellor, I said hey, just give me a program where you write a lot and you read a lot. She said English Literature. I said great, I’ll do that and I loved it. I actually did pretty well at it. I thought okay well after I graduate I need to find a career and I had a good friend who had a marketing agency and he hired me on and introduced me to direct-response copywriting and at that point I fell in love with it. And that was back in 2001 and I never looked back since.
Wade: I will agree that when you said most people can’t write the way you write, I will definitely agree with that.
Mike: Yeah, there’s no doubt about that. So when the three of you, each one of you individually, when you need to start writing or you need to write a particular blog post, is there a process that you follow and if so, can you share that with us?
Demian: I like to do a ton of research and just sort of whatever the assignment is go and just over prepare for it and once I reach a point of saturation, sit down and then take my notes, compile all my notes, put them on a whiteboard, and then take my laptop and set it down in front of the whiteboard and then start writing a rough draft from there. And then using the whiteboard to jog my memory and keep me on-path and stuff like that.
Wade: One of the things I like to do is do a lot of listening and most of you that are on Google+ and are following me on Google+ will see that I get into a lot of conversations and that’s the way I want to learn how to write my blog posts. If somebody needs help with something or if somebody is asking different questions then I will find what they need and then I will take that and I will search for it on Google, and if there is a way, if there is a couple answers; I think actually Buffer has this in a blog post somewhere. But there’s like an example, Kevan correct me if I’m wrong, so you have your idea for a blog post and then you go search for it on Google and then the diagram says, is there an answer for it on Google, if no, write the post. If yes, then reformat that answer into the way your readers can use that. And so basically that’s one of the things I like to do when I write. And also another great tip I learned from Buffer is the before and the after and the bridge. So the before is, here’s your world so take what they need help with and the opening part of that blog post, you start to say here is your world. This is what you’re doing right now and then the after is what it’s like after the whole problem has been solved and resolved. And then the ending [bridge] will be how to get there. And I do a lot of whiteboards as well and got this from Demian, I believe there is a post that talks about how to set this up in storyboard form and so most of the things that I do, I’m following these guys. And it’s a good way, and one of the ways you can get to that point is through conversation. You have to start somewhere, start with the person.
Kevan: That’s awesome. Your whiteboards sound cool; I might have to get one. I like that. For me kind of what I heard, a bit from Demian and Wade too was, for me there is a bit of a marinating process for ideas. I find that it’s rarely that I will have an idea and then sit down and write that idea that same hour, that same day even. Typically an idea comes up, it goes onto a Trello board, it sits there for a while. My subconscious kind of turns it over as I’m doing other activities and then all of a sudden it will hit me, like oh I can take that angle or I can go this route with it.
Kevan: So then I’ll hop back into Trello, I’ll look back at all the ideas with my eye again, add them to the weekly list and then just go from there. So for me at least, it helps to have some time to mull things over, either consciously or subconsciously. I just have them present in my mind.
Demian: Kevan, Kevan you can build a beautiful 4×8 whiteboard just at Lowes, buy a real thin sheet of a shower wall, and then a real thin sheet of plywood and then you can just drill straight into it and build a little thing. Do not pay for a real one. You can do that. It works perfectly fine.
Kevan: I love it, cool project.
Demian: You can clearly do it smaller than that.
Kevan: Is that the size yours is?
Demian: Yeah, 4×8.
Wade: I was talking to Mike before we started about whiteboard paint and when you mentioned Lowes’ name I thought you were going to mention that. That’s what I’m going to do my whole wall.
Mike: A massive whiteboard. Yeah I think it’s interesting because we’re all talking about how we’ve been drawing off each other. Demian you wrote a blog post some time ago, I don’t know how long but you talked about your scratch pad and how you make notes and that sort of thing and that’s a process that I adopted. I use Evernote to blog but most of the time now when I start a new blog post, I’ll give myself some space at the bottom and scribble a little bit and then start adding notes into Evernote and refer back to that as I write the post and make sure I hit all the points that I originally thought of.
11:42 – Is It Ok To Follow And Emulate Other Bloggers?
Mike: But what’s really interesting is someone is listening in and they’re thinking well these guys are just copying off each other. But you read any one of our blog posts, they all sound totally different. Even if we were writing on the same topics, these blog posts come across very differently so I want to make sure everyone listening understands it’s okay to follow along with other bloggers and learn from them and try to adopt some of their processes and techniques and then just make it your own.
Wade: Yeah I would like to follow up with that. Demian, I sat and I studied his writing for months and to this day I’m still not where I need to be with my writing but learning from other bloggers, learning their writing styles and Demian was the one that showed me you need to make some short sentences. Long sentences are harder to read. So it took me a while to get out of that. Why can’t I write a long sentence or a long paragraph? So he showed me how to shorten those paragraphs up and when that happened I started to develop my own style after watching him and so it’s good to syphon cyiphon off of other bloggers that you like.
Demian: I think we always turn a corner once we gain some confidence. Once you have some confidence and you realise who you are because really for the newbie writers it’s always like, what’s my voice? Who am I? And take some time to kind of figure that out but you can shorten that learning curve by writing a lot and studying other people but eventually you get some confidence like this is who I am and this is what I feel most strongly when I talk about these sort of things. And we still kind of look to people and challenge ourselves and say hey, I want to be like that person because I just naturally become a better writer when you do that sort of thing.
13:27 – What Advice Do You Have For Writers Trying To Find Their Audience?
Mike: Yeah, and let’s explore that for a second. So you’ve got writers and bloggers who, they’re trying to find their voice, they’re trying to find their audience, their niche, what advice do you have for people in that situation?
Demian: Well I always say, well listen to what are you getting compliments on and what are people talking about when someone says, hey, when you write an email or text or when you’re talking to somebody and somebody says, “I heard you when you wrote that text to me. I could hear your voice in my head,” then you need to go look and pay attention to what they’re kind of talking about. And I think it’s really kind of a process. It’s one of those things like finding your voice is a nebulous and difficult thing to do but it comes over time and it’s a maturation process. And I always tell people too, like when do you feel most comfortable in your skin, the way you talk, are you snarky, or are you just sort of polite and very proper? Those are both completely appropriate ways to approach writing so whatever you’re most comfortable and who you think you are and just ask people.
Kevan: Yeah, it’s such an interesting way. I think coming from journalism I was sometimes taught to not really have a voice in my writing. Let the news speak for itself. And so I’ve had a chance to work in many different ways but I wrote without a voice and I think sometimes in PR you can write that way, lots of different ways, so sometimes in finding my voice it’s often when the writing flows the fastest for me.
Kevan: I know I’m in my voice if it’s coming easy and I’m not overthinking things and self-editing a lot. That’s a great signal and I think something else that kind of popped up to me lately was there’s only so many different topics you can probably write about in social media which is what we cover on the Buffer blog but I found that I will have written about a topic that other people have written about and yet they’re two completely different posts and they sound completely different and had I not categorized them, I wouldn’t have known they were even the same thing and I think that…you can write about the exact same topics in a different voice than bringing unique things to the table in each so I think kind of having something to compare it against to, helped highlight my voice for me as I went along.
Wade: You make a really good point too when you talk about finding your flow, Kevan, and that’s the way it is with me whenever I feel like I’m finding my voice – you get your flow and everything just comes out perfectly. Seth Godin said something that really piqued my interest. I saw it about two or three months ago. He said, “I blog like I talk, and I don’t get talker’s block.” And when you can write the article just like you’re speaking to the person, make it a conversation that they can understand. Demian said that they can hear his voice and that he’s so good at writing conversationally, and that’s where we need to be without writing; learn to write the way you talk. It’s just, I’ve got an accent, but people can learn to hear your voice and that’s a very important aspect of the whole thing too.
Kevan: Yeah, one interesting thing too is, so Buffer has its own voice and tone, and I have my own voice and tone, and fortunately they’re quite similar to each other, but I think there are some people out there who might be working at a place that is hoping that that person will write according to the company’s voice and tone. So I think there’s also that layer of I don’t know if it’s complicating or a challenge or what not but I think that’s also something to think about too as you explore that voice and tone.
15:00 – Have You Tried Publishing To LinkedIn or Medium?
Mike: You know it’s interesting because, actually all four of us are in that kind of same situation. All four of us have a personal blog and then we all also write for a larger brand or a larger agency. So yeah I can see where that is going to come in some times where you might want to phrase things a little bit differently, maybe not speak in a different voice because you’re probably blogging for that agency for a reason and they probably liked your voice on your personal blog. That said, have any of you explored any of those what I would call outposts for publishing, like Medium or LinkedIn Pulse, and you used those to promote your content, original content, syndicated, what have you?
Demian: Yeah, I have and I failed miserably at it. Even as much, because I did an experiment on Medium and I did an experiment on LinkedIn and both just did not have the bandwidth to even though for the most part, those places will take old articles and they just re-publish them there so it’s really not that much more work but there’s still some community building going on there and I’m terrible at community building. And so I have enough responsibility to just try and take care of my own posts and stuff like that when I went to do it on LinkedIn and all those take some time so I know Gregory Siati, he had a really good experiment to get a good run on LinkedIn and he’s got an article about that. And Shawn Smith who we featured on Copyblogger one time, he had a really good run on Medium or I think he still does. But most of that is because they published regularly and built up community, sort of did work to actually build up a community. I don’t know about anybody else, if Wade or Kevan have tried that.
Wade: I’ve blogged on Medium before. I’m the same as you. It was kind of a failed experiment. You’ve got to post consistently and when you’ve got other obligations to other people’s blogs and then your own, it’s hard to stay consistent on that.
Demian: You’ve got to interact too – it’s like any other place.
Kevan: Yeah I think I’ve kind of cheated too and just re-published stuff to see what would happen. They make it easy to do that so it’s really great, great platforms there. The biggest thing for me was consistency where I’d be excited about starting it and do it for a week or two and then kind of tail off and I think if I’m able to keep up with it then it might be worthwhile.
Kevan: I haven’t been able to keep up with it yet. I did notice on LinkedIn that engagement was quite high which was great. I think maybe my post got maybe 500 views but like 75, 100 likes, like significant percentage of likes compared to social media stuff that we typically do. So LinkedIn is probably the one that I…
Demian: Are these your articles or Buffer’s articles?
Kevan: These are my personal ones.
Demian: Oh, okay, right.
Kevan: Yeah, so my personal ones. The interesting thing with Buffer is we’re not quite sure how to do that with Buffer. Do they come from me? Do they come from Joel or Leo, our founders? So we haven’t figured out that part of it yet. We’ve done that on Medium. We just republished straight Buffer stuff on Medium. And those have done really well. It’s typically that we were cherry picking the most popular posts on the Buffer blog which is again a little cheating but the early returns there were really good from the big brand side. Personally it’s been a little low for me and I think Demian and Wade make a good point about community building and taking the time to really make it valuable on there.
Wade: I think, you said a word, that I think it’s the payoff in the whole blogging community, its consistency. And if you can find that consistency with your blogging, what do you guys think? I personally feel like consistency is the key to this whole thing, whether you’re on social media, or you’re doing your blog, and it’s creating that time and that space where you can publish your new article about and consistency builds trust and trust builds relationships and it just follows down the ladder. Anybody want to comment on that one?
Demian: Yeah I’d say you know, I think anybody could write that super-viral post and have that sort of one hit wonder impact and then sort of tail off and never be heard from again but really what I think establishes somebody and it speaks to all of us who are sitting here on this panel is that it’s that day in and day out. I know Kevan Lee has some phenomenally high social shared posts of his. But he gets recognized because it’s the consistency over time that you see that he has a strong voice that prevails through. And we were talking about voice earlier. Ultimately, it comes down to people have their favorite writers because of their voice, because who it is, because none of us are ever really going to talk about something that’s going to be breakthrough or super original, but it’s how we approach the topic or angle and hopefully getting people to see a evergreen topic in a new light or a new angle or a new approach because I mean I’ve been doing this for over 15 years and in this space and I have yet to talk about something that’s oh my god, this is just from outer space and you’ve never seen this before and here it is. It’s usually like how can I talk about call to actions like a hundred/thousand people before me have talked about it, but talk about it such a way that people find it interesting? So you build that audience so you have that consistency…through that consistency you build that audience. Not only do you get better yourself with that consistency but you ultimately start building an audience and people start sticking around and eventually the number of people who are following you, listening to you, and watching you grows and that’s all very empowering and kind of feeds on itself.
Kevan: Yeah I think consistency is one. It might be baked into my personality a bit with journalism and deadlines and publishing every day and things like that. I see that there are a couple of different ways of looking at consistency. I think Demian mentioned both of them. Its consistent voice and tone and then a consistent publishing schedule. And both of those have been really key for us at Buffer and key for me personally. Lately I’ve been coming back to the idea of consistent posting schedule and thinking, so at Buffer I post three or four times a week and I think that’s great. I think that’s really valuable for establishing yourself and the blog and all that. Well at the same time, I wonder how will someone know when I have something truly remarkable to say or something that is really amazing if it just falls in line with three or four times a week that I post, as opposed to say, I only publish when something strikes as really worth publishing. So that’s where I’m at right now. I’m probably going to go back, I’m always going to be three or four posts a week but I’m at least letting myself think about the possibilities at this stage.
Mike: That’s funny because that’s kind of where I’m at. I don’t have a publishing schedule for my personal blog. On SiteSell we do, we publish Monday-Wednesday-Friday every week. But yeah, for myself I published a post Saturday and I published another one this morning and it might be a week and a half before I publish another one because it just depends on if there’s something newsworthy or a topic that I feel like writing about. But something that you both kind of mentioned is not only that consistency but with that consistency comes the fact that you won’t be a one hit wonder because you’re not just going to write one post that
Mike: we read and we like and we forget about you, you’re going to hopefully continue to publish more and more and more and I think that’s something that we look for whether you think about it or not, it’s the one question I was going to ask each of you, is who are some of your favorite writers and bloggers? Who are bringing that consistent voice and that consistent presence?
Wade: Well for me it would have to be Demian Farnworth. Mark Schafer is also good; not just his writing but there’s other underlying means with why I say his name. He’s went above and beyond to just help me with my personal writing. There’s a ton of people. There are too many people to even list. Kevan is another one. Mike you’re another one. These people that I feel have been consistent in my life and my blogging industry and to help me, there’s just so many people to name.
Kevan: Yeah I often think back to my Feedly blog and look it at maybe on the blog level. I think everyone here on the panel is some folks I admire too. On blog sites I think Copyblogger’s consistency has been really key for me. The Moz blog, the consistent way that they publish and the way that they find creative ways to publish, going into the community to find posts they can add there. I think Neil Patel’s blog is something I’ve taken inspiration from just in how much he’s able to do in addition to everything else that he does. KissMetrics and the way they do things in terms of a guest post schedule, I think that’s a really neat way of going about it. So just some blogs in general that I take a lot of inspiration from as far as how they have things set up.
Demian: So I’d have to, with Kevan mentioned those that I admire, and Buffer blog for instance. I look at CoSchedule for example as another blog that I look into for inspiration also. Like Market Angel – I don’t think we read it but whenever I’m looking for a headline idea, I will go there and I point most people there. I feel kind of the same way about the Men’s Health blog, its exceptional well but beware. And then I like for inspiration places like BuzzFeed and Business Insider and the Atlantic Monthly and those are kind of my go-to places when I’m sort of, how am I going to position this particular article, this particular idea and stuff.
27:50 – What Are The Best Ways To Promote Your Blog Posts?
Mike: Well we have a question from the audience, from our friend Nazim. He says, “What are the best ways to promote your blog posts?”
Kevan: That is a great one. I think I’m particularly bad at this one so I might give my very bad answer and then concede to Demian and Wade for the good answers. I could do a lot better with promotion of my blog posts. What we do on Buffer is we share it on social media multiple times and we send it to our email list and trust that that’s enough so I’ll pass it on for some better ideas, maybe from others.
Demian: Those are clearly working for you guys. The other thing to, some people I’ve seen, a lot of people, and this takes a lot of energy, you can burn out with this procedure but some people have this inner circle of influencers, when a new, they don’t do it for every blog post, but when something is sort of substantial and they want to get some traction on it, they’ll have this insider email list they’ll email and they’ll say, hey I just published this blog post on this topic would you mind sharing it in some capacity and I think like Kevan’s talking about, having those relationships with those people in those influencers and stuff is probably one of the best ways to do it to promote a particular blog post. Wade?
Wade: Yep, I will add to all of that. I’m doing the same stuff. But what Demian says, I do kind of the same thing on Google+. And you don’t have to have a huge email list for this to work, for Google+ you can create a notification circle. I know Mike does it. A couple other people do it on Google+, so every time you share your post, you can write a little disclaimer at the bottom and say let me know if you want to be in my notification circle. I’m going to send you an email and a ping here on Google+ every time I publish a post so if they say yes and normally they will if you’ve got a great post there, they’ll say add me to the circle and so that circle will get bigger and bigger and bigger as time goes on and so when you share to Google+ at least, you can share to Public like you normally do and then you can choose your blog notification circle.
Wade: So I think that’s what makes it so important to promote blog posts. You’re pinpointing targeted people that want your content. I’m even doing this over on Pinterest now. I’m asking people, hey, do you want me to send you this pin? And people have been coming back to me and saying; yes send me this pin notification. So I’m sending pins on Pinterest and I use Triberr as well is a good way to get content out.
Mike: Yeah I was going to make sure we mentioned Triberr because that’s huge particularly if you have an audience on Twitter, Triberr is fantastic, and for five bucks you can make that new post sticky so that tens of hundreds of people will see it and share it.
Demian: Let me add two things. I think implicit in Nazim’s question is this idea of we all eventually want to get on the radar of the big people. We want the big people to notice what we’re doing so the typical way is building a relationship where it’s also social media through Twitter, through following, sharing their stuff, replying with them, commenting and being intelligent about how you relate to them and you can do that on their blog too if they have a comment section, following and commenting on them, and getting on their radar. And eventually you write something that adds to the discussion that they’re already talking about and that’s just a long-term sort of strategy. Another thing you can do to is to get on the big people’s radar is, and I found this to be more exceptionally well, is to write something that challenges something they said but write it in a very meaningful and intelligent and kind and where you actually have a good argument and you’re adding to the discussion. And I’m seen this work exceptionally for stuff that I’ve done, Seth Godin, Mike Elgan, Brian Clark – I mentioned how I got on Brian Clark’s radar. So I just wrote a post that challenged something that they said and they responded to be in some sense either by writing a blog post on their own website, sharing it in some capacity, but again sharing it with their audience so but that’s another one of those things that you can only, you don’t want to burn that one out too quickly. You can burn that one out too quickly.
Mike: Kevan, any other thoughts about how you can promote a blog post within the content itself? What makes it more shareable?
Kevan: One of my things that’s worked well is we do a lot of tools posts or roundup posts, things like that, there’s like built in opportunities there to reach out to brands or individuals that you mentioned and kind of get their networks involved and sharing there so that’s kind of a low hanging fruit that we go to sometimes. That’s the one that comes to mind to me that could be good.
Wade: Talking about getting people to share within your content, again I’m the least of these guys, but Mark Schafer told me in San Diego this past year, he said, “you can make people click but you can’t make them share.” So that really started getting the wheels turning for me and so I started to think, well what if you could make somebody share? What are the necessary elements to allow this to happen with people? And I came up upon a guy by the name of Robert Pluchik. And talking about emotional theory and how he created the wheel of emotions. I believe I found this on Buffer’s blog actually. And it talks about happiness, sadness, anger, and trust. And if you’re bringing an emotional response to the table, then you’re going to be able to get more people to share your content. So you have to be relevant to the need or the want that they have at that time and make it emotional for them. Logical is good but emotional has been proven to be shared more.
Demian: Isn’t it true too that people are more likely to share something that’s positive versus something that’s negative?
Wade: Most definitely.
Demian: I think there are some studies out there and people are typically willing to share – that’s why Upworthy is what it is today. And the other thing is too, if you just ask people to do it, hey, please share this, whether it’s inside the article itself or of course people a lot of times have those little embedded within the article the sort of retweet this particular line here and stuff.
Wade: Oh those are great.
Demian: Which gets traction too on the particular, it gets that quote gets shared but then sends traffic back to the site. At least that is the theory.
Kevan: Yeah, that’s all great. I love the high level thought of emotions. I think something we try to do too is kind of in the way that we design our blog posts. We always include images so that that’s something that people can easily share. We’ll bold or highlight key quotes or snippets, or block quotes. Something that has really taken off for us on occasion is bullet point lists that we personally have screen grabbed and shared with the tweet so it’s a little hack to get more characters in your tweet but also very kind a visual queue in the Twitter timeline also for people to grab. So those are some of our maybe our structural tips on making it share worthy.
35:44 – How important is interactive content such as ranking, meme caption, quizzes, in your content strategy?
Mike: And really relevant to this conversation, we’ve got another question from my colleague Carole from across the pond, she asks, “How important is interactive content such as ranking, meme caption, quizzes, in your content strategy?”
Kevan: We did a quiz once and it did really well for us. We used Quizzer and we haven’t used it since. Maybe I’m being too kind in saying it did well for us. I should say it’s on me that I haven’t gone back to do it again. But it was great and what Quizzer lets you do also is email addresses in there. So it was a good fun source of entertainment for our readers and a good source of lead gen for us. And I’ll think about some others while the rest answer. That was one though.
Demian: The question you’ve got to ask yourself about that kind of content, I know that you should probably speak on this too Kevan is like, you can create content that gets a ton of shares, that will get social media very buzz about what you’re writing. Of course writing a great headline will work too and send a lot of traffic possibly to your site but the question is, is that good traffic? Is that traffic that will actually convert, because I was fascinated with Bell Beth Cooper who used to write for Buffer. She wrote a number of superior articles for Buffer and I was always fascinated. These articles were nothing about social media. But they got like ten gazillion shares across the board for it. And after talking to her and a few other people about that, and if anybody noticed that has been following Buffer for a number of years now, will notice they have since pulled away from that strategy. Like Kevan said, they focused more on social media because they learned that what that traffic did was build the visibility of the company up, but once they got to a critical mass, and they said it’s no good having 14,000 people come to the site and two people convert. We need to change that. How could we track more people who are actually relevant to what you’re actually doing and we’ve seen that on Copyblogger itself. We did an infographic, probably the number one performing post across Copyblogger on what’s called Grammar Goofs and we make fun of it all the time because it’s the number one post on our site, always, and it did like over 200,000 Twitter, like across the board it was just ridiculous. But the traffic was like negligible. The traffic was like okay we’ll never do that shit again. Its fun and its ego building to do something like that, “oh my gosh, look at these vanity metrics, look how good this did.” Well, okay. At the end of the day, Brian asks, “well how many sales do you have?” Well, zero.
Kevan: Yeah, that’s a great one eh? I think there are a couple things…oh, sorry go ahead.
Demian: No go ahead, I’m done.
Kevan: No, I think you’re good. I think there’s a couple things that we think of. So there is kind of that interactive content that is entertaining and could be shared highly, then there is interactive content that could still be shared highly but is helpful. So in our case, we haven’t done too much memes or other quizzes or things like that, but we’ve done infographics a couple times which we kind of knew inherently that they might be shared more than a typical blog post. But at the same time we did them because it was a helpful way to re-package our content so even if it didn’t lead to necessarily sales, we knew that it was a helpful way to share. But yeah, you’re exactly right. The kind of the reason we pivoted away from life-hacking and productivity content is because it would get lots of shares and visibility but it wouldn’t convert and then the social media content did convert and we’re kind of were at that point where we want it to be known for social media rather than the life-hacking stuff. So lots to consider in terms of this conversation.
Wade: Yeah, I really don’t have anything to measure that either. I’m actually doing interactive piece of content for Jay Baer right now, it’s more of one of those choose your own adventure type of deals so if you want more tips on social marketing for your content, click this content, and it takes them to another thing, or if you want to learn more about content marketing, stay on this path and click this.
Wade: Do you remember those books where you could go to Page 30 or go to Page 6 and it’s a different thing? It’s kind of like something like that but, as far as knowing anything about measure, it sounds good. Technically it should work but we’ll see I guess.
40:11 – SiteSell Customers Are Content Creators. What Advice Do You Have For Standing Out Today?
Mike: Yeah, I know some of my own blog posts, some of the best performing have been lists. I use List.ly a lot, because it’s very dynamic to be able to crowd source some information but the bottom line like you guys have said is there’s got to be a reason for it, a business reason for talking about that particular topic because if there’s not enough association, it’s just not going to be any good. So one other question, at SiteSell, we’re really strong, believers in the importance of the role that content plays and the development of a business and our customers are working every day to write and share information. So what final advice would you have for someone today given how much content is being produced each and every minute? How can somebody stand out?
Wade: I think you stand out by being you and being relevant and helpful. Be kind, be genuine, and when you’re like that and you found your voice and you get your flow and all the writing is coming out of you really good the way it should, I think that your right audience will find you and that’s the connection that I’m trying to make with everybody. I’m trying to build relationships not only with my content but with myself personally. And just stay true to your convictions and write about those things and help people, above all, help people.
Kevan: Yeah, I like that sentiment a lot. A couple of thoughts come to mind and I think there’s this sentiment about unique selling proposition or however that’s phrased and sorry I’m not too familiar with it but that idea of a unique quality to your writing, really kind of catches my eye. I think that’s what I notice when I’m finding other blogs out there that have some cool stuff and what that specifically looks like for us at Buffer and the way that I think about it. I think it was CoSchedule where I found this but they mentioned this Red Ocean strategy and Blue Ocean strategy, where a Blue Ocean strategy is kind of the topics that are out there and everyone knows about them, and the Red Ocean strategy is what you’re aiming for which is something unique that no one else is really talking about, and identifying that and writing about that, could be a great way to get your name out there and get your content found. Another one that we think of kind of more recently is something that Rand Fishkin at Moz mentioned about having ten times as good of content as what currently is out there. So knowing what’s the best and not just seeking to improve on it, but seeking to improve on it ten times better. I think that’s one thing that’s been very inspiring for me personally at Buffer. We tend to write quite long blog posts so going ten times bigger is maybe more in our wheelhouse than other people. So that’s been great for me but I think you can do that in any number of different ways. I think the tone you have to be is unique and it could be specially a great tone for improving an existing topic. It could be a really short post that’s really synched and has a lot of visuals and things. I think the Canva blog is doing some cool stuff with visuals now. So there’s lots of different approaches to it. I think finding the unique one for you is my one tip.
Demian: Yeah, you have to know your competition. Like Kevan said, you can’t really create the ten times better blog post if you don’t know what’s already out there and just being kind of paranoid about people writing better than you. I think and understanding what’s out there and who’s writing about what because you can’t, if you have this brilliant idea and you wake up and say I’m going to write a blog post on how to write a blog post, you’ll have to consider the fact that there’s probably been a million of those written already and so not that evergreen content isn’t good, but how are you going to approach that particular evergreen content in such a way that it looks like a Red Ocean type of content? Yet, is actually…did I get my metaphors wrong? The Blue Ocean…
Kevan: I might have got them wrong first, I think you’re right.
Demian: And my favorite example of this is Darren Rowse who wrote…he has a pro blogger but he also has a site for a hugely popular digital photography school. He wrote this post about how to hold a camera. Everybody knows how to hold a camera right? And he’s like yeah, it just sounds like a stupid thing to do. So he decided to go ahead and do it and it’s like his most popular blog post because it is evergreen content. So my advice to people is to say this. Assume nothing about your audience.
Demian: Assume nothing, but at the same time know what’s already out there. Know your competition inside and out so that when you write something that has been written before, your write it and hopefully it naturally comes in on your voice but challenge yourself. Don’t be satisfied because it’s so easy to just sit down and write a blog post and think you’re done. But even before that, sit down and figure out what’s already out there and write in such a way. So naturally, I always talk about this idea that there are two different kinds of curation. There’s passive curation and active curation. Active curation is the research you do on a particular assignment. Passive curation is just being this sponge where you are soaking or a sinkhole where you’re absorbing all this information out there so that when you do sit down you can start rattling off these things, oh CoSchedule did this, and Canva did that, and Buffer did that, Wade Harman did this, so here’s how I’ve got to approach this particular topic. And all that, as Kevan said earlier, as you consume all this information, it marinates in your head and all of a sudden it’s just like you have this idea but you’re like no it’s not good enough, no it’s not good enough, no it’s not good enough and boom. It’s good enough. This is the direction I want to go and so you go that way. And that’s why it comes to that thought I said before. Be overly prepared. Always be this sinkhole that absorbs everything around you because it’s all material. It’s all material and you never know. I’m done.
46:18 – What Are You Working On Now And Where Can We Find You?
Mike: Boom. Drop mic. Fantastic, now before we wrap things up, I’d like each of you to share kind of what you are working on now, where can everyone in the audience find you, let them know.
Demian: You can find me on Twitter @DemianFarnworth, Copyblogger, I write there. I’ve also got a Podcast called Rough Draft, you can listen to that and it’s about writing online. It’s a daily short, under 10 minute podcast and then I’ve got my own personal site called CopyBot.com which often gets neglected so listen to the podcast.
Kevan: Yeah, I’m at the Buffer blog and its blog.bufferapp.com. I think you can find my stuff there and if you also want to find me online you can Google Kevan Lee, it’s Kevan with an A so any result that comes up is probably me and no other Kevan which is pretty cool. I love how you all have a little name tag underneath your stuff. I need to figure out how to do that on the Hangout. That’s really cool. It’s Kevan – K-E-V-A-N Lee and on Twitter, personal websites, and anywhere else.
Wade: Well, my name is Wade Harman. I blog for WadeHarman.com. And I also blog for an online marketing blog called WeallMedia.com. We offer content writing services and PR services, and social marketing services so it seems like it’s just getting busier and busier but that’s where you can find me and find me on Google+ all day. I do a Hangout show every week on Thursdays too. Check that out. It’s the Relationship Marketing show.
Demian: It’s a good show.
Mike: Very good. Thanks! Well that’s it for our show today everyone. I’d like to humbly thank my guests Demian, Wade, and Kevan. You guys have been so generous sharing your time and your wisdom. And I’d like to thank everyone in the audience for listening in; I hope you’ve learned as much as I have. This has been an incredible show. Please join us next Monday at 12 Eastern when I’ll be joined by my good friends Jeff Sieh, Dustin W. Stout, and Rebekah Radice, to talk about SOCIAL MEDIA as we continue our SiteSell Presents series. See you then!
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Full Transcript of “SiteSell Presents: SOCIAL MEDIA with Jeff Sieh, Dustin W. Stout and Rebekah Radice”
Mike: Hello everyone. Welcome to the third episode of SiteSell Presents. I’m your host, Mike Allton, and today we’re talking about the wonderful world of social media. Now, when it comes to not just talking about social media, but doing social, the way social should be done, these guests are the people I look to. I’ll introduce each of them and then we’ll get into some questions for the panel. But before I do I’d like to remind all of you watching live that if you leave a comment with a question on the event page, we’ll try to get to it during the show.
With that, let’s say hello to our guests. Jeff Sieh hosts the Manly Pinterest Tips show, all about leveraging the power of Pinterest by and for those of the manly persuasion. He’s also a social media consultant, speaker, author, and visual storyteller and the owner and creative director of His Design Inc. Hello, Jeff and welcome to the show!
Jeff: Hey Mike, thanks so much for having me on. I’m honored to be here, having you host, that’s just awesome because we’ve done shows before but having you, I can just sit back while you drive, it’s great.
Mike: Yeah, my pleasure. You’re right I’ve been fortunate enough to be on your show several times so thank you for coming here.
Mike: Next we have Dustin W. Stout who’s a designer and social media consultant; currently he’s the chief marketing officer for Weal Media and the lead designer and marketing director for Warfare Plugins, the company that created the Social Warfare plugin for WordPress. Hello Dustin, and welcome to the show.
Dustin: Helllllllloooo, good morning.
Rebekah: Wow that was quite the hello.
Dustin: I’ve had my coffee this morning, that’s for sure.
Rebekah: That’s right.
Mike: We all need to be caffeinated, fantastic.
Dustin: Always, all the time.
Mike: Finally we have Rebekah Radice. She’s been involved in marketing for over 17 years and blogging for more than ten. Her blog RebekahRadice.com was voted a “2015 Top Ten Social Media Blog” by one of the best resources online Social Media Examiner. Hello Rebekah and welcome to the show.
Rebekah: Well good morning. I don’t think I can beat that hello from Dustin but yeah. Maybe I need a little bit more coffee.
Dustin: I’ll send some your way; you’re right down the street so…
Rebekah: Exactly. But hello and thank you for having me here so I get to hang out with you guys.
02:18 – Rebekah, Dustin and Jeff Elaborate On Their Backgrounds
Mike: Yeah, thanks for coming. Thank you so much. So, with that let’s get to it. Now first I think it would be great if you each took a moment to share with us a bit more about yourselves, specifically how did you get started in social media as a professional?
Jeff: And go!
Dustin: Ladies first.
Jeff: Yeah, exactly.
Rebekah: I will start us off. Um, so for me it was kind of testing the waters on my own. I was in the real estate and mortgage industry for many, many years, owned my own company and marketing was really my area of expertise. And social media, which of course came after, well we didn’t necessarily call it blogging when we all first got started. It was more like journaling. But when I got started, it was because I loved to write. I saw it as a way for me to kind of connect with people through my blog and so I started that, just playing around and having fun, and then started with social media. It was Twitter and Facebook, Facebook first. And really fell in love with Twitter and saw a huge opportunity just for my business and then really started to see the opportunity from a training perspective. So much of what I’ve done for years is training business professionals on how to use marketing, and at the time it was traditional marketing, to really build their personal brand, and so social media was a natural extension of that, as was blogging. And helping them really see what putting their expertise out there online could do for them, and so it became a whole training platform for me on helping others see how they could begin with blogging, really build their foundation, and then amplify their message through social media. And of course the bug bit me! And I decided that this was the direction that the industry was really heading as a whole with marketing, and of course we’ve trended into now what we all call inbound marketing and just a complete integrated strategy, and so I think for me the genesis really began with my own personal marketing but for me training and educating and teaching people is really where my heart is at, and so as I said I quickly saw that as an opportunity for others to leverage and it’s just kind of snowballed from there.
Mike: That’s fantastic. Dustin you want to go next?
Dustin: Sure. So a lot like Rebekah, I kind of stumbled into this whole thing too. I actually moved out to California. I was born and raised in a small town in Pennsylvania, a town you’ve never heard of called Sharon. And I was destined to come out to California to be an actor, to be in the film industry, went to school for it, graduated, got right out into the, was fortunate to find an agent right away and get out and do some auditions. What I found out was in Hollywood, celebrities act and actors end up waiting tables. So I didn’t like waiting tables so I had to find a real job to support myself and I’ve always been a social person. And as an actor, you kind of have to be. You have to be social and like people because it’s not about what you know, it’s who you know. And as an actor as well, we really love telling stories. That’s what we’re about. We’re actors and filmmakers and producers, they just love telling stories. And those two elements, I think, primed me for a career in social media because right around when I was getting out there and not wanting to wait tables, was when Facebook really took off and then Twitter started to kind of come into its own and I got really interested in it and I had a knack for the technological so I caught on pretty quick and it started as an experiment like Rebekah, sort of my own personal brand and through building my own personal brand people started contacting me saying hey, did you design your own website? Yeah I did. So they would go naturally, could you do it for me? And I thought sure, I guess I can. I’ll never forget my first client, that’s exactly what he said to me, he came to me and said hey, did you design your own blog? I said yeah. He goes, cool well you understand this whole Twitter thing right? Yeah, yeah I get it pretty much. And he goes, well, what would you have to charge me to that for me? And I thought there’s an interesting idea. I could probably do that. What does someone like me charge for something like that and so that kind of started the rabbit hole of social media consulting and web design and you know from there I just kept growing. Like I said I love people. I love learning and here I am today, gosh, four years later after starting my first professional blog, Chief Marketing Officer for a full service digital marketing firm. And it’s been a crazy, wild ride and I keep learning every single day about how to stories better and how to help others do the same.
Rebekah: That’s awesome. You’ve got such a great story and I cannot believe how long I’ve known you that I just found out what, a few months ago, that acting was your background. I just think that’s so cool because it is. It’s such a perfect tie in.
Dustin: Yeah, well this personality isn’t by accident. It’s intentional strategic training.
Rebekah: There go you.
Dustin: And maybe a little bit of talent too, I don’t know.
Rebekah: Eh, maybe a little bit, yeah.
Mike: Great, great, Jeff, can we hear from you?
Jeff: Yeah well, I’m going to borrow a line from Cynthia Sanchez and I’ve been on the internet since it was black and white. So I started a company about 13 years ago called His Design, a local digital marketing agency and just really, I was back, remember when flash websites were the thing? Yeah, I built those. So I did that and then I finally started, I better start doing what I’m telling my clients to do and get on the social media bandwagon and so I started doing that, got involved with Google+, when Google Hangouts started coming out I thought those were cool and I watched a lot of those and one day I was driving back from a road trip and I heard Cynthia Sanchez from Oh So Pinteresting, a podcaster on the Social Media Examiner podcast and this Pinterest thing interested me because it drove traffic so I started playing with it and it really did start driving a lot of traffic to my blog and so somebody said, hey you’ve ought to do a show because I wrote a blogpost called the Manly Pinterest Tips and it was about sharing a secret board with my daughter and it really did well so they said hey, do a show about that. And so I got four others guys who had a lot bigger following than I did, Mike was one of them, we had Stephan Hovnanian and Wade Harman, and Les Dossey started with us too, and we did this show, probably about seven or ten episodes, and it took off!
Jeff: And then other shows followed and then the beginning of this year I launched the Manly Pinterest Tips show and podcast with just myself. It has done really well and it has just opened up a lot of opportunities with consulting and business and so I’ve kind of pivoted my business to the social media thing. I grew out a beard because a good beard takes about a year to grow and I thought I’d give it a try for a year and so it’s been over a year.
Dustin: Nothing says manly, like a really good beard.
Jeff: That’s right, I’ll send you one. When I trim it I’ll send you one.
Dustin: Just send me a beard?
Jeff: Yeah just send it so you can be manly, put a little something on for your shows and stuff. So that’s my story.
Mike: Thanks yeah, and I remember that first tip. I still use that today. I’ve got a board for my oldest daughter and I need to create one soon for my youngest, just a few months old, nine months, so yeah. Those tips work.
Jeff: It was a fun time, yeah.
10:56 – What Social Network Should I Be On For My Business?
Mike: You know so, one of the questions that I always get from business owners, one of their very first questions is what social network should I be on for my business? And I know you guys hear that a lot too so how do you like to answer that when someone asks you that question?
Jeff: And go!
Rebekah: We’re all trying to hard not to step on each other, right?
Dustin: I’ll be that guy. So, and it’s selflessly so you all don’t have to be that guy or girl. Well one of the things that I like to tell clients is don’t worry about, first and foremost, don’t worry about being everywhere, because if you try to be everywhere, you’re going to be nothing to no one. You’re going to spread yourself so thin and you’re going to be a mile wide and an inch deep. You’re not going to build any true relationships so the first thing I say is we’re going to go one network at a time and figure out where your audience is. We’re going to start with some social listening. We’re going to get a tool like Mention.net, or Brand24, and we’re going to start looking at where your brand is getting the most mentions and the most activity. And we’re going to start doing some audience research. Where are your competitors? Where are your competitors spending the most time? Where is the most engagement around your topic? And so we’ll go through a number of very strategic sessions narrowing down where that audience is and then we’re going to go to where that audience is most active and start there. Once we start there and really start to cultivate a community, then we’ll maybe look at the second place network. But for me and my clients, it’s always been about we’ll find the one place that the most activity is happening and we’ll start there. It doesn’t matter if the network has 2 billion users or if the network has 70 million users, what matters is where is the target audience most active at currently? Then we can move on from there.
Rebekah: Yeah, I think that’s fantastic advice. It just makes zero sense to spread yourself out all over the place as you said Dustin. A) if you’re just getting started and you spread yourself out too thin, it’s just a recipe for disaster in my opinion. You’re not going to be able to keep up with it. It’s going to feel overwhelming, burdensome, and pretty quickly you’re going to give up. And I think just understand where your target marketing is spending their time is critical. My company, we do something called the digital advantage where we do a very deep dive, full report, into where your competition is spending their time. What opportunities are out there in the market? And then how can you leverage those opportunities for your company and, back to what Dustin said, I think so much of that is really understanding each social network by the role it plays in supporting your business and then where are you going to get the biggest bang for your buck, basically. Where are you going to be able to spend the majority of your time and capture as much audience attention and participation as possible. And then I think a huge piece that’s often overlooked is the strategy aspect, so understanding if you want to be on Facebook, well, how does Facebook help you reach your overall goals? How is it driving you towards those marketing goals every single day? And so outlining what are those steps that you’re going to take? What is it that you’re trying to actually achieve to get there because that’s, of course, something else we probably all see which is people come to us and they say, ah Facebook just doesn’t work. Google+ doesn’t work.
Rebekah: Well when you really take a look at what they’ve been doing, it’s more than likely those things that we call one-off tactics where they’re throwing some content out there, maybe they’re running some ads, they’re throwing money at a social network rather than really understanding the strategy behind it. So a lot of times for me it’s slowing people down long enough to really understand what they’re trying to achieve.
Jeff: Yeah and I would agree both with what Rebekah and Dustin said, one of my stories is I can do my own taxes, I have before, I hate every stinking minute of it and I screw it up all the time, and so I think a lot of the times, it’s almost to the point now with social media accounts and running social media, if you don’t like doing it, it’s so important that you’re going to have to hire somebody else to do it. And the thing is if you have somebody and your audience is on Pinterest, or your audience is on Facebook like Dustin said, and you hate doing it, it’s not going to happen. So you’ve got to either find a way to get somebody inside of your company and bring them up who enjoys doing it to do it or hire somebody to do it for you. I mean, it’s that important, but don’t try to do something that you hate. If you don’t fit on Twitter, then don’t try to force yourself to do it, because it’s not going to be successful in the long run.
Rebekah: Well, and it’s not sustainable. It’s just not something that you’re going to enjoy doing every single day. I couldn’t agree more. As entrepreneurs, you have to give those things away to allow yourself to focus on money making opportunities, because I think we get too much in the weeds of our own business, instead of focusing on what’s the highest and best use of our time. And social media may not be it. It may not be your thing, and it may not be what you enjoy doing.
Jeff: Exactly, and I, go ahead Dustin.
Dustin: To me, sustainability is the key word, and that’s why we start always with our clients with one network. And you know, with the larger clients, you know the enterprise type clients, they have departments and sometimes they have subsidiaries and maybe they can sustain multiple networks, but the keyword is always sustainability. Are we going to be able to maintain our strategy because we’re going to put a strategy in place. We’re going to do that first, but can we maintain that strategy and sustain it for an extended period of time? For us, if you can’t do something for at least three minutes, three minutes, three months as opposed to three minutes, if you can’t sustain it for three months to test whether or not it’s actually working, then you’re never going to get any real results or any real intelligence out of your efforts because intelligence is more valuable than whether or not you succeeded. It’s the intelligence of what you gained over that experience. So sustainability is key.
Mike: Yeah, that’s a great point. Susanna Perkins asks, how do you find out where your target audience is hanging out? Dustin you mentioned a couple things. Maybe you want to elaborate and the rest of you can jump in with your own suggestions or tips of how you can actually find what social networks or which individuals are hanging out on a particular social network that might be a good fit for your business.
Dustin: Yeah, there are a ton of social listening tools. Two of my favorites that we use constantly are Mention, so if you visit Mention.net, it is a, sorry my son wants me to come downstairs. Maybe I should bring him up. He knows about this stuff too. I teach him all the time. Mention.net is a great company that has some free social listening tools you can check out. I’ve spoken with a lot of their team, really great people. They’re product is fantastic and as a design snob, I love using their web interface because it’s just beautifully designed and it’s intuitive. Another one the same thing, I could say the same thing for Brand24.net. They have some other free tiers. Also you can do social listening so basically what you’re doing is, you’re setting up what they call either campaigns or you set up keywords, so to speak, that are around your brand, either related to or your actual brand name. One little trick that I do for my personal brand and also for Weal Media is I’ll make the keyword our domain name so I will use Dustn.tv as the keyword and that way I can see whenever a link is shared to my site, and it could be any link to any article, it’ll catch that Dustn.tv and I’ll see which network is getting the most traction for my content or where it’s being shared most. And there’s other tools where you can find that too but that’s one way to say, okay, here’s where the most activity and the most lift that our brand is getting on social and let’s focus there.
Dustin: Those are just two social listening tools and there are a bunch of them. There’s also you can go to research companies. There are a lot of third party market research companies that will do that reporting for you or have done studies about demographics and so forth and any good marketing company has access to those types of reports or subscribes to those sorts of services, and can tell you and will probably already know, like, here is the breakdown of the demographics of Pinterest and Facebook, so we already have a general idea of what direction we want to start, but that’s another story.
Rebekah: Yeah, Mention is a great one, and I think what you just said, Dustin, is so important which is paying attention to your analytics. Pay attention to what’s being shared. If you’re using something like what Dustin is talking about, a tracking URL, where you can actually see who’s sharing content or what content is getting the most interaction from Google+, from Facebook, from Twitter. So get really specific in how you’re sharing your content and then dive into your Google Analytics. That is Wow. It’s going to be eye-opening for you. So many people come to us and say, I think I’m getting the majority of my traffic from Twitter and when we take a look, that’s not the case at all. So it really helps to understand, first of all, which social network is supporting your company. Where are people finding you? And where are they actively having conversation around your content? Sharing your content? But yeah, there’s tons of different ways to listen, tons of third party tools, one of my favorites is Sprout Social. I use it daily where you can set up alerts, you can set up keywords, you can set up just so many different ways where you can listen in and see what people are talking about. Maybe what you’re competition is talking about, how they’re interacting on different social networks, how they’re interacting with their audience and then take that and figure out okay what does that mean for my business. If they’ve got a pretty substantial following over here on Google+, is that something that I’m going to be able to build within my own business? Well, it just really helps you to start to formulate a plan, but also understanding how other people are using specific social networks within your industry, can be very, very helpful. So I think it’s about doing your due diligence too. We talk a lot about spying on your competition which always sounds a little 007’ish, but it’s brilliant. It’s so smart to see what’s being done well, what’s not, and then where are those opportunities for you to really insert yourself into that conversation?
Dustin: Now, if I could add one thing and emphasize one thing that you said that is so important, you said about perception, so a brand had a perception about where they were getting the most traffic, but it turns out that they actually weren’t, so one of the things that I help to co-create is a little plugin called Social Warfare. And it’s just a set of social sharing buttons with some goodies on the back end, but one of the things it does is it allows you to see how many shares you’re getting on each network. And so what a lot of people will do is they’ll look at how many shares am I getting on each network and that’s where the one that’s doing the best is the most beneficial, where that’s not actually true in most cases. So if we could dive a little deeper down there, if you’re not using Google Analytics to it’s full potential, you are sorely missing out on some really great intelligence. One of the things we also built into Social Warfare was the ability to track more than just the number of shares. So we’ve built in some analytic capabilities so you can actually track the shares of your content through Google Analytics that happen through the plugin, and you dive in and you can build reports that are I think are some of the key metrics for my sites and for my clients. Not just how much traffic you’re getting from each network, but what’s the quality of traffic? Some of the things you should be looking at are time on site, so if you’re getting a thousand visitors from reddit each month but the average time on site is 15 seconds, that traffic isn’t worth much. But if you’re getting 100 visit a month from Facebook and the average time on site is 2 and a half minutes, you want to spend a lot more time on Facebook cultivating that audience.
Dustin: So, it’s really about having a full spectrum look, not just a surface level, where am I getting the most shares or where am I getting the most traffic even. It’s really what are those engagement metrics; and I love that you said that Rebekah about it’s not just about where you think you’re getting the most traffic, it’s actually deeper than that.
Rebekah: Well, and you bring up just another whole conversation, which I love that you’ve gone that route, of vanity metrics within social media. And likes and shares are great, they may feel good. They give us that happy emotion of “woo, people like me.” But if they’re not converting, if they’re not turning into a lead and a sale, then what is the point? And I think this goes back to really understanding what your strategy is, what are you looking to get out of social media? Because I find way too many people get into social media with zero plan, with zero expectation, or anticipation, of what social media is supposed or is going to do for them. So I think what you’re talking about Dustin is really transitioning from that mindset of, “wow I’m just going to pay for ads” or “I’m going to look at just driving engagement,” getting those share numbers up as high as possible instead of focusing on what is the end goal you’re really trying to achieve? Are you a local business and you’re trying to get people into your shop? Are you an e-commerce website and you’re trying to get people to click on buy? You just need to understand what your goal is with social media and how it’s going to support getting you there a whole lot faster. And I think we can talk a little bit about that, and I’d love for you guys to talk about too, the credibility aspect and how social media really helps you take that from those likes and shares and those vanity metrics, and create that know, like, and trust factors so you can start to move them through that marketing funnel and actually get them through that whole buying stage a whole lot faster.
Jeff: I wanted to mention something, kind of a real world example, maybe you can learn from my mistakes because I make a lot of them. One of the things that I did is, I played for Instagram for a while but it was mostly personal stuff, well, I finally starting tracking the link, and if you don’t put a bit.ly link in there or something it goes to Direct Traffic and you can’t get it on your Google Analytics. It goes back to Rebekah’s point about how important those analytics are. Well I did that and I noticed all of a sudden I’m getting all this traffic from Instagram. And the thing is, it’s like what Dustin said, they were spending a lot more time than a lot of the other networks on my site. Because if you’ve been on Instagram you know, that to get there and to click over to my site, it’s kind of a hassle. It really is. It’s not easy to do. But those people who did it were very qualified to want to see my content. And so that made me switch and so I’m trying to post more stuff to Instagram because to Dustin’s point, it’s more qualified traffic for me. And so it’s so important to check those analytics and a lot, I noticed in the comments, a lot of people were asking almost like where do I start? How do I even know what network to get on and just like Rebekah said, it’s those analytics. That’s your first stopping point if you don’t know how to use Google Analytics, there’s a lot of good tutorials online. You can find out but you need to see where people at the very beginning are coming to your site from and that’s where you start.
28:47 – Should Businesses Buy Social Media Followers?
Mike: Yeah, the other great point that Rebekah made that I love, is looking at your competition. I call this the CVS approach, right, because it doesn’t work for everybody. But at CVS, you look at where Walgreen’s has a building and you set up your building across the street. So the same thing can work with some of our businesses. We can look at what our competition is doing. Maybe they’re not doing a good job, maybe they are, but we can take a look and we can see where their strengths are and see if there’s an opportunity there for us. And along those lines, one of the next questions I always get from clients is with regard to followers. They always want lots of new followers and some for good reasons and some not. But they want them now and this morning when I even wrote at length about what it means to buy followers and why that might or might not be a good idea. So what do you think? Should businesses buy social media followers?
Jeff: Never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever.
Rebekah: How do you really feel?
Dustin: Maybe just a little bit pissed about this subject.
Mike: You can run a Facebook ad campaign that targeted people and you put your Facebook page in front of them.
Dustin: Yeah, that’s true. There’s two things when it comes to buying your following that has to be addressed. There’s a difference between going on Fiverr and paying someone to add a thousand followers to your page, and doing a legitimate advertising campaign that is targeted towards finding people who are relevant to you, and getting them to engage with your site. One method, you don’t know who you’re getting, you’re just doing it for the numbers. The other one you’re actually strategically looking for people that will be engaging with your brain. So two separate things I think, two different approaches, one is strictly for the numbers; one is tied to business goals and objectives.
Rebekah: Yeah, I run a Twitter chat called the Influencer Chat with Ann Tran and we just tackled this topic a few weeks ago, and as you can imagine, it was a pretty hot topic. As there is, there is a lot of confusion – I’m clapping at you – it clarified, because there is a huge difference between paying somebody five bucks to give you a thousand fake followers, people that will never engaged with you, and actually spending some money on ads to build legitimate followers that are targeted, that are specific to your industry, to your niche, to as you said, your goals and objectives. So you do really have to think it through. You have to think through, who are those people that you’re wanting to connect with? Again, where are they spending their time? And then how can you best position your content so that your organically and naturally attracting those people to you? You’re creating those conversations that they’re going to be interested in being a part of and if you do start to get to that point where you’re going to spend some money, being very, very strategic in how you’re spending that because I don’t know about you guys, but when I first started running Twitter ads for example, woo, you can spend money like that.
Dustin: Oh yeah.
Rebekah: If you don’t know what you’re doing so you just have to be really, really crystal clear on where you’re going to spend your money and how you’re going to monitor that.
Jeff: Well, one of the things, people who give their argument well, I want to buy my followers, my thing is okay, let’s say you have a small list, under 100 people, you can take that list that you already have, upload it to Facebook, then you can market to those people. But the cool thing then is you can actually create a lookalike audience based on that audience you already have which gives you huge results. Why even mess with fake followers who mean nothing to you or your business, when even if you have a super small list, you can spend probably about the same amount of money and really get targeted people, just on Facebook for example.
Rebekah: Well, and to play, to play both sides, devil’s advocate, of course the answer to that is perception, especially as a business that wants the upper hand.
Dustin: What’s that mean, Rebekah?
Rebekah: Yeah, they’re hopping on there saying let’s go to Mike’s point about CVS and Walgreen’s. If Walgreen’s was just hopping on social media, CVS has a million followers, well if they’re just building organically and only have a thousand followers, what’s the perception? So I think that’s where we have to overcome that mentality.
Dustin: Yeah and I think it’s a young mentality. It’s a beginner-level mentality, because most people understand the idea of social proof and no matter what you think about the idea, social proof is a real psychological concept proven to influence people to think a certain way. Social proof says that the more followers you have, the more likely you are to be authoritative or that people like you so you are likable. But what turns that social proof from a positive proof to negative or even depressing proof, is when you have a million followers and zero engagement. Nobody is actually interacting. Nobody is actually commenting. Nobody is actually buying. What is worse than a website that has 100,000 page views a month and zero sales? Nothing. Nothing is worse. So again, it’s about a deeper level of engagement, a deeper level of, not just the surface level numbers. It’s what do those numbers actually translate to for a business or for your overall goals?
Dustin: Hey, if your goals are completely ego, there are a lot of bloggers out there that are just in it because they want to be loved, they want to make people smile, they want that validation, and I’m not saying that’s bad at all. Sure, if you’re sustaining yourself, you’re making a living doing something else and all you want to do, you’re just out there because you love to write and you want people to love your writing, great. Good for you, keep going. Do it. But for a business who is using content marketing, blogging, and social media for results, you can’t just look at those surface level numbers and the vanity metrics and the number of followers, you have to translate that to actual business goals.
Rebekah: Well and let’s be honest. Most people are not a non-profit.
Dustin: Right, that’s true.
Rebekah: They’ve built a website and a blog to do exactly what you’re talking about, to drive leads and sales. And yeah, I think we all fell into that when we first got started with blogging which is it’s that, it makes you feel good. People like me and that is terrific but again, you’ve got to take that big step back and understand what are you trying to achieve, how is your blog and all of that traffic that could be coming from social media, going to help you actually get there and if you’re not targeted in who those followers are, if you’re not allowing people to self-select, to make that decision on their own; Jeff, you made such a great point about Instagram that people are taking that time and it shows. They’re spending time on your site. They’re watching your videos. Your bounce rate is probably incredibly low compared to maybe other social networks. So there’s I think a lot of good that come from really understanding, not only the social network and where you should spend your time, but who are the people that you should be involving yourself with, who are the people that you want to be conversing with, that are really, they’re craving, they’re dying for your service and all you need to do it put out there in a way that helps them really identify with who you are and what you do, what you’re all about.
37:35 – How Extensively Do You Share New Blogs to Social Media?
Mike: Yeah, absolutely. You know our last show was all about Blogging. And if you missed it, it was incredible, but we talked about how important it was to share you latest blog post to social media, and so let’s dig into that a little bit more with the three of you. How extensively do you share your new blog content to social media? And aren’t repeat shares, well, repetitive?
Rebekah: You want me to start?
Dustin: Go for it, Rebekah.
Rebekah: This is a huge part of my marketing strategy. My blog has the backbone of my business. And the social media support has really helped me grow my blog exponentially over the last several years. You can look back on my blog and just three years ago my shares where half what they are today. And I owe all of that to several different things. First of all the relationship I’ve created with people like yourself, like-minded business professionals, where we support each other. And then also, it’s understanding those social networks and how I’m going to leverage my content across each one of those social networks. So I have a very specific plan in how every single blog post, all of my evergreen content, goes out across all of those social networks. Visual marketing is a huge piece of that for me. Which has definitely transpired over the last couple of years. I think really contributed to the big increase, not to just tmy shares, but my traffic as well. So for me it’s just been really, really targeted in the social networks I’m using. Understanding what’s working where, because not all content is going to work the same, be received the same, and then making sure that you’re seen over and over and over again. You know Mike, you said it, and I know you were just pushing our buttons, but repetition is the key. It’s all about consistency and getting your content out there. A lot of people will say to me, “I wrote a blog post, should I just tweet it once?” And, you know what, a huge opportunity you’re missing if you’re just tweeting that content once and getting it out there in front of just that select group that might be looking at your feed at that point. So you, it’s a very integrated method of social media
Rebekah: when you’re supporting a blog, especially for a business. Obviously.
Jeff: I would add too, and I’m a big fan of repurposing, and so I try to, like Rebekah was saying, squeeze every last juice and wring it. I share multiple times to multiple content. If I create, my show, for example, ok I create my show and it goes to YouTube, it’s great, I have views on Youtube, well then I make it into a podcast which the only real difference between that and my show is just audio, and then I put a bumper at the beginning and the end of it. But I’m repurposing content. And then I can split up that content into shorter bits and share on Instagram. Especially for small businesses who are always limited on time is to try to think creatively on how you can repurpose that content and squeeze every last bit of juice out of it. Mike, one of his things that he taught me that I use all the time now, as soon as I get my blog post done or the show is done, is I create a tweet about it. I use Social Warfare’s plugin on my site and I prepopulate that. But I also take that same tweet and I put it into SocialOomph which Mike taught me about. That constantly goes out and is constantly retweeting my content. I have a schedule that’s working for me and that’s just part of my process. Every new post goes into SocialOomph to be shared out later, and my queue just keeps growing. And I’ve never had anybody complain about it. They don’t say, “Jeff, you’re tweeting too much, “ or “We’ve seen this before.” I’ve never, ever, ever seen that. Most people ask where can I find more stuff and that’s a good problem to have I guess. Squeeze every… do it until somebody complains is my philosophy.
Rebekah: Yeah, but have you ever had anybody complain? My guess is no.
Jeff: No, never, never ever.
Rebekah: The bottom line is you produce phenomenal content in the first place, which, I think, is the key. It’s not just about pushing out more content, which I know we all agree on. So it starts there, and you are just brilliantly repurposing that content and then weaving it into every single thing you do.
Dustin: Yeah. Now here’s a little experiment. For anybody who asks that question. Specifically, if it’s related to Twitter. What I always encourage them to do is visit analytics.twitter.com and go to your Tweets tab. Analyt.twt will show you exactly how many impressions every tweet of yours has gotten. So, for transparency sake, I’ll take my own example. I have 10.2 thousand followers on Twitter. Whoopee, right? My last tweet, which was this, this actual show, I tweeted out a link to this show, had 111 impressions. 10,000 followers, 111 impressions. Now if that was a blog post, don’t you think I’d want to repeat that tweet eventually to get a little more than 111 out of a possible 10,000 impressions? I think so. I think that data is pretty compelling to anyone because we know Twitter, in particular, is very fast paced. If your tweet is not seen within the first 20 minutes it will never been seen, ever, by those people who didn’t see it. So, and every network is different, again, I think Rebekah and Jeff both talked about that. Every network has it’s own language. Every network has it’s own culture. So the same exact thing is not going to work the same exact way on Facebook and Twitter and Google+. For Facebook you may want to space out the repetition a little more. For Twitter, 2 or 3 times a day, spread out across the entire day, not really a bad thing. I’ve never had anybody complain. So absolutely, you should repeat things but understand the culture of every network. At Weal Media we’ve broken down every network according to their volume of activity. So we have High Volume networks like Twitter, like Pinterest, you tend to share a lot more on those networks. Whereas the Lower Volume networks like Facebook or say, LinkedIn,is one of the lower volume networks, where you don’t update as frequently because that culture is a Not As Frequent culture. So you have to be intelligent about how you approach each network because, again, each audience wants to see different things and they’re expecting certain things. So repetition, yes, but intelligently based on the audience being served.
44:40 – How Can Non-Blogging Businesses Leverage Social Media?
Mike: I think that’s great. So at SiteSell, our customers are all entrepreneurs and predominantly infopreneurs, creating great, informational sites on topics that they’re passionate about. For those that are focused on building, what we could call evergreen pages of content, and not so much blogging,
Mike: what other tips do you have for how they can leverage social media to draw attention to their content and businesses?
Jeff: So you’re talking about, they’re not blog posts? What kind of media are they creating on their site?
Mike: Yeah, so it could be a page and this could be anybody, not necessarily SiteSell but anybody who’s creating a page or multiple pages about a specific topic, like it might be a page all about how to grow cactuses.
Jeff: Well, that’s my favorite topic.
Rebekah: How to grow beard.
Jeff: And I will be able to plug this and I know Rebekah has and I have learned tons from her and copied her strategy a lot on Pinterest just because it’s such a long-term driver. A lot of times when I go to a client and it seems to me that this happens a lot is, short term traffic we do a lot of stuff with buying Facebook ads and that gives them traffic quickly but long-term is the Pinterest strategy. And if you’re doing one on how to grow cactuses, cacti, then I would make a great image of that cactus or whatever, and put a nice call to action on that and try to drive them back there. And then as you continue to populate more stuff on that Pinterest page, you just get more traffic back so that’s one way to do it, and I’m sure these other experts will have some other strategies for pointing people to cactus but that’s what I would think of straight away.
Rebekah: Well yeah, and obviously we’re both huge supporters of Pinterest. Pinterest and Twitter have really been my biggest traffic drivers. And not just traffic drivers but converting traffic. From Pinterest and Twitter, people spend a whole lot more time on my website. They are very less likely to immediately bounce away, so they’re reading multiple different articles and conversion seems to be much easier because I believe we have established a relationship, there’s more that long-term strategy, like you talked about Jeff, where you’re really getting to know people so they know you, they know your content, they know the quality of your content, so they’re very comfortable with what that looks like by the time they come over there. So I think making that conversion is a whole lot easier between those two networks. Now certainly that’s what I have found and I know you’ve found something very similar Jeff, and it’s not going to be the same for everybody, so I think this goes back to understanding where your time is best spent. As well, where is your community, your audience hanging out, where are they spending their time, and how can you best leverage that social network because, Dustin has said it, I think multiple times, and I don’t know that you can say it enough, which is don’t get started until you know where you should be absolutely be focusing the majority of your efforts. Otherwise, it’s just, it’s in vain.
Dustin: Yeah, knowing who you’re serving and where and how to serve them is very, very important.
Rebekah: Very important, such a great point.
Dustin: And ditto to what they said.
Rebekah: It’s a shame none of us agree on anything. Maybe we should plan it out or something.
Dustin: I know. We need some more conflict.
Rebekah: Yes we do.
48:46 – What Is Your #1 Favorite Social Media Management Tool
Mike: Well here, I’m going to ask a question where we might get four different answers. And all I want is just a quick answer, what is your number one favorite social media management tool? Go.
Dustin: Oh, see I saw that question in there.
Jeff: Oh, I’m going to do it so nobody else takes mine, I would say the most bang for your buck would probably be Buffer, because it’s almost like the Swiss Army Knife of social sharing stuff. If I would stuck on a desert island, I would take Buffer.
Rebekah: Huh, stuck on a desert island, that’s interesting. I do agree it’s a phenomenal tool.
Dustin: Well that makes sense right, because Buffer allows you to share to multiple social networks so if you’re looking for help, Buffer would be the one to get you the most reach.
Jeff: That’s it. That’s my thinking.
Rebekah: Well if you’re looking for content, if you’re looking to curate content, simplify your life, if you’re looking to really boost engagement and create content that is targeted to your market, then Post Planner is absolutely the way you want to go.
Rebekah: I will preface this with I am the brand ambassador for Post Planner but I have been an avid user for Post Planner for years, long before that. I’m a firm believer in its ability to, like I said simplify everything you’re doing, why get out there and frantically try to search for content when there are tools like Post Planner that are doing the heavy lifting for you. They’ve already found the content. They’ve already proven that it’s gone viral. And all you have to do is schedule all that out, pull in maybe you’re Evergreen content and ensure that that’s consistently going out there. So the fun in this now is Dustin, let’s see, so, Jeff shared a tool that will help us consistently share our content. I shared one for finding content. So, what do you have?
Dustin: I’m going to throw a curveball, is that okay?
Dustin: I’m going to throw a curveball on this. I would definitely agree with both of you. But the types of tools that you’ve mentioned are personal use tools. So those are tools that you would use to distribute content. I’m going to throw a curveball and say that the best tool I think that you could use for others to distribute your content… so there’s one side of you distributing, but for others to get your reach out to extend your reach… I’m going to selfishly and selflessly plug our little plugin, Ssocial Wwarfare. There’s no better way to get your content shared the way that you want it to be shared if you’re a WordPress blog owner or WordPress website owner.
Rebekah: I would 100% agree. I use the plugin and I make no money by supporting you. So I just want to make sure everybody knows that.
Mike: Well played, well played.
Dustin: Good, I don’t have to write you a cheque now because of that endorsement.
Rebekah: No, no, no cheque.
Dustin: No seriously, we built the product because it’s something that we needed as content creators. We needed a way to allow social sharing to happen beautifully, to perform well, and we wanted to get our content shared in an optimised way that we know that it will not only benefit us but benefit the people who are sharing it as well.
Mike: And of course I’m going to say Hootsuite. You can see my owly over my shoulder there because I want to be able to monitor everything that you’re all doing and everything that your friends are doing and listen to all the material, so yeah, you’ve got to have Hootsuite in the mix there.
Mike: So before we wrap things up, I definitely want each of you to share what you’re working on now and where everybody can find you. We’ll start with Jeff.
Jeff: Yeah, you can find me; I’m working on doing a talk in two weeks at Podcast Movement in Forthwith, Texas. So it’s going to be fun. There’s a lot of people there so looking forward to speaking on, I’m actually speaking on, how to boost your podcast with like Pinterest, Instagram, and other visual social media networks. And you can always find me at ManlyPinterestTips.com where we’re adding testosterone one pin at a time.
Rebekah: I love it. Am I up next?
Rebekah: All right, you can find me at RebekahRadice.com. You can connect with me on any social network @RebekahRadice. I am at Post Planner on PostPlanner.com, on their blog as well. And then I am co-host of Influencer Chat which is a Twitter chat as I mentioned earlier where we’re talking about all things social media that would help you build an influential presence across social media, and that is every Tuesday night, so tomorrow night starting at 5 pm Pacific Time and 8 pm Eastern Time.
Dustin: And you can find me always doing a lot of different things. In fact, I wanted to make a funny observation. I think all three of us are speaking at the Social Media Success Summit? Is that right?
Rebekah: Yes, that’s right. Yeah, I forgot to mention that.
Dustin: So you can find the three of us talking there but you can find me at dustn.tv. That’s my personal blog. Dustn.tv, no “I” in Dustn because it’s not about I. And I’m still working on that. But that’s the easiest place to find me everywhere. That’s my central hub for all things.
Mike: Great, well that’s been a fantastic show. That’s it for our show today everyone. I am so thankful for my guests Jeff, Dustin, Rebekah, you guys have been so generous with your time and your social insights. And I’d like to thank all of you in the audience for listening in. I hope you’ve learned as much as I have. Now, please join us next Monday at 12 Eastern when I’ll be joined by my good friends David Amerland, Martin Shervington, and Mark Traphagen to talk about SEARCH as we wrap up our SiteSell Presents series. See you then.
Rebekah: Buh bye.
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Full Transcript of “SiteSell Presents: SEARCH with David Amerland, Martin Shervington and Mark Traphagen”
Mike: Hello everyone and welcome to the fourth and final episode of SiteSell Presents. I’m your host Mike Allton and today we’re talking about the power and intricacies of search. Search, specifically Google search, has continued to change and evolve seemingly on an hourly basis. And we’re going to explore where search is headed and how businesses can adapt. And you’re in for a real treat, as today’s guests are three of the top experts in this area. I’ll introduce each and then we’ll get into some questions for the panel but before I do, I want to remind all of you once more that if you’re watching live you can leave a comment with a question in the event page and we’ll try to get to it during the show. With that, let’s say hello to our guests. David Amerland is a professional advisor to companies globally. He blogs for a number of websites including Forbes, Journalism.co.uk, and Social Media Today, and he writes for magazines and newspapers. He explores the implications of semantic technology in daily life. Hello David, and welcome to the show.
David: Mike, hi, and I’m really happy to be here with the guests you have lined up.
Mike: Thank you, appreciate it. Next we have Martin Shervington; he’s a speaker, consultant, author, professional coach, and marketing psychologist. He has written several books and leads a thriving Google+ community and consulting service, Plus Your Business. Hello Martin, and welcome to the show.
Martin: Hello Mike Allton!
Mike: Thanks so much.
Martin: It’s good to be here. It’s good to be here with David and Mark. It’s a trio isn’t it?
Mike: It is, yeah. And finally, we have Mark Traphagen. He is the senior director of online marketing for Stone Temple Consulting. His mission is to help businesses get seen and heard to get their message out, and bring in people who want and need what they have to offer. His special know how is in the intersection and search. Hello Mark, and welcome to the show.
Mark: Hey Mike, thanks for having me, great to be here and like the others have said, this is kind of a Google+ reunion here. Love being with these guys, anytime, any excuse.
2.00 – Panelists Share More About Their Backgrounds
Mike: Awesome, I appreciate all three of you coming. So first I think it would be great if you each took a moment to share with us a little bit more about yourselves, what your background is, and we will start with David.
David: Ah, okay. Easy things first – I write books about search and marketing. I write articles on online sites like Forbes, again, on the same subjects but I also advise a number of Fortune 500 companies on the social media and search. So you sort of bring all those things together in a very sort of hopefully practical way.
Mike: Great. Martin, can you share a little bit more about yourself?
Martin: Yeah, so my first start was in organizational psychology and I spent the last three years really around the Google ecosystem, a lot around Google+ and now a lot on Google My Business, and with a strong focus on reviews and local search and that’s been a project now for the last however many months. You want more? Other than that, I’ll stop.
Martin: I’m sure I’ll say more as we go. But I tend to be looking at what you can be using social for, how you can build communities around content that leverages it into search and I think that’s something that probably formulated over the past few years that a lot of people are using which is to get engagement up in the same community build.
Mike: Great, and before we go to Mark, I want to share this comment from Ray Hiltz, he says, “Wow, it’s like the Google+ holy trinity.”
Mark: Be prepared to be disappointed if you’re…
Mike: Great. And Mark?
Mark: Yeah, so I have that super-meta job on marketing a marketing agency. I’m basically the marketing director for Stone Temple Consulting, which is about a 50 employee digital marketing agency. We deal with the Fortune 500 clients that David Amerland has left us, the few he leaves behind. We pick up his droppings. Historically an SEO agency that has evolved into an agency much more centered around content marketing but still with that technical SEO savvy. So that’s where we specialize.
04:21 – What Is Semantic Search, Social Search, And Where Is Google Headed?
Mike: That’s fantastic. So now I think it would probably be a good idea if we kind of brought everyone in the audience up to speed on current terminology and trends. So if the three of you could help us understand, what are things like semantic search, social shirts – search – and where is Google headed?
David: I’ll sort of kick it off. I think both Martin and Mark are going to be able to add a lot of detail here. So let’s draw a very big, broad picture here. How has search changed over the last two or three years? It’s changed dramatically and it’s changed a lot. Now essentially, search used to be something that was highly technical in terms of what we did on the site itself. And it was intended to help Google find it and then statistically present the results in a sort of certain order which allowed somebody to find the relevant, to sift through them and find the relevant answer. So in that world, there were two things. There was an uncertainty in terms of what the correct answer would be and Google used to rank sites in terms of that answer. There was an uncertainty from top to bottom and there was also an uncertainty whether within the ranked sites, there was the result you were looking for. You had to do the hard work as a person. The reason all of this happened is because Google didn’t really understand the language you used and it didn’t understand the intent behind the search and it had no way of understanding what you were actually looking for beyond your search query. And all this has changed now. Forget semantic search, we’re in a fully semantic technology world and what that means essentially is that the data which surrounds us, the data which we generate, the data which we’re embedding essentially constantly connects and from that connection we get constant refinement of meaning and purpose. So for instance, if we forget that we’re talking about digital and we think how we operate in the real world, if you think about the relationships which we have with the people around you, they’re in a constant state of flux. In flux in terms of what they do, what they say, how they say it, what you say, what you said, what happened, what you hope will happen. So all of these are constantly recalculated on a daily, hourly basis within the work environment. The same thing is now happening algorithmically in search and not only in search but also through the devices and the connections we make, through the data we generate, and all of that is pulled together in the search interface for our own purposes here every time we actually look for something. Is it perfect? Far from it. It’s a huge task. There are huge holes in it still that are constantly being filled in. It’s getting better and better every day and we’re seeing a change in direction of optimization and websites which now have to deliver value, they have to deliver uniqueness in style and voice rather than just content and also they have to have a very strong social component because of that. And I will leave it here because obviously Martin and Mark have very important insights on both of these things.
Martin: I thought we’d just leave David talk for the whole time because he’s got it covered hadn’t he?
Mark: Martin and I get to just nod our heads.
Martin: I make notes when I’m with David. That’s a nice bit. You want to dive in a little bit on the social side? You mentioned social SEO and then pass it over to Mark. So what David is saying is that the activities that you take and the next bit is the people who are connected with you, the people who are engaging with you around your content, starts to signal to Google something. And that something is going to be dependent upon the person, the people [kids screaming] and the nature of the content itself. When it comes to search, if we look at an example of a blog post, and some people think that just posting onto Google+ in its own right without any engagement at all gets it ranked and gets it a good chance of it getting to appear on the first page and all of this is here and you hear all of these things. There’s an opportunity to think about this differently in terms of social and the relationship with search. When a person who is in your network engages on your content, the potential for people to see that content that are in their network increases. So that either increases through spreading in social, the +1 recommend button for instance on Google+ spreads it socially. We know the same in, if you look at this for spread in Facebook, it spreads it socially when somebody likes something you see it in the timeline and all of this sort of stuff, and that’s social. It spreads the information. Now, with Google and Google+ because Google sits on top as a search engine on top of Google+ we have personalized search so when I search for something that is a semantic search for…David’s in my network, it’s likely David would appear for most people, but the likelihood of a post coming up from David with his face next to it which is a Google+ post, that’s the only way a face can appear, is very high. That’s a personalized search result for social SEO. David is influencing my search results because I have him in my circles. Ok. But the stage after that is very much when you go beyond the social and you start to go to the realm of authority.
Martin: What is the most authoritative content? What’s the most relevant, and I know we’re going to get into semantic, but relevant content for someone to see outside of anyone’s network. In other words, that first page of Google, top two, top three, top five, spots in particular when you’re doing an incognito search. And what we found is that through the social engagement you don’t just get the spread, you don’t just get the connections, you don’t just build the relationships even though that’s incredibly important, but you also find that this content surfaces longer term within these incognito results because these posts are deemed to be authoritative by the algorithm based upon the people whom are engaging from within your network. So if I post something on semantic search, a real niche topic, and David and Mark and Eric and yourself Mike, and everybody engages, the likelihood that the algorithm sees that as an important post because they’ve put their name to it, they’ve clicked a button that adds their face next to it and they share it to the network as well, all of that creates some sort of link structure which you can go look at in the background, but more importantly, it just says hey, this is important for people to see based upon the authorities that are already in that space and it surfaces. And we’ve tested this now for years and we can see that community building leads to search results. That’s my little take on social SEO.
Mark: I’m going to bring in a third leg here, I hope. David gave a great overview of what semantic search means in the semantic web world that we’re living in. Martin brought in the social component and how important that is, and I very much agree with that. I want to bring it in from the perspective of your website, your home base, your site, still a very important place for you, but it’s changed it’s meaning over the years. David eluded to this a little bit, it used to be the main task for a site was just to be well optimized, to try to have the right words in the right place to get Google to think that you are relevant for a certain term, and you hope that you rank for it and try to get links to that. It’s gotten at the same time much more complex but also somewhat delightfully much more human, and I think more real in some context. And what I want to bring into this is the edict also of real user engagement and what real users are doing with your site and the growing importance of this. So we have to have content that’s semantically rich and semantically relevant as David said, you’ve got to be building a social network, you’ve got to be building an audience out there that loves what you do and shares it and then attracts relevant authoritative people who share it and promote it, sending those relevant signals to it, but you also have to have more than ever, a site that is truly useful to real people for what you’re about. And we’re seeing evidence of Google paying more and more attention to those kinds of signals. When people go from a Google search result to your site, what do they do? Do they bounce right back to the results and go looking for another result, click on another result? That’s really bad in most cases. It depends on the circumstance. But many other signals, basically it all works together as this wonderful web. All of the things that the three of us are talking about are so interrelated and cooperative that it’s actually getting harder and harder to talk about, specifically about, any one signal. These things all work together. So you want to be building a website that is the best possible resource for whatever you’re about, whatever your topic is, whatever your product is, whatever your cause is, it’s the best resource on the web for that. It’s the one that people are going to go to, they’re going to read, they’re going to say, “ah, this is what I was looking for.” And they’re going to share that with their friends and they’re going to go to more pages on your site and they’re going to come back again and again because all of those things create an atmosphere where you will be creating all the other signals that we’re talking about. This all works together interdependently. But so far, the good news is we’re still far from perfect on this as David said but the good news is that all these things that Google is trying to build into their algorithm are leading us more and more toward the web that we all really want out of search. What we want is we want to get the answers to our questions. We want to get informed. We want to find out what’s the best of whatever we’re looking for. And that’s always been Google’s mission to uncover that. Now the one other thing I’ll throw in here before I quit is we’ve all mentioned a little bit about personalization.
Mark: But it’s personalization and customization now. We’re seeing more and more of this where for more and more queries when you go on Google you very rarely now see the old traditional ten blue links. But you’ll see all kinds of other information, some of it not directly from websites, some of it directly from Google or Google taking information from your site and putting it up in a box where people may or may not need to click any further to get their answer. So it’s all getting a lot more complicated and you’ve got to be doing a better job of being a resource than ever before. I’ll stop there.
David: Good points.
Mike: That was great and it’s interesting that you mentioned that search is moving to a web and websites are moving to a web that is more like what we want and what we envisioned because a lot of people would have a little angst about what changes Google implements and requires like with mobile readiness but some people see it as Google pushing us and pulling us into those kinds of directions.
16.00 – What Can Businesses Do To Stay Ahead Of Google?
Mike: Last week we read about the release of Google’s latest Panda update 4.2 and of course earlier this week we were all in the throws of trying to deal with Mobilegeddon. So what are some of the strategies and recommendations that businesses can employ to keep ahead of these changes to search?
David: Okay, first of all this is a question that always comes up and it comes up in various guises and essentially what it boils down to is what should I do very quickly to actually get the best results possible? So we’re looking for shortcuts and the big difference in the search world we’re in now and the web that is being created is that there are no shortcuts. That doesn’t mean there are no answers to the question, on the contrary. There are actually answers which lead us back to basics. So the question is what do you do to make a business the best it can be and the most relevant it can be to the target audience? And if you can correctly answer that, then the challenge becomes how you do then translate that into a digital medium? How do you translate to your website? How do you translate to the mobile experience to your customers? Or the tablet experience which is partially different? How do you translate it in the way that they will actually experience the content it will find on the web? So it actually meets the business principles, your business goals, your business criteria, and this is the thinking that comes in. And for anybody that’s been following Stone Temple Consulting posts over the last 24 months, they’ve done a lot of research on this, they have consistently pointed people in the direction where we’re not looking for a specific strategy but we’re looking for an overall content creation strategy that reflects the business, the core business values of a particular business. And Mark will be able to elaborate on this but essentially these are the questions which will give you the answers you need.
Mark: Yeah, there are still technical things you need to do and I’ve been a little disturbed by some articles I’ve recently that, it’s not the quite the SEO is dead meme that we were seeing maybe a year ago or so, but it’s kind of the next evolution of that, where it’s something like, well content is so important now that you can just ignore SEO, traditional SEO, and I don’t at all think that’s true. I don’t think anybody here think that’s true. David said it well that there are no shortcuts. There are still things that it’s good to do and Mike you brought up one, the so-called Mobilegeddon. Everybody I know at Google cringes every time we use that. They said it was the “mobile-friendly update.” But our testing showed that it did have an effect and most of the effect was negative, not positive. In other words, sites that were already mobile-friendly didn’t get much of a boost which is where most people were looking. But we saw a lot of sites who did not, who were not mobile ready, lose rankings about the mobile update back in April and May. So that’s something again, increasingly as your audience is going to be using mobile devices, that’s something you can’t afford to not pay attention to. Sorry for the double-negative there. So that takes a certain amount of technical expertise. At some point if you’re serious about your site and about doing well and being found, you need to bite that bullet and get some help with that. It doesn’t necessarily take a lot depending on what you’re doing but somebody who knows what they’re doing, to help you basically get things set up correctly from a technical aspect. But once you’ve got that in place and it does take some maintenance ongoing-ly, but once you’ve got that going, as David said, the real important thing we’ve been saying this whole broadcast so far, the very most important thing is not to concentrate on any tricks or shortcuts but to concentrate on your end user, who they are, who your audience is, and thinking about how can my site and my content both on my site, other sites, and in social media be the very best in my topic area for those people?
Martin: Can I add as well about local? Local and mobile, I think one of the big steps for people to take is to look at the person who is finding the piece of information and what action they take from there. What context are they in? Do they put something into search, in which case, what device? Do they follow you on social? Do they have notifications? I’m obsessed by notifications right now; I’ve got some more stuff coming out, because if you can get people’s attention then you have, it’s push notifications, so you don’t have to leave it for them to find the information. So it’s okay. Notifications are almost the new email opt-in list for some people, particularly if you have your own app which is for another day. Local – mobile searches on local, so for local restaurants and bars near me but, Mark we talked about this for a while, it radically changes the results that you get based upon where you are. And when you start taking into account Google Now as well as you’re getting suggestions of different restaurants and different pieces of information, you start to build a map and the map is different to your website alone. Your website, as Mark says, is home base. But you have all of these places that people can find it and it’s not just in search. These social notifications and people sharing and posting it – all of that stuff reaches beyond but you need a map. And you’ve got to create a map to understand that then you’ve got to start tracking, you’ve got to start looking at which bits aren’t working and start to optimize it which is why obviously with mobile-friendly sites particularly, if you take restaurants and things, so many of them will have lost because they’re not mobile-friendly. It’s a huge space and I think that’s one of the challenges is knowing how to navigate it, what do you need to focus on? Because the tendency is to chuck the site up, to put a bit of content out, fingers crossed and hope for the best. And I think there are steps and stages for businesses to put a plan into place that allows it to be, I have to say, a year, two year, three year plan. Otherwise, use AdWords. Just get the traffic to the site by paying for it and improve the conversion rates and go from there. Social should be used once you’ve ideally got evidence that people want to buy the thing that you’re selling. And I think AdWords is a really powerful way to kick that off.
Mark: That’s a great point.
23.00 – What SEO Tools & Services Do You Recommend?
Mike: When it comes to implementing these strategies, what tools and services do you guys use and recommend and I’ll say feel free to insert an unabashed personal plug at this point if it’s relevant.
David: Okay, that’s a good question. Now, in terms of managing the social side, there are a whole lot of tools out there including Hootsuite for instance for sharing content across social media platforms. There’s Buffer which allows you to essentially bring in your content and stagger the timing of it so you don’t just flood everybody the moment you get online and have an eight hour gap while you’re doing other things. And there’s also the question of at which point do you do things yourself and at which point you go to an agency. Now I must say here that I think we’re getting to the stage where search engine optimization itself, because it’s so diffused now and so complex and it changes so quickly, it really needs to be done by a professional for you which does not absolve you however from the need to understand what is actually being done. Mark mentioned how important the technical aspect is. It continues to be so. And things are constantly evolving. So essentially when you hire a professional now, it is different to when you hired a professional three years ago or four years ago, when you hired somebody for a month to SEO your site and they went away until you needed them again. Now when you actually call in a professional, you are embedding things in your business, the expectation, the skillset, which you don’t have the time to develop internally. So you know what you’re buying, the professional will take time and effort to actually understand what your business does, so there’s a relationship there which is long term because both parties need to actually work. And Martin mentioned a two/three year plan, well search engine optimization and visibility in search and across all the different devices, it does need to be a long term thing. You need to plan for it. It won’t happen overnight. You will not be on the first page of Google tomorrow just because you hired somebody.
David: Which means that if you want shortcuts you either have to pay for it doing it AdWords, that will give you the traffic, and then you can work on conversions because there are problems there and you can get people that don’t convert. And then work out your long-term strategy which will give you the organic growth. And these are the things you need to be reminded of now when you’re making your purchasing decisions in terms of the tools and the services which you need to access.
Martin: Can I add in Local again, a current obsession, and a bit of the shameless plug bit. Reviews – if you’ve got a local business, you’ve got to focus on reviews. Not just the social proof in search which it can appear in your AdWords that you can have Google accelerating, but you can also have stars that appear in organic search. Check that out, that’s a big thing. But you can include the reviews on your website as well. And there are people that are suggesting that the increased amount of trust is leading to increased conversions. You start to see this as a part of your exposure so people see it. They click and then they have increased trust again. So very much, David is the one that talks about trust being, you’ve been posting about this, one of the most utmost things, reviews help to improve trust. Get more reviews.
Mark: We’re kind of leaving the local to Martin here which is great. I’m glad he’s covering that because it’s very important. I’m sure it’s very important to many of the people who are watching this broadcast. But just to underscore what Martin was saying just as a personal anecdote, the guys in the broadcast know that I was on the road for the last three weeks, just got home two days ago for the first time in three weeks, travelling a lot. And while I was travelling it was a great experience because that time I was very much a consumer of the local. I went through four different cities in those three weeks and well really more than that. But four different major locations and the reviews I realised were critically important to my decisions. That’s where, and when it came down to it and I was looking for a restaurant in the evening or bar to go to or any kind of business locally, you know, the websites all say the same thing. They all say they’re great. Their AdWords ads all say they’re great. But the critical thing for me in making a decision was digging down into the reviews and seeing what real people had to say. So I just want to underscore the importance of that if you’re a local business in particular. The question was about tools and those sorts of things. There’s so many. At Stone Temple more and more we’re using in house, developing our own tools, we have a team of developers and we’re working on a number of tools of our own which are clients get the advantage of. But there’s a lot of things I could mention. I’ll just mention one more in the social realm that probably a lot of people are familiar with but if you’re not you should really look into particularly from the content side and that is BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo is a very easy to use tool that basically you can look can look at from a number of different angles, you can look up a topic, a subject, a keyword, you can look up a particular site, you can look at authors, and you can see basically the most popular, socially shared content on that topic or from that site or from that author. And that can be great for research. That could be great for competitive research. What are your competitors doing in the content area and how are people responding to it? What’s resonating? It can be great for new content ideas. I go to it a lot for that. I look at it and say, okay in this topic, what are the most popular things that have been written on this topic from a social share standpoint, and then my goal is not to imitate those because if they’re so popular it’s doubtful I’m going to compete directly with them, but look at them and say, is there an angle that they haven’t covered? Is there something about that particular angle they took that I could expand upon or use in a new way? So, I’ll just mention that as one tool that you can use in a lot of different ways to help you produce better content and do better with your social audience.
Mike: Yeah, that’s a great recommendation, Mark. I mean that could have applied to any one of our previous shows. That’s great for blogging. That’s great for creating social content. So, yeah, BuzzSumo, I can’t talk today, it’s a great idea. And I agree, I was watching you in Alaska and what a great time you were having, and secretly hoping that you wouldn’t have too good a time that you wouldn’t come home because you did suggest that you might stay there and I didn’t want you to miss this show.
Mark: Yeah, if there was any place that would tempt me it would be there but as people keep reminding me I haven’t spent a winter there yet so maybe I’ll do that and it will cure me.
30.00 – Anything New In Terms Of Video And Search?
Mike: It’s a little different. So we do have a question from our friend Scott Scowcroft who says, any updates or new thinking in terms of the social use of video? Any rules of thumb? Anything new in terms of video and mobile?
David: Yes, yes and yes. I mean I’m not sure if it’s an update on the new thinking but essentially we’re in the throws of the visual web. Better devices, higher computing power, greater bandwidths for connectivity, all are contributing to the increased use of multimedia. And this allows us to achieve perhaps the only viable shortcut we can have on the web which is how to actually determine trust which Martin said. And it’s a very human quality. It can be done without video which takes a long time, but it can also be done very quickly through video by actually establishing a visual frame of reference with somebody which allows you to feel the human connection and actually say yes, I like them, no I don’t. Yes I trust them; no I don’t – based on the non-variable use that you actually see. And that’s the way we’ve always operated so video is becoming an incredibly important part of marketing because it helps to establish that one to one connection that Mark was talking about where you essentially need to build the relationship with your audience. You’re not going to do it through mass marketing, you’re not going to do it be advertising, you need to actually connect with them in terms of who you are, how you do things, the values which you share, the values you project, and how you can help them on that sort of shared connection basis. And video plays an important part in this.
Martin: Can I just add in something that’s emerging? Because I’m just outside Silicon Valley and we’ve had access to the Android TV device from nVidia, a pure device. Sony is looking at 50 million Android TV units coming out by the end of the year. Android TV is Google in the home. And if you’re looking at videos, you need to see that the interface, and there’s other devices you can get it on, but the interface is different. It’s not mobile, it’s not desktop, it’s very different. For videos there are no annotations to click and we know the annotations have been sort of downgraded and we now have got the cards so that’s where it’s going but there’s nothing to click. There’s no description so there’s no links to click. So if you’re looking at video and yours is likely to get surfaced in search or it’s an app or anything like that, but that’s another day, if it’s a video and it could be played on Android TV, then you need to think of call to action at the end of it that isn’t “click here” because it’s a different way that people are seeing it. They’ve got a mobile, they’ve got a controller, or they’ve got an iPad or something like that, it’s again, different. I think as a marketer being aware that this is something that’s moving on the horizon because there’s a battle for the home. The home is going to between Apple and Google but it’s Android. I think this is one of the key things for people to see. Android as a platform is huge. So I’d also go back to look at what people are doing on the mobile device whether it’s iPhone or…where are they watching the videos? Are they watching in natively on Facebook because I know if you’re listening to it, you want to load your videos as well, if you want extra traction, it’s appropriate for that audience on that platform, but if they’re watching on the mobile, what are you doing? What size is it? What does it look like? You notice I couldn’t turn the phone all the way around that was a bit weird on that. But what is it like? What’s going on? What’s the emotional response? When it’s tiny, are your graphics too small? All of these things are understanding the context in which the information is being engaged and consumed. So, and also if you ask for thumbs up you see in on the phone. You don’t see it on an Android TV. It’s going to be really interesting because it’s different psychology.
Mark: That’s so brilliant what Martin just shared. And very important for people to be paying attention to.
Martin: That’s why I love you guys. See, that’s why I come here.
Mark: Just to get personal affirmation?
Martin: Yeah. Just keep it coming, man.
Mark: And he’s so devilishly handsome, don’t you think folks? No, it truly is. It truly is what you need to be paying attention to. I think, we’re seeing this and Facebook was the first to train us for this at Stone Temple. We do a lot of videos. We have a video studio now. We produce a lot of in-house short form videos and we were optimizing them for YouTube which means we were thinking about the click, we were doing the annotations, thinking all that way, and Facebook forced us to think differently because which a Facebook video we’d been experimenting with that, now we’ve been experimenting with the embedded videos actually uploading directly to Facebook and getting pretty good results with that. But you can’t – there’s nothing to click on, as Martin said. And so you’ve got to think differently.
Mark: Now, we’ve been crudely experimenting with just putting up a short link visually on the screen and saying, you know, if you want more of this content go to that link, seeing what we get with that, but we’re already thinking bigger than that and you’ve got to think you’re video has to be serving a different purpose than just getting the click to something. So it really is shifting the whole strategy. I think that’s very important.
Martin: Have you thought of and I’m checking this out and this is something that I think where it needs to be possibly, is shortcodes. Text shortcodes to something, like what is the item you’re seeking, and then what is the easiest, least painful way for people to achieve that or to take that step to achieve that item and I think it’s looking at could it be that you base it to text or is it just the website just as you say Mark and what is it then – is there an incentive to do that? What is it? Sign up for the free what have you, you know? I think we’ve got to take a step back and realise – the funny thing is we’re not even talking about only other platforms, it’s YouTube itself that are going to have to be thinking about this because of Android TV. So we’re going to have to get a lot more creative and that’s one of the things that I came away with and just went, yeah, is a website address enough or do we start getting more creative?
Mike: Yeah, Jeff Sieh has been using that with his Manly Pinterest Tips podcast. At the end of the podcast he gives them a short 5 digit code, and a number, text it to, so that they can sign up for his newsletter.
Mike: Great, well let’s shift gears for a minute and let’s talk about what’s not a good idea when it comes to search and optimization? What are some of the myths or the no-longer true techniques that online businesses should avoid?
David: Well, any kind of offer that offers to sell you links and these keep on coming and you are tempted to think, yeah well may as well try it, the answer to that is don’t. You’ll really, seriously get burnt. Anything which sounds like a good way to gain search by getting your buddies together and thinking well you know I’ve got about a thousand friends, we get together on Google+ and Facebook and start going round robin some of the content, it’s bound to do well in search, again, don’t. And the reason for that is that it’s an entirely transparent web. Now Google has a signature of an organic profile. They understand like they have a signature of an organic website. They understand exactly how that profile behaves so if you get your thousand friends to actually do this, well you may have a little bit of short-lived success, by the time you get to number three, you begin to drop, and by the time you get to post number ten, you may even get a Google warning that you’re doing things wrong. So these things shouldn’t happen. You focus on actually getting all that energy and that creativity into really delivering great value to your audience and then think, how are you going to actually make the things that matter to them visible? How are you going to make things that matter to you and your business visible to them? And this is exactly where we get the interface of psychology of search, search engine optimization, search marketing, and content creation and content marketing. These are all things now that are whole which projects a personality or voice of a business and that’s the thing. Avoid the shortcuts. Avoid the temptations. Do things the hard way because it actually works.
Martin: And it’s relationships David, isn’t it? That’s what it comes down to. We’ve got the content and we’ve got the site. We know there are principles around the search engine but this is back to build relationships.
David: Yes, absolutely.
Martin: And that’s why it takes time because it takes time to build trust.
Mark: And I’m going to give Martin two brilliants here. You don’t give away more than one but he mentioned something. It’s been alluded to before but I think it’s very important even though we’re talking about negatives right now, just to say this positive of not to underestimate the value of relationships that you build. That’s a longer term strategy. It’s harder to do, but as David said, the harder things are the ones that pay off. And the value of that. We’re seeing that more and more. Some of our best business, our best referrals, our best links, all of these things come out of relationships. Sometimes relationships I just had to experience recently where someone, just happens to be a journalist, but I’ve been building relationship with this particular journalist at this major publication for two and a half years online. I mean just feeding him information from time to time and I see something he thinks will be interesting, and for those two and a half years, other than a couple of mentions, you didn’t really get anything out of it in terms of direct return.
Mark: But then recently one of our major studies was published, we were able to alert him to and this became a thing for him. He wrote a whole article on it with links to us, everything, in one of the major business publications in the world. That didn’t happen by accident but it was a two and a half year cultivation of a relationship. So that’s very important. Just from the myth side, I’m going to just reiterate the thing that I said earlier and just repeat it to reinforce it. And that’s the myth that you no longer need any technical SEO on your site. And I want to bring it back just to tell you a quick story. One of our clients, obviously I won’t say who they are, but they’re one of the top five highest traffic sites in the world by anybody’s measure. And they messed up recently. They messed up just in terms of their technical SEO. The site was so complex and so complicated, that they created, unintentionally, but they created this huge knot, that became so difficult for Google to get through for its robots to crawl and understand, that Google just kind of gave up and they started seeing a massive reduction in traffic. And they called us in and it was a huge job. It took many, many, many months. It’s not completely done, to untangle that mess. Frankly, if we’d been there from the beginning we never would have advised them to do the things that got them into the mess. But I say it to underscore that, here’s a huge site, multi-billion dollar site with all kinds of resources, all kinds of in-house people to work on these things, and they created such a mess that Google couldn’t understand their site anymore so just to underscore that, you can’t afford to ignore those technical issues. Your site has to be basically optimized so that a social – excuse me, that a search engine can understand it, it’s robots can crawl it properly. You can get to the content. You can figure out the connections between things. So don’t believe anybody that tells you that you don’t need to do that anymore.
David: Good point.
42:04 – Where Is Search Heading As It Relates To Content-driven Sites?
Mike: Yeah, that is so true. Now, at SiteSell, every one of our customers are building these extensive content based websites and they’re all designed to earn revenue, where do you see search headed in the future, particularly as it relates to these kinds of content driven sites and online businesses?
David: Well search is beginning to do what it was intended to do in the beginning and it couldn’t do very well because the technology wasn’t there. And that is, it organises information in a way that makes sense to the end user in relation to his search query and intent behind it. So essentially, to boil this down to simplicity, it provides answers which actually make sense and allows us to do things, either to learn something or get something done or buy something if it’s a purchasing decision. Which then, if we inverse this, a website that doesn’t actually help do that, won’t really surface in search for very much longer, if it surfaces at all. And that’s the way that a website needs to be set up. So even if you have a website which has content and it is only intended to sell ads, make money through that, and there are websites like that, well make sure the content which you have now, is not the poor quality, quickly thrown together content that had keywords to get somebody on the website, on the off-chance that they would see an advert they would appeal and click on it because that won’t happen anymore. If the website itself isn’t solid, it hasn’t got high quality, if it’s not trusted, if it hasn’t got expertise which now the website has, then you won’t be seen. And these websites which are poor in quality will eventually die out completely and we’ll never see them again. So the web which we hoped we would get in the beginning when the web came along, will now become better and becomes authentic and authoritative, it’s actually by degrees beginning to happen.
Martin: Shall I add in as well? People when they start off and they create their site and they have their product, and they’re looking at content and then they’re starting to build relationships, starting to do the social, starting to do the community building, all of that is good. That’s exactly what needs to happen is build a community around your content. However, you need products that people want to buy. And that’s… go to the end point to start with, and go and check out the keywords and go and find out what the audience is and go and find out why you are driving people through social to the site and then why you want to be sitting in search in order for people to take the next step because the site is the what’s capturing them. Whether it’s a newsletter or whether it’s like a lead magnet type of opt in thing which you download the .PDF and you’ve got a lot of Copyblogger for understanding how to do this really, really well; but you need a product that people want to buy.
Martin: Otherwise you spend all this time doing the social and the engagement and you have a great party, but you may not get results there and we’ve been through this in Plus Your Business and we’ve got the ship steady now, but I can tell you it isn’t easy moving high volumes of individuals into a place where they go, “okay, I’m now willing to take the next step.” You’re working in perceptions and you’re working on more than anything else, in my opinion because I like community building, you build the relationships. And Hangouts are one of the most effective ways to do that. But I’ve learned a lot about what I would do differently if I was starting now… it’s got some pros and some cons on the journey that we’ve all been on, but I’d say go back to look at the product first and then start looking at the content you’re putting out.
Mark: Well gosh dang it…I have to give Martin a third brilliant in one Hangout. This is like…I can’t stand it.
David: It’s interesting right?
Martin: You’re only saying that because what I say normally is average. But today, it’s above average.
Mike: It’s above average.
Mark: It’s definitely raised your average. But I’m going to give him that mostly because it’s just a perfect segue into what I wanted to give as my tip which is out of that, yes, you must have a quality product that people will talk about, people will get enthused about because that leads to what I want to say which is building a brand, the importance of that. One of the most golden things you can have in business altogether but especially on the web and even in how it affects Google now, is to have a brand that people talk about. I was at Moz Con just a couple weeks ago in Seattle, and one of the speakers was showing some really stunning examples of Google Auto Complete in searches. Auto Complete is when you start to type in a search query and Google gives you this whole drop down of suggested queries that kind of finish out that query, that adds words to it. Well, one of the main sources of those of course, is things that people search frequently. So when you see those suggestions, it means that people are searching that a lot. He started showing us some suggestions where you start typing in a certain query and one of the top suggests after that query is a brand name. So I’m going to make something up here, but Lubricated Widgets the thing…you start typing that in and you see the third one down is Lubricated Widgets Brand. That means that a lot of people are searching when they think of those lubricated widgets, they think of that brand. How powerful it that? And people have noticed, it’s been a long standing thing to notice, it’s not new, that big brands, well known brands, tend to do very well in Google Search and that led people for a long time to… some people just pass the conspiracy theories that Google just gave automatic preference to big brands and it was because they spent a lot on AdWords. We have no evidence of any of that. It’s much more likely that it’s simply the fact that if you have a brand that a lot of people are searching for, it makes sense for Google to rank that brand’s content higher. They know already the signals are there. People want to see that. So whatever you can do to get people talking about your brand, and Martin’s suggestion is a huge part of that, to have high quality products that people really want and that they will talk about and share. That’s one of the most valuable things you can do.
Mike: That’s absolutely right. Now, before we wrap things up I would like each of you to share what you’re working on now and where everyone can find you.
David: Okay, I’m finishing a book on trust and how it used in the online environment and how you can actually benefit from it. There will be more details on that on Google+ as soon as I’m allowed to say more. You can find me at DavidAmerland.com or Google+ or Twitter @DavidAmerland.
Mike: Great, thanks. Martin?
Martin: I am…two things, Plus Your Business. One is the academy, so we have that as a place to learn marketing. We were initially offering this on Google+ but we recently went on Facebook and LinkedIn and we have specialist people coming in every week so we have that. And a new Reviews Product that is going to be launching very soon and it helps small businesses get more customers through the door and we got techniques that we use and then we’ve got some backend systems that we’ll have ready to rock in roll in the next weeks or two. So that’s what I’m working on. You can find me on Google+ or PlusYourBusiness.com.
Mark: And I’m working on two major things right now. One in Eric Enge who is the CEO of Stone Temple Consulting and I, are working together on a forthcoming book on how social media is used by real social media professionals.
Mark: And we’re doing a series… we’re basing it on a series of many interviews of many top brands in the world and their social media leads. Some of those interviews you can already see at StoneTemple.com. There’s many more to come. So that’s one thing. I’m also working on my personal content project for the rest of the year, is on the humanization of business on the web and social areas. That includes everything from how in-house personal brands can be used to build the brand of a business, to just how businesses can become more human and thus build their brand, the thing I was just talking about in the previous… as far as finding me, I love to say this these days, just Google Mark Traphagen.
Mike: That’s fantastic. And that’s it for our show today everyone. I’m so thankful for my guests David, Martin, and Mark for being so generous with their time and their insights into search. I’d like to thank each of you in the audience for listening in. I hope you’ve learned as much as I have and I hope you’ve enjoyed this entire SiteSell Presents series. All of the recaps and transcripts including today’s by Friday, will be found at SiteSell.com/blog. Bye for now.
Mark: Thanks Mike.
Martin: Take care.
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