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- Learn more about Pivot
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- 05/23/19--07:02: Transcript of The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One
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- Follow on Twitter
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- 05/28/19--07:02: Transcript of How to Give Your Content CPR
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- Why stress is actually good for leveraging your career.
- How combining your “natural talent” with your other abilities can lead to a successful business.
- Learn more about Neil Patel here
- Buy Hustle: The Power to Charge Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum here
- Follow on Twitter
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- 05/29/19--07:02: Transcript of How to Think About Hustle
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John Jantsch: Hey, this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by rev.com. We do all of our transcriptions here on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast using rev.com and I’m going to give you a special offer in just a bit.
John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Brian Dean. He is the founder of Backlinko.com a place where you can get actionable SEO advice. In fact, I so highly endorse it and his work, that you can find my picture on the homepage saying so.
John Jantsch: And he’s coming to us today from the little country of Genovia, somewhere in Eastern Europe. So, Brian, thanks for joining me.
Brian Dean: Hey, good to be here John.
John Jantsch: You missed the joke. Where are you really calling from?
Brian Dean: I’m in Lisbon.
John Jantsch: In Lisbon.
Brian Dean: I was just going to let it slide. I was like…
John Jantsch: Genovia is a fictitious country, surely you know this, in Princess Diaries with Anne Hathaway. Great movie.
Brian Dean: And Andre the Giant.
John Jantsch: So no pop culture reference. Just went right by you.
Brian Dean: I would keep those out of the rest of the interview.
John Jantsch: I did actually have a question, this is my own curiosity, a lot of SEO folks do… you have a lot of clients in the U.S. I’m assuming.
Brian Dean: I actually don’t do client work.
John Jantsch: Oh, right. You have gotten out of that.
Brian Dean: Just courses.
John Jantsch: So if somebody was in your shoes or just even somebody like myself. I live in Kansas City, Missouri. I have clients in Canada and different places. What’s the best way to localize results? In other words, if you’re trying to check on results and track results, sometimes it’s a little challenging if your IP address is in Kansas City, Missouri. I was just curious if you were doing work for U.S. companies, are there tools out there that would or hacks that would allow you to kind of see what people in Kansas City, Missouri would see or people in Canada would see?
Brian Dean: Yep. Yeah, there’s a couple ways to do it. If you just want to get U.S. results and you’re not that concerned with the very geographic area like a state or a city, you can use a site I use all the time. It’s like if you open your browser and it suggests the top sites you go to, this is how much of an SEO nerd I am, it’s called proxysite.com. I wouldn’t even link to them in show notes, John. It’s kind of a shady site, but what it is basically is it’s like a web proxy so you can go to Google, use an IP address that’s in the States and search through it, and the cool thing is is that it’s not a VPN so it doesn’t have your browser history or any of that stuff implementing it. It’s almost like a virtual machine, like you’re using some other computer so the results are really good. They’re just totally unaltered by anything else. When I think of where do you rank, that’s for me the gold standard.
John Jantsch: Yeah, because a lot of times people don’t realize your browser history. I search all my favorite sites all the time and so in my view of search, they’re going to probably rise to the top, aren’t they?
Brian Dean: Oh definitely. That’s a big part of it, especially a page that you’ve visited before, Google will bump that up big time. You definitely want to go… that’s the easiest way because you can just check. If you want to get really into the nitty gritty, like someone searching in Kansas City, you can use a VPN, like… I don’t want to endorse any, but there’s tons of them. You can just find the city and state that you’re in or near and then search through an incognito window in Chrome or a private window in Firefox, and that’s basically what that person would see if they search for that.
Brian Dean: Rankings fluctuate all the time and all that stuff, but you’re getting a really good idea of what it looks like.
John Jantsch: I’m bummed out sometimes because I see pages of my own. I think, oh look, that’s ranked really high and then I do an incognito and it’s like not on page one anymore. I’m like dang it.
Brian Dean: Yeah, that happens to me. That’s why I go to ProxySite because it’s really fast and I only check through there because then I don’t have that… I’ve had that happen to me a million times.
John Jantsch: We’re in the middle of 2019 when we’re recording this show and you have a new course, or you’ve relaunched your course on SEO training. I guess the question, just because there is some evolution going on all the time, what’s kind of new big news in the world of SEO in general?
Brian Dean: I’d say the big shift that’s happening right now is user intent and Google’s ability to measure that and the importance of creating your site with user intent in mind. Basically what that means is the better your site can match what someone wants when they search for something, the higher it’s going to rank. All the traditional stuff like including your keyword on the page and getting links and having a brand and all that stuff will still help you, but at the end of the day, Google is getting really good at figuring out what people want from a search and making sure those results get bubbled to the top and those that don’t drop.
Brian Dean: Actually, over the last year we increased our organic traffic by like 80% just by going back to old content and totally changing it for user intent. To give you an example, we had a page that was optimized around the keyword SEO campaign, so John when you think of someone searching for SEO campaign, what do you think they are looking for?
John Jantsch: I would say that they are probably… they could be looking for somebody to run the campaign for them, they could be looking for an example of a campaign maybe, they could be looking for tips.
Brian Dean: Exactly, yeah. It’s good that you said that because there’s no one user intent usually for a keyword, there’s multiple. If I’m searching for keto desserts and you’re searching for keto desserts, we might want two different things, you know what I mean? There’s always going to be multiple user intents, but the point is what I had on the page didn’t really satisfy any, so it was… what it was was one example of one link building strategy, not even SEO. Just one guy how he did a link building strategy that I had taught and how it worked for him. I kind of shoe horned that keyword in there because I knew that people search for it and all the other traditional stuff, and it ranked for a while.
Brian Dean: Then about two years ago, it looked like the page got penalized. It went from top five to nowhere and it’s been hanging out in the third page ever since. I was like man, what’s happening? It has the keywords, it has links, it has all the traditional stuff, but it didn’t match user intent. People searching for SEO campaign were landing on it and they wanted what you said. They want an example, they want some sort of template, they don’t want a link building case study. It doesn’t make any sense. So I went back and totally reconfigured the page where now it’s a step by step how to create an SEO campaign.
Brian Dean: I included some of the stuff in the old post in there, just so I didn’t have to delete it all, but it’s literally 90% different and now it ranks number one for that keyword. Literally the next week it was number one. Google was able to measure, people reacted to it differently, it had the updated date which helped it get a temporary boost, and it stuck because it satisfied user intent.
John Jantsch: And you just said a whole bunch of things there that I think come under the category of going back and repurposing your content, because there are a lot of people that listen to folks like you and me and they started blogging a long time ago and they’ve got 100 blog posts that they wrote 10 for the last eight, ten years that they haven’t really gone back and looked at. They haven’t seen ways to sort of internally link them and so I think for a lot of folks, they could get a huge boost just by going back and refreshing old content, couldn’t they?
Brian Dean: Definitely. I would even put that under the category of what’s big right now in SEO, because I just came across an agency that’s all they do. They’re an SEO digital marketing agency. At the end of the day, it comes back to SEO as you know. They’re basically an SEO agency and all they do is update your old content. They position it a little differently. They do X, Y, and Z because there is kind of a lot to it, but the point is that when you sign up as a client they don’t create any new content for you, they don’t set up your social media, they don’t optimize your site.
Brian Dean: All they do is go back to your old stuff and reoptimize it and make it a better fit for user intent, and they’re getting awesome results because it’s so much faster to do that than to start from scratch and okay, let’s come up with 100 keywords. Let’s hire freelance writers. Let’s make sure we have screen shots and then publish it slowly over the course of weeks and months. You can do it in days and you’ll get a huge lift on some important pages.
Brian Dean: I would even put that in the category of what’s working right now at the top, and if you combine it with updating it but also saying how can I make this better and better match the keyword what someone wants, it’s a winning combo.
John Jantsch: I would add to that restructuring too, because I tell you where we’ve gotten huge, huge mileage is by taking that content, updating it, but then linking it all together, I mean in a logical way. So creating what I’ve been calling hub pages that are like the ultimate guide to local marketing and I basically create it as an outline or a course table of contents almost and then link all that content back together so that it becomes a little separate hub on the site and I think that that restructuring, we aren’t even doing as much as we should be doing to refresh the content, but just that restructuring immediately sends it through the roof.
Brian Dean: Nice, yeah. That’s another thing is the internal linking. I’m not… I usually don’t… I would say I don’t recommend internal linking but I don’t say you don’t need to internal link, because most sites don’t have the authority to make it worthwhile. Duct Tape Marketing does because it’s a huge, respected site with tons of links and it’s been around a long time. So when you internal link from page A to page B, it’s sending a lot of link authority to page B, but with most people they just internal link and nothing’s really going around. You know what I mean? It’s like a pipe with nothing in it.
John Jantsch: I was going to say the further part of that though is the structure. It’s not just an internal link. I mean, you’re right, those are nice, but we’re setting these up almost as table of contents for a topic that makes sense. I mean there’s probably 2000 words on that page, but then links off to in a very logical way. I think what a lot of times people, we get so fixated on the SEO value and we forget sometimes about the utility of that for the person who actually comes to that page who then clicks on 10 pages, bookmarks it, shares it, dwells on it for an hour, and I think that to me that’s the part that sometimes people miss when we start talking about SEO is that when you get actual users what they do on the page is so important as well.
Brian Dean: Yeah, that’s a really good point. It’s almost like a resource page 2.0 that you’re creating. The page itself has content to help you but it’s an intro to something greater, your other resources that you already have. Yeah, I’m looking to do more of that myself. I did a little bit of that, I have a guide called how to learn SEO, and it does link out to some other sites but it’s mostly my own stuff and it’s for that exact reason.
Brian Dean: If someone wants to learn SEO, I didn’t have a page to send them to be like here is the stuff you need to read. There wasn’t one place to send them, so now there is. So yeah, it’s a really good idea. I plan on actually doing more of that for these different topics, because that worked really well, kind of similar to what you saw when we approached it with this is a valuable resource, but more importantly it links to all this other stuff so it’s like one stop shopping.
John Jantsch: And then as you pointed out, we do link to some external resources and then we’ll reach out to those external resources and say, “Look at this amazing page that ranks really highly and we linked you. You ought to link to it,” and amazingly some of them do.
John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by rev.com. There are so many ridiculously valuable reasons to order transcriptions. You can write entire blog posts, heck, you could write an entire book by just speaking it and having Rev put together a transcript that you can then just bring on home. I mean, if you want to record a meeting so that you have notes, again, over and over, there are so many good reasons. If you just want to take notes when you’re listening to something and you just want to record those notes and get it. It’s amazing what the reasons you could find for doing this.
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John Jantsch: Let’s debunk some myths. Are there any myths still hanging around from kind of first version of SEO that people are still propagating?
Brian Dean: That’s a good question. I mean, there are so many the issue is choosing one. I mean there’s 100. The thing is SEO, it got people kind of crazy. You were kind of getting there before when you’re saying you’ve got to remember users at the end of the day, but it’s easy with SEO stuff to completely forget users and just kind of act crazy. I was there. I’m not coming from a judgmental place because when I started in SEO, I launched my first site in 2008. I lived in a little apartment in New York. My favorite marketing book was Duct Tape Marketing. I had it in my bedroom believe it or not back then. And I was SEO, you need to do SEO. I didn’t even think about creating an awesome site, creating awesome content. It was all about tricking the algorithm and I didn’t really break that bad habit until 2012.
Brian Dean: To answer your question, I would say the number one myth that people have is that Google likes a site that has a lot of content coming out all the time, this kind of big site, fresh content, need a lot of content myth that Google somehow has this preference for these big sites. It’s really not true. I’ve worked with sites that pump out 10 articles a day. I’ve worked with some that publish once a week or once every two weeks and there’s no correlation. It’s all about creating stuff that Google users want.
Brian Dean: Sometimes if you can swing it, like if you have a staff and you have a writing staff and you have an editorial process, you can put out multiple pieces of content a day that all check those boxes, but for most small businesses, including mine, it’s better to stay small.
Brian Dean: I’ll give you a good example. Like you mentioned, John, we just had a launch in my course and to do that we sent a lot of emails so we didn’t publish anything on the blog for about a month now, or three weeks, almost a month, and organic traffic has actually stayed remarkably consistent across the month. It’s like 0.5% higher than it was before without publishing anything. So Google doesn’t care that we didn’t publish anything because everything we already have is satisfying users and it continues to rank and that’s where most site’s traffic come from. I’m not saying don’t publish anything ever again, but the idea that you need to have this pedal to the metal publishing philosophy, I think it does a lot more harm than good.
John Jantsch: It actually taught people to publish crap.
Brian Dean: Yep, exactly. That’s what it came… exactly. Because it was Thursday and you’ve got to publish on Thursday and you don’t have anything good to say so it’s five reasons why X is important type of stuff. Yeah, and because it did actually work for a while. There was an update called Google Caffeine back in the day, it was probably 2006, that did give a preference to not just fresh content but sites that were putting out stuff, but then blogs blew up and it didn’t make any sense because every site was doing that. It didn’t need to be in the algorithm anymore.
John Jantsch: Yeah, and it really became important for them to start focusing on quality, them being the search engines, to focus on quality and I think that that probably goes more towards this idea of less but better.
Brian Dean: Yeah, exactly. Because you think Google 2006, 2007, if you searched for a really niche keyword, like how to write a press release or something, there were some results but there weren’t that many. They didn’t have 10 awesome results to put on the front page. Now they have plenty. It’s all about curating the best 10 and if you just put out the 50th best, you’re going to be in 50th place in Google, but if you work the extra mile to make the best, you have a shot of hitting number one.
John Jantsch: Okay, Brian. Not of course in the last 10 years or so, but did you ever put any words on pages and make them the same color as the background?
Brian Dean: No. That was one thing I… I’ve done black hat stuff, but I never did that.
John Jantsch: That was always my favorite. You’d go look at a website and you’d look at the source code and you’d go what is all this stuff?
Brian Dean: They just had the same keyword like 100 times.
John Jantsch: But you couldn’t see it.
Brian Dean: No, I never did that. I’ve done blog networks and whatever. But if it worked, I would have done it but by the time I got into SEO that was already kind of old hat.
John Jantsch: Since you mentioned blog networks, Google has explicitly said they’re a no-no, particularly… there are some ideas that it’s good content that’s curated but there certainly are people that are doing it just as an SEO play and Google is saying no, no, but it challenges… they can’t police it that well and it works. So how… I run across small business owners all the time that have been sold stuff like that that Google is saying we don’t approve of that, but it’s hard to sell them off of it because they’re like, “Well, look at the results it’s getting.” How does one sort of handle the fine line between what works and guidelines?
Brian Dean: It’s a tough one and the funny thing… good rule of thumb that I like to keep in mind is when Google says not to do something it’s because it works. If it didn’t work, they wouldn’t have to warn you, right.
John Jantsch: But I guess it would also eventually signal that they’re going to spank you eventually, right?
Brian Dean: Yeah, it’s kind of a shot across the bow. They warned people for years before 2012. They had an update called Penguin that just destroyed websites, including my own from back in the day. But at the same time they wouldn’t warn against it. So if they’re saying don’t do this, it means it’s working. If it is, they know it and they’re like, “Hmm, well we can’t really stop it with the algorithm so we’ll warn people until we figure something out that the algorithm can do.”
Brian Dean: What I would say to people is just the risk usually isn’t worth it. What I like to do, I usually say, “You know what? It’s up to you.” I don’t want to get on my high horse and start telling people what’s right and wrong. I say, “Look, it’s your business, it’s your site, it’s your call. If I were you, I wouldn’t risk it because what you’re doing is you’re getting a tiny boost in organic traffic and a lot of times compared to what you would do if you put in the same effort with white hat stuff, but you have this sort of Damocles above your head that one day you could wake up and it goes to zero and as someone that’s been through that, I can tell you it’s devastating.” That usually at least plants a seed where they’re like, “Hmm, maybe there’s something to not doing this.”
John Jantsch: Yeah, and it’s a shortcut that is probably zero benefit for your customer and there are a lot of businesses out there, the SEO folks, they’re trying to get their folks to rank, that turns into customers, but that’s the way I always view it is like is this something that would make my site more useful to customers and if the answer is just flat out no, I think that’s a pretty good rule of thumb too.
Brian Dean: I agree. Another one I sometimes… I don’t know where I heard this but it was basically like white hat SEO is when, which is a legit way to go about ranking, is where you could show Google everything you’re doing and they’d be fine with it. Anything that’s not that is probably a black hat. Like you’re getting away with it, but if Google did some sort of audit that shows everything you do with SEO and there was something you couldn’t show them, that’s probably something you should get away from, in my opinion.
John Jantsch: I wonder if we could take about five minutes, and I’m going to put you a little bit on the spot for a case study type of idea, because you can read a book how to do SEO, but the fact of the matter is what your business does, what your business objectives are is going to dictate maybe what your priorities should be in SEO. So for example, a B2B national company that sells say like software as opposed to a B2C local company that does I don’t know, basement waterproofing. Their SEO needs, challenges, priorities are probably different. Given that example, could you kind of say, “Yeah, that national software company needs to focus on X, Y, Z, whereas that local company probably needs to make sure they focus from an SEO standpoint on A, B, C.” Is that enough for you to kind of give us some guidance?
Brian Dean: Plenty. Yeah, the B2B software company I would 100% focus on creating content that your customers, around keywords that your customers search for. You’re a SaaS company, you hopefully [inaudible] and customers all the time. It’s a matter of figuring out what they’re searching for when they’re not searching for your software.
Brian Dean: So HubSpot is a great example. Very few people are searching for CRM software or CMSs, the stuff that they actually sell. Most people that are HubSpot’s customers are small business owners that are searching for stuff like how to get leads, how to blog, how to run Google ad words campaigns, how to run Facebook ads, all that stuff and HubSpot has completely crushed by almost ignoring these buyer keywords, which are only a tiny [inaudible] focusing instead on these information [inaudible] in front of their customers as a lead and then closing them on the phone. That’s the whole business model and it works really well. That’s what I would focus on as a B2B sales company, just tons have grown this way but HubSpot to me is the best example because they’re just absolutely crushing it.
John Jantsch: I think the key there is they focus not… because nobody wants what we sell. They want their problem solved and so they focus on what all the problems are, particularly problems early in the journey that can sort of endear them and get them [inaudible] who are these HubSpot? That’s a real key. Most websites are optimized for that person who’s got their credit card out ready to buy because they think your product or service solves their problem and I think they miss the entire journey up to that point.
Brian Dean: Those people, and you should have pages on your site dedicated to them, but it’s a slice… it’s a tiny drop in the ocean. If you look at the number of people who search for CRM software versus how to get customers, it’s like 10,000 to one. So for every one customer you’re going to get from this direct credit card in hand type of person, you can get hundreds from the how to get leads and how to get customers. It will take a little longer, you’ll have to nurture them, but that’s where the real money is.
John Jantsch: HubSpot is a great example. So on this B2C, this basement waterproofing company that just does business in their town, what do they need to focus on?
Brian Dean: They should focus 100% on local SEO, so Google Local, not… creating content makes no sense for them. For people searching for how to finish a basement or how to prevent leaks and all that stuff, a lot of companies do that because they’ll take the HubSpot approach and apply it to their local business and it just makes no sense. They just put out…
Brian Dean: I had a guy email me last week. It was a locksmith and he emailed me with this article, oh, I’m a locksmith and I just created this awesome post that I know people will share if only I could get the word out. What should I do to promote it? I don’t know, I was kind of bored, so I checked out. I looked at the post and it was like five ways to not get locked out of your house. Like the stupidest thing I’ve ever read. Something like don’t forget your keys and just nonsense. First of all, no one would ever read that, but even if it was good, it wouldn’t really help him. You know what I mean? He’s in a local area and the odds of that person in that area searching for him, needing a locksmith, it just doesn’t… the stars just don’t align.
Brian Dean: I’d focus on Google Local and getting awesome reviews. At the end of the day, [inaudible] sorry. Google My Business, they change their name every week, but yeah, the one they’ve stuck with lately Google My Business, so local SEO. So people searching for your business in city. The reviews are a big part of that and [inaudible] are part of it but you don’t need [inaudible] nearly as many to rank. Instead of like HubSpot creating a blog about this and that or about basements and man caves and all this stuff I’ve seen people do for basement companies.
Brian Dean: All you really need is like one or two pages that people will want to link to. It could be a list of places to visit in your town. It could be… it’s just link bait. Customers will never probably even see this. If they do, they’ll be like, “Oh, this is great. This is helpful.” Things to do in your town or other vendors or have a partnership or go to an event or speak at your chamber of commerce. These are all things that aren’t really content as we usually see it. They’re just pages to get some links that can help your overall website rank higher. That should be the goal for that company.
John Jantsch: Yeah. Unfortunately for a lot of businesses, particularly the consumer businesses, if you’re not showing up in that maps listing, which is kind of small these days.
Brian Dean: It’s a three pack now. It used to be seven. It was called a seven pack and now it’s a three pack. There are instances where you can do, like if people search in Google Maps, you can somehow, it depends on what they’re searching for, you can see more than three, but you’re right, John, for most keywords that are directly in Google if you’re not in the top three, you’re kind of invisible.
John Jantsch: And the 70% of people that are visiting those sites on a mobile device today, that’s the whole screen. It makes it even tougher. I think you’re absolutely right. I’ve been saying it for years and Google now… I do think they’re set on this one because they’re actually investing in it and adding to it and tweaking it so I think… in fact, here’s my prediction. I think they’re going to start rolling out features to make that a social network. In a community, I think your clients are going to be able to actually talk to each other at some aspect through your Google My Business page. That’s just sort of my prediction.
Brian Dean: That would be interesting. So more than just reviews, they’d actually be able to say, “I had this problem. Did they help?” Things like that.
John Jantsch: Exactly. They’ll have the question and answer feature, they’ll have the upload your finished your basement to it. I think they’re going to make it… I don’t know if it will ever be a social network, but I think that’s going to be their approach to network small businesses together.
Brian Dean: Cool. Yeah. I could see it.
John Jantsch: One… this is unfair because this is my last question I’m going to ask you and we could have done a whole show on this, you’ve invested a lot recently in video and so again, thinking of those two… let’s just use those two B2B, that SaaS company and that waterproofing company, how would video help them in telling their story and their SEO play?
Brian Dean: The B2B company, it would be really similar to the content strategy. The only difference would be what are your customers watching on YouTube, instead of what are they searching for on Google. But it’s the same idea. There’s a huge difference, in some cases, between those two things. Because YouTube is a big search engine, yes, but most of the views on YouTube come from people browsing around, come from suggested videos, the home page, so it’s important to create videos around what people tend to watch and not just what they search for, so both.
Brian Dean: With the B2B company, it’s a SaaS company, I mean it depends on what it is, but you basically take those same topics you found for your blog content and see if people are watching that stuff on YouTube. If so, great. If not, it’s time to get back to the users and kind of figure out what they’re watching on YouTube. As long as it’s somewhat related to your business, you can do well.
John Jantsch: Can you do keyword research while just using YouTube for that type of thing or are there some tools that somebody needs to employ to kind of get that discovery made?
Brian Dean: You mean to find search volume, people searching or people browsing?
John Jantsch: Yeah, what people are actually looking at.
Brian Dean: So for the search volume stuff, there are some tools that can do it. Google doesn’t really provide YouTube search volume really so they do impressions and things like that. It’s tricky to know how many people have searched for something on YouTube. It’s not like the Google keyword planner where they tell you a range. It’s really… there are some tools that can guesstimate but none are super accurate.
Brian Dean: What I like to do is just look at how many views those videos have on that topic. If you search for how to write a press release and the number one video has 3800 views and it was from five years ago, it’s probably not… no one’s watching that stuff. But if it has 200,000, it’s like oh, well there’s something here. That’s usually how I determine whether to make a video. If there’s already a video on that topic that’s done well, that’s a good sign.
Brian Dean: So for the basement company, what I would actually recommend is looking to see if there are any keywords that people search for in your local area that have videos that show up. This is an old trick that used to work and it still does in a lot of local areas. I see lawyers use it a lot where what they’ll do is they’ll basically create a keyword optimized video about their service or maybe more helpful, like how to help with the situation, and then the YouTube video will rank in Google results. Then you have two results in Google, you have your three pack or regular organic and then you have YouTube.
Brian Dean: So what people would do for example with a basement company, a lot of times they would create this fluff two minute video about how great they are, show the guys go into the house, hey, how’s it going, go downstairs, they’re fixing the basement, it’s amazing, they fixed it, blah, blah, blah, and you can have some of that stuff but it shouldn’t really be a commercial. It should be some content that is helpful and will keep people engaged. That way YouTube and Google see that people are engaging with the video and they’re more likely to put it on the first page.
Brian Dean: That’s more of a play to get on Google. It’s not really like you’re trying to get in front of your target customer while they’re watching videos. They’ll only need you if something’s wrong with their basement and they’re not going to remember your video from two years ago. It doesn’t work like that, but if you could show up on Google, it’s another spot, more real estate for your business which is important at that point of purchase time.
John Jantsch: Yeah, and then of course that person probably should be buying some ads, too. But that’s a topic for a whole other day.
Brian Dean: Oh yeah. That’s true.
John Jantsch: Well Brian, thanks so much for joining us. You can find everything about Brian Dean at Backlinko. It’s like link with an O dot com. Anywhere else or any other resources you want to share today, Brian?
Brian Dean: No, that’s a good one. I would head over there and hop on the newsletter. That’s the only thing I’d recommend.
John Jantsch: Yeah, and take a look at how Brian structures his site and focuses on his site because you learn a lot just from paying attention to that. So Brian, great to catch up with you and hopefully all is well and the weather is good in Genovia.
Brian Dean: Thanks, John. I’ll remember that for our next podcast.
John Jantsch: Take care.
Have you become bored in your current position, are considering starting your own business or maybe you’re ready for a career change? With every plateau, there’s a pivot. And your next move is essential in determining your success.
My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Jenny Blake, business strategist, international speaker and former Career Development Program Manager at Google. She is also the author of Life After College and Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One. Jenny and I discuss the major pivot points in life, career development and strategic growth.
Jenny knows all about pivots. Terrified by the prospect of failure, Jenny left Google and the corporate life altogether in 2011 to start her own business. Pulling from her personal fears and life experiences, she now helps growth-oriented individuals figure out what’s next and how to get there.
Questions I ask Jenny Blake:
What you’ll learn if you give a listen:
Key takeaways from the episode and more about Jenny Blake:
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Transcript of The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing
John Jantsch: Hey, this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Rev.com. We do all of our transcriptions here on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast using Rev.com, and I’m going to give you a special offer in just a bit.
John Jantsch: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Jenny Blake. She is a former Career Development Program Manager at Google, and she is also the author of What To Do When You Need To Move Out of Your Parents’ Basement … No, that’s not it, we’ll get back to that one. The book we’re going to talk about today is Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One. Jenny, thanks for joining me.
Jenny Blake: John, thank you for having me. I wish I wrote What To Do When You Move Out Of Your Parents’ Basement, that sounds like a great title.
John Jantsch: I was talking one time about something to do with some sort of newish technology, and some, I’m guessing 25ish-year-old, said, “You’re old, what do you know about that?” So I had to write back to him and say, “Come up out of your parents’ basement before they take away your Atari,” or something like that, I can’t remember. Some snipey remark.
Jenny Blake: Oh my goodness. That, and the alternate title for Pivot is How To Not End Up In a Van Down By the River.
John Jantsch: So before we get into your latest book, what does a Career Development Program Manager do at Google?
Jenny Blake: I was there for five and a half years, and halfway into my time there … During that five years, the company grew from 6,000 to 36,000 employees, and one major issue became retention. You’ve hired all these smart recent grads from Ivy League schools, how do you then keep them once you get them there? That was becoming an issue where these people were hitting plateaus one or two years into their time at the company.
Jenny Blake: And so, under the People Operations Department, they created a Career Development team, and I had been doing side projects related to this. So my biggest project was launching a global drop-in coaching program. But in general, our charge was creating programs that would help people learn and grow within the company and map their next move within the company, so they didn’t feel that their only option was to leave.
John Jantsch: Yeah, it’s funny, I imagine in an organization of that size, which by the way I’ve never even come close to working in, there probably is a whole lot of career moving that happens internally. In fact, probably the day you show up you start thinking about your next move internally.
Jenny Blake: Yeah, and internal mobility is not always an easy nut to crack. At one point, there was a sentiment that it’s easier to get hired here in the first place than it is to move to another team, because there are a lot of variables that have to happen internally. Even just the visibility of what roles are open, and how do I grow into them, and how do I have those conversations with my manager. Because it can be kind of scary to bring this stuff up.
John Jantsch: Yeah, not to mention the politics too, which … We won’t go down a rabbit hole here, but I’m sure there’s plenty of that too, of people who unfortunately don’t want to see people grow beyond where they are today in some cases. But again, like I said, we won’t go down that rabbit hole.
John Jantsch: The term pivot is used quite often today in startups, in fact it’s sort of a joke that you’re expected to come out with your product, and then you realize nobody wants it, and so you now are this kind of company. So you pivot. How are you applying that now to careers?
Jenny Blake: At first, I started to ask, “How can people be as agile as startups?” And then quickly, as I got to writing … And also I wanted a term that was judgment-neutral and gender-neutral when it came to career change. Because previously we’ve just called them a mid-life crisis or a quarter-life crisis, there was no word for this thing that’s now happening every few years, where we’re all asking what’s next much more often than in the past.
Jenny Blake: I recognized that what’s different from the business context of the word pivot is that when startups talk about pivoting, it’s because plan A failed. The original direction didn’t work, and now, as you said, they have to pivot the business. But in our career, pivot is the new normal. It’s not just plan B, that we screwed something up, we hit pivot points all the time.
Jenny Blake: Sometimes we choose to pivot, sometimes we get pivoted, and truly now more than ever, change is the only constant. So I wrote this book to create a method to more efficiently answer the question, “What’s next?”, given that we’re going to be doing it much more often.
John Jantsch: Yeah, and again, you’re not saying it’s a generational thing necessarily, but I see that in my kids that are in their 20s. The balance and scales of what’s important seems to have changed in a way. It was at one time very important that you had this stable job, that it had a title, that obviously it had the money and the perks and things.
John Jantsch: And I see a lot of folks in their under-30s that the idea of, “I want to be really happy, I want freedom, I want to be able to do the things I want to do,” is sort of coming up higher in the decision making factor. Which maybe has some of them saying, “I’m going to change completely what I’m doing because I’m not happy.”
Jenny Blake: Yes, and on the flip side there are 10,000 people turning 65 every day for the next 15 years, and many of them don’t have any plans to stop working altogether, or just go golf for the next 30 years. So you have millennials who saw many of their parents get laid off, or re-orged, or be very unhappy when the recession hit in 2008, and so they kind of stepped back and said, “What am I doing climbing this ladder that I don’t know if I want to be on?” And then again, all the way to boomers who are saying, “I love what I do.”
Jenny Blake: I’m sure for you John, you’ve pivoted your business many times, and I don’t know how you think about retirement, but I just think for so many of us we’re like, “No, I love what I do. I don’t have any plan to cut it off cold turkey just because I turn a certain age.”
John Jantsch: Yeah, and my listeners know I’m 56, so I’m getting up there where some people start thinking about that. And I’ve certainly changed what I do, I take a lot more time to go play and things of that nature. But yeah, the idea that I’m going to just stop? Maybe never. I’ll probably be writing books in my 70s and 80s.
Jenny Blake: That’s how I feel too, and of course we can say it’d be nice if finances were an option at that point, we’re not having to work incredibly hard just to survive. But this creative output … My friend, Neil Pasricha, maybe you know him, he wrote in The Happiness Equation about the Japanese term ikigai, the reason you wake up every day, and working on creative pursuits.
Jenny Blake: So when I talk about pivoting, it is age and stage agnostic. It’s that we’re all constantly wondering what’s next, and that’s not a problem, that’s not a personal shortcoming the way that I think we’ve sometimes viewed it in the past.
John Jantsch: You answered a question I was going to ask, who’s this book for, so you’re really saying it’s for anybody who’s still thinking about what they’re doing that is making a living. A lot of times people don’t even realize they’re unhappy, and they’re just going along, they’re not looking for the next thing. Do people typically have a pivot moment, or event, that kind of says, “I have to change”?
Jenny Blake: It can happen so many ways, I call them pivot points, when you finally realize, “I’m at a pivot point.” For some who maybe have been ignoring the signals, your body starts to push back, and maybe they get sick more often. My friend was getting panic attacks every time she got off the subway on her way to work, that was a clear sign she was at a pivot point.
Jenny Blake: Like you said, for others it’s more subtle, it’s a more subtle boredom or dissatisfaction. Some people are very proactive, they’re just looking for what’s next. And then sometimes we get pivoted. There are layoffs, or a re-org, or we lose our biggest client.
Jenny Blake: So all of these are moments where we can say, “What’s working, how do I double down on that? And what’s next?” I think when we get better at pivot as a mindset, and the method itself, the pivot points are less sharp, they’re less shocking, that we don’t see them coming and we feel blindsided. And that’s when it is a crisis.
John Jantsch: And I think probably one of the biggest challenges for people, even if they know they need to make that pivot, it feels like you’re standing on the edge of a cliff. Maybe you have to quit a job, I don’t know what I’m going to do next. All those things kind of hold people on. I talk to lots of people that are kind of sort of thinking about wondering if they could start a business. But they just can’t jump because, maybe sometimes they’re afraid, but other times there are practical realities about the commitments they have.
Jenny Blake: Yes, I have a whole chapter in the book on pivot finances. Because money is a very real constraint on pivoting, and I would never pretend otherwise. We also, my editor and I, were very, very purposeful in not using language like leap or jump.
Jenny Blake: Actually, by running small career experiments, I call them pilots in the book, and by doubling down on what’s working, people can methodically work toward their next move. And eventually, I call it a launch, eventually there may be a launch moment of quitting your job and starting the business. But by running small experiments, you do reduce risk along the way before you make that final launch decision.
John Jantsch: I have concluded over the years, in interviewing hundreds and hundreds of people, that one of the greatest secrets to success is self-awareness. So this whole idea of doing what makes you happy, I contend that most people don’t know that, and don’t know what that looks like, and consequently don’t know how to find it. Do you have the magic potion?
Jenny Blake: I think that people are clearer than they give themselves credit for. A lot of times when I ask someone, “What do you want, what makes you most excited?”, they first might say, “I don’t know,” and then if I say, “Just guess, what does your gut say?” They always say things, they have so many things to say. So I think sometimes it’s actually just a fear of saying it out loud that holds us back from saying it.
Jenny Blake: So just giving space to admit and explore what success might be, and what might bring you joy, even if you don’t know how to get there yet, that’s really important, separating out the vision piece from the how, the whole how as I call it in the book.
Jenny Blake: And John, I’m actually curious, because we talked offline and a few questions ago you brought up getting pivoted. You and I were talking about when September 11th happened. I’m really curious how you responded in that moment with your business, because there’s a great example where you did not choose that event, none of us would in any scenario ever, and yet it affected so many people, it sparked so many pivots. So I’m actually curious to hear about yours in your business.
John Jantsch: At that point, I was still on the path of what I would call a traditional marketing consulting agency. We had a handful of employees, and a handful of accounts that we did pretty much whatever they said they’d paid us to do. And as you mentioned, 9/11 came along, and I think this happened in a lot of places, it’s not a direct correlation. I think it was partly a lot of things. Change maybe needed to happen, and that was a catalyst.
John Jantsch: But we lost our two biggest clients, partly because of what was going on in their business that was related to some of the downturn in the economy that happened, but again, is probably too complex to try to even figure out. The bottom line was we were sitting there now staring at 60% revenue loss or something overnight.
John Jantsch: I had already been working on this idea of Duct Tape Marketing, this idea of working exclusively with small businesses where I could create a system and say, “Here’s what I’m going to do, here’s what you’re going to do, here are the results we hope to get, here’s what it costs.” And so, to your point about pivot, in a lot of ways I was dragging my feet on that, but when we lost our clients, I said, “That’s what I’m meant to do, so I’m going to go do it.”
John Jantsch: It did actually involve, in many ways, tearing my business back down to me, and starting from scratch for the most part. But I can sell anything, so I knew that wasn’t really going to be an issue. It certainly was a pretty dramatic pivot, but it was one that I actually knew I needed to do anyway, and I really just needed the push.
Jenny Blake: It’s so interesting how, yes, these moments like losing two of your biggest clients can turn out to be a blessing in disguise, even if at the time it’s the most stressful thing you could possibly experience.
John Jantsch: This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Rev.com. They are so many ridiculously valuable reasons to order transcriptions. You can write entire blog posts, heck, you could write an entire book, by just speaking it and having Rev put together a transcript that you can then just bring on home. If you want to record a meeting so that you have notes, again, over and over, there are so many good reasons. If you just want to take notes when you’re listening to something, and you just want to record those notes. It’s amazing the reasons you can find for doing this.
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John Jantsch: So you do have, in the book … I actually think so many career advice books tell you what you should be doing, but don’t tell you how to do it. And I think you have a really great methodology for how to identify, how to get there, how to figure out what you do that might signal what’s next, like, as you mentioned, how to finance it.
John Jantsch: So talk a little bit about this kinda search for … Let’s say I’m just unhappy and know this isn’t what I was meant to do. How do I start breaking down the hypothesis, so to speak, for what I’m meant to do next?
Jenny Blake: The biggest mistake that I made when pivoting that kept me stuck for a lot longer than necessary, without, by the way, a paycheck to fund this stuck-ness, my bank account was going very quickly to zero, was I spent way too much time looking at what wasn’t working, what I didn’t want, and what I didn’t yet have.
Jenny Blake: My aha moment came to me, I sort of thought about this analogy of a basketball player. When they stop dribbling, one foot is firmly grounded in the floor, it’s very stable, and that’s what I call the plant foot, the plant stage. And then their pivot foot can scan for opportunity.
Jenny Blake: One of the most effective ways to get unstuck is first to look at what’s already working, what are my strengths, what are my interests, and again that question of what does success look like. Now you have bracketed the pivot with where you are now and where you want to end up. Then you can start scanning for options, people, skills, and opportunities that are compelling.
Jenny Blake: It’s when people are scanning … Most people when they think, “I’ve hit a pivot point,” they go straight to scanning what’s out there, and they fall into compare and despair and analysis paralysis, they feel they’re wasting time, and they are because it’s not rooted in anything, it’s not grounded in those plant components. Everything starts from that plant stage, and then you’re scanning.
Jenny Blake: And then a real key is the piloting, small experiments. Because we don’t know, we don’t know. I love metaphors, they just help me, so think about pilots. You have all these racehorses at the starting gate, and you don’t know which of your small career experiments are going to take off and emerge in the lead.
Jenny Blake: So career pilots, because that’s kind of a newer concept, to think about experiments in a career sense, in your business that could be piloting a new pricing structure. It could be piloting a new type of client. It could be taking a class. It could be launching a beta version of a program or workshop before you roll it out to your whole audience.
Jenny Blake: A pilot could be calling your previous clients, which I know, John, is something that you advocate, and asking, “What can I create for you? What do you want?” And then try something in a scrappy way before you pour six months of work and $5,000 into it.
John Jantsch: Yeah, and I think what’s really cool is, in this gig economy or world that we live in, there’s a whole lot of things you can freelance and do on the side even, to maybe finance some of what you’re doing, but probably more than anything else give you a sense of what that would be like. Because I know a lot of people get this idea of, “Here’s what I want to do,” and they jump into it, and then they go, “Oh, that wasn’t what I wanted to do, I’ve figured out now.” There’s so many ways you can test this, aren’t there?
Jenny Blake: Yeah, and I feel like even within the broader career umbrella, let’s say you and I are running businesses, we could still be piloting different income streams within that. Now, you’re the king of this, so I’m curious, what is one pilot or two that you could share, that you’ve got going in addition to the core elements of your business?
John Jantsch: Well, my point of view is that you’re constantly piloting. I learned long ago that if I locked myself in a room and worked on something for six months and then rolled it out and said tada, there was about a 90% chance that people are going to go, “That’s not what we want.”
John Jantsch: So our method for developing any new program or tool or course is to go to people that we know already understand the value we bring and say, “We’re kind of sort of thinking about doing this. What would that look like for you?” And then come back and say, “Here’s what it looks like based on your feedback. How much would you pay for that? Try this out.”
John Jantsch: Anytime we develop anything, it is really with our clients or with a market. And again, there are certainly people that have had tremendous successes creating stuff that people didn’t even know they needed. But I find the really safe route is to go to a market and let them kind of develop and create with you.
Jenny Blake: Yes, I love that too. And then it becomes such a co-creation. You’ve talked so much about that in your books too, it’s having one ear to the ground. That’s one of the things about the scanning stage, it’s not just about trying to guess and pull things out of the ether. It’s about listening and doing, in the design thinking community they call it empathy interviews, which is just getting to know, exactly as you just described, what people actually would love help with.
John Jantsch: And I really think, again, it’s like having these board meetings and planning strategy. You have to actually go out there in the real world and experience strategy, or experience what you’re planning, and then know that it’s going to evolve, rather than to simply throw a dart at a board and say here’s what I’m doing.
Jenny Blake: Yes, and I think any good experiment will test what I call the three Es. One, do I enjoy this potential new direction? Two, can I become an expert at it? And three, is there room in the market to expand? So sometimes a pilot will hit on two, but not the third. If I love underwater basket weaving, and I’m a pro, but nobody wants to buy those classes from me, it’s no good. So I think part of it is just continuing to see what’s really going to catch on all those fronts.
John Jantsch: Is there a risk … I see a lot of folks at organizations that have been there two years and it’s like, “What’s wrong with you? You’re going to get stuck.” Is there a risk of too much of that thinking, to the point where people are just constantly looking elsewhere rather than maybe upping their game where they are?
Jenny Blake: Absolutely, that was something that I thought long and hard about with this book because I don’t advocate just changing willy-nilly, or pivoting, or job-hopping the second things get hard. I have a section where I talk about unrealized gains, and on the other end of the spectrum diminishing returns.
Jenny Blake: Unrealized gains are where you don’t stick with anything long enough to get any value. You’re leaving gains, whether it’s financial, reputation-based, or results-based gains. If I had left Google when I first entertained the thought two-and-a-half years in, it would have been a huge mistake because I wouldn’t have created this global coaching program that’s now mentioned on the cover of my book. I got a lot of experience capital from staying.
John Jantsch: Plus a bunch of stock options.
Jenny Blake: Yeah, a few. Not enough so that I didn’t have to worry about my next pivot in two years. But I know, I wish I had started pre-IPO, maybe I wouldn’t even be on this podcast, I would just be on a beach in Tahiti.
John Jantsch: No, we just would be talking about something different. But you’d want to be here for sure.
Jenny Blake: True, true. So I think that a part of it is also recognizing that we can pivot within our current role. Whether that’s within your own business or you’re working for someone else, pivoting is not always these drastic shifts, it’s just a method to work your way into what’s next.
John Jantsch: So what are some kind of quick, you can make them either dos or don’ts, whichever way you want to go, some quick things for people that either sabotage their ability to pivot or keep the ground fertile at all times.
Jenny Blake: Yeah, one of the biggest pitfalls, again, is not looking at what’s already working. Another pitfall is trying to stretch too far. There’s the comfort zone, stretch zone, but then sometimes people will have a move that sends them into their panic zone where they’re just paralyzed and not taking any action at all. That’s a sign that your experiment is too big, or your turn is too sharp. If we look at the pilot on an angle from where you are now, it’s too sharp. So I’d say those are the biggest mistakes.
Jenny Blake: And then another mistake is taking a pivot personally. We talked about this a little bit at the start, but seeing a career plateau as a problem, or a personal shortcoming, when actually it’s fine. Maybe some of your listeners know about the S-curve, which often we refer to in terms of innovation cycles. There’s this natural tapering that happens, and then you start over.
Jenny Blake: I’m sure even everyone who’s self-employed, you’re in a growth spurt, and then it tapers because of your success, not because of anything you did wrong. You just hit these natural plateaus.
John Jantsch: Yeah, in some ways it’s probably important to continue to look for things that excite you, if nothing else, because if you’re going to put in the work, why not enjoy it?
Jenny Blake: Yeah, absolutely.
John Jantsch: So where can people find out more about Pivot and the pivot method?
Jenny Blake: The website is pivotmethod.com, and then they can also listen to the Pivot Podcast, anywhere you subscribe to casts. John Jantsch has been a guest on my show, so that will be coming out soon. I’m on Twitter @jenny_blake.
John Jantsch: And of course, the book can be gotten wherever people get their books.
Jenny Blake: Yes.
John Jantsch: Awesome. Well, Jenny, thanks so much for stopping by today, and hopefully we’ll see you soon out there on the road.
Jenny Blake: John, thank you so much for having me, and a big thanks to everybody for listening.
My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.
I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one that I took out there on the road.
These are my weekend favs, I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape
Is Organic Social Media Marketing a Thing of the Past? written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing
The world of social media is constantly changing and evolving. What was an effective marketing strategy two years ago would not garner nearly the same level of success today, and in the past year we’ve seen marketers make a major push towards paid social media. According to a survey from Social Media Today, 68 percent of marketers surveyed plan to spend more on social media ads in 2019 than they did the previous year.
What does all of this mean for organic social media? Is it time to forego those free marketing efforts and focus exclusively on paid social?
The fact of the matter is that without a solid organic social base, you can’t possible build out a meaningful paid social approach. Here are the reasons that organic social media marketing is here to stay.
It Allows You to Claim Real Estate on SERPs
Establishing organic social pages does more than just give you a presence on that respective social platform (which is important, and not to be discounted!). It also allows you to snap up more space on search engine result pages.
Think about it: If you’re the owner of Lee’s Sandwich Shop in Springfield, USA and someone types your business’s name and location into a search engine, your website will likely be one of the top links. But if that’s your sole online presence, the other nine slots on the first page of results will be taken up by other information—and maybe even by competitors’ sites.
However, if you’ve established your presence on social media sites and Google My Business (which I’ve predicted is going to become Google’s answer to the social network), then that gives you several more opportunities to rank on that first page of results.
The benefit there is twofold. First, having your name appear multiple times in search results makes it all the more likely that someone will click on a link related to your business. And second, seeing your name over and over in results will lend additional legitimacy and build trust with users.
Trust Concerns Mean Private Groups Are on the Rise
It’s been a rough few years for social media networks with respect to consumer trust. Between major security breaches and marathon Congressional hearings, the public is more wary than ever of the legitimacy of what they see on social sites.
Because of this, a lot of brands have started creating private groups and accounts. Often these are run in conjunction with their public pages, but they’re a way for the brand to build trust with their followers and to eliminate the doubt they may feel around the messaging on a public page.
Not only that, but they can be a way to ask for user feedback and create the sense of a more exclusive community. When a brand invites followers into their private inner circle, it gives the fan the feeling that they’re a part of something special.
Live Content and Stories Take the Day
Marketers across the board are excited about the promise of video. And surveys show that it’s the preferred means of receiving content for consumers. One particularly exciting aspect of video is the ability to include live content on a number of social media platforms.
Live content is exciting for a number of reasons (namely: its ephemeral quality makes it more fun and engaging than static content), and Facebook Live and Instagram Stories allow you to connect with followers in the way you can’t with even a video ad.
The level of personal connection you can create with viewers in a live video is something that can’t be replicated with pre-recorded content. Plus, when you do things like share behind-the-scenes videos of the in-person event you’re hosting, it generates more buzz than a promo video beforehand or recap video after ever could.
It Gives Reviewers a Place to Go
Online reviews hold a lot of sway with prospects and customers. Social media platforms are a place where people often go to share their thoughts on a brand. Facebook has integrated a rating and review system right into their business pages, and on sites like Instagram and Twitter, excited fans will often tag their favorite brand in shout-outs about their great product or service.
If you don’t have an organic presence on these sites, people don’t have anywhere to go to share their thoughts on your business. And really the only thing worse than bad reviews are no reviews at all. Surely you’ve had the experience of Googling a company only to find they have no online reviews (or only a handful from years ago). You immediately begin to wonder: Did they go out of business? Did they bribe three of their friends to say something flattering when they first opened and then haven’t gotten a kind word since? If no one’s said anything positive, it must be because everyone has a negative experience there!
Of course, those aren’t the kind of thoughts you want running through people’s heads when they search for your business, so make sure that your happy customers have plenty of places where they can share their positive story.
…Not to Say That Paid Social Doesn’t Matter
There are obvious benefits to a strong organic social media approach (and I recently shared some of the ways to get your organic presence back in tip-top shape if you’ve let it fall to the wayside).
But the best way to get the most out of your organic social media is to pair it with a paid approach.
While organic social media is a great way to engage with those who are already familiar with your brand, paid social provides you with the opportunity to reach new audiences. Social platforms give you the flexibility to create all kinds of ads—videos, photos, text-based—and to place them in all sorts of areas—in viewers’ newsfeeds, as banners on videos, alongside organic content. Plus, social platforms know their users and allow marketers the opportunity to direct their ad spend at the prospects with the right attributes (like demographics, location, and past activity on the site). This means that marketers know the right people are seeing their ads, and they can rest easy knowing they’re getting the greatest possible ROI.
In addition to creating separate ads, most social platforms will allow those with a business account to boost organic content. This means that if you’ve already created and shared something organically, for a small fee you can increase viewership and engagement on the post. When done selectively, you can get meaningful mileage out of the organic content for a minimal cost.
Yes, we’re seeing marketers who are more excited than ever to be devoting efforts to paid social. But that doesn’t spell doom for organic social. The two can and should be used in conjunction, and a smart organic approach is still a critical part of any smart, modern-day social media strategy.
There are at least 2,193 ways to make your content better and the best copywriters know them all.
However, there are just three things that every marketer must master to dramatically improve their copy.
Your web pages, brochures, and emails must have Clarity, Personality, and Resonance (CPR). Review every word you write for CPR and you are on the road to success.
My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Laura Belgray, founder of Talking Shrimp and co-creator of The Copy Cure. Laura and I discuss content and what it takes to create copy that is fresh, vibrant and drives sales.
Having been a professional writer for nearly two decades and earning a number of honors and awards, Laura knows all about producing killer content. Laura has written for SPY Magazine and New York Magazine, as well as a variety of television stations including Bravo, NBC, HBO, Nickelodeon, VH1, the CW and USA – to name a few.
Questions I ask Laura Belgray:
What you’ll learn if you give a listen:
Key takeaways from the episode and more about Laura Belgray:
Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!
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John Jantsch: Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Laura Belgray. She is the founder of Talking Shrimp, and co-creator of The Copy Cure with Marie Forleo. She brings a mixed bag of [inaudible] experience, and I mean that in the best kind of way. Today she’s working with entrepreneurs to create copy that isn’t boring.
John Jantsch: So, Laura, welcome.
Laura Belgray: Oh, thank you. I like being described as a mixed bag.
John Jantsch: Well, you know, in doing the bios, you know, a lot of people have the 100 word thing that’s very crisp, but you’re just all over the place. You’ve done a lot of things and that’s awesome. But that was my best way to describe it.
Laura Belgray: Thank you. I’m so the opposite of crisp, I’m soft batch cookies.
John Jantsch: So, Talking Shrimp. You know, I’m sure a lot of people ask about the name, but it’s obvious, right? I mean, you were … you had a dream that you were swallowed by shrimp, and you started talking, and that led you to … you’re supposed to stop me here, because I’m just babbling here.
Laura Belgray: No, I just wanted you to fill it in for me, because what other explanation could there be? The name Talking Shrimp, everyone asks about that. A lot of people think that I deal in, you know, flash frozen shrimp and seafood. I do not. The really boring answer is that my husband and I had a CPA who told us to incorporate, and we needed a name, and the URL was available. We basically wanted a name, he’s in restaurants and I’m in copy writing, we wanted a name that could apply to either of us, and could mean absolutely everything and nothing at the same time, and I think it does.
John Jantsch: Yeah, and all the other crustaceans were taken, right?
Laura Belgray: That’s right. Can you believe Talking Shrimp was free?
John Jantsch: No, I cannot believe it. So, you have a done a lot of work, as you bio suggests, in television. So are you still doing TV?
Laura Belgray: I am. I would say it is a smaller part of my business, it’s the little arm. I’ve got two arms, and they’re uneven sizes. So the bigger arm is entrepreneur, small businesses, private clients, and then I do still do a bunch of TV stuff for different networks, and sometimes for production companies. I focus on promos, which are the little commercials that you see for the shows.
John Jantsch: Yeah, the thing that tries to get you to stay on before the commercials.
Laura Belgray: Yes, exactly. I mean, sometimes it’s a big poster that you see on the subway or at a bus shelter on the side of the bus and the tagline that goes on that.
John Jantsch: So, do you have to be a whole different person dealing with entrepreneurs than you do with the TV world? Or is there a lot of similarity?
Laura Belgray: That’s a good question. I’m always the same person, and I-
John Jantsch: You’re just playing a different character though.
Laura Belgray: Yes, playing a different character. I would say that the job is very different, because with entrepreneurs, we’re writing really direct response copy, we’re writing copy that makes people make a decision right away. For TV, we’re mostly writing copy that helps them make a decision over time. They say, “Oh, I get what that network is about, or, oh, that looks like a funny show, I’ll have to remember to look it up when I get home.” Or, you know, when they’re watching TV, “Oh, I got to check out … I’ll have to remember to set my DVR for that.” But they don’t necessarily make a decision right away.
John Jantsch: So, I’m going to ask you a few questions about copywriting that are things that I actually hear all the time, because they’re just sort of generic problems, challenges, when it comes to marketing. I’m sure you hear this all the time too. So, if you’re going to write copy that gets somebody to make a decision now, and hopefully it’s exciting and moving, you know, but then I hear all the time, “But what I do is really boring.” You know, how do you make that spicy?
Laura Belgray: Yeah, well, can you give me an example of someone’s job that’s really boring when they say, “What I do is really boring.”
John Jantsch: Well, again, this may … I’m not saying it’s true, I’m saying that’s their perception. But, you know, yeah, so let’s say a plumber that, you know, is looking for local clients, and they know that they need to be online, they know that they need to be doing stuff. They’re obviously not selling a course, or at least in this example, they’re not selling some of the same things that you might do in a direct response environment. But they are trying to get somebody who has a problem to call them, or to think that, “Yeah, this is somebody that I want to engage, you know, in an ongoing basis.”
John Jantsch: So, there’s my example. Can you work with that?
Laura Belgray: That’s a … okay, that’s a great example. So, they think, “Okay, what I do is really boring. I don’t really have anything to talk about at dinner parties.” But, on the other hand, it is something immediate and relatable, and that solves generally a dire, urgent, problem. I mean, when someone’s … somebody’s toilet is stopped up, they need a plumber pretty badly, they need one now. These aren’t … A plumber’s not working … that what they do is not something that people say, “Oh, I’ll fix that, you know, next week, two weeks from now, next month.”
Laura Belgray: So, I would say that … So that’s a really specific example, but everybody with a legitimate business solves a legitimate problem, something that people need to fix, or something that … or offer something that delights people, or that people want. So, even if it’s something mundane, it’s not truly boring if people want it.
John Jantsch: Well, and I think that anytime you’re talking about the human condition, I mean, just relating stories, can you imagine some of the stories plumbers must have? You know, that probably would make for some pretty good narrative on a website.
Laura Belgray: Yes. Great narrative on a website, great, you know, depending who you’re sitting next to, dinner party conversation. I’ve got a strong stomach, so I would want to talk to that person, and great material for ongoing correspondence. They could, you know, be writing to their email list on and on, and be … you know, they could be offering information, like what to do when there’s no plumber around and your toilet is stopped up.
Laura Belgray: Someone will click that open, because they know it’s a problem that’s going to happen to them, and that plumber will be top of mind when they do have a problem they can’t fix themselves.
John Jantsch: So, just in reading your website, I think people could make an assessment that your writing style is, let me choose the right word, snarky. How’s that? Is that a good one?
Laura Belgray: I would say, well, sometimes it’s snarky. When I write for … okay, go ahead.
John Jantsch: Yeah, I was going to say, that’s not really the point. The point I … main point I’m making is do you, as a copywriter, have to, I mean, definitely get into the voice and into the ideal client’s head, and all that of the client that you’re working with, and to some degree, adopt or adapt your style to that, right?
Laura Belgray: For sure. I would say one thing that remains consistent about my writing, no matter who I’m writing for, who I’m helping, is that I’m always conversational. I will never go into stiff, boring, buzzwordy business mode, because that’s just against everything I believe in, and I don’t think anybody wants to read it.
Laura Belgray: But, I help businesses sometimes who have a way more earnest tone, and need to, they might be dealing with delicate issues. Maybe it’s about … I haven’t worked with someone like this, but maybe they do end of life care. It’s not going to be like, “What’s up, girlfriend? Got a friend who’s dying?” You know, that’s not going to-
John Jantsch: I would call that ad, I’m sorry. So, I think you ought to rethink that one. No, I totally agree. Totally agree. So, what kind of challenge does that present you? I mean, I write a lot of stuff, but I write a lot of stuff that’s just me. So, do you have to sometimes turn me off?
Laura Belgray: So, I would say the biggest challenge for me is really when the client doesn’t know what they’re selling, and cannot … no matter how deep we dig, they can’t come up with the concrete details of what they do. So, for instance, someone who’s got a really vague woo-woo life-coaching business, and I say, “So, how exactly do you help people?” They say, “Well, I help them to become their most vital, joyful, selves.” I say, “Well, how do you do that?” “Well, we work through blocks and break through their self-limiting beliefs.”
Laura Belgray: I’m like, “Okay, so what do you … what are the results that they get on the other side?” “Well, they have a feeling of inner peace and joy, and they become … they step into their most vital selves” I have had this conversation. They say to me, well, you know they jump out of bed, they override that annoyance that they feel when they see the dishes in the sink, and instead of snapping at their husband, they hug him.
Laura Belgray: If they give me concrete details, I can work with that. If they have no picture, nothing that’s … no picture that they can describe for me, then I can’t … then I have a hard time channeling any voice, mine or theirs.
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John Jantsch: What place does humor have in business writing? You know, a lot of people use it brilliantly, a lot of people shy away from it because it’s hard.
Laura Belgray: Yeah, I mean, I think that if you are … if you have a sense of humor, then you should show it in your business. Because remember, part of the job of our copy is not just to get people to make a split second decision, it’s not just to convert on the spot, sometimes it’s about building a relationship over time, it’s about building the know I can trust factor.
Laura Belgray: We are drawn to people, especially if we have a sense of humor, we’re drawn to people with a sense of humor. So, if a business has a sense of humor, you’re more inclined to like it and trust it, and say, “Oh, there’s a human behind that.”
John Jantsch: Right. Yeah, I love getting … you order something in the mail, and you get a little insert in there that just goes on, you know, sort of self-defacing, you know, humor about, you know, all the care that had gone into getting you this package. I mean, they’re clearly over the top being funny, and I just … all of a sudden, I … you know, that makes me like that company more.
Laura Belgray: Yeah, exactly. I mean, you see … I’m sure you’ve seen how successful the Squatty Potty ad was, right? That’s gone a long way, I think, towards getting people to order a little stool that fits around their toilet. The fact that they used a unicorn pooping rainbow ice cream, and it’s hilarious. People like the company, and they say, “Okay, the company gets me, they don’t take this too seriously. This is a human thing that we all do, and I’m going to get that thing.”
John Jantsch: So, one of the things I encounter all the time, especially with business owners, they can talk for days about everything they do and how awesome it is, and the benefits that people get. Then you put a blank sheet of paper in front of them, and they, you know, they freeze. Why do you suppose that is?
Laura Belgray: I think because a lot of people grew up thinking, “I’m not a good writer.” I think there are two different things. One, are people who think, “I’m not a good writer, I suck at writing, I always got D’s on all my papers, I can’t put words together, or I’m dyslexic, I’m not good at that.” Then … So they freeze up, and then there are the people who are great writers, or think they are, and decide, “This must be the most exquisite piece of writing I’ve ever put out. I’m putting on my beret, and I am dipping my feather into a quill of … my quill into some ink, and I’m going to write a poem about what I do,” and they freeze up.
John Jantsch: So let’s talk about what kind of moves people. I mean, I think the best, certainly persuasive copy, you know, gets people at an emotional level, which moves them. So, I know when I … I’ve been doing this a long time, and I know when I started going out to business owners and saying, “We need to hear more about you and your personal story about, you know, why you do this, and what you overcame.” You know, were thought … at one point, people thought, “Oh, no, that’s … there’s no place for that, you know? Nobody wants to hear about me, they want to hear about the products and the services and all that.”
John Jantsch: But now, it seems like personal stories are really in now. Is that your take, as far as, you know, one of the ways to move people?
Laura Belgray: For sure. I think personal stories are great, because we all love story, we want to find something relatable in the person who’s selling to us, and it brings us closer to [inaudible] I think it, you know, it gets us closer to the person who’s talking or writing, when we know something about them, and we’re drawn in by their story. On the other hand, I think some people go overboard, some business owners go overboard, thinking that they have to write their whole life story.
Laura Belgray: You know, they might sell [inaudible] phone chargers. But then on their About page, it’s like, you know, “Do you ever feel frustrated, down on yourself, lonely, because you can’t find a phone charger? Well, I get you, I’ve been there my friend. You know, I was in a downward spiral, I was in the darkest place of my life.” Then they talk about how they got therapy, and how they found themselves, and left a lousy cubicle job and started selling phone chargers, and now their life is great. That has nothing to do what we’re getting from the phone charger.
John Jantsch: So when you sit down to write a particularly persuasive … let’s just say a sales letter, where your hope is in 1,000 words or 2,000 words or whatever, somebody is going to go through a range of emotions, and, you know, ultimately decide, “This is the most awesome thing, I have to have it today.”
John Jantsch: Do you have a … I don’t want to call it a checklist. But, I mean, are there kind of a set of principles, is there a narrative, or a journey even, that you’re trying to, you know, “First we have to take them here, and then we have to take them there.” I mean, is that … am I being too sort of formalistic about it?
Laura Belgray: Well, no, I wouldn’t say you’re being too formulaic, I’d say … for a sales page, I definitely have a scale of 10 that I like to use, sort of a framework, which I call the GUSTA Framework. We teach this in our course, The Copy Cure. Marie and I do. I can give you the very bare bones of it, but it is … so the G is for get attention, and that you want to do with your headline. The U is for understanding. So you do that by showing you get what this person wants and what their frustrations are, you get exactly what they are feeling.
Laura Belgray: Then the S is for solution, is where you turn it and say, “Well, what if it could be like this? You know, what if there were something that would do this for you?” Then the T is for … so, I mean, the T … oh, sorry, the T is for trust, duh. So that can come from testimonials, it can come from your credentials, your story, all that. Then the A is for action. That is your call to action, the buy now.
Laura Belgray: So there is a flow to that. But I would say for any piece of copy that you put out there, whether it’s short or long, whether it’s on, you know, a Facebook post, or a blog post, or an email, or your homepage, it all has to have what we call CPR, clarity, personality and resonance. So it has to be super clear about what you’re offering, what this is and who it’s for, it has to sound like a human, and hopefully reflects your personality or the personality of your company, has some sort of … a vibe to it. You would know, “Oh, this is, you know, this is so clearly their brand.”
Laura Belgray: It has to resonate, it has to make the person say, “Yes, or yay, or yikes, I better fix that.” It’s got to hit home and meet the person reading it where they are. So it has to … you want it to speak to what they want, not to what you want them to want.
John Jantsch: I think there’s a fine line, a lot of times you’ll see great examples of this where, you know, and I hate to point anybody out too much, but certainly the internet marketing crowd, of particularly of old, that, you know, that use this formula very well, but also used it, you know, with a number of sort of emotional hot buttons very cleverly.
John Jantsch: Where’s the fine line between manipulation? Particularly, I mean, I hate to say it, in some cases they were selling stuff that was very expensive and promised a lot things that didn’t deliver. You know, where’s the fine line between figuring out these how to influence through emotion, you know, for good or for bad?
Laura Belgray: I think it just … to me, it all depends on whether what you’re offering is good or bad. I think that if you can get someone … if you get the right person to invest in the thing that’s truly going to help them, then great. Sometimes you do need to speak to them through their pain, or through their fear, because that’s what’s going to motivate them.
Laura Belgray: I heard … I keep hearing this ad over and over on TuneIn Radio. So I’ve been addicted to all the political coverage last couple of months, so I’ve been listening to TuneIn Radio on my iPhone wherever I go. The commercials are constant, they’re driving me bananas. One that I keep hearing is about safety. It’s some ad for safety, some safety something, I don’t know what. The voiceover says, you know, “Hey, I’m John, and I love safety. In fact, safety is my middle name. Just went to the DMV to change it today. You know, first name John, middle name Safety, last name exclamation point, because I love safety. When I want safety, I go to these guys, whatever, for safety.”
Laura Belgray: I’m just thinking, “Who’s motivated …” I don’t know even know what kind of safety he’s talking about, and who is so excited about the idea of safety, that they’re going to run out and invest in safety? You have to be motivated by fear, like, “Oh my God, that could happen to me.” Whether it’s car seat safety, like, “My kid’s life could be in danger if I just take a sharp turn,” or home safety, like, “Could someone break into my house and take everything? Things that I’m not even insured for. I would be screwed if somebody came in and took my photo albums and my computer.”
Laura Belgray: So, those kinds of fears are what are going to motivate somebody to invest in safety. You have to … sometimes you have to speak to someone from a point of fear or pain.
John Jantsch: So, tell me about Italy.
Laura Belgray: It’s this wonderful country with delicious food. You mean my writing retreat in Italy, which I held for the first time in the end of May, beginning of June, 2016. It was a wonderful three-day writing retreat in Cinque Terre, a town called Riomaggiore, which is on the coast of … near Tuscany. It’s just beautiful there.
Laura Belgray: We held the classes in an ancient castle at the top of the hill, and it had amazing patio overlooking the water. I taught a group of 30 women writing. Not just copywriting, but also creative writing for three days.
John Jantsch: Yeah, I looked at it a little bit and you had … I think you had a whole blog post on this about the power of details in your writing. That’s really one of my favorites.
Laura Belgray: Right. Well, that is my favorite thing to focus on. So we do a lot of that in Italy, or anywhere that I teach. Details are everything.
John Jantsch: Some great hikes in that area too.
Laura Belgray: Some great hikes. I’m ashamed to say I never did the hike.
John Jantsch: You didn’t do the hike, huh?
Laura Belgray: I was going to. There was one morning I got up early and went to go do the hike, and then I couldn’t find the beginning of the trail.
John Jantsch: It’s a little treacherous too, because it’s pretty … it’s on a pretty steep … a little …
Laura Belgray: Yeah, you see … it is a little steep, and not really a lot of railing there, there’s not a lot of safety regulations. You see a lot of Germans with fancy shoes and walking sticks.
John Jantsch: So, I mentioned in the intro that you have … of course people can find more about you at Talkingshrimp.com. But, give us the 10 second pitch on Copy Cure.
Laura Belgray: Copy Cure, which I created with my friend, Marie Forleo, who is also the creator of B-School, is a all-in-one program to help you find your voice and sell your anything. So, first of all, it’s under five hours, so it is completely binge-watchable. It’s in video form, but you can also download it as PDF, or however you’d like to learn. We consider it the Breaking Bad of copywriting courses, because you’ll probably want to watch it all in one go, and not come out of the house till you’re done.
Laura Belgray: It really focuses on parts of copywriting that I find other courses don’t, and that’s why we created it. There are tons of courses out there that give you templates, you know, “Here’s how you have to stretch your blog post, here’s how you have to stretch your sales page, here are the techniques to persuade somebody.” But they don’t tell you how to make things conversational, how to sound like you, how to really understand who you’re talking to, how the secret to getting more clients or getting more buyers is to get your clients, and really get your buyers.
Laura Belgray: So we go into all of that so that you have the power to write anything better, and hit home better, and get people to click and like and buy.
John Jantsch: Is that just CopyCure.com? I can’t remember.
Laura Belgray: TheCopyCure.com.
John Jantsch: Great. Laura, it was awesome visiting with you, and I encourage people to check out both Talking Shrimp and TheCopyCure.com. Hopefully I’ll run into you next time I’m in New York.
Laura Belgray: Thank you so much. I’ll be on the lookout.
A COMIC book urging young people to stand up to hate crime has been launched as part of a new campaign.
The word hustle sometimes gets a bad wrap.
In days of old, it conjured up thoughts of getting hustled, as in a scam. Even today, its meaning can get lost in a work-all-day-and-night, Gary V kind of hustle.
But I think there’s a middle ground—more like Charley Hustle—the player that prepares, works hard, and wins and loses with grace.
My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Neil Patel, author of Hustle: The Power to Charge Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum. He is also the founder of Quick Sprout, Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and KISSmetrics. Neil and I talk about how to find your passion and turn that momentum into a successful business that is both professionally and personally rewarding.
Neil knows all about hustle. Coming from a hard-working family, he has entrepreneurship in his blood and has helped companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue. He was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 35 by the United Nations.
Questions I ask Neil Patel:
What you’ll learn if you give a listen:
Key takeaways from the episode and more about Neil Patel:
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John Jantsch: Hey, this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Rev.com. We do all of our transcriptions here on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast using Rev.com, and I’m going to give you a special offer in just a bit.
John Jantsch: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. My guest today is Neil Patel. He is the co-founder, creator of some tools that many of you use; Hello Bar, Crazy Egg, Kissmetrics. Also, the author, creator of an awesome blog called Quick Sprout that I send people to frequently, and somehow or another, he finally got around to writing a book. That book is called Hustle: The Power to Change Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum. Neil, thanks for joining me.
Neil Patel: Thanks for having me.
John Jantsch: I actually had Robert Cialdini on the show recently, and he’s the author of Influence, and has another book out currently, and there was 30 years between those two books. I had to ask him, what took him so long, but I think there’s probably a lot of people wondering, why is this Neil Patel’s first book?
Neil Patel: I just haven’t had the time. It was funny, after this book came out-
John Jantsch: You’re too busy writing other content, that’s the problem.
Neil Patel: Yeah, blogging. The funny thing is, after the book came out, I’ve had so many people ask me if I want to write another book, and I’m like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, I just got one out there, I’m not ready for any more books at the moment.”
John Jantsch: Yeah, actually, you’re in that window where I swear I’ll never write another book. That kind of, after you’ve come out of it, now you’re doing all the hustle of promoting it. Let me ask you this then, why was now the time for you to write a book?
Neil Patel: I just thought that it was a great point in my time to try to capture a new audience. I have, especially online, I have most people who are interested in learning about marketing, at least online marketing. Right now, I’m trying to just help people who want to start businesses, and I was like, “You know what? Why not try to write a book, it can reach a really broad audience.”
John Jantsch: Yeah, I actually really like that, because you’re right. You’ve written almost anything, somebody who wants to generate traffic, or things like that. You’ve written a ton about that. Another book by you maybe wouldn’t add that much to it, but I really like how you’ve taken, in a lot of ways, your life experience, your business experience, and said, “Here’s what I’ve learned through the years.” Now, you have a couple of co-authors on this, how did that come about?
Neil Patel: Yes. We were all thinking about this similar idea. Jonas, Patrick, and I, we’ve known each other for a while, and we were just like, it’d be really great to write a book that just helps people find the passion to rise, succeed at whatever they want to do and not just necessarily entrepreneurship, it could just be that they want to improve in the corporate workplace and climb the corporate ladder, or they feel like they’re stuck in life and they’re not sure what they want to do next, and they just feel like nothing is progressing and life sucks, right?
Neil Patel: We just want to help people accomplish their goals, and it’s not necessarily financial goals, just whatever makes them happy.
John Jantsch: One of the things, you break the book into three sections, which I like. To me, it kind of guides it, so it’s heart, head, and habits, and in some ways, that’s kind of the progression maybe of how somebody learns that they’re on the right path as well, and how to stay on the right path.
John Jantsch: One of the things that, in the first section, that took me, because it’s a little counter-intuitive, a lot of people think in terms of people starting businesses, is that’s like the ultimate risk. I think that you turn that on its head a little bit and talk about, if you’re not doing what you were meant to be doing, if you’re not starting a business, if you’re miserable, that that’s actually riskier than creating some venture that you could be passionate about.
Neil Patel: Yeah, you just need to go out there and do something, right? The big philosophy about going and trying different things, not necessarily doing a whole venture, but just the whole concept of trying different things, it’ll help you, it’ll lead you to your passion, and what you love in life.
John Jantsch: Yeah, there’s so many books out there that talk about, you have to sit down one day and decide what you’re passionate about. That’s really, I don’t think that’s possible. I don’t think that’s how it’s done is it?
Neil Patel: No. It’s not really how it’s done. It’s so funny, I was speaking to someone earlier today, and someone was telling me, they’re like, “You know when you’re a kid and you dream about being an astronaut? You had to think that as you grow up, you want to be an astronaut, but most people don’t really do what they’ve dreamed of as a kid,” and I’m like, “Yeah, that’s true.”
Neil Patel: They were like, “Do you think we should all go back and do what we dreamed up as a kid? Because most of us are not happy.” I was like, “No.” They were like, “Why not?” I’m like, “Well, as a kid you want to be an astronaut, even though that may seem awesome as a kid, as an adult, if that’s what you dreamed up, the chances are you’re not going to love it, and what you should just be doing is trying out different things, and it’ll … Two things will happen.
Neil Patel: “Either one, you’ll find out what you dislike really quickly, and two, you’ll eventually be led down a path on what you love from that.” For example, my first venture was a job board. Failed miserably, but from that, I realized that people just don’t come to your website and I learned how to market it. I fell in love with marketing, so I decided to get into consulting. From there, I realized that I hated consulting, even though I love marketing, and it wasn’t for me, but through consulting, clients had issues. One of the big issues was that they couldn’t figure out what made people convert on their own website, so we created a software company from that. I didn’t care enough to say create software, I love the concept of it, but I found my passion and that passion was marketing my own businesses.
John Jantsch: Yeah, one thing you pointed out that I want to go back to is that idea of it’s okay to find out what you don’t like too. In fact, that’s part of the learning process. A lot of times when I’m interviewing clients and trying to get them to decide who their ideal client is, it’s a lot easier for me to say, “Okay, who don’t you want to work with?” Because that sort of rings truer or at least comes to mind faster.
Neil Patel: Yeah. No, you got it right. It’s process of elimination. If you quickly figure out what you don’t want to do, eventually, you’ll narrow down what you could be potentially doing.
John Jantsch: You introduce, or at least use in this book a couple terms that I want to dive into. One is, I believe it’s pronounced hormesis. The idea of stress for success. I wondered if you would try to apply that to why you believe that’s an important element of growth?
Neil Patel: Yeah, sure. When you’re not stressed out, think of it this way. If everything in your life is fine and dandy, what happens? [inaudible 00:06:44], right? So you’re on Duct Tape Marketing, if every day of your life is easy, and you never had anything to stress out, what’s going to happen in your life?
John Jantsch: Probably get pretty complacent.
Neil Patel: Yeah, and when you get complacent, do you have anything that’s driving you to do better, keep learning more, growing, et cetera?
John Jantsch: Right, right.
Neil Patel: When you have some sort of stress, it’s good. You need to get out of your comfort zone, because that stress makes you think, makes you be creative, makes you take action, right? Causes momentum, all these types of things. When you don’t have stress and things are really easy, and I see this a lot with trust fund babies, in which, I have a ton of friends in New York, I’m in New York right now, who have generated quite a bit of income just from their parents, in which they didn’t necessarily have to make that income, but they just got their income truly from their parents, right?
Neil Patel: Like got 100 million dollars, or whatever it was, but large amounts of money. They’re bored in life, and they want to create these ventures, and they want to do things, but their life isn’t stressful, and it’s so easy that there’s no pressure for them to learn, innovate, succeed, they’re just like, “Whatever happens, happens.” That’s not how you grow as an individual.
John Jantsch: Yeah, I mean, look at the countless stories of people that really had their back against the wall, they were down to their last dime. They just had to either sink or swim and those are some of the people that … That’s your rags to riches kind of story, come about, because they were in that position I think.
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John Jantsch: So, another term. This was actually something I’d heard some economists talk about, but never necessarily applied it to business, and I love when terms come from other areas, and you can apply them to businesses, but obliquity. The idea that there is no … You can’t sit down and just say, “Here’s my vision for my business, I’m going to take that path there,” but that success actually is more indirect than that, isn’t it?
Neil Patel: That’s correct. Yeah, because when you see a path and you’re just like, “This is what’s going to happen,” chances are usually not what’s going to end up being the end result. I see this all the time with venture capitalists. I’ve been in San Francisco for years, raised money, and you know, one feedback or piece of advice that every single investor has told me? They’re like, “Yeah, when we invest in a company, we invest in the people.” I was like, “Why is this?” They’re like, “The vision, the path that you take to succeed,” right? The original picture, original concept is very rarely what you end up with. They never really see the end company being the same one that was originally pitched.
Neil Patel: You learn, you have to adapt, market conditions change, competitors arise, et cetera. For that reason, the way you get to the end is typically an indirect path. It could be from learnings, or you learn business shortcut, or there’s a more efficient way, or you may end up learning that the business model won’t work, and you’ve tried many different paths, and it isn’t going to happen, and then from there you can spin up a different business.
Neil Patel: For example, Twitter came out of Odeo, or Audio, I forgot what it was called, but it was about a podcast site, and from it, they weren’t doing well at all, but they built Twitter [inaudible] though, like, “Oh, this seems like a much better idea,” and yeah, people could say Twitter is struggling right now, but they’re still a multi-billion dollar company.
John Jantsch: Right. Why the term hustle? That comes pretty loaded with some ideas, presuppositions. How does that term play out for you?
Neil Patel: Yeah, so the way we see hustle isn’t like most people. During my dad’s age and time, when the word hustle was used, he was like, “Oh, you’re going to go and sell drugs on the street corner.”
John Jantsch: Right, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, or you’re going to get hustled. That’s a term too, that … Yeah, yeah.
Neil Patel: Exactly, but if you’ve been looking up the last, in which you have, if you look at the last five, 10 years, the concept has been changing, right? You’re seeing people everywhere out there being like, “Well, I’m going to make something happen, I’m going to hustle.” Right? It’s the act of doing something, and trying to be more efficient at it, and figuring out how to get what you want, in maybe unconventional ways. You’re seeing everyone talk about it.
Neil Patel: For example, one of the biggest authors in our space is Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary Vaynerchuk is interestingly known for using the word hustle, right? We want to change the meaning, or what everyone perceives it. It’s actually not that hard, right? With the younger generations, there’s not much to change meaning wise, it’s more so with the older generation.
John Jantsch: Yeah, and actually there’s a very positive connotation when you think of how people apply to say, sports. Athletes, you know, that you out-hustle somebody, you’re just willing to work harder and try something different as opposed to really just resting on your laurels.
Neil Patel: Yep, you got it right.
John Jantsch: There’s another concept that I really like, and you think about it, makes total sense that we should be doing this, and it’s your personal opportunity portfolio, or POP, I think you call it throughout the book. The portfolio, like the graphic designer shows up for the job interview with their portfolio, but I think you’ve taken that concept and said, “Hey, everybody ought to be doing that.”
Neil Patel: Yeah. The other thing I want you to think about is, companies and IPO’s. A company can grow their value and they can IPO and they can keep increasing and growing, why can’t individuals? You yourself can keep building up your brand, your portfolio. You can increase your value over time.
Neil Patel: A great example of this is Kim Kardashian. If you look at her over the years, she’s increased her POP, and now, companies will pay an arm and a leg to just go out there and post something on Instagram, or Facebook, or whatever it may be, because she’s such a powerful brand out there. In essence, she has built up a really strong POP. Why can’t individuals out there do it? You don’t have to be in the celebrity space.
Neil Patel: Now, for me, I built up my brand through content marketing and blogging. Not only does it help me drive business, but I can get paid to speak, I can get paid to write books. The possibilities are endless and so many doors are opening, and you have a similar journey as well, right? Through the podcast, through the blog, it’s probably opened up a lot of doors for you.
John Jantsch: You bet. Absolutely. Another concept that I think is really interesting. I’ve heard other people talk about this, now we’re in the habits I suppose, this idea, but the 10 minute rule. You want to explain how that has changed your life?
Neil Patel: Yeah, so we all have goals. If you want to achieve your goal, just for 10 minutes, try doing something that will help you get closer to it. Once you’ve done it for 10 minutes, evaluate. Has that helped you get closer to your goal? If it has, do more of it. If it hasn’t, shift your approach. It’s just, taking little actions can create drastic changes in your life. It’s usually not one thing though, it’s a lot of little things that add up. We’re teaching you by just taking little actions, that you can get further into accomplishing what you’re trying to achieve.
John Jantsch: Yeah, and I think it also, sometimes just getting started is really all you need. You use the example in the book about exercise. There are a lot of times when I just feel like, “I don’t really want to do this,” but then I kind of force myself to do it, and within a few minutes, I’m like, “I’m glad I did this.” I do think that it has a little bit of that getting started, the initiative it takes to get started.
Neil Patel: Definitely. Yeah, and when you look at it as 10 minutes, it’s not overwhelming, right? You’re like, “Oh, I’ll only have to do this for 10 minutes,” not a big deal. If I tell you to go do something for hours, it’s like, “One hour, that’s a lot of time.”
John Jantsch: Now another thing I’m going to dive into, a lot of people I think really try to be the best at what they do, and that’s a noble goal, I don’t have a problem with that, but I think you also talk about a lot of people end up succeeding by … I don’t want to say they’re intentionally mediocre, but maybe they’re sort of mediocre at a number of things that they can combine.
John Jantsch: I would never tell anybody I’m a great writer, or a great speaker, but I have written five books and 4,000 blog posts, and done four or 500 presentations. Now, partly because I just wanted to do it, and I started to do it, and being kind of mediocre, I’ve certainly, hopefully gotten better, but being kind of mediocre at a number of things, has actually allowed me to excel aggregately, if that makes sense, and I wonder if you feel like that’s been your journey to some extent?
Neil Patel: It has. I’m not necessarily great at one thing. Yeah, people can say I’m really good at marketing, but I’m probably decent at a lot of components at marketing, when you combine them it makes me dangerous. Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000 hour rule, in which, if you do something for 10,000 hours, you become an expert. What we say is, there’s a lot of things that you’re going to suck at. There’s going to be some things that you’re mediocre at, and you’re going to have a natural talent.
Neil Patel: When you try different things, you’ll figure out where your natural talent is, and if you spend time perfecting your natural talent, and usually if you’re talented at something, you should love it, because what’s easier for you is typically the thing that you fall more in love with. If you start trying to improve it, you can actually make a career, a living off of it, right? Especially when you combine it with your other abilities.
John Jantsch: So, you have put together a website that you actually have a few of the tools that you talk about. You have some resources there at hustlegeneration.com, is that right?
Neil Patel: That’s correct.
John Jantsch: Anywhere else you want to send people to find out more about you and the various things that you’re doing?
Neil Patel: Neilpatel.com.
John Jantsch: Great. Well Neil, thanks so much for joining us. Hustle: The Power to Change Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum, is available everywhere, and I suggest it is just the nuggets, such a handful of nuggets that you can pull out of it in a quick read are well worth the price of the book. Neil, thanks for joining us. Hopefully we’ll see you out there on the road.
Neil Patel: Thanks for having me.
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