AskPat 221 Episode Transcript
Pat: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 221 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. Before we get to today's question from Joel, I do want to thank today's sponsor, which is AWeber.com.
This is the email service provider that I use and I recommend you use too. If you're going to collect email addresses on your site, use AWeber.com. I use it to collect emails, to send broadcast emails out to everybody, to segment my lists, and also to send out an autoresponder, which is a pre-written email that gets sent to people based on when they subscribe.
I have about 30 emails in my autoresponder and that takes people through an entire year of me contacting them, building a relationship with them, which allows me to, when I send a broadcast, make it not seem so spammy. So people are more likely to open those emails and take action on them, so check it out. You can get AWeber for one month for $1 actually. 30 days for $1. Just head on over to AWeber.com/askpat.
Awesome. Now let's get to today's question from Joel.
Joel: Hi Pat. My name is Joel from Ontario, Canada. I want to know how do you balance promotion and creation, promoting your work on social sites and different advertising or marketing efforts, and actually creating material to promote? I know for myself and for other small businesses I've talked to, it's kind of stressful when you're not creating, but you also value the promotion. So how have you found that balance? Thanks.
Pat: Joel, thank you so much for the question. This is a big topic because . . . and this reminds me of when Derek Halpern did a keynote speech at FinCon 2013. I did the opening keynote, he did the closing keynote. In his closing keynote he asked the audience to raise their hand if they felt like they did more content creation, if they spent most of their time creating content. Most of the audience raised their hand.
Then he asked the audience, “If you feel like you spend most of your time promoting the content that you create, raise your hand.” Like four people out of the 500 people who were there actually raised their hand, so basically nobody.
The point of that being that most of us spend our time creating content, at least if you're a blogger or podcaster and you're in the space that most of us are in. You're doing most of your stuff, or most of your time is spent creating content. That's scary because we spend all this time, we put out good stuff. We want people to see it, read it, listen to it, watch it, and it's just like we're not even giving it a chance because you can't just build it and expect people to come find it.
Perhaps you can get to a point where you have an audience that's large enough that when you come out with new stuff they sort of promote it for you. But especially when you're first starting out, and even if you've been doing this for a few years, there are people who need to read your article who aren't reading it. There are people who need to listen to your podcast who aren't listening to it. You have to find ways to get people to do that. So I feel like a good balance is 50/50: 50 percent content creation and 50 percent promoting the content that you're created.
Now Derek on the other hand would recommend that instead of the 80/20 that we typically do with content creation and content promotion—although likely it's probably 90/10, to flip that around and spend 10 percent of your time creating content and 90 percent of your time promoting it, which for me personally is quite a bit. But I will say that Derek had some very convincing data based on his blog, where he was just posting once or twice a month. And this crowd here at the Financial Blogger Conference, some of them were posting daily.
When you think about that, okay, you're posting something one day and immediately the next day you're working on your next piece of content. How are you ever giving yourself a chance to promote that content you promoted on day one? You've already sort of just put that aside to start creating new content.
Content creation alone does not help the content spread. You need to actually go out there and reach new audiences and put yourself in front of audiences and try new and different platforms, and actually get to the part where you're actually selling this content that you're creating. I don't mean selling like you're asking for money, but you have to sell the fact that you have something of value to provide that people are going to spend their time reading, or their time watching, or their time listening.
There's a big mindset shift here because creating content is easy. It's easy to sit down on your computer or on your laptop and start typing. Or it's relatively easy to sit down in front of a microphone like I am right now and start talking, or putting up a video camera and start recording. But it's really hard to, once you create that content, to put it out there in front of people's faces, to email people, to reach people, to talk to other influencers about the stuff that you create, because sometimes I feel like we want to play it safe. We just write, we record, and we put it out there and that's it. Whatever happens, happens. We don't even necessarily pay attention to how people react to it. We just move on to the next thing that we're comfortable doing.
So I think we need, we do, most of us, we all need to spend more time promoting. How do you do that? Well we can spend an hour talking about promotion, but what it really means is getting your content in front of people who don't normally see it.
I feel like a lot of us promote to the people who are already going to be reading it anyway. We share on social media, we share to our Twitter followers, people who have already said, “Yes, I'm following your stuff.” And I think they expect a link on Twitter, they expect a mention on Facebook or hopefully you're sending emails out to your email list. That's going to work, but again you're preaching to the choir. You're sharing stuff that those people already want to see.
Now I would definitely recommend that you do that, but beyond that, you have to reach out and find new audiences. Find different markets within the market. Target different markets within your specific niche. Target them and have them be able to discuss and share with people in that same arena who would have never found it otherwise.
Again, word of mouth does play a role here, but forced word of mouth, in terms of okay you're targeting, for example . . . like Derek, he targeted a specific sort of niche in the internet marketing industry. A very small one, but it went viral in that space. He targeted the spa. He talked about a specific moment when he went into a spa and they didn't ask him for any reason to come back. They didn't give him a rewards card or anything. Then he wrote this whole article about it and he went viral in that community.
I did the same thing in, gosh, I can't remember what episode it was. I think it was 97 or 98 of The Smart Passive Income podcast, where I took that strategy and I targeted a specific market within a space of people who wanted to do business online, and I targeted artists. This was how artists can make a living selling their artwork online. That's a very specific topic that not a lot of . . . not all of my audience are artists, but the artists who were there, they ate it up. They shared it. They shared it with other artists and it went semi-viral in the artist community.
So even before you start writing, before you start creating your content, you could think about how it's going to be promoted and how it might get spread out there. Then beyond that, touching other influencers, talking to them and figuring out who has an audience that can benefit from the content.
I feel like if you were to make a true connection, build a relationship with that person who has that target audience well, and you are actually helping them by providing value, it's going to be less promote-y and less, “Hey, here's my stuff. Please share it, ” and more, “Hey, this is actually helpful. How can I help you?” and you guys are all helping each other. That's really what it's all about.
So, Joel, I hope that helps. I feel like for me, personally, that balance is 50/50, and this is something that I've landed on over time. I used to, in the beginning, write three times a week and not promote at all. It wasn't until a year and a half when things finally started to take off, but I'm curious to know what would have happened if I actually spent more time promoting in the first year and a half.
Anyway, I'm going to leave that in there because fun things like that happen all the time. Anyway, thank you so much, Joel. I appreciate your question, and I hope that it helps you in some way, shape, or form.
For those of you out there, if you have a question you'd like featured here in the show, just head on over to AskPat.com and you might get featured here on the show. If you do, you will get an AskPat t-shirt. Joel, we're going to send you one your way. You'll hear from my assistant very soon.
Thank you again to AWeber, the email service provider that I use. You can try it for 30 days for $1 if you go to AWeber.com/askpat. If you go to that page you'll see a video testimonial from me about AWeber as well. I've been using it since the beginning. It's been great and it has definitely contributed to the relationships that I've had with my audience but also, indirectly, the income.
Some people sell directly on their email list. I don't, but I use it to build a relationship and bring people back to my site, and it's been working like mad. So again, check it out, AWeber.com/askpat.
Finally, as always, I love to end with a quote. Today's quote is from Jake Nickell from Threadless, the founder of Threadless, an amazing t-shirt company. He says, “I try not to make any decisions that I am not excited about.” So the next time you're trying to make a decision, ask yourself, “Am I excited about it?” If not, maybe it's not a decision that you should make.
Awesome. Thanks so much, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Peace.
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