AskPat 788 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up, everybody. This is Pat Flynn, and welcome to Episode 788 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I'm here to answer your online business questions, five days a week. And we have a great question today from Sean.
But before we get to Sean's question, I do want to thank today's sponsor, which is www.FreshBooks.com. They help a lot of people, actually millions of small businesses, including my own, with managing business finances, making it really easy come tax season to get all the reports and stuff. It's easy to see what's working and what's not in your business, but what's really cool is their invoicing feature.
If you do any billing of any kind, in less than 30 seconds you can create a professional looking invoice that you can send out. You get to keep track of all the people that owe you money and see how much you're owed, but more than that, you can actually keep track of who has yet to even open those invoices after you send them to people, which is super handy, I've found, because you can follow up with people in different ways depending on whether or not they've interacted with that invoice or not already.
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All right. Now here's today's question from Sean.
Sean: Hi, Pat. Love your show. Thanks for all the help that you've done. I've recently started a blog at www.FlightTrainingPro.com. What I do is I teach people how to get their pilot's license, anybody who's ever wanted to. “Hey, where do I start?” It's a very overwhelming process so I kind of want to teach people where to start, how to get their license, and how to really save the most money when they do it, how to do it in the most efficient way.
I'm currently an airline pilot and father of three so I've got a pretty busy life. I've got the blog up and I've got some posts. What is the best way for a newbie like myself to start drawing traffic in? I've heard out there that there's basically two different ways: SEO or content marketing. Which one of those should I focus on? I really just want to focus on one for maybe a couple weeks to a month and see how it goes and then I know eventually, just probably, I'll have to have some sort of combination of both, but in your opinion for a beginner blogger what is the best way to drive traffic to my site not really knowing anything? SEO or content marketing or maybe something else? I'm not sure.
Thanks again. Thanks for all you do and thanks for giving us the information and the courage to reach out there and start something like this. Take care.
Pat Flynn: Hey what's up Sean? Thank you so much for the question and congratulations on starting your online business journey. This is really cool. www.FlightTrainingPro.com. I like the domain name and I like what you're doing there. You have that set up. You're looking for traffic. How do you do that? Well there's millions of ways to do that but you've mentioned a couple of the big ones there: SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and content marketing.
First of all, I want to talk about SEO. When you're just starting out, SEO basically means hoping that Google picks up some of the content that you come out with and when you're starting out it can be hard to get Google to notice you but there are some strategies that you can use and basically things you should be doing to make sure that you're giving yourself the best chance to be found by Google, but I will say this: don't expect to be found by Google right away. It could take several months, sometimes even like a year to have some of your content finally show up in the search engine rankings for certain keywords.
What I would focus on instead is, SEO-wise, making sure you have the basics down so that you're setting yourself up for success in the future. What that means is making sure you are writing articles in a very valuable way. Quality articles, unique articles, that sort of thing, answering questions that people are typing in and people are asking you. That's first and foremost what you should be doing.
Google wants to show the most relevant content at the top of the search engine rankings, so just in terms of a mindset going into the content that you're producing and content marketing: always make sure that you're pumping out great content, valuable content. That's the first thing.
Secondly, you want to make sure that you're giving yourself the best chance for being found for certain keywords. Things that people are searching for, terms, phrases, make sure that those are inserted into the titles of your blog posts. Make sure they're mentioned in the first paragraph or two of that blog post which happens naturally anyway but just again making sure that you're doing that and then using the tool like Yoast SEO plugin to make sure that you have all of your bases covered.
We're using Yoast, (Y-O-A-S-T) right now, the SEO plugin for Smart Passive Income right now and it's super handy because as you are creating the content, as you are writing what's called the meta description, which is the description that Google puts underneath the search engine research. You know how it shows the link in blue and then the little description underneath? Well you can force Google to show certain things and you have about 150 characters to put in there.
Yoast will help you and guide you through that so as you are crafting a blog post you actually have a space where you can write in that description and Yoast will tell you if you made sure to do the best practices for that which is, in the meta description, making sure that your focus keyword is mentioned in the meta description and all those kinds of things so Yoast is going to be a great way to at a basic level, foundational level, make sure that you're hitting and covering all your bases SEO-wise. Again that's Y-O-A-S-T, which is an amazing plugin so check that out and make sure you're using that.
There are other plugins similar that a lot of people have used like All-In-One SEO plugin which is another WordPress plugin that does something similar but Yoast has the best one for sure and they have a number of different checks that you can do. It literally shows you a red dot next to certain items if they're missing or they're not done correctly and a green dot if they are so make everything green and you'll be good to go.
That's all you have to worry about SEO-wise and again making sure that you're just writing valuable content that is useful. There are other things that you can do related to putting content onto other platforms in combination with your blog post that could help with SEO as well and this is where we start to get into content marketing.
For example, if you had a video that you put up on YouTube, if you place that video and embed it into your blog post, it'll kind of serve double duty there. Traffic will go to YouTube from your site. Traffic will go to your site from YouTube and also you'll gain rankings in Search Engine Optimization on both Google and YouTube.
Expanding onto other platforms is a great idea but I would only do that after you are comfortable and are sort of it a nice rhythm with your primary content platform. This is great advice for all of you because I know a lot of us see what I do and many other people are doing which is you have a blog for the people who read, YouTube for people who watch, podcasting for people who listen, then you have books and then you're on all these social media platforms. It can be a lot and it's a great strategy to be everywhere but be everywhere one place at a time.
Start with the place you're most comfortable with and then branch out from there with whatever content platform seems to be the most helpful and for flight school, podcasting could work but YouTube would be a great one too. You know, just short, quick videos that will help your flight students could work out really well and then you'd be able to capture people searching for information both on Google and on YouTube so that's another way to get traffic on your site is expanding onto other platforms.
Even before you do that there's some things you can do on your website to make sure you are giving yourself the best chance to get found. Obviously I mentioned this earlier and I'm not afraid to say this a bunch of times because it's so important: create highly valuable, extremely relevant content, something that people can't help but share, making sure on your site you're giving people the ability to share because once they are hot, meaning they've read your content and they love it, if you ask them to share most likely they will and that's how you can get more traffic coming to your site too.
Those are some small things you can do to increase traffic to your website. Now there are some strategies you can use to really drive traffic to your website from other places. One of the first things you can do is something like a “round up post.” This is something that I used to launch www.FoodTruckr.com and still today this is the most popular article on FoodTruckr and it's the one that actually is ranking higher than even some of the more important articles on www.FoodTruckr.com, one of my niche sites.
To start out the blog, I reached out to 50 different food truck owners. Actually I lied. I reached out to 200-plus food truck owners and I collected 50 answers from 50 food truck owners so not everybody replied back but that's okay but I got back 50 different responses from food truck owners and it was an answer to one specific question only and that question was: “What's one thing you wish you had known before you started your food truck?”
I also did this recently on www.SmartPassiveIncome.com but I did it in audio format on the podcast. When you get a “round up post” and if you include answers from influencers out there in the same space as you and hopefully you know who else is out there sort of serving the people who are also interested in flight, you can collect answers from these influencers and put them all together in one super handy “round up post” where you have, it could even be just 5. It doesn't have to be 50.
When you do this it's a highly valuable article. You're showing relevance to other websites that are similar to yours which is good for Google and more than that these people who you feature are going to likely share it as well which often happens very often when you do that, when you do these “round up posts.” People want to share where they are featured so that's another great way to get some traffic coming to your site. Those relationships that you build are very, very important.
A lot of times you're going to start to find a couple people who are in the same space as you who you can sort of team up with and become buddies with and you're sharing their stuff. They're sharing your stuff. Make sure to connect with those people on social media as well. That's going to be great in terms of setting up success for the feature in terms of getting even more traffic coming to your site.
You could use what Brian Harris calls the “poster boy formula,” which I think is a great piece of advice. That is, becoming the poster boy is sort of like becoming that student in the class that the teacher says “Hey class. You should do it like Sean.” The poster boy, Sean, is the person who kind of sets the bell curve in the class. You want to be the teacher's pet, the teacher's example.
To do this online, you find an influencer who has taught you a strategy of some kind or something you picked up from somebody else and you put that into practice and you master it or you do it and then you share with that person who taught you that thing your results and in many cases that person is going to want to share you with their audience too because you have taken their advice. You've shown how much you've succeeded with it so they're going to want to use you as sort of a testimonial and somebody who actually took action.
What that does is it puts you in front of their audience as well in a way that provides value to also the person who's doing this for you. The “poster boy formula” works really well in that way so that's something that you could also do. There's hundreds of articles on Smart Passive Income that you could use to potentially get even more traffic to in ways that matter to you.
Creating things that are shareable are fantastic. Running contests are great too. You can use an app called KingSumo plugin which is really cool. It's a WordPress plugin that allows you to even do a giveaway of some kind and what's cool about this giveaway is you're going to collect email addresses from it too and then you're going to have people share it because by sharing it they're going to get more entries into this contest and that's what KingSumo can do for you.
Speaking of email addresses, hopefully you're getting emails collected and what's cool is when you come out with a blog post or content of any kind, make sure to share it with your email list. They're going to help you in this really cool loop that happens that allows yourself to grow, meaning when you come out with a new post you share it to your email list and they will come to your site and be traffic for your website and they see and they share it with even more people who then become new subscribers and then the next time you come out with a new blog post, those people and the people who were on your list already are going to see that post and they're going to share it with even more people and the cycle just keeps going and going and going.
Sean, hopefully there's some good ideas in there that can help you into the future and I want to wish you all the best but the low-hanging fruit for the big things that are going to help you are making great posts that people can't help but share and then also building those relationships with other influencers and getting in front of their audiences in one way, shape, or form.
Guest posting is also something that still works very, very well. Guest podcasting has recently become a primary strategy for people too so those are some even more ideas that you can use. So, Sean, pick one, go with it, and roll with it and then move onto the next and make sure to focus on it until you finish and then move onto the next one. Great job. Keep up the good work and, Sean, I want to wish you all the best and also send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show.
For those of you listening, if you have a question that you'd like potentially featured here on the show too, just head on over to www.AskPat.com and you can ask right there on that page. Thank you so much. I appreciate you. I also want to thank FreshBooks also for giving you all access to FreshBooks for 30 days for free. If you go to www.FreshBooks.com/AskPat and make sure you enter “AskPat” in the How Did You Hear About Us section.
And finally, as always, here's a quote to finish off the day and this quote is from Thomas Fuller. He says “Good is not good where better is expected.” Do better guys. You guys got this. Take care and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Bye.
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