AskPat 591 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey. What's up everybody? Pat Flynn here. And welcome to Episode 591 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always I'm here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week. We have a great question today from Brad.
But before we get to that, I just want to let you know that if you haven't picked it up yet, feel free to pick up my book Will It Fly? How To Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don't Waste Your Time and Money. Which you can find at WillItFlyBook.com. You can get it on Audible, for free. If you aren't on Audible yet you can get it for free if it's your first book. And you can also get a Kindle version on your device and read it from there. Or, of course, the traditional paperback copy. So again, that link for you one more time is, WillItFlyBook.com. If you get Wall Street Journal, Best Seller. Thank you for those of you who have supported it and left reviews. I appreciate you so, so much. You have no idea. Thank you so much. Okay. Now let's get to today's question from Brad. Here we go.
Brad: Hi, Pat. My name is Brad and I'm in the early exploratory phase of starting a new online business. I've got several ideas that I'm really excited about and I'm hoping you can give me some guidance on how to niche down and decide which of these ideas to pursue. Before I get to my question though, I wanted to day that I spent most of the past decade working in the non-profit sector, and even though the non-profit world is about as far as you can get from smart passive income, I still found a ton of value in your content and I often found myself sharing your work with other activists and campaigners and people working in government, and at other non profit organizations. These are people who've committed their lives to public service and into building a better world and they need all the help they can get. And I just wanted to thank you for providing so many amazing free resources that we could all use.
Okay, back to my question. I've recently changed careers and I'm trying to choose between several ideas for online businesses. When you started FoodTruckr in 2013, you wrote several posts about keyword research using Long Tail Pro and it seemed like that was sort of your primary starting point for choosing a new idea. That was a few years ago though and I don't hear you talking much about keywords anymore. Instead, it seems like you talk a lot more about direct validation with prospective customers. I know I'll need to do that sort of validation for my ideas before long, but I'm wondering if you think keyword research still plays the same role as a starting point for scoping out a niche. If it is still a good starting point, do you have any new tips for doing keyword research today that might be different to how things were done a few years ago?
Finally, I'm wondering if your answer to these questions would change at all if the business idea involved a podcast? In other words, does the exploding popularity of podcasting break the conventional wisdom about how to choose a niche. How would your early market research change for a business built around the podcast? Thanks for everything you do, Pat. Cheers.
Pat Flynn: Hey, Brad. What's up? Thank you so much for the question today. First of all, it sounds like you're going to be getting into podcasting and just relating to that, immediately when you started talking I thought, man, this guy has a great voice. Great podcasting voice. And so it's just kind of cool to hear you say that you're interested in potentially getting into that podcasting space, and learning about keyword research and just research in general related to that. So that's very cool. So keep going with that because that's awesome.
So keyword research has definitely changed over time. I mean, back in 2009-2010 when I had first started doing some heavy keyword research, that could be the primary and only thing you do to find a business that needed help. And that was because Google was very much a place that could be gamed I guess you could say. And it was very easy to tell based on who was searching for what and what was being served to them on Google. What needed some help and where you could come in and sort of rescue that audience and create a website or resource of your own. And that's exactly what I did with FoodTruckr like you said. That was SecurityGuardTrainingHQ.com. And those methods still work today.
I know a lot of people who use keyword research as the primary means of finding a particular audience to then serve and again it's all based on search volume and competition based on those specific keywords in those niches. So that one method that you could use and it's still works today although the way this changed is—I feel like personally that it shouldn't be the only thing that you build a business around. Or the only thing you do to research what you build a business around, excuse me. And so there's a lot more involved with it. So keyword research can be definitely that start of it but you got to dig deeper. And that's where all the validation techniques I talk about in my book, Will It Fly?, go and come into play.
So, if you're having trouble sort of discovering an idea or maybe you have a general topic that you enjoy and want to really narrow down, keyword research can really help with that focus. But then, you want to take it to the next step which is, okay, talk to the potential customers or those prospects. Get into the group online—Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups—and actually discover what it is there pains and problems are. Because a lot of time the keywords will actually lead you, as the seed, down a path that leads into something else.
This actually is what happened with FoodTruckr in the sense that keyword research was used to find a keyword which was “Food Trucks for Sale.” And “Food Trucks For Sale” was a very heavily searched term because food trucks were really growing at the time and people I guess wanted to get involved with that industry. And people were looking for food trucks to buy, but there wasn't anything out there that actually serving them. So that was my start but I did more research and I talked to a lot of food truck owners here in San Diego, and they actually told me that there wasn't any resource in general that helped food truck owners. And I thought I could expand out a little bit more. I could have gone narrower—or more narrow—and have tapped into the food-truck-for-sale business, but I felt like there was a hole there that I need to fill by becoming a little more general actually in serving that food struck space in general.
And FoodTruckr is still running, still making money today. It's actually going through a little bit of a revamp I guess you could say and life is going to be put back into that website very soon. So I'm excited to share more information about that in the upcoming ays or weeks here. But yeah, so like I said, “Food Truck of Sale” was sort of the start of it. That was the seed that then kind of let me down this path to creating FoodTruckr.com. That's often what happens nowadays with keyword research. Keyword research is great because it gives you validation in terms of search volume and competition. It gives you just a starting point. But then dig deeper, get into the minds of your audience. In the book I talk about this thing called Your Customer Plan. And that's to discover what those problems are your targeted audience is actually having and then having a plan to serve them through there. So that's definitely what I would do.
So again, key research can be a part of it, but its not all of it. So don't build a business just on the keywords. You want to make sure that there's that part of it too. You know, there's this thing I like to call the KFC approach. It's keywords–that's K. F which is Feedback, that's talking to people, getting feedback on stuff, seeing what their problems are and stuff. And then C which is your conscience and that's really important because you have to have some sort of passion and gut feeling that this is a narrow path you want to go down in a particular issue that you want to get into.
So the KFC approach: Keywords, Feedback, your Conscience; your head. What is that gut feeling? And those things together can help you determine what it is that you should be doing now when it comes to podcasting niching down, does that approach change? Well, it does because obviously there's podcasts involved and there's other directories to look through and other research to do. So I would treat iTunes like we treat Google where you type in these keywords related to your particular niche you want to get into. You get into the categories that you believe that you're going to get into as well and you just scope about the competition. You listen to some of their shows, and I think you try to determine what of those shows people like. And what of those shows people dislike.
And the nice thing about iTunes is that there are reviews for those things. Something you don't necessarily get when you find something on Google is what other people think who click through what they think about those search results. But here, you're getting podcasts and your getting reviews. So what are people liking about those shows? What are people disliking? Making sure to incorporate those things into your show that people like and not incorporating the things that people don't like, that's what it really comes down to.
And also looking at the artwork. I mean I think that's an underrated importance of a podcast is what does your artwork look like. Because when you think about it, when people search for your podcast, I meant the first thing they're going to see is your logo and the name of your show before they listen to any second of your podcast. So keep that in mind too. iTunes, unfortunately, doesn't give us keyword data so we can't really determined sort of what the most searched for terms are. It's not like Google in that sense. But, you can get an idea of what's out there, what your competition is like and that's a great way to do research. Using keyword in iTunes, you can also looks things up like on Stitcher and get things that way too. So yeah, keep that in mind and I would also—if you find any top podcasters out there in the space that you're trying to get into—follow through and go to their website and see what they're doing there and see how they're serving their audience. So that will give you again, more insight on what you need to do and you're niching down and finding a position in that space.
I think the market map portion of Will It Fly?, where you discover the three P's of your audience: the people, the places, and products that are being served to them, that's really going to help niche down and discover no matter what content medium you're going to end up using, what position you still have. And you should absolutely position the space that you're getting into. In other words, an angle or something that's different—a unique selling proposition that's going to help you stand out from the crowd. So do that.
Brad, thank you so much for the question today. I really appreciate it and we're going to send you an AskPat T-shirt for having your questions featured here on the show. I also want to thank everybody else out there who is asking questions because this would would not even exist with you. So I appreciate you. If you have a question to ask, head on over to askpat.com and we've had thousands of questions come in, and I look forward to eventually hearing yours on the show and I'm sure you do too. So ask away. And, as always I just wanted to thank you for listening in and here's a quote to finish off the day from my good friend Amy Porterfield from AmyPorterfield.com. She says, “Incorporate easy email marketing strategies with your Facebook efforts to see bigger results: AKA, profits.” She uses Facebook, especially Facebook ads to grow her list. That's her primary means of building her list to hundreds of thousands of people—by using Facebook. Cheers. Take care and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Thanks. Bye.
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