AskPat 102 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 102 of the AskPat podcast. I'm here to help you by answering your online business, blogging, entrepreneurship, podcasting, startup—anything that deals with doing business online, I'm here to help you.
We have another great question today from John. But before we get to that I want to mention today's show sponsor, which is Stamps.com, an awesome company that I've been using lately. You know, everything is on demand now, right? This podcast is on demand. You can listen to it whenever you want. Television is on demand now. Why not stamps? With Stamps.com you can print and buy stamps, postage, for any sort of letters and packages right at the convenience of your home computer and printer. Unlike the post office, Stamps.com is always open. You can get postage anytime. If you go to Stamps.com right now and enter “Pat” for the special offer, you'll get a no-risk free trial, plus $110 bonus offer. That includes a digital scale plus $55 in free postage. Why are you still going to the post office? You don't need to anymore. Stamps.com, use the special offer “Pat.”
Now let's get to today's question from John.
John: Hi, Pat, this John. First of all, thank you so much for putting all of this content out there. I have been loving it and been reading and listening to everything you have. I'm 17, and I'm about to move to California next year, and I'm trying to start my own vlog, John R. P. Frye YouTube. If you Google that you can find it. And then, also JRPF Developments. If you Google that you can also find it. I want to do blogs and vlogs and stuff of that nature. I'm pretty comfortable with the content, but how should I advertise it best? I do not have a lot of money for advertising, and I'm wondering what you suggest I should do, say, in addition to social media outlets? Thank you so much for your time and have a great day.
Pat Flynn: John, what's up? Thank you so much for the question today and, first of all, congratulations on your vlog and blog. And also best of luck to you on your upcoming move to California. That's where I'm from. I'm from San Diego. If you ever make it down to the San Diego area, John, I'd love to meet you and talk to you and help you out, have coffee or something.
Now, to answer your question. How do you market your site when you don't have a big budget?
To be honest with you, you don't actually need a big budget to get started online and to get traffic coming to your site and to build a big brand. When I first started doing business online I started at GreenExamAcademy.com. That site was built with just the budget of $3.95 a month for hosting and domain, and that's it! That's it. Now, over time I added other things like an email list, which required hooking up with the email service provider, which has a fee, and things like that. But, when I first started it wasn't about the money I spend. There are people who build businesses and spend tons of money and their businesses go nowhere, their brands don't grow. It's just all about being smart about where you put your time and how you promote yourself.
The first thing I want to mention is SEO, or search engine optimization. What that means is creating your content in a way, and putting all the things necessary in and around your content to have it found in Google, or found in YouTube, because you said a video blog. And guess what? YouTube is also a search engine. There's a lot of other search engines out there. Amazon.com is a search engine. iTunes is a search engine. Wherever you are putting your brand, you want to make sure that you're giving yourself the best chances to be found by people who are looking for that information that you're producing. We could talk for days about search engine optimization strategies, and of course they are always changing over time because Google, iTunes, and every other site that has a search engine and an algorithm to go along with it, is always changing and tweaking things.
I would recommend going to NicheSiteDuel.com, and in the updates section you'll see some of the latest things that are going on with SEO. A lot of things have changed since I built a few sites a couple years back to how I'm doing it now. Really, what you want to focus on is great quality content; unique stuff that is really going to help people, that's going to be shared. Also, you want to make sure that you have a lot of the basics down. Meaning, you want to have the keywords that people are typing into Google and into YouTube in the title of your videos or in your blog posts. In the description, in the tags and all that good stuff. The metadata is really important when it comes to your content, in terms of SEO. Now, there are free tools out there like the Google Keywords Planner, which you can use to discover how many people are searching for different terms in and around and related to the specific topics that you're writing about.
For those of you who are on YouTube, TubeTrackr is a great tool. I've met one of the guys who has created that tool when I was in the Philippines. It's an amazing tool. It's basically the keyword planner from Google, but for YouTube. And, if you go to TubeTrackr.com, that's T-U-B-E-T-R-A-C-K-R, so it's Tube Tracker without the E at the end, dot com. Again, that's a great keyword research tool for discovering how many people are typing in certain things in YouTube, but not always the same as what people are typing in Google. There are also some premium tools out there for those of you looking to get and climb higher in Google and understand how many people are searching for what terms and what the competition is like for those terms as well. Long Tail Pro is my tool of choice, and it just makes it really easy to do all that stuff. If you go to AskPat.com/longtailpro we'll get you a special discount for that, if you're interested. So, that's SEO. SEO's a great way to pull traffic in, people who are targeted traffic, searching for certain things that you have, potentially that you're creating content about. So, that's SEO.
Second, guest post. Guest posting is an old school form of marketing and there has been some stuff in Google and around the Google-sphere lately talking about how guest posts don't work as well as they do anymore. Well, maybe in terms of SEO. Because that's actually an SEO strategy to put your content on someone else's site, as a guest, and have it link back to your site because those links count for search engine optimization. However, even though that may not be as strong, what is strong is you are putting yourself and your content and your brand in front of another audience that is targeted. Now, what that means is, of course, you have to reach out to other bloggers, and other video bloggers, and establish a relationship with them. Perhaps do a guest post or guest video swap. That's one thing you could do, or try and do what you can to provide value for that person. And that person might be willing to allow you to write content on their site, or produce a video for them and their audience as well.
You could also do guest posts on sites like Medium.com. Again, that's Medium.com. A lot of people are writing on well-established . . . I don't want to say “content farms,” but places that publish high quality content. There used to be these sites where you could just do article marketing. They were literally content farms. Anybody could sign up and post content and people were putting really not so good articles on there to get a link back to their site. Well, something like Medium.com is a site that a lot of people read. You want to put a lot of good content on there, if you're going to publish on there, because what it's going to help you do is build that relationship with people who have never heard of you before. They're going to come over to your site. It's also going to help you establish some authority, being on a site like Medium.com, which is a high page rank website which, if you get a link back to your site in your article, it's going to be good for your site for SEO purposes as well.
Another great way to promote your brand is to within your own brand, within your own site, within your own videos and your own blog posts, highlight other key players in your niche, preferably those who have a large audience, as well, that matches yours. What this does is because you're highlighting them in some way—perhaps it's related to a specific type of topic or blog post that you're writing about, or a specific subject matter within a video that you're creating—what it does is it kinds of gives them a quick shout-out. You can even just email them or tag them on social media and say, “Hey, person, I highlighted you in this video,” or “I talked about you in this blog post.” Don't ask for anything in return. Just simply say that. They're going to take notice that you are mentioning them, hopefully in high regard, and that you're using them as a good example for something that you're teaching. And because you're sending them a link, and because you've mentioned that you've gave them a shout-out on social media, they're going to start to remember who you are.
Then at some point down the road, after you establish a little bit of relationship, you can send an email that isn't quite as cold anymore, in case you wanted to write guest posts. Or, perhaps, some of those people, and this has happened to me in the past when I mention other people in my blog—especially when I was first starting out—I would talk about people like Darren Rowse and Yaro Starak and a lot of other high-end bloggers at the time. They took the time to see what I had going on and they were interested in a lot of the articles that I wrote, and they would link to my own articles on their own. So, it wasn't like a guest post where I was publishing my content on their site, but within their own content they were linking back to useful articles that I have on my site. Again, this is always going back to making sure you have useful content. That is the biggest thing that you can have, and I'm sure you're going to be doing that, John, and everybody else out there listening too.
Now, another way to start to promote your site, and this is going to sound really interesting, but you want to start to build your email list. Because what happens is, as you start to grow your list you start to feed more traffic to each of your blog posts. So, every time you come out with a new blog post, you’re going to say, “Hey, a new blog post has come out. Here's a link to it.” And that gets sent to your email list.
So, say, for example, you have collected over a hundred people on your email list. Let's say a hundred people. And you mention to those people, “hey, I've got a new blog post.” Immediately you'll get traffic coming to your site because email is one of the most underutilized forms of traffic generation back to your own site. People often use it for selling and promotion. I use it specifically for relationship building, but I also point back to my own blog posts. Sometimes I point back to blog posts in the archive, especially in some of my autoresponder series of emails. But a lot of people—and I do this often as well, especially if a blog post is really good and I want people to see it—I will mention that I have a new blog post and link back to it in an email that I broadcast out to all my subscribers. And boom! Traffic is a record that day because my email list is always growing.
Now, what happens when you send an email out to your email list and people on your email list who have given you permission to send them notifications, who has liked your stuff good enough to say, “Hey, I like your stuff. I'm going to be a subscriber and I'm going to go to your traffic, I'm going to go to your site and add to your traffic numbers whenever you come out with new posts.” Well, when they go and read that post, those people specifically are likely to share it on social media. Especially if it's something good and worth doing so. And what happens? It gets new eyes on your brand, more people subscribe to your lists. Next time you come out with a post, more people visit your post, and then more people share it. And then your list grows bigger, and so on and so forth.
So, making sure you're focusing on that email list, especially right from the start. And that's the beauty of this. Typically with email service providers you are paying for how many subscribers you have. And when you're just starting out, obviously you don't have very much, so you can use something like Aweber. If you go to AWeber.com/askpat you'll see the service provider that I use. MailChimp is also a good one, as well, if you're just starting out.
Of course, beyond all that we talked about SEO, guest posts, highlighting key people in your niche, email list, using multiple platforms over time. I have the strategy of being everywhere, not just doing a blog, but also doing video, which you're doing, John, which is great. But also podcasting. Podcasting has been huge for my traffic generation and authority levels.
However, I will say, even though I mentioned “be everywhere,” and that is what has helped me get to where I'm at today, I wasn't everywhere right from the start. I started with my blog and I focused on that and I got good at it, and I got comfortable with it. And then I went to video. I wasn't comfortable with video at first. It took me a while to get comfortable with it. But then I started to produce a lot more videos and that started doing really well. And then a year later I introduced my podcast and I had all the systems in place and I didn't overwhelm myself.
I think there's a lot of misconception out there in this space, in terms of my “be everywhere” strategy because they think you have to be everywhere, all from the start, right at the beginning. No. You want to start with the platform that you're most comfortable in and then branch out from there over time, after you become comfortable with these new ones. You're sort of creating this tree and your root is your blog. That's your home, or, John, for you it sounds like it might be your video content. And then you sort of branch out from there. You're creating this tree which provides oxygen to the world and everybody can live better because of you.
That's a weird analogy, but I'm going to keep it in here because I think it sort of makes sense. Woo! We're having a good time on the show. John, so stoked for you. I can't believe you're only 17 years old. I wish I was doing what you are doing at 17. Actually, we've had a couple 10 year olds on the show too, in the past. I wish I was doing this when I was 10, but unfortunately the internet wasn't around then, which is weird. That was like 1992.
Thanks, John, for your question. An AskPat t-shirt is going to be headed your way. I would love to see a picture of it sometime in my inbox. Awesome. A VA is going to message you very soon with information about how to get that. For those of you listening, if you have a question you'd like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask right there. I also want to thank Stamps.com again for their sponsorship. Again, go to Stamps.com and use “Pat” to get your special bonuses.
Lastly, as always, I end with a quote. Today's quote is from Alfred Montapert, and he says, “Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.” Boom. I love that.
Cheers, thanks so much, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat.
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