AskPat 465 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: What's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 465 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always I'm here to help you by answering your online business-related questions, five days a week. We have a great question today from Paul.
Before we get to that, I do want to thank today's first sponsor, which is Lynda.com; that's L-Y-N-D-A dot com, which is a learning platform with over 3,000, yes, 3,000 on-demand video courses to help you strengthen your business, technology, and creative skills. I've used it myself. I know a number of people on my team who have used it too. You can use it too and see what is on this platform to help you learn, streamline your education process, and actually get results with whatever it is you're doing. Whether you're an entrepreneur, or you're still working 9-to-5, or both, there's information here to help you. Go ahead and go to Lynda.com/AskPat for a free, 10-day all-access free trial. Ten-day trial at Lynda.com/AskPat.
All right, here's today's question from Paul.
Paul: Hi there, Pat. This is Paul Lougella from Melbourne, Australia. My question is about the way that you structured your Green Exam Academy site, your blog, years ago. I understand you created that to help people learn about how to pass that exam, and I want to follow a similar strategy for a blog I want to set up to help me understand a particular niche in the topic of A learning. My question to you is, with what you know now, how would you … Would you still recommend that strategy to someone starting out in blogging? Just to set up a blog to learn about a topic? If so, how would you organize the information starting from scratch? Again, I want to use this blog to become, to learn about that topic, to become noticed, and then eventually leverage that, just as you have with the Green Exam Academy blog. Any tools would be fantastic. Have a great day.
Pat Flynn: Hey, Paul. Thank you so much for the question. I love this question, because I'm reminiscing about when I first started out, and I didn't know what I was doing. All I knew was that there was this thing called WordPress that allowed me to set up a blog, and it allowed me to write stuff, and post stuff. The reason I created that website, again as a reminder for everybody out there, or those who might not know my story, I created this website. Initially it was called InTheLeed.com, L-E-E-D, for this exam called the LEED Exam in the architecture industry. It was a very difficult exam. I actually tried passing it on my own through practice tests at first, and just failed miserably. I created this website to help curate my notes, make it easy for me to memorize, and understand this topic, and also link to certain other relevant articles out there that would help me too, and also just be able to access this information on the go.
Well, over time, it worked, and I was able to study from this website. I think posting on this website, and also studying from it were both very helpful. Then I got laid off, and to make a long story short, people around the world found the website, and also started to get a lot of information from it. Then I became known as an expert in the space, which was kind of cool. Even though I didn't really consider myself an expert, I was seen as one because I was the one posting all this information. You can kind of tell I was just learning as I went, and that's exactly what Paul's asking for here.
Paul, if I could go back in time, I would do it the exact same way. The thing is, you could spend all this time learning about content management, platforms, and WordPress, and all these themes. But really what helped me the most, was just getting something up there, and figuring it out along the way. Now, I would use WordPress as a blogging platform to set that up, I would find a theme that works for you and whatever it is you're trying to produce, but really what it comes down to is just posting information for myself. I was my own perfect audience, and by doing that, you will attract your own tribe, who is just like as Chris Ducker says, “Your vibe attracts your tribe.” This is a great way to do that.
Now, there's a few things. Using the blog posts was a great way to just kind of stream-of-consciousness, report on things, talk about certain things that I was learning, things that I was struggling with, things like that. That was really helpful. But then you can use the pages on the site to create more static resources too. I created a number of different static resources on my website at GreenExamAcademy.com, 'cause the name later changed because I was using a trademark, and we'll not get into that story right now. It was a good learning lesson. Like all of this, it's just learning as we go, and pivoting, and making mistakes, and moving forward.
Going back to this resource blog that I created: I created blog posts to talk about specific topics, and then I created pages to kind of curate a lot of the different pieces of content that was on my website, to be able to create and highlight certain components of it. For example, there was a website that was out there that was helping people in this exam, that posted a lot of information on a timely basis. I created a page on the site that kept people updated on what this other site was talking about, the United States Green Building Council, to be specific, and other things like that. I created a whole page that was specifically just for what it was like on exam day.
Again, you can kind of just go about it. However you choose to post information out there, people are going to consume it. Then along the way, you can organize it. You're not going to know how to organize it, Paul, when you first start out. You might have an idea, but just go, and you will be able to … The nice thing about blogging and the online platforms that we use, is that we can always reorganize and shift things along the way. I think over time, you're going to find your voice, you're going to find the organization of your website, and over time you're also going to find that audience that's going to be attracted to you, and what you have to offer. Now, I was very lucky that this exam that I was posting information about, did have its own structure in terms of, you had to memorize all this information from a reference guide, which was super thick. It came with different chapters, subsections within those chapters, so those chapters essentially became blog posts, and the subsections became subsections within those blog posts. Then, at times during the studying process, there were links mentioned in this reference guide, which I would then hyperlink in the actual blog post. It just became this nice, interactive guide. A summary of Cliff's Notes, if you will, of what I was learning, and posting.
Another cool thing you could do while you're learning is curate some of the other content that you're reading around the web that helps you too, and posting that information, even sharing what you're learning from other people, and this will help you foster a relationship with those people too. This is what a lot of people in the personal finance industry have done, who are very successful talking about getting out of debt, and were successful even when they were in debt because they were showing people how they were going through the process. They were being very real and personal with it too. That's where the blog specifically comes into play. This is a great storytelling device, but also a content management system, which you can then provide information if it's organized.
One of the other things you could do is have other people come on and guest post. Over time, once you start to establish yourself as a brand, as somebody who's learning about this particular thing, which I think is really interesting, because you're more able to relate to the people who are reading your site, then others who are already quote, “experts.” This is where when the United States Green Building Council came out with their own study guides to compete with my own; I actually thought I was done for. But, I actually ended up selling more, and finding more people who became customers and fans of what I was doing, because people started searching around for other solutions. They found me, and they found that I was just a real person just like them. This is the cool part about having a site like this.
Now, I will say, Paul, that it's going to take a lot of time to find success with a site like this. But each time I've done it like this—Smart Passive Income is essentially the same thing—it's taken about a year and a half to two years to really see something good out of it. But, along the way I'm learning, I'm reporting, I'm building relationships, and those things will help you. You will grow exponentially down the road too, after you keep going with that. Like I was saying earlier, having people guest post, and maybe you start to implement a podcast where you are learning by actually interviewing other people, and it's just as much as it is for you as it is for your audience too. There's a lot of things you could do.
Like I said, just post, get yourself out there, start learning and reporting whenever you learn about something, and share it to try and teach others. That's going to help you learn it even better, it's going to make you become more of an expert and authority in the space too.
Paul, I want to wish you all the best of luck with this. I'm really curious to know more about what this particular niche is, if you wanted to email me, or just if you have any questions down the road. Maybe submit another AskPat question; we can have you as a follow-up. Anyway, just want to thank you once again, Paul. We're going to send you an AskPat t-shirt for having your question featured here on the show. For those of you who are listening who have a question that's in your head that you'd like potentially featured here on the show, just head on over to AskPat.com. You can ask right there on that page.
I also want to thank today's second sponsor here at the end of the show, which is Braintree. They are sponsoring this episode as well. Braintree gives you a full stack payment solution. It has support for all payment types your customers might want for your websites, or your apps, or whatever it is that you have. You can start accepting Android Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, Bitcoin, Venmo, cards, or whatever's next, all within a single integration across all platforms with superior fraud protection, customer service, and fast payouts. To check it out for yourself, visit BrainTreePayments.com/pat. Again, that's BrainTreePayments.com/pat.
Thank you so much. I appreciate you. Here's a great quote by a famous—Yogi Berra, a baseball player. He said, “If you don't know where you're going, you might not get there.” Very true. Cheers. Thanks so much. I appreciate you listening to the show, and I look forward to serving you in tomorrow's episode. Cheers.
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