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SPI 386: The Upside-Down Content and Product Strategy with Todd Tressider

We’re redoing our content strategy at SPI, and it’s inspired by this week’s guest. The idea sounds a little obvious, in retrospect, but in a world of SEO optimization and large companies churning out endless reams of content, all in an attempt to stake their claim on a limited amount of keywords it’s anything but. Simply put, what Todd Tresidder suggests is that you become the best resource out there for the topic you’re trying to compete in. It’s not about having the most variety. It’s not about getting creative with related terms. It’s just about being the best.

You might remember Todd from Episode 200, “How Deleting a Third of Your Content Can Triple Your Traffic.” At the time, this was a big deal, not just for SPI listeners but for me as well. I had spent so much time pumping out article after article in order to just accumulate as much content as possible, so deleting things seemed crazy to me. Now on the other side of things, I can say that doing an audit was necessary and helped us out so much, not just from a traffic perspective but for delivering more value to you, our audience.

Todd was on the cutting edge then and I think he’s ahead of the game now. In this episode, we talk about how he’s flipped the script with an upside-down content and product strategy by starting with a book first and working backward to build content that naturally feeds into it. We get into a lot, including how he treats Amazon and Google separately, how he uses keyword research to inform and inspire the books that he writes, and so much more. We talk about specific examples from his books, The Leverage Equation (Amazon link) and How Much Money Do I Need to Retire? (Amazon link), and how those, in turn, lead people to his courses. Todd is such an innovative thinker, and I think you’ll get a lot out of our conversation.

Pat Flynn: Our special guest today joined us in episode 200, the landmark episode 200 which got a lot of people talking. It was titled How Deleting A Third of Your Content Can Triple Your Traffic, How to Do a Content Audit with Todd Tresidder. And that was very cutting edge at that time, and now a lot of SEO people and lot of bloggers, podcasters are talking about content audits. What is that? That is going back into your archive and actually removing or redirecting older posts, irrelevant posts, not so great posts to newer posts or consolidating and creating a much better resource on your website, because no longer are the days are when your website should have just running archive forever because that’s literally just a first draft of your work.

Pat Flynn: By going back and filtering out the things that aren’t necessary, the things that are irrelevant and then ending up with a website or a resource that’s much less diluted that sends signals to Google, that sends signals to humans and those humans spend more time in the website and that signals back to Google. It just works. I practice this, and many other people practice the audit as well and you can increase your traffic doing that.

Pat Flynn: And Todd is back again today in episode 386. Now, it’s not 400. I thought maybe I’d put him in at 400 and just be like, “Hey, you can come in every 200 episodes,” but I couldn’t wait any longer. What he’s doing right now is something so unique and I wanted to share it with you because it really is where I feel a lot of things are headed in terms of content especially for bloggers, podcasters and how those things interact. Anybody who’s writing books, you need to be paying attention to this episode.

Pat Flynn: This episode is about something that Todd called The Upside Down Content Strategy. It involves the content that you have largely based on the products that you create. And not vice versa where are a lot of us go content first. Well, Todd is about, actually his Amazon books first and how these things play with each other, how they lead into each other, how they play into bigger more expensive courses from there and how this services Google, how this services the human interactions on the website, the user experience. It’s just a beautiful thing.

Pat Flynn: It takes a little bit of time to find what this is but we get into it. We give you the how-to, we give you the why. It’s just amazing cutting edge piece of thing. And guess what? This is what me and my team are sort of leading into in the future. You’re going to hear a little bit about how SPI is going to change content-wise in the future based on the strategy. So hopefully, that excites you.

Pat Flynn: But first, voiceover guy, do your thing.

Voiceover: Welcome to the Smart Passive Income Podcast where it’s all about working hard now so you can sit back and reap the benefits later. And now, your host, he is keto-friendly, Pat Flynn.

Pat Flynn: Todd, welcome back to the SPI podcast. Thanks so much for being here, man.

Todd Tresidder: Thanks for having me on the show, Pat.

Pat Flynn: Last time you were on the show, we jammed on something called content audit. Some of you might remember this. This was episode 200 where the title was How to Delete a Third of Your Content, or How to Increase Your Traffic 3x by Deleting a Third of Your Content, or something of that nature. This strategy of a content audit-

Todd Tresidder: You blew the headline, Pat.

Pat Flynn: I totally blew it. I totally blew it. But I can’t remember all the time we’re-

Todd Tresidder: How to Triple Your Traffic by Deleting a Third of Your Content.

Pat Flynn: So you have it better than me, but you’ve become known as sort of voice in the space of, “Hey, let’s take this blog content that we have and let’s trim the weeds a little bit.” As we create our blogs, we don’t necessarily create it the way it should eventually end up and you came in with a strategy. You were the first person to tell me about this and then it’s become sort of more well-known now that our blog should be and should only have a content it needs to have and not just this running archive of content from the last however many years, and it’s been a beautiful strategy.

Pat Flynn: It still works today, right?

Todd Tresidder: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Pat Flynn: Why do you think that’s such an important mindset to have when it comes to the content that we’re creating which will relate to everything else that we’re talking about today. But I’d love to just touch on this idea of a content audit a little bit more. I think people need to rehear this message, why does the content audit work when it comes to our content?

Todd Tresidder: Well, Google has always been clear. They want to show just the best results. And I don’t know what the date is anymore but it’s like, how many of millions of articles are being posted in the internet every day, it’s crazy. Everybody is competing for the same keywords. There’s only a limited amount of traffic and Google wants to show the best results.

Todd Tresidder: The data is clear that the top three results get something like 90% of the traffic. It depends on the keyword, of course, because different keywords have different relationships with the users. But in general, the top three positions get 90% of the keywords and everything after that shares about 10% of the traffic.

Todd Tresidder: It’s like if you want to rank, you have to provide the absolute best experience, user experience that’s both in the quality of the content as well as how it’s presented. And Google is getting better and better at figuring out what is the absolute best. And one of the things that Google does as well is they track the user experience. So they have access to the user experience data, how long people spend on the page, bounce rate, all these different things so there’s just no way to fool them, nor should you even try.

Todd Tresidder: They’ve been very clear. They want to provide the absolute best experience for the user for the search result and so it’s your job to provide that best experience.

Pat Flynn: Part of that providing of the best experience is not only creating that content on your own website but there’s other ways to go even deeper which we’re going to talk about today. And you were again, one of the first to sort of come up with this strategy of not only trying to really own specific keywords in your niche and truly owning it. I mean, every time you and I have chatted about specific keywords, I mean, you’ve even gone so far as to not just own certain keywords related to retirement calculators, but literally create the tools to do that when a person arrives on the site. That’s how important that user experience is for you.

Pat Flynn: And you’ve been able to reap the benefits of that. I mean, beyond just what happens on your website though, you’re creating even more content about that topic to go even deeper beyond the website like writing books on Amazon. I’d love to hear and have you present your strategy on these specific keywords that you’re targeting. If you could give us an example, that would be fantastic and how you are treating that keyword from the Google search experience all the way to inside your courses and what you have to offer them.

Todd Tresidder: Well, there’s an interconnected web and you’re the one first to talk about the be-everywhere strategy. Amazon is just another outpost and what’s interesting about Amazon is it has social proof through their comment system, through their review system. And Google in the manual search guidelines that they put out that primarily affects financial sites and health sites, and it’s Google doing an extra effort for the top ranking sites. They manually review them in order to determine who are the most authority sites. And they have manual review guidelines.

Todd Tresidder: And one of the things that pops up in there is they can look at your Better Business Bureau ranking. They can look at your books and books as in authority. They’re trying to determine author, authority. Those are the same root word. Author is the root word of authority. You establish your authorship in Amazon and what is interesting about it, Pat, is it turns content production upside down and gets you thinking about content in a very different way that is completely congruent with what we taught in episode 200 when we talked about the content audit, and that’s that you turn content production upside down. You start thinking about it differently.

Todd Tresidder: You start thinking about what is a definitive, if you will, book of content around a subject matter and what establishes subject matter expertise in both Google’s eyes and in the user’s eyes. And one of those ways is books that get excellent reviews because they provide a great user experience but then also a definitive grouping of pillar posts or content that makes up that keyword on your site.

Pat Flynn: Can you give us an example of a specific keyword on your site and what you’ve created around that?

Todd Tresidder: I can say where I’m going because it doesn’t matter because everybody’s got a unique twist on the subject so I don’t mind sharing it. Like in retirement planning, basically, in retirement planning, there’s four subjects. There’s how much money do I need to retire which is where you build up to wealth. There’s retirement income demystified which is how you manage your retirement income afterwards because it’s a very complex task because you’ve got a volatile pool of assets, how do you convert it into a stable income you don’t outlive. And then there’s what to do before you retire and then how do you enjoy your retirement, how do you live a fulfilling life in retirement?

Todd Tresidder: Those are basically the four subjects that make up retirement planning. That’s what people will pay you for. Those will become my four books in retirement planning. I’ve already got one of them done and it’s already the top ranked book in its category which is How Much Money Do I Need To Retire. The second edition is totally done and that gets released here in about a month, two months maybe. It’s in the final stages of editing for the second edition. The first edition is already a top ranked book.

Todd Tresidder: And then I have in the drawer the other books already mapped out, and so I’ll produce those books. In the process, I will be producing pillar posts on the site to create a style of content that’s definitive on that subject matter and establishes subject matter expertise, while at the same providing monetization through Amazon with the books.

Todd Tresidder: Like I said, it turns content production upside down. You produce the books first which then results in the content for the site as well as you parcel some of it out.

Pat Flynn: You’re starting with the book in mind. For somebody listening to this who wants to attempt to try the strategy, where would they start? Would they start on the Amazon and do keyword research there or does the keyword research still happened on some tools that Google would provide to understand what search volumes are and what competition is?

Todd Tresidder: Yes, it’s both. It’s nuanced. It’s not like it’s either/or. It’s both. You need to understand both markets. When you look at keyword research traffic, what it’s telling you is what the public is searching for. Like in retirement plan, staying with that example, the top research term is retirement calculator. People are looking for a tool to calculate the retirement numbers, their magic retirement number.

Todd Tresidder: The second most researched term is how much money do I need to retire. And it goes down at no coincidence. These are hot topics. There are the issues that people are wrestling with. Those happened also be the books or products that people will purchase as solutions to the problems they’re trying to solve through those searches.

Todd Tresidder: And then if you go into Amazon, you’ll find that retirement planning is more popular than retirement plan because nobody steps in wanting a retirement plan specifically. They want retirement planning help. And it goes on and on. So you’ll see that they’re related but there are subtle differences because people are looking for different things. On Amazon, they’re looking for a book that solves a problem. On Google, they’re looking for free information about subject matters. And so there’s different user intent with each one so you have to …

Todd Tresidder: Again, this is no secret. This is something that’s known in keyword research, you have to look at the user intent behind the keyword. For example, how much money do I need to retire is almost identical to retirement calculator because you use one to solve the other, so they’re very similar user intent. And you’ll see that when you look at how Google ranked sites, it’s for terms like that.

Pat Flynn: Do you use any specific tools to help you with the numbers in terms of keyword research?

Todd Tresidder: Actually, I just use the basics and I’m probably wrong, but I’ve been using Google Ads since keyword tool doing that forever, very familiar with it. Ahrefs is another tool that’s valuable for keyword research and then Amazon has some different category ranking tools as well. They’re not Amazons. They’re for their … I’m trying to remember now. I’m not going to come with it off the top of my head but there are some tools for Kindle writers that help you rank categories for popularity and competition and what not.

Pat Flynn: Got you. Retirement planning is a keyword that you’d want to target. You write a book about that, and you found a specific-

Todd Tresidder: But not about retirement planning per se because people aren’t really looking for retirement planning book and what are you going to say that’s new around the subject of retirement plan. It’s too big. It’s too broad. It’s too general. But they might want to know how to maximize their social security payout if they’re US citizen and they’re facing that. That’s a problem people will pay to solve.

Todd Tresidder: And so there’s books on that topic that sell quite well. They might want to know how much money they need to retire. I have the definitive book on that subject and it’s coming out in its second edition here real soon. It’s already the definitive book right now on Amazon in its subject and, again, the second edition is way improved and that will be released here in a couple of months.

Todd Tresidder: There’s retirement income and how you convert a volatile stream of volatile pool of assets into a stable retirement income stream you can outlive. That book has not been written. That book does not exist. I’m going to be writing that book. It’s already researched and mapped out and I’ll be formulating that.

Todd Tresidder: Each book, is it a targeted solution? I wouldn’t take on the category of retirement planning. That’s what you try to rank for. Remember the formula for internet profits is traffic times conversion equals profit. And so when you look at you’re generating traffic on the internet but you have to have conversion tools. Since I have an education website, I like to convert through education products which is books and courses, so I’m selling my expertise.

Todd Tresidder: Believe it or not, my expertise is not SEO, although I probably should be selling that. My expertise really is finance, how to build wealth, teach advance strategies in that subject. And so those are the tools I sell which is books and courses, not investment products because those are the domain of financial advisers.

Pat Flynn: You have these books coming out and some are already out. How do you then take that book and turn it into content that goes on your website to support the book and also capture the Google audience? Do you just break out each individual chapter, for example, and those become individual post or is there some more strategy behind that?

Todd Tresidder: There’s more strategy behind it. You have to do the keyword research to understand. Let’s take my leverage equation book. I recently published a book called The Leverage Equation and it teaches you the application, the prudent application of leverage to building wealth and that’s a whole subject in itself. And it’s a completely misunderstood subject. People think it’s all about financial leverage but it’s not.

Todd Tresidder: And so I wrote a book on the subject to try to answer all that and help people out. And so, now, I’m building up the content in the websites but halfway built out. By the time this podcast goes live, it should get built out. And so if you do search, if you do keyword research, first of all, when I wrote the book I’m writing the book as a solution. It has a story line. It has a purpose. It needs to be valuable. It needs to be really good.

Todd Tresidder: You think first in terms of the book and what user experience you want to create with that book. How do you give people value? That’s the starting point. Now, when you come back to doing the Google work and building up the site content to get traffic, you think in terms of what’s going to create definitive site content for that search?

Todd Tresidder: Now, leverage is a great example because people really don’t understand leverage at all. And so when you go do the Google research, the keyword research for leverage, you’ll come up with really fascinating results. And I’ve never seen this in any other keyword research before so I’ll share it here because it’s really interesting.

Todd Tresidder: The top terms are definition of leverage, meaning of leverage, and then financial leverage and then sub-terms of financial leverage like operating leverage, systems leverage, things like that. And so what it tells you is, one, people don’t understand leverage very well. That’s why they’re looking for definition and meaning of leverage. They’re trying to understand the topic.

Todd Tresidder: And then it also shows that the only understanding they have of leverage is financial leverage when in fact, there’s six different types of leverage. And financial leverage is actually the only one that causes risk, increases risk whereas the other five types, you can decrease risk while increasing reward.

Todd Tresidder: Anyway, without getting too far off on the book, to build a definitive body of content now, I’ll write an article about definition of leverage and I’ve got a whole story line around definition of leverage. And it’s similar what I’m sharing here around how it’s not understood. And you’ve got to get the definition of leverage right in order to understand how to use it properly.

Todd Tresidder: And then we have another article with slightly different story line around the meaning of leverage and that works for those keywords. And then I’m going to have, and that’s what’s still missing. I’m not going to provide the financial leverage content from the book or the operating leverage content from the book. Instead I’ll do a specific article that repurposes some of that content but makes it more a standalone article on financial leverage that makes sense for the internet and how it would teach for the internet but not for the book.

Todd Tresidder: Same thing with operating leverage. And so, do you see the difference, Pat, that I’m building the site content to be definitive for how Google and the internet understands leverage and then that will naturally upsell the book as the solution that teaches you all about leverage and how you apply it to build wealth in your life.

Pat Flynn: Right. So this is where the upside down comes in. You started with the book, which then is where ultimately you would want to lead people to coming from Google. But you already have that available now and you were just creating supportive content that says you say silo of content. What I’m curious about is, is there a finite amount of content needed for that? Or is this one of those things where you’re just going to continue to write more, and then more and more to support the sales for the book?

Todd Tresidder: My experience is it’s finite. That remains to be seen. That was a discussion I was having with some other friends that I share these topics with including you. I believe it’s finite because there’s a finite … Here’s the thing that I learned in the content audit which was that less is more. And it’s about quality not quantity and it’s about how definitive and how great the user experience is. It’s not about how many pages you can throw up around a subject.

Todd Tresidder: And so I believe the amount of content required is finite and I think that will hold up and the reason why is people will only consume so much content and Google is measuring the user experience. So you’re looking at what is this front-facing experience that this site presents that matches the user intent? And it’s not about throwing up 50 pages on leverage become the dominant force on leverage. It’s about fully addressing leverage as users understand it and that to me is a finite amount of content.

Todd Tresidder: It remains to be seen but it’s the same thing with retirement planning. I don’t think retirement planning has an endless pile of content. I think there’s a finite number subjects that users need on the internet and users need to do a great job of delivering those better than anybody else out there.

Pat Flynn: And that’s the trick. And I think this is perhaps a sigh of relief for people to realize and this is a big mistake I made because one word that I’m trying to tackle is affiliate marketing, for example. I have a lot of great affiliate marketing content on the website. I have a course. There will be a book coming out, thanks to your inspiration about that as well to tackle the Amazon crowd looking for information about that.

Pat Flynn: But I was in the camp for a long time of, all right, I want to own affiliate marketing so I’m going to write hundreds of articles about it. Top 10 affiliate marketing tips, how to do affiliate marketing on this, how to do affiliate marketing and just keep doing it until I’m finally there at number one. And I found that the more I write about it, and over time, that I’ve been not ranking as high as I used to when I only had like less content for people to consume.

Pat Flynn: I think Google is confused now, because I’m just writing so much about it and I’m saying the same thing over and over again. And it’s not a duplicate content issue. It’s, I think, an overwhelm issue and a confusion issue. I tend to agree with you and I’m thankful for that, that if you can create the best stuff, that doesn’t mean you have the most stuff. It just means you have the best stuff.

Todd Tresidder: Yeah. You just have to create definitive content better than anybody else’s and I think that’s where the branding comes in too where, Pat, you have your own style. It’s attracted a certain following. That’s what’s unique about your content. You’re going to bring it in a certain style.

Todd Tresidder: It’s the same thing with me. I have a very specific style. Mine’s analytical, it’s detailed. It’s advanced, and so nobody else is addressing this subject the exact same way I am and that’s what creates my definitive pool of content as standing apart from what … For me, what’s nice is I’m dealing with … My competition is the big corporate sites. And back in the old days of Google, that was a huge disadvantage because the corporate sites had these paid teams of writers. And they would just crank out massive piles of content.

Todd Tresidder: But now, I can compete with them because it’s not about massive piles of content. It’s about having the best content and providing the best user experience. Now, I also want to give a caveat for listeners. My site is not where this discussion is. My site is being built to match that discussion. If people go to my site and they don’t see it exactly matching what we’re doing here, that’s because this is cutting edge. The discussion we’re having is right at the forefront and so, my site is changing to match that.

Pat Flynn: As is mine, and you’ll see in the future, we’re actually doing a complete redesign to support at lot of what we’re talking about today related to specific terms, related to specific wants and needs of my audience and then creating definitive guides about those things, not just a plethora of hundreds of different blog posts about a topic but the one guide or the set of blog posts that would be all you would need to know about it. And then if you want to go deeper, then I have either a book about that if you prefer to absorb that content in a book or courses where you can get some help and some accountability and some step by step to go along with it.

Pat Flynn: And you have courses as well to go along with each of these things. And so what we’re doing is we’re creating these verticals now that people are going to live in and it’s going to help, I think, so much with our messaging, with the email tracks that people are on, with personalization and really helping them through that journey in much what you have on your site and the journey that you’re taking people through.

Pat Flynn: There’s very clear steps. There’s the kind of step one, step two and after they finish one vertical, they’re going to move into the next and to the next. And it should be the same way for everybody because that’s the idea. You’re giving this experience to your audience, not just writing and trying to hopefully catch people with that big net. But just creating the right kind of experience for them is the key.

Pat Flynn: And so I want you to take me through what you want people to do when they find you on Google. They click on your link. They go to your website. Take me through what you want them to experience, how you want them to feel about it and the actions you want them to take.

Todd Tresidder: I want them to go, “Wow, I’m in the right place. Look at this. I started with this article but look at these other resources they have and this is all the stuff I’m wanting to learn about on this topic. This is awesome. I need to bookmark this. Oh, my gosh, I’m not going to go to bed tonight because I’m so hooked on reading this stuff tonight.”

Todd Tresidder: That’s what I want them to do. So they land on a page because they were searching for a specific term and then within that page is the opportunity to find lots of related information, offers, courses, books but also free information on the site, calculators, tools, spreadsheets, all the things they need and they’re just going to be wowed by it.

Pat Flynn: What would the action be that you would want them to take?

Todd Tresidder: Well, the next click is the next thing they’re interested in because that solves your bounce rate issue. That also increases your dwell time on your site. These are all user experience signals that Google is measuring to determine quality of this experience and the search relevance. If your average time on site is four minutes and your competition is one minute, your user experience is trouncing the other guy. If your dwell goes through three pages instead of 1.2 like the other guy, guess what? You’re looking good. You’re serving your client and Google is going to pick up on that.

Todd Tresidder: I want them to find the next click, and then the next click, and the next click. I want them to spend time on the site. I want them to watch videos. I want them to read content. I want them to download tools. I want them to go, “Wow. This is an amazing site. This is a great experience. I want to learn more from this guy.”

Pat Flynn: Where does the book come into play? Are you in that first moment offering the book? Where is it being inserted into this strategy?

Todd Tresidder: The book is embedded in the content as a related offer. And so you’ll see the cover of the book in the relevant articles for that book. How Much Money Do I Need to Retire is another example I’ve been working with in this interview. You’ll find that book in articles about retirement calculators being demystified and how do you use them a smart way and all the mistakes people make with retirement calculators and all the mistakes made in financial planning around how much money you need to retire.

Todd Tresidder: There’s a bunch of content on the site, how to reduce, how much you need to retire by $300,000 to $900,000. On and on and on, there’s just a ton of content on the site around retirement planning and that book is offered in there. You literally see a cover of the book in the article and it’s tilted at an angle slightly so it stands out and it says “related” or something like that. It’s got the Amazon links in the Kobo and Barnes & Noble links so you can click on it. You immediately know it’s a book by looking at the cover and it’s intuitive that it’s a book you can buy based on the clicked links.

Pat Flynn: To me for a brand new visitor, it’s an immediate sort of proof of, “Oh, this person must know what they’re talking about. They actually have a book on the topic.” And they could either be interested in going into that or at least even if they go further into your website, they at least have this idea that you’re the main go-to person about this topic. You have a book on it.

Pat Flynn: And I think this is one of the benefits of writing a book that often people forget is just having a book alone will provide authority. But like you said earlier in the conversation, having that book link to in that article, you’re saying that that’s actually helping for SEO purposes too.

Todd Tresidder: Yeah because you’re clearly establishing yourself as authority, the man who reviewers can go look at your book, look at your reviews. They can see that it’s well reviewed, assuming you’ve written a really excellent book. That’s all there for anybody to see. Yeah, I think it establishes authority. Again, the root word of authority is author and that’s what Google is trying to find is authority.

Todd Tresidder: They even went … Remember back in the days when they tried to track authors to build authority by author. Do you remember that?

Pat Flynn: Yeah, I do remember that.

Todd Tresidder: And they dropped that apparently but we never really know exactly what goes on behind Google’s screen. But this is all just part of this process of tracking people, establishing authority. And it’s particularly strong in my arena. That’s why I’m particularly aware of it is health and finance is strongest but it affects all arenas including yours.

Pat Flynn: And then how does the course come into play? Where is that introduced? This is an expensive course relatively speaking. It’s not just like a $29-course that you’re offering and I’m just curious on this higher ticket item. Where in the process in this website-to-book/book-to-website funnel does the course come into play?

Todd Tresidder: Well, the course is called Expectancy Wealth Planning. And I have an unusual take on how the wealth planning process works and what the function of a wealth plan is in producing wealth in your life. Whole thing is about how you can come financially independent in any age. You don’t have to wait until you retire to do it. And there is a proven process by which you do it which I call expectancy wealth planning.

Todd Tresidder: Basically, it takes traditional financial planning and it’s a base. But then I built a foundation under that that teaches you about how you apply your personal resource as well your financial resources because basically, wealth is the compound effect of your personal resources and your financial resources. But there’s a strategic way to apply them. Then you have the traditional financial plan in the middle as like really simple go-to model and then I have the advanced planning framework that builds on top of it.

Todd Tresidder: I have a unique take on it and so, it would be the high end backend product in the funnel. The idea is that if people are wowed at every stage of the funnel, then that’s the natural place to go if they’re objective is financial independence. They go to that wealth planning course and then the next course I’m going to build out is expectancy investing which teaches an advanced in better strategy around paper asset investing traditional stocks, bonds, mutual funds.

Todd Tresidder: That course isn’t built yet but the Expectancy Wealth Planning course is. So as an example, if you read my leverage book, you’ll see that the leverage book is excerpted from one group of lessons so it’s just one set of eight lessons inside one module inside the entire course. And then I rebuilt that all out and repurposed that leverage content as the book.

Todd Tresidder: It says it right in the book, and so it naturally upsells to the course. There’s a whole funnel where people can go to my site and they can download all the free resources to make the book actionable, so it’s actually like a fully coached experience. It’s not just an opt-in game. There’s no game here. It’s like you get value by getting these resources. You interact with the book. You go through a full coaching experience with the book, so it’s not just a book. And then naturally, you want the course because it’s the next step in the development of your strategies.

Todd Tresidder: It’s the same thing with how much money do I need to retire. It’s not all built out yet but I have one of the top rank retirement calculators. I think it’s on page two now on Google. It used to page one. And that calculator combined with the book creates a certain experience and that naturally back-ends into the Expectancy Wealth Planning course. As you learn how to teach the step and you realize that it is the next level conversation, it’s how it really works, then you want that next level education. It’s all a process. You start with the free content. The free content indoctrinates you into thinking process, gives you what I can at that level.

Todd Tresidder: The way I teach it, Pat, is that each form of content has its own purpose. I think of a podcast like this conversation, it has a purpose. It has a function in your content funnel. And then video to me is very different and like you’re doing really well on video and it’s because you’re treating it differently. It still the same type of content and that you follow very similar structures but it’s a different medium. It has a different thing. You’re way more entertaining in your video and how you put little fun hooks in there and stuff.

Todd Tresidder: It’s different. It’s a different venue and you do it differently. Your article content is different. Your book content will be different. Well, and your course content, of course, has to be different. But they all have to make sense together. Each one is part of the overall user experience. Each one has a function. Before people buy my course, Pat, I’ve had people tell me they’ve listened to every single podcast that I produced, sometimes two and three times. I’ve had people tell me they’ve listened to every single guest podcast appearance I’ve been on. That’s like 200 and some odd guest podcast appearances I’ve been on. And they’ll go through and listen to all of them before they buy my course.

Pat Flynn: That’s cool.

Todd Tresidder: You just want to think about the content that you’re producing and how it all fits together like a puzzle to create a user experience. It’s a symphony. It’s not individual notes. It’s not individual instruments, it’s the composite whole that the user experiences. I think content producers, they make a mistake and that we’re taught in marketing that if you want to optimize your funnel, what do you do? You increase your conversion rate by 1% and then you increase from a content to that by 1%. And then you multiply that by 10%. And the composite multiplication is this.

Todd Tresidder: It’s not. And the reason why is because you might butcher your whole user experience in the process. And so it doesn’t actually work that way. It’s actually different than how people are teaching it. It works as an experience. And think about it. Intuitively, you know that’s true because when you go to a site, you have an experience and you either get hooked on the site or you don’t. Is that fair?

Pat Flynn: Absolutely, yeah.

Todd Tresidder: Yeah. And so it’s that user experience you’re getting hooked on. It’s not whether or not they increase their conversation rate by 0.1% on a funnel.

Pat Flynn: I think that’s a big lesson there is to consider your audience and how they are being treated on your website. Yes, we get these strategies to put opt-in forms or put pop-ups or those kinds of things. And yes, it might increase your email list by a certain percentage but what is that doing to the user? What is that doing for somebody’s experience? Are they going to come back and how they’re going to feel when they open those emails in the future?

Pat Flynn: Like you said, every single thing is done on purpose and with the purpose of the betterment of who it is that you’re helping. And as long as you continue to have these ways for people to go deeper with you, then they’re going to want to go deeper with you. And that’s what I love about what you’re doing. You’re not just writing great articles. You’re also giving people an opportunity to go deeper into a book which is a part of a segment of a course.

Pat Flynn: Like you said, sometimes it takes some time and I think another big lesson here is you can tell that, Todd, you’re just playing the long game. And I think a lot of us kind of try to rush to that ask or that transaction a little bit too soon. I like the book strategy too because it’s almost like, I hate to use the word tripwire, but it gets people to experience some wins as a result of investing in a little bit of themselves and in you.

Todd Tresidder: It’s okay. I don’t like the term tripwire either. I call it an impulse buy. It’s a low ticket entry point to get closer or another experience of you. In other words, it’s low risk, so it’s a $5 book or a $10 book or whatever the number is and so now, they can get much tighter with you and they can decide if they want to go deeper with you because the next step after that is the course which is a much bigger commitment.

Todd Tresidder: And so each one is a progressive experience of you and how they relate to your content and your message because you’re not for everybody. I’m not for everybody. There’s people who resonate with my message. There’s people who don’t, that’s okay. But you’ve got to get people the chance to get to know you and what you’re teaching and what you stand for. That to me is what a funnel is about.

Todd Tresidder: And there is a progressive level of commitment similar to the dating analogy where you start with a cup of coffee and something casual. And you start having some fun together. You decide you like each other, so you start spending more time together. And it’s a progressive commitment. One doesn’t start out with marriage. It’s just inappropriate.

Pat Flynn: Absolutely. Todd, you’re always on the forefront of these things somehow and you kill it. And you share this information openly with us so that we can benefit from it too. It’s happened with the content audit back in episode 200 and here you are back again with some really cutting edge stuff. It’s interesting because on one hand, it is cutting edge because it’s new and it’s different but on the other hand, it’s not like a brand new technology that came out or we often consider cutting edge like something unknown that has never been discovered before.

Pat Flynn: The opportunity to do this has always been there. It’s just we’re starting to see it this is not just Google wants but what will actually make for a better experience for our audience. And you’re seeing it in the results with the testimonials that you’re having from people who are taking your courses to the 220 reviews that you have on your How Much Money Do I Need to Retire book to just how often your articles get shared and how people talk about you now in the financial industry.

Pat Flynn: It’s just been really amazing to see you grow because I remember the first time we met. I think it was 2011 in Schaumburg, Illinois at FinCon. And you were just starting out in the online space. You had your practice that you were helping people on coaching for a very long time and to see you start to put yourself out there online and really kill it and come up with these new strategies that are working for not just you but for everybody, it’s just awesome to see.

Pat Flynn: And I’m just so honored that you and I had been able to chat with each other for so long in our mastermind group together along with Jaime Masters, and Rowie, and Sean Stephenson, just so many great people. It’s an honor to have you on the show again and have you share this stuff. And it’s the direction I’m headed too, much better content, a better experience and that’s what it’s all about.

Todd Tresidder: Thank you, Pat. That’s really nice. The feeling is mutual. It’s been an honor to be in the group with everybody as well. We all learned from each other. I think it’s a great time to be in this business. You and I have been at it a while. We’ve been in here and the early days, there was all kinds of Google gaming and there was all kinds of different strategies that weren’t on the up and up but actually worked and all these stuff.

Todd Tresidder: I think it’s a great time to be in the business now because it really is about serving people. It is about putting out quality and about being the best and providing the best. The systems have gotten so smart now and you’ve got the tools you need. All these tools are improving, like you and I when we start this recording, we looked at how Skype has improved, doing this recording. That was just the conversation we had before we went live with this.

Todd Tresidder: And then you look at how podcasting has improved from the days when you first started. I mean, it’s night and day.

Pat Flynn: Absolutely, yeah.

Todd Tresidder: And now, Amazon has run with books in a way that completely changed the industry. This just goes on and on and on, the improvements that have gone on take us one direction which is quality. And about user experience and that’s great for the consumer and it’s great for us as producers because it paints a clear direction of where you want to build your business.

Todd Tresidder: I think Wayne Gretzky said it, “You want to skate where the puck is going to be, not where it was.” And where the puck is going to be is what we’re talking about here today.

Pat Flynn: Well, thank you, Todd. It’s always a pleasure. Where can people go to get more info and learn from you?

Todd Tresidder: Yeah, my site is My lead book is How Much Money Do I Need to Retire. My most recent book is The Leverage Equation. I love them both. I think they’re both really definitive in their subject matters. Those two are my lead books. I’ll have another book coming soon called Risk Management. It’s all about investment risk management, how to make more by losing less. And my course is Expectancy Wealth Planning, and the next course after that will be Expectancy Investing, and the next course after that is Expectancy Living.

Todd Tresidder: Anyway, just a lot on the horizon, very excited with where things are going and hope people would come over and join the journey.

Pat Flynn: The man with the plan, Todd Tresidder, everybody, Thanks so much, Todd. I appreciate you.

Todd Tresidder: Hey, thank you, Pat.

Pat Flynn: All right, I hope you enjoy that episode with Todd coming back again, blown us away with some amazing strategies. And like I said near the end there, this is what my team and I are kind of building toward as well, much deeper, more epic resources that are the best about specific topics.

Pat Flynn: That’s not only going to get you shared more. It’s not only going to get people to stay on your site for longer but it’s just going to be another touch point with your audiences even if they’re finding you for the first time that makes them go, “Wow. Okay, now I need to go to the next thing,” and the book can be that. And the book as a small investment into something even bigger which can lead into another thing but all, again, it comes from the book first which is really interesting.

Pat Flynn: And he has that plan in place. I think really that’s what it’s about. It’s that plan that is then executed. And Todd is still in the middle of it and so am I. I mean, we were just getting started on my team. I think it’s going to be really interesting. For us, it’s starting with the courses and what we have in there and then how we can create blog content that supports that but then leads people into that if they want to learn more and just wowing across the way.

Pat Flynn: This is where content should be, especially because we are in the age of digital overload right now of content overload. How can you make your stuff stand out? Well, make it the best, and that’s it. But also put your voice in your own unique personality behind it as well and that’s the cool thing about Todd in the personal finance space. He has a very specific personality and unique things that he does on his website which you should check out right now,

Pat Flynn: He talks about personal finance in a very different kind of way to help you build wealth and retire and enjoy life and be fulfilled, and I love Todd to death. He and I have shared a lot of moments together at FinCon and at mastermind retreats. And he’s definitely somebody to pay attention to, not just because he teaches you some great financial advice but because he knows what he’s doing on the web as well.

Pat Flynn: Make sure to check him out. Thank you so much. If you want to get the show notes and links mentioned in this episode, all you have to do is go to One more time,

Pat Flynn: Team Flynn, you’re amazing. Thank you so much for joining me today. Make sure you hit subscribe if you haven’t already because honestly, next week’s episode is for everybody and it’s going to be a game changer in your productivity, in your personal life and in your business. You will not want to miss it.

Pat Flynn: I learned some amazing things that are going to be really helpful for me that I didn’t even know and in my eyes were opened. My eyes were opened. Make sure you subscribe for next week’s episode. You’re going to become somebody that you are not and that’s a good thing because the thing that we are right now is the thing we need to get away from.

Pat Flynn: What am I talking about? Kind of mysterious, kind of dark. Sorry about that. But what I’m saying is you need to subscribe because next week episode is going to be amazing and helpful. Check it out, please subscribe. Team Flynn, you’re amazing. And take care. Team Flynn for the win.

Voiceover: Thanks for listening to the Smart Passive Income Podcast at

Today’s Guest

Todd Tresidder

Todd Tresidder, a financial planning expert and author of How Much Money Do I Need to Retire?, explains his unique upside-down content strategy.

You’ll Learn


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