Mind, Money & Marketing Show – Episode #14 – There’s No Such Thing as Should with Dan R Morris

UnknownWowee, what an episode to get us started in the new year! I wanted to interview Dan to give you some great information on blogging. What actually transpired was a serious strategy session all about blogging, business and life in general!

Dan is an absolute mine of fantastic results based information and is so passionate about what he does we actually talked for nearly 2 hours!

This is well worth your time listening! So sit back, grab a drink, your notepad or tablet and be prepared to take notes and to change your mindest!

Here’s to a successful 2014!

Get More of Dan R Morris

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There is no should!

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Raw Transcript of the Interview

Jo: Hello ladies and gentlemen how are you doing? Jo Barnes here from Mind, Money &

Marketing. Today, I am excited to introduce you to a blogging aficionado. A gentleman who’s been doing it for a number of years now and I’m going to be grilling him, all about how we can drive lots and lots of leads and traffic to our blog and then, how we can use that blog to drive lots and lots of leads and traffic to all of our other offers and products and services and things that we want to do online or offline. Actually, it’s going to work for either business.

I would like to introduce you to a gentleman who is speaking to us — I’m in Thailand now, as some of you know — and I’m speaking to this gentleman, he’s in Nashville at the moment. So, I would like to say hello to the very lovely Dan Morris. Hello Dan, how are you doing?

Dan: Hello, hello, hello. I am so excited to talk to Thailand. They make the best food on the planet.

Jo: Oh, they do that. They absolutely do that. [laughs]

Dan: [laughs] Yes.

Jo: I’ve got proof right here. [laughs]

Dan: Yes.

Jo: So you’re in Nashville, Tennessee. What’s the weather like over there? I know it’s
night time at the moment, but what’s the weather like generally through the day at the moment?

Dan: Well, we’re surprisingly getting a cold streak which we haven’t had before but,
apparently, it’s supposed to be 30 degrees Fahrenheit in the next couple of days, which is just below the frost line, so it shall be chilly.

Jo: Oh, gosh, yeah. I didn’t think it ever got cold over in Nashville, Tennessee. I thought,
you know, all the films I see and everything, it’s always bright sunshine.

Dan: Well, it will definitely still be bright sunshine but there will be that white frost on the
grass. It won’t be enough to actually make a snowman, but it will be frosty.

Jo: Dan, to start, I’m going to be grilling you today about lots of different questions.
We’re going to be delving into maybe some of your SEO techniques and all things like that. But to start with, I’d love it if you can actually give us little bit of background on you and what you’ve been doing over the last few years and what your business is all about, these days.

Dan: Excellent. I’m not always the best at talking about myself. We all have to master this
elevator pitch. I’ve never quite mastered it. I like to delve into so many parts of blogging and online marketing that there isn’t one particular thing that I always just grab a hold of.

But my career, which has been international real estate development in Romania and the United States; I’ve delved into the infomercial world helping to produce and put infomercials on TV. Driving traffic from television to the web, that’s pretty much where web marketing started and my love of all web marketing began.

From there I’ve been honing all that I’ve done, even as far back as selling magazine subscriptions in high school and working at farms. All these little lessons that you learn along the way. I’ve learned that they’ve all led me to this position, which I have now, which, I consider myself a blog revenue coach.

I run a nationwide blogging workshop series called, Blogging Concentrated, where we meet with 35 to 40 bloggers for a day and we really go deep into different blogging topics. For me, I would say, that it’s really about business owners, a lot more than it’s about bloggers.

Blogging is a verb really and business owner is what I really want people to take away from the workshop series. I’ve been working with friends and big clients and some successful bloggers and now I’m in a position where I help bloggers make the leap from hobby and even, part-time income to real full-time income.

Jo: Fantastic and you’ve just finished one of your big tours, haven’t you, right now?

Dan: Yes. We just finished an eight city tour across the United States, from California to
Lansing, Michigan to Orlando, Florida, all the way up to Minneapolis, Minnesota. We just ended in Milwaukee. We actually had our eighth or ninth in Milwaukee during a tornado in a coffee factory.

They have a really nice conference facility in a coffee factory. It was really a pretty neat day, other than the fact that we kind of worried about tornadoes all day. Otherwise, everyone really got a lot of value and benefit out of the day. It was good fun.

Jo: Excellent. Well, I’m going to start, if it’s okay with you. I’m fascinated by blogging. I’ve
been running my blog now for a while. I’m originally somebody who came from the social media side and I have to say, I find the social media side easier. I find it instant and more dynamic and I find trying to get my blog off the ground actually quite a struggle. So, I’m really going to be fascinated by this discussion we’re having today.

But I want to start, if it’s alright with you, really, right at the very, very basics, because I have a lot of people that will be watching this who may or may not even have their blog off the ground yet and are thinking about it. Certainly, quite a few people who have a blog, but have never really done much with it yet.

So my first basic question to you is, if you were starting all over again, completely from scratch and you didn’t really have a huge audience or a kind of massive email list that’s happened or anything like that and you wanted to begin to get your blog off the ground and start to attract an audience, what would be the first critical steps that you would take?

Dan: For me, that’s a pretty easy question and the answer, when I give it to people, it’s hard
to swallow. But, the very first thing, no matter what, you always have an audience. Whether that audience is your family or your friends or your high school buddies, you have an audience. There are people who listen to you, who read your Facebook page, who ask questions.

Now, when I say ask you questions, I’m quite serious about that. The questions that people ask you, is kind of what’s your brand. It’s what they think of you. Because you and I both know, that there is somebody in your world who is really good at the computer stuff and you go to that person when you have some sort of problem with your computer.

You just know, even if that’s not their career, they just know computer stuff. They know either the networking in your house or the Wi-Fi or how do you set this up or how do you set that up.

We all know people who really like food. They love the restaurants in town and they’re the first person we ask when someone comes into town, where would you take somebody? You know all the people in town or you know the good restaurants. What people ask you, is really your brand.

It’s really what people think of you. You don’t ask someone who doesn’t know anything about computers how to set up your Wi-Fi in your house. You just don’t do that. You only ask the people who you think happen to be really good at it. That’s their brand to you. That’s what they represent.

So, when you’re just starting out, what I want you to do is, I really want you to think about that. What do people come to you for? What do they think you know a lot about? The audience is already there, through your normal actions, through your normal history, the things that you’ve done over the course of your life.

You have become the expert in something to someone and oftentimes, you’ve become the expert or the go-to person for a lot of people.

So, my question to you is, if that’s your brand and you didn’t do it on purpose, isn’t that also a reflection of what you actually like and what you actually do? Why don’t we turn that into a business? Because you’re already doing it. You already have an affinity for it, you have some experience in it and people trust you with it.

And right off the bat, we’re looking for that ‘know you, like you, trust you’ thing and when your friends and family already spout your name when somebody asks a question, you’ve got a built-in audience. Why don’t we just leverage that? So for me, even from the beginning, leverage is the key word.

And like you said, you started out in social media and moved to the blog? To me social media is so synchronous and a blog is asynchronous, so that, we can actually turn activities in a blog into a long-term venture.

We can leverage an asynchronous moment. In social media, what you do today is gone tomorrow. Your tweets, your Facebook updates, they’re kind of gone. It’s hard to build a pyramid that way.

So, what I want you to do is, when you’re first starting out, I want you to think about your pyramid. What does the base already look like and if that’s not something you really want to do and you just happen to be good at something that people have found out about and you just don’t like it, then you move on to the second thing. But don’t ignore what your audience already appreciates about you. Start there and move your way up.

Jo: I just need to select this moment and point out to a lot of the audience watching, that
was just a little piece of gold advice when it comes to niche selection, guys. You ask me a lot, “How do I find my perfect niche, Jo? How do I know where to go into?” And all the rest of it and I’ve talked to you about all the different things about your passions and the problems you’re solving.

And what Dan just said was, think about the questions people ask you. That’s absolutely fantastic. What a wonderful way to have a look at it and think, “What do people know me for? What do people think I’m good at?” And that’s reflected in the questions they ask you. So, that was absolutely fantastic. Thanks for that, Dan.

Dan: You mirrored what I had just said and when you did that, I realized, you know what?
Sometimes, when people hear me, they also say, “Well, I don’t know what questions people ask me.” For some reason, they can’t see that, even though it will come to them in the next few weeks when people start asking them questions again. But they can’t see it immediately.

And for those people, I say, take one more step. Copy all of your tweets. Go to your profile and just keep going down and down and down. And then, drag a line all the way up and copy every tweet you’ve ever done, as far back as you can go. Or you can go to your profile and, I think you can do a, ‘Download All My Tweets to Excel’ or something.

Do that and then, go to a site called Wordle and take all your tweets and paste them into Wordle and Wordle will tell you the top two-word, three-word, four-word, five-word and six-word phrases that you’ve ever tweeted, that you’ve ever used. And if you happen to like football, football is just going to come glaring out at you when Wordle brings back their solution.

You can do that with your Facebook updates, too, although it’s a little harder to copy and paste those. You’d have to use a couple other tools but Twitter’s really easy and you can just see these two-word, three-word, four-word, five-word phrases that you say regularly. They’ll just pop right out at you. There’s just no other way that you would be able to see them, unless you’ve read all your tweets out loud.

And those things will help trigger your other thoughts. “What do I actually write about? What do I actually say? What do I actually like?” It’s another way to, kind of, find your way to what it is that you actually do. So you can repurpose your existing life, instead of trying to make a new one.

Jo: That brings us beautifully to another question I get asked a lot, which is about the whole
writing aspect of blogging. Lots of people struggle with that kind of writer’s block, what do I actually write about?

I think a lot of fear comes into it. Why are people actually going to listen to me? Are they going to read my stuff? What’s the point of doing this? And what kind of tips and suggestions have you got for people who are, perhaps, sitting there with a blank page, thinking, “Okay. Now, how do I get what’s in my head onto paper or onto the web?”

Dan: I guess the first problem that I have when I hear people have that blank page stare
problem is that, I wonder, immediately, are you writing about the right thing? Are you in the right niche? Is this something that you really like? Because, never have I gone to a theater to watch a movie and then, gone out to eat with the people who just watched the movie and had people just wonder what they were going to say.

When you like something, when you’re out and having fun, it’s never a problem. How can you ever have that blank, wow, we’re at a carnival, I don’t know what to say, because I’m having too much fun apparently. So, if you don’t know what to say, think about that.

Think about all the moments in life when you’re having fun and can you match the blank stare with your days of enjoyment? And I can assure you, you can’t. There isn’t any blank stare when you really enjoy what you’re doing. So, first of all, are you in the right niche? Are you really writing about the thing that gets you going?

And the second thing is, do you really understand your niche? Are you really positioning yourself to become the expert? When I ask that, one of the questions I’ll ask is, who is the very top person in your industry, in your niche? Financial people could say Dave Ramsey or Suze Orman, the top authors in finance. There’s always someone.

No matter what it is. Even if it’s hand weaving, those people who shear rabbits and they take the fur and they turn it into sweaters. There’s a top person in that world. There’s a top scuba diver, there’s a top sailor. If you don’t know who that is, then do you really know your niche in general? Do you understand it?

Like us, in the online marketing world, most of us know the name Frank Kern. We know some of the top people in the industry that people look up to and read the books; Seth Godin and people like that. We know that. So my question is, do you know that?

And then, my second question, do you know the top magazines that talk about the topics in your niche? Do you know the handyman magazines or the writing magazines? Do you know the trade journals? Do you know the keyword research? Have you done it? Have you looked for the top keywords and really studied what it is, people who want to do what you, are actually searching for? Do you really know your topic, inside and out, every corner of it?

If you don’t, how can you move forward without doing that, without really mapping out your entire industry on paper? Like going to the library and looking at the magazines and writing down the headlines. What are they selling the magazines based on? What headlines are there? What are the top books? What are the titles? Who are the authors? Where are the authors speaking? What kinds of conferences hire people in your industry to speak to them?

Just blanket the whole industry and figure it all out. And when you’ve figured it all out, I guarantee you, you will never have the blank stare. You’ll know exactly, because you’ll know what everyone’s talking about across the globe in your industry. And when you’ve figured that out, you’re 99% smarter than everyone else in your niche and you should have no problem speaking because you know every angle.

Jo: What about quality of writing? Now, let’s say, okay, I’ve done lots of research, I want to
put it down on paper, but how do I write this? Do I need to start thinking about headlines? Do I, now, with keywords, do I need to have a keyword headline? And then, I need to think about what’s actually in my writing.

So I’m thinking, how many keywords do I need to have in my first paragraph? Am I saying the things that people are searching for? And is this piece going to be SEO friendly? Should you be thinking about all that stuff when you’re writing a blog post or should you just literally be, just letting it all come out from the heart?

Dan: I would say that my catchphrase in all events is, there is no: should. For J.D. Roth, who
wrote, GetRichSlowly.org, who ended up selling it for $2 million or something, he never did any keyword research. But, he got lots of traffic from the search engines. Now, the traffic search engines prior to the recent algorithm changes.

But I’m not sure it would even had mattered, because he wrote with precision. Very similar to what Wikipedia really represents. When he picked a topic, like Mortgages For Newlyweds, he stuck to that topic the entire article. And he just wrote about it, no matter, paragraph one, two, three and four, were really tight.

And that was just the way that he wrote. So, knowing that he wrote that way and it brought traffic in, he did not need to leverage keyword research tools in order to figure out what to write about. He just had a really good head for where the market was and what people were thinking and he wrote with precision.

Now, I would say, in general, when you’re thinking about the things that you’re going to write about, there are basically two types of blog posts. The first type is the solution to an answer. A solution to an answer someone is searching for.

The second type is, things that people should know, but they don’t even know to search for. We really don’t want to spend our time doing search engine optimization on the posts that are things people should know, but they don’t even search.

Search engine optimization is the art of standing in front of people who are already searching for that topic. If somebody is searching for a how-to, how to make a sleeping bag, that is something that I would want to pay attention to. In order to stand in front of that crowd, I would want to do the things necessary for the search engines.

If you go back to your frequently asked questions that people always ask you and if you’ve ever said to yourself, “Well that’s a really good question, but what you really should ask is . . . “ Those responses, “What you should have asked is . . . “ are the things that people don’t even search for, because they just don’t know to search for them.

So, those are the things where we just write freehand. We just write the way we need to write, to get the point across. But when nobody’s searching for it anyway, there’s no point in trying to do all the keywords and all the crazy stuff.

So when you’re beginning, this kind of analysis is very difficult to figure out. It’s hard to figure out what people are searching for, what is a should-have asked, versus a frequently asked question. Those are things that are really hard to figure out in the beginning without some good paid keyword tools that will help you figure out the answers to those.

What I say, when you start, is to write with precision. If you’re going to write about a bathroom, don’t spend half the time talking how you skinned your knee in the bathroom. The words ‘skinned knee’ and the word ‘bathroom’, they don’t support each other and they don’t go together.

If you learn to write precise, with precision and about a singular topic or a singular focus, then you’re going to start to become relevant. Google’s going to realize that you are writing something that can easily be parsed, that can easily be understood and easily be ranked.

Now, if you don’t write with precision, if you don’t have that ability, if you don’t want to, if you want to write colloquially, if you want to write just slang phrases that may be not even proper English, if you just want to write for fun and even, just tell stories then, you should tell yourself right off the bat that I cannot be disappointed with search engine optimization results. That is not my strategy with my blog. I’m writing a novel. I’m writing something fun. I’m trying to get to the emotion or the heart of people. I’m not actually trying to solve a problem that someone’s searching for. When you can tell yourself I can’t be disappointed, because I’m not writing that way, then you can move forward with real joy.

Like the site, younghouselove.com. They get a hundred to a hundred-twenty-five thousand people every day and they just write about their house and they continually write about their house with their personality and their great pictures, without paying attention to the keywords and that other stuff.

They just have decided they’re going to go for community. They are going to write with love and they’re going to answer questions and they’re going to talk about deep things that matter to them. And they are going to ignore the part that everyone else is telling them they need to work on because they’re going to build a site on community and not on the search engines.

You just kind of have to decide for yourself. Am I writing with precision? Am I writing with heart? Am I writing colloquially or am I writing like Wikipedia? And then go for that traffic strategy that matches the way you naturally write.

Jo: All right. We’re going to get into the traffic strategies in a second actually, but before we
head in that direction, I just want to stay a little bit with the structure of posts, etcetera. I know the question. I can hear exactly what you’re saying, Dan.

I’ve got a feeling I know what your answer’s going to be, but . . . I know a big question a lot of people say to me is, is there an ideal length, when you write your blog posts? You hear some people talking about . . . on Reddit, just earlier on today actually, a well-known blogger comes and says, Google loves content.

One of the reasons that Google will pick you up is going to be if you write in-depth two or three thousand word posts. So, do you feel that there is an ideal length for a blog post?

Dan: Oh, yes, there is definitely an ideal length and that ideal length is the length that’s
required to fulfill the title. So, if you’re writing a blog post called, “How To Replace An Icemaker In Your Refrigerator”, then you just need to solve that particular problem, no matter how long it takes. Whether it’s 20 words because all you have to do is pull the ice tray out and put the other ice tray in or whether it’s 300 words because it’s 8 steps, the answer always lies in serving your audience best.

When they start reading a blog post, they’re going to start with the title. Whether they searched for it, whether they see it on Facebook or they see it on your blog, that title is what’s going to draw them into the content. Your job as a blogger is to totally satisfy, fulfill and probably, over fulfill what the title is telling them they’re about to read.

As a blogger, our job is to blog regularly. So we can’t be stuck writing 2,000 and 5,000 word posts every day. You should feel free to write a 300 word post, a 20 word post, a 5,000 word post, a 10,000 word post.

Your job is to really get to, really serve your readers. Sometimes, a 20 word blog post is totally awesome, because it’s just maybe a motivational phrase that you really need to get off your chest and your audience really wants. And if you feel like you have to put 292 extra words beyond that, then your readers are going to know it’s just fluff.

And the real goal, in today’s SEO, is human interaction. So when you write, you have to write with the goal that, I am going to totally satisfy and make these people happy. Because when they feel it, when they see related posts underneath it, they just totally think, man, this site is just everything I’ve ever wanted to learn. That’s when they hit the tweet button, the +1 button, the like button, the share button. That’s when you get the real long-term SEO that’s going to totally outlast any of the search engines.

When it comes to writing the appropriate length, just think about Boeing. Boeing is this plane, built in the United States and they sell planes to places like Germany, to the country, the actual president of Germany, whoever that is, the Chancellor. So, in order to sell that plane, they have to go to Germany how many times? The exact number of times it takes to sell the plane.

That’s how many times they have to go. How many times does Hershey have to go to your house to sell a candy bar? They don’t. They just stick it right next to the grocery aisle. One tiny little thing, what it takes to sell the candy bar is very little compared to what it takes to sell the plane. When you’re writing content, just think about it. What is it going to take to fulfill the title of this blog post? Is it going to be little or is it going to be Boeing?

Jo: Dan, your answers are phenomenal, can I just say that? I love the way you think. I
completely understand why people want to follow you around the country and come and spend the day with you. Your answers are just, they’re immediately giving me the answers I. . . I’m sitting here listening, thinking I’m doing this for my viewers and suddenly I’m here thinking, God. That was a piece of gold there, that was absolutely brilliant. Love that.

Just some great, great answers coming out. Just fantastic. So, staying on that theme . . .

Dan: Yes.

Jo: So, that’s that length of the blog post, exactly what was required to fulfill the title. Now,
let’s just talk about multimedia within the blog post. Is it important that in a blog post, you should where you can, add images and add video and things like that or should blog posts actually be focused around the text and content? How important is it to mix up the blog post with other media items?

Dan: Well, I’m going to start the question off like I always do and that is, there is no ‘should’
for any person on the planet, because an encyclopedia is very different than People Magazine. So, your goal, should, always be to entertain and provide value to your audience.

Now, I believe that multimedia is leverage. If you are out and about and you have the opportunity to actually create a video while you’re waiting in line somewhere or you’re in the car or you’re at the carnival and you have some free time, that is leveraging your time for your business.

That enables, when you come back with that video and you plug it into a blog post, not only do you entertain, but you’ve taken on the business activity of leveraging your time. Both of those things are fantastic.

Now, as far as video and pictures and all that in your blog posts, very, very few people these days read straight content, unless you’re reading a novel. And when you read a novel or you break out your kindle, your mindset is totally different than it is on the internet.

We are now in a Pinterest Microwave World, where people read headlines and the first sentence of paragraphs and that’s pretty much it. So any time you can entertain them with some other media, whether it’s a picture or a video, you’re going to get a lot more engagement. People are going to stay on your site a little bit longer.

Now, if your traffic comes from a place like Pinterest, that mindset is click, click, click, picture, picture, picture. If you don’t provide that on your page, you’re going to get the immediate bounce. They’re going to go, “Oh yeah, that is exactly what I wanted, that’s why I pinned it, I’m going to go back and click, click, click.”

So, on your Pinterest-based traffic pages, make sure you’re also providing that click, click, click. You’re giving them those additional things in the sidebar that are related to the post or you’re giving them the related post at the bottom that enables them to go, Oh, yeah, look at that. Another green bean casserole recipe. Click and pin.

Try to think, what is the mindset of my reader when they get here? If it’s totally novel based, then go and more power to you, write a novel. I’m very excited when I read magazines that have really long articles, but I picked it up for the sole purpose of reading a long article. But if I go to People Magazine and there’s a 16 page spread, that’s not where the mindset of the reader is.

Where’s your traffic come from? Who’s your traffic? What do they want? And then, provide the multimedia opportunity that solves that problem.

Jo: All right. Let’s actually start to delve, a little bit if we can, into traffic now. Because
I’m thinking about some of the questions I get from people that feel that their blog is like a ghost town. It’s literally, they’ve written loads of posts. I get these questions all the time, “Jo, I’ve written loads of posts. I’ve got my blog posts out there. I’m posting them on my Facebook page. I’m writing all this stuff. I’m not getting interaction on my blog whatsoever. Where am I going wrong?”

So if somebody’s blog is a bit like a ghost town, what’s your advice to start to give it a bit of traction and get a bit of engagement and action going?

Dan: You’re talking about, just sole engagement? Now, there’s a difference between traffic
and engagement. You can get a lot of traffic and then still have nobody leaving comments and you can have very little traffic and people leaving a lot of comments.

Think about dictionary.com. They get a ton of traffic, but people only go there to read a definition. They don’t even care about related definitions. If you go there to see what the definition of segue is, why do you care about the definition of perspicuity? Even if it was on the bottom, like, okay, but I was really just looking for segue. Thank you for playing. Now that site has a 100% bounce rate, which is perfectly fine. That’s what it’s designed to do.

So what is it that you are actually providing your audience? Are you providing a dictionary.com type interface where it’s just some facts laid in front of them or are you actually providing something that’s going to create some sort of emotional response?

If you’re writing something that has emotion to it, you’re going to get an emotional response, especially if you go specifically to anger or to be controversial. Then you’re going to get people who just can’t help themselves, they have to write something. Just tell how much you love Obama in, like, 45 posts and I can guarantee you somebody’s going to say something. Good or bad, they’re just going to be there.

You have to figure out what is it that you’re providing. Because what you’re providing is also a mirror of the traffic that you have. So you started providing, let’s just say, six months ago, articles that are informative, but not engaging. They’re just informative. And that traffic has come back because that traffic likes informative articles.

Now, if you’ve built this family of people who love informative articles and they’re not really forum people and then you’re expecting them to turn into forum people, then maybe you’re expecting something that you didn’t originally invite. Maybe you actually have to re-brand a little bit. You have to become something that you’re currently not.

You can leverage the non-forum people. You can get them to, instead of commenting, you can get them to download things. If they just like informative things, then maybe they’d be willing to engage in a download phase. Like, I’ll put my name and email in and I’ll grab something from you, but I’m not going to change my personal culture and leave a comment.

Maybe, that’s just the people that you’ve invited through your messaging, the way that you write, the posts that you’ve had in the last year. You don’t necessarily want to try to change people, you just want to try to match your content to what it is they really want.

Maybe they are silent people. Think about an incontinence blog. Incontinence is this debilitating disease that has people stuck in their homes. They’re afraid to go out because they might go to the bathroom in their pants and they use those apps to find the bathroom. So even if they have to go to the doctor, they know the 11 bathrooms between here and the doctor.

If you have a blog about that, those people aren’t going to raise their hand and leave a comment on there. Because that’s like saying, I actually do this and that’s admitting, I have this problem and they don’t do that. And no matter what you do, no matter how many questions you ask or controversial statements you make, you’re kind of going against the grain.

I say, really step back from your blog and really take a look at it, like, what is it that I have built and who’s really coming? Maybe I just don’t have commenters? Now, if that’s not the case and you think, I do have commenters, I’m just not doing something right then, maybe read your own blog posts.

Read old ones and see, does it create any emotional response in me? Does it make me flee? Does it make me want to fight? Does it make want to run? Does it make me want a hug? When you actually leave a comment is when you get excited about something; anger or fear or you love. Can you produce those things? And if you don’t even feel it yourself, then nobody else will either.

Jo: So if your blog posts are a little bit, kind of run-of-the-mill and more statements, I
suppose, rather than questions . . . When you’re writing a blog post, is questioning people and trying to sort of extract answers out of people, a good way to try to increase the engagement as people are reading?

Dan: Well, it’s always a good way, to ask questions. But you also want to make sure that the
emotion isn’t a question. People read questions all the time. Whether you actually feel compelled to answer it, is really what we want to get. How do we get people that feel compelled to answer the question?

Now, I don’t know if you remember. There used to be a mayor in New York. His name is Rudy Giuliani. He’s pretty popular in the United States. I don’t think he’s doing much these days, but while he was mayor of New York City, he, by himself, along with his team, he reduced the crime rate in New York City.

He did that by doing one thing. He had a no-graffiti policy. So, if a policeman saw graffiti on a wall, their job was to remove the graffiti that day or the next day and they were bonused on that. So they had to get community people involved and they had to get rid of graffiti.

As they got rid of graffiti, people in the neighborhood realized that graffiti was not acceptable. It’s just not something they would do.

Now, the reason why they went through this approach, is because graffiti begat graffiti. When people saw a broken window or they saw graffiti on walls, they felt like they could do that, too. That’s what was already done, it was already there.

On your blog post, try an experiment. Try a graffiti experiment. Write some blog posts and get some friends to come to your site and leave some comments. Have them leave one or two comments and see if other people feel like, oh, look, there’s comments. If there’s already comments and the comments are acceptable, then I’m going to leave one, too. Because some people just don’t like being first.

If you can actually entice your people to become conversationalists by giving them the social path to do so, some people are just afraid of being first, so take on an experiment and do a graffiti path.

Jo: Now, you’re talking there about asking friends and people to come to your blog and
Essentially, be the first people to comment. I’ll be honest. Blogging isn’t my number one business. As I said before, I’m over on social media.

I’ve never really explored, but I have heard of things called blogging networks, blogging syndicates, that kind of stuff. How important is it, that maybe you start looking into that if you really want blogging to be a major part of your business? Because do those people all kind of come together and support each other and go around and comment on each other’s blogs? Is that how that works?

Dan: There’s different kinds of bloggers. There’s one particular kind of blogger, called the
frugal blogger or the coupon blogger. They post deals and coupons all the time. In this group of people, they’ll post 20, 60, 80 times a day, blog posts. Here’s a deal at Target, here’s one at Kmart, here’s one at Amazon. Here’s a sale, there’s a sale, here’s something free, here’s something off.

Since they’re always trying to entertain their audience with deals and they all know that they can’t possibly find them all, they have this informal network amongst themselves and they’re constantly taking content from one blog and putting it on their own. And they say something like, hey, I got this over at Suzycoupon.com, it’s a great deal on Amazon and then Suzy sees that the person actually posted something and had a link and it brought people back.

So they have this really interesting loose relationship among them all, where it’s totally acceptable to take content, put it on your own site, credit it and it’s almost like this great handshake. Not every type of blogger does this, but the frugal coupon bloggers do it to the extreme.

They do it all the time, several times a day. They’re always posting. And what that does is, it also creates all these links between each other. And so now they’re all relevant for the different things. It’s like this big giant network, kind of like bamboo trees, how they’re all connected underneath. So, a lot of people do that.

Now, other people in other niches, where that isn’t really something you do, you don’t take content from one blog and put it on another and just say, hey, I got this over there. For most of the time, that’s not acceptable at all.

For those type of bloggers, I recommend that you do a blog matrix, where you find five or six people who have a related audience. Now, it doesn’t work if you don’t have the same kind of audience, whether it’s dads or moms or kids or mom’s who are 25 years old, whatever it is.

Then, for six weeks, each person in the group helps to promote one other person in the group. So, for five weeks, someone else is promoting you. They’re either putting tweets out or tweeting your stuff or Facebooking or leaving comments on your blog. But all of a sudden, you get to share the traffic from each other’s blogs, because you’re all helping each other.

The only time that works is when somebody isn’t selfish. If you have five people or six people who really want to help each other, it works great. Support each other and that includes links, people are tweeting and there’s all this kind of social love.

It works out fantastically. It always breaks down when there’s one person in the group who’s like, yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m going to get promoted for five weeks and I’m not going to do anything. Then, it sort of breaks down. So you kind of have to find the five people that really want you to be successful, as much as you want to help them be successful.

And then, the other type of blog relationship that I really, really love, is what I call the Ladder of Value and that is, you have to figure out, where does your blog fit, in the life of your customer. Normally, I use a photography example, but if your site is all about how to use photography filters, to make star bursts, to make different colored sunsets, that’s what you do. You teach filters.

You should take a look at your customer’s life as a whole. Because at one point in time, your customer was looking for, “How To Choose A Camera.” And the next time, it was, “How To Use The Buttons Of A Camera.” And then they did “How To Take Landscapes.” And then they did, “How To Do The Rule Of Thirds.” And then they came to you and they learned how to do filters. And then they came to someone else and they learned how to do portraiture and then somebody else, how to actually develop film.

Now, if you can actually draw all that out, you can draw out the life of your customer and find the different people who serve the different parts of your customer’s lives. Then you can create almost like a joint venture partnership with the different levels.

Like the guy who’s teaching him how to choose a camera. You can say, “Hey, you have a great crowd who’s learning how to choose a camera. I have a product on how to use filters. I’d love to work with you on that.”

And the guy who’s teaching how to do portraiture and at the very top of the echelon, how to develop film, his crowd actually has kids. So the guy who teaches how to choose a camera, he can say, “Hey, look, you’ve got a great crowd up there that’s doing portraiture, can we do a message where we talk to their kids?

Like, hey, if any of your kids are interested in getting into photography like you, check out my buddy’s site. He teaches how to choose today’s camera. So you can create this relationship amongst people who serve your audience at different levels in their life cycle of becoming an expert.

So, for me, those are three different ways that bloggers can work together, to support, promote and help bring traffic to each other.

Jo: When you were talking there, you talked very specifically about the niches. When you
were going to the photography example, you had very specific, this guy’s going to do filters and this guy’s going to do the portraiture and this guy’s going to do this. How important is that when blogging? How important is it to be really quite specific about what you’re talking about?

Dan: It’s not as important to be specific as it is to know exactly what it is that you do. So if
you are the guy who serves the whole thing, you’re photography, you’ve got the “How To Choose A Camera” post and you’ve got the “How To Do Filters” product and you’ve got the Portraiture product, then you just need to know that you’re serving the audience from beginning to end and that is your niche, the audience. And within that, you actually have the little niches.

You have the “How To Use Filters” product. And that product, if you think about it on your own, that product needs to pre-sell, “How To Do Portraiture”. It needs to pre-sell the idea that you’re moving the people from one thing to the next.

So it’s not as important to be as niche as, “How To Do Filters,” but it’s important that you understand what it is that you actually do. Whether you do the niche or whether you do the whole thing, you really need to know, what purpose do you serve in your customer’s lives.

Jo: Would you say it’s more difficult to serve customers if you’ve got a really broad blog?
It’s kind of a two-pronged attack here, isn’t it? You can either say, okay, you’ve got a much broader audience so therefore hopefully you could get more traffic or you can say, oh, you’ve got a much broader audience, therefore it’s going to be more difficult to target the traffic.

Dan: So, that question kind of is a double-edged sword. Because you can point to
TechCrunch, that is everything electronic or Amazon, that’s everything on the planet. Or you can look at one guy, that all he does is teach you how to use Photoshop. From a difficulty standpoint, it kind of comes down to resources. The most successful people have a single goal and they go after that goal.

So, the Photoshop guy, the guy who’s teaching you how to use Photoshop, he doesn’t have to decide whether he’s going to talk about picking the right camera or portraiture or landscape or whatever. He can totally focus on Photoshop.

Now, there’s “X” number of buttons and things you can do in it and he can take them on one by one and he can totally be the expert. In the path to expert, the narrower you are, the faster. Compare the people who have two blogs to people who have one blog.

If you’ve got to decide every day, which blog you’re going to work on, you’re never going to get to the end. But if you can just take one, all the way to profit and then, work on the other one, you’re going to go much faster. As bloggers, most of us are single. I don’t mean, not married, but, we’re just one person on the team and maybe we have a VA, maybe we have somebody else.

So we have a limited number of resources in terms of time and money and the ability to reach out and get things done. If you’re going to be ‘the’ camera guy on the planet and you’re going to teach everything there is, you have the exact number of hours resource as the guy who’s going to teach Photoshop.

That guy is going to have a complete thorough project, from beginning to end, with email auto-responders and every little facet of it, long before you get to become the expert in any tiny thing.

As I say that, at the same time, I point out TechCrunch and these big sites, Huffington Post that cover everything and do it really well. But the difference between the everything and the tiny guy, is the resources. Are you willing to hire more people? Use VAs? Outsource? Are you willing to do that when you’re going to go broad, versus staying really tight? And it’s almost just a matter of resources.

And I tell people all the time that, if our goal is to make $80,000 to $100,000 a year, in US dollars, the guy who starts a Subway franchise, who spends $700,000 to buy the franchise, has exactly the same goal. We are trying to achieve the same goal as that guy by getting a $7 domain and paying $20 in hosting month and thinking, Holy Mackerel, I can’t spend $25 a month on hosting, that’ll break me.

But think about that guy who starts a Subway Sandwich franchise for $700,000, who’s trying to achieve the same goal. He’s used a different level of resources to get to the number that we want to get to.

So that’s kind of the question, the charge that you have. What is your resources? What’s your bandwidth? What are you willing to spend to get there? And if you don’t really have a lot, then I would say, in order to be successful, you better start small and then branch out from there.

Jo: All right, I want to just move on to the SEO side now, Dan and just have a quick chat
about some of the key SEO and traffic drivers for a blog. Because I know, that over the last few years, SEO has changed quite a lot hasn’t it? From my point of view, it confuses me. How important are keywords now? How important is backlinking now?

I know we here from Matt Cutts quite a lot, this word, “Social Signals” and the fact that he’s talked about, that they will give priority to authority blogs and I’m guessing authority means blogs with lots of engagement and stuff happening. So just weighing SEO up now, can you give us a bit of a summary of what today’s SEO really means for blogging?

Dan: Even though the algorithm changes for the search engines every once in a while, SEO
has never changed. It’s always the goal to get the most relative website at the top and the most relevant website is always at the top, no matter what the algorithm is. Sometimes, they have to change the algorithm because something needs to be tweaked, but still, the number one guy is the number one guy.

Now, think about the band U2. No matter what Google does, U2 is still going to be the top producing band in the world. No matter what they do, they still are creating great music, they’re doing interviews, they’re on TV, they’re touring. They’re being relevant for their niche. They’re being awesome.

So to me, SEO is just that. It’s about being awesome. When you can achieve that, then you will move up. I think I said in Minneapolis today, on accident, I said, if you rock you will rise, which people tweeted out like crazy. But it’s really true.

If you look at Campbellskitchen.com, this is a site that’s just recipes. And if you look up green bean casserole, they happen to be the number one result for green bean casserole, most of the time.

If you go to their page, they’ve got a picture of the green bean casserole and then, a couple of words and then, the recipe underneath it and then, right next to that are four other different types of green bean recipes. So from a keyword standpoint, they’ve got a great picture, they’ve got a title, they’ve the recipe using rich snippets, which you have to use and they’ve got four related green bean casserole recipes.

Now, that means that those four recipes also have links back to that one on Campbell’s Kitchen. That means the green bean casserole recipe that we’re looking at that’s number one, is also the number one most relevant recipe on Campbellskitchen.com. Not just the internet, but on their own site. They’ve got all the links pointing to it and they’ve got traffic from different places going to that one recipe.

So for any particular post that you write, is it even the most important post on your site about that topic or is there something else that’s even more important? Or do you have eight blog posts about the same topic that aren’t even linking together? They’re not all linked to one. They’re not all bringing the juice to one place to prove to the rest of the internet that actually is one most important post on your site.

But they key to the whole thing is first you have to have the right messaging. On Twitter, on Facebook, in your tweets, in your blog posts. You have to bring the right people to your site. Because it’s the people, like Matt Cutts says, that are really going to rule the roost in the long-term.

If your messaging is right . . . if you’re a recipe person and your Twitter description says, I bring you the best recipes at the lowest cost and your Facebook says, I bring you the best recipes at the lowest cost and that’s what you provide, then you’re going to start bringing in the right people.

The right people are the ones who are going to do the like, pin, tweet, post, Google thing. They’re going to be the ones who press the buttons and the buttons are the key. The comments, when you get people pressing the +1 button, there’s a human saying, “I love this.”

Jessica Turner, I forget what her site’s name is, she wrote a post about Easter basket ideas. The post was just fine for a while. It hovered in the top three pages of Google for a while. And then, she pinned the picture, five days before Easter. And 71,000 pins later, it’s the number one post still, for Easter basket ideas. Because 71,000 humans said, I like the post. This is what I want to keep on my wall.

Without that really engaging cool picture because she could have had anything, she had a really cool picture. Like, that awesome factor. That awesome picture created the pin. The pin created that human interaction. The human interaction created the search result. If you can bring in the right people, using your messaging, making sure that you’re only writing topics that actually fit your whole world.

Like, if you’re that photography filter guy and you just happen to decide you’re going to write about Disneyland today, then when you tweet that, you’re bringing in Disneyland people who don’t really care about photography. That doesn’t build the empire. Those people aren’t going to plus anything on our site. They’re just random.

If you stick to your topic and you got your messaging right in all these different places and then when people come to your site, they not only see great content, but they see great related content, now we’ve got the real workings of SEO.

We’ve got keywords because we’re writing things people want to know about. We’ve links internally. The fact that you have other posts internally linking to our main post, that’s fantastic. That’s good internal structure.

And then, when other people can see those related posts, now they feel like they’re home. Like, wow, I didn’t know there was this information about photography filters. This is great. I’m going to +1 this, I’m going to tweet this, I’m going to like this, I’m going to share this on Facebook.” You get all those things. You get all of that working together, now you’ve got search engine optimization. Now you’ve got the whole universe working in your favor.

Because no matter how much you think the Yoast plugin is your friend, 99 million other people are using the Yoast plugin. That’s not going to help you at all. It’s a great little reminder that yes, you have your keyword in your title and yes, you have your keyword in your description and yes, you have your keyword in your body, but so does 99 million other people.

You have to have that awesome factor. You’ve got to have that, this content is great and look at these other posts that are related and similar and supporting. I totally want to read that, too. I’m going to like this, I’m going to tweet this, I’m going to share it. I love this site. That’s when you have SEO. Everything else, is just mediocre.

Jo: So what’s some great strategies for getting other people to refer to your post? For
instance, Backlink King. I know Backlink King’s always been this kind of word that I hear bandied about a lot when it comes to blogging and SEO. And I know that years ago, they used to have all these kind of black hat things that we don’t even want to talk about now. But does distributing a blog post on social networks, for instance, if I go post my link on Facebook, does that count as a backlink?

If I’m linking to it from Twitter, does that count as a backlink or is it specifically having to go to other bloggers and say, can you post about my post? Does that count as a backlink? What are some of the strategies for raising our popularity that way?

Dan: All those things are backlinks. The Twitter post, the Facebook post, the other blogger.
But you’ve got to remember, everyone else is doing that, too. So everyone’s tweeting their things. Everybody’s Facebooking their things. If you’re using IFTTT, then you’re automatically sharing it to InstaGram and Flickr and FoodGawker and all these other places.

But all of the top people that are competing for our keywords, we’re all doing that. We’re all tweeting, we all got it automated and we’re all doing the main things, so that’s not going to be the separation factor anymore. Those are great things to do and if you stop doing those, you start to lose playing the game. Everyone else is doing it, you can’t go backwards.

I suggest that you do things like, create linkbait. Create a great report that’s free, that is just so chocked full of information, other people in your niche just link to it. They just say, hey, go over and get that report. It’s really good.

Or infographic. Make a really cool infographic and people will pin it and they’ll link to it. They’ll just want to share it. They’ll post it on Facebook and you’ll also get Facebook shares. The shares, they mean a lot more than just you posting it on your own page or you posting it in your group. You get 146 shares, you got some real interaction to that particular page.

People just don’t share ordinary. They share awesome. So create a great post, create a great infographic. Create a great series of pictures. Create something that tells the how-to in a different way that no one else has done before.

On one of my wine sites, I created an infographic called “The Chemical Composition Of Wine”, which I think is still number one for chemical composition of wine. When I was looking for it, nobody else had ever done that before.

Nobody had done the research to figure out what’s actually in wine, what are the chemicals, how much is water. So I created that infographic and people link to it regularly. Because there isn’t another infographic like that.

So try to just go that extra mile. Serve your audience in some way that they’re just going to love and other people will just link to it. You can go out and ask other bloggers, you can write guest blog posts. You can do things like this, where you do a Google hangout and then, when the person features it on their blog, there will be a link to your page.

I almost say, write for one quarter of the year, regular blog posts for a quarter. Then the second quarter, just totally be about promotion. Take one blog post at a time and write a guest blog post about it. Go to Ezine Articles and write an article about it. Tweet it. Use IFTTT to make sure it gets to every social network.

Then, for a whole quarter just do promotion, promotion, promotion, of the stuff that you’ve already wrote that’s great and relevant. Then, in the third quarter, maybe you just do product. You’re still going to write some blog posts now and again, but focus, focus, focus. Write, promotion, products, whatever else you can do. And then, maybe even the fourth quarter, it’s all about the money. It’s all about, what kinds of things can we do to bring in cash. Let’s check our webmaster tools and see where our keywords are. Do just the business stuff. And then, go back and write and promote and create products and then SS.

If you take that business mentality and really go after it, you’ll have the shares and the likes and the links. There’s no way to really combat linkbait, making super awesome, that people will link to.

Jo: Actually, that’s really interesting the way you’ve just kind of split the year up like that,
because one of my questions was going to be about consistency. Lots of people will say, should I post every single day or should I post on the same day every single week? Should I make sure that I’ve a post going out every week throughout the year or every two weeks, blah, blah, blah.

You’ve just kind of broken up the year, so now, you’re going to do this for a quarter and then promote for a quarter and then, maybe do this for a quarter. How important is getting some consistency in your posting on your blogger? Or is actually promotion the more important element of that?

Dan: Both of those are really important. In fact, I make sure that my bloggers, we take all of
their main keywords, basically their nav bar and then, their drop downs and we plug all of those things into Google.com/trends. Because I want to see, when do people search for the different parts of your niche.

Like Valentine’s Day is clearly January 3rd to February 14th and then, it dies that day. It’s 100% drop off. Nobody searches for Valentine’s Day on February 15th. Unlike Christmas, where people search for it for a couple more days.

If you set up your blog so that you don’t post on February 15th and your Valentine’s Day post is still there and then, it’s still there on the 16th and it’s still there on the 17th? It’s not that you have a frequency, it’s that you have a mindset match problem.

You’re no longer the mindset of your audience. Like Valentine’s Day was light years ago, even if it was yesterday. The next day, it’s gone. Like, what are you talking about? That was week’s ago. Then you’ll say, no, no, it was yesterday. And I’m like, really, it was? It feels like forever ago.

So, it’s not necessarily about frequency, it’s about matching what your audience needs and making sure that you’re in front of them when they need you to be in front of them.

When I talk about writing content for one quarter, that doesn’t mean you’re publishing content for one quarter. Let’s write our Valentine’s Day post in October and make sure that we have it all ready and they’re going out on Valentine’s Day.

Let’s think through our content, put together a plan and then, if that means scheduling out in the future, well, at least we’re in that mode of content production, research writing and really going through that.

I definitely want you to have new content published on your blog, once a week, even once every two weeks at the least. I wouldn’t want you to just do once a month. You don’t really have a blog at that point, you just have more of a website. You’re no longer meeting the frequency rules of SEO. You still have to have updated content but that doesn’t mean that you have to actually be doing it that day. You can do it months ahead of time. You can totally pre-plan.

And one of the fantastic parts about pre-planning and going on to promotion, is the idea that if you know what’s coming, you have the ability to pre-sell it. Here in the United States, we have gym memberships that you can buy. You can go to a gym and workout and you can pretty much do that anywhere.

On the counter of every gym is this calendar. And the calendar is always for the following month. So right now, in November, I can go get the calendar for December. And then, in December, on the counter, is going to be the calendar for January. And that’s not just for your own personal use, that’s to prevent you from quitting.

When they can tell you that next month, we’re going to be doing this super fancy class, using weights and buckles and steps and pedals, you’re going to be like, oh, I’ve got to stick around for that. I can’t quit this month, I want to take that class.

If you have that same mentality from a promotion standpoint, if you know what you’re going to be writing about next month and the next month after that, you should be pre-selling it every month, what’s coming. Totally snowball your audience from one thing to the next. Don’t let them just die.

Totally tell them, you know what we’re going to do next month? We’re going to do just the sunrise filter. Or we’re going to portraiture in low light. Or we’re going to do how to take action photos in October. You’ve got to come back.

Just those activities, that part of promotion and if you can take a quarter and think through your whole promotions, then you’re on a different level in terms of a blogger, when you’re pre-selling and then delivering and then pre-selling and delivering and pre-selling and delivering. And you’re spending, like right brain, left brain.

The whole quarter just write, write, write, research, write, research, write and then publishing out while you promote, promote, promote. You’re doing business focused minded activities and you’re no longer just this stay-at-home dad just writing a blog post. You’re really thinking through things.

Jo: If you’re watching this video right now, I want you to rewind, literally, the last five, ten
minutes and I want you to watch that all over again. Because that is one business strategy, if you follow that, your business will just . . . leaps and bounds, we’re talking, leaps and bounds.

Dan: Oh, yeah.

Jo: Have you heard of a lady called Marie Forleo, actually, Dan?

Dan: Oh, yes.

Jo: A very successful video blogger and I was watching an interview with her recently and
she was saying how she chunks all her videos. Everybody thinks that she sits and does these videos and they come out once a week, but actually she does them months in advance. They’re chunked. They’re done.

She does, like, 20 videos all in one go and then, they’re promoted and published once a week through the year and they’re done months in advanced and so, she knows exactly what’s happening in her business over the next year. It’s very powerful.

Dan: And she had the most beautiful hair in that video, didn’t she?

Jo: Yes.

Dan: Her hair in that video was unbelievable.

Jo: Yeah.

Dan: Those big curls. I was like, wow, how come I don’t have that hair. It was fantastic.
Her hair was so good, like, how do you even stand it? Like, is that drawn in? My God, it’s like Disney. Just big, giant curls and just, ooh.

So, you know what Marie Forleo is a great example of? It is the, There is no should. Because Marie Forleo doesn’t do e-books. She delivers content and video. People will tell her probably, they’ll probably say, hey, you should do an e-book.

And guess what? No. That’s not the audience that she’s cultivated. That’s not what people want from her. They will put their email and name in for a video. Not an e-book. She is a great example of There is no should. Create something, be awesome, build it and then, just go with it.

Jo: Yeah. Love that. I love this whole, that there’s no right or wrong. I think so many
people look for a structure. I want a step by step structure I can follow, where it’s going to take me from where I’m now to a successful blog. And I want the exact steps that I can take. When actually, there is no right or wrong with this. It’s going to be whatever the steps are that’s required for your audience to connect with you and want to consume what you’re supplying and want to share it and get involved with everything that you’re doing in your business.

Dan: Oh, it’s so true. And there’s example after example. Have you ever heard of Howard
Stern, here in the United States? He’s like a, really pornographic radio disc jockey who’s also on TV.

This guy, you’ve got to think, from day one, when he opens his mouth and he talks about women’s breasts or whatever he talks about, I’m sure there have been people in every step of the way saying, dude, you need to tone it down because you’re alienating half the people listening to this radio station.

But guess what happens when you alienate half the radio station for 23 years? You become Howard Stern with 50 million raving fans who love everything you say, because that’s the audience that you’ve created over the last 50 years. You’ve become yourself and you’ve filtered out everyone who doesn’t like what you have to say and you’re only left with the cream of the crop, who just totally love you.

There is no should, right there. When people tell you, whoa, whoa, whoa, don’t be so controversial. Yeah, guess what? They’re going to leave you and in the end, you’re going to be left with awesome.

Jo: Absolutely. Be yourself. That’s the message here, guys. But don’t be afraid of your own
voice. Be yourself.

Dan: Yeah.

Jo: Dan, I’ve got four more pages of questions, but we really have run out of time.

Dan: What?

Jo: You’ve given us such an amazing amount of information.

Dan: We haven’t run out of time.

Jo: Are you good?

Dan: We have 12 hours left. I still have 11 hours to even catch up to where you are today. I’m
still in yesterday.

Jo: That’s awesome, then. Okay. Well, I do have you another question for you, then.

Dan: All right.

Jo: I’d like to talk to you about the difference of a brand and a public figure. Okay?

Dan: Okay.

Jo: For instance, we’ve talked about social signals and about connecting with people. I talk
a lot about being a public figure and if you are somebody who, perhaps, wants to cultivate a brand, wants to build a brand, as opposed to being the constant face of that brand, how important is it in blogging, that there is a lot of you who is behind the business, in your blog?

Dan: It’s not important, at all. It’s important if that is the goal in the end. One of the problems
with being a personality, is that your exit strategy options are fewer. If you are the reason that people are coming and then you decide to sell, the buyers of your business will have a harder time trying to figure out what it is that they’re buying, when you are the good will.

So when you brand yourself, that is going to be a hurdle that you must overcome if you can envision an exit strategy at some point.

Now, when you’re trying to go from personality to brand, I think that you can do that quite easily by, instead of branding yourself, branding your information. So, if you have product, giving the product a name and giving the product a logo and giving that product a look and a feel that you use consistency throughout your site.

Kind of like PepsiCo has Pepsi, Mountain Dew and all those different products. Each one has its own brand and feel, but PepsiCo is the driving force behind everything. And Chrysler had Lee Iacocca at the helm. He was the public figure, but Dodge and Jeep and these products, they had their brand and feel and personality and drive behind them.

When you can create that in the solutions that you offer, then you can create an overall brand, a feeling associated with the information that you’re giving. You can still be the driving force and the energy behind it, but you actually have to physically assign characteristics and values to something in order to brand it.

A brand really is a reflection of the perception of the people who know it exists. And when you provide that perception by giving it a logo and a color and a look and a feel, give them what they expect when they buy it, then you create the brand. If you have a bevy of products that are all branded, then your company really has a brand and you can sell and you can monetize and you can build.

You can still be the Lee Iacocca. You can still be the Michael Jordan of the Bulls. You just can’t brand yourself as Pepsi. There’s got to be something attributed to that. There’s gotta be some liquid in that can. There’s got to be some content in that product. Then you can brand something.

Otherwise, you’re always going to be an individual who has a personality issue, trying to figure out who he really is.

Jo: Okay. And how important is it that you get your blog kind of branded. I was asked this
question just this morning actually, when somebody said to me, “Jo, should I wait? I’ve got lots of content and I know what I want to say, but I haven’t quite thought out exactly what I want my header to look like. I haven’t quite come up with a logo.

Do I wait? Do I actually get all that done? Get my logo and get my header and everything and then start blogging or can I actually start putting out my articles now as I’m doing all that stuff?”

Dan: Oh, I would say, go, go, go. Put your articles out, because when it comes to logo design
and branding and header, you’re going to change, 15 times, no matter what you come up with tomorrow. A lot of times, that perfect logo, that lightning is not going to strike your brain tomorrow, whether you want it to or not. It’s going to come three months from now or six months from now or even a year from now.

You’re finally going to go, oh, I totally get it. I know exactly what colors I need to have. Just go, go, go. Start producing the information in the field that you’re going to eventually have and what you really want. Don’t wait. How long could it be before you actually figure it out? There’s really no point in waiting for it at all. Just go.

Jo: Absolutely. Great. So, we’ve figured out what we want to write about. We started
writing, we’re out there, we’re now distributing, we’re promoting, we’re publishing, we’re telling people what’s coming up. We’re starting to get a bit of traction and a little bit of an audience. Now, how do we actually turn that into cold, hard, cash?

Dan: Well, cash always starts with the audience that you’ve created. So, your messaging and
your content creates an audience and that audience is willing or not willing to put their money down for certain things and the other side of that is that audience is also traffic. So, traffic itself can be monetized.

So, let’s just start with something easy like Adsense. Now, you don’t usually see Google Adsense on a law firm blog or a professional services website. They don’t usually advertise with that particular medium. But on a blog itself, it’s a great form of ancillary revenue, becoming part of Google’s ad network.

Now, the time that it doesn’t make sense is when you have decided to monetize with Adsense, which is a traffic strategy, but your blog is not commercial. Now, when I say that . . . if your blog is all about the weather, the weather in California, the weather in New Zealand, the weather in Russia, if your blog is all about the weather, it just so happens that nobody, no company on the planet is bidding on the keywords, weather.

They don’t think that somebody’s wallet is on the table when somebody searches for weather. If your blog is all about a non-commercial subject, like weather or the benefits of vitamin C or the different kinds of grass or the different kinds of clouds, if your blog is non-commercial and you try to apply a commercial monetization source like Adsense, you end up monetizing with a mismatch.

You get like $0.02 and $0.03 clicks and you don’t really ever make money, no matter how much traffic you have. So, you have to match what you’ve built to the monetization options available.

If your blog is totally non-commercial, then I would suggest that you use something like custom sidebars, because occasionally you’re going to write about a commercial subject and you can put Adsense in that sidebar.

Otherwise, you’re going to waste real estate without that. So don’t put Adsense on non-commercial topics and even if you’ve Adsense on a regular blog, custom sidebars can cut out Adsense on any blog post that’s noncommercial. Like, when you talk about when you skinned your knee and there’s no way for Google to figure out what ad to put there.

Then you have further options, information options. You have the option to sell e-books, like the site findingJoy.net, which is all about . . . she writes stories about motherhood and how great how it is to be a courageous mom and how valuable it is to appreciate the little moments of being mom. She’s taken some of her blog posts and turned them into an e-book.

She sells the e-book for $8 a pop, 8 US dollars and she sold two, three, four thousand of these e-books because she’s created an audience of people who just love these letters, love this feeling that she gives them. Loves this emotion that she instills that, yes, you are worth something.

Then, taking those and putting them in an e-book is like a reflection of the demand and love they’ve already shown her in blog comments. If you see a lot of blog comments, you can sell content.

Then, there’s a Sunday School ideas website in the US. I can’t think of the name of it, but every Wednesday, they put out a different idea for Sunday School teachers to teach at Church Sunday School and they’ve created a membership out of it. It’s a membership site and it’s $2.95 a month, which is just this tiny bit of money. It’s like a sandwich at a lunch place.

They have 10,000 members. That’s a huge number of, $2.95 times 10,000. That particular strategy, which is called micro-continuity, is giving people this tiny little bit of information, not a huge value set but just enough. Just exactly what it is they need and just charging them a pittance and when you grow that to volume, you can really turn out some big dollars.

That site that I mentioned before, Young House Love, where they get 125,000 people a day, they have turned that community into money by finding sponsors. Companies like Shades of Light, who sponsor Young House Love, they see the value that Young House Love has created by bringing these 125,000 people together every day and talking about home improvement projects.

So this Shades of Light people came to them and said, look, we want to be in front of your audience. We’re willing to sponsor you. We can give you ads in your sidebar, you can create your own line of paints and colors and products on our site and we’ll actually leverage your name on our site, while you leverage our name on your site.

Jo: Wow.

Dan: So, that community that they built has turned into sponsorship money, which is another
way to monetize your site. So that covers ads and membership and products and sponsorship, which I think are the four biggies, aside from actually selling services like consulting and do-it-yourself things, that are a little bit different than blogging but blogging does provide the platform from which you can be considered an expert and then, you can sell your time and your services.

Jo: What do you think is most effective? Putting actual ads directly on your blog which
click-through maybe to a page showing people what you’re offering, whether it be a product, whether it be a service or actually having some way for them to leave their details for you to then follow-up via perhaps an email sequence?

Dan: Those are not separate strategies. You always want to value your real estate for what it’s
worth. So, if a service client to you is worth $10,000 over the lifetime of them being a customer, which will take you awhile to figure out the lifetime value of your customers, you can’t expect that today. You can figure out the lifetime value today, but you will know that it will change over time.

If the lifetime value of your customer is worth $10,000, then there is no sense on the planet that you would ever put Adsense there for $1.58 a click and take the spot of something that would produce you $10,000 in the long run. So, it’s important to figure out what it is, where it is that we make money.

If it’s services, then we need to know what is the real value of that service and compare that from a real estate percentage to where should that be on the site.

One of the things I love telling people to do is to set up your Adsense dashboard correctly. To really put your URLs in there so you know exactly which pages are paying you money and then use your tags to show exactly which ads are making you money.

Because when you know that, you know exactly where the eyeballs are on your site. The eyeballs on every site are different based on the colors and the configuration. It’s called the pattern disconnect. So what you want to know is, where are the eyeballs. Are they in the top right sidebar position or are they in the fourth sidebar position?

Once we know where the eyeballs are and what each spot on our site is worth, then we can start to figure out, okay, if my eyeballs are always in the fourth position, what needs to go there? Instead of an Adsense ad, do I need to put an actual advertisement to my highest paying Adsense page and drive traffic to another page or do I need to drive it to my email subscription list, because I know over the course of a lifetime of a subscriber, I’m going to make $900 in affiliate income?

Or do I drive people to my service’s ‘contact us’ page, because I know when they fill that out they’re going to be worth $10,000 to me? You really have to understand where the money is on your site, before you can decide what is the money on your site.

Over time, you can really figure out where does the money come from, what is my best dollar spent. Maybe it’s my email subscription list, because you know over time, you offer 28 products and you make $900, then you need to really put a lot of emphasis into driving people to that list and sacrifice the $2 and $3 clicks that you could be getting through Adsense.

Because you know in the long term that your list is really doing to pay off. Once you figure out what the spots are worth, then you can figure out where to put them and then you can really concentrate on how do I actually make money.

Jo: Do you know off the top of your head, if there are any other tools that can help you
determine where the eyeballs are on your website. If you don’t do Adsense for instance, are there any tools online that can help you find out where those eyeballs are going?

Dan: There’s nothing as good as Adsense because it actually requires a human click.

Jo: OK.

Dan: There’s places like Crazy Egg that offer heat maps, that basically shows you the mouse
Movement. As you’re moving down the page, it shows you where somebody’s mouse goes. Very seldom do your eyes go a different way than a mouse. So, it’s pretty good. But a click actually shows interest, as well. So if somebody’s there and their eyeballs are there long enough to actually see and read something and then, click it.

Crazy Egg is best and then I would say, the third best thing, is to send an email to everyone you know and just ask them, “Load my site up and tell me what you see first and what you see second and then email me back.” Just get people to actually tell you, what do they see, where do their eyeballs go.

One of the little tricks you can do is, maybe go to your local wireless cellular store and bring your website up on every single device and see what it looks like. If your blog post shows up and in your blog post is a picture and that picture is just hovering right above the fold, so you can just barely see the top of it or maybe you can see the top half, then you know that human behavior is going to dictate that people on your site are going to see that picture and they’re going to automatically scroll down the page.

So when they scroll down, you should do the same. Scroll down and then look at your page from a monetization standpoint. Now that I’ve scrolled down and I can see the whole picture, has my ad that was above the fold, has it disappeared? Is it unable to be engaged with again? Has my top sidebar button disappeared, is it unable to be engaged with again?

Figure out where are the eyeballs once people have done that first activity, that scrolling down and then, try to figure out, where should I put my information – right side, left side, red color or white color ad. You can kind of figure it out for yourself and test. You don’t really need Adsense, but Adsense sure is good.

Jo: Great. Lovely strategy for us there, to have a look at that. Thanks for that. So, just going
into the kind of back in of the blog, now. I’m talking about plugins. Is it true, I just want this from your point of view, is it true that the more plugins that you load onto your blog, probably the slower that your blog is going to run. Is that actually a truism?

Dan: Well, when your site loads, when somebody types your site name in the search bar, the
browser has to go lead the code and grab all of the elements. And you can use a service like pingdom.com/tools. You can type your website right in there and press enter and it will show you the exact order in which all the little pieces of your site loads and it will tell you exactly the time associated with each part.

Plugins can take time, sometimes plugins don’t take any time at all. For instance, a Facebook widget, which is a plugin, the browser actually has to go to Facebook, grab the widget and bring it back. So that activity of going and bringing it back, takes more than if it was just populating from your database.

Anything in an iframe, for example, if you have a page with an iframe in it, the browser has to go to the other website and get the thing and bring it back into the iframe. Plugins, as they multiply, they begin to conflict with each other. One operation stops another operation from happening.

Your goal is never to reduce the lag time. The goal is to serve your audience. The lower the lag time, the better, but sometimes, maybe you need the Facebook widget. Maybe that is your social proof and that’s what drives your business and that’s what gets people to see, hey, look. There’s 99 and a thousand other people who like this blog.

Maybe it’s also the one thing that’s slowing your blog down. You could take it off and increase the speed of your load and maybe, even increase your SEO, but what if your return on investment goes down?

What if fewer people were taking advantage of your services? So, the goal’s never to reduce the time, it’s to be the fastest time and the most effective blog for your audience. But, yeah, plugins can definitely slow your site down. Not every single one, but depending on what it does, it can take a toll.

Jo: And are there any, just from a general blogging standpoint, are there any plugins that a
blog should absolutely have? Is there anything that kind of benefits a blog, that any blogger needs to think about, yeah I definitely need to go and get that specific plugin or is it really dependent on your blog, your niche, what you’re doing?

Dan: Like I start every sentence, there is no, should . . .

Jo: There is no, should.

Dan: There is no blog plugin that you need. No blog plugin whatsoever. Everything can be
coded, if you have a good WordPress guy, any function that you want can actually be coded right in. In which case, it’s no longer an add-on. It’s no longer something the browser has to lead and figure out. So, there isn’t any plugin that you absolutely need.

From a niche standpoint, you can actually Google your word and the word plugin, like food plugins or history plugins or finance plugins and there’s going to be a thousand blog posts that say, The Top Ten Plugins For Finance Bloggers and The Top Ten Plugins For Sports Bloggers. It’s unfathomable how many there are. I would do that just for your niche just to see what kind of options are available.

I would say, going forward, that paying attention to Facebook Open Graph and Google Rich Snippets is going to be extremely important. If you don’t have your Open Graph set up right, you’re not going to get the visibility that you could if you did have it set up correctly.

So making sure that you’re using the Facebook debugger to see how Facebook is viewing your website when a link goes on there and then, correcting those actions and making sure that you’re following the rules on Schema.org and you’re doing the Rich Snippets like they want you to do.

Those things, I think in the end, are going to kind of require plugins. Because nobody wants to add all of that code to their blog, it’s really a lot. And something like the ZipList plugin for recipes. You just put your recipe in there and it adds all the rich snippets that you need, all the code. So those are going to become, more and more prevalent, as Rich Snippets becomes more and more critical to your success.

I would mostly pay attention to those two things. Facebook Open Graph, Google Rich Snippets and then, Twitter and Pinterest also have their own microdata language.

Jo: And that’s per post, right? You have to do your Open Graph metadata and your Rich
Snippet, that’s literally per post, because that’s what’s going to show up when people find the different posts on the search engines and on Facebook. Right?

Dan: Yeah. Something like WP Open Graph sets the tone for your entire blog, like a default.
But it also gives you the option, at least in WordPress to change that per post. So you can change the featured image that shows up when somebody shares your blog on Facebook. So, you can do that by post, but you don’t have to. It can be your logo and your default description and your default title, no matter what it is that people post.

With Google Rich Snippets, it’s not per post, it’s per object. Like your address. No matter where it is on the site, needs to have the address code for Schema.org.

You can’t just put it on one page, unless it’s like your footer and that’s showing up in every page. But it’s pretty much per object so that’s many, many things per post, but also often, many things within a post.

Jo: Okay. And authorship, can we just touch on authorship, as well? Because Google
authorship of course is now hugely important, is it? To blogging?

Dan: I don’t know the answer to this. I have removed authorship from my site and I’ve done
that because I’ve been reading some articles that Huffington Post put out and some of the bigger sites that have seen a traffic drop after adding authorship. And their traffic drop wasn’t because they lost rankings, because their keywords are still ranked in the same place.

So, right now, the current thinking is, that when your picture shows up, next to a blog post article and somebody doesn’t know who you are, they’re actually less likely to click it because your pictures there, because you’re a stranger. Your face isn’t actually bringing any relevance to the post.

That information, kind of, for me, sat on the heels of some other information that I got. When I went and met with Morgan James Publishing about a book deal that we were doing with a client, the guy at Morgan James, who published Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson and some of the other popular books, even Joel Comm’s books.

He said that he will not let an author put their face on the front of the book, unless the author is somebody like Mel Gibson or Whoopi Goldberg or a face that everyone on the planet knows because the book needs to be about the topic, not about that person. And if nobody really knows that person, they don’t buy the book when that person’s face is on the cover. And if you’ve never heard of the guy, your eyes don’t even stop when it graces the cover.

So those two bits of information I got around the same time and it made me think, maybe I won’t add Google authorship to my site. In the same breath, Google is really trying to create some sort of influence number associated with people. So when your blog has all kinds of comments and Google can see that you’re number one in your niche.

Then you write a guest blog post somewhere, that Google authorship on that guest post, which is your face, is actually going to give that even more oomph. It’s going to move it higher in the search engines because you are a person of power.

So what I’m trying to figure out for myself is, can that power be instant later or does it have to build over time. If it’s true that people aren’t going to click on my blog post because my unknown face is associated with it, can I forego it for now and then, pick it up later when it’s evened out and everyone’s unknown face is associated with their blog posts.

I personally haven’t decided yet. I don’t have authorship on there, but I feel like the answer is still in the air and I just haven’t been able to grasp it.

Jo: Wow, you’re the first person I’ve spoken to who’s just challenged that slightly. Who’s
just saying, you know what? I’m not sure, actually, how important that is yet. And I suppose that’s really where we are with Google Plus and the whole kind of, how that’s going to work in the future. What’s your thoughts on how important Google Plus is to our business strategies, moving forward?

Dan: I think that any question that starts that way, also starts with the paradigm, that we must
believe Google will be number one in the future. And that if we don’t follow the rules today, then we won’t be able to play the game later.

I think that paradigm is a little bit limited in scope because Kmart and MySpace and Sears, have fallen over time. I personally think Facebook is two years away from collapse.

I’m not exactly sure where Google stands in the particular point of view, but there’s a pretty good chance that the domain name that will one day kill Google, either hasn’t been bought or was just bought today. We just don’t know. The question itself assumes that Google will always be number one and we have to play the game in order to stay.

If we view the world with those particular with those particular glasses, then yes, we have to do the Google Plus things. We have to follow the rules. We have to do all this Google stuff. We’ve got to play that particular game.

I’m not against that. It would be kind of silly business for me not to be, sort of, think that way. But I would also challenge ask that question a different way and that is, what is it going to take to do business tomorrow, knowing that what’s out there, hasn’t arrived yet.

And maybe, if MySpace had a MySpace Plus five years ago and we were all getting MySpace authorship, would that really matter today? If you had 50,000 fans on MySpace, do you have anything?

For me it’s the paradigm of the question that makes me think we’re just not asking the right question. We’re answering the question. We’ve got to do the things we’ve got to do, but Google Plus may be gone in five years and how much business energy will we have staked on something that will not have mattered?

Jo: What do you think worked for you? What is it going to take for us to do business
tomorrow if all of a sudden there were no Facebook and if there weren’t any Google. What’s the most important element of our business that we need to be doing right now, in order to continue doing business tomorrow and the day after and the day after?

Dan: If you talk to a brand, they’re going to tell you it’s branding. But even the CEO of
PepsiCo said recently that no matter how many millions of dollars they spend in Super Bowl advertising, they do not sell more Pepsi in the next 30 days. So for me, the answer is always list building.

As generic and as numerical as that sounds, what I’m really trying to say is, if you’re going to spend an ounce of time creating an audience, you should really have a way to bring them back to your site.

You should find a way to be able to contact them, to be able to interact with them, on something that you own. A Facebook page of 50,000 people may just as be as important as a MySpace group with 50,000 people five years from now.

So for me, it’s critical that you take all the energy and effort that you put into this traffic and acquiring and engaging and entertaining and getting One Pluses and all that stuff and put it into retaining that list. How do we move them to a place where I can actually invite them. Because the day that Facebook goes away is the day that Instagram and Supra comes alive.

Now, it’s something new and I want to be able to move my people and introduce them to my presence on that new platform. Without my personal ability of my own ownership to do that, I have put my business success in the hands of others and I relied on hope to be successful and as far as my community goes, everyone knows that I say that hope is not a marketing plan. I sell shirts that actually say “Hope is not a Marketing Plan.” And anything that involves relying on someone else, is hope.

Jo: That’s absolutely fantastic. So, you still think that email marketing is still as important
and as effective as it always was?

Dan: No. I didn’t say email marketing.

Jo: No? Okay.

Dan: I said you must have the ability to capture and connect with your audience. I think the
youth of today are using email far and far less than we ever thought they would. And that’s because when email came out in 1991, we didn’t have hand held computers.

We needed a synchronous way to talk to each other. We needed a way where you could deliver a message to me and when I got home from work, I could log into my AOL account and I could see what that message said.

Today, that’s not the case. Kids of today are using the text, their using Instagram and SnapChat and all these other ways to communicate with each other. We need to be able to communicate with them. We need to stay ahead of the ways that we can capture and communicate. Email is kind of our go-to source and that’s going to change over time.

Maybe it’s going to be, put your phone number in here, because we’re going to text you information. Where that goes, is up to you. You have to figure out for your own community and your own audience where that’s heading. If you’re totally serving the senior niche, then stick with email because that’s what they use.

But if you’re serving this youth of today and the youth of today are not on Facebook, then you’ve got to figure out a new way and you need to own that way. And how you do it, I don’t really know. Whether it’s text or something that hasn’t even been invented yet. You just have to figure out how you’re going to connect and stay connected to your audience.

Jo: Fantastic answer. I must admit the minute you said that one of the most important things
is building your list, I immediately thought, okay, well, what’s the main way of, essentially, being able to connect with people where it’s not on a third-party platform like Facebook or like Google, because, of course, nowadays, you can invite people to come through into your email list. You can also invite them to join Skype groups. You can invite them to join Facebook communities, Google Plus communities, LinkedIn Communities and obviously, connect with your audience across all of these various networks.

And when you said that one of the most important things really is building that list and staying connecting with your audience and owning that, then my first thought went to, well, that’s got to be email right now, doesn’t it? And so moving forward, I suppose is just having that ability to be able to move people from one platform to another as platforms change and evolve and move into different things. Is that what you’re saying Dan?

Dan: Yeah and email’s a great day, at least today, because all the functionality exists and it’s
easy to set up optin boxes and stuff. It’s easy to grab that information. But don’t think that you’re done grabbing at information, when you’ve asked for that. You have the ability to do a give-away and ask them to put their text in there and capture their text address, even after you have their email address. Don’t stop asking for information.

In fact, with our Blogging Concentrated events, when you register, because when you go online and you go to BloggingConcentrated.com and you say you’re going to go to our next event and you pay your money, you only put your name and email in, but when you actually come to the event, I’m not done capturing information.

I ask for your twitter handle when you register. That’s part of the registration process. I want to add your Twitter handle to my account of you.

Now, later on with my two give-aways, where, even at the event itself where I tell everyone to text me at and I give them a text address and say like, Win a Prize and then, I randomly choose the prize and text back the winner. That enables me to get the email, the name, the Twitter handle and now, the text.

I now have four pieces of information that wasn’t arduous or painful for the customer to provide to me. I provided value in exchange for it and over time, you’re going to need the different ways of getting a hold of people.

We just don’t exactly know where things are going. It might just be text and simple email and this might be kind of silly, who knows? But don’t stop asking for information. Use different ways to get it.

Jo: And of course we forget about the physical address, as well. There’s always being able to communicate with people actually by sending them something physically through the post.

Dan: Yes.

Jo: With this online world we live in, we kind of forget that element of things, now, of
course.

Dan: Using a service like InfusionSoft, it actually prompts you to ask for that because it has
the ability to send postcards through the product. Sometimes, it actually takes technology to remind you of the things you should be doing. Like phone calls, this and hopefully, you take notes, you’ll actually start to do that, too.

I regret that I have not been as efficient as I should be in getting addresses and I am actually in the process now of reaching out to everyone who went to Blogging Concentrated in 2013 and asking for their addresses now, which just sucks. It’s too bad I didn’t think of it before, because I’m actually going to send them a t-shirt as promotional material to say thank you for coming.

I wanted to send it in the mail but I don’t have their addresses. So now, I have to go through this arduous process of asking. In which case, I’ll have them in the end.

Jo: So, bearing in mind, we’ve had this, we kind of got off on this fantastic chat about what
may happen with some of the social media sites, what are your general thoughts on the general future of blogging. What do you think’s going to happen over the next five, ten, twenty years in the blogosphere?

Dan: I hate to even postulate, really, what’s going to happen. I would like to see blogging
become more of a part of every business strategy. I feel like the search engines are going to dictate that we all do that because they really want constantly updated fresh content to return as the most relevant result. I think we all have to sort of go that way.

But if you’re 20, 21, 22, 23 years old, you’re using Instagram as your way to get information and Reddit and BuzzFeed and these are a different form of information that we’re not wholly invested in as a culture, so how do we adjust to where they are now.

Are the youth of today going to all of a sudden grow up and they’re going to like reading long articles? And are we, at our age, are we going to all of a sudden start getting the newspaper again?

Where does it go? Because 20 years ago, somebody might have asked the same question of, what it is the future of newspapers? To say that they’re going to boom and be great and every household in America will get 8. Somebody probably postulated that, but now the only thing we use them for is to fill the trashcan because they just stop giving them to us.

So where do blogs fit? With Google Reader going away and Instagram and SnapChat and those things coming around, man, it’s anybody’s game. Where is it headed? The guy who predicts it right, he’s going to sell a lot of books and the rest of us are going to be on his heels, trying to catch up. Flying to the moon pretty soon. It’s just really hard to tell.

Jo: Yeah. Well, we have talked about an awful lot of stuff over the last couple of hours,
Dan and what I love about talking to you, what I’ve really enjoyed about this interview, is you clearly love your subject. For somebody to turn around an hour in and say, I’ve got time, let’s go on, I want to carry on and talk about it. I just think it’s absolutely phenomenal.

And from the last couple of hours, I want the guys watching this to realize, that’s what going the extra mile is, that’s what loving your craft is about, wanting to talk about it. Wanting to teach others and educate and inspire and pass that message on to people.

If you could — I know we’ve gone through so many subjects over the last couple of hours, Dan — but if you could kind of precis down to a nice little summary of three or four things that, my audience, who are people who are trying to just build their blogs up, build those leads, generate that traffic and promote their products and services and just really grow their businesses.

If you could give them three or four key tips and leave them with today, that they should be going out there, not should, but they could be going out there and doing to build their blogs and grow their traffic, what would those key tips be?

Dan: Well the first one is, burnout is real. If you aren’t doing something that you really enjoy,
you’re going to face burnout at some point in your blogging career. You’re going to realize that, I’ve written about all these keywords that I’ve researched. I don’t know what else people could be looking for.

People who love their thing, they don’t ever say that. There’s actually people who have been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 1983 and they still have stuff to talk about. I couldn’t talk about one thing in that particular game, but the people who love it, they can still talk about it, 29, 40 years later.

So, for me, burnout is a real thing and you really need to consider that when you embark upon your career or even continue your career from today. What is it that you don’t think you’ll have a problem talking about 20 years from now because you just love it.

The second thing is, if you’re listening to this, you’ve already decided that this is more than a hobby. So if you don’t understand the numbers, then you’re not operating like a business.

Like I said, the Subway guy spent almost $800,000 to get a franchise to run a Subway restaurant. He’s paying attention to his toaster cost and his dollar per hour on the floor and his dollar per square foot in his lease. He knows all the numbers.

In fact, I tell people all the time, I used to do commercial development for a pharmacy company here in the states called Walgreens and they know simple things like, they know the reflectivity number associated with the tile floor. They know that different tile floors produce reflectivity. They can judge how much product is sold on the bottom shelf of each stanchion based on which stores have better reflectivity and the light shines up on the bottom shelf. They study every facet of their businesses. If you’re really truly moving forward as a business, there are things that you should definitely know.

You should know the bounce rate from Facebook as compared to Twitter. You should understand what happens to the traffic when it comes from Pinterest. You should know what every pixel is worth on our page.

From an Adsense perspective, from a paid subscription perspective, you should know the numbers, inside and out. You should know exactly how many people are going to opt into your email when you send out something on Facebook or what is the percentage when you say it’s a newsletter versus a guide. You can’t just operate as a lone college hack blogger.

This is a serious business, there’s no way you’re going to get to a point of financial freedom or even making an annual living from blogging, without just knowing what it is that makes you money and how to operate.

In fact, if you’re using Adsense and you don’t know what is your highest paying Adsense page, shouldn’t you being directing traffic to that page regularly? Shouldn’t there be an ad in your sidebar sending people to that page? Can’t you adjust your own income using the data?

So, aside from burnout and understanding your numbers, then I would say, the last part, is knowing that in order to grow, in order to do what you’re going to do and to take vacations and spend time with your family, you have to understand leverage and systems.

You have to be able to figure out what it is that you don’t like doing that’s not making you money, so you can give it to somebody who can do that, basically to reduce burnout but make you more efficient. You have to figure out that search engine traffic is leverage. If you’re totally reliant and you’re on Facebook and Twitter every day, then you’re not actually building a business that can sustain itself.

So you have to find little ways that you can leverage your time, your systems, your procedures, your data and your money. If you’re not doing any of those three things, then your likelihood of long-term success is lower.

Jo: Fantastic. Well, Dan, it’s been amazing. In the last couple of hours, I feel like we haven’t
just been talking about blogging, we’ve been talking about business strategy. The different things that you have suggested, the things you’ve talked about, the fact that there is no ‘should’ that there’s no real right and wrong.

The fact that you need to do what is required in order to connect with your audience, in order to give the customer and meet the needs of your customer, all of those sorts of things, all of those sorts of things, what you just discussed then about knowing the numbers.

We’re talking about business strategy as a whole here, not just blogging. This has been a two hour business mastermind session and it’s been absolutely phenomenal. So thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it and I’ve really taken so much of it on board for myself, as well as for the audience, so it’s been fantastic. Thank you.

Dan: I appreciate you having me. It’s very nice to be all the way over there in Thailand to
actually talk to you. It’s excellent.

Jo: So people can go to to find out more about Dan and what he’s doing, then his main site
is LettersFromDan.com. It’s a kind of hub, if you want, LettersFromDan.com. If you are interested in his live events, I know he’s just finished this year, but he’s going to be going on tour again next year, then do also visit BloggingCentrated.com and those links will be below this video.

You will be able to just straight away, below this video and click over and go and find out more about Dan. Is there anything coming up over the next couple of days for you that you want to tell anybody about? Anything happening in Letters From Dan or Blogging Concentrated that you’re excited about right now?

Dan: We’re putting together a YouTube product that I’m hoping will be out in the next couple
of weeks, maybe mid-December. The goal of it is to really teach you how to use YouTube’s tools to drive traffic from one video to the next and actually end up at a sales video that links directly from the video to your website and to your sales page.

I really want to teach people how to use YouTube as a business tool and not as link tool or an entertainment tool. So we’re coming up with that really quite shortly, hopefully in the next couple of weeks. Yeah, I’m looking forward to that for sure.

Jo: Sounds fantastic and as soon as you come out with that, I would like the link so I can
put that below this video as well, so people can click on that and find out more about that, because that sounds great fun, I look forward to that.

Dan: Yeah, well, I would love to have you.

Jo: All right. We’ll call it a day then there. Then, I think gosh, it’s so much information, there guys. You’re going to be rewinding and listening back, but do remember it’s going to be transcribed, so if you’ve watched the interview and you want to pick up on some of these absolute gems that we’ve been talking about, then just below this video, there’s a PDF that you can download and there’s also the transcription below.

If you want to listen again on the go then you can also grab the MP3 and listen to it on iTunes. So there’s all those different ways that you can consume this amazing interview that we’ve had today. And nothing remains to be said except thank you very, very much Dan Morris. You’ve been amazing. Thank you so much.

Dan: Thanks for having me, it was enjoyable.

Jo: All right guys, I’ll speak to you again very, very soon. Have an awesome week and take
some action and make it happen. Get out there and make it happen. Speak to you again soon, bye-bye.

So what do you think about that? Pretty awesome right! Now’s the time for you to take some ACTION! Please comment below and tell me 3 things;

1. What was your AHA moment in the interview?
2. What one piece of action are you now going to take because of what you heard on the interview?
3. When are you going to do it by?

Thanks for listening! See you next week! :)

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  • Julie Gilbert

    What a fantastic interview! Very much worth the listening time. Thank you so much. There was a lot of gold there!

    • http://www.jobarnesonline.com/ Jo Barnes

      Thanks Julie! Dan was fantastic, my favourite interview so far! :)

      • http://lettersfromdan.com/ danrmorris

        :)

    • http://lettersfromdan.com/ danrmorris

      Thanks Julie. That was mighty nice of you to say.

  • Rivqa Kohan

    Fantastic show with Dan Morris.

    • http://www.jobarnesonline.com/ Jo Barnes

      Thanks Rivqa! :)

    • http://lettersfromdan.com/ danrmorris

      Thanks!!!

  • http://www.vegancoach.com/ Sassy

    WOW. Amazing information — thanks Dan. I really appreciate you sharing so much fantastically useful goodies with us.

    As I continue to run myself ragged (over the past 7 years!) I wonder if I will ever catch up with all I have to do. But it makes perfect sense and brought me to my aha moment when you said plan it out, write your content for one period of time, then while you’re pushing that out begin the marketing period, etc. WHEW! What an eye opener.

    I run a website, not a blog, but I can see that this information is just incredibly helpful and can be applied to so many aspects of my biz.

    Again, thank you. And thanks Jo — you are the coolest. Happy New Year! :)

    • http://www.jobarnesonline.com/ Jo Barnes

      Thanks for watching Sassy, I had some major AHA moments myself during the interview. It was sooo good!

      Have a fantastic 2014! :)

  • http://lettersfromdan.com/ danrmorris

    This was awesome fun. I love the internet! Can’t wait to chat with all of you more.

    • http://www.jobarnesonline.com/ Jo Barnes

      You’re a superstar Dan! Thanks so much! :)