This interview with Jeff Molander, co-founder of the Google Affiliate Network and marketing speaker and author, is part of the Convirza Webinar Series.
The following is the Q&A portion of the interview.
McKay: Good job, Tammy. Her question is… I’ll send this to you, Jeff, and then I’ll address it as well if that’s okay. What types of links should we or can we include in our blogs? I’ll let you hit that, and then I’ll hit it, Jeff.
Jeff Molander: I’m not sure I understand the question. What sort of links should we include?
McKay: In other words, I think she’s asking this. And, Tammy, correct me if I’m wrong on this, type in a clarification. Do you want to send them back to your home page? Do you want to send them to other sites? Do you want to send them to landing pages? What are some rules you have on linking within blogs and where you send people?
Jeff Molander: That could be her question. Maybe that’s where I can start as she reacts to your question, McKay.
McKay: Yeah, she’s saying social media sites, our own website, where would you recommend sending people. Yeah.
Jeff Molander: Yeah. Different posts in my world have different goals. The number one goal is typically, providing that I’m able to get search penetration… I don’t know, McKay, if you practice this, but I will write a post specifically looking for search engine penetration on a keyword phrase. If I’m able to get that search penetration and begin to receive traffic, I will then, if there is not already, insert a link or graphical call to action to my landing page.
As an example, this socialsellingbootcamp.com URL is simply a redirect to a free training program. If you’re interested in the free training, go ahead and take advantage of it. The free training is many times where I link from my blog posts to my free training using a graphical call to action or a link. I will decide to go ahead and create that link once I have search engine presentation that justifies it.
Many times, McKay, another element here that plays into the linking element is when do I produce these knowledge nuggets, these downloads, these things that I’m going to give away for people to register. Well, the only time that you should be creating those is when you’ve got traffic that you can direct to them. Some people may not be in that position yet. That’s the way I run that.
Tammy, in other terms of linking, I don’t know if you follow Brian Clark over at Copyblogger. If you do, another thing that is effective in terms of search engine optimization is creating what Copyblogger calls cornerstone pages which are essentially indexes of content. It’s nothing but a content page, and it’s a bunch of links that are all subject oriented where you can link from inside your article to one of these cornerstone pages where people can go deeper and discover all the other related content on that particular subject that you’ve blogged about in the post. That is another good use of linking that helps your internal search engine optimization ranking potential.
I don’t know if I’m answering the question, McKay, correctly there.
McKay: Yeah, I think you are. I’ll give an example. I’m going to take the screen quickly and answer one more thing, and then we’ve got a bunch of other good questions.
What we did is in the blog we had a recap. The focus of the webinar, if you were here last week, was Tim is huge on landing page optimization – form fill outs.
Obviously, we care about phone calls. Our C.E.O. argued that phone calls are more valuable than form fill outs on landing pages.
They had this mini argument. That was sort of how we promoted it. The links in the content are to the recording of the webinar. If you hit this it’s going to take you to the actual webinar recording. You can come to this page via the link and listen to the webinar.
That was our focus, then at the end we included another link where they can download a white paper about call tracking because the webinar talked a lot about call tracking. The blog does as well. You can link up here at the top to another webinar, and then at the bottom we have the call to action where they’ll go to a landing page and they can fill out a form to download a paper about call tracking.
That’s how we do it. We make sure they’re relevant and make sure they go to the correct places. That’s how we address that.
We’ve got a lot of good questions coming in now. We got a question from Amanda Brower. What is the best way to go about creating that guide, that content that protects your company at the same time?
Oh, correct me if I’m wrong, Amanda, but I think she’s asking how do you create the guide to do something without giving away too much info maybe to make your product or service not even useful if you give them all the information.
Jeff Molander: Yeah. Maybe her question, McKay, is how do you protect your own butt if you’re working in a bigger company, or how do you lobby for giving away the farm.
McKay: Yeah. She said the way I stated it was what she meant. Basically, how can you create the ultimate guide, some 20 page guide, and still have value, something that your customers will actually pay for if you’re giving away all of your info?
Jeff Molander: My take on that is this, and I’m interested in your take, McKay. I think there are going to be different answers for different people and different businesses.
In my business, and I believe more widely in services, what we are selling as service providers, I maintain, it’s not about the knowledge. This is the way I’m marketing myself when I’m out there saying I want to take your money and I want you to sign up for this. I’m telling people I don’t want your money if all you want to do is come into this training and understand and know. I want you to pay me to walk you through this so that you can have more success and do this.
There’s a big difference between knowing something and doing it. The way I look at it is everything that I give away gives away everything there is to know.
Oftentimes, my customers now are saying to me as a service provider Jeff, I’m fully aware, you don’t have to tell me. They’ll read, or they’ll see my videos. You don’t have to tell me that you give away all the free stuff and it’s not about the knowledge. I know that. I want access to you. That’s what I want. I want someone to hold my hand and provide this service to me.
That is what I think makes the difference. That’s why putting all your knowledge into a document, or a video series, or an e-book,, or an ultimate guide, that’s where the value is. For me, that’s where I come down on it.
McKay, I don’t know how you feel about it. It’s about what you do not what you know. People pay for a service that gets done for them, not for being educated on something.
McKay: Yeah, I would agree with that. I think you’ve got to keep in mind, too, that just giving somebody the knowledge is not going to necessarily make them able to do it correctly. We can give people tons of knowledge.
We’re a software as a service, so it’s a little bit different. For example, if you’re a marketing agency you’re like oh, I don’t want to tell everybody how to get better S.E.O. results. Guess what? You can give everybody all the information in the world, but the likelihood that they will do it with as much detail and precision as you could is extraordinarily small.
A good question, Amanda. Then, David asked a couple of good questions. He said I’m just starting with my blogging bringing my department into the social sphere. What’s the best method to follow when selecting content, building a community, and following a cadence to how frequently we post on social media? He says, for example, do I push all my messages across all my social channels, what strategies should I decide as to what to post on which social channel, etcetera. He’s kind of asking a content and social question I think, Jeff.
Jeff Molander: I’m not sure I understand exactly where to start with that one. How do I develop…
McKay: Yeah, it’s a huge question.
Jeff Molander: Yeah. How do I develop a cadence? Help me out with this, McKay. What if we were to say it sounds like the question as it relates to blogs could also boil down to where would I start with an editorial calendar.
Jeff Molander: Maybe I’m answering the question by saying if I’m right on target, McKay… It sounds like you’re nodding your head up and down as opposed to left and right.
How do I decide what to blog about and when to blog about it? That’s a whole different discussion. I guess the quick and dirty of it is you’ve got to have a content marketing calendar, or I should say blogging editorial calendar. The key bullet points there are what’s the pain.
You’re going to have some columns in your calendar or your Excel spreadsheet. What’s the pain that that is going to address? What’s the goal that you’re going to bring your customer one step closer? What’s the fear that you’re going to help them overcome?
The next column might be the title. The next column should be your keywords where you can see people expressing that need for that goal or that pain.
What are some others? What other columns do you use in your editorial calendar, McKay?
McKay: I think keyword is critical. In terms of posting on social, there are two things about posting on social. Jeff can back me up on this I believe.
Your content is going to be indexed by Google more quickly if and when you post it to Twitter and to Google+. If you want Google to find your content immediately, the best way to do that is to post it to social media.
In terms of a cadence of posting, I would suggest posting immediately. When you create a blog, tweet it two or three times that day as well as put it on your Google+ and Facebook page at least one time that day, preferably in the morning.
Then, I would focus on what people are talking about. Use a free tool like HootSuite to determine what are people mentioning and what are they discussing. If you’ve got past blogs that address those things then post them again.
We used to post three blogs a day. We’re now doing about one blog a day. Obviously, we’re going to post more than once via social media today.
Post older stuff as well. Post other interesting things from other sources you find on the web. Post something from Jeff or from Convirza for heavens sake. Include that in your cadence.
Two rules. I like social media posting sort of earlier in the day. Then, I also think just having your most recent content is the best for social media.
In terms of a strict rule or cadence, I don’t know that I have one. Those are my general guidelines. Is that a fair answer do you think, Jeff?
Jeff Molander: I think that’s a good answer. I won’t say I’ll counter that, but I think maybe provide a different opinion, perspective, and experience.
It all boils down to my experience about what works. I will say that we have spent a lot of time and energy, and there are a million articles out there telling us this is how to go about promoting your blog posts. Frankly, if any of that stuff really worked very well we wouldn’t still be talking about it years later.
I’m not a big believer in my own business, and the people who I tend to call my clients tend to agree, it’s not about sharing and getting shared. We definitely want to do some of that. I post all my stuff to Facebook. I post my stuff especially to Google+. Ultimately, it boils down to if you’re going to post…
McKay, let me say this, 95%, maybe 98% of the promotion of blog posts out there amounts to this. It’s people saying here’s my latest blog post. You know what? People do it. They’ve always been doing it. They continue to do it. LinkedIn groups suffers from this nonsense of telling everybody that you’ve got a new post.
When you promote your post you’ve got to give people a reason. As an example, write a title that is irresistible, and then share it on social media. Just share the title or the first paragraph. The way that you write your first paragraph has to say to somebody…I’ve had a lot of success with this and I know people who are having success with it.
Your title has got to be good. Read Copyblogger. They will teach you how. In my free training I’ll teach you as well how to write a good title.
McKay knows this. McKay’s having a lot of success with writing the best title that you can, a title that says you’ve never read this before. When you make the promise in your title and your first paragraph delivers by getting exactly to the point and giving away the information that you promised in your title, that never hurts either.
I ask myself less often where should I promote, what’s the cadence, what’s the right timing, and I’m saying to myself if I’m going to promote something on Google+, on Facebook, or in LinkedIn I don’t want to say hey, here’s my latest blog post. Ultimately, everybody’s doing that, and no one is getting any attention with it. You risk a lot when you focus on that.
Great question. I would challenge you to ask an even better question which is how can I make what I post and what I update irresistible in terms of creating curiosity in a reader.
McKay: I totally agree.
Jeff Molander: Sorry, a little bit of a rant there.
McKay: No, that’s not a rant. Here’s the last thing. We’ve got to run. There’s one more question from Greg we’ll answer, and then we’ll be done. He says when teasing to reveal the unknown, should the answer be given in the original blog post or should there be a link to your website to reveal the answer. Teasing to reveal the unknown.
Greg, can you clarify a bit? Do you mean when you tease on social media or when you tease in the title?
Jeff Molander: Probably anywhere.
McKay: Yeah. My answer to what I think you’re asking, Greg, and this is a broader point, in our experience. It’s sad in a way. The content matters. Don’t get me wrong. The blog has to be really good or else you will not get readers long term. Don’t misunderstand. The content has to be really good.
The title is by far the most important element of any blog in my opinion. If your title isn’t good no one will read your really good content. Your title has to be extraordinary, or else the rest of your blog can be Pulitzer prize winning and it won’t matter.
Make sure your title is good. I would focus on that teaser line.
Okay, Greg has clarified. He says the slide mentioned blog in ways that tease. He says when you’re teasing, where do you reveal the answer to the tease. Jeff?
Jeff Molander: The rule I follow is you want to create hunger for the unknown throughout. You want to create hunger for the unknown in your title. You want to create hunger for the unknown in your first paragraph.
Your job, I think, is to never stop. Keep people asking questions. Write in ways that continually build confidence.
Like okay, I got it. Oh, that reminds me, I’ve got another question. That’s what you want from people when they’re reading.
They keep reading, and they go oh, oh, I’ve got it, that sounds important. Okay, cool, got it. I wonder if he’s going to cover this. Oh yeah, he’s covering this, but he didn’t cover that. Oh, look over here, an ultimate guide. Oh, he probably covers it in there, or a tutorial where he actually is promising.
Make the promise to cover it to reveal all of the unknown in your what I call knowledge nugget, your download, your video tutorial, your ultimate guide.
Does that make any sense to you, McKay? Hopefully, it does.
McKay: That makes perfect sense. Yeah, I totally agree. Jeff, I appreciate the time. It was really good stuff.