Andy Crestodina is a globally recognized content marketing influencer, entrepreneur and a top-rated speaker. He is the founder of “Content Jam” which is the largest content marketing conference of Chicago. He is also the proud author of “Content Chemistry: The Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing.”
WEBSITE: Orbit Media
- The right way to approach content marketing
- How to create content that converts
- A step-by-step process to run successful content marketing campaigns
- How influencer collaborations can help you elevate your content game
- Why it is never too late to excel at content marketing
[5:04] Content Marketing Process
[10:00] Andy Talks About His Book
[11:56] How to Come up With Original Content
[18:45] Andy Discusses Orbit Media
[28:50] Advices for Running A Business
[33:05] The Importance of a Mentor
[36:39] Subscriber Lists for Big Brands
[37:55] Challenges in Content Marketing
[41:51] Managing Tasks With a Virtual Assistant
Content marketing can help you generate approximately three times as many leads as traditional marketing and it costs 62% less.
But all content published on the internet is not equal. Some content can go viral and drive tons of traffic to your website. Other content can get lost and forgotten.
Do you want to create content that goes viral? Are there any specific ways to create content that can attract and engage your target audience and encourage conversions?
Andy Crestodina, my guest on this podcast episode, is a top-rated speaker, content creator, and the co-founder of Orbit Media Studios. He frequently speaks at national conferences on marketing topics varying from social media to content, and has also written a book on “Content Chemistry.”
With over 18 years of experience in the marketing space, Andy joined us to help marketers like you, who want to increase conversions with successful content marketing.
So what process do Andy Crestodina and his team follow when a client approaches them for content marketing? How do they help the individual or the brand grow?
The Most Important Pillars of a Successful Content Marketing Campaign
Let’s take a look at the step-by-step process that you should follow to plan and execute a successful content marketing campaign.
Connect with Your Target Audience
The most important aspect that determines the success of any marketing campaign is how well you understand your audience and connect with them.
If you want to create content that goes viral and encourages purchases or conversions, you need to put your target audience first. You can’t ignore the needs, desires, and preferences of your audience if you want to create content that converts.
Andy revealed that the first thing he focuses on when a client approaches him for content marketing is their audience. Analyzing their audience demographics and interests is a top priority.
For this, you need to answer the following:
- What does your audience care about?
- What do they need?
- What are they hoping for?
- What are they afraid of?
- What are their buying triggers?
When it comes to content marketing, you need to optimize your content to provide value to your potential customers. It is also important to ensure that each piece of content you create compels readers to take an action. You may ask them to subscribe to your newsletter, check out a product, or help you get the word out.
Experiment with Content Formats
The majority of marketers stick to content ideas and formats that have worked well for their competitors or themselves in the past.
Andy recommends that you experiment with various types of content. You need to constantly look for valuable ideas for creating engaging content for your blog, social media profiles, and other content distribution channels.
Don’t settle for blog posts, infographics, and videos. Instead, you should take the time to create something more valuable and authentic for your readers. Publish something that is totally original such as an in-depth research study.
Research studies and other in-depth content pieces demand a lot of hard work, analysis, and real-time industry experience. It might be difficult for an individual or a brand to do all of it on their own.
That’s why Andy Crestodina also emphasizes the significance of valuable collaborative content.
I endorse his recommendation. In fact, I have also been focusing on producing a lot of collaborative content in the past few years. This includes expert roundup posts, podcasts, webinars, interviews with other thought leaders in the industry, and so much more.
And I am glad that I took the courage to experiment with all of these formats as it has really helped me grow my business.
When you create any content piece, you need to promote it to get more reach, engagement, and the kind of traction that can increase conversions.
Are you struggling to drive targeted traffic to your blog, improve your content readership, attract prospects, and increase sales?
Though this is not something that many would recommend, Andy Crestodina tells brands and marketers to make the most out of multiple collaborations.
You can create expert roundup posts for your blog or partner with brands to publish valuable case studies, ebooks, and research studies.
You can also approach influential bloggers and editors of top publications for guest posting opportunities. Contributing to relevant and authoritative websites or publications can help you generate tons of engagement on your content.
Similarly, you can also get the top social media influencers in your niche to do a shoutout for your brand. When done right, influencer collaborations can help you increase your brand’s reach, engagement, and conversions significantly.
For instance, the world-famous watch brand, Daniel Wellington, is great at leveraging influencer collaborations to drive tons of engagement and sales with user-generated content.
Thousands of people, including influencers and consumers, take to Instagram to showcase their Daniel Wellington watches through creative posts. The majority of them include the branded hashtag, “#danielwellington.” Many influencers also include affiliate codes to promote the brand and encourage sales.
Here is one such post:
Image via Instagram
You need to realize that you can’t do it all on your own. Building a good network and establishing mutually-beneficial partnerships can help you speed up your growth.
Analyze Your Content Marketing Results
It is extremely important to track, analyze, and measure the results of your content marketing initiatives.
You need to figure out what kind of content resonates the best with your audience and why.
To do so, you should seek answers to the following:
- Did a blog post or video bring a huge spike in traffic?
- Did readers spend more time on a particular piece or type of content?
- Did the content created on a specific topic get more traction on social media?
- Did posts from an influencer lead to a significant number of sales?
This can help you understand whether or not the content you create is attracting and engaging your audience. You should monitor the performance of your content to identify areas that can be improved to generate new leads.
It’s Never Too Late!
Sometimes, you may feel like your competitors have an edge over you because they started leveraging content marketing earlier. Or, perhaps it is too late for you to implement a certain strategy or create a specific type of content.
But that’s not true. It is actually never too late to drive tons of engagement and conversions by creating content that converts.
Andy says that he knows a number of people who jumped into the marketing space quite recently and have already made it big.
Just like them, you can also leverage effective content marketing tactics to increase brand awareness, attract and engage your target audience, and boost conversions. All you need is a little guidance from experts like Andy Crestodina.
Shane: Welcome to the podcast. I am Shane Barker, your host for Shane Barker’s Marketing Madness Podcast. I am thrilled to introduce you all to the leading content marketer and top-rated speaker, Andy Crestodina, who gives us his recipe for successful content marketing campaigns. Andy, who describes himself as, “just an ordinary guy,” (which is untrue, a #fakenews) is the Founder of Orbit Media Studios, an award winning web design and development firm in Chicago. He helps more than a thousand businesses with their effective marketing strategies and marketing voices. So, stay tuned to learn the key ingredients for successful content marketing programs. He will provide you with the magic ingredients you need to succeed in your content marketing campaigns. Hope you guys love Andy as much as I do. Shane: Alright you guys, here we are. We’re with Andy Crestodina, blogger, speaker, content creator. We were just talking about earlier, he’s trying to act like he’s just an all around normal guy except we see him everywhere; we see him at conferences, he has written a book and we're going to go into some heavy detail on some of the fun stuff here in a little bit. But Andy what’s going on, bud, how are you doing? We were just talking about this; you had your conference this week, right? Andy: Yeah two days ago just finished it, Content Jam, 7th year; went well... glad it's done, it’s a big job, but lots of fun, it was great! Shane: Who did you guys have out there? Andy: So... a couple of local people including Adam Bianco, who's awesome. We had Ann Handley as the keynote, Joanna Wiebe, Joel Klettke, and Dana DiTomaso who are all Canadians and all amazing. Dan Shure who does the Experts On The Wire podcast. Great SEO Podcast, he's a Bostonian out there with Dan… with Ann. Ayat Shukairy you might not know her. She's a conversion pro, she's from Michigan. Jessica Best from Kansas City... email expert. Sarah Jo Crawford who's really good at video; she's from Columbia, Missouri. Chris Mercer - Mercer, the famous analytics dude superstar, he's from Austin. Tony Ganau, video pro from Milwaukee. Mary Garrick - good friend from Columbus, Ohio. So, definitely kind of drawn nationally for the presenters, but people from all over too. Shane: That's awesome and it sounds like it's kind of... I also like the fact that you also talk about… where they're from as well, right? You definitely had a nice mix of people from all over the United States, so that’s kind of cool. Andy: Yeah Shane: So, tell me about this. So you've been doing this content thing; you've been in the space, the digital space for what? About 18 years now, how long has it been? Andy: Since January of 2000. And we started building websites. [I’ve] done search and analytics, since it was spelled with a small “a,” prior to the Google product really like late 2000 and early 2001. Then started writing and blogging and teaching and speaking like 10 years ago or so. Maybe 2007 that was the first article I published. So... a while but not the first, right? Like I’m kind of second generation. I know people who started their companies in the 90s and there's a lot of bloggers and social media pros who are much earlier than me. We all could have started sooner, I suppose. Shane: Yeah, yeah we all always feel that way right? If I would've started you know -- I feel like that in real estate; like if I would have bought a house 10 years ago or I tell my mom, hey, if I have done this... you know it's like one of those you always feel like you're never... unless you're the first person, right? Yeah, you’re always like, behind. I just know I can catch up, I just know it. I mean that’s what’s awesome about today with content and creation and just there's so much evolution, so many cool things that are happening out there it's just-- and that's why I always tell clients and you know influencers and people that I work with it's like, they’re like, “Oh, we’re too late for this, it’s too late for that.” It's never too late, you know I don't always-- it isn't I mean you have people that have jumped on the scene a year or two ago and they're big, right? And so it just depends on you know obviously your service and product and how you're going to present it to the world. But that's interesting, it's interesting for sure... because it's so funny; so I've been doing it for about 20 years, and I was in denial for a long time so I would like to say that I'm great at marketing, but I'm terrible at like math. Like I would be a terrible accountant because one time my wife, when I had an office at my house; actually I do have an office in my house, but I have another office as well. But my wife was walking by one day and she goes, “Hey, I heard you talking, you said that you've been doing this for 12 years.” I said, “Yes, at least 10 or 12 years.” And she was like, “It's been 20, like you’re 43 years old.” I’m like, “Oh yeah, who knew? You know like this whole time I’ve been lying.” I was like I added on 8 years within like a 2 minute conversation. So, there we are. Andy: It's just time gets by. Shane: It really does, I'm in denial. It’s one of those things I'm in denial about just my age and I guess anything else but you know my wife is there to keep me straight so shout out to my wife, thank you for everything that you do. So let's talk about content marketing about the different campaigns you run like if you have like a client or something like and you guys are putting together some type of a campaign for your client, what like some of the pillars? How would you go about it if like I was to call you up and say, “Andy I want to be a superstar, I want to be a thought leader, I want to get a new product out there.” Like what are some of the things, like what is you guys’ process for that? Andy: If I had met someone new and they said, “thought leader,” I'd probably go a different direction. And start to ask them about their strongest opinions and any counterintuitive advice they give. Or things they say that are kind of contrarian and you've got to develop that. Anyone who wants to be a thought leader should really kind of stick a flag in the ground and draw a line in the sand like I'm about this, I'm not about that. And you stand for and against things. For a lot of brands, I mean if you just want to connect with an audience, you don't necessarily need tons of stories and strong opinion might sound weird, I think it's totally possible to build a giant audience without telling stories per se. But you basically need to go deep on the audience first. So what do they care about? What do they read? What do they need? What are they hoping for? What are they afraid of? What are their buying triggers? So, ideally you have a set of search-optimized, conversion-optimized sales pages as your foundation, like strong base. The website is going to rank eventually and it's going to leverage human psychology to get people to take action and convert. And past that, when you get to the content program, you write your content marketing mission statement. Audience X gets information Y for benefits Z. That is now set in stone and they know what they're going to talk about, where they’re gonna to talk about it, who they're talking to, why that audience cares. You've got to have conversion-optimized, call-to-action for subscribers on the blogs. So now every visitor is more likely to stay and to take action and stay on your list or to be engaged. And then really the two things that I recommend that are maybe a bit different than what others might say is to go super collaborative in your content which, Shane, you're a pro at. This is how I met you, like it's a total difference right? People that include others in their stuff so it could be roundups, which are excellent you know case study for that. But contributor quotes or like we're doing now like interviews like the deep-dive thing. Then the other tip I recommend is to go big on formats and past the medium quality advice articles into like original research. Like, publish something that's totally original, that makes you the primary source you’re gonna give yourself a big SEO leg up. And going forward, your site has some statistics that are specific to you and that you own. So, those are the kinds of things like mission statements and collaborative content, publishing original research… but you’ve gotta have good base first, right? That foundation of the website platform itself. Shane: I love that, so you know we obviously do a lot of that stuff like our experts roundups and stuff like that and that's one of the things that you know... I was just interviewed by Landon Ray, founder of Ontraport. And one of the things he's like, “Hey, if you could tell whatever you know Shane from 30 years ago or whatever 35 years ago or 4 years ago, I don’t even know, long time ago like you know what would you do differently? What would you tell that Shane?” And for me, it's... I do more of it now like the networking on the expert roundups and where I get to know people and chat obviously we’re doing like podcasts and all the other fun stuff. But it's only in the last probably 5-10 years or maybe it’s the last 7 years probably that I started doing that. I really wish when I was younger, I would have done more of that networking and that kind of thing. It's one of those things that I preach to my son. My son is in the second year of college. And I tell him, “Hey, listen do the networking thing. Like join a fraternity, do these types of things.” Because it's really... you don't understand the value of that, of having those networks, you know? And like I said, I feel like my first 5 or 10 years, I just kind of felt like I can figure it out. Like I've got it, you know I can do this on my own. And it's just such a shallow way of thinking, you know? It's because now, you know, I meet all of these awesome people. And like when you go to events and you speak you go to all this cool stuff and it's fun. And like... the network and you just can't… I mean, that’s what it is. That's like how we get to where we're going. As it literally networking getting to know people you meet other speakers you've got this going on I got that going on. I mean it just doesn't get any better and it's just one of those things. It's the collaboration there is just, to me, phenomenal. Andy: It hits every note. The quality for content gets better because you've got experts in it. You can read by learning your own content that's part of a great day. Your social reach, obviously better because your content was collaborative and other people are involved in they're likely to promote it with you. They're invested in it. Collaborating with content creators is also known as PR, digital PR, SEOs... SERP-savvy PR Right? Why do people link to stuff? It's because they know about it. Why do they know about it? Because they're connected with the creators. Every channel, every aspect, every part of digital, there are no parts of digital even analytics I would argue; my analytic skills came from other people. And analytics, you could do in a dark room, you know? You don’t really need friends and you could be alone, a lone wolf, isolated data dude who's hiding in the mountains. But really, I just mentioned, you know, Chris Mercer, Dana Ditomaso, Charles Farina... this is how I learned analytics, right? These people push my skills so... and then you said it first, fun. Shane: Yeah, when it doesn't feel like a job, you feel blessed, you know? I mean that's like, I don't know, I don't know, I think that's a big part of the whole thing is like I said that networking side I think... it’s, you know, there was something else you said that really kind of resonated with me too, and I’m trying to think... I'll probably remember here in a minute but.... So tell me a little bit about like... You wrote a book, right? Let's go into that a little bit. So, honestly, I haven't read it yet. Andy: So I'm going to send you one if you don’t have it. Shane: Absolutely! Andy: Fifth edition is a 100 pages longer than the last one. This is the illustrated handbook to content marketing so it's got lots of pictures, diagrams. Actually it's a format you’d appreciate; as a tactic, I mean just as a content tactic, I mean the case study itself... take everything you've ever done and everything you know and get published as a lifetime body of work, you have L-B-O-W, your lifetime body of work. Make a list of everything you know. Put in an outline format. Look at where there is gaps... things you haven't published yet. Log into those topics. Then when you get far enough, 80% maybe or 60%, you stop what you're doing. You put it together in a way that fits, right? It all becomes, you know, you fill in the blanks and intros and conclusions and opening sections. So, yeah, I mean it's everything I know in 280 pages. But it's also something that I recommend that people consider doing in their own fields because it opens tons of doors. It's very useful and I get feedback all day every day like, “Wow, thanks so much, this was helpful,” and, “I’m learning about it from my team.” Shane: I love the way that you put that together and how you did that. I think that's so very original because, once again, it's just... it's literally a dissertation of all the stuff that you've learned over, you know, 18-19-20 years, right? In the space. So, I did remember so this is what I thought was really interesting is, one of things you said before is, also having original content right? Some kind of a study or something you've done because there's obviously the value of having that. Then there's always obviously the SEO value of you have people linking to it and all that kind of stuff. So I think that's one of the things that I think people don't--- like let’s touch on that. Like how would you recommend like if I was going to do or somebody or some of their business is going to do some kind of an original study, how do you go about that? Obviously, you know, depends on the company. But what would you recommend for someone to do that? So listen, if you've got to come out with some analytics, right we need some stuff there. So give us a little bit, like an idea of once... if you're going to help a client put together some original content like that how do you go about it? Andy: Well, I did a webinar this morning for BuzzSumo. And during the question period, they said well original content I see how you do in your industry because we publish and surveys and studies. The examples I give myself in my presentation were from things that I've done because I can show the results. They said, “But what about us? I’m in healthcare, what would be original research for us?” And so, I went to ClevelandClinic.com. I put it into Moz, went to the top pages report and looking at the top linked two articles on ClevelandClinic.com and one of the highest ones had been linked to like more than a thousand times. Like... What works better mouthwash or breath mints? Shane: There you go Andy: They just publish this thing and it got like a thousand links. One URL. Well yeah, okay, what about real estate? Okay, Zillow.com. This is real time like right there I'm showing that zillow.com put it into Moz, this is a link Explorer tool, right? Checking the domain. It sees the top link two pages and Zillow.com. It was like, you know, “Americans are struggling to afford mortgages,” or something like that. It's really like a data driven piece. So the idea is that you look around at your industry, you find gaps in information, there's a statistic that doesn't exist, So you publish that statistic, you make it a soundbite, make it a visual, you own it now you're the primary source. Anyone who talks about that topic will link back to you. For us, we're wrapping it up now is the 5th year of our annual blogger survey. Every year, we get a thousand bloggers to answer like 12 or 14 questions. And by looking at the answers, we have data that shows things like how long does it take to write a blog post? The answer is, on average, a blog post takes like 3 hrs 46 minutes to create, something like that, about once a week. Some, randomly, some authority website links to that article because it supports their case right? You'll be telling links to that thing like I don't know like 3-4 times a month. It's all the time, people are constantly referring to that article and the earlier versions of it because it supports what they're saying. When if you ever seen a presentation that didn't have some statistic or study? Have you read an article that didn't have that right? So, the idea is to be that research. Don't just cite someone else's research. You can be the primary source if you just apply a little bit of rigor to something that's way harder than most people don’t do, publish original research and you’ll win the internet for the day. Shane: Yeah, I love that, and that's, you know, so funny because we haven't really, I mean on our side, I haven't really done too much. I cite a lot of other people, right? And I do that... there's multiple reasons why I do that. I do that to cite people and also so I reach out to them and say, “Hey, I just cited you here,” and here we share it. So there's value in that but I like the original side of things that's something that I would have to say if I was lacking in anything that would definitely be something I'm after. Andy: Well, how about this? I'll just make one up, let's say you and I collaborate on a study. We've reached out to 200 content marketers and we ask them, “Do you ever publish roundups? Do you use contributor quotes? Do you do interviews?” These are three more formats for collaborative content. “You do them? Why do you do them?” To increase social shares? That was a benefit you just mentioned. To have something that's linkworthy? The search benefits. And then when that's done, we're going to publish a study it'll be an infographic, It'll be a podcast, really, you know we'll pitch it to different places. It'll get picked up all over. 20% of marketers are using roundups, 16% of marketers are using interviews. Only 5% you know... we're going to have data yeah to back other people's content and we’ll mention it and everyone will benefit. Shane: There we go. So this is the reason why record these kinds of things cuz I’m gonna look at this later. And it’s like, alright guys, what we're going to do… this is awesome. Andy: Yeah, anyone can do it. Shane: Your book and I because I don't want to we-- I kind of skipped over that real quick. That's like literally your... you know it's like your lifetime work. Like, tell me a little bit more about that like how long did it take you to put that together, how many pages is it? Andy: Right now it's 280 pages. This is another weird tactic that, honestly, a lot of the stuff we talk about people, most listeners, probably won't do it. I understand. And I’m not holding anybody accountable to doing everything that, you know, there's millions ways to do it but this is one way. So, you published that like Shanepedia like, you know, everything you know you. You made an outline. You got it all organized. You blogged into it, it's now these 65 blog posts are going to come together to 100 pages you trim it down it takes like 200-300 hours of work maybe at least to get it together. The first time I did it I went to Kinkos, I printed 12 copies, I brought it to Content Marketing World, I handed one to and Ann Handley to Leo and to J. Baird to Tropoleecy, hoping that they would, that I’d get feedback on it. I don't know how many of them read it but then I've self-published it and then it went out of date because it talked about weird old things like Google Authorship and things don't exist anymore. So, I rewrote it in the second edition, 2 years later. A year later, I had to rewrite it again. So now it's the 5th edition so I have an annual book. Shane: Yeah, it's already hard enough to do one and now you're just, I mean, I guess that's the hard part. So it’s so funny, I talked about-- I mean 6 months ago and I was going to be doing-- I was going to write a book about influencer marketing. But you know the issues are... it's just the hard part is like... you just touched on is like it's everything changes so fast, you know? If I start talking about a software or something that's done, like by time the book comes out, everything's it's going to be... there's new ways to do it, right? So it's just, you know, you’ve gotta think of something that's evergreen, that's, you know, has that... what's it... won’t go away and that you know it's going to be kind of hopefully build a legacy through the book or whatever but it's interesting. So each year, you have to… Andy: So each year you got to know about... yeah I'd bet every 2 years so let's say got 20 articles on it, I'm sure you do. You could put those into 3 ebooks. And then you could turn the ebooks into one print on demand book. And then as time goes on, you rewrite some of the old articles. And now, you know, those are going to go into the new version of the book. You know, it's just, in a way, it gets easier every year, you know? So it's not like... it's probably an easier approach than writing a giant book from scratch, like… that sounds horrible. Shane: Yeah, it does I mean and for me, what you have done makes sense to me, right? Because, it's like, I've already got a lot of that content out there. But starting something like from scratch... I'm good at, you know, 800-1000-2000-3000 words. But once we get past that, we run into this this area where Shane like looks around the scrolls and you know he just kind of checks out a little bit. And so I just, you know, it's like trying to focus and trying to, you know, and trying to put the next... I have a good outlines together stuff like that, and I think that makes a lot of sense because that stuff's already out there that can just be tightened up and put into something that could--- the annual thing makes me a little nervous because I haven't even done one but we’ll figure that out. Andy: I mean you’ll watch sales decline and you get feedback from people saying it's old and you'll see a review saying that should have been updated. And you’re like, “Okay fine, for the next print, I’ll update a few sections.” And then your audience will pull you into it but yeah blog into a book and then if it's the format to make sense you could keep making small updates. Version 1.1, it could be smaller; you don't have to rewrite the whole thing every time. I didn't do that. Shane: So tell me about how you started your agency. Like, how did that sort of... Orbit Media like what... how long ago was that that you started... was it 18 years ago? Andy: Yeah, quit the job in 99, December 1999. Started with a friend in January 2000. He's my friend from high school and roommate from college. He was already building websites since the mid-90s and I just wanted to build websites. I was an IT recruiter, was my day job before. I wanted to like use both halves of my brain to do something creative and technical and art and science. It's, you know, I want to make something you know I made it, pointed at it and sai, “I did that.” I was actually recruiter and you don’t have anything to show for your work paycheck right? So, I felt like I changed jobs like yeah. So right after that, I realized like, yep, that's a totally insufficient to just build a website. I have to understand search, I have to understand analytics, got to help people get results. And the internet was really weird in a way back then like now we took on like projects creating CD ROMs and building kiosks for museums and trade shows and we did a lot of flash and you know websites with a skip intro button. You remember, like all the weird stuff... that yeah it was funny times but then we got good at digital. We got better at search. We started to generate more leads... gradually started hiring. Hired a developer, then hired a project manager. And 8 or 9 years ago hired a CEO, so I have a person who runs... an executive who runs the company. So I’ve had my role became more specific and narrow every year basically just like the marketing person. Although I do strategy and some sales work, where I can help clients of course, after we have lots of clients who need to help. But yes... it’s a 4-and-a-half million dollar, 36 person, web design and development firm. Just now, I'm an idiot, just now finally adding more of a digital strategy and optimization services. Yeah really not a marketing company, you know, finally, now, becoming more of a marketing company. Shane: Which is kind of funny, so you guys are still doing websites and still do all that? Andy: It's the main thing we do. We're basically a web design company. We’re extremely good at that and it's very difficult detailed work. I mean... web design... it never ends. There's a million little things that make it succeed or fail. So, it's a tricky industry to be in. It's a low margin industry. There’s so much competition. But we do pretty high end stuff... most of our websites like $50,000, sometimes triple that. For larger, sometimes enterprise, bigger companies. But it takes like super experienced expert people to do. I have 12 full-time developers; I've got 6 designers, 6 project managers. So but this stuff I love. It's like Orbit builds cars and I teach driver's ed. That's how I think of it. I show people how to get results from the stuff that we do. Shane: Yeah, I’ll tell you man, it's so funny because this is why I like having these kinds of conversations. Because I like to stay as far away as I can from website. I just feel like, for me, I’m literally like, somebody comes in and asks, “Do you do websites?” I step back, put my hands up, I’m like, “This is not going to be a good relationship.” Like... just step away, call Andy. Yeah that's me, like I get under the table and I’m like… did they see me... and yeah I... Andy: I love it, actually. I love it. Shane: That's because you guys have been doing it. You've been successful at it. But… once you get the good processes in place and all that kinda stuff… Like anything, it’s good. But I just... had so many and we used to do websites back in the day and we still do websites for a client I've had for a long time. He came to say, “Would you help us with the website?” “Yeah, not a problem” We're not doing $50,000-$100,000 websites because, to me, I just think about like being in the middle of that like is a scary place for me. Like I just want… so many different things that are going on. We can do it but… it's just… one of those things that I wanted to, over time... You realize this is... where do you want to spend your time? And doing websites… I felt like they just never ended. Like it just was never and you got to set those up with the, you know, obviously, the contracts. And let them know... hey we will do, you know, only 10,000 revisions, you know, or whatever it is you know whatever the numbers are right so that they could somehow... yeah give or take a zero or two. But that's what I think is interesting about it is that it's just one of those deals you know just websites... Andy: You know it's funny, it's like so you and I have a ton of overlap in our networks. But when you get into it… people and understand like really how they pay the bills… I’m not sure what it looks like from the outside, but the marketing thought leader, social celebrity... I mean there’s really only a couple of ways that these people make a living. I mean they put butts in seats and run events or they get paid to speak at events. They might do some consulting. And most people do not sell enough books to make a living. It's a very small number. A lot of people try to create an information product, and have an online course but that's not... I mean that's a tough way to go. There's not that many people I know that are very successful with those. But, you know, working at a brand is not a bad way to go, I mean work at an agency, work at a brand. I get it, you know we have a lot of mutual friends that I would kind of recommend they consider like just slide into home plate man you'd be an amazing Marketing Director, VP of Marketing. There’s lots of cool places that need help. Shane: Yeah definitely, you know, I've fought with that as being you know… having an agency. It's like... having an agency, it’s great and it’s fun. You know... in our 20s, you know, so it's obviously there's a lot of stuff we put in place to be able to be where we’re at today. But I also fight with the side of like getting a job, you know? Like actually having a job not really necessarily anymore but it was like... you have these big companies that would come and want to pull you away. You know, like, is that a better way to go? Of course I ask my wife, and my wife’s like, “Sounds like steady money, let's do it!” It was for me, and this is probably more early on, it was just one of those things that I just don't know if I want to do that. The agency thing was always really interesting to me. And I just enjoyed the space… there's always something to learn, right? I feel like there's always so many great people in the space I just I don't know. It's a real lucky... I guess where we're at today... I feel like it's… good things have happened for sure. Andy: Well, agency side marketers learn more faster but they have to do a lot of sales or be involved in sales normally. But you get to touch a lot more challenges. You could talk to a lot more audiences. You get to see a lot more analytics accounts. Brand side marketers have a lot more stability and in many ways. It depends. If they're a startup maybe, maybe not. But they get to go deeper with an audience. They get to know that analytics account and knows that audience that target audience much better. So, I can see it both ways, I mean if you wanna really get into like marketing automation and detailed funnels and predictive analytics, come out to be on the brand side. Because you're going to get a lot of time building middle of funnel content. Try to get to know these people really, really well and touch every one of their pain points. But it's super fun to work with lots of clients because day-to-day, you might talk to like six different brands on eight different challenges and you're like troubleshooting and research and I mean it's super fun. Shane: It is, I think that's what I enjoy about it, it’s just you just never know what you're going to get. I mean it's kind of like my wife just became a nurse about a year ago. She was doing sales and stuff and she said, “I want to be a nurse.” She's a phenomenal nurse... and she really enjoys it, she works with preemie babies but she really enjoyed the ER side of things because you just never know what's going to come through that door and marketing is not quite that crazy. Andy: Like a NICU Nurse? Shane: Yeah NICU nurse, yes she works with little preemie babies. So, my mom was a nurse for 35 years, my aunt was. I mean everybody in my family’s been nurses at one point and my wife just we just said then one day she's like, “I want to be a nurse.” And I was like awesome and then she goes, “Here’s the cost and it’s going to be one year program.” And I said, “Damn, that’s not awesome.” Just kidding. You know it was a good decision for sure. But yeah I think you know that what I'm thinking there is like you know the ER side of things and I love that about marketing is that there's always something new to learn. You know I think some people drive some crazy... and there's so much content and other so much like you know like I was the analogy of drinking out of a water hose right of trying to be able to what do you take in as a business owner? And I think I was interviewed last week and it was one of things like you know it’s easy to be a business owner? And I said, “No” I said I think it's there’s softwares and stuff that I think make it... but it's extremely difficult. Like I can’t imagine like if I was to start a business and I had to learn what I know like I don't have to be everything that I know but the idea of jumping in that space and you know I’ve got to hire the right people and I just it was kind of an interesting time because you can't ignore digital, you can’t ignore online. You know it's kind interesting, it’s scary at the same time. If I was a business owner, I would be a little worried about it just because it's like you know how do you… where do you spend your money? And, you know, I mean it's kind of a crazy... Andy: I can relate with the people that I meet who are struggling with these issues because there's tons of conflicting advice everywhere. I remember at the very beginning I used to think well that's got to be careful with this client taken care of them, they’re a wounded client. They’ve got burned before. Everybody's been burned before I took every brand has had a bad experience, every brand had a bad consultant, they’ve had a vendor that blew them off or a support partner the never called them back where they got and they get so many different people coming at them from so many directions. So yeah, I mean it's about... and the agency side you know it's about trust, it's about caring, it's about humility, it's about following that data and not just taking out... I don't want to be a know it all, I want to be a learn it all. I want to have hypothesis and test them and see what worked. And tell the client, “I believe this will work, let's try this, if it doesn't, we’re gonna do something else.” Shane: Because that's what they're hiring you, right? The whole idea is like, listen, you have some expertise and I don't have and we're going to try some stuff. I think it's all about proper expectation and I think that's where a lot of people miss that mark when it comes to working with clients. But also on a number of different things like I--- for me when I talk to clients, it’s kind of like what you just said is I set the expectation, like, here's the deal, like this is what I think's going to work and this is the reason why because this is what we’ve done with this client, and once again, but I can't guarantee that it's going to work, right? But the idea is we’re going to try a few different things. Because if I just knocked it out of the park on the first one, I would love to tell you that, you know, I do it all the time. But it doesn't happen that way. I mean, you got to figure it out right? I mean there's... we as a strategists also got to look at, okay there's 20, 50, 1,000 different things that we could do for the client. But what do we need to do, right? And so, I think that's… having that proper expectation of like what are your goals? What are we looking at here? And what do we need to do to get you know? I always ask my clients like qualifying questions, obviously. I just say, one of the things I say, “What would be a home run?” Like, “What would you rate in your mind like a big-big win?” And then we can put that up there and say hey, this is what we're shooting for. Yeah it's interesting and like I said, I do enjoy the daily hustle and you know to help businesses too. Once again, I pride myself and you know I've had a lot of people come to me and say this is my last $5000. And I’ll say, “Don't give to me, I mean, don't give that to anybody.” Like, “You really got to look at your business.” But I mean, honestly, I've had people that like got offended like “You're not going take the last of my money?” I said, “No.” Like I don't want to be that person. Like, see what happens is you don't think about the person before me that you gave $100,000 to. You’re pissed off at Shane about your last $5000. Like, no, no. Like, let me take you to dinner or something but keep your money. I always like, I try to offer like some free help and say, listen, let me send you guys in the right direction, right? But I don't want to be the person taking out that last money from you. I mean, it's... because I've always had businesses and I've always bootstrapped my business. Actually, I got an investor twice. But usually I bootstrap my businesses. And for me, I know what that feels like, right? I understand the struggles as a business owner of like, man this is like really nervous about this or nervous about that. And so I always think about that when we work with people. Like, hey, listen, you know, even if they're a big company, it's like you have to respect people and their time. And once again, I think you touched on trust earlier, which I think is a big one that you've got to really build that up. It's important, especially these days, you know? You gotta treat people right, you know? It’s important, not just because of the money, but just because it's like just being good... Andy: And it pays, I mean even if you're… I’m not going to suggest being selfish about this. In fact, just the opposite. I think we should be as generous as possible and content marketing is actually a test of generosity. It's the brand that gives away as much of their helpful useful advice as they can that wins. Content is literally a test of generosity and the brand that gives away the most, best advice will attract the largest audience. But still, there are so many people who need our help that we do need filters and it's hard sometimes. It's a struggle for me. And I have my inbox every day, I do my best but right now I'm looking to have a lot of messages on LinkedIn and in my inbox here... like the brain pick here, can we do a call, I got this idea. But I think of Joe you know, Joe Pulizzi? He worked so hard to give everybody as much love as possible and it all came back in the end it's such a great story. Shane: Yeah, I think that's a thing it's so funny because I remember when I started writing and started putting some stuff out that we were doing and people were like, “Why would you do that, like why would you tell everybody your secrets?” I'm like, “Why would I not?” Like you look at a different way like I mean literally I tell people everything like whatever you ask you said, “Hey Shane, how are you making money?” I would tell you how I was doing it I would give you the equation and I'd send you a PDF on how to do it. Like, I'm just not like, I look at it like there's business for everybody. Like, to me, I don't really have competitors because I don't look at people's competitors. I look at more of the collaboration side of things, right? Like partnerships and what can we do to help each other out? I just think when I started doing that when I write in that content, I did look at is like a gift because I felt like that's what people ask me like, “Well, how do I start doing this influencer thing, like, hire an agency?” And like I write about it all the time, I literally have hundreds of articles where you could go and you get enough information to be dangerous. At least have a good foundation before you jump into this thing and you go pay somebody a lot of money. Like I don't know I just there's so much information I think that that's a good thing and a bad thing, right? You know good thing is to say that there's you can really find anything you have any course you can take on anything on how to build purple elephants in your backyard. I mean, there's a course on that I'm sure. I’m not sure if it's making a lot of money, but it's there. Andy: What I would tell people and the listeners and viewers since it is about trust and some people you'll get 10x or 50x the value if you find someone. You find the Shane or you find that whoever that helped you with that article that day. I don't think people should be too hesitant and to add themselves to that list. Jump on people’s list, get the next 5 emails. See what you get. Their welcome series is probably going to give you their best stuff already. And if you get bored or tired or you don't, you find you didn't open five in a row, just get off the list. We should all be really studying like it's finals week and downloading that ebook. And I mean people are... they're really trying hard it's like that that's the purpose of this printed book right? I feel like you could ask me these questions but I already did kind of put it all together. So when you find someone that you trust. I hope that people limiting their own knowledge resisting that call-to-action sign up because that person that you liked just now what is trying to give you all their best. Shane: Yeah it is and it's, you know, as we talk about that it's almost like and this is some... another thing that I did that interview last week and they said when you were younger, it was one thing was the networking but it was also looking, finding a mentor or finding somebody to follow, right? And I think that was something and that's kind of what you're touching on is like if you have somebody that you're like... they put out great content they're putting together an ebook and stuff for you that is literally could be hundreds of hours, could be thousands of dollars. Hundreds of thousands of dollars that they put into this to be successful to figure out the winning equations so that you can take that like... that's crazy, if you really think about it. I mean, because back in the day it was like, “Hey, if I'm successful, you know, I'm going to kind of hold it close to my chest. I can't tell anybody because, I mean, someone might steal my ideas.” And now it's like, “Hey this works, like the value and that of like these groups, or whatever, what are they, master groups or what have you…” Andy: Masterminds groups. Shane: Masterminds groups, I mean that's to me it's like but that's awesome, man. I mean except I belong like 30 of them and it's hard to keep up with all of them. But other than that, but other than the fact that I, you know, I do chip in every once in a while. But I think it's just awesome the amount of content out there is awesome and once again, I think you touched on it, it’s like if you can find that person that you really enjoy, like follow them. There's no reason not to, they're going to give you their best stuff. Andy: Yeah and if you get bored or if it's bad or there were three in a row that sucked for you, and it's not the right timing or that's not your problem today, just unfollow, unsubscribe. I mean it's not like no one's going to get offended, don't feel bad. I think we should be very quick to jump on and jump off lists whatever is just... but when you find that thing you know you're going to miss that opportunity if you don't ask for a little bit more of it. Shane: So and I will tell the audience that if you unsubscribe from me, I will follow you; I will find you so just so I don't ever unsubscribe. I’m just kidding. Andy: I did that the very beginning actually what a tiny list, I watched my unsubs and I went to see if there was... Actually, my hard bounces, I would find the people whose email bounced because they changed jobs. Because I had a tiny list. Like actually, I think it's really interesting topic like marketing for tiny brands. They have special opportunities that can be super human, like super personal and human and they can create VIP experiences. Like there's a bunch of little tactics I like for tiny brands and not known brands. But one that I did was look at the hard bounces if those people look like there are some people you still want in your network, make sure you’re connected on LinkedIn. If you can connect on LinkedIn and then say, “Thanks” say, “Hey, by the way, I noticed that my email’s not getting through to you anymore. And if you still want to get it…” They say yes, you know, you retained a subscriber. You started a conversation if you take it somewhere it's not creepy, it’s not supposed to be. Shane: It's creepy when you go knock on the door and I quit doing that because I was that you know this is it was taken up so much time you got to go to their house and you got to find out where their kids go to school. You know I mean you've got to do all this research. It just gets weird, it’s super awkward but we're not doing that anymore so we're good. Andy: Influencer marketing, it's a... Shane: Yeah that's how I became an influencer. I was like, “You're going to follow me or I'm going to follow you so how about that? How about that for a threat?” Yeah so I think that it's funny. So back in the day was like when I remember thinking like the more subscribers you had the better, right? And that was at a client that we got to shoot at it we had 100,000 email subscribers and I was like, “Oh my God, this is the best thing since sliced bread.” But what I didn't realize is that to segment that and you have like... you just can't send out 100,000 emails... this was in the beginning. When I was doing this and it's just one of those deals it's like, it’s crazy. It's like it's almost an issue if you have that many; like it's I think it's better to have the smaller list the more intimate list. Like I do encourage people like hey you want to get off my list like that's totally cool. Like I like to me, like we just didn't it doesn't like try to force a relationship. It just doesn't make sense to add them on LinkedIn or like a little note in the kind of the same things you did. But for me, it was like, hey for whatever reason, unless there was somebody that was like, oh that's somebody I really need to keep in contact with. Because then I want to know like, “Hey, why do you not want to be with me?” Like I thought we were friends and stuff I was that we're going to have a family together there you are you’re unsubscribing. Andy: This is something someone told me so let's say this is not for small brands. It's for bigger brands where you've got thousands of subscribers and your call-to-action or website says, “Join the 2,000 or 20,000 people who subscribe to this newsletter.” And you, you’re hesitant to do a list hygiene exercise and remove your inactives because you don't want that number to change. My friend, I think it was Jessica Best who told me this, you can change to say, “Join the 20,000 people who have subscribed to this email.” That language sort of says like they're not subscribed now but joining 20,000 people who subscribed at one time. It's like, a little tweak, it's kind of funny. It's not the most, I mean, it's like a huge impact. But yeah there's no you don't want to send email to someone who doesn't want it. There’s no value sending emails to people that don't want it. So, just... it's far more worthwhile to just clean the list, scrub it, get the 5,000 off there, It’s better for your deliverability. It's better for the internet, I mean yeah it's that there's no use in that. Shane: Yeah, I mean go and then go find somebody that you like better that's going to test them then I mean why not? So, in your view what you think they like the biggest challenges in content marketing? Like you guys are obviously doing have it because you obviously have a content… I mean, it was you see everywhere but like when you think of the challenges are these days I can I guess for yourself and your company but also maybe you know you have a new company that's coming in and like what are the challenges you see? Andy: Well for me, I have trouble taking off that last delegating I don't have a VA so I'm doing all my own inbox and social and calendar and that's a big challenge for me, this is where I am right now. I'm really bad at certain types of tasks and I should just delegate those I need to call Jess that don't panic management or do the I need to figure it out for my clients. I think that they just kind of like I think like I don't exercise or go to a health club or anything but it's that kind of thing like the commitment to saying I'm going to do it and do it the right thing and be careful in the kitchen and work hard in the gym you know that approach to content they don't have a coach there's no one who's going to hold them accountable it's like a discretionary time you know. I can blow it off and I don't get trouble. So one of the things if you do have that call-to-action on your website and you have a small list and you did tell them you're going to send them something every 2 weeks, I think that will help you stay committed. But I don't think people need to go overboard with the frequency it's got to be monthly at least whatever it is you're doing but I highly recommend going solo at the most I've ever published my highest frequency in all these years has been bi-weekly so I do. I can write I have the best piece of content on the internet for whatever topic every 2 weeks that's the best I can do. I can't do it more than that you know that’s why frequencies up the crackdown the frequency a little bit but keep the consistency. Spend an extra 2-3-4 hours per piece than your competitors and get help on editing and images delegate as much of their creation and promotion and social scheduling. Delegate as much of the promotion creation process you can so that you stay close to your audience that you stay close to the headlines. The inspiration, and the ideation and the structure and then the machine is turned on now keep it on, start early go far stay long, that's the job. Shane: So here's the deal so, it's funny, so I have you know that I teach a class at UCLA. And I want to... influencer marketing and how to be an influencer and like personal branding type of course I teach. But the reason I’m telling you that is one of the things that I show my students is my first blog post and it was literally terrible. I didn't write it in crayon but I felt like I wrote it in crayon. I was sipping on like a juice cup and it was just bad it was really it was. But I have that on my blog and I let him read it like a guy that's terrible, but I started right? I mean it's like you got to start somewhere like now the concept but now I've got a team and it's a different deal. But back then it's like you just like you said the gym, you got to commit yourself and it doesn't need to be epic. I think people get caught up on the... I read this... it has to be as good as this. I've got to do this... get started, right? Like get out there and just start producing something. It's going to be better than any big YouTube star. Their first video was crap, I mean you know I can tell you that it's just those things you get more out of... it's internal stuff. We get nervous about like putting myself out there whatever it is. It's like, hey man you just got to do it and I think you know the quality is going to come over time. But you've got to get started you know you've got to start building that. Andy: Yeah, it's initiative so you've got to break down that filter that stops you from jumping in. I've got an idea let me start writing it. I will put down headlines and first paragraphs and... have hundreds of dozens literally just 60 or 80 partially written pieces and then I'm in the psychology of just like... initiative. I mean I’m bias toward action. Going to start making something and then when you get to that... the halfway point or it's coming along and you've been adding to it maybe for a couple of days or here and there, then you have to switch to this psychology of completion, right? I'm going to stay in this thing, I'm going to do that to serve my phone and then turnoff notifications. And I'm going to plough, keep going to keep going just to every half hour. It's going to be better, every 20 minutes are going to see improvement steeper and that I try to use this like different psychologies where I've switched in different modes of motivation and just stay at it. Shane: Yeah, I think that's important. Turning off the notifications is probably key right and grinding it out. I mean that's how things don't get finished, right? When you’ve got, of course, I’ve got 15,000 tabs open and I'm like 10% on everything. And then at the end of the day, I’m like I don't really feel like I did tons today, you know? Probably more than most people but still feeling like I'm a little, little just I don't get that it's like anything which is never a fun thing. So, I did want to touch on real quick about the email thing so I did I'm just going to give you my two cents on this. I actually just hired a personal assistant. A PA to take on my emails which is a scary step and let me give a shout out to Ian. That's the guy that I hired and he's doing an awesome job, you know? It was... a huge step for me as I was getting bogged down too with emails, you know? The more we write, the more the stuff gets out there and more this and there's more people inquiring, more people asking. And so, he's been working with me... I've been working with [him] the most... an hour and a half a day for about 2 months. And we're getting... we've got a good location still so…. I just figure out like, hey, what is stuff that I have to answer a lot of stuff that he can answer as me and then make sure he facilitates it. It's a lot of work right that just, you know? I have to look at like what are the... I can't have somebody go and speak on stage for me right, I can't have somebody come and do a podcast interview as me right now. I mean, maybe we can clone me over time. But not right now, we haven't figured it out. My wife’s like, “I do not want two of you.” I'm like, okay, but we will figure that out I'm in the small details. But you know, that's what I had to look at... was like, “What am I looking at?” Like what do I have to do and what is stuff that can be delegated? And because I... when I was younger, I like I said, I wasn't a huge delegator. I was like, I can take this on in, you know, the 20 hours a day didn't usually end too well for me. Because it's like, you know, I was young and I could take on anything. And then the delegation thing happened and then it's like well, you know, I’m always nervous about how you're going to do as good a job as I would. And now, we have obviously processes in place, and it's better. But I just literally... 2 months ago, I had someone take on my emails and it's been like I said it's a lot of training obviously. I've been doing a lot of that. Andy: How much of your time, how many hours a week is that saving you? Shane: I would say, right now, it's probably saving me at least 3 or 4 hours... I mean, he's probably 70%. I mean, this thing is... because there's... I mean, there's, you know, we're putting templates together on how I answer some emails. And there's just some stuff that just is... really, my goal of this whole thing, in fact, you just start doing this in the mornings. I wake up say it's 5:30 or some drinking my coffee and he will have on a Google Drive doc. He has exactly all of my interviews... who I'm interviewing, who was interviewing me, where I need to be, my flight, whatever... everything on there and then it talks about like for years and weeks and questions for, you know, the podcast. Well now, it has a link to that. Has everything right there for me and I want him to go through my emails and go through the stuff that I don't need to see, right? So, I probably should unsubscribe. But, you know, that's what I'm doing is... but in folders. Now I remember leaving folders that we don't need and it was... and I felt bad for the guy because jumping into my email is like... I've never thought a while there. But I'm assuming there's some parallels to like maybe you have a little blood on yourself and the bear comes up and he's really hungry that might have been better for Ian once again, shout out to my buddy Ian, he’s probably in my emails right now answering as I'm on a podcast, God Bless America. So yeah, it was it was a huge step for me and it's a lot of trust too you know I got home and voice is going to they're all kinds of stuff I mean it's, you know, it's the whole Shane bang. So yeah, it's, you know, I got really lucky. I did a lot of interviewing for the position but, you know, you can't go wrong as you stare at those emails and mine are getting answered and my answer right here. Andy: I’m jealous! Shane: Yeah well one day for you. Andy: I know that no way I'm going to get there, I would love a few extra hours a week. Shane: I’m telling you, it's the training things. I’ll tell you, the key for me in the way that we do it is, I do video trainings with him like this and Zoom. We recorded and then what I do is I download the recording, I send it to him and I have him take notes on what we talked about. The high level stuff that we talked about what's in the Google Drive docs so that it's searchable and there we go... we have a copy of the recordings with video and audio if he wants to put it in Dropbox. So we have that. He takes some notes on it so that it's searchable and then he can, you know, have any other questions. So it's this continuous training and it's been, you know, we've got I don't even how... probably 60 videos now that we've done on it. How do you answer this and what's going on here and how do you know…? I mean, he is also helping with sales. I am not saying this to brag, I'm the only sales person for my company. [We] have a 31 person team so, you know, there's a little bit [of a] responsibility here, right? So I got to keep the, you know, the kids got to eat, you know? I guess if I go... yeah feed them, I don't even know it's a new thing I guess yeah but it's you know whatever. So now it's like uh, you know I'm the only sales person. And so when these leads come in now, I'm, you know... we process is but we're filtering through those things. And now he knows how to answer them and get him to a point when now he warrants me spending some time with him because there are a potential serious client. Not somebody that has a dream, an idea which is going to email me also help me out. But it's, you know, the person has actually got something in place and they're ready to, you know, up and on and sales come in and hey now, we can take to that next level. Andy: Yeah, good for you and I've read a book about this I read Chris Tucker's book, I read Jesse Draper’s book. I'm right behind you know followed me and like in 6 months and then kick my ass if I haven't done it yet. Shane: No I don't well if I know if I'm reading my book than you're going to have to I mean you know it gets weird you know I'm your house, I already told you, really wants stuff in the past which I got a problem I should admitted that I'm recording but anyway we're going to do it that's it, let’s hear if you see me you're going to like him and he said he actually means here I'll ask about his book and then we'll both be fine because if you get we know he hasn't his book yet Awesome and thank you so much for coming on the podcast bud and I'm sure we'll be in touch real soon. Andy: This is great thanks; keep in touch anything, any time, you name it. I'm happy to help. Shane: That’s the plan brother, we'll talk soon Andy: Take it easy Shane: Okay, bye.