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Kelly: Okay, so let’s talk about, you know, it’s 2018 and we have all heard content is king, and blogs are super important. But now I feel like the talk has changed, like the discussion has changed a little bit, especially with Facebook not really liking outside links. So, in today’s world that we live in today, why is blogging so important if it’s still … convince us. Is it still important? I’m assuming yes, but why is it so important?
Mike: Well, you know, people would disagree with me, but I love this question. In fact, I was doing a presentation for 3D MBA this morning and Jimmy Jay asked pretty much the exact same question. Why should I write, particularly from a small business, and the first answer I’ve got to give you is, go to Google, do a search on Google of something that’s related to your business, and what are the top 10 results? They’re text pages. Every single one of them, they’re text pages. And that’s what your competition is doing. So if you’re not doing it, if you’re not creating content, with its blog post or FAQs, or articles, or white paper, whatever the case might be, if you’re not creating that content, you’re not going to be in that list and your competitors are, and they’re going to get business that could be rightfully yours.
Kelly: So obviously, yes. Blogging is so important, but the thing is first of all, I don’t know about all of you, but I know that it works when I do it. I just, it’s really time-consuming, and I think that that’s a struggle for a lot of us. I’m not a professional writer. I’d rather talk. All day long, I’ll talk about whatever you want, but writing? What are some, what are these ten ways, you know? What’s the secret, Mike?
Amanda: What is the secret, Mike?
Mike: Okay, well. The secret. I don’t know if there’s ten ways. But here’s the thing. Most people don’t like to write. I’m weird in that way. I really enjoy writing, I look forward to the time that I have on the weekends. See, I’ve got two little girls. And I love my little girls to death.
Amanda: And they’re adorable.
Mike: When they go to sleep, it’s a blessing.
Mike: But even the weekend, because that’s my time, I usually have three hours each afternoon, six hours, to write. But I know not everybody else likes that. But there’s a couple things here. First of all, nobody is born blogging. Right? Okay, maybe I might have been born blogging. But nobody else is born writing and blogging and creating content in that way. It’s something you have to learn, it’s something you have to practice at, to get used to. You two are wonderful examples. If I could do a metaphor, your first chatbot, was it amazing?
Kelly: Uh, yeah, it was.
Amanda: No. No. No. It wasn’t.
Mike: Yeah. Probably basic. It probably took you a long time to figure out okay, how’s this all gonna work.
Kelly: And really a lot of really boring YouTube videos!
Amanda: Yeah. Yeah. You know what? You nailed it there.
Mike: And if you keep doing that-
Kelly: It gets easier.
Mike: Now you’re building four, five, six bots-
Kelly: You’re building six bots half an hour before your show starts.
Mike: That’s right. So if you blogged as much as I did, and still do, you could create a blog post in 30 minutes. I could create a blog post in 15 minutes.
Kelly: How often are you blogging? How many blogs do you do in a week?
Mike: Well, here’s the thing. I’m to the point where I don’t have to publish every week any more. I still write every single weekend but when I write, I’m focused on creating epic content which we will get to in a little bit. I’m focused on creating blog content that’s 5000 words and up. That’s what I did Sunday afternoon for fun, was write 5000 words on email marketing. Because I like that.
Kelly: I mean, I’ve done blogs for fun, so I get it.
Mike: I know you guys did it. You can relate. That’s why this is “The Show For Marketers…
Amanda: …Who Are Bored Of Marketing Shows.”
Kelly: Yeah, blah blah blah blah.
Mike: Blah blah blah blah. So, so there’s that. There’s the … I want people to understand that even if you don’t like to blog, even if you think you’re not good at blogging, if you recognize the potential, and you want to try, you can get there. It takes time, and practice, and that’s it. That’s all there is to it.
Kelly: So that guide that you’re giving away, do you give ideas? Topic ideas, or how to come up with topic ideas? I feel like if you have just some topics … for me, for instance, I do podcasting and blogging, and I’ll have just a Google document where every time I get an idea, I’ll just go put it on that list. And then I’ll go and run through the list, and be like all right, I kind of feel like talking about this, I’m inspired to write about this. Is there a way, any advice you can give for coming up with those ideas? Because I think a lot of it is that first initial block of what the heck am I gonna write about.
Mike: Right. Well, the planner has places for you to brainstorm, and I’ve got articles on my site that will help people come up with okay, where do I get ideas. But my system for tracking ideas is very similar to yours. I actually don’t like using a Google doc or a Word doc, because it’s very limited to that specific doc. You’ve got to go through the whole thing to get to stuff and so on. I like using Evernote or Google Keep, or Apple Notes, something like that. An actual note-taking app that exists on all your devices. That way when I’m in the car or I’m downstairs.
Kelly: No, but seriously, you do have to … because I do a lot of consulting or training on Facebook Lives. Like, what do I talk about is a big thing that keeps people from doing live, and I think that’s just across the board in content. No matter what the medium, it’s-
Mike: To your point of what you were just talking about, Stephanie Liu, from “Lights, Camera, Live”, she gives people this formula for creating content for Facebook Live. She says take a piece of paper, fold it in half. On one side, list your top ten FAQs, and each one of those is a segment, and on the right side, list your top ten things that your customers should know but maybe aren’t asking. Each one of those is a show, and frankly the same thing works for blog content.
Mike: What are the top ten questions that I get about blogging? Well, that’s ten blog posts, right there.
Kelly: That’s the easy stuff, get it out.
Amanda: What are the top ten questions you get asked about blogging?
Kelly: That’s a great question.
Mike: Top ten questions.
Kelly: I would say number one is what are the top ten questions you get about blogging?
Mike: See? That’s right. And it just, it’s a little inception going on right there.
Amanda: Oh no, I still want to know though.
Kelly: She really does want to know.
Mike: She really wants to know.
Kelly: It’s really hard to see when we’re serious.
Mike: Well, okay, I don’t know about ten, but we’ve got, how long does it take to write a blog post? How long should a blog post be? How often should I publish a blog post? How do I promote a blog post? What platform should I put my blogs on?
Kelly: So once you have the topics down, I think that’s maybe one of the hardest things, but then the other one perhaps has to do with time. Time is hard. I feel like I’m already to my limit. And I know all these things are important, so do you have any advice for someone like me, who literally I don’t have a lot of time? But I know I want to do it-
Mike: I have lots of advice for someone like you.
Amanda: I don’t think we have enough time on this show. That would be the self-help show after this.
Kelly: We’re gonna be done in 20 minutes, I don’t know.
Mike: I don’t know.
Kelly: Oh, you’re killing me.
Mike: Yeah, so. Okay, first. First really, really big tip. Once you already have a system, whether using Evernote or Google Docs, it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re tracking those ideas, that’s what’s important. Once you have that, focus on writing articles that you already know everything in your brain. And I meant, that might sound obvious, but a lot of people end up spending a lot of time trying to create research papers.
Kelly: Yeah, I agree.
Mike: As blog posts. And they spend hours poring over all these other sites and they’re citing references, and they’re getting it all mixed up in their head, and they’re spending all this time, and then they feel like it’s not perfect. And then they start to get inferiority complexes, all these other people are writing great content, and who am I, I’m just standing on the shoulders of giants, and I’m never gonna publish it. That’s a big waste of time. In the time that you took to do all that stuff, I wrote eight blog posts, and I published them and got them out. No joke, so … if I’m gonna write an average blog post, an average blog post is around 1250 words, if I’m gonna write an average blog post, it takes me an hour.
Kelly: Yeah. Yeah, I mean that seems like about right once you get it-
Mike: And that’s from what’s in my mind. You know, I’m teaching. Now, sometimes it goes longer. Sometimes if I’m teaching how to do something, I’m gonna walk myself through it and take screenshots and that sort of thing. So that takes some time, and I know that from experience, so I’m gonna allow myself some extra time to get that particular post done. But if I’m teaching you this, right now, it’s all in my head, obviously, so I can just put that on paper and share it with you. So that in and of itself is a huge time-saving tip, because it kind of frees us from having to do the research paper approach.
Mike: In content.
Kelly: You give yourself permission just to be yourself.
Mike: Yeah. And our audience doesn’t want the research paper approach.
Amanda: Right. Yes, we agree with that.
Kelly: Yeah, because it’s boring, and it cuts across all mediums. It’s boring when you’re just reciting like you’re a professor at some college or something, you know?
Kelly: It wasn’t fun in college and it’s not fun now. So let’s try to mix it up. And that leads me to just another tip that I’ve learned along the way. Not so much the blogging, although I do this with blogging. Actually I do it with blogging but I actually learned this from doing podcasting, is I always wrote my podcast notes before I podcast but I wrote them like a blog, just so it would already be done, right?
Mike: Yup, yup.
Kelly: So all of my blogs are written as if I’m talking. They are literally conversational. And I have found that when I switched over to that, I’m not saying it works for everyone, but when I switched over to that, my readership went up. Because I think people hear me in their brain, and so they’re like, “Oh, Kelly’s talking to me”. So I think maybe the tip is not so much do that, but find the way that’s easiest for you to write. If it’s easier for you to write in that sense that I am talking, this is how I talk, so I actually use slang words that I would normally use when I write. And some people are like, well, that’s not very professional. But have you not seen anything I do? This is who I am. If you don’t like it, tough, right?
Amanda: This is Kelly.
Mike: Yeah, I mean in blogging, we call that voice. Right? What is your voice? Is it gonna be fun, is it gonna be professional, is it gonna be strict-ict-ict or is it gonna be kind of loosey-goosey with grammar rules and that sort of thing? In fact, that’s one of the things I tell people all the time. You can break all the rules of grammar as long as you do it on purpose.
Kelly: So we had another question that came up from Tony. Hold on, Tony, let me find your question. He asked, What about a blog versus a vlog? And that’s a great question.
Kelly: Because I know me, I’m more of a vlogger, I like to talk on video. So is there one that’s better than another, or is there a way to kind of marry the two?
Mike: Oh, I love that, and that was actually going to be the second way to get over the issue some of us have creating content versus just understanding that you’ll get better over time. But there are people out there, I get it, that they just are not going to type. They’re not going to write, they have no interest in doing it, and they’re not going to do it. I understand that. So, using video is a great compromise. And there’s two different approaches you could do. You could use the video, you could use video to create blog content, or you could vlog, as Tony is saying, which means you’re just creating video content and that’s it. And is one better than the other? Not necessarily. On its face, they both have pros and cons. A lot of it just depends on your business-
Kelly: Your goals.
Mike: And your audience, and yeah, your goals. You know, what is the video gonna look like? What’s the format gonna be? That sort of thing. Because I’ll tell you, one of the best things you can do is create what I call epic content, and that’s five, ten thousand, fifteen thousand words, and for those of you who don’t like to blog-
Kelly: That’s a lot of words. I mean, that’s, fifteen thousand words-
Mike: That’s a lot of words, oh my gosh!
Amanda: I’m not ready!
Kelly: I think I just had-
Mike: We’ve been talking for 45 minutes, and I know this isn’t necessarily epic content that we’re creating right here, but the fact is we’ve been talking for 45 minutes. We’ve created ten thousand words of content already today.
Amanda: It’s true.
Kelly: That’s a great point. And you can use services like Rev, I know Rev is one of the most popular services for transcription, and it’s a dollar a minute for transcription or something like that. And I’ve done that with my blogs, especially if I have interviews that go on forever and I don’t want to sit there and type them all out, is get the transcription, put those on your blogs. Because I was literally just in a Facebook group, I’m not sure if it was the Society or somewhere. And all of these people are like I hate listening to podcasts without notes, because I just want to be able to scan it sometimes, right? And I think, so that goes to giving people options.
And then based off how they like to take in their information, but also, I’m pretty sure Google likes those words, right? Going back to the very first thing that you said, Google likes the words. So take the extra step if you are gonna do a vlog or a podcast, put it on your website, but also get the transcription.
Mike: Yeah. And that interview format is awesome. You can bring a guest on the show, you can have some questions lined up in advance, and focus on getting them to share with you their insights. And then you turn that into website content. I mean, when I interviewed Guy Kawasaki a couple of years ago, you better believe that got onto the blog. Oh, yeah.
Kelly: Oh, yeah.
Amanda: Well, Kelly, Kelly, I have a challenge for us. You can predict what I’m gonna challenge you on.
Kelly: Ugh, we don’t have time to create a blog.
Amanda: We are going to take this video and we are going to send it to Rev.com. We’re going to get it transcribed. And we are going to take that content and we are going to create a blog out of this.
Kelly: Oh, that leads me to another question, actually. Can we just put it on Medium if we don’t really want to build … can we talk about that for a minute?
Mike: Let’s talk about that.
Amanda: Let’s talk about that for a minute.
Mike: Marketers, businesses, you have to own your content. You have to own it. It’s your asset. It’s so important. And if you, if all of your content exists on YouTube and Medium, you don’t own it. It’s not yours. It could go away tomorrow.
Kelly: Yeah, that’s a great point.
Amanda: That is a really, really, really good point there, Mike.
Kelly: But here’s the thing is, I mean I don’t know how to do this because I’m not into this techie stuff, but I build blogs.
Amanda: [sarcastically] She’s not into the techie stuff.
Kelly: No, but I’ll see a blog that seems like it’s hosted on a website but it’s actually Medium. How does that even work?
Mike: Yeah, there’s subscription services with Medium specifically. It’s kind of like a professional version of WordPress, right, where you can pay to have that content there, but you’re still paying them to have their content on their servers. And they’re still in control of their service.
Kelly: Makes sense.
Mike: Even if you feel like your relationship with Medium is solid, they’ll never gonna do anything to hurt you, it doesn’t mean that Medium as a business is going to be around tomorrow. And let me tell you a story about four million bloggers. Four million bloggers that were using a service called Posterous. Do you guys remember Posterous?
Mike: Yeah, nobody else does either, because they were bought. Who bought them? I want to say eight years ago, and then a couple of years later, they shut them down. Four million people lost their blogs.
Mike: The entire blogs. Now most of them were like Tumblr people, right, where they’re just doing it for fun, and okay whatever, I lost my Posterous. But not everybody.
Amanda: Oh my gosh.
Mike: Building on rented property.
Kelly: No, no, it’s a great point.
Mike: It’s the same thing with social media, you don’t want to rely on just Facebook, and then when Facebook changes things, now you’re screwed. You want to have a presence in other networks. The same thing with your blog content and your video content. It’s not that hard to have a self-hosted WordPress site.
Mike: With video content, I get that YouTube is the biggest player in town, so you’re going to be pushing it all up there, but you can take some extra steps. You can either store an offloaded copy of your videos-
Mike: Or you can have a second service like Wistia or something like that. So that at least it’s someplace else.
Kelly: Something that’s backed up. Yeah. For sure.
Mike: Right. And even if god forbid, all of your videos were gone tomorrow, you’d still have them some place, and you could recreate the contents without having to recreate the videos, which we know is never going to happen.
Kelly: And just as a fun fact, Vimeo recently came out with a new feature with their pro accounts, that if you upload a video to Vimeo, you have the option to natively upload it from their account to Facebook and YouTube.
Kelly: Save yourself some time. And there you go. Fun fact-
Mike: Good thing you’re not technically into this stuff.
Amanda: Yeah, yeah.
Kelly: Totally not. Totally not. I’ve used social media for not that technical crap. So, obviously, my Canadian counterpart is a little nervous today with my feistiness.
Amanda: Yeah, a little bit, a little bit.
Kelly: Don’t be scared.
Amanda: I want to get off this rollercoaster. So I’m just going to pause again, and I think we need to give away some Starbucks gift cards.
Kelly: Yeah, let’s do it!
Amanda: Yeah, let’s do it.
Kelly: Who we giving a gift card away to, Amanda?
Mike: You know, I could use some Starbucks right now.
Kelly: Nah, you didn’t give us any Aggripulse stuff, so never mind.
Amanda: Wait, wait, okay, Kelly, you’re saying Aggripulse, Mike, is it AgoraPulse?
Mike: It’s Agora-Pulse.
Mike: Agora is Greek for gathering place-
Kelly: Now this is a good lesson for me to have.
Mike: Pulse, like your heart, the heartbeat, the throbbing of blood through your veins, gathering together in one place. Good?
Amanda: I’m giggling, I’m sorry.
Kelly: Amanda, why don’t you figure out who we’re going to give this away, and Mike, why don’t you explain to me the benefits of AggriPulse-
Kelly: A-gor-a. Why can’t I get it?
Mike: We’re gonna have to work on this.
Kelly: Yeah, we do. Because I’m actually really interested in knowing the benefits of this company. A-gor-a. Thank you, a visual, that helped actually.
Kelly: AgoraPulse. What are the main benefits that makes it stand out? In terms, for someone like me, and obviously a lot of our viewers, who are people who manage a lot of accounts for clients and stuff, what are some of the benefits of that product? And I’m really asking this selfishly, because I am very curious myself.
Mike: That’s actually a perfect segway into this, because AgoraPulse is specifically designed for agencies. It’s one of the only tools that’s designed for agencies. It’s designed for marketers, right. Hootsuite, you’ve got your free plan, and you’ve got your pro plans, and you’ve got your enterprise plans, so they’re all over the place. Buffer’s all about scheduling, you can’t do any monitoring in Buffer. Strauss Social is probably the most comparable tool to Agorapulse in that they’ve got all the reporting and all the scheduling and everything, but that’s where Agorapulse is positioned, to help marketers, to help agencies. And it’s designed to help you manage up to a couple hundred profiles at once.
Mike: Which yeah, I’m like, I don’t want to do that.
Kelly: That’s much bigger than me, I’m not there. I’ve got seven clients, so-
Mike: Exactly. Which is more than you, more than a couple. So you need a tool that can easily, elegantly, handle the back and forth in publishing and grouping and team access and permissions and being able to assign specific tweets and pieces of content to other team members if you’ve got somebody helping you, even if it’s just a VA or somebody-
Mike: That’s all baked in and it’s designed to be an easy-to-use tool for this.
Kelly: I’ve got a question for you. This is something I need desperately because right now I’m doing this in Trello and then bringing it over into whatever tools I’m using. Do you, does it have a feature where I can schedule everything out, and then maybe export it to a spreadsheet just to give to my clients so they know on what days what’s happening? Anything like that?
Mike: You can schedule it all out.