Just finished this episode and probably my favorite one so far!
— Carmela Montenegro (@chikychikycarm) January 12, 2021
Show Note Links:
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Started listening and may have to reschedule next call https://t.co/dTiQ06d2wr
— nick Ξubanks #BLM (@nick_eubanks) January 12, 2021
Here are my FIVE key takeaways from our conversation. 👇
How to Increase Your CTA Conversion Rate
Write something that’s worth more than two paragraphs of time. How about that?
And, by the way, not only will people get to the CTA, they will also spend way more time with you and love what you have to say and all these cascading good effects.
Resonance is a craft. It’s a skill. You can learn about what a nut graph is, what an open loop is. You can learn about how to construct an experience that gets people to the end. So These things are techniques. These things are craft-driven skills.
If you go outside of marketing, that’s how people approach documentary production. That’s how people approach sitcom show running. That’s how people approach their novels. This is a craft. Resonance is learnable.
Rather than try to elevate the CTA after two paragraphs, learn how to resonate in your paragraphs more so people stick around. Not only will they get to that CTA, but a lot better things will happen because they spent 70 paragraphs with you instead of two.
How to Create a Loyal Following
Subscription has come to be known as click a button, like in a podcast app, or join a list, like subscribe to a newsletter. Subscription really should mean I am subscribed to those beliefs. I am subscribed to this journey, this community, this way of viewing the world. That’s what we want.
There’s the very transactional view on this, which is it’s easier to sell stuff. There’s also the human way to look at this, which is if we believe the same things, then you’re going to stick around. You’re going to spend time. We’re going to have a relationship.
Oh, by the way, because you’re so bought into what we believe, you’re going to evangelize this to new people for free.
When people stick and stay, they take actions on your behalf. Some of those actions look like going deeper with you, so they’re more valuable per person. Every single person that listens to your show, that reads your blog, that subscribes to your newsletter, gets more valuable. Then, they go tell other people who arrive for free. Amazing, right?
This is not rocket surgery here, and we lose sight of it. And I think it’s because partly we’ve lost sight of what does subscription actually mean? It’s not the technical stuff. It’s the idea base. It’s the belief-based stuff. So we better work really hard to develop and articulate those beliefs and those ideas.
Articulate this is what we believe, this is what we do, this is how we explore this stuff, and that’s why you should care.
A Powerful Way to Share Content With Your Audience
You don’t have to be the expert, but you have to be an explorer.
People want to go for the journey with you and their light bulbs light up brighter and more often because it’s like they’re mimicking your learning experience as you go.
And I understand: some people it’s like here’s wisdom from on high and here’s the answer. And there’s a place for that, I suppose. But the world is pretty rife with that.
In the words of my friend, Andrew Davis, when you ask a question Google can’t answer and go on an investigation, you can invite people along. Now you’re not just pandering to the status quo, you’re leading.
Cause you’re not saying you want this answer? I got this answer. You can get it from anywhere. I’m anywhere. You get to say to people, I don’t know the answer, but I’m on the hunt for it. Come with me. So much more powerful.
The Only Goal Content Creators Should Have
One goal we all have as makers and marketers is make a difference.
My goal is not to make some content, my goal is to make a difference. And if I just keep that in mind, I think it changes how we approach some of this work in the minutia, which is where creativity happens, by the way, but also in the larger conversations of strategy discussions.
You’re not here to make a podcast, you’re here to make a difference. It just happens to be audio. It just happens to be a blog. It just happens to be your Twitter account.
You’re here to make a difference. Your goals might sound like flavors of that. The rest tends to really snap into place. I’m not saying it happens automatically, it’s still a ton of work, but you start thinking about different things.
What if it’s just one goal: make stuff that makes a difference. That’s it. What would change? I think a lot, for the better.
Make Sure Your Goal Is Not a Metric
There’s this concept called Goodhart’s law which states when a measure becomes a goal, it ceases to be a good measure.
A goal in marketing sounds like grow the blog 30%. That’s not a goal, that’s a measure. What’s your real goal? The way you tell if you’re tracking towards the goal is the growth of the blog.
So you’re far better saying, over the next 30 days, we’d like to solve this problem that marketers have with podcasts, or we’d like to create the world’s most entertaining blog about brands who podcast. Those are good goals.
Let’s show the world how fun and relevant we are. Let’s help people find and share their voices and make shows that make a difference. Those are goals.
How do you measure your progress towards the goal? There’s probably not one way. Here’s a list of some:
- Growth of the blog
- The velocity at which people move from reading to subscribing
- The open rates of that email list
- The velocity at which they move from subscribed to taking a workshop with us
- The amount of people who read the blog
Those are measures. Goals and measures are incredibly important to iron out. Goals sound like what change are you trying to make, and measures, as the word implies, are metrics.
And we’re really, really bad at understanding the goal part. It’s an infinite race to nowhere. We don’t know what we’re actually trying to do, we don’t know our actual goals, so we get “should’d” to death because we’re not firm and confident in saying like, oh, okay, Brendan’s telling me do one thing, Jay’s telling me to do another, but our goal is this, so I know how to vet those possibilities.
Note: This transcript of the episode was machine-generated and has not been edited for correctness. It’s provided for your convenience when searching. Please excuse any errors.
[00:02:32] Um, I want to start, so thank you for that inspiration. I’m sure this is mental health, like
[00:02:37] Jay: [00:02:37] your word, useful,
[00:02:38] Brendan Hufford: [00:02:38] your work spend a lot to me. Um, we’re so excited to have you on, I want to talk to somebody, talk to you about somebody who means a lot to you. Um, I remember hearing, I think it was on the cast did podcast.
[00:02:48] You said you don’t believe in having heroes and then you immediately hedged and you’re like, but Anthony Bordain, um, And he had written, you know, I, I came up doing Brazilian jujitsu and there was a time when he like, got really into Brazilian jujitsu and I was like, that’s cool. And it got me into his stuff.
[00:03:07] Uh, such a weird connection. There’s probably like a very small number of people that connected to him through Brazilian jujitsu, but he wrote something. Uh, I think it’s like the most beautiful. Piece about Chicago, about how Chicago, which is where I’m from is like the, like the last, I think he says it’s like the last bastion of like no bullshit.
[00:03:26] Um, and I loved it. It’s wonderful. It’s how I steal. I just steal pieces of that every time I describe where I live. Um, and one of the things I noticed, like you took a lot of stuff from, from him and you ended one of your episodes in maybe like 2018 with a quote, uh, about how. Uh, about him, like how cooking helped him learn to love something.
[00:03:48] So fleeting, uh, you know, it’s so temporary, like you love this thing and then it’s gone. It’s somebody, else’s
[00:03:56] Jay: [00:03:56] golden moment.
[00:03:56] Brendan Hufford: [00:03:56] Quote. And I. I’ve always felt like so SEO is in blogs and everything can be a publication or a library, but for SEO purposes, your, your content is very much a library, right? It’s meant to be discoverable.
[00:04:11] People should be able to enter at any point. They should be able to find the resources that they need through through Google. But. I I’m, I guess I’m really curious, like where do you settle on that? Especially with your focus on podcasting, like should blogs, should articles be a library? Should they be a publication?
[00:04:27] Should they be both? How do you think about that?
[00:04:30] Jay: [00:04:30] Yeah. You know, so first of all, it’s crazy. You dug up that quote because it doesn’t mean a lot to me and his storytelling style. It means a lot to me too. I’ve tried to learn from it. Um, uh, very, very, very many miles to go yet. But anyways, um, we spent a lot of time in marketing, talking about containers and tools.
[00:04:50] So a blog is a container. A blog post is a container. Podcast is a container pod. An episode is a container. Um, you might also say it’s a tool, very rarely are we going to say, um, do hammers work, but we all, we often ask, do podcasts work. It’s weird, right? It’s like, well, it’s just, here’s an option. Here’s a thing that you could use.
[00:05:10] Um, what are you trying to build? Why for whom? How will you know it’s working like design thinking one Oh one is. Who is, uh, who is this for? What is it for? How will we know that is working? So if you can answer those questions, then I can tell you. Oh, okay. So your blog will probably end up looking like a library.
[00:05:30] Like you want it to just be like a repository of content that you update over time, but you know, you go big swaths of time without touching that material. Um, or, Oh, no, no, no. Your blog is like super timely and relevant. And like, it’s going to have like a short shelf life per piece, but like that’s the intent of the whole thing.
[00:05:46] It can be anything. Um, there are people who will thrive doing it one way and people who will thrive doing it the exact opposite way. So what I’d like us to stop doing is, is sort of like, um, we, we, we obsess over absolutes too much in marketing. There are none. It’s always, it depends. And so what we’re better off doing is getting really, really good at trying to figure out how we answer our own.
[00:06:05] It depends situation.
[00:06:08] Brendan Hufford: [00:06:08] So, how do you tell me, how do you answer that for yourself or for people in a marketing show, runners? Like what’s the process for answering that for them? Like if somebody came to you with that question, uh, and maybe they’re coming with the lens of like, you know, they’ve been shifted into se like we all get shunted into stuff.
[00:06:24] You should have a podcast, you should do SEO, whatever, anything. Right. Uh, you, you should add conversational marketing to your website, right? How do you answer that question? Like where do you start thinking that through?
[00:06:38] Jay: [00:06:38] So we’re really, really bad at creating goals because in marketing, especially modern marketing our goals and our measures get conflated.
[00:06:46] So there’s this concept called Goodhart’s law, which States that when a, when a measure becomes a goal, it ceases to be a good measure. So, uh, a goal in marketing sounds like grow the blog 30%. That’s not a goal. That’s a measure. What’s your real goal, the way you tell if you’re tracking towards the goal is the growth of the blog right?
[00:07:03] So you’re far better saying, um, over the next 30 days, we’d like to solve this problem that marketers have with podcasts or whatever you write about, or we’d like to create the world’s most entertaining or, you know, however you describe it, blog about. Brands who podcast Right? So, okay. Those are good goals or let’s show the world how fun and relevant we are.
[00:07:26] Um, let’s help people find and share their voices and make shows that make a difference. That’s the marketing show runners goal. Let’s so like those are goals. How do you measure your progress towards the goal as a number of ways to measure it? There’s Probably not one way. Um, here’s a list of some and maybe we can force rank it.
[00:07:42] Okay. 1 Growth of the blog, uh, 2 the velocity at which people move from reading to subscribing 3 the open rates of that email list, 4 4 the velocity at which they move from subscribed to taking a workshop with us. 5 Um, the amount of people who read the blog. Uh, and in our entrance survey, we always ask how you found the workshop or how you found one of our products, like, okay.
[00:08:02] 6 The amount of people who say that the blog drove them here. Great. Um, or that they, they read the blog as part of their overall consumption to us. Um, the LTV, the cost of customer acquisition, all this stuff, those are measures. So goals and measures are incredibly important to iron out goals sound like, what change are you trying to make?
[00:08:21] And, and measures as the word implies are metrics. And we’re really, really bad at understanding the goal part. So as a result, we get shitted to death because we don’t actually know what we’re trying to do. What we’re trying to do essentially comes back to one, one idea, which is more, more, or faster. More or faster or cheaper.
[00:08:40] It’s just that it’s a, it’s an infinite race to nowhere. We don’t know. what We’re actually trying to do, we don’t know our actual goals. So we get should’d to death because we’re not firm and confident in saying like, Oh, okay, Brendan’s telling me do one thing. Jay’s telling me to do another, but our goal is this. So I know how to vet those possibilities.
[00:08:58] Brendan Hufford: [00:08:58] Yeah. I think that’s super smart. I think that the closer you get to that, uh, the closer you get to another one of your ideas that I want to kind of touch on, which is. Creating content that keeps people coming back. Uh, I think in SEO, everything gets super robotic and it can become, I mean, we’ve all read those blogs, right?
[00:09:17] Like this is one of the things that makes a big blogs with a lot of voices, but they’re trying for one field, so it can come off as HubSpot G2, like a lot of these blogs, it’s like, I just wish you had more of a take, I wish you had a voice. I wish you were like putting your flag in the ground on something.
[00:09:34] I think this is why I drifted really well early on. They were like willing to take a stand, even on things that nobody cared. Like they made up death to forms nobody. There was not like a really big movement of people that are like, Oh, I really wish somebody would fix forms. Um, But they were willing to like take a stand on something and find something to fight back against.
[00:09:52] Uh, and I think when, if I were to put this in NASCIO lens, this is when you Google a topic, plus the person you want to hear from. I do this a lot. I’m notorious. I joke with. Uh, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Paul Jarvis, he’s written some really great books and sure. Created some cool tech products.
[00:10:10] I Google a lot of things plus Paul Jarvis. And I’m like, does he have an article on this? Has he talked about it? I want to know his take. And if you look at his search console, I guarantee there’s all sorts of like phrase plus his name. And I’m like, Paul, that’s me. Sorry. Um, I think that’s like when you create the content that keeps people coming back, right.
[00:10:28] I want to walk through here in one second. Let me pause for one second here, but I want to walk through. Uh, how to create that kind of content. Hold on one second. Sure. Hey buddy.
[00:10:56] Jay: [00:10:56] Right.
[00:11:10] Brendan Hufford: [00:11:10] Okay, Jay, we made it, we made it 18 minutes before,
[00:11:13] Jay: [00:11:13] before his computer, bro. We’re all there.
[00:11:14] Brendan Hufford: [00:11:14] Oh man. Well, it’ll happen again. I’m sorry. No worries. This is a very weird, it’s a very weird time to be doing podcast interviews. Cause it’s either that or which I guess we can talk about like the reality of all this.
[00:11:26] Like for me inside of that, or like the internet turns off because he’s out in school and my wife’s on some other device,
[00:11:33] Jay: [00:11:33] we’re just hammering our bandwidth. Right.
[00:11:35] Brendan Hufford: [00:11:35] How is it that nothing’s bro? I mean, but nothing’s like really broken there. Hasn’t been like a cat. The fact that we’ve scaled this and like not everything’s falling apart seems kind of amazing.
[00:11:44] Jay: [00:11:44] pretty cool. It’s pretty great. I mean like my parents have had their power go out several times because of storms. So what we broke is the globe. So that’s, you know, that’s yeah.
[00:11:53] Brendan Hufford: [00:11:53] Let’s not, let’s not overlook that celebrate
[00:11:55] Jay: [00:11:55] too much, but
[00:11:57] Brendan Hufford: [00:11:57] that’s true. That’s very fair. I am still amazed at like how, some of the things like, even the fact that zoom still works.
[00:12:03] Yeah, I think it’s like
[00:12:05] Jay: [00:12:05] zoom being able to scale that with like their infrastructure team must be huge. Like, I can’t
[00:12:09] Brendan Hufford: [00:12:09] imagine. I have no idea it’s way above my pay grade. Um, let’s, let’s get back to my pay grade. Uh, I want to talk about three things. You kind of outlined as like content that keeps people coming back.
[00:12:19] Okay. And I guess before I talk about those, let’s, let’s take one step back. I need it. We needed to talk about the why behind this, because it’s very easy to make a podcast where you’re like, all right, it’s desk plus topic. Like, here’s my topic. I’m going to do SEO. And here’s my guests. I did that for however many episodes I’ve already released.
[00:12:40] Um, we’re not doing that anymore. Uh, I want to create the kind of content and have the kind of conversations and things that keep people coming back. Not just because it’s different, like different is better than better, but why is it so important to be, to create that content that keeps people coming back and to be somebody’s favorite?
[00:13:00] Jay: [00:13:00] So I have so many directions we can go here. Different is better than better. Refreshing is better than better. Different means you can pull a stunt and be different. So I could give a keynote speech in my back to the audience. I’m different than every speaker on planet earth, but nobody wants to hire me.
[00:13:13] Right? So like we get, we, we get caught up in finding some kind of cheap gimmick and we like slap that on. We, like, we want to pour chocolate over a pile of crap. It’s like, maybe you should have a better product underneath it. Then have some kind of gimmick that makes it better. Like. Don’t be the hot ones of marketing where you have like marketing executives answer the same questions and you’re talking to the same guests, but they have to eat spicy wings on your show and not elsewhere, like use your show or any content to actually say something that matters.
[00:13:41] Like that’s the first hurdle. It’s like, say something that matters. So. Yes. I think the goal is to be their favorite. And what favorite implies is not great in some objective sense, it implies personal, it implies an irrational bias towards you. My favorite basketball team is the New York Knicks for those keeping score at home.
[00:14:00] They are also the worst basketball team. Think about that for a second. My favorite is the worst just in the category, not the number one, not we, you know, we ranked number one on this review site that is in no way, possibly gamed. Right. Like, no, the worst team is my favorite. My favorite podcast, you could point out, Hey, there’s a competitor show.
[00:14:20] That’s better. Why they better all bigger name hosts or better guests or economically, or academically more sound or the better the audio quality is whatever. I don’t care. This one’s my favorite irrational personal bias. So that show is irreplaceable in my life. That’s where we want to be. I think we don’t want to be an interchangeable part in so much of SEO and blogging and content creation is like, what can we create a marginally better replaceable part?
[00:14:45] You could find this from anyone, but find it from us first. Right? That’s a race to the bottom and there’s no lasting compounding value. So what you want is lasting compounding value. Better said when you’re not trying to transact your audience, you want to be their favorite. You want to be their personal and preferred pick for a specific purpose.
[00:15:02] So how do we do that? Well, I actually think it starts by developing some kind of premise for what you have to say. You know, like the problem with the blogs you point out is there like messy quilts that like pick up a bunch of scraps and stitch it all together and they don’t have a point of view that holds it all together.
[00:15:19] Like. There’s a very simple way to develop premises for your show, but it affects any project, a publication, which a blog is a newsletter, a speech. Um, I call it the X, Y premise pitch. It runs like this. This is a project about X, but unlike other projects about X only we Y so this is a project about topics.
[00:15:41] Unlike other similar projects, insert thing here about those topics. Only we
[00:15:49] And so a premise is not just what you explore. It’s also how you explore it. And very few marketers and marketing teams think critically about how do we uniquely explore this versus others. So then they get shifted to death.
[00:16:03] Cause they’re like, what does one, in some general sense I’m using air quotes for the podcast listeners here. What does one do to write about this topic in a way that ranks on search? Well, one needs to act like everybody else, one needs to copy the generality or the average, right? So there’s too much averaging out.
[00:16:22] You’re kind of like smoothing the edges and you look like everyone else. You’re a commodity. The way your you stop acting like commodities, you realize the topics aren’t enough. That’s not differentiating what you explore. Lots of other people explore it, how you explore it. That’s differentiating. That’s refreshing.
[00:16:37] That can feel personal. And that gives like, People a reason why they’d care. So the premise you developed is so important because it informs every piece that now you think about when you think about marketing and growth and SEO and all these things. So this is a project blog podcast newsletter brand about X, but unlike other projects about X only, we Y really try to answer that question and you’re well on the path.
[00:17:00] Brendan Hufford: [00:17:00] A point of clarification that I love that you make in some of your work is when we say, but only we, why we’re not talking about the gimmick, right? We’re not trying to be hot ones, which for which is funny because hot ones is interesting because of the gimmick. It’s also because Sean Evans asked amazing questions.
[00:17:18] Like one of the best interviewers
[00:17:20] Jay: [00:17:20] ever table stakes today is it’s. It is well-built right. Like re we agonize over relevancy. Relevancy means you exist. People don’t pay attention to irrelevant experiences. They don’t even notice them. Right. So congratulations you exist. Relevancy is not the goal. Neither is actually being enjoyable because you’re not going to consume things that are unenjoyable.
[00:17:38] You have infinite choice. So being relevant, being enjoyable, these are table stakes, but being refreshing, which is like different plus welcome, like different and good, um, Being refreshing and being personal. Yeah. That helps. It’s refreshing to hear Sean Evans talk about some story from the childhood of the celebrity guest, because it’s not found elsewhere.
[00:17:59] His research really does the heavy lifting, but here’s the thing at the same time, their hook is a gimmick it’s. Unlike other shows that interview celebrities only, we ask those celebrities to eat progressively more spicy wings as we ask them hotter and hotter questions. And so, um, That fits that is differentiating, but it’s also relevant to their brand.
[00:18:22] Cause hot ones is hosted on a channel called first we feast, which is about the intersection of pop culture and food. So they, they are saying something that matters. They’re like, we go deeper. We have hotter takes. We actually care about the intersection of food. Here’s the wings and pop culture. Here’s the celebrity guests.
[00:18:36] Um, you sell a SAS product for marketers, and now you’re asking your guests to use spicy wings. Like you’re missing an opportunity to like own an idea in the minds of your audience to actually say something that matters.
[00:18:48] Brendan Hufford: [00:18:48] Yeah, I think it gets really easy. You see the rise of, of other, uh, podcasts, like, especially on, uh, networks, like Barstool sports and stuff where it’s like, all right, we’re going to do what they do.
[00:18:56] They’ve got a couple of gimmicks. They have a couple a sec. I forgot what they’re called, but like segments that repeat every episode and those are cool. So we’re going to have segments and let’s just do the ones they do. Let’s spin the wheel and we’ll have the, like the hot wings and we’ll just do all the things we see everywhere else.
[00:19:12] And. I think the biggest thing that people miss when that, when they focus on the gimmicks is
[00:19:17] figuring out
[00:19:17] who you’re really for. And I think that’s a big problem in SEO, because if you ask who people are for, they’ll be like, they’ll make something up because somebody has told them they need to do some sort of audience like profile or avatar or whatever.
[00:19:30] But really the only people that are doing things for is whoever Google’s this I’m going to write, like you said, the copycat generic content, try and get on the first page. And my audience is whoever happens to Google these things. But when you’re for everybody, you’re kind of for nobody, right?
[00:19:46] Jay: [00:19:46] Yeah.
[00:19:47] You’re trying to be a top 40 trying to be top 40 hit. You’re trying to be Miley Cyrus. Like, it’s not like, just know what you are like if you’re trying to be top 40, Hey, if you want a quick injection of fame, just know the game you’re playing, you’re going to compete with everybody else, trying to do the same thing.
[00:20:00] People will very quickly leave you for someone else. It’s a, what have you done for me lately? Kind of thing. There’s really not a long-term play there. Um, and. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s a reason, top 40 artists that stop, stop doing the bubble gum stuff. They start changing their mode.
[00:20:17] They start reinventing because either they’re trying to trend hop in trio or arbitrage their way into a career because they’re just following trends or they’re like, I can’t do this cookie cutter bullshit anymore. So I’m going to now move into doing this more edgy thing. Right. And then their hardcore fans go with them and they lose the top 40 standing.
[00:20:35] So. You know, and let me ask you this Brennan, cause I spend zero time thinking about SEO. It’s just not what is interested in me. I started my career at Google that left me hating all things search. Um, so which I’m happy to talk about, but yes, I can’t stand it. I’m here to make stuff I want to make what matters.
[00:20:50] That’s why I’m here talking to you. I like doing that stuff. Um, and that’s all I want to think about. And that’s the only times that people, I wanna talk, um, such as yourself. So. I’ll ask you this when you’re trying to make a difference, when you’re trying to push people to think better about something or improve something or whatever, like where does SEO fall?
[00:21:12] Because for my money, SEO is like, I’m going to try to pander to existing demand, but like, I think really inspiring leaders and teams, like really powerful, transformative experiences. They don’t just like hand you answers. You’re already seeking. They give you things you didn’t even know to ask for. So it’s like some of the like Anthony Bordain, like I wouldn’t know how to Google for the experiences that he gave me that radically helped in a very practical way.
[00:21:38] All of my career, just by like learning from him and studying him and all that stuff. So like I, the most powerful experiences. Aren’t these like quick Google searches. Cause like, I don’t know what to even say. So how I’m struggling to task this without trying to, I don’t want to offend people here. My intent is good, cause I want to understand, okay.
[00:21:59] How is writing content for search anything more than pandering to existing demand and not pushing people to be better than what they already know to ask.
[00:22:09] Brendan Hufford: [00:22:09] So a couple of thoughts. Number one says super fair question. Uh, I ask myself on a regular basis. Do I believe in SEO because it’s effective? Is it effective?
[00:22:17] Because I believe it there’s like a lot of like circular reasoning. Right? Is it the best? Because it’s what I do for a living. And currently my career depends on it. Um, I don’t know. Do I defend it as like a channel? First of all, I think I’ve matured a lot. Like SEO is just a marketing channel for a long time.
[00:22:32] When I was immature, it was the marketing channel and I would argue now it’s like, I I’ve worked with enough, a hundred million dollar billion dollar companies that have never done SEO. And they’re multi-billion dollar companies. I’m like, Oh, I understand my place in the world. It is not that important. Um, you can build businesses, you can put things out into the world that matter in a lot of different ways.
[00:22:55] Uh, what I think is most interesting for me in SEO, and I think that what’s kind of making, like my take on it. Unique is less focused on content, more focused on intent. Like somebody’s Googling a phrase, but in their heart of hearts, what do they want? They’re Googling as an example, I use a lot digital marketing skills.
[00:23:13] Okay. So I sell a digital marketing course. I should rank for digital marketing skills. They’ll buy my course, they’ll opt in for my newsletter. Great. But what do they really want? Well, if you look at the autocomplete, the autocomplete for searches like that are digital marketing skills for resume. Digital marketing skills for job digital marketing skills, 2020.
[00:23:30] Okay. So these are people who want to change their life with digital marketing skills. I can’t skyscraper this and make Oh, 150 digital marketing skills that doesn’t help that person. It’s about creating, like having a take, which is why I wanted to talk to you. Cause I know it’s something you believe that having something to say is like my number one rule.
[00:23:48] What I’m hoping to do here. And what I hope that SEO for the rest of us does is I guess, two things. Number one, demystifies. It enough that people don’t feel intimidated by SEO and they feel like they can play in that arena. Um, second of all, The people who do have something to say, I want to give them the tools to rise above the rest of this stuff.
[00:24:08] Cause I’m tired of the copycat content. I’m tired of the industry that I work in, the content that’s out there in a lot of different places. Um, everything from like working out to business to, you know, whatever, whether it’s, you know, what are the big three, like fashion or fashion and beauty relationships and money.
[00:24:25] A lot of that content is not good. And I want to help the people. If they can make their, I focus on SEO is like being discoverable. If I can help the people who actually have something to say, now, not everybody has to be Seth Godin. I don’t read Seth Godin’s blog anymore. Honestly, Jay, because I can’t afford to rethink my life every morning, like too many do.
[00:24:44] Right. Like too many times I’m reading his blog and I’m like, am I, I’m not generous enough? What am I getting at? Like,
[00:24:48] Jay: [00:24:48] I need 30
[00:24:49] Brendan Hufford: [00:24:49] minutes just to process that.
[00:24:51] Jay: [00:24:51] I see. I like that stuff because it’s not prescriptive because it’s not what I call like transactional content. So that that’s what plagues me and my kind of bias against her holdup with.
[00:25:00] Um, SEO, but mostly it’s, it’s a lot of marketing. It’s not SEO, it’s marketing, we’re trying to transact the world. So we create transactional content, which means like the best possible situation. If you write transactional content, it’s just a quick injection of an answer or information, the best situation, the best case scenario.
[00:25:20] Is your audience doesn’t need it because they already know it. The second best case scenario is that we are able to invent those chairs from the matrix. You remember those like in the movie, the matrix, they just like plug in something in the back of their brain. And the counter reads wakes up 10 seconds later and he’s like, Oh no, Kung Fu that’s the next best scenario.
[00:25:39] And so where does like consuming our content? Where does spending time with us? Whereas developing a relationship with us, whereas actually going deep with us, whereas caring about us and not our competitors or whatever, coming on a journey with us, that’s way at the other end, that’s a worst case scenario.
[00:25:51] You’re like, hold on. You’re going to ask me to spend 30 minutes with a podcast. Better as the article better as the checklist better as the matrix chair better. As I already know all this information, right? Yeah. So it’s like, there’s like a consumption preference spectrum that we can plot our work on.
[00:26:06] And when all we do is create transactional content, which is like, question, answer, question, answer, quick injection of information. What all we’re doing is shipping commodities. Actually the best case scenario is something that they don’t have to spend any time with at all. And for my money time spent is the only way to develop a relationship with people.
[00:26:24] Brendan Hufford: [00:26:24] Hm. I remember hearing you say that shows are about trust and love. I think that the best, the best blogs, the best writing is about the same thing.
[00:26:35] Jay: [00:26:35] Absolutely. Absolutely. And I think we’re too focused on the tip of the spear. We’re too focused on the headline and the first few paragraphs we’re not focused on the body enough.
[00:26:43] We’re not focused on. What happens when you subscribe? We don’t just pepper you with more pieces that are disparate and disconnected. We’re going on a journey together. Like we have a position we’re taking here. We, uh, we see a mountain peak in the distance and our blog is an effort to take steps towards it.
[00:27:00] Like this is broken, right? You just read this post about whatever, like we believe this is broken. There’s a better way that was imbued in the article. You just read. If you two, want to explore this and go deeper. If you to believe in our way of thinking about this, come with us on a deeper journey. Spend some time with us.
[00:27:16] Like pull up a chair, let’s wrap, right. Or grab your backpack. We’re going hacking through the jungle and every article. Right. As an attempt to hack through that jungle. But what plagues, so many people is, all they’re trying to do is put up lots of lows, like blocking pads that football practices use.
[00:27:30] Right. They’re just trying to put up a lot of pieces everywhere that bump up against where their audience is. And they don’t realize like, actually what happens next? That matters a ton. It’s not just getting people to you. Right. Marketing is not about who arrives it’s about who stays. So what’s your plan for that?
[00:27:46] Brendan Hufford: [00:27:46] another thing I wanted to talk to you about, tell, tell me more about how you think about that. Um, that’s another thing I heard he talked about on the Casad podcast, um, where it’s not just about look, SEO can very much be about who arrives. How much traffic am I getting from Google
[00:28:01] Jay: [00:28:01] zero care? Like,
[00:28:02] Brendan Hufford: [00:28:02] what is my they’re coming in from Google?
[00:28:04] Did they opt in? Did they buy, did they convert?
[00:28:07] Jay: [00:28:07] Did
[00:28:07] Brendan Hufford: [00:28:07] they subscribe in the. Not real sense of like when you subscribe, which I know you believe in this, like when I, when I genuinely subscribed to your ideas and your movement and all of the things that you stand for and don’t stand for it.
[00:28:20] Jay: [00:28:20] Let’s talk about that.
[00:28:21] That’s important subscription has come to be known as click a button like in a podcast app or join a list like subscribe to a newsletter subscription really should mean. And historically, Matt, I am subscribed to those beliefs. I am subscribed to this journey, this community, this way of viewing the world.
[00:28:38] That’s what we want. Right? There’s, there’s the very transactional view on this, which is because if they are, it’s easier to sell stuff. There’s also the human way to look at this, which is, well, if we believe the same things, Then you’re going to stick around. You’re going to spend time. We’re going to have a relationship, right.
[00:28:57] And, uh, back to the transaction. Oh, by the way, because you’re so bought into what we believe. You’re going to evangelize this to, to new people for free. So like again, the hardcore measurement measure, everything kind of marketer, marketing leader, your lifetime value of that audience goes up. And your cost of customer acquisition goes down, thanks to the word of mouth.
[00:29:17] When people stick and stay, they take actions on your behalf. Some of those actions look like going deeper with you. So they’re more valuable per person, right? Every single person that listens to your show that reads your blog, that subscribes to your newsletter gets more valuable. Then they go tell other people who arrive for free.
[00:29:34] Amazing. Right. This is not rocket surgery here. You know, this is stuff that we can talk about with in plain English language. Um, And we lose sight of it. And I think it’s because partly we’ve lost sight of like, what does subscription actually mean? It’s not the technical stuff. It’s the idea base. It’s the belief-based stuff.
[00:29:52] So we better work, really hard to develop and articulate those beliefs and those ideas. So back to a few answers ago, like the X, Y premise pitch is an attempt for you to quickly articulate. This is what we believe. This is what we do. This is how we explore this stuff. And that’s why you should care.
[00:30:08] Brendan Hufford: [00:30:08] Yeah.
[00:30:09] Some of the things, if I were to put a couple pins and things, I’ve heard you say, if we want to, if we want to enforce that, like trust and love. If we want people to subscribe, maybe like three or four pieces, right? Say something that matters. Um, one thing we haven’t talked a lot about that. I know you’ve talked about a lot before, which is like getting people to the end, right?
[00:30:26] If you’re creating a show, you have to get people to the end of it. Uh, I would argue the same is true for blogs. People are like put the mid content CTA and it’s like, I get it. But it just. Is that really what you want, like is that
[00:30:39] Jay: [00:30:39] people 50% of people drop off two paragraphs in, so put a CTA, two paragraphs in, fix your fucking writing, write something that’s worth more than two paragraphs of time.
[00:30:52] How about that? And by the way, not only will people get to the CTA, they will also spend way more time with you and love what you have to say and all these cascading good effects. Like my God. You got me on my soap box here. Cause it’s like, we all know this stuff. Nobody listening is like, no, the point of a blog is you write two paragraphs and drop a CTA over their face.
[00:31:14] Everyone’s like, yeah, we want people to read it. But here’s the magic here. Brendan. We think about how reach is learnable. SEO, social media distribution. We talk about reach advertising. Resonance is also learnable. Resonance is a craft. It’s a skill you can learn about what a nut graph is. What an open loop is.
[00:31:33] You can learn about how to construct an experience that gets people to the end. You know, um, as simple as on a podcast, somebody saying the word, but a little bit more, because what happens to people go wait, Oh, something new is coming. I better keep listening. It’s like, I agree with you to an extent, but that’s a way more compelling moment than me saying I could not agree more like in my career, the same thing happened.
[00:31:58] That’s flat. So these things are techniques. These things are craft-driven skills, which is beautiful. Cause us marketers. We love that. Give me the techniques, give me the moves. Give me the, I can learn this. I can learn SEO. It’s give me the technical stuff. Cool. You know, what, if you go outside of marketing, that’s how people approach documentary production.
[00:32:17] That’s how people approach sitcom show running. That’s how people approach their novels. This is a craft Resonance is learnable. So rather than try to elevate the CTA after two paragraphs, learn how to resonate in your paragraphs more. So people stick around because not only will they get to that CTA, but a lot better things will happen because they spent 70 paragraphs with you instead of
[00:32:37] Brendan Hufford: [00:32:37] Yeah. It’s the reason that I would read, uh, you know, your three, maybe I feel like there’s even four parts to that series. There was like another one, uh, at the end, but I’m reading, reading, like it’s on my phone, like not an ideal reading experience, but I’m like on my phone, I’m opening them in separate tabs.
[00:32:52] Cause I don’t want to like lose anything. So I’m opening them in separate tabs. Uh, I mean, that was my experience. Recently. I heard you on the, on a podcast, you’re like, Hey, just Google this, Google our guide to creating a premiere show premise. I do it. It’s like, Hey, there’s also these three other articles, right?
[00:33:07] At the beginning. You should probably read those first. All right. Tab, tab, tab. Cool. And I’m reading through and the graphics are pulling me through. Cause they’re evolving as it like, again, like another lost art in SEO is like people just try to put in like, they’re like, Oh, more images. Cause that keeps people reading.
[00:33:21] No. Good images that add value, keep people reading you. Yeah. Lash doesn’t actually help anybody.
[00:33:28] Jay: [00:33:28] Right. Are you talking, you’re talking about Bob, the magic wand,
[00:33:30] Brendan Hufford: [00:33:30] Bob, the magic wand and your spectrums were like, it’s all right. So there’s like a vertical chart and a horizontal chart. And then you put them together and like, Oh crap, that’s an X, Y graph.
[00:33:39] And then you’re like plotting things and there’s boxes and quadrants. And it, it just keeps building. Like I could get a good chunk of the article just by looking at the images as they grow and seeing the progression. Well, you’re creating content that gets me because we’re trying to, like, I’m trying to like, Not elaborate too much.
[00:33:56] We’re trying to like wrap up so people can understand. So say something that matters, create content that pulls people through. I’ll make sure for everybody who looks at show notes, like I’ll make sure we have links to some of this stuff. Cause I think it’s fantastic.
[00:34:07] Jay: [00:34:07] Um, but I think that’s
[00:34:09] Brendan Hufford: [00:34:09] that like construct an experience.
[00:34:11] Right. I use a lot of gifts. I use a lot of emojis. I have like a very like a blog voice to the degree you can. It’s very conversational. Um,
[00:34:20] Jay: [00:34:20] you have a Twitter voice. Like you, you just have a tone of voice when you share stuff. It’s it’s great.
[00:34:24] Brendan Hufford: [00:34:24] Yeah, I appreciate that. Thank you. Sure. Um, the other two things is we talked about avoiding stagnation, right?
[00:34:30] If every blog is 10,000 words, Nobody’s coming back to that. Right?
[00:34:35] Jay: [00:34:35] Like does everything, I mean, if every article has a spectrum that builds, if you thought the first two were great, which by the way, thank you. If I do 16 more in a row where it’s like, okay, we’re building another spectrum today. You’re like, this was awesome.
[00:34:48] But give it a rest man. And do something different.
[00:34:51] Brendan Hufford: [00:34:51] Yeah, it can’t. Yeah. I think, I think about, uh, the wait, but why website? And, uh, I
[00:34:58] Jay: [00:34:58] forget,
[00:34:58] Brendan Hufford: [00:34:58] I forget his name. Tim Allen. Thank you, Tim. I written like, just beautiful where he’s like, yeah, this is not a series. This probably should have been a book, but here’s like a bunch of 40 he’s like my, my computer was shutting down and try to edit this.
[00:35:10] And I’m like, wow. And he put them in blogs and it it’s intimidating and exhausting, but again, like, I’m like, I don’t, I’ve never felt this way about content before, honestly, Jay, where I’m like, shit, I should probably sit down and read this.
[00:35:24] Jay: [00:35:24] You know what you’re making me think of this all comes back to the same idea, whether it’s our lack of a premise and how to develop it, whether it’s getting them to the end, uh, reinventing what we do, you know, to keep things fresh and not stale.
[00:35:36] Um, whether it’s transactional content versus kind of a more transformative experience, like all these ideas we’re touching on, uh, even the good hearts law stuff. Like goals versus measures. I think it all rolls back to like one true North, like one goal we all have as makers and marketers, which is make a difference.
[00:35:56] Like if you just think about that, it’s like, my goal is not to make some content. My goal is to make a difference. And if I just keep that in mind, I think it changes how we approach some of this work. In the minutia, which is where creativity happens by the way, but also in the larger conversations of strategy discussions, why are we doing this thing?
[00:36:13] And you know, all that, the trend, or, you know, this person’s saying we should do it this way. Should we like, that’s the first thing we say to our workshop students. It’s it’s, you’re not here to make a podcast. You’re here to make a difference. It just happens to be audio. It just happens to be a blog. It just happens to be your Twitter account.
[00:36:29] You’re here to make a difference, like focus on that. And your goals might sound like flavors of that. And the rest tends to really snap into place. I’m not saying it happens automatically, it’s still a ton of work, but you start thinking about different things. Like instead of presenting a whole graphic, here’s a spectrum with four parts left to right.
[00:36:48] You say, okay, Here’s the experience spectrum. We’re going to build it together and that creates a form of tension. And it’s also a way to like grip people, right. That tension of what are the parts we’re going to build it. But it’s also like a way to make a difference. Cause it’s a better way to teach.
[00:37:03] Like you are kind of putting it together yourself in that article that you keep referencing. Um, so what if we just switched our gear entirely from whatever the goal is? You’re thinking of. What if it’s just one goal, make stuff that makes a difference. That’s it? What would change? I I think a lot for the better.