Hyper Business Is Just a Couple Steps Away
Hey everyone, Ken Courtright here. This is Today’s Growth Growing Business Today. Pretty excited about today’s topic actually. This is a topic I can pretty comfortably say I know fairly well as this is the centerpiece of why our 700 different revenue generating sites consistently grow. This episode, episode 12 is going to be centered around content, and how exactly can we make content make us money? How can we write it? How can we display it? How can we use it and why is content so important? Honestly I’m just going to jump right in. This episode is sponsored by Secret Knock, our great friends Greg, Allan and Reed over at Secret Knock throwing us a bone here, helping us get these podcasts up and running and launched so thanks to them. Let’s get started. A couple of questions here.
Facebook, Plenty of Fish, Lynda and Google, Four Biggest Websites In The World
What does Facebook, Plenty of Fish, Lynda.com and Google have in common? They are four of the largest websites in the world. No question about that. Facebook is Facebook. Plenty of Fish is a dating website that was displayed late 2008-2009 on Inc Magazine making so much money and the story behind is great. Lynda.com just sold to LinkedIn for a billion and a half and of course I think most people know Google. What’s kind of intriguing about those four, it’s definitely not the centerpiece of this episode is that those four websites, they are four of the top ten largest I think in the world. They have almost virtually zero of their own content down those websites. Facebook, user-generated content. Plenty of Fish, user-generated content. Lynda.com, user-generated content. Google.com, user-generated content. The key point I’m trying to make here to kick-start things is that those four sites are all centered around content. Intuit QuickBooks just bought Mint.com a couple years ago for $172 million and it had yet to generate a dollar of income. That site was simply growing so fast and the young man that built it had not figured up how to monetize it yet, Intuit looked at it and said, “Holy cow, look at that, what could we do with that traffic?” I’m here to tell you on this episode, content in incredible. Here are some statements, are you ready? The most expensive product in the world is content. The most desired product in the world is content. The most evergreen industry in the world is content. If you were trying to pick an industry for your kids, what industry should you go into? Throw out everything and just tell them to get in the world of content. (laughs) Content creation, marketing of content, display of content, it really doesn’t matter. If they can master a tiny sliver of the content world, holy cow! Content is king, but here’s the key: it is the delivery of content that is King Kong.
In this episode I’m going to share some of the techniques and even the secrets that we have found on our 600-700 revenue generating sites. We do a lot of case-fittings. We do a lot of internal split testing. We are always in the pursuit of, how come these ten sites are making more than these ten sites and they’re built by the same people, same marketing and it always, when we do the investigation, it always boils down to something with either the pace of the content, the type of content, the display mechanism of the content. Let’s kind of just dig in. How about we start with some more questions. When Itunes sees more visitors each week jumping on my fairly new podcast why does it grow? Meaning how come Itunes almost every week moves my podcast up in the New and Newsworthy both for general and for business? Why? It’s very simple. Itunes is in the content delivery business, they want to put their best foot forward. This has nothing to do with my podcast. Nothing to do with it. The reality is, here’s what Itunes knows, Itunes tracks how many people are listening, subscribing and reviewing any podcast, not my podcast, any podcast. Their relevance indicator says podcasts that grow at a specific steady rate, not huge spikes and then kind of flat-line and then die or flat-line and maintain, but consistent growth, more, more, more, more, in a very specific algorithm of growth, they go okay there’s a podcast that we have to move up in New and Newsworthy. Their algorithm is nowhere near as complex as Google’s search algorithm, but it’s still in and of itself an algorithm looking for quality, looking for growth, looking for the things that the world is interested in.
Question for you. If you heard my podcast How Google Ranks, would you know the big three of what Google’s looking for? Of course you would. Right in the middle of there, the second one is called social signals. When Google sees pages of content inside of a website getting shared on web 2.0 platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, StumbleUpon, those kinds of things, they move that website up higher in the Google ranking on all of its major keywords. Why? One of the critical factors Google is looking for is are there really human being sharing content on that website? If there is nobody sharing any content on that website, I can assure you the odds of that website ever showing up on page one, two or three of Google for anything is close to zero. I’m going to kind of kick-start things with the three ground rules of content. Number one, if you want something to say you have to go absorb it. If you want to speak on knitting, you better read every knitting blog, every knitting book, listen to every knitting podcast, attend every knitting seminar. You better absorb it and then you’ve got to absorb it from every angle. Ask questions about why this, why that? By my fourth year in business I had read, according to my wife, I had over 400 in foyers, 400 books on sales marketing and management by 1996 in our fourth year of our consulting firm. The reason she knows, she had to move my office because I was out of town and she stacked forty huge books into ten bins and she was basically cussing me out for a week because she was the only one home to do it and she didn’t think to call her brother or her father. Don’t ask me why. I know that number, I never forgot it because my wife emblazoned it on my brain telling me a few times how many books she had to move. The point was in my early days, and still today, two books a week still today. I understand if there’s something I want to say, I have to first absorb it. That’s rule number one of content.
Number two, if you have something to say then you say it but you have to say it on the channel and the frequency your audience wants to hear it. You don’t say it on the channel or frequency you’re comfortable with, you say it and speak it and dance with it on the channel your audience needs to hear it. Rule number three, if you know someone with something to say you showcase it. This is now known as the Opera-effect or success by association, it’s incredibly popular in the podcast world, in the blog world, in the video world. If you know someone, or you can find or bribe or buy someone in- Let’s say you’re putting on a conference, you would be crazy not to do whatever it takes to get some of the greatest minds in your space to come speak on your stage because you will then be successful by association. Number one, you can learn from them. Number two, you’re going to be seen with them and listen to my episode Trust Trumps Everything if you want the details on that. If you want to make serious money, if you want to raise what you charge for things, listen to the episode Trust Trumps Everything. Let’s talk a bit about number two, about having something to say, say it. I like to say, say it in the frequency and say it on the platform that your audience wants to hear it in. Right? There’s also kind of a family thought out there that says why not just cover every base? If you make a video. Did you know that you can take that video, and this is what we do at our major conferences and what I do for 80% of these podcasts, did you know you can take the video and you can dump the mp3 or the wave file, the audio file into Itunes. Did you know you could do that? Did you know you could then send the wave or mp3 off to a live human transcriptionist, not a program, programs don’t work. You’ve just got to trust me on that, you’ve got to use a real human, they’ve got to get the ums, the uhs, this, that, it’s part of Google’s algorithm. Did you know then you could take the transcription and you can chunk it out on Facebook and Twitter and parcel it out and then later after six months and a day you can content curate that. For more on that hear episode eleven, the one before this one. Then, most importantly, you can stockpile them in one long Word document and then every six, twelve or eighteen months, send it to an editor and you’ve got a book.
My favorite way to do something is to do it once and then split it out and reverse dissect it in multiple different ways. If we understand that all of business, all of it, can’t find me one business, revolves around and dances with content. You can not show me a business that isn’t currently dancing around content. Everybody is, it’s how you sell products, you need content. It’s how you get attention, you need content. It’s everything. I want to now dig into some techniques of how to use and deliver content. First let’s take a word from out sponsors. Secret Knock helped us out on this one. Here we go. It’s been estimated that 97.4% of entrepreneurs feel either stuck or alone. Fact is, in order to grow we must align with other like-minded leaders or we will simply be left behind. Like the saying goes, we’re either green and growing or ripe and rotting but never standing still. Secret Knock is the ideal community for anyone seeking a mastermind to offer guidance to expand their possibilities. This truly is the only event of its time, offering real-life practical insight from Harvard professors to builders of billion dollar enterprises. Stop getting all of your business wisdom from books and online courses, it’s time to learn from the actual sources that have accomplished what most will only dream of. Hey, do you want to start a non-profit? Meet Frank Shankwitz, founder of Make-a-Wish. You want passive income? Come hear how Ken Courtright created 600 different revenue streams.
You want to start a clothing line? Hang out with Brian Smith, creator of UGG boots. Secret Knock is that ideal community for anyone who has ever asked, “How can I get more from life?” Apply at Secretknock.co and write Ken sent me in the application for 50% off your tuition. Warning, it’s exclusive, it’s expensive, but it’s worth it. Greg and Allen, who put that event on are quite extraordinary. I mentioned on the last episode that I was holding an event in New York, we had a couple hundred business owners there to learn how to basically build their bi-revenue generating sites, and because of Greg Reeds connections I was able to get Princess Katherine, the Queen of Serbia, to speak at our event. Greg is just- Greg and Allen both are just extraordinary people. Great to do a plug for them, no question. Let’s dig right in to some of the techniques of how to use and deliver content. The first one is called the Four C’s. The Four C’s, wow, I remember three-four years ago when Dave Conklin, our chief marketing officer, said, “Ken, I have been studying our 200 websites and I have been looking at all of the content that went viral and I have noticed a pattern.” I said, “Well, what is it?” He started rattling off things and I said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down, that’s not how my brain works. I need to compartmentalize these.” We took out the and when we were done we found out that 85% of the content that went viral was either cool, cutting-edge, comedic or controversial. It was either very cool or very cutting-edge or very funny, meaning comedic, or very controversial.
Here’s the thing, if you’re going to create some content and it doesn’t hit the Four C’s, I would then go ahead and still write it if your heart says you should write it, but I would see if you could somehow interject one of the Four C’s into that piece. The only reason I say that is you’ve got about an 85% chance that it is not going to be shared and if it isn’t shared it’s almost not worth writing, recording or podcasting. You’ve got to write content that’s going to be shared. I want to move over to something that is so near and dear to my heart. In 1997, I believe, I took our management team to Las Vegas because I wanted to listen to the President of the United States sign council. At this time I had a chain of video stores, I had a consulting business, but I also had a pretty large sign business. We had twenty sales reps putting signs up. I had 400 signs in Alaska by 1997. I wanted to grow faster in that area so I took the team and we go to Las Vegas and there is definitely an elder statesman, he had to be upper 70’s, but he spoke two hours straight. I was so riveted by what he was saying I went home and completely changed my company. One of the nuggets he taught us, which I have never forgotten it’s so compelling, is what is now known in my world as, I’ve refrained this, as the rule of six out of seven. Here’s how the story goes, the sign council wanted to see how valuable certain discounts were to get people to stop their car from driving by and pull into a place of business. This study was done in the late 70’s. In the late 70’s, and they still have these today, they had these things called praying mantis signs. You’ve seen these in front of businesses where they’ve got four legs, changeable copy, they’re four foot tall, eight foot wide, a lot of times they even have a blinking arrow on the top. They’re at ground height and they point with an arrow to a business. You see them a lot of times in front of family restaurants, it’ll say, “Steak and eggs $2.99.” You might drive by the next day, it’ll say, “Ham and cheese $4.00.” Something like that. These are changeable copy, praying mantis signs they’re known as. The President of the United States sign council sent 300 of these signs to small businesses with written instructions of exactly how to use it and the instructions said, “You need to every single day try different percentage discounts and put certain things on sale. We want to know in, retail America, is it a 2% discount that brings people in, is it a 15% discount, is it a 35%?” There were jewelry stores doing 70% off. It was really important to this guy to figure this out. 299 of the businesses did the thing properly, they did promotions and this and that. One of them did it completely incorrectly. What this gentleman did, he was very sharp. He did these in five major cities so he could have five scouts go out and make sure the signs were being used correctly. On the final day one of the scouts finally got to one of the places and he noticed something fairly traumatic and that is they were not using the sign correctly. There was no discount, there was no percentages off. As a matter of fact, it was the answer to a riddle. So he comes running into the place and I don’t remember what type of business it was, but he gets in there and says, “What are you guys doing with that sign out front?” The store manager says, “Wait a minute, you know about that sign out front?” There’s some banter back and forth. The bottom line was the owner of the business who received the letter about how to use the sign, he was on vacation. The store manager had no idea why the sign was out front and not knowing what to do with the sign on that first Monday he put up a joke. On Tuesday he put up a riddle. On Wednesday he answered the riddle. On Thursday he did community service nominating or recognizing a local high school girl that got a 4.0 after getting hit by a car in a car accident. He was using the message board in good ways but he definitely wasn’t using it properly according to the United States sign council. Anyway, day seven it turns out he’s flustered, the guy’s flustered. He just runs out there just to do whatever and he puts up a special, I don’t remember exactly what the percentage off was, but here’s the key. The Saturday that he put up the special at seven o’clock in the morning, was the busiest day of the previous two years including the holiday season. What was later studied over and over again is that the reason that this gentleman’s business blew up that one day is because the six prior days he was doing jokes, riddles and community service, which in essence was training everybody in that town to look forward to reading that sign the next day. Then on the seventh day he had everybody’s attention and because he had what’s called the law of reciprocity, he earned their readership and their trust. Everybody came in and did business with him and talked about it. It was the talk of the town. How does this relate to podcasts, websites, newsletters, brochures, radio commercials. Oh gosh, it’s everything. It’s literally everything. Here’s the question. On your blogs, on your websites, on your podcasts, at the end of every episode do you make an offer? In the middle of every episode do you make an offer? For your own product. Meaning, are you selling every single time you create content? Here’s the difference. Here’s what it’s all about. Psychologically the odds of a piece of content getting shared that has an offer on it, especially at the end, which most content does. The odds of that getting shared, if the person writing the piece of content or doing the podcast is promoting themselves at the end, the odds of it getting shared is less than ten percent of that of a piece of great content that has no offer on it at all. I’m going to say it again. If you want your stuff to go viral and get shared. Let’s say you have a newsletter, if you want your newsletter to blow up and you want your hundred readers to go to a thousand, the last thing you can do on a newsletter is sell and most people sell all over their first newsletter. They puke on people and then say, “Oh, by the way, you gotta buy this, it’s 25% off!” The world’s like, “I dunno.” The bottom line is this. When it comes to making offers inside of content, follow the rule of the praying mantis sign. Six days and then the seventh is an offer. If you have a podcast. You do six podcasts asking nothing in return and then on the seventh day you’ve literally deserved it. You now have what’s called the right to succeed. I like to say it this way. A lot of business books and a lot of private equity firms and that kind of thing are going to ask and talk about the right to succeed.
Michael Jordan “I Have To Deserve to Hit the Winning Shot”
What is your right to succeed in the marketplace? I like to say it better by describing a story with Michael Jordan. My wife was a Chicago Bulls cheerleader in the mid-90’s, Carrie. I was around the Bulls a lot. In Michael Jordan’s final game of his final year of his final career, he had two careers. In game seven, which means he’s not playing again, it’s game seven of the championship- Hold on folks, I’ve got to stop my daughter, one second, hold on. One second. Sorry guys, I had to stop my daughter from walking in. So basically it’s game seven of the finals and Mark Giangreco from one of the local radio stations had the honor of doing Michael Jordan’s last interview and he had this great idea. Mark Giangreco had this great idea, “I’m going to get to the stadium four-five hours before anybody gets there. I’m going to get to the stadium. I’m going to prep it up. I’ve got my camera guy there, I’ve got my notes. I’m going to just kind of get in the zone, I’m going to focus on my questions, and I’m going to come up with ten great questions to have for Michael Jordan’s last interview.” He gets there literally four hours early and he opens the door to the gym, the custodian opens the door for him and sure enough he hears all of the racket inside the gym and he’s immediately frustrated. He kind of half-jogs into the gym and he looks and in the half-dark he sees Michael Jordan with a ball boy and Michael Jordan is sweating bullets. He’s doing lay-ups, he’s doing three-point shots, he’s doing free-throws, he’s running all over the place. He is literally burning energy and Giangreco runs up to him and stops him and Jordan kind of gives him an evil stare he’s like, “What are you doing?” Jordan’s leaning over holding his knees he’s like, “What are you doing? I’m practicing here, what are you doing, Mark?” Mark was like, “Well we have an interview.” Michael’s like, “Yeah, in about three hours.” Mark’s like, “I’ve got to ask you, I have to ask you right now.” He’s got his recorder running he says, “This is game seven of the finals you’ve already retired once, you’re retiring, you’re statistically the greatest basketball player that’s ever played the game. Why on God’s green earth would you risk injury right before game seven?” He kind of chuckles, Michael Jordan kind of chuckles and laughs and looks up and goes, “Mark, I have done this since the very first professional game I have ever played. I did this in college. I will do it through my final game because it’s this simple, I have to deserve to hit the game-winning shot.” Then he grabbed his ball and started shooting again. Later Mark Giangreco was reflecting that Michael Jordan believes that there’s practice, which all professionals, they’re all outstanding they’re professionals and they all practice. Michael Jordan believed that he had to practice extra. He had to practice outside of practice to hit the game-winning shot. How does this relate to content? It goes back to my very first point. If you want something to say you have to absorb it. You have to go after it. You’ve got to read it, study it. You have to become that something you want to say. Here’s what I’m going to challenge everybody to do. If you do that you are going to create what’s called personal gravity on that topic. You’re going to create gravity. You’re going to have something to say at such a high level people are going to want to hang around you. You’re going to have something to say at such a high level it’ll be just a matter of time until you no choice, you will have to write a book. You’ll have to get it out of you. You’ll have to do a podcast, you’ll have to do something. The only way you will ever get to that point is if you truly absorb it. If you just want to play around the edges that’s fine but if you really want to have something to say you have to absorb it. If you truly believe that the most expensive product in the world is content you might want to take some consideration to start truly absorbing content. Hoping this episode was valuable and just made the decision, we’re going to start doing podcasts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so we can get consistent. I was told by a new mentor of mine that the best pod-casters in the world understand their audience is looking for consistently. Jeff, thank you very much. That’s fantastic. Ken Courtright from Today’s Business Growing Today signing off, see you!