Hey everyone, Ken Courtright here from Today’s Growth- Growing Business Today. I wanted to pick up right where we left off, episode 12. This is episode 13. This episode, we’re going to title with something about just consistent growth, but I’m going to pick up literally right where we left off. Episode 12 was centered around consistent great content. I went so far as to say that content is literal currency. There’s no question that it is. I know there’s people out there that have found themselves asking, “How can I raise my credibility? How can I raise my prices for what I charge? How can I establish myself as an authority?” The reason they’re asking themselves these questions is they know if they can raise their authority they can command more for whatever they’re doing, whether it’s how much they charge for their service to more respect from a stage publisher, different things like that.
What I wanted to do on this episode is something different. Instead of me just talking, if you will, or teaching, I wanted to just simply deliver case studies showing the results of what good content does. Here’s what I’m going to do. Let’s just jump in. I’m not going to ramble.
A few episodes ago I was talking a little bit about part of the genesis story of our authority website building company. I mentioned a story about a spine website, how some spine surgeons were struggling and trying to compete with WebMD, how a few consultants came in and helped them out and now today that is one of the number 1, if not, the number 1 spine website in the world.
The short piece of this bridge to the 4 case studies is I listened intently when Todd Krause, who’s now our CIO, was explaining to me what he was teaching to the spine surgeons about content. I didn’t just listen. It was a 6-hour meeting. I was taking notes as fast as my hand could write. The one thing I remembered Todd saying over and over and over and over is that the sale that these consultants had to make to the spine surgeons was that these spine surgeons, if they wanted to truly dominate their space, were going to have get off their thought process that they wrote 50 incredible pieces of content a few years ago and they’ll never have to write again. Todd’s sale to them was that you’re going to have to write consistently, literally every week, if you want Google to pay attention.
Long and short, let’s bring this over to my first case study. My first case study is our actual corporate site, TodaysGrowthConsultant.com. Now, there’s less than 80 pieces of content on that site because it’s like the auto mechanic’s car, it’s the last site to get touched. We have 700 revenue-generating websites. The last time thing we have time for, excuse me, is our own corporate site. It just sits on a shelf, but the early embryo story of that website has triggered hundreds of revenue-generating websites in our portfolio.
Let’s talk about what happened there. Todd and I get together and long and short of it is I make the decision after studying for 90 days trying to prove Todd wrong that you can’t just write consistently and all of a sudden you’re going to make money. All of a sudden, you’re going to have national notoriety and this and that. Todd’s like, “Yeah. We’ll see.” Long and short of it is Todd explained to me what a keyword silo is. You’re going to have to dig in to one of the first 8 episodes to figure that one out. He said if you focus on a keyword silo and you write consistently on that keyword silo, it’s just a matter of time until you wear Google down.
What I did, I went to the Google Ad Words Keyword Planner, back then, it was called the Google Ad Words Keyword Tool. I put in the phrases that I thought people would want to type into Google to find a growth consultant. Sure enough… I’m going to pause this because my wife’s calling my phone. Ha-ha. Lesson number one: Always take your wife’s call. Good stuff there.
Now, I forgot what I was… I start studying what do people look up in the Google search bar to find growth consultants. I find there’s about 5 to 10 different phrases in the niche I was playing in. I use this tool and I found out from Google that there’s about a hundred different things that people type in to find people like myself. Long and short of it is, I stacked these phrases by demand, meaning how often are these phrases searched in Google. But I didn’t start with the biggest ones at the top. I actually started with the small ones.
What I found is that if you start writing in a silo based on the phrases that are searched the least, sometimes Google doesn’t have a single piece of content perfectly targeted to those searches. You can see this in what’s called the competition score. I had, for a few different phrases, I was number one on page 1 in under 6 weeks. I’m thinking, how in the world did I deserve to be on page one? I was basically told by Todd that, “Hey, there’s really nobody searching for these phrases, so yes, you are number 1,” but that’s not the reason he suggested I write on those.
The reason he suggested I write on those is if you’re number 1 on page 1 for any phrase, you get what is called an authoritative pointer, meaning Google recognizes you’re number 1 on page 1 of their search index. They don’t necessarily care that it’s a small phrase. Now, if you start showing up number 1 on page 1 for multiple phrases what do you think Google’s going to think of you? They’re going to think you’re probably an expert. If you back that up with consistent content and then Google sees you coming in with content literally every week, every week, every week, they’re going to think that much more favorably on you.
Long and short of it is, we start TodaysGrowthConsultant.com and that site starts to take off. It takes about 4 months, but right in month 4, 5, or 6, I got a call… I know I’ve shared this on a previous podcast but it’s worth repeating… I got a call from an attorney. I was a little bit nervous in the beginning because I’m always nervous around attorneys for some reason, especially when they call you screaming. This lady is just screaming and I said, “You know what, ma’am, I have no idea what me or my kids or my wife did wrong. Something’s got…” She said, “What are you talking about?” I said, “Why are you calling?” She goes, “This is Ken Courtright, right?” I said, “Yes.” She said, “I got your number off the bottom of your website.” I’m thinking what, because again, at this point, I’m just 4 months into my very first authority website, my own website, and I have no idea if this is working. I have no idea if anybody’s reading this website.
She says, “I found your number at the bottom of the weekly posts you write. We have 10 to 12 attorneys in our office. We do training off of your website every Monday when you post your new blog.” I knew instantly the problem because I hadn’t posted that Monday. This call came in, I think, on a Tuesday. I was out of town the previous week. She goes, “When are you going to post next?” I said, “I actually did write the post over the weekend. I just haven’t put it in yet.” She goes, “Could you put it in now? I’ve got a roomful of people. We’d like to do our next training. We do it off of your blog.”
The bottom line is that got me thinking, holy cow, there’s people not only reading this information, they’re reading it consistently and they’re even waiting for the RSS feed to kick in to signal that a new piece of content kicked in. Just like today’s iTunes, if you subscribe you know.
That was the first case study where I got really serious about the power of consistent content, the power of having authority, and just the power of a message going viral. Apparently, that content was getting spread around not only her office, but other attorneys. It was tremendous.
I want to go right into the second case study. This is a case study around a 39-year-old plumber. I’ve touched on this one a little bit, but not in this kind of detail. Sure enough, I wanted to make a name for us so I, early on doing these authority sites, went after a plumber that had 40 years of experience, Art Kavanaugh 00:10:02]. The long and the short of this story is, Art says “You know, Ken, I remember you from 18 years ago when you did the marketing for us at Litvin Plumbing, but I don’t know mind writing you a check for one of these big authority sites, waiting a year, year and a half for them to kick in but I have no patience. I want to retire. I don’t want to write any content. I don’t have any patience to study certain things and write content. I’ll write you the check to kick start this thing. I want the guaranteed return on the revenue, but I don’t want to write. But I think my 39-year-old son might want to write.”
As the story goes, I really didn’t want a 39-year-old journeyman plumber to be the authority on one of our authority websites. I really wanted Sean’s father Art Kavanaugh, the 65-year-old, to be writing the content. But, as fate would have it, I connected with Sean. I ran a key word silo with Google. Google told us exactly the 200 phrases they needed help with… Again if you want to understand what that is you’ve got to dig into some of the early podcasts, it’s in there…. But Sean, what he didn’t mind doing was writing. He would write a 400-1000 word piece of content once a week. We’re about 3-4 months into his website, and understand neither TodaysGrowthConsultant.com or Sean’s plumbing site, theplumbinginfo.com, had any marketing. It was just content. We did no link backs, we did nothing. We didn’t do info-graphics at the time. It was just content.
This is right around 2010 or 2011, I think, but we were every week, every week, every week, every week, and definitely that content was getting shared because we were absorbing the info and then pushing content in on a regular basis. There was two very interesting episodes. The first one was we got a call from the Discovery Channel. The Discovery Channel said they wanted to do a pilot episode on plumbing and they ended up going with a show called Gold Rush, but Sean and I have seven episodes that were scripted out. I think I did one or two, at least I did the rough bullets and then Sean filled them in, and I think Sean did the other five. I remember Sean saying, on the first one he did he even had an idea for a platform cutout so you could see the plumbing in a house, and it was kind of cool. That’s still a possibility.
The key for this story and this case study is: We said to the contact at Discovery Channel, how did you find us? They said “Well all of the times we were searching for expert plumbers and do-it-yourself plumbing experts and this and that, residential plumbing, commercial plumbing, theplumbinginfo.com kept coming up on page 1 of Google so we knew whoever is behind that must be an authority. Today, now it’s been 3-1/2 or 4 years, theplumbinginfo.com ranks on page 1, 2, or 3 of Google on 138,000 different search phrases. That is unbelievable. We did most of that with no marketing. That was just content.
I’m going to go right into number 3. We have another case study of a website called continuity-compliance.org and this is in the space of business. Continuity its in the space of basically just making sure if there’s a disaster your company’s taken care of. It makes sure that your company is prepared.There’s laws that says if you take credit cards, if you do this, if you do that, you have to protect your clients, your employees private data. If your business crashes you’re going to need to make sure you’re backed up and there’s a preparedness plan in place for your company for protecting all of that data.
The nation’s leading website, at least in the top three at this point, is continuity-compliance. About a year and a half ago I get a call and it’s Ben, the gentleman behind that website, he’s the one that funded it and he’s one of three consultants that is writing the content. Ben calls me up, he goes, “Ken, you’re not going to believe this. I have a couple stories that are literally going to blow your hair back.” I said, “fire away.” He goes, “About a year ago we went to a conference and there was a lady from the Department of Homeland Security presenting from stage, and we were taking notes, and we knew at some point we wanted to quote here on continuity-compliance.
When it finally came time to write the perfect piece to quote her we did some homework, we got the right phone number for this office at the government. We get ahold of the office and we said we’re looking for so-and-so and we’d like to quote her, we’re writing a story. About 30 seconds later this lady comes on and she says “Hey, how you doing?”” Ben says… As a matter of fact it was Ben’s partner, Lisa, that made the phone call. Lisa says “This is Lisa, my partners and I heard you speaking at conference in Washington DC, we would love to quote you for an article we’re writing for our website continuity-compliance.”
The gal from the Department of Homeland Security says “I’m sorry what site did you say? What website?” She says “continuity-compliance. It’s me an my few partners.” She goes “No, no, I get that, um, by any chance do you have a life saver?” You know like the lifesavers you throw off a cruise ship if somebody goes overboard. “Do you happen to have a lifesaver as your logo at the top left of your website?” Lisa says, “Well yes we do.” And the gal from the Department of Homeland Security says “Ah, you’re not going to believe this, but there’s 20 of us doing a training off of your website right now.” She goes,” As a matter of fact we do a training off your site at least once a month. I would be honored to be quoted in continuity-compliance.”
Then Ben says, if that wasn’t enough, about a week later they get a call and it’s very similar to the call I had with that crazy attorney yelling at me. Ben says, “A week before this we got a call from a guy who was kind of hot under the collar, definitely bothered by something,” and he says “Is Lisa something-something there?” Finally Ben says, “I went and got Lisa and sure enough she takes the phone and she says “Yeah, this is Lisa can I help you?” The guys like we have a little bit of a problem, and he starts talking and she goes, “wait a minute. Can I ask who’s calling?” He says I’m so-and-so. “I’m an executive over at BPM Amacco and we do training’s every Monday off of your website and we’ve noticed not only did you not post last Monday, you didn’t post this Monday which is today. We just need to know if you guys stopped posting or is there something going on.” Lisa starts cracking up because they had just found out they had posted, but they had saved the content in draft and forgot to hit publish, so they laughed.
Anyway the point of that story is that website actually doesn’t even have any unique content on it. They editorialize content, so I’m not going to go into that. There’s definitely a previous podcast about that and how it became one of the top three biggest business continuity websites without writing a piece of content. They didn’t pay for any content either, they just used our methodologies of editorializing great content to write.
The final thing I want to cover, and this is just awesome, many years ago we were contracted to create an info-graphic, which if you Google info-graphic, they’re just basically large pictures. Some of them very wide, some of them very tall, some of them 8.5 by 11, but they’re very graphical pictures that either teach or tell a story. Somebody gave us a pretty considerable amount of money to create an info-graphic for a small energy website. They wanted to get Google’s attention. They wanted to get world wide attention. They wanted bloggers to recognize it. We did some thinking and the first rule of content is if you want something to say you have to absorb everything.
We knew we needed to jump start this website and we said what can we do or create that can get a lot of attention to this website? The hot thing a few years ago was on the energy savings inside of a home. There was Energy Star. They were putting solar panels on the roof. If you lived on a farm you could put a windmill up and have no electricity cost. So we did some studying and found there was a Consumer Report done on if you do this, this, this, and this it will literally cut your household bills in half. We contacted Consumer Reports, it was about a one year old article. We asked them if they had any updates and they did. We created an absolutely awesome graphic of a home that was exploded open, had the 10 items in it, if you did these 10 things no question you’re going cut your energy in half, gave credit to Consumer Reports.
This thing got picked up by so many blogs in the first couple of days, but something fairly traumatic happened to us. We had a link at the bottom of the PDF document to our energy site for our client, and we get a call that following Tuesday. We launched it on a Thursday, we get a call the following Tuesday the client was screaming that they could no longer find their website in Google. We’re like, “What are you talking about?” We Googled it, couldn’t find the website. We’re thinking what in the world is going on?! We come to find out, we started just doing some homework, and all of a sudden our chief marketing officer, Dave Conklin, emails me the info-graphic in Japanese. He goes “I wonder if this is the problem.”
He ends up contacting Google and Google sure enough came back and said yes we disavowed that website because it was clear to us that you received 400 back-links from Japan that you had obviously went out and bought 400 links from another country. That’s what we call a black hat technique. We shut all sites down that do that. We went “Whoa, whoa, whoa. We did not do that. We are the creators of that info-graphic. We’re a marketing company, but we certainly did not pay for any links.” We actually hung up on Google and said we’ll get back to you.
Sure enough, we did some back tracking and it turns out that a large blogger in Japan, without asking our permission, converted our info-graphic to Japanese… He was what’s called a sneezer, a person of influence… and when he talked about it 400 other websites grabbed that info-graphic put it on their website permanently as a teaching tool, and if you put a PDF with a link to another website, permanently on a website, there is now a back link from 400 other websites in Japan to our client. We got a hold of Google. We showed them what happened. The Japanese guy did admit yes he did it without our permission. Google then redid the ranking and our little client’s website was, guess what, on page 1 of Google for the terms it wanted to be on. That is an awesome case study of the power of incredible content.
To wrap this up, each of the four case studies I gave you we wanted to say something, so we went into each of those spaces and we absorb those industries and then wrote a great piece of content after doing a lot of absorption. Then finally, the result is each of these four pieces the world then came to us, right, so we wrote a great series of content into TodaysGrowthConsultant.com and then the world has came to us. For sure we are now considered growth consultants at a high level.
Theplumbinginfo.com ranks on close to 140,000 search terms so Google has brought the world to Sean Cavenaugh and the plumbing site. We’ve done deal after deal with that site. Then continuity-compliance, Department of Homeland Security, BPM Amacco, the world has come to those business owners. That little energy graphic, even though that was a one-off job for us, that brought a tremendous amount of traffic to us and energy. You may want to give the creation of consistently great content a try. I am Ken Courtright signing off for Today’s Growth Growing Business Today. Take