Last week I got an email from Bryan Harris of VideoFruit letting me know about this awesome new post he published about Lead Magnets because he saw that I had created something similar and linked to a mutually respected article (always great stuff from Peep and the team at Conversion XL).
After reading his “11 Ways To Turn Readers Into Subscribers,” my wheels started spinning immediately and I jotted down a bunch of questions that came to mind. Bryan’s content marketing efforts are way too kick ass for me to not try to pry some knowledge from his brain (and share them here with you).
Bryan was kind enough to provide me with his answers in video form (at the bottom of this post if you prefer to watch rather than read) and I’ve turned them into more of a story to help you understand the value in content marketing and what it takes to be successful.
Here’s Bryan’s Story:
After talking with Bryan, it’s obvious that he’s always had a knack for successful ideas and an attraction to using content. Before he was creating kick ass content on his blog, Bryan was giving away free explainer videos for outreach. But he wasn’t just making random videos, he was thinking strategically.
The explainer videos Bryan was creating were based on infographics from industry leaders that he wanted to connect with and he knew shared his desired audience. Once the explainer video was created, he would send it to the industry leader (people like Kissmetrics, Gary Vaynerchuck, and Mitch Joel) and they’d usually post it on their blogs which would result in sending him traffic as well.
If you try to do something similar, make sure it is actually cool, like this:
In October of 2013, Bryan created and launched a course and realized he needed a way to drive traffic to the course in order for it to be successful. He took note of other people achieving success online and saw that they were doing a lot of writing and publishing great content.
This is a common need for most businesses, driving quality traffic to your website or landing pages in order to increase leads and sales. A lot of companies are still behind when it comes to planning a real traffic/lead generation strategy, but content marketing MUST be a part of that.
“There’s always less competition at the top, and the top is spending 20 hours writing a post. No one else is doing that.”
By keeping an eye on what was working around the marketing industry, Bryan quickly saw the value in creating in-depth pieces of content. Particularly with an eye on Neil Patel’s Quicksprout blog, it was clear that his lengthier pieces were getting the most shares.
It is important to note though, that length is not necessarily the factor in success, but rather a byproduct of the value provided with originality and depth into a topic that actually helps the reader.
As the saying goes, “go the extra mile, it’s never crowded.” Putting in that extra work will clearly separate you from what everyone else is doing. Siting Brian at Backlinko, and Will Hoekenga at Leadpages as great examples of content that goes the extra mile, Bryan points out, “There’s less competition at The Top, and The Top is to spend 20 hours writing a post. No one else is doing that.”
This is true in the marketing field where there are who-knows-how-many blogs and content creators. It holds even more valuable in less advanced industries where you can really get a dominant jumpstart on competition who is either not blogging regularly or has weak content, if they are publishing any content at all.
While Bryan’s work over at VideoFruit has primarily been in-depth articles with text and video, could there be value in creating several one off pieces that all follow the same theme?
It’s something that Neil Patel does with his incredible Advanced Guides,which are ridiculous by the way. Please bookmark all of them if you haven’t already, you can find them listed in the sidebar of the blog here.
Even in those guides though, each “chapter” is an in-depth piece on a certain topic.
With a lot of talk in the SEO community about using topics now versus just keywords, this could be a great way to spread out your knowledge across more than one piece and still create value, multiple shareable pieces, and reason for your readers to keep coming back more frequently.
The more time you put into your content, the more you will get out of it.
Someone who spends a half hour writing a blog post and not promoting it won’t get much from their post. Bryan takes anywhere from 4-15 hours to create just one piece of content for his site, and that’s just creating it! There’s distribution and promotion work that needs to go into it as well.
When planning out your strategy up front, you can help save time along the way of execution. Bryan is becoming more involved with his own strategy and plans to make it more like a season of a TV show where storylines string together.
This again ties back into the great practice of theming topics for people, rather than just targeting keywords for SEO purposes.
This practice can help put you in the right mindset for content planning, as well as help you tie in a story for your consumer’s decision making process to reach them at varying stages of their purchasing journey or nurture them from the very beginning to becoming a delighted, repeat customer.
Distribution is becoming more manual in Bryan’s case. After a new piece of content is published, he checks out other content about the same topic. Then he’ll reach out to anyone who has shared that content or linked to it from their own blogs.
Using this technique, Bryan usually gets about 10% responses for backlinks as well as “quite a few social shares.” It’s similar to “The Vacuum” technique (Bonus content, needs registration) Bryan talks about for getting immediate traffic to a new blog.
You can use Brian Dean’s SkyScraper technique to help you with planning your content strategy and distribution to create a highly valuable digital asset.
The benefits of Bryan’s kickass content marketing?
Since he has posted 75 blog posts, it has completely changed his outlook on business and brought new opportunities that he had never even thought of before.
Though he’s not currently selling anything right now on his blog to prove a direct dollar ROI, he has been building his email list at a target rate of 75 new sign ups per day (of course, some weeks are ahead, some are a little low).
Owning your own proprietary audience is a fundamental rule for any digital marketer.
When Bryan launches his next product that he’s currently developing, he will have his own built in audience of 10,000 volunteers to market directly to. He won’t have to pay another platform to “rent” their audience’s eyeballs or buy clicks and impressions from a search engine or social network. Bryan will have 10,000 interested people from his target demographic just one click away.
Bryan has also built a coaching program through his email list, is approached for freelance work all the time now, and can reach out to big names now to do freelance work because now they’ve seen/heard of him.
Having his own platform that shows off his kick ass content gives him immediate credibility. Even if a new, “cold” prospect hasn’t yet heard of him, when they go to his blog and see what he’s doing it, shows proof immediately of what he’s capable of and the impact that it has.
LeadPages is the world’s easiest landing page generator. It’s the easiest way to build conversion optimized & mobile responsive landing pages.
OptinMonster is the best lead-generation plugin for WordPress that allows you to create attention grabbing optin forms that convert.
WP Curve empowers business owners to build their business without worrying about WordPress. You get 24 / 7 access to the world’s best developers for maintenance, support & small jobs.
For Bryan, SumoMe has driven a 4-8% conversion with their scroll box on his website. If you’re not familiar with conversion rates, that’s amazing.
SumoMe is a free toolkit for growing your website traffic. It provides the tools you need to grow your blog by engaging your readers.
Bryan’s advice if you want to get started with your own kick ass content marketing:
Write every day. Don’t worry about tactics for 3-4 months. Just practice writing.
Work on creating “How-To” stuff. Don’t pontificate on Facebook updates and stuff that people can find anywhere. Teach your reader something step by step and do it like you’re explaining it to a kindergartner. (Note: this is not to be disrespectful to your audience, but to make sure they’ll comprehend
Use the phrase “for example” – this gives the reader a story to follow along with instead of just running off a list of stuff that they won’t truly absorb.
About Bryan: Bryan Harris is the founder of Videofruit, which creates videos to help companies grow their businesses. To date, Bryan has made hundreds of videos for himself and other businesses. On his Videofruit blog, Bryan explains how he does it.