What you will learn
- How to actually derive money off content marketing
- When to use and not use advertising
- The type of articles that are the best for list building
- How to presell with your blog
- How to direct sell with your blog
More and more people are jumping in the content marketing bandwagon but most of them do it because everyone else does it without truly understanding how a profit can be generated.
As a result, many organisations produce dull content that is misaligned with their goals and ultimately fails at what could otherwise be a very profitable venture.
In this episode, you will learn how to match the right goal (ad revenue, email list growth and sales) with the right type of content. Enjoy
Welcome to the Authority Hacker podcast, the place to learn field tested, no BS tactics to grow hack your online business, and finally, live life on your own terms. Now, your hosts, Gael and Mark.
Gael: Hey guys, welcome to the Authority Hacker podcast. In today’s episode we are going to talk about something a little bit strategic when it comes to content marketing and these are the types of goals you can associate with content marketing and especially with different kinds of content. And, the truth is, more and more people run content marketing, more and more people are blogging etc, these days, but the truth is 99% of people do it because everyone else does it, or because they have heard Rand Fishkin say it was a good idea. And, I agree with Rand Fishkin, it is a good idea, but, usually, the way I see people run blogs and online content marketing rather, does not generate a lot of sales for them, it does not generate a lot of tangible revenue for their site. It does increase traffic, but making money form it is a very different thing, and Mark I think you can relate when- by the way, Mark, hey, welcome to the podcast.
Mark: Yeah, thanks for the introduction as always Gael.
Gael: [laugh] Well, that is one of my best introductions yet. I still, I am not very good at it, but there was a time with Health Ambition when we would be able to generate traffic with content but, we had pretty much no revenue, and that was pretty painful for us to figure that out, right?
Mark: Yeah, it was six months into even having the site that we made any a single dollar from it, I think, we originally had just billed and then we will figure out mentality, but it’s much better to have like a clear idea of not just sticking up a bunch of AdSense or something on there, but like have a clear idea of what this piece of content is going to achieve from the outside.
Gael: Yeah. Exactly, and, I think the reason why most people actually can’t achieve that, is because they have no idea themselves how content generates revenue, directly and in a measurable way. And so we are going to talk about the different ways you can make money with content, directly and indirectly, and I am going to talk about the different kinds of content and how they associate with the different ways of making money. So, kind of associating things. And, there is really like 4 ways you can make money with your content.
The first one is advertising, so as you say, just putting some AdSense around, or selling some advertising, it is pretty straight forward and we are going to talk a little bit about that. Then there is the email list growth and retargeting list growth where the goal is to get people to sign up to your email list so that you can then promote stuff to them and monetize them. That is kind of like- the content does not directly make sales, but rather to build authority so you can later on make a sales speech to people and that is usually when you already have their email address and contact details, you just want them to trust you more so that next time you put an offer in front of them, they consider it more.
And finally there is my favorite which is a direct product sale, like people are going to read this piece of content, and usually, at the end of it, they are going to take their credit card out and they are going to buy something either form you or from an affiliate offer that you are recommending and that is going to be direct revenue for you, that is my favorite, but we are going to talk about this at the end, let’s just start with advertising. Advertising is definitely as I say the most straightforward and there is 3 ways that you can be doing advertising- there is the CPM advertising which stands for Cost For Mill Advertising where all that matters is that your ad gets impressions, so that people see the ad, and usually when that happens, you want to put the ads in the sidebar so you keep the experience of your content clean and nice and you still get paid because people pay you per 1000 impressions. Then there is the cost per click, where the people see the ad and you don’t get paid, you get paid when people click on the ad, and usually, the best way to make money from that is to put the adblocks inside your content, and that does spoil your design a little bit. And, we actually run that on Health Ambition right now, and it’s true like the design could be a little bit cleaner if we didn’t run ad in content but at the same time it generates pretty good money for us, and I don’t know what do you think about ad in content Mark, do you think it’s a problem, or…?
Mark: It depends, it can distract the way from the other monetization goals of traffic, if you are trying to do a review say or trying to get the email sign up, it can distract from that, but I think in general, it’s something worth having as a sort of secondary monetization option, like maybe not like the primary one.
Gael: I would say it depends on the type of content very much.
Mark: Yeah, you are right.
Gael: And that’s why we are going get into like in a second part of each of these monetization types, I can say it, and in that case, if you are running a product review as you said, I would probably not run ads, and so I would highly recommend that you have an advertising system that is a little bit flexible where you cannot show your ads in certain categories on WordPress or on certain tags and so on, we actually use Ad Inserter on WordPress for our- it’s doing ok, it’s not the most advanced thing, but I can extract, I can remove ads from certain categories there is also a tag that I have created that remove all ad block from the page and so that allows us to clean up pages when we need to and we have other goals. But, there is also another type of ad, which is not CPC but it’s the fixed price, so that would be like more direct agreement you have with an advertiser, that usually emailed you, they want to show an ad on your site, and they are going to pay you $500 a month to have this banner on the sidebar. And it’s going to be a little bit like the CPM, your goal is to actually get the amount of people click on it, so you get paid, but at the same time, you actually keep your traffic obviously, people do not get enough traffic from these then they are not going to renew, so it’s kind of like the minimum dose thing where you want to send enough traffic but you don’t want to give it your prime real estate and if the price is worth it, it’s up to you to kind of balance that essentially.
And, now it comes to actually the type of content that is working well with advertising. It’s usually content that gets a lot of traffic, because whether you are on CPM, or in CPC, you don’t make very much money from advertising unless you have thousands of visits, if you have a site with like 50 visits per day, it’s not even worth putting AdSense on it, unless you are in something with really high CPC, I wouldn’t say it’s worth it, so the type of content that works very well is high search volume question polls, so like what are the health benefits of peanuts, I searched for it in a previous podcast and I think that has like over 5000 visits per month, an article like that month after month after month could generate decent income from SEO mostly just from ranking for these kind of keywords, or a lease post, a lease post that can be a mix of social and SEO traffic, so it’s a highly shareable and at the same time it can target a keyword, the example I have for this one is like “15 natural remedies for stomach ache” for example, you can rank for remedies for stomach ache, natural remedies for stomach ache, stomach ache remedy etc, and at the same time, because it’s a lease people tend to share it quite a bit, I think we have these kind of articles on Health Ambition, they generate like hundreds of shares and so on, and because they are evergreen content, you kind of take them out of the dry once in a while and we share them on social and get a bunch of traffic, plus you get the ongoing search traffic.
And final type of content that works pretty well with advertising and CPM and CPC, is the kind of like viral burst feed type post and there are a lot of AdSense millions these days, that are exclusively relying on these kind of content is 100% social media, there is almost no content, there is just memes and animated gifs and that kind of stuff and it just focuses on shares and uses Facebook ads to launch them essentially. So that is basically the 3 types of content that I would highly recommend if you are making money with advertising which can be a good route if you are ready to scale things up and produce a lot of content. Do you have anything to say about advertising?
Mark: No, the only thing I remember is when we first started it, ok, our traffic was much lower but we kind of gave up on it initially, because it wasn’t like we weren’t really seeing any kind of return, but it’s not just a case of like slapping on the ads anywhere you want, there is a process that you need to go through like optimizing it and like finding the best locations on your site, for your audience that results in clicks, it’s not just slapping banners or any kind of banners anywhere.
Gael: And optimizing can like double or triple the amount of money you make.
Mark: Even more than that I think, it was in our case, so it goes from being something that is not really worth it, to oh, actually this is a quite meaningful.
Gael: Yeah, I mean, I think for advertising, especially for AdSense, I think there is kind of like a critical number of visits, you need to get number of visits per day, you will generate very little money, and it just starts taking off once you are like above like 300 visits per day, or 4 hundred visits per day. And you really just generate trickles before that, for some reason, it doesn’t seem linear, in terms of income. I am not sure why, but that’s my feeling from putting AdSense on low traffic sites. Yeah, I wouldn’t consider advertising with less than 500 visits per day, I would say. But, let’s just talk about the next monetization model, the model that generates money from your content, and this one is like email list and retargeting list growth. And, the goal of this is that people give you their email address so that you can follow up with offers, and we do that a lot on Authority Hacker, especially that is the main way we monetize, as you can see, there is no advertising on the website, but if you give us your email, you will receive some promotions for products, for trainings and for also some things that hopefully you are going to be interested in but that is how we make money, essentially, on top of recommending tools and products inside our blog post. But we are going to talk about that one in the last thing.
So because you want people to take action this time and not just click on something that seems foreign to your website, you need to increase the level of engagement people have with your content, you can’t just make a list of random points and hope that people are going to give you their email. Usually, you need to give them a good reason for that and that is why I especially like content upgrades, because, I mean when I check the stats that we have on our sites, some content upgrades get up to 20% opt in rate, that means that one in 5 person gives their email, and the reason why is because a content upgrade is a complimentary piece of content, like a pdf, a video, something that is complementary to what people are reading that gives more to the people that are engaged with the content. And, people take action like crazy, and then you can actually segment people using content upgrades, because they say that they are interested in keyword research for example on Authority Hacker, then I can follow up with keyword research tool promotion, taken action and given the email for keyword research content upgrade.
And, the most adapted types of content, for this, if you want to grow your email list, is I think how to content so tutorials, because they build authority, you are teaching something, you are becoming, and because you are becoming an authority when you are going to follow up with product recommendations, people are actually going to listen to you, or like ultimate guide and big contents, so for instance, our “How to make Money Blogging” piece of content generated over 1000 emails actually so far. And, that is because people are like, “Wow, this is amazing, I can only imagine what this free content upgrade is going to be,” and people just give their email. So, I actually like this model a lot, I like growing the email list because then, you kind of like get a chance to try to promote things several times, and you don’t need to get right initially, and it’s a little bit more forgiving. What would you say about this kind of monetization with content, like how well has it worked for you when it comes to working with Health Ambition especially?
Mark: I think very well, but that is just because the nature of the niche, there is a lot of sort of informational queries and a lot of people are looking to learn certain things and just seems to lean more towards this type of content, and it may be such a query that we don’t have anything to sell them specifically, if they want to know, “What are the negative effects of coffee?” I mean, there is not really too much we can talk about there. But, we can capture their emails from there and then promote other stuff to them in future, retarget them or-
Gael: Yeah, you kind of go fishing basically, you assume they are interested in health, and you just try to put something in front of them, if they don’t take, you put something else, and it’s kind of like a guess work on elimination game, but because you have the email, you have the opportunity to try many things, which you don’t have with retargeting, which you don’t have with many other ways of promoting and that’s why I really like. And so, growing your email list with your content is really good, and what is really cool as well is that there are so many terms that you can target with ultimate guides and how to content, that basically sky is the limit when it comes to growing your email list and that is not necessarily the case with things like product sales and so on, you are going to be more limited in the types of query you can target, but to grow your email list, this is a pretty cool way of doing that.
What I would recommend, in terms of setting up the email list to follow up, is to have an auto-responder, of like 3, 4 emails, to relate it off of to what people opted in for, so if they opted in for clearing acne, then you definitely want to have a small auto-responder that talks about clearing acne, and recommended creams, recommended treatments, maybe recommended methods and e-books and sell that to them. And after that, you kind of put them in your big list like Mark said and go fishing for other topics, because if you multiply content upgrades, if you start having 20, 50 content upgrades, it’s unrealistic to expect that you are going to be maintaining all these lists and emailing like a 100% targeted emails every time. So, we kind of have these kind of unique follow up for a couple of emails, and then you just fall back into the general bucket, and we go fishing for topics that you would be interested in.
So that is a cool way of also keeping your front end very clean, so advertising as I said, spoils the design a bit, but when you are just offering free content as a bonus, your website looks extremely clean, it looks like it’s just a pure resource website, and as a result, you get a lot more shares and a lot more links. Authority Hacker gets a ton of links, because there is zero advertising, the design is very clean, it looks very good and so on, and that is one of the reasons why I love this kind of approach, it’s a little bit sneaky, but it works really well. Now, let’s talk about the proof of authority, and the proof of authority essentially does not make a sale, so it’s kind of like an outlyer in that list, but the proof of authority is when you already have someone’s email address and you are preparing yourself to sell them like something that costs over $100, maybe something that costs over $1000, and there is no way people are going to give you money, like that, you need to earned their trust and you might have looked very good in the first article you shared with them, but realistically, if you want them to spend money on you, you need them to consume more than one piece of content. And, that is what I love to use active campaign in our case, and I like to use case studies for that, I like to show a case study of something that is really cool that we did, maybe like the podcast on how we transformed a blog post into $2500 passive income every month, and email that people and see if they actually click through, and if they click through they actually ease a pitch coming to them about Authority Hacker Pro and how they can learn to do the same thing. And that allows me to segment people who are willing to check our case studies and our engage with our content, and where I actually follow up with a pitch, versus the people that are less engaged and then there is no pitch, I just keep feeding them content until they get engaged enough and then I can start pitching them.
So, the proof of authority is where you want to make your base case studies and email them to people to then make any indirect pitch behind, and it’s kind of content, content, content, boom, sale. And the people that see the sale are only the people that are likely to buy, people are not likely to buy if they don’t see the sale. This is definitely one of my favorite ways of selling.
Mark: I think that as well with like these kind of case studies they seem to attract like a certain type of audience in their own right, it’s not just a market to your existing audience.
Gael: Yeah, it’s content. It shows authority to everyone, right, and also these case studies they generate a lot of links and shares, the reason why is because you are essentially sharing unique insight with your market. A lot of blog posts, they are based on things you’ve read online, and things you’ve checked out etc, so it’s not super unique, they are like maybe the words are unique but the ideas don’t have to be, whereas case studies, they tend to be more unique and as a result they make you stand out more, and that’s why I like to call you a proof of authority.
Mark: I think as well with cases studies as the way we do them as well, it’s a lot more sort of hands on practical look, this is how we actually did it, I think a lot of people made the mistake of doing a case study, but still hiding what they are doing, you know what I mean?
Gael: Yeah, they show the results but not how it was achieved.
Gael: Yeah, I agree, it’s like- but, why don’t you do that properly, like people love you like the people actually click through to that podcast and listen to it, I receive a lot of emails after that and it talk to us etc, it’s an excellent time for us to actually pitch our monthly recurring program which is- it’s hard to convince people to pay us every month, but when I see that people engage with that kind of content, then I know I can move in with the pitch and there is no point pitching people for these more expensive, harder to sell products, until you actually see them engage, with your free stuff. And, that’s why I really like it, it’s a great one. And technically, the way you implement that is on your auto responder, email that to your new subscribers, say like 7 days after they opted in, email these case study to them, and then if someone clicks on that link, then you have an automation that sends them the follow up email the next day, that says, “Hey, I hope you enjoyed the case study. By the way, if you wanted to do something similar, we actually teach that in our program for our case”. And, if people did not click on the link, then the email marketing tool is not going to send an email, that’s basically how you do that technically, we recommend use active campaign to do that, it’s by far the best email tool and it costs $9 a month, so it’s not necessarily a budget thing. And, let’s move on with the last type of money you can make with your content, which is definitely my favorite, which is a direct product sale. I like it because it’s so tangible, it’s like it’s basically a blog post becomes a sales page, it makes you money. And, because you are sharing a piece of content and not a sales page, despite the fact that your goal is for people to buy the product, when they are done with the content, you can’t hard sell, you can say, “Oh my God, this is amazing, buy it, buy it, buy it,” people are not going to read your comment if it’s like that. What you need to do is once again, you need to show people real life experience, and once again, case studies and what really happens when you use the product, and I like to do that- again in case studies, case studies can actually have a call to action at the end that sales, it’s not necessary, but it’s possible, I like to do it in a how to guide so for example like, “How to rank number one in Google by reformatting your content,” I have a blog post about formatting where I explain how reformatting one blog post on Health Ambition resulted in 800% more traffic, and at the end I am like, ok, here is how I reformatted the content, I used this plugin called Thrive content builder, here is a video of me doing it with this tool. And, this blog post makes a lot of sales for that tool, it’s great to be an affiliate, and we mix a how to and a tutorial and we start with the problem- the problem is I want more traffic. And this is definitely not a traffic tool, but this is just a WordPress plugin that allows you to create drag and drop pages, but I kind of link the problem that everyone has which is getting more traffic, with the design of the page and how it got us more links, more shares, in the end 800% more traffic, and because of that case study and the link it makes, I am reaching people that no other affiliate is reaching that are buying this tool, it’s super powerful, and that’s why I really like doing that kind of content and you just need to take a problem, make a case study of how you solved the problem, using a solution, make a tutorial of using the solution at the end, usually a video or a screenshot based tutorial, or a photo based tutorial if it’s like real life and then out a call to action and people are going to thank you and buy stuff at the same time. It’s really powerful, a lot of how to keywords can be transformed into direct product sales, and essentially, mini sales pages-
Mark: It’s one thing as well, like whenever I am buying a software product I always want to see someone not like the creator, but someone use it, to do something, even if it’s not something I am interested in, or not something I particularly want to use for myself, just seeing how it sort of handles like is it built well, just to get like a feel for what it’s really like to own and operate, that tool, that software, it’s really useful for that sense, so I think that’s also kind of like another avenue of traffic in there, just people searching for sort of like case studies and examples of people using it.
Gael: Yeah, I mean, and the funny thing is there is very few people doing that properly actually, everyone is just trying to hard sell on this kind of content, but they don’t realize that actually you shouldn’t hard sell you should just show people what this product does, and results and use of it and then people are just going to guy if you have a link, you don’t need to like completely overblow the product, it’s not necessary. There is so many how to keywords out there, where you could think of a product people could buy to solve the problem. Once again, there is so much SEO opportunity especially with that that you could grow really, really profitable and big sites with this type, we have some friends that make a lot of money that way actually. So, we do pretty good as well ourselves. I must say, my favorite ways to combine the email list building and the direct product sale, so imagine that you are taking a blog post that is a how to something, like “How to get 3G internet all around the world” for example. And imagine there would be an operator that you can affiliate that, you can recommend and some kind of tech associated to it. And so, what you would do is you would do the article about talking about the problem, and put enough content on there to rank, and start showing the solution with screenshots, and at the end, I would be like, hey, actually I have step by step how to video that you can get, just put your email here to watch the video, and people would put their email and the thank you page is the video, it goes directly there, but I have their email at this point. And, at the end of the video I am like, well, if you want to buy this product, click on the button below the video, and it’s basically just a video and a big button below saying buy the product, but because I had the email I am actually able to follow up like 4, 5 times with this people about that offer, and I am able to actually sell related products to them later as well, so you can actually mix both and grow an email list while making direct sales, and that is in my opinion the most profitable type of content you can create.
Mark: It takes quite a lot of effort to build it, it can be quite difficult as you found to outsource that and-
Gael: Yes, it is difficult to outsource.
Mark: Certainly, as you said like for Authority Hacker where we do these kind of tutorial style reviews, that kind of content, it does consistently bring in not only traffic but like affiliate revenue as well.
Gael: That is basically it guys, in terms of linking, types of content, with revenue. So if you are doing list posts all the time, don’t expect to do very well with product sales, you can do on with advertising revenue, but it’s going to be hard to make a product sale. If you are doing tutorials and how to posts, then don’t bother with advertising, do not put AdSense on your website, there is no point, you don’t get that much traffic on this kind of content, and traffic that you get is way more valuable that the value of the clicks that you are going to get. And, same, always build an email list, try to use your content upgrades to actually be able to put stuff in front of people, because I always see people like mismatching the monetization with the type of content they create, and it kind of makes me pull my hair up and that’s a little bit why I wanted to do this podcast.
So, I hope you guys have a better idea of how to link monetization and types of content you are putting on your site, obviously you can run all these models in parallel on your authority site and we do that on Health Ambition, we have a lot of articles that are monetized with advertising, but when we do a review, or product based queries, advertising disappears and there is only call to actions and so on, so provided that you build the right technical structure on your website, you can definitely run all of these at the same time, just be aware of what to put in front of what type of content., and I hoped that helped you guys. Do you have any words to add Mark?
Mark: No, that’s about it.
Gael: Alright, cool, well guys, thank you for listening and we’ll see you guys on the next episode.
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