Learn how to create helpful engaging content that sends affiliate sales wild. Step by step as I take you behind the scenes of my personal content blueprint that I have used time & time again to generate $423,559 in affiliate commission.
Speech by Matthew Woodward | SEO Expert & Award Winning Blogger
Matthew Woodward Speech Transcript
Hello, Affiliate World! Thank you for coming to the talk.
Today, I’m just going to take you through my personal blueprint that I’ve developed over the last few years that’s generated, as you can see on the screen, over $400,000 in affiliate commission over the last couple of years.
For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Matthew Woodward. Right now, I’m 30 years old. I started creating content when I was 13.
And back then, I still had a paper round. I didn’t even really know that making money online was a thing.
I eventually transitioned into e-commerce in the corporate world. Unfortunately, I’m not very good at mincing my words. And I didn’t fit very well in a corporate environment.
So in 2010, I decided to quit. I built a number of businesses, and I’ve been blogging, and doing a number of other things ever since.
This is my blog, if you’re not familiar with it.
Quick show of hands, who dislikes the welcome gate pop-ups? Yeah, me too.
Who of you that put your hands up, actually used them?
They convert so well. That pop-up converts at 12%. And the quality of traffic that it sends into the list is no less than anywhere else.
That’s the blog.
Right now, over the last couple of years, it had nearly 2 million unique visitors, nearly 10 million page views.
And actually, I didn’t realise it until I put this presentation together but it has passed the million dollar mark in profit, which is quite a surprise to me as anyone else.
Today, I’m going to talk to you about how I create the content that does that. And the content is a secret sauce to everything that you do.
It’s how you engage people, it’s how you move people from left to right. And I use it as a way to educate people. And then from that, extract profit.
Three Stages When Creating Profitable Content
There’s 3 distinct stages that I go through when creating profitable content. First of all, it’s coming up with generating ideas. Then researching each of those ideas. And then finally, the actual writing.
I’m going to talk to you about each of those stages.
Step 1: Generating Ideas
Step one is actually generating the ideas. Now, with the internet, it’s easier than ever before. We’ve got a bunch of people out there telling you what they want.
And as a marketer, our job is to just give it to them.
I like to look around forums. When I first launch a blog, the tiered link building series is what really blew it up.
And, I figured that out from BlackHat World. Lots of people are asking questions about how to do it, the right way to do it, the wrong way to do it, success with it, how they’ve got penalised, and everything like that.
And that was really where I got the initial inspiration to do that.
There’s a number of Facebook groups out there that you can go. Whatever niche you’re in, there’s usually some kind of Facebook groups or communities that you can go in to.
Just look at what kind of questions people are asking, make notes of that. It’s a great source of ideas. Similar with Quora.
And really, your existing customer base, if you’ve got one, is a great place to start.
In my email autoresponder series, I actually just straight-up asked people, “What tutorial do you want me to make next?”
And that now drives about 80% of my content strategy. The replies that I get that, well, it iss people telling me what they want. And if I just give it to them, it makes it really easy.
I don’t really have to do much research anymore.
But if you’re just starting out, look at forums, Facebook groups, it’s a great place to find those ideas.
Step 2: Research Ideas
Once you’ve generated a list of ideas for content to produce, I can’t stress enough to you how important it is to research them.
And really, when you’re creating content, my entire strategy is just focus on helping people. If you can solve people’s problems, you create a connection with them like no other.
You can almost take the role of a teacher, and it forges that teacher-student relationship that’s very powerful.
It allows you to really direct people in any direction that you want to take them, and that can both be very used in good and used in bad. I try my best to use it in the best way possible.
So when researching each idea, I always want to know what questions are people asking.
What problems are people facing, what are they looking for, a solution, what solutions are actually out there right now?
And then the last thing I look at is what products are available that help people solve those problems.
Here’s a few examples.
If you look on BoardReader, you can type in any subject there. It’s a forum search engine, so you can see very easily, without finding individual forums, a list of forums that people are asking specific questions about.
You can jump into each of those threads. And just make notes of what people are asking. That really is the life and soul of your content.
I can see a lot of you taking pictures of the slides. At the end of the presentation, I’m going to give you a link where you can download the entire presentation.
I’ve got a bunch of links and resources that support the presentation, along with some extra learning that I’m not going to have time to fit into the talk today.
One of my favourite places, once you’ve got an initial idea, whether it be for, I don’t know, something in a travel niche, or how to lose weight, or how to do public speaking, you can use a service called AnswerThePublic.com.
Type in any topic in there, and you’ll see a list of questions that people are asking about that specific subject. And there you can see, freezing when public speaking, stuttering when public speaking, hives when public speaking.
And you can do that for any topic that you can think of and get an immediate list of questions that people are asking.
Make note of all of those questions.
When you create the content, it’s your job to answer every single one of those questions in the best way that you can.
Once you’ve got a list of your content, ideas, and your research, I’m an SEO at heart, I’m a BlackHat SEO at heart. I was told not to speak about that too much, but go into keyword research.
I imagine if you guys are here, you’re probably familiar with how to do some basic keyword search.
It doesn’t need to be complicated. And really, the tool that you use isn’t that important. You can use SEMrush, LongTail Pro, Keyword.io, you’re just looking for a primary keyword phrase that you can rank for, and maybe one or two secondary and tertiary phrases.
To recap on the research, I can’t stress enough how you must focus on solving people’s problems. It’s your job to help people. It’s one of the best tips that I can give you right now.
Well, don’t forget about monetisation, but really, you should.
You shouldn’t be really focused on making money at all, just focus on helping people. And eventually, over time, the money will follow.
If you can just build that teacher-student relationship with people over the long-term, you will make a lot of money.
And to recap: What questions are people asking? What problems are people facing? Why are they looking for a solution? What solutions are offered? And what products are available?
That is my blueprint for success.
Step 3: Content Writing
The final thing, the final step in the process is really writing the content. And this is where I find a lot of my readers struggle and fall down.
And really, to me, it’s pretty straightforward. You’ve got a list of questions and problems that are people are facing in your research, now you’ve just got to write and tell people how to fix those problems.
You’ve got to keep it short, snappy, straight-to-the-point.
A lot of people try and bulk out word count or use big fancy words. Just keep it simple. There’s no need to sound like you’re writing for the New York Times.
You want to write it in a fashion like you’re talking to your friend in a bar. You don’t want to make it complicated. Easy to digest.
Quite often, when I write a blog post, let’s say it’s 2,000 words. After the initial draft, I’ll go through it and try and condense it, and say the same thing in less words.
I usually shave around a third of the total word count off, once I go through that editing process.
So I’m still delivering the same value but in a much more condensed amount of time. And I get a lot of positive feedback about the way in which I deliver that content. And that’s how I do it.
Show Your Personality in Your Content
Don’t be afraid to show your personality in your content. That has, on quite a few occasions, got me in trouble with quite a few companies.
If anyone’s read the blog, you might have read some of my posts with Majestic or WP Engine, they don’t like me very much.
Do everything you can to make it the very best content on the web. Google the questions, Google the problems, look at those top ten results.
What have other people done? How have they structured it? How have they positioned it? Look for those opportunities. Where they’ve got a weakness and where you can capitalise on it.
You can always make better content than what’s already out there, unless I wrote it.
So I want to give you a few examples. This post is about survey sites. It opens with a “what you will learn” section. And immediately comes down into answering some of the top questions that I found in my research.
After that I’m listing all of the best survey sites, which is essentially just a list of affiliate links with a bit of value provided in each one.
And then guiding them step-by-step through the process of how they can make money with the survey sites. I’m scrolling a little quick but there’s a link to this in the resources that I’ll give you at the end to see how it’s structured.
At the end of the post, I like to end with frequently asked questions.
That’s for a couple of reasons. One, because we’re trying to help people. But number two, in the last kind of year or so, Google have started putting out a lot of these featured snippet boxes.
Like, if you type a query and like “What is link building?” you’ll see that at the top is dominated by a result, it is called position zero.
You could actually be ranked number 8 on the page but just by answering a question like in this example was, “what is the best-paid survey site?” you can jump into that position zero and take nearly the top third of the fold of the page.
And that absolutely dominates it.
As a quick side tip, if any of you guys have got SEMrush, you can go and plug your competitor’s websites in and see where they rank for those featured snippets.
And then you can go into your content and just put a H2 tag, “what is link building” and then underneath, “link building is” and about 50 words and you’d be surprised, most of the time, you can steal that position zero box from your competitors within 24 hours.
It’s a very effective technique and that’s why I like adding the frequently asked questions and answering questions directly within the content.
It’s a really good shortcut that takes no effort at all.
I’m going to show you next a post which was a review for SEMrush.
It’s purely an affiliate promotion. And essentially it was just a list of 68 ways or well, 68 problems that SEMrush solves.
You can see I’ve got it broken down by different categories there. And we’re going to look at the social media aspect. This is just a list of problems that SEMRush solves.
So you can see how to measure your performance against competitors. How to find out what and when to post, how to steal your competitions most effective posts. And then again, the list of frequently asked questions at the end.
Now I want to point out, this is a review of a product. And normally reviews of products don’t get that much engagement but this had over 1,700 social shares.
And SEMRush pays 40% recurring commission. So, by just making a list of problems that a product solves and using that as your basis for your content, I mean this post weighs in it like 12,000 words. It took a long time to put together.
But it ranks for a bunch of keywords, it ranks in a bunch of featured boxes. As you can see the engagements great, I think it’s got like 400 comments on it.
And it’s 40% recurring commission for a premium price product, which adds up very quickly.
Especially when it’s ranking and is going to continue to generate that profit over and over and over and over again.
So, that’s how I like to put my content together.
Solve People’s Problems
There’s no secret to it. It’s just solving people’s problems. Find out what people want and give it to them.
I’d like to tell you it was more complicated or there’s some super-secret to it but we’re all people. Think about when a person’s helped you in your life, how that change your perspective of them and how it made you feel closer to them.
With the internet, we can do that and we only have to write a piece of content once.
There are, however, a few little tricks that I like to weave into things that really make a big difference with a little bit of effort. And that’s my favourite type of work.
Doing the little, minimum things that have a big impact much like optimising for the featured snippet box. Nice and easy. Split test your title.
Bonus Strategy #1: Split Test You Title
You’ll be amazed at the difference that makes. If you look at the stats right here, you can see on that second title there, the click-through rate had an 80% increase.
And really, it’s pretty much to say it says the same thing. But instead of saying reliable income on the end, it says huge profits. Kind of sounded spammy when I wrote it but the proofs in the pudding.
And these kinds of tests, you don’t have to spend any money to to run them. This is actually done with a free WordPress plugin called Title Experiments Free. There’s a pro version that gives you some extra stats and things but you don’t need it.
Just go and install that plug-in. You can add 3 or 4 different titles. It will automatically split test them for you and it will automatically choose a winner.
It’s a set and forget thing.
And then it also means that once that plug-in’s decided which title is the winner when people share your post on social media, you know the most effective captivating title is getting shared that’s going to attract the most clicks from social media.
Different Titles To Every Post
I always add a minimum of 3 different titles to every post. And often just changing one word.
Like, if you were going to say “get your” or “claim your”, “claim your” is always going to perform better than “get your” because claim your infers that you’ve got to take an action to do something, whereas “get your” is very passive.
You’re just like, okay well give it to me. “Claim” invokes the action.
And there’s lots of little word plays that you’ll learn as you kind of go through and split test your titles, which you can then use to refine your future content and your titles.
And again, it takes five minutes to write those different titles out for a free plug-in, you don’t have to spend any money. It’s just five minutes of your time.
Bonus Strategy #2: Use Social Lockers
The other strategy that I like to use is with social lockers. Now you’ve probably seen these scattered around the web.
Personally, I kind of find them a bit annoying but the proofs in the pudding of the stats.
Here you can see, I’m adding extra resources that are relevant to the post. And I mean, these are the kind of numbers you get.
That top one, 27% of people that view the post, share it to unlock the extra resource. That makes a huge difference to your overall traffic.
And one of the big SEO myths is “Do social signals improve your search rankings?”
Absolutely. They do without a shadow of a doubt.
If you can drive significant social signals to a page, you will rank in the top 5 on Google with no backlinks.
I mean, I’m a blackhat SEO at heart but I’m telling you, social signals are much more powerful than people give you credit for. And just by setting up these social lockers, you can leverage that.
And you know 1 in 4 people are coming to your page and sharing it socially, not only you’re going to get that traffic from social media and all the extra engagement that brings, but you’re going to build long-term sustainable rankings, without any investment on SEO whatsoever.
If you’re stuck for ideas of what to do with these social lockers, I’ve experimented with lots of different things.
Post Specific Content Upgrade
The most the most powerful one that you can do are post specific content upgrades.
Now these take a little bit of time to put together. Cheat sheets, spreadsheets, resource lists, they’re the ones that are going to get you that 27% conversion rate consistently.
If you’re reviewing a product, speak to the actual merchants themselves. And see if you can arrange an exclusive coupon that you can give out your readers.
I like just getting the coupon, “Matthew Woodward” because again, that kind of provides that value to people and it really buries it in their head that that value came from me.
I mean, the coupon doesn’t need to be anything special. It could just be a 10% discount. Or perhaps they get, I don’t know, double the amount of social signals or whatever it is.
You’ll be surprised how many merchants are open to providing you with exclusive discount coupons.
It’s for you to then embed behind a social locker. And they convert, not only do they convert like crazy in terms of how people share the content but in terms of affiliate sales as well. It drives people wild.
PDF Version Of The Post
The least effective but the easiest one to produce is a PDF version of the post.
So you can go on a website called print-friendly.com, put in your URL and it will spit out a PDF version of the post in like a second, which you can then upload and put behind a social locker.
But I find that only converts between 3% and 5%. So the payoff is much less and really I like to do the post-specific content upgrades where possible.
You can also use another software but it’s paid, called Beacon and that allows you to create really well-styled PDF’s. It’ll look really nice but it still converts pretty poorly as well.
So with your social lockers and I use a plug-in called, I think it’s called Social Locker actually. And there’s a link to it in the resources in the URL I’m gonna give you.
It just costs I think it’s like $20 but it pays for itself in no time at all and really does drive those social signals, rankings, and traffic, and affiliate sales home.
So that’s pretty much my content strategy from end to end.
You want to just find out what problems people are facing. Look at all of the different questions that they’re asking, couple that with keyword research and then just write the content.
Simple And Straight To The Point
Be sure simple, straight to the point, don’t fluff it out for word count, there’s no need and just help people. That’s all you’ve got to do.
A lot of people, I get questions all the time like, “Oh, how can I make $5,000 in a week?”
And those kinds of people never succeed. I’ve never seen anyone that wrote me an email that said that, that succeeded.
Very rarely do I get someone that says, “Oh I’m really passionate about running marathons, I really wish I could help people learn how to run a marathon.”
Very rarely did I get those emails, but when I do, those are the people that have long-term success.
Forget About The Money, Focus On Helping
So please, whatever you do, just focus on helping. Forget about the money, the money’s not important.
And I know we’re at an Affiliate Conference, which is all about making money and I’m telling you to forget about money. It’s kind of, you know, goes against the grain over the sand but in this world, it’s very busy right now.
There’s a lot of noise. We live in continuous promotion marketing. There’s people trying to get you to separate you from the money.
There’s great opportunity to just provide real tangible value to people and help them, I can’t stress that enough to you.
So I’ve kind of gone a little bit too quick than I should have done.
That’s absolutely fine, I have quite a lot of questions.
Okay, and if you hit, oh I broke it. Yeah if you hit that URL, you can get a copy of this presentation. And there’s some links or some other stuff that I help you, link list to all the plug-ins.
There’s a call to action to join the email list, which you should definitely do.
And that’s it, you’ve been great. I’m happy to answer all of your questions, and see if I can provide some value to you right now.
- Fantastic. Thank you very much. Well, I must admit, I have a few questions to grill you before our audience comes up. I guess my first one and my biggest one is, if you are not already an internationally known superstar, such as yourself. Or if you are not already a black hat SEO mastermind such as yourself. If you’re just some guy and he’s starting out a new blog on your passion and you want to end up monetising this, how do you get the traffic? How would you recommend people get the traffic to begin with when they’re a nobody, they have no social proof, they haven’t been heard of. What do you do to get that initial traction? Because that’s often the hardest bit.
- Okay so, I was in that position, August 2012 is when I launched a blog. It was nothing. I went through forums, much like I’ve just taught you right now. At the time tiered link building was a hot topic. People were asking all kinds of questions about it, and it was something that I was doing in my daily life. And I just decided, okay well I’m just gonna record what I do, I already do it. So I recorded what I did, I went into the forums, made a list of the questions that people are asking and made sure that the content answered those questions. Once I had that content there and it was done to the highest possible standard that I could do, I mean people have told me I was stupid for giving it away for free. They’d seen paid products offered worse content.
- And I went back into those same forums that I’ve used for research and engage the people, when they’re asking the questions, with the answer and then a link to the content. Now that’s a strategy. There’s a post on the blog that teaches that strategy. A lot of people make the same mistake. They’ll go to a forum and they’ll just post a link to the post. That gets you banned very, very quickly. If you actually take time to answer people couple of paragraphs, understand their pain, solve that pain, and then link to your post, you very quickly build a reputation between not just the users but the moderators as well, as someone that adds value into the community. And as long as you do that, you can then use that value to extract traffic back to your site, into your email list and then the cycle continues.
- That’s interesting. That’s actually something I’ve heard a bunch of times but never really put it together before you mentioned it. It’s kind of a good signal for an authority post that you’re going to use to build your site around, is if people are starting to tell you that, “Man you shouldn’t be sharing that, you should be making people pay for that.”
- Yeah and that helps build your authority as well. Just the fact that you’re taking time out to help people instantly separates you from the crowd. I mean, it takes work. It’s a lot of effort. I mean, when I launch a blog I was working 16 hours a day killing myself, killing myself really, but the opportunity is there. Not many people are willing to put in that grind. And if you do it, eventually the success will come.
- So when you say forums, because I also find that forums are a really successful strategy for sharing content. Do you literally mean like phpBB style forums, or do you also mean, have you tried like Reddit or Vote, God help us, or Facebook. Or…
- I’ve tried Reddit, Reddit are a tough crowd to crack. Even when you provide inherent value, over the long term, they don’t really like you sharing your own links too much. And it’s very hard to build an influencer base there. So I prefer to stick in forums. Make friends with the moderators, it helps. Especially if they’re around a conference that you go to. Buy him a beer or tequila or a few and usually that helps. A lot of the complaints I get on BlackHatWorld is that I just post a… – now I have the ability where I can just post a thread that like intros my tutorial and links to it, and a moderator is sticking it to the top of the forum. Well people have to pay for that and they kind of get a bit annoyed that I have that opportunity but that’s because I put the time into adding value into the community. And now I’m at a position where I can extract value from the community.
- What about Facebook groups?
- Facebook groups, not so much. I like to use them for research. The reason I don’t like Facebook groups is because always pings on the phone, it annoys me. And I’ve always got like a million friend requests off people. I’ve got no idea who they are. I’m sorry if any of you have tried to add me and I’ve ignored you. But Facebook groups I prefer to use for research only.
- Right, right. What about video or audio? I mean you’ve mentioned pure text up there. Have you tried? Do you recommend? You know, obviously, there’s dedicated places for that like YouTube and Vimeo for video. Have you try building anything on there?
- Yeah the initial tutorials that I launched, were video-based but that was only because the content lent itself to video, more than it did text. If I was trying to teach people how to use some software and put things together in a certain way, it’s very hard to do with text. Video is great.
Get Your Videos Transcribed
- And a couple of little extra video tips, if you publish videos on your blog, get them transcribed. I use a little collapsible piece of text that says “click here to read the transcript” and that expands out. That’s for two reasons. One not everyone that visits my blog, English is their primary language, and with an English accent, people struggle, even Americans struggle over that sometimes. So people come from India, often have the problem of being able to understand my voice. And I get a lot of positive feedback, “Thank you for putting those transcriptions in.” Secondly, that opens up a whole world of longtail keywords for Google to find you. It really helps with the SEO there. You’ll also find if you look across a blog, every single video I had it converted into a text and image-based tutorial as well and everyone likes video. I hate video, I can’t be bothered to sit through it. I just want to cut to the chase you know. So I make sure every video is available with a transcript and then a unique text and image version of the tutorial as well, and that caters for both types of audience and brain.
- Okay, so obviously the next question, given where we are, a lot of us are paid traffic experts like myself. Would you recommend using paid traffic to boost signal to your blog initially? I know some people have done it both successfully. Have you experimented with that?
- Okay if you’re just starting out with your blog, it’s likely you don’t have that much budget to play with but if you do have budget to play with, you should certainly be looking at Facebook retargeting ads.
Facebook Retargeting Ads
- For example, if someone has read a post about link building that you should have some kind of link building-related lead magnet on offer to build your email list. I mean, retargeting cost have gone up a little bit now, but you can build your email list for between 50 and 60 cents per user. And as long as you’ve got a decent engagement sequence off the back of that, that keeps people engaged with your content, you and your brand again, you can see how I use the list to ask people watch tutorial do they want me to make next, that brings value to me and allows me to bring value back to the people. So yeah, if you’re just starting out use Facebook, not to necessarily build traffic but to capitalise on the traffic you building from forums.
- Okay, well I have quite a few more questions but I think it’s about time I shut up and let’s the audience as a couple. So as always, we have microphones down in the aisles here. If you have a question, please make your way to the microphone.
- Audience (Johnny):
- Hey, what’s up Matt!
- What’s going on?
- Audience (Johnny):
- I have a question about your income reports. I’m Johnny FD, I’m actually the one kind of chasing you on all the different rankings. I’m right below you.
- Oh really?
- Audience (Johnny):
- Yeah, so my goal is to…
- Wait, which blog?
- Audience (Johnny):
- Okay I’ll take care of that.
- Audience (Johnny):
- Right. But I read in your recent one, you saying that are you gonna stop doing income reports, soon?
- Audience (Johnny):
- My question is has it been beneficial for you and why are you stopping now?
- Okay, I’ve got two sides to that story. The income reports I publish because way back when, when I was kind of learning, John Chow like before he started, well when he was publishing good content, like 7 or 8 years ago. Someone challenged him if could he make money on published income reports. I was fascinated by that. It really inspired me beyond belief. And I decided to build on that by actually cataloging what I was doing that month, why I did it, how I did it, if it failed, if it succeeded, and then listed the income. That captivates people and it inspires people. And there’s been a couple of people around the conference that have stopped me and said thank you for those. However, it does also cause me problems both professionally and personally.
May Cause Problems
- Professionally, it causes problems for example, once people know how much money you make, they know how much they can get out of you. You know if you get quoted for work, you usually find the quotes quite a bit bigger once they know how much money that you’re making. It’s also opened me up to a lot of trolling, especially on BlackHatWorld. Endless, people always question it, always fake, you know, he’s a guru, bullshit and all of that. And personally, it’s opened up to problems. I live a very quiet life. I don’t really, I mean I kind of look like a beach bum cause I am. And I don’t really speak about it with friends too much, but then friends start discovering it and it has really changed how friends speak to me. Some people become more distant and then you’re kind of questioning, are you just talking to me because you know how much money I make. It’s kind of difficult. So I’ve decided that, right now, the million dollar figure I gave you, included a product launched off the back of the blog. Right now, I think without the product launch, it’s about $830,000. Once it gets to $1 million without the product launch, I’m gonna stop publishing the income. I’m still gonna share the lessons but I’m going to stop the income part of it.
- Audience (Johnny):
- Okay, I appreciate that.
- Yeah, no problem.
Making Money Online Niche
- I actually have a follow-up question on that. If you are in one of the making money online niches, if it’s the kind of thing where it will be relevant, obviously, if you’re doing like a computer games blog or something it doesn’t matter but if you’re in a niche where it will be relevant, would you advise people to start doing income reports?
- I’d do it in any niche. And one of the posts that are published every month is an income report roundup, where I look at all different blogs from all nature of niches that publish them. And pinchofyum.com are usually at the top. They’re a food blog, a niche where people say you can’t make money. And they’re making like $30,000, $50,000 a month consistently. I read those reports and I learn a lesson. And I’m like, “Oh, yeah I can do that in this niche.” So whatever niche you’re in, just provide value to people and just captivate people in an entirely unique way for sure.
- There’s a follow up on that one I want to ask but I’ll first see if anyone else has got any questions? Great.
How To Research
- Audience (Mike):
- Hi, I’m Mike from Poland. And I have one question about researching because it’s easy to be over your head when the research has many good things on the internet. Every app, so many webinars or video blogs everything. How do research? Because it’s not very easy for me to overcome to create the best possible content.
- Okay. So you got to pick a topic in mind. Give me a topic.
- Audience (Mike):
- Yeah, I’m mostly social media in Poland.
- Into what?
- Audience (Mike):
- Social media in Poland.
- Social media in Poland. Okay, so within social media, you can break that down. You might have how to advertise on Facebook. Okay, so go on to AnswerThePublic.com, go into Warrior Forum, any of the social media and look for specific questions that people are asking and within that. And the research really just boils down to what questions are people asking? What problems are people facing? And just make as long of a relevant list as you can and then just write your content.
- Audience (Mike):
- It’s not hard for me to find the questions but to find that content to improve quality of your content.
Be In A Niche You Know About
- Okay, so to find the answer. Okay, that’s why you need to be in a niche that you kind of know about. You can find answers in the same way that you can find the questions, you can often find the answers in the same places. So you could also make notes of the answers and then use all of that as a source of inspiration to then write your master post, where you bring it all together because you might find 5 forum threads on Warrior Forum, 2 on BlackHatWorld, some in a Facebook group but then you can bring that all together into one definitive post in your blog.
- Audience (Mike):
- Okay thank you.
- No problem.
- That’s interesting, that’s something very similar to one of the things I did on one of my companies. Basically, I felt like it was cheating cause I just went and found badly written content and they were with it wrote it as well-written content. And then it was really popular for some reason. Strange.
- Yeah, it’s really simple.
- Which actually brings me to another question I wanted to ask. How much of an expert do you need to be to start doing this on a specific subject?
- Okay, I’ve met experts that hate what they’re experts at. Like you talk to them and they’re just like a zombie when they’ve talk. What’s more important is to have the passion for it. You can learn expertise but you can’t really learn passion. You either love it or you hate it. That’s it. There’s no in-between.
Document Your Experience
- So I mean, like let’s say you wanted to, I use the example again, learn how to run a marathon. Right now, you might have never run a marathon but you might have that passion and drive for it. And you can start documenting your experience from day zero. Eventually, you’ll become an expert at how to run a marathon. It may be 2 or 3 years down the line, you can release a product. But up until that point, you can document your journey, your changes, your lessons, and everything that you’ve learned in a very personal one-on-one manner that just provides inherent value for anyone. So it’s less about being an expert and more about having the passion.
- That makes sense. It’s an interesting thing I saw from Patrick McKenzie, who’s one of the guys I follow on, you know how to write really good blogs. He said that there’s nowhere near enough people who have a day two of learning something, explaining how to solve the problems that they hit on day one.
- Okay another question? Let’s come up to the mic. We’ll give you a minute or two if not, I have plenty.
Niche That Are Impossible To Make A Living
- Yeah, come on, don’t be shy.
- Okay I’ll ask another one. I think some people in here may already think they know the answer to. Are there any niches, although there are a lot of niches, where it’s just impossible to make a significant living, like your level of living?
- I mean, I can’t say onstage I’ll get in trouble but I’ve seen niches from really obscure poor niches all the way through to healthy living. Okay, I’ve got 2 good examples, actually. I met a girl at a conference once and her blog is called Fat Girls Guide To Running. She started it because she was a larger lady. She started running and kids would point and laugh at her in the street like, “Haha, look at that fatty running.” You know, and it really demoralised her and really, really took it personally, but she used that to create the blog. Now, I think she’s making like 6-figures a month after that. She’s obviously backed it up with a product but that’s kind of really obscure niche.
Make A Connection With People
- But again, she’s solving problems that people face. She’s making that connection with people. Another one is, I forget the URL off the top of my head but a guy introduced himself to me. And he made a blog cause he split up with his girlfriend and he had no idea how to cook. He was starving. And every time he looks for recipes online, he’d go, and he’d buy the ingredients, and he’d end up making like a week’s worth of the same food. And he got fed up of eating spaghetti Bolognese 7 days a week. So he made like, the single guys guide to cooking where you could just buy the ingredients you need. If you go to a supermarket, and you can’t just buy one chicken breast, you got buy four. So, he came up with recipes that specifically tailor to single men that want to cook and not eat the same meal every night, once you’ve cooked it. So yeah, I mean it doesn’t matter how obscure your niche is, as long as there’s people with problems, you can make money.
- There’s this famous sort of triangle of health wealth and wellness, where wellness kind of covers love life and other stuff that’s really deep, personal needs. What about niches that are less about the need, like for example car enthusiast, audio enthusiast or something else and more about that just the want. Is there a difference in how hard they are to monetise?
- Do you have an example of a want?
Blog On Want Versus A Blog On Need
- A want. Well let’s say, a want would be a blog on audio. A blog on nice audio equipment, how they how they like to listen to their music. And a blog on need would be make making money online.
- Okay well whether it’s a need or a want there’s still problems that you gonna solve.
- You know, you want to be healthier, you need some people need to be helping medically. And there’s still problems that people face. And again, just that same level of research you can go out and find what those problems are. It really doesn’t make a difference.
- So, another thing that’s interesting is you’re spending, basically entirely talking about creating the content. And the social outreach is basically going to the forums and saying, I’ve now solved this problem, which is a really neat technique. But do you do anything more to socially outreach these posts? Do you do complicated interesting link, go and tell people about this, and get links coming in or social media outreach or all this kind of things? I know some people like I think Rand Fishkin says you should spend 50% of your time on content outreach and 50% time on the content.
- Yeah he doesn’t like me either. So really, just promoting it out to an audience it’s got the problem. I don’t do anything. And when I created the blog part of it was an SEO experiment cause I’m a black hat SEO at heart and Google map code specifically, had always been banging on about forget about links, forget about that, just focus on the content. And I hate to admit he’s kind of right. So, I didn’t go out and do any additional promotion.
- I didn’t go out and do anything really on social too much other than our forums. And when I write a new post right now, I’ll create a little social schedule. And usually upon publish, it goes out and then 3 days later it will go out, 2 weeks later it will go out, 4 months later it will go out and a year later it will go out. So I create all of that before I publish it. And that just keeps you know an evergreen cycle of promotion, content, and new users coming in. That’s pretty much it.
- But you’re not doing any kind of link building or at least white hat style link building?
Zero Link Building
- Zero link building. The entire blog was a case study to see what would happen with zero link building. If you google zero link building, you’ll find the case study. The number one result. I’ve not done anything. And again, that’s kind of the benefit of creating that student-teacher relationship with your content is that once you help people, the next time they see someone facing the same problem, they’re like “Whoa check out this content. This content is what helps solve my problem.” And that inherently brings more people brings more links and it does naturally grow on its own without you doing anything at all. I’ve been very tempted to leverage some of the link building but I know that I’m being watched closely, so I don’t do any link building on it at all.
- Would you advise someone else who wasn’t in your highly surveilled position to do additional link building as well?
- It depends. There’s not a one-size-fits-all glove for that. I’m not allowed to talk about my approach to link building here but it doesn’t hurt. And if you’re gonna go out, if you’re building like an Amazon affiliate site and you’ve created the content that helps people going out and doing that link building isn’t gonna hurt. It will help you climb up those rankings. Especially, if you put in those over level strategies like testing your title and social lockers, it will help.
Content Should Come First
- But it shouldn’t be a main focus. I often find that people, they’ll build a site, in fact, before they’ve even built a site that like, “Right, how can I rank it?” I’m like, well okay, you’ve not actually built the foundation level of content, you racing out to build links before you’ve even built content like you know with chicken in the egg. Yeah, but quite obviously the content have got to come first. So, if you’re just starting out, link building techniques SEO, it’s a lot to learn. You’ve already got a lot any plate of content email, how to you know make a logo, all of these kinds of things, I wouldn’t worry about link building until maybe month 6, 7, 8, or 9 when you’ve got that solid base, you’ve got that first hundred email subscribers, you’ve got a constant flow of traffic. Then, leverage your content with link building.
- Right, that makes sense. Okay, do we have a any other questions at the moment? Just come down to the microphones at the front, if you do. If not, I will continue to quiz. Okay, I’m gonna keep quizzing. Offers, affiliates always like talking about offers. So, 2 questions, one of them I’m gonna be a bit blunt. First one, how do you source your offers? How do you find them? And the second one is how much attention do you pay for the quality of the offer? As in how much is it going to help you end users?
How To Source Offers
- Okay, so I don’t look for offers. I look, again, at like a broken record, I look for problems and solutions. Sometimes, the solution is a product. A paid product. Often. It’s not. Like a free plugin, like the title experiments. So I don’t really focus on if there is a product there. It’s secondary, alright. Sometimes there is I think probably maybe 20% or 30% of the content I produce recommends a product and a paid product.
Quality Of The Product
- The quality of the product is inherently important. If you’re going to attach your name to a product and a recommendation and then someone buys it and it sucks, they didn’t blame the product that sucks they blame you for recommending it. So you can’t blindly recommend products. I don’t recommend anything I haven’t used touched or wouldn’t meddle with. Usually, I break stuff and send the developers a bunch of hate mail and then they have to fix it all. And eventually, I’ll recommend it. But yeah, if you just recommend crap product after crap product, eventually you’re gonna lose trust of that audience. And this is so hard to build up. You pour all that effort into producing a content to build that trust, don’t just risk it by recommending a junk product or something you’re not even used. And that’s in any niche, physical products, digital products, the same thing.
- So what would you do in the case that someone chooses an obscure niche and then it turns out all the problems they are solving on 99% of them don’t have products with affiliate programs attached? How would you monetise them?
- Okay, so when I got started, when I first took the corporate leap, I got into a niche where affiliate programs didn’t exist but companies did. So I just knocked on the doors, well me and a couple of guys, and installed affiliate programs for them. And then, that then opened up, unfortunately, that opened up the competition because then everyone knew that you could make money on it. So if affiliate networks exist, make them.
Make Your Own Product
- Secondary to that just make your own product. You’re in full control of your destiny then from end to end. Often in obscure niches, products don’t exist. And again, that’s an opportunity for you to capitalise and really stand out from the crowd, especially if you can then build your own affiliate program and get other people in a niche or in relevant leashes to promote it for you.
- I guess, you can use the same kind of research and writing strategy to build.
- Exactly the same, exactly the same. My product launch, I wrote a case study, it was about building private blog networks. And within that, I mean, it launched in 6 days, it did $130,000 to sales and ended a secondary launch of 2, which I didn’t publish on the blog actually the numbers from the second launch, our 48-hour launch and we did over $70,000 in sales. That came from, the research, that came from my own knowledge but then I actually sent an email out to the list just asking people, “What questions have you got?” And that really come taken my own knowledge, combined with the questions that people had that allow me to build the best product on the market by far.
- Cool, so I have one final question for you unless anyone in the audience has one? We have time for like maybe one more, so this is gonna be your last chance. Okay, if no one else wants it, I’ll take it. Oh, we have someone? Oh cool.
Free Contents And Selling Information
- You talk about a lot about solving problems and giving out all your quality content for free.
- Please speak a bit louder, sorry?
- You talk a lot about giving out content for free and solving problems and all that, but ultimately you want to sell you information too. So how do you approach that? Any ratio you have? Any stuff you hold back for your bias or how do you approach that problem?
- So honestly, it’s not something I’ve thought about actively. You can give away 90% of accounts. For example, when I did the private blog network launch, I went Jeff Walker product launch formula style with it, where basically you’ve got 3 videos. Introduces a problem, solution, the next problem, the solution to that problem, and so on. Now with those 3 videos, I gave away about 90% of the strategy. And without buying a course, people could quite comfortably go away implement that, and have great success. But I didn’t tell them how to tie it all together. So although it provided inherent value to everyone, it just took out that last little bit of information. And that helped because I provided so much value upfront for free, people went crazy in buying it. I mean it did $130,000 of a list of 4,000 people. So that’s quite a big return.
- So in general, you would recommend like soft teaching. Teaching them what to do, but not how to do it?
- What’s that, sorry?
- Teaching them what to do but not how to do it in detail.
Didn’t Share The Overall Strategy
- No, I even taught them how to do it in detail. Even told them to come over my shoulder and how to build a site but I didn’t give them the overall strategy of how that plugs in together. So at the end, they knew exactly what they were, how to use them, how to build, them but not how to use that as a complete strategy for ranking that was sustainable over the long term.
- No problem.
- That was a great last question. Thank you. And thank you very much to Matthew for this has been fantastic.
- No problem, thanks for having me.