Bloggers: how do you maintain narrative authority in a competitive market? How do you resonate with your readers? The World Wide Web is a volatile entity that takes no prisoners. This week on Explicit Content: Andy Crestodina and Jeff Julian discuss The Survey of a Thousand Bloggers.

Our audience depends on us for integrity-in-content. Science shows: original research will help to build your place as a source to whom they may turn for savvy information. Communicating with your network may just be the answer.

The consumer sees the “roundup” as just a stack of quotes, but providing an executive summary of opinions, from experts, while preserving cadence of discourse is becoming the benchmark. When creating collaborative content: we rely on quality sources to leverage their network as a promotional engine that benefits all parties.

You are your own curator. Evergreen content does not grow on trees. What was old can be new again by cultivating lasting relationships with your collaborators and readers.

Transcripts

Jeff Julian: Welcome back to the Explicit Content podcast. I'm here with my co-host Andy Crestodina.

Andy Crestodina: Hey, Jeff. Glad to be back.

Jeff Julian: Hey, Andy. I've been gone, and you've been gone. You've been on the other side of the coast holding it all the water out and I've been on the east side pushing it back out. Hopefully now that we're back in the middle and they can handle it around. But you were at marketing props B2B Forum, right?

Andy Crestodina: I was. It's actually still going on right now. Great event, it's got a new home in San Francisco. It's grown. I think 1,500 marketers are there. It's B2B marketers, so I feel pretty close to them. It's the community, it's so many old friends. It's great to see people, old friends and new. But I was there for a pretty short time taught a workshop and taught a session and it was great.

Jeff Julian: Yeah, I miss it out in Boston but San Francisco I think it needs a more marketing specific event besides cloud force and all those. Yeah, it's good to see that Andy. It look your energy was high and that a lot of people are having.

Andy Crestodina: Yeah, I would say it's a like one, "Put it on your list people, marketing props B2B Forum. It's one of the best."

Jeff Julian: Yeah. When we're out at Yext onward, we're in the Time Warner Tower right above the CNN studios during the bomb threat warning. So during our podcast recording, we actually got evacuated from the building, came outside and the whole blocks completely blocked off. There's giant vehicles, people with giant guns and it felt like we were leaving a bank, like a hostile situation.

I figured out what was going on. But that man, I've never seen a team so well organized, and that was because Lindsey, the host of the digital marketing show. She had a disaster plan ready, and so she had the whole team and the hotel, a block down the road, getting ready to send out messages to people to saying when we're going to come back, when we knew more information, what sessions we're going to go on, what we're going to cut out at the finish of day and it off without a hitch. I was thoroughly impressed.

Andy Crestodina: Cool. Wow, yeah. I'm not ready for that at all.

Jeff Julian: If it happens to one of our events, we're just going, "I don't know guys, go home, We'll figure it out. Everybody gets a little refund." That's the first thing I'd think of, not like the show must go on.

Andy Crestodina: Yeah, that's impressive.

Jeff Julian: But you just recently really some of that good research that you do every year, didn't you?

Andy Crestodina: I did, and this will be fun to talk about because it's hot off the press and it just ties right into one of your favorite topics in mind, which is search coming back. We have gone live with the fifth annual bloggers survey or survey with 1,000 bloggers and long story short, the average blog post now takes 40% longer to write than it used to about, three and a half hours a day. The average blog post is much longer than it used to be, about 1,150 words and we're able to give that data by reaching out to 1,000 people and asking them to answer 15 questions. It's fun and it's cool. We'll talk about the benefit of that strategy of becoming the primary source of new data.

There's a few things in here that are really specific to the SEO topic. It goes into things like, "Do you use editors? Do you check analytics? Where are you writing from? What time of day do you write? Do you report strong results? How do you promote your content? One of the things that I think is really relevant and we can maybe touch on right away here is, just the idea of research itself. The biggest, just like spoiler alert, cut to the chase, the percentage of bloggers who say yes, they become the primary source and conduct original research and publish, is a 25% of bloggers do that, which almost sounds high to me. I don't think most people do that.

But the percentage of those people who say, "Yes, I get strong results from my blogging." It's 58%, it's twice as many people than average. You're twice as likely to report strong results if you create and publish original research. There you go.

Jeff Julian: I'm part of that percentage that said, "I know it's valuable and I know it's cornerstone to what we're doing, but I just never pulled it together to do it. It's funny. It's like I'll look at a conference and I'll be like, "Yeah, let's do a conference or a video series. That's exciting, it's research. Like, "I don't know if I know enough people to pull that one off." But it's amazing, you can be science.

When people say, "Science says." That could actually give you a name in your industry, when somebody is doing a presentation, they will always pull up your numbers. How awesome is that? Linkability, the ability to to have a page on your site that isn't based off of the products or services you offer, but other people linked to, that's below the domain, unheard off.

Andy Crestodina: Yeah. If you're the type of SEO that's trying to grow your authority by attracting links and citations from other websites, it's will crush every other format for content you could ever consider doing. But what you just said, actually, I love and I've never really talked about it's that, you are science. There's nothing else that I've ever done in all these years of writing and publishing, that has ever given me that joy of discovery. Before your research goes live, there's a moment where you're the only person who knows this thing. The fact that it takes three and a half hours to write a blog post, that is new information. That right before it went live, there were four of us that had seen that, and it's cool. That's not something like Nobel Prize winning statistic, I'm not saying that this is hugely significant in the body of human knowledge, but it does have a certain fun element to it that I got to recommend.

Jeff Julian: For example, whenever I talk to agencies about Agile marketing, one of the things that they always freak out about is the idea of a day. Like saying, "Our content probably shouldn't take less than a day to write, edit, produce other content around it and release." That's just to keep the cadence, and if now I'll be able to pull back research and say, "Look, just on average of writing the blog post, it's three and a half hours. If you think you can do the whole post in half a day, you're mistaken. Or maybe you should reconsider the type of content writing." That's where it's like, "Great, now I can finally point back to things that you know, really a right." But it's just good to have the numbers of other people behind you.

Andy Crestodina: Yeah. That's one of the most common uses for this study specifically in the feedback I get is that, "Thank you for making this. I'm using this with my clients because I'm a service provider, creating content for someone or doing strategy. I can use this to explain to people that greater efforts lead to much greater rewards." People who want to publish shorties or publish rarely, this is showing the co-relation between people who publish deep, long, people who work hard, people who publish more often, people who work with editors, people collaborate with influencers, people who publish in deeper, in more compelling formats like this format, like audio. All of those things correlate with strong results." If there's a call to action and the piece it's like, "Just do more, do better, work harder, make it put more into it because it's worth it."

Jeff Julian: Yeah. I think of it also from a value proposition like, "How much should we pay people for creating blogs?" Let's talk about a network like LinkedIn who's heavily pushing notes and post and other things. If it's three and a half hours for a good blog posts and that's what they're wanting. Now let's say they want 1,000 posts, that's 3,500 hours, that's almost two years of a salary person. We're talking $100,000 to $125,000 worth of value to get that.

I'm going to have to invest in that and not just say, "Shoot an email and make people feel special about it." I have to promote it, I'm going to have to do more to expect two years of manpower for that to work. Because that was one thing that always got me being when we hosted gigs of blogs and we held the bloggers, people were behind putting time and effort into this thing. It was so much more real because everyone was identified as doing the work and that number just keeps blossoming. With blogs growing like this, it's awesome time to be a content creator for sure.

Andy Crestodina: Five years ago, there were twice as many people writing blogs in less than an hour, as there were writing blogs and six plus hours. Today there are twice as many people writing blogs that take six plus hours, that take less than an hour, so it's flipped. The investment, it's basically like a story about the professionalization of content.

Jeff Julian: Yeah.

Andy Crestodina: There's more collaboration, more people involved, more people using data and just a bigger investment. Because I think what a lot of people find is that, it's the medium quality stuff that gets you almost no result. Because the results are an exponential curve and your job is to get as far over to the right on that curve because a little bit farther over to the right, gets you much better results because it is a logarithmic scale. I think a lot of people will discover if they publish something deep and original and collaborative or in a more compelling format such as a video, that they'll get better results. Even if they lower their publishing frequency, just to increase their quality or double denim promotion ... Now that's not to say that there's a benefit in publishing less often, because the research also shows, which blows my mind every year, people who publish more often are far more likely to report strong results.

Jeff Julian: I wonder if that's just because there's more discoverability. There's more touch points with social, with SEO, it makes your engine look bigger. That's always been an SEO thing that the more content you have, not necessarily you're going to get links to, but you're going to get a higher likelihood Google indexing something.

Andy Crestodina: I met a guy last week who publishes a lottery and promotional contest based content. It's a blog or something, I don't have to give you the details. But he publishes 10 times a week and I'm like, "Wow, that's a high frequency." He starts to explain, "Yeah, we get around 10,000 visitors a week." I'm like, "That's quite a bit of traffic." To me it reminds me of sports, people tease me up because I don't really know that much about sports, but how often do you hit a home run or a double? The thing about content as you can go to bat anytime you want, you don't have to wait for someone to pitch the ball. There are people who swing for the fences every other day. Then there's people who wander up to the plate maybe once a month. Now, I don't know about their batting averages, but I can tell you who's going to get more hits.

Jeff Julian: Yeah, the hand hits. If you swing a bat at Kauffman Stadium and there's a crowd here, you have a higher likelihood of people seeing it and sharing it. If they go out into ballpark behind my school where no one is, even if I hit a home run, how valuable is that, anybody else besides just me?

Andy Crestodina: Yeah, and the more you're at the plate, the more your audience has a chance to grow. I like this, is a fun metaphor. Moving on to another one of the topics that we saw here, is something else that you and I believe in, that's something else we're doing now, we're doing right now, which is collaboration, which has always been, I guess now you'd call it organic influencer marketing. Which has always been a philosophy that you and I believed in and has always been something that correlated with SEO. Do you think that bloggers who are more collaborative in their content get stronger results because of search? Do draw a line or a dotted line between those two things?

Jeff Julian: I would say the fact that they get to leverage multiple sources to get to that, so the second click. If you post and I post and we share the link, there's a higher likelihood that the search engine plus the traffic that you're getting on your site is going to drive traffic to me. But it's like, "What's an expert." An expert is somebody who talks about somebody that's not from here. It gives you that expert feel on the other person's side and then it makes them seem more influential because they have friends who know crap. It's like from a hack perspective, when people think about, "How do I figure this out? How do I get more followers, more likes?"

I think it's take away any desire to pull other people who look like all they want to get is followers and then find fun stuff that people really want to use, or data that they want to get with. Then use the words like collaborate, let's forget about the word influencer.

Andy Crestodina: Alright, I know.

Jeff Julian: Let's say, "Hey, you and I like this topic, let's get together on coffee and talk about it."

Andy Crestodina: Just today I'm working on an article that's due and it's about digital marketing videos. I heard that Madalyn Sklar, a Twitter pro. She's amazing. Is using Twitter video differently, rather than type responses when people ask her questions, she just make some video even for the little one on one personal interactions, which is amazing. I can just imagine how well that would work. Great idea, "Madalyn, would you please send me a quote on that?" I'm excited, it's going to be in the post.

Jeff Julian: Nice.

Andy Crestodina: She's someone who's active on social life and I asked her for that to improve the quality of the piece. But it also has a secondary benefit of approving the reach because now she's invested in it and maybe is welcome to share it with her network. Another one is that there's a guy who wrote an article about how square social media videos, it's a good aspect "..."

... square social media videos, it's a good aspect ratio because they look a little bigger? It's a good balance. They look good on desktop and in mobile?

Jeff Julian: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Andy Crestodina: Landscape videos look great on desktop but they tend to look shorter in mobile just because of ...

Jeff Julian: Frame, yeah.

Andy Crestodina: Right. So, Mark Wilhelm, and I reached out to him for a quote and he gave me the info I needed and I'm gonna include that and that's great and it's all about quality, but he's also a blogger, and Mark maybe will mention this in something else that he's doing if he does link back the piece ... you can imagine how these ...

Jeff Julian: Yeah.

Andy Crestodina: These things, I'm doing them for the benefit of the reader but they have social and search benefits because Madeline might share, Mark might link, and that's the secondary. It's not your first thought but it's one of the beautiful things about building a network and collaborating with content creators.

Jeff Julian: Yeah. But it's more like a news piece where it has a few sources.

Andy Crestodina: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jeff Julian: That are integrated. You're still the authority, but you went and pulled the sources. The anti pattern of this is when someone goes out, "I'm gonna grab 50 experts and ask them what their takeaway was on video," right, in vlogging. And then they just put a list of the experts and then their hope is the experts will like, reshare ... it weighs so much heavier on they want to use you as a promotion engine than it does that this is fricking valuable at all. Right?

Andy Crestodina: Yeah. Yeah.

Jeff Julian: And so, I would much rather see somebody quote three people and give me a decent piece of content rather than a whole bunch of sentences. So you can take it too far.

Andy Crestodina: I don't do round ups. There were three or four I did many years ago where I sent five people each the same five questions? And those were cool pieces because you'd see the differences in their answers through over and over in a piece that quoted each of them several times. But yeah the hundred and sixty five influencer marketing X words, or whatever the topic, it's definitely overdone in marketing.

Jeff Julian: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Andy Crestodina: If I were to try to defend it I would say that, in other niche industries, like Concrete and Asphalt, maybe that would be a refreshing change of pace for a blogger who is in the concrete and asphalt industry, writing for Rock and Dirt Magazine ...

Jeff Julian: Have you watched the Amazon show Patriot?

Andy Crestodina: No.

Jeff Julian: Okay. So in the show Patriot, this guy works undercover, he's not the CIA, he's not really anybody else but he's super ops. He stops big, bad things happening. And he has to go undercover for a piping company, and he has to become a piping and flow engineer. And the guy he works for wrote the book on flow and the terms they use, and the conference settings that he's going to and he has to pretend that he's this expert on it.

Andy Crestodina: Oh ...

Jeff Julian: It's exactly like that concrete.

Andy Crestodina: Oh, that's gotta be tough.

Jeff Julian: Oh it's an amazing show. You've got to watch it.

Andy Crestodina: Concrete marketers are doing that all the time, right? If you're a service provider in the content world, you might always be trying to ramp up quickly on a new topic but not in real time. Not at a conference.

Jeff Julian: No, yeah. Not because you have no interest or anything like that but it's just he had to be in a certain area at a certain time and these people were there too so let's just make that ...

Andy Crestodina: That's great.

Jeff Julian: Yeah.

Andy Crestodina: Flow.

Jeff Julian: Oh, yeah. The dynamics of flow, it's quite interesting.

Andy Crestodina: Well, he might get included in a round up, if you were to hang out there for long.

Jeff Julian: Yeah. And I think that's what we're starting to see with that research, is that the round ups, the easy posts ... how would you see how many words a round up post was? It would be very difficult. But you can see this return to the notion of a chapter based publication. So rather than publishing a book, we're publishing chapters now. Chapters have to be well thought out, they take time, they take effort, and that's what we're seeing this change to.

Andy Crestodina: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jeff Julian: People are, rather than doing eBooks, rather than doing all this lightweight stuff, they're going after let's release chapters, when it's in written content. I love it.

Andy Crestodina: Yeah. And so that, when you put that together and you include sources and you write the in depth piece and you've got other voices contributing quotes and experts in your content, I think that you're first thought isn't, "I want to get SEO benefits from this," but I think that it has a high likelihood of leading to those positive outcomes. I'll say one other thing about the round up: if anyone out there is doing the 55 experts on the answer their top question for topic X, it's the job of the curator in that case, and that's probably what you're doing, to add some analysis maybe, and write the summary of it. Gimme the executive summary, tell me what percentage of them gave what kind of answer, pull a statistic out of it to show that many experts said this, few experts said that ... some people can even turn these into original research, if you ...

Jeff Julian: Yeah.

Andy Crestodina: It's like a poll, you know. If you get a hundred people to answer a question, you can say 62 percent of them answered in this context. So, I really think that the copy paste job is a lazy marketer's approach where a good curator is pulling together voices that are relevant, sometimes dissenting, and then doing a bit of analysis on that to add some value for the reader.

Jeff Julian: Oh yeah. I mean you obviously have the connections if you have 55 people to turn it back. So if you put together a five question poll with a quick response, and then you've got research.

Andy Crestodina: Yep.

Jeff Julian: And if you told me 50 experts were polled, that's valid, right?

Andy Crestodina: Right.

Jeff Julian: If you said fifteen marketers were polled I might not listen to it, but if I see them and it's experts, then yeah. Their weight is heavy.

Andy Crestodina: Yeah.

Jeff Julian: And you bring 50 of them it's like having 500.

Andy Crestodina: Yeah.

Jeff Julian: And so, yeah.

Andy Crestodina: You're pulling a data point out of it, it's not just copying and pasting stuff out of a Google form that you sent to a bunch of random people. So hopefully that's some insights into how to do better collaborative content. You and I wanna talk about one other thing we found in the survey which is a killer SEO trick which is not common; only 38 percent of bloggers report doing this: going back and updating older content.

Jeff Julian: Yeah, I mean, just a perfect example. I search for the research and one of your blog posts was trending really high for it.

Andy Crestodina: Ah.

Jeff Julian: And it was the one titled Eleven Something or Others?

Andy Crestodina: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jeff Julian: And it refers to the 2017 stuff so, you just released this, now your next step is to go back and find all those places, and the beauty of that is, we don't have to roll it out like it's a big, "Oh no, everything has to go live at one time." You just do it with the ease of it, right? You've got the link, it takes you to the research. Right now it's just dates.

Andy Crestodina: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jeff Julian: And then there's some places that you can go and update that, but it's not like you have to be prepared for doing this research back on your own content to find out where you have to update. It's just a task. And it's a very valuable task.

Andy Crestodina: It is. It's part of the job, right? Because unless like your content strategy is news and the stuff that you published in the past just has a short lifespan and it happens to be online still but no one's ever gonna read it, why would they, then your content strategy is to publish Evergreen content, which is the other type of content strategy. And you're publishing things that, you hope they rank, you hope they get visits, you hope they're relevant for years to come. So, yeah. I mean anytime you update a piece of research that was cited by previous articles, it is now your job to go back and update all those old articles.

I just did a search operator in Google, site colon web address dot com, literally no space, just S-I-T-E colon.

Andy Crestodina: Orbit media dot com space 2019, it shows me I gave 84 URLs on my website that mention the year ... or 2017. So, there's fast ways to see what needs to be updated. I just told you I came back from a conference, so I was on a plane. Before I got on that plane I downloaded all the new graphs from the new blogger survey and during the flight, I went back and updated twelve different presentations to make sure they all were referring to the latest research.

So that's part of the job but one of the SEO tactics with updating old content is that, and this is one of the best tricks I know, if you use analytics to see which of your articles either almost ranks high or was ranking high and started to decline in its rankings, maybe it ranks high on page two ...

A lot of those things, their performance is declining because some new stuff has come out on that topic, right? The internet isn't staying still, so if you wanna remain one of the top ten pages for that topic, and that is SEO, is to be one of the top ten pages for the topic, you're trying to rank on page one, then you can use analytics to report on which articles have the greatest opportunity for quality improvements and then go back and basically rewrite those things. I don't mean just tweak a headline or update the title tag, but if that thing, that article that you wrote three years ago used to rank for topic X and now it's ranking much lower for topic X, without changing the URL, keep your URL the same because you'll get all the authority benefit of anyone that's ever referred to or linked to that URL, but go make it a better piece. It takes about half the time as writing a brand new article and consistently I'm seeing double the search traffic to those pages.

Jeff Julian: Yeah. And if you have access to multiple writers, have another person step in and then add them as an additional author and then kind of go back and forth with it, because that can produce a conversation versus just some updated thoughts.

Andy Crestodina: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jeff Julian: And yeah, when you're searching for the dates and stuff like that, because one of my number one searches is always putting the date at the end of something so I can get relevant and current, but it pisses me off more than anything when I know somebody just updated the date and didn't update the content.

Andy Crestodina: Right. Yeah.

Jeff Julian: So just use that as a search to find what needs to be done but yeah. Like you said, take a new stab at it.

Andy Crestodina: Yeah, I occasionally write search optimized guest posts, and I occasionally get emails from those publications when people say, "Andy, you wrote on of our top posts from last year. It's not as relevant as it used to be. Would you like to write about this again or rewrite this piece?"

Huge respect. Very smart. I love that tactic. Basically, they're doing what I just said. They're looking at their analytics, seeing what was performing, seeing what was maybe declining in performance, and then reaching out to the author, might not even be them, right? It was a guest in that case.

So, spin sucks. I wrote an article for Ginny, it was about personal SEO, ranked for personal SEO, ranks started to decline, and one of her editors reached out to me at the end, this was last year maybe, early this year. Happy to help update that. Rewrote it, back on top, so well worth the time and effort.

Jeff Julian: Yeah. Absolutely. And I love that idea of going back and re-engaging with people, especially if you're a speaker or you get around to different networking groups and stuff like that. Offering guest posts, and then offering to update will kind of bring the conversation back to the top, of getting new access to their audience and things like that.

If you're in sales and you're cold calling people or looking for lists to buy so you can name people, just know that tactic people just don't accept anymore, but the thing they do accept is providing value to them in a non sales capacity.

Andy Crestodina: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jeff Julian: So I find AMAs and BMAs in the area, and I drive to them, and so I found every year, I put little feelers out and then I go and speak there, and a lot of the times I produce content for their blog and things like that.

Andy Crestodina: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jeff Julian: So just a way to come back to them and say, "Hey. I wrote an update for that piece. Here you go. And also, do you have any slots open in the next six months?"

Andy Crestodina: Yeah.

Jeff Julian: It just allows for that conversation to occur and it's not pitchy, it's not asking and not providing value.

Andy Crestodina: It's audience focus. I got a call recently from someone, it was like an association. And she said, "We have an event coming up and we have a panel and would you like to be on the panel?" And I don't love panels. I think, as an attendee (this is an opinion), I think panels tend to be lower value than a normal session unless the moderator's brilliant and the panel is very carefully constructed of people with sometimes unexpected or conflicting views. A lot of panels are just people nodding heads and agreeing with each other or there's one dominant hippo who takes over the conversation.

Jeff Julian: Yep.

Andy Crestodina: But this person said, "Would you like to be on a panel?" And actually I couldn't because of a conflict, but my suggestion was, "I'm sorry, I can't, but probably greater," it was like an SEO panel, "greater value to your audience would be for me to do a webinar for your audience and you could record that and people could go back and watch it later."

They said, "Wow, that might be good. That sounds great."

"And if you really wanna know what people need to hear on this webinar, we could engage on social media and get input, what are people's top questions."

Jeff Julian: Yeah.

Andy Crestodina: "Oh Andy, that sounds great. Let's do that."

"And then you send me those questions in advance and I'll write answers and you can make that a blog post prior to the webinar to promote the virtual event."

"Wow, wow, this is great. This sounds really good."

So you're getting a real time experience, something that's captured and recorded and can be used later, something that can be repurposed; you're inviting input from the audience to tune the content, allowing those specific needs. So they want to do a panel, but ten minutes into the conversation, we had a mini content strategy to make sure that we were going to make something both real time and durable that had relevance to that specific audience that would be promoted in multiple channels in a way that created an echo chamber and feedback loop, and maximized the attendance of the event.

Jeff Julian: Yeah. And I love that you went to the audience to find out what was valuable to them to then produce the content-

... able to them to then produce the content that you could then come up with the answers for that. It does the same thing a panel would do, but it does it better because most of the time the panel, it's like you said, they suck. They're 15 minutes on one question and then just random and some ... Everybody's just tooting their horn. The thing I usually hate about panels is that they always ask the most intelligent person in the world to moderate the panel on that topic, and they never get to respond, right?

Andy Crestodina: Oh yeah.

Jeff Julian: It's like I want to know what like ... Well, Pamela Muldoon at Content Marketing World. She moderates it. It's like, I want to know what Pamela Muldoon things about podcasting, because she's been in radio for years, right?

Andy Crestodina: Yeah. She has. Right, right, right.

Jeff Julian: Not this guy who's had one for a year on cupcakes. I wanted ... you know? That's why it's like ... I'm with you. I think that-

Andy Crestodina: This is what I love about Explicit Content Podcast. We don't hold back on these mini rants. It's like, what's wrong with round ups? What's wrong with panels? What's the problem with collaboration, right? When collaboration goes bad? You know what else is wrong with panels, often? They call them the manel. It's the all manel panel. I'm not gonna call them out, but I've been in some rooms where it's like, "Come on, people. I can easily name experts that would bring perspective and diversity and points of view to this. You chose three biggest brands. It's all nice guys but old white dudes. Can't we do better than this?"

Jeff Julian: Yeah. Or, I sat through a panel last month in New York. It was all female, which is fine, but it was all brands like higher level like, "I'm with this brand, and here's my response. We had all these followers. I put all this money behind it. That's our response." It didn't land with me, bu the thing that really pissed me off is they were all from New York, so they all left except for like one person afterwards. Nobody got to talk to them, because the thing about panels is half the audience has a question for you. They're just scared to ask it. You gotta stick around even longer than if you were doing a session on panels, because people are thinking about asking you a question.

Andy Crestodina: Yeah, it's a Q&A format.

Jeff Julian: Yeah, I call them Q&As. Make it get awkward. People will ask questions if you let them know it's gonna be there. Then, you give them the opportunity to write in a question during the day. Man, you'll have tons of questions.

Andy Crestodina: Yeah, I was at a decent panel recently. The most interesting part about it I didn't happen to contribute to because it wasn't a question I was really relevant for, but it was about the Nike decision. Really interesting points of view and really interesting descending views. I thought that was worthwhile. Rare for me to say that about a panel.

Jeff Julian: Yeah, like our event. So, you're speaking at the Enterprise Marketer Conference in March, on March 1st in Kansas City. We will have an end of the day Q&A, and all of our speakers will be there. It'll be ... We'll be collecting questions throughout the day. We'll use that to give away prizes, but the questions are for the whole group about people's content during that day. What's the thing that you've been learning that's progressed? Carlos gets up and says something, and then Katie gets up and says something, Melanie says something, and Andy doesn't. You come up with this question. How awesome would it be to ask everybody about it? Likelihood that a lot of other people have that question, but it's making the event a whole thing, an adventure path rather than just a whole bunch of disparate sessions, because I think that's what the original panel concept was.

When conferences came out in the 1800s, it was usual pastoral conferences or church based conferences. It was people trying to get in the same page, so it was all about panels. It was all about getting the group together to say, "Okay, this is what we're gonna say, right? This is our stance on things. This is our full understanding on things." Same with science and other arenas where they had to get together to form the conference. Now, it's just like there's conferences all the time. They don't have any true value out of them. There's no point to get together besides just a time of the year.

Andy Crestodina: Yeah, then PowerPoint comes along. What year would that have been?

Jeff Julian: '96 or something.

Andy Crestodina: So the slide ware makes sessions. I'm guilty. We all are, right, because you have to prepare something and make it high value and condensed and keep it flowing, but it's kind of inherently problematic because everyone knows that it's a linear progression, right? It's like a scroll bar. They're going down through a series of slides. That's where the Q&A helps. That's where the real time I'm not exactly what's gonna happen next comes in.

Jeff Julian: It's so weird because in the present or ... We're off on this rabbit trail that I love, but we went from 10 years ago less slides more images to now where your audience is social promoting the content. If they take a picture of it, sometimes they take a picture so they can ... Five years they took pictures so they could remember what was on the slide, because there's no guarantee they're gonna get it. There's no trust level there. Now they're taking pictures of the slide so they can put it up on Twitter, so they can be a part of this hashtag conversation. Now, you've got distracted audience members who are trying to promote you and your content, but nobody solving the problem. Nobody's making it easier. You have all this random stuff going on. How do you pull them all back together?

Well, you release a piece of content beforehand. It gives them access to the slides that also gives them like the written form. Your blog post about this gives them a way to engage with you. Then you just put that URL in the corner of your slide. Hey, you want the photos? Dude, I've got the PDF right here. Go to that. You get it. Then they can start engaging with you and your content that way they get back to focusing on you presenting.

Andy Crestodina: Yeah, it takes the pressure off. Even if you tell people, though ... This just happened to me yesterday. You tell me at the outset, of course you're gonna get the slides. If you've got a thumb drive, I'm gonna give them to you today. Give me your email address. I'm gonna send them to you tonight. People still take pictures of slides. It could be for that reason you mentioned, right? They might be wanting to share, promote, or be relevant themselves to a larger audience. They're on social. It could also be the trust level you mentioned. Maybe they don't know 100% that I'm gonna get it. I want it right now.

One of the pictures I saw from this was actually really cool. Someone toward the middle or the back took a picture of a slide. In front of them, you can see all the other cameras, all the other phones held up at the bottom of the picture. It was kind of amazing social proof. It's a really cool photo. I could share it. You can see a lot of phones in the air taking a picture of the slide in the picture. It's kind of cool.

Jeff Julian: I believe it's the new note taking. If I said before the session ... This is why I don't say it anymore. I just kind of put it up as part of it, like here are the slides. Because it's like me saying, "Hey, I've written the notes. I'll give them to you." It's like, "That's the same, dude." I'm like, "My notes are chicken scratches and scribbles and whatever. I put them in a place, and I feel comfortable with them. If you say you're gonna email me the slides, you break my work flow, because I'm gonna look over these tonight. I'm gonna share them with people, right? I gotta wait for yours. That's that piece like, "My memory is not that good." If you say, "Okay, you will," I let my guard down. I forget I wanted them. Another session comes up. I gotta go to the bathroom or something like that, I leave, I forget to get them.

Andy Crestodina: Right.

Jeff Julian: That's where that instant gratification is what you're aiming at in that scenario. You point them to longer formed pieces of content. Scott Straton used to use a text number. Text a word to this short code, and you'll get the slides. That's worked as well.

Andy Crestodina: Since this is technically an SEO topic, and we're probably coming close here to the end, I'm gonna share with you for the first time, Jeff. I've never told anyone this. An amazing SEO hack that you have the opportunity to use if you are a presenter, but you've got to keep this between us, okay? I don't want you to tell anyone else about this.

Jeff Julian: I'll edit it out, I swear.

Andy Crestodina: You can leave it in. I want our audience to get the must. We know that user interaction signals are search ranking factors. If a visitor clicks on something that ranks in search and stays on that page that that's a signal to Google that that was a good page. If you have the opportunity to mention something that you've published and ranked, let's say a collaborative content marketing. Here's a tactic. You should use collaborative content marketing. Round ups may be overdone in your industry if you're in marketing, but there's other ... You can do contributor quotes or deep dive interviews. If you want the notes to my approach to collaborative content marketing, just search in Google for collaborative content marketing, and scroll half way down the page.

Jeff Julian: I love it.

Andy Crestodina: You'll see it. It probably ranks number five or something. Just click on that post there, and you'll have all of my best advice about that topic. Then what you have is you have 50 people in the room who are suddenly searching for and clicking on and staying on, because they're just gonna leave the tab, right? They're not gonna read it right there. They're in a session.

Jeff Julian: That's amazing.

Andy Crestodina: It's a sneaky way, right, to send positive user interaction signals to content that ... It only works if you're a presenter, and it only works if you publish something that already ranks, and it only works if that thing you published is relevant to the topic you're presenting on.

Jeff Julian: Yeah. Or if you have just an active audience, like people who can pull live streams together or Twitter chats and things like that. You don't necessarily have to be on stage in front of people to use that hack. I was in Seattle like 15 years ago. Robert Scoble was like one of ... the most popular blogger at the time. He wanted to test this theory he had which is can we invent a word and have it rank and have other content around it form up just by somebody with influence put it out there. He created this word called Brrreeeport. It was a word that wasn't indexed at all.

He came outside, went to dinner with me and a friend. We sat there and looked at our phones and watched it. Within hours, other people were talking about it. Other blog posts were coming up about it, because the world got behind like, "Let's figure this thing out." Then, it became this trending topic, because people were using that if you have influence and other people have influence, that's where the real power of the pyramid of influencer-based marketing comes in when you can deploy it like that.

Andy Crestodina: Yep, you can create ... If you ever have a platform, if you're ever mentioning something on a show or on a webinar or on a stage, you're basically triggering the kind of word of mouth that social and search algorithms are looking for, but you're just doing it all at once with a bigger microphone.

Jeff Julian: Yeah, this isn't a new tactic. It's not just search too. It's a general marketing tactic for the ages. It's like lighting a fire and having someone signal fire and then having that blow up afterwards. You can get your message out really quick with no technology as long as you have an audience who's willing to engage.

Andy Crestodina: I love it. I love these conversations. This is great. I think we came out with the proper amount of strong opinion. We busted some myths, as usual. We called some things out and got into that little hack there at the end. I like that feeling of am I giving away too much, because that's when I know that I'm giving away the right amount.

Jeff Julian: Exactly. I like to just give it all away. Then it's like, "Ah, nobody's listening."

Andy Crestodina: Well, those that did, I think maybe learned a few things here I hope. This was good.

Jeff Julian: Oh, yeah. For sure. Thanks for joining us, guys. I would love to hear your questions, so go to Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, whatever you want to do. Actually post a video of you asking your question. We'll include it on the site.

Andy Crestodina: Brilliant.

Jeff Julian: We can't wait to join you again in a few weeks when Andy and I get back together to rant and rave about SEO and data.

Thank you for listening to the Explicit Content podcast. For more information, check out EnterpriseMarketer.com.

associated links: Blogger Survey




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