Talk Marketing

How Positioning Can Make Or Break Your Marketing Agency Blog (with Michael Gass)

An experienced consultant to marketing agencies, Michael Gass talks with John McDougall about marketing for ad agencies. He explains that agencies need to practice what they preach in terms of creating marketing plans, identifying a target audience, and generating content. He outlines what agencies need to do to shift from outbound to inbound marketing, and he talks about why inbound relationships are inherently more effective.

John McDougall: Welcome, everyone. This is John McDougall with Talk Marketing Made Easy, and I’m here today with Michael Gass. He has one of the world’s top marketing blogs, he’s a positioning expert and he’s worked with countless agencies, including my own, to help us focus our niche and get more business. Welcome, Michael.

Michael Gass: Good to be with you, John. Good to see you.

John: Yeah. Yeah. Michael’s become a good friend. He’s a great guy. So, if anyone has needs in the agency or positioning niche, he’s your man. So, Michael, how did you get started in blogging?

Michael: Well, back in 2007, I had this great idea that I would leave a position as business development vice president and start my own consulting. I just didn’t know it was just two months shy of the greatest economic downturn we faced as a country since the Great Depression.

John: Yep.

Michael: So, the timing really wasn’t all that good. I had three kids in college. My wife’s just frantic. And so, it’s sink or swim. I just developed my first website as a blog, because the platform basically was free, back then, and started creating content. The blog caught on. I was creating content of value rather than trying to just promote myself. And I was sharing just helpful, tactical information, advice that I would give if somebody just asked a question.

I’d been around great copywriters all of my career being in the ad business, and I knew I wasn’t one of them. And so, it was really daunting for me. But by giving practical and helpful information, when the blog caught on, I was doing 40, 45,000 page views a month. I’m building my business in Alabaster, Alabama, which I was very hesitant to put on my business card, thinking, “How am I going to get clients? I’ve only worked in two markets, either Birmingham or Nashville.”

And writing that content, I found myself my fourth clients on the West Coast and Costa Mesa, California. And I’m thinking, “What would it have taken using traditional marketing methods to achieve this and do it so quickly?” And so, I was all in. And we weren’t even calling social media, social media, back then. It was so new. But I continued on and I’d been a cold caller from way back, in business development, and from that time, after establishing my blog and understanding how to be found, I have never made a cold call. And the unique thing is when a prospective client initiates the call to you, that relationship is far different than you chasing that client.

John: Absolutely.

Shifting From Outbound to Inbound Marketing

Michael: And when I would explain to an agency owner, they would say something like, “I don’t know how I found you.” And then I would tell them how they found me.

John: Yeah. Right.

Michael: And then I would remind them who called who, and that what I do for myself is exactly what you need to be doing to make new business easier, and switching from more of an outbound to an inbound marketing approach, and then would share with them how to do it.

But most agencies, they just had such difficulty … They were in a perpetual state of rebranding, a perpetual state of redesigning their website, that in practicality, I would create a blog offsite just to get it away from the creative department, because they would just sweat bullets over their own material. And I would simplify the process. But then we started building it around the agency owner or owners, because in practicality, they were the least likely persons to leave.

Leveraging the Face of the Agency to Create an Emotional Connection With Site Visitors

John: Did they generally do it consistently and beat their competitors because the competitors were asleep, not blogging? Agencies often don’t.

Michael: Those who were in early had a major advantage, but what it helped them to do was, the agency website was their online brochure. It’s about credentials, capabilities, and case studies. It’s all about you. But that helped me to change their focus with a niche blog living offsite. It was all about the prospective client. And so, we didn’t lead with the agency, we led with the person, we led with the face of the agency, like Sir Richard Branson…

John: Yeah. Google loves that.

Michael:.Is the face of Virgin. And that allowed an emotional connection, because one thing that I knew even prior to social media, people wanted to work with other people that they know, trust, and like. And this was their opportunity to do that networking and build those relationships and gain a positioning of expertise quickly.

But when you go to an agency website, it’s all over the map as far as their portfolio. They thought that being diverse was a strength, but prospective clients look at it as a major weakness.

The Riches Are in the Niches: The Importance of a Niche for Marketing Agencies

John: Right.

Michael: And they want to know what you know about their category, about their place in the market, and how much experience have you had there. And to get an agency to do that and identify that narrow, it was hard to do. But I would say the riches are in the niches.

John: Yeah. Give us some examples of areas of focus for some of the agencies.

Michael: Well, I had a client that had a major client, that was the 800-pound gorilla, that if they lost that account, the agency would go under. But they couldn’t just talk about that client all the time and the client wouldn’t allow it, for another thing. But how do you glean from that experience and share something where you can continue to gain business with all the experience that you know with that one client and client category. And the client was Kroger, so it’s in grocery.

John: Yeah.

Michael: So, in our workshop discussion, I found out that one of the things that they did a lot of for Kroger was start stores. So, we positioned the two agency owners as the store starting gurus. And in retail, how do you start a store? And answering all of the questions in starting a new store, which they had a vast repertoire of experience and knowledge that they would share, never mentioning Kroger, but just the store starters. And without an RFP and without a pitch and never even chasing this particular account, Burlington Coat Factory calls, and they want the agency to help them start 22 new stores.

John: Wow. What a gig from your blog.

Michael: So, a major brand calls on them, just based on this positioning of expertise as being the store starters.

John: Right. And if they had called Burlington Coat Factory…

Michael: It would’ve taken months or years. It wasn’t a matter of the size of the agency, the location of the agency, what other work they had done. They found the content so rich and full in helping them with their point of need in starting stores, that let’s just call the experts. They were able to charge a premium for their service. And you own and control the relationship with a client like that when they initiate the call.

How to Start a Blog for a Marketing Agency

John: Absolutely. What were some challenges you had and maybe some of these agencies had, starting their blogs?

Michael: Well, they need new business quickly. And so, for it to have organic growth and to do this over a period of nine months to a year before you ever see a lead, there was much more pressure to generate new business quickly. So, one of the main problems of having a blog is writing. Everybody hates to write. There’s very few that enjoy the writing process, but I would put them on a timetable. We would do an initial 30 posts in 30 days. And every problem that you could imagine would come up during that 30-day period and we’d have to create workarounds to get it done.

John: Yeah. I remember that.

Michael: But when we finished, the blog looked rich and full and nobody knew there were only 30 posts there, it could have been 300 or 3,000. So, it had the appearance of age. We didn’t start out with a first post, “This is my first post.” We didn’t write posts that were dated. We wrote in an evergreen manner. We tried to get as much juice, as much energy and payback for the content as we possibly could, by doing it that way. I know from an SEO standpoint, the longer form posts do better in search, but I had them write 450 to 500 word posts.

John: Making it a habit that way, too. That’s a great habit building practice, to not feel overwhelmed.

Michael: Well, you’ve got to look at the readership, and how people read online, they tend to scan more. And a lot of times when they open up a long-form post, I mean, it’s dead in the water there, or you lose them after the first couple of paragraphs. And so, when they saw 450 to 500 words, there was enough meat there for them to spend the time to read the content.

And then we would provide links to additional content at the bottom. We would actually take and maybe write a long-form post and break it up into parts, and let each post stand alone, but we would come back and put it together. Or, as you’ve done…

Repurposing Your Blog to Create More Marketing Materials

John: Yeah. Yeah. Sure.

Michael: Take your blog content and outline a book and utilize a lot of what you’re writing for the book.

John: Absolutely.

Michael: There’s many ways to repurpose the content.

John: Email marketing, I mean, people complain like, “Oh, I don’t have something to do for emails.” But if you’re blogging every week, you certainly do.

Michael: And we would get an email database and we would start a newsletter and the newsletter was made up of one or two or three of the posts that we’d been writing. And you just do a little synopsis and a link to read more. You’d have your calls to action clearly identified. And that would help to jumpstart the blog as well. And of course, the more eyes that are clicking on those links, that helps the searchability of the content as well.

John: Yeah. So, you can even buy lists in a category, whether it’s lawyers, dentists, whatever it is.

Michael: Right. And this was help to them in positioning, “Who’s our target?” We’ve got to get this as crystal clear that I could go to a list broker and purchase a list. And it can’t be so overwhelmingly broad. Even healthcare, healthcare is a very broad category.

John: Yep.

Michael: So, I’ve got a lot of agencies, one focuses in on nothing but academic medical centers. Now, that doesn’t mean that they don’t get other healthcare work, but they get a consistent flow of prospects through academic medical centers and it also allows them to get much bigger accounts. And the secondary audiences always get it, and they’ll get opportunities there, but they always lead with the primary. So, physician groups, all kinds of other niches in healthcare, you need to drill down a little further than you’d be comfortable in doing maybe on the website, with a niche blog that lives offsite.

Using Your Blog to Improve Social Media Efforts

John: Yeah. What about social media? What are some of the things that you do to make the blog more successful?

Michael: Well, I always repurpose content and there are many tools out there, so that you can set up a schedule and how many tweets would be going out in a day that would involve your content. And reposting it through Facebook, reposting it, not just in short-form with a link to that particular post, but actually doing long-form posts in LinkedIn, which created no penalties regarding search and it was just another platform…

John: Yeah. Repurposing a piece from the blog, putting it on LinkedIn. We tend to put half or three quarters of it in a link back to the blog.

Michael: It was helpful to add an author box, to make sure that people were aware who was creating the content.

John: Just in case there was a penalty.

Michael: Providing additional articles of interest. But I would mix that up, it wouldn’t just be all of my stuff, that would be too self-serving. And you want a mixture of the stuff that I’m reading … Reading fuels the writing. So, I use some online tools that really focus my reading. And when I find an article that would be of interest, I would put it in the schedule to be released.

And I found out if I could release two or three posts an hour, and Twitter was okay. Facebook, you just overwhelm your connections there. LinkedIn, the same. So, you’d have to dial that back considerably. So, just based on the platform that you’re utilizing, and looking at your growth rate of connections, if that starts to go backwards, you know you’re doing too much. And so, you just dial it back.

How to Speed Up the Results of Your Blogging Efforts

John: And what about an inflection point? You said nine months or so for the average agency to start to see results, which people want to sign up for SEO, and we’re like, “It could take a year or two to really dominate.”

Michael: Well, yeah, doing 30 posts in 30 days and then starting the newsletter, I’ve had clients that actually started generating new business within that first 30-day period.

John: That’s awesome. That’s great.

Michael: So, you don’t have to wait, but you have to really think about your calls to action. And that’s a very important part. I would have a link to my guide, “Seven Steps to Fueling New Business Through Social Media”, and would provide that at the end of a post, or at the end of a presentation, that would help to generate opportunities. And when somebody requested that, I didn’t automate the return, I personally sent the booklet and would respond in person to that request, because I looked at it as a great opportunity. They’ve opened the door for dialogue.

And so, I generate a lot of business by doing that. And a lot of agencies, they don’t think about, with their content, the specific calls to action without coming across real salesy, what’s something of a value that you could extend? And I would tell agencies this, “Any time you’re providing a solution to a problem by phone or through a video conference or face-to-face, you want that to be a paid engagement.

So, carve out those small steps that a prospective client can take.” Like I have “Pick My Brain” on my blog site, and for $250, they can schedule a time and set an agenda, and we discuss that. And I’ve generated a lot of business doing that.

How to Eliminate the Tire Kickers and Find Serious Prospects

John: And smart to keep that a reasonable fee, so that you really get leads that way and you get paid to talk to new prospects.

Michael: Well, and it eliminates the tire kickers, the people that want to absorb all they can for you for free, and they’re not going to pay a dime. And those that are serious, $250’s nothing. And then a face-to-face meeting, what does that entail? What does that cost?

John Friedman, the Friedman Agency headquartered in London, John calls me one day, and this was our first phone conversation, and he’s asking about our two Yorkies. And then we’ve got a blended family of six, only one son. Jonathan’s having a tough time getting out of college because he doesn’t want to leave home. I get a little frustrated. I share that through social media.

And John’s asking, “Well, how’s Jonathan doing?” This is our first phone call. But because I provide not just business online through social media, I also share the things I’m interested in, the things that I enjoy. You know I like boating, and we’ve got a houseboat. We go to the lake every other weekend. It’s amazing how many prospects know me, and so when we talk initially, that conversation is so much further down the road. And John Friedman, he said, “Mike, I want to do the workshop and I want to engage you as a consultant. So, how much does it cost and when can we get started?” And he called me.

John: He already knew about the workshop and he knew who you were, not just business-wise, but you were a guy that has certain likes and interests, he resonated with that, knew the prices, knew the deal from reading your blog.

Michael: And the call is basically, “How much does it cost? When can we get started?” You get past all the other junk. And he called me, so he’s willing to pay my expenses to London and bring in his other staff that were, I think, located in four or five different countries and have them assemble there. And we’ve never even met face-to-face, prior.

John: So, blogging essentially fueled your entire agency advisory business, and then the agencies that you taught, it turned around their new business.

Michael: From my office above my…

John: Blogging is the heart of it.

Michael: Garage, in Alabaster, Alabama, I became an international consultant. And literally, I mean, I’ve worked with the 4As, all of the major agency networks in not only the United States, but I’ve done events for the Canadian agency networks. I’ve done events in Europe for the agency networks. It’s just been incredible what I’ve been able to do.

I have some Birmingham agencies that have called in the past, that wanted to do lunch, and would get a little upset because I wouldn’t do a lunch meeting. And I would tell them, I said, “Look, this is a Pick My Brain session, and I just don’t do lunch.” And I would tell them about Kevin Friedman and some of the others that I’ve worked with, that we’ve never even met. And I would turn it down and it would just astound them that I would even turn away business and not spend half my day traveling to do a lunch meeting.

But in that time period, I’m working with 10, 12, 15 agencies. Ad Age was doing a small agency conference, their very first, they were doing it in New Orleans, and it was in the summer, it was in July, which New Orleans in July is horrible with the humidity.

John: Yeah. Oh my gosh.

Turning Tweets Into Blogs Into Leads

Michael: I didn’t know about it until a week before, but then I learned about it. I couldn’t go, but I followed the tweets from the event and members were using the hashtag for the event. So, I was keeping up with everything. And I learned in the beginning of the day, that it was very, very hot inside the conference room. And rather than disrupt the meeting and the speakers, they were tweeting about it. So, finally somebody noticed and they adjusted the temperature and they were tweeting, it was better, but then the women were getting too cold.

I learned that they hated lunch, but the caterer won their hearts with dessert. And then, I would see tweets where one of the speakers would say something, and you would see a number of tweets with that same quote. And I would capture those. By the end of the day, I wrote an article about the 50 top highlights from the Ad Age Small Agency Conference and published it, and then shared a tweet with a link. I get a response from one of the directors at Ad Age wanting to meet me, thinking I’m at the conference. And it blew their mind…

John: That’s awesome.

Michael: That I wasn’t even there. And they asked how I did it, and I shared with them and they said, “Could we set up an interview?” Well, I said, “Sure.” Because it’s Ad Age.

John: Yeah.

Michael: And they did exactly what I proposed them to do. And then they wrote up an article and it was featured in Ad Age and all about this process and what I’d done and yada, yada, yada. But it was a hoot to be able to do that through social media and get on their radar. If I had asked them for an interview, that never would’ve happened. I could have begged for an interview, it would’ve never gotten ,unless I knew somebody who knew somebody.

John: Absolutely. And I think you were rated in the top Ad Age Power 150, they had a blog rating.

Michael: Power 150, back then. It was a rating, and I used that to really grow my blog. That was one of my metrics…

John: Yeah. That’s impressive. That’s a big number.

Michael: And then, I think I reached into the top half of that 150.

Blogging Essential: Create a Point of Differentiation

John: Of marketing blogs. That’s impressive. Yeah. So, the last thing is, if you were starting a blog today, what would you do differently?

Michael: Oh, that’s a good question. Certainly, a lot I would do just exactly as I did, because some things don’t change. You have to identify your audience and-

John: Those things don’t change.

Michael: You have to create a point of differentiation.

John: Positioning.

Michael: And early on, it was the Wild Wild West, and you could be much broader. My first client was Stephanie Holland, Holland + Holland Advertising in Birmingham. When I asked them how they were different than all the other agencies in Birmingham, they said, “We’ve got great creatives.” If I’ve heard that once, I’ve heard it a thousand times, and…

John: You’ve probably never not heard it.

Michael: I said, “Come on, how are you different?” We were discussing this for about an hour, and then I asked Stephanie, I said … She was the owner of the agency along with her husband, but she was also the creative director. I said, “How many other female creative directors do you know in Birmingham?” And she didn’t know any. And then I said, “Well, how many are in the state?” And there weren’t any that she could think of. She’d been around for 25 years. She couldn’t think of a single creative director back then.

And so, we created a blog called Sheconomy. Now, she didn’t want to come off as a feminist, because the vast majority of her clients were male advertisers. And so, it became A Guy’s Guide to Marketing to Women. In the early days, she had three national accounts, three national brands that were working with her. She called me one day and she was in California and I said, “What are you doing?” She said, “Well, I’ve just been hired as a consultant for Porsche.”

John: Whoa. Cream of the crop.

Drill Down Further to Get Past the Competition in Your Niche

Michael: And it’s like, this small, 15 member agency, and here Stephanie is on the West Coast and she’s been hired as a consultant for Porsche, just through that positioning. But if Stephanie were starting that blog today, it couldn’t be just Sheconomy: A Guy’s Guide to Marketing to Women. It would have to include A Guy’s Guide to Marketing to Women, say, in real estate, or in healthcare, or she would have to niche it down further.

John: So, you have to niche it down even more because of the bigger competition these days? Yeah.

Michael: Yeah. 97% of all creative directors back then were male, only 3% female.

John: Right.

Michael: There’s now a 3% conference that invites all of these women creative directors to attend, and they’re becoming much more dominant in the agency world than they were when Stephanie first started this. So, you’ve got to drill down even further a lot of times if there’s a lot of competition within that niche.

Positioning: Key Foundation for Business Development

John: But positioning is key, and it’s been that way for a long time.

Michael: It is key.

John: Yeah. I don’t see that changing.

Michael: It’s the foundation for business development.

John: It’s not like a Google algorithm that changes all the time.

Michael: No. No. But that’s why, here I am, I’m 66 years old, and when I started this, I was teaching young people in their 20s how to do social media and how to use Twitter to gain business.

John: Right. That’s great.

Michael: And one of the last workshops I attended, instead of just gray hair, there’s blue hair, there’s orange hair, there’s tattoos, all of these things. And I’m there as this old guy, and what am I going to teach these people?

John: Yeah.

Marketing Agencies Need to Draft Marketing Plans, Identify Target Audiences and Create Points of Differentiation

Michael: But what I found is a lot of the principles that agencies understand about marketing and advertising still ring true, but they don’t practice what they preach. They have no marketing plan. They have no identifiable target audience. They have no point of differentiation other than to say something like, “We’ve got great creative.”

John: That’s right.

Michael: Or, “We’ve got a diverse portfolio.” They look and sound just like everybody else. But I just took my marketing mind and adjusted to the new technology and tools. Well, as you know, you were one of the first SEO agencies that I’d worked with, and I was scared to death, because I knew you knew so much more about SEO than I did. But you were saying you, you’d been doing this since 1998, I think.

John: ’95, ’96. Yeah.

Michael: But then there’s so many SEO agencies out there.

John: Oh God.

Michael: That you had to differentiate.

John: That’s right.

Michael: And so, I think it’s true for everybody.

John: Yeah, and good content’s the key anyway.

Social Media Marketers Also Need a Niche to Stand Out

Michael: I’ve got social media agencies that I’ve worked with that are having the same problems. Now that social media is on everybody’s radar and a part of their toolbox, it’s social media and what else?

John: Yeah. That must be a challenge, because there are so many young people that think they can do social, they could probably put up a shingle, a little website and pitch people and some people wouldn’t know the difference between them and someone like yourself that just has this vast amount of positioning and social media knowledge. So, yeah, that’s probably a good place to help people.

Michael: That’s why new business is so difficult, and why they have to chase business. Even in an inbound era in advertising and marketing, they’re using those interruptive type tactics.

John: I heard after COVID, some stat, like the number of times you need to follow up in sales went from, I don’t know, up to 17 or 47, or something. It’s something ridiculous. I don’t have to call call.

Michael: But when you build awareness and can maintain awareness without interruption 24/7, and you’re sharing not just business, but personal things, so people get to know you. And if it’s something that’s of no interest, they just look over it, but if you’re constantly bombarding them for business, it’s a negative and they just turn you off and out. I get so many requests per day from SEO agencies, or I get requests on contributing to my blog and stuff like that.

YouTube and Podcasting for Marketing Agencies

John: Right. Yeah. Yeah. What about podcasting and YouTube, are you seeing the agencies all starting podcasts and YouTube channels?

Michael: Yeah. Again, they’re latecomers.

John: Yep.

Michael: If they were early adopters and they got an advantage…

John: Right.

Michael: But when you’re getting in it now, there’s so many out there that utilize it to enrich your audience, and there’s probably less resources available to them. I’ve got a client who’s in Anaheim… he started an agency, but he was a hairstylist, he owned a beauty salon.

He had built a network of African American beauty salons and barbershops and because he was in Anaheim near Hollywood, he started making these connections and would help promote movies to the African American communities through barbershops and beauty salons. He just signed a big contract this past year with Amazon.

John: Interesting.

Michael: Because now all the stuff that’s streaming … His name’s Will Shelton. I said, “Will, just be who you are. I mean, there’s no other agency owner that I know that has owned a beauty shop or a barbershop or has the network that you have.” And so, he created this niche blog. It’s The Next Cut.

John: That’s a great-

Michael: And how cinema can reach the African American … And in the African American community, the barbershop or the beauty salon is used almost weekly, and it’s the place where a lot gather, and he knows it so well and he becomes this authority there.

YouTube and Podcasts Can Lead to Speaking Engagements

John: And he did that with YouTube as well, or podcasting?

Michael: He’s done the YouTube. He’s done the podcast interviews. It’s led to speaking engagements. He was in Atlanta this past year, doing a talk show as a special guest. And I mean, he’s just become…

John: Yeah, YouTube can lead to TV interviews. They see that you’re able to speak well.

Michael: As social media started to grow, it was predicted that television was going to die. It didn’t die, but what happened was social media now emulates TV.

John: Right.

Create Content to Become a Resource for Your Niche Audience

Michael: It doesn’t matter what platform, there’s so many different platforms that people can receive content from. Again, it goes back to the positioning and utilizing the various tools that gets you out there and positioned as being the expert. And the speaking opportunities, you know about events and doing events and all of those things that host that. Then you can capture those events and you can repurpose those events online, and you become a central resource for your niche audience.

John: But without a blog, it’s just like all these little satellites, you get a little Twitter here or you get a Facebook pitch.

Michael: Yeah. Yeah. You want to have a platform where all of that can reside. And I provide other things, like on my niche blog, I connect to all of the American Advertising Federation groups all across the country. So, there are other resources on my site that are relevant to my audience, and I do a lot of work on their behalf to become a central resource for them. And so, I think that’s important.

Reading fuels your writing. What associations is your target audience a part of? Who are the thought leaders? You need to be reading the thought leaders. Who are the major competitors in that niche? And you certainly want to know what they’re doing. I just had a workshop interview yesterday and we discussed, “All right, who’s your top five competitors? Let’s take a look at what they’re doing on social media, because you can see where their weaknesses are, where their strengths are, and how better to position yourself against them.” And a lot of them aren’t going to put together the kind of strategic reach that we are, in being that resource for your audience.

John: Yeah. We do that with SEO, with a tool like SEMRush, you can put in your website URL and then four competitors. And then it gives you the Venn diagram of how much share of voice, how many keywords are ranking for you versus your competitors. That’s the first thing I do when I talk to a prospect is … And they say, “What? I’m like this little speck and even my local competitors are way bigger than me.”

Use the Face of the Agency to Create a Direct, Personal Connection

Michael: And getting agency owners to be the face of the agency. Today, people want a direct connection with the owner, with the partners. They don’t want to talk to the new business guy.

John: Yeah.

Michael: And I’ve been that guy. They don’t want to talk to the new business guy. They want to talk to the owner of the brand and have a direct connection. And so, they need to be the face of the agency, but it needs to be a very comprehensive part that it’s business, but it’s also personal. And that they utilize their personal accounts to be found by their prospective clients and allow that connection.

John: Yeah. And hearing your voice and seeing you on video, so blogging is great, but Talk Marketing is you also bring in podcasting and video and put the SoundCloud or Libsyn podcast player, whatever podcast host you’re using, put that in the blog post, put a YouTube embed into a blog post where the YouTube video plays, and then have the transcript under it. And so, that blog acts as a magnet still, but for that content, you don’t have to write, you just talk, but it’s more personal too.

Michael: There’s a place for all of that.

John: Yeah, exactly.

Write Content, Enhance Content, Build Relationships

Michael: I think, the commonality among experts, if you’re going to be considered a true expert in your field, is to write. And a lot of people want to skip that process and just do a podcast. And I think it’s in combination that makes it so strong.

John: Yeah. Best case scenario, you’re writing too.

Michael: And that you’re utilizing all of the tools and not just one element here. There are people who write much better than I do, about the subject matter that I provide, that don’t do as well, because all they do is write.

John: Yeah.

Michael: They’re not promoting their book through social media. They don’t have maybe a blog platform. There’s a lot of things that they aren’t doing to enhance that content and to build relationships. And I think they’re missing the boat there.

John: Yeah. Well, those are great tips, Michael. It’s amazing to see how positioning and things like that, and writing, really haven’t changed. You’re going to need those things, but yeah, sure, now you get TikTok or whatever, but the fundamentals are still the same.

Michael: Yeah, they are. They are.

John: All right. Good. Well, great…

Michael: I’m still relevant.

John: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. No, that’s what I tell people about SEO is like, “Yeah, it’s changed, and Google changes like the wind, they do, but on the other side, we’re still writing blog content. We’re still podcasting and doing videos.” It’s probably going to go on and on and on for a while.

How to Boost Visibility on Pay-to-Play Social Media

Michael: Just one other element there is what I’ve seen the most dramatic change in social media it’s now pay-to-play.

John: Yeah. Big time.

Michael: To boost content and things like that.

John: Yeah. They couldn’t survive if it was all free

Michael: Instead of TV emulating more of social media. Social media, again, is emulating television, and it’s all about pay-to-play.

John: Yeah.

Michael: So, you got to do it.

John: I forget the stat. It’s something like, if you post, say, on Facebook, how many people that are connected to you and connected to those people actually see your content? Is it 5% or something? I mean, that’s crazy. People are like, “Oh wow, I’m going to just post on Facebook and so many people are going to see it.” I mean, first of all, you might have a small audience. Second of all, only a small handful of people see it.

Michael: Right. Well, I’ve got two…

John: Because they’re forcing you to pay-to-play, to some degree.

Michael: I’ve got two Twitter accounts, and we’ve got a combined audience of right at 100,000. And I can tell you, it’s still pay-to-play. If you want people to see your content, even with the communities that I’ve built online, and I always say community development comes before business development, and you’ve got to do that, but you still got to pay-to-play. But I’ll let it…

John: In Twitter, too?

Michael: Twitter too, yes.

John: Yeah, you use Twitter ads?

Michael: I do.

John: Or, boosts?

Michael: But what I’ll do, I’ll boost content that’s already showing viralability and that’s become popular, and so I’ll enhance it even further, utilizing some paid placement.

Speculations About Twitter Under Elon Musk

John: Yeah. And do you have any concerns or good things to say now that Elon Musk took over Twitter, is it going to change in a positive way?

Michael: Is think it’s a good thing, because I mean, to me, Twitter…

John: It was getting crazy.

Michael: Just could have sold the tools that we were using, like SocialOomph and Tweet Adder and things like that. They could have sold services.

John: They just stopped you from using them instead of just making their own version.

Michael: But they stopped you from using them. I mean, it just didn’t make any sense. It’s like, do you guys even…

John: Yeah. Maybe someone like Elon Musk, he’ll capitalize on that. “Hey, you guys want this. You’re using these secondary tools.”

Michael: And I would pay a fee to utilize certain tools that would help to build the audience. And I hope that he has people in there or gets people in there that realize how to do this thing and to make it more like a LinkedIn, and where it would work, because a good number of people are on Twitter for business reasons. And to help them reach their audience without having to be so broad, I think it’s a good thing.

John: Yeah. I’m curious to see where that heads. All right, Michael. Well, those were awesome ideas for today, and look forward to having you back again soon.

Michael: I’d love that.

John: Yeah.

Michael: Good to always see you and talk to you, John.

Thanks for Listening to Talk Marketing Made Easy

John: Yeah, great seeing you again, Michael. All right. Well, this is John with Talk Marketing Made Easy. Please rate, review, subscribe, and we’ll see you next time on the next episode.

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