In a world where everyone is trying to increase and improve their online presence, some insider know-how and a platform that does the hard work for you seems pretty appealing. Today’s Speaking of Wealth Show sees Jason Hartman speak to Demian Farnworth, Chief Writer of Copyblogger Media about web hosting, creating the best podcast possible and securing a keen, passionate audience.

 

 

 

 

 

Key Takeaways
02.11 – In such a full stage, how do you make sure people hear you?
05.06 – The answers you’ll get are only as good as the questions you can ask.
10.00 – Challenge what people think and everyone will come away with a wider, fuller knowledge.
11.30 – Rainmaker is a platform designed for those who want to expand their media presence – hassle-free.
18.49 – Getting a strong following takes time. Stick at it and figure out what works for you.
22.40 – Find a way to monetize any fame you’ve got and it’ll be worth the effort.
24.58 – Infographics – only worth doing when you’ve got money to invest in the right designer.
31.36 – Make your asset pillars work by showing how versatile they can be through different media.
33.35 – For more information, head to www.Copyblogger.com, or Demian’s personal website, www.TheCopyBot.com

 

Mentioned in this episode
www.Dribble.com
www.DeepDyve.com

 

Tweetables
The podcasting paradox: When everybody has a voice, nobody truly has a voice.
When conducting your interviews, don’t sit on the side-lines. Be controversial, take risks.
The days of the broad, wide media are largely over. People want passion.

 

 

Transcript

Introduction:
This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company. For more information and links to all our great podcasts, visit www.HartmanMedia.com
Speakers, publishers, consultants, coaches and info-marketers, unite. The Speaking of Wealth Show is your roadmap to success and significance. Learn the latest tools, technologies and tactics to get more bookings, sell more products and attract more clients. If you’re looking to increase your direct response sales, create a big-time personal brand and become the go-to guru, the Speaking of Wealth Show is for you. Here’s your host, Jason Hartman.

Jason Hartman:
Hey, it’s my pleasure to welcome Demien Farnworth to the show. He is the Chief Copywriter for Copyblogger Media and we’re going to talk about his recent article: How to Stand Out in a World of Boring Podcasts, which I think it very timely, and some cool technology that can really help you with your content marketing. Demien, welcome, how are you?

Demian Farnworth:
I’m doing well, thank you so much for having me.

Jason:
Good, give our listeners a sense of geography; tell us where you’re located.

Demien:
Just outside of east Saint Louis on the Illinois side, so there’s a big river called the Mississippi that separates me from Saint Louis, and I’m about 5.5 hours south of Chicago. It’s farm country.

Jason:
Cool, good stuff. I think I know how to spell that river; it’s Mississippi! I heard a lot of it in elementary school. Hey, what really was interesting to me is that article you wrote on podcasting, and I’ve got to criticize my industry here, the podcasting industry, one of the industries I’m heavily engaged in. I am a little concerned that the podcast consumer could get turned off. The great thing about podcasting is it’s democratized the media, or at least, the spoken and video media, the audio and video media, so anyone has access. But part of the problem is that anyone has access. It’s good and bad. How does one stand out and what’s the problem with boredom?

Demien:
That’s a great question. I actually just wrote about this this past Monday – you talk about this democratization. When everybody has a voice, nobody really has a voice, so you have to do things in order to get heard. Of course, that starts out with knowing what is already out there. I tell everybody who I talk to, whether they’re trying to break into any field – the nice thing about attention is it’s not a fixed resource. The pie is infinite and you can have a piece of it. Just because Seth Godin has 400 million eyeballs, it doesn’t mean you can’t have some of those eyeballs too!

What you have to do is you have to understand who your audience is, or who you want your audience to be, what your competition is, and then you have to define what you can bring to that which would differentiate yourself from it. A lot of it could be your voice – it’s how you come across, it’s your personality, it’s your experience, how you view things, how you say things. Sometimes it could be your education, it could be who you know, it could be what you can know. I think it starts out with knowing who your audience it, who your competition is and knowing what you can provide within that framework to be different.
I was speaking to Wade Harman; he has a show and he was kind of lamenting this saying ‘I sound boring, I think I sound like everybody else’. I just said ‘Relax, be yourself, carve out your own niche. Figure out what you want to do and what you can provide.’ The thing is too, and you probably know this: who you are and what you do and what you provide will evolve. You say ‘Well, this is not working so I need to go this way’, or ‘This is sounding way too much like.. so I need to go this way’. You’ve got to be the sort of person who wants to keep pushing.

That’s my fear – going stale or always sounding routine. I’m always being risky and trying things that are outside of my comfort zone so I can grow and so I can expand and evolve. I can always constantly stay one step ahead of my competition. It is tough to not fall into the routine and not just become another talking voice.

Jason:
It definitely is. What do you think of the vein of podcast out there that has the pre-fab questions, the scripted questions? Personally, and a friend of mine is like the promoter of this, but I don’t like it. What are your thoughts?

Demien:
I think that what you need to do, and again, it comes back to knowing what’s been done and what’s out there. This is hard because there’s a lot of content. Like you said, everybody is doing a podcast, everybody is creating content. Mark Schaefer called this ‘content shock’ when we get to this point where there’s so much, the consumer’s just going to go into a catatonic state. I’d argue that we’ve always been there and we always will be there because we’ll have more information than we can possibly consume. The goal, though, is to find out what can I ask, how can I approach somebody with something that’s completely different and has not already been said. Kudos to people like Seth Godin who does these interviews a lot, and people that have that, but they do sort of get asked the same questions over and over again.

I know that I’ve done quite a few interviews too, and I get the same questions and it comes to a point where I kind of feel like I’m rehearsing myself each time – it’s just a rehearsal, it’s a quiz question that I don’t need to prepare because I’ve done it already, and so I answer that question. It’s those ones where they come out of left field, and that’s what I think – I think that a lot of people look for that. They want to be asked those questions that people aren’t normally asking.

One thing that we do at Copyblogger, is we call this the Writer Files. The Writer Files is a profile of writers and we ask the typical writing questions, but we then just sort of quickly take this left turn and ask bizarre questions that you wouldn’t typically answer. We get a lot of good responses from the people who contribute to that saying ‘Thank you, this was one of the funnest interviews we’ve done because of the things that you pulled out and the things that I had to think about.’ You’re doing yourself a favor if you do your work and try to find some way to distinguish, to do something different, to ask different questions. At the same time, you want to provide value for your audience.

Jason:
So Demien, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get started? What’s your biggest failure? Here we go.. No, I know, and listen, no criticism to my friend who promotes that idea because he’s awesome, and I think that concept of the scripted questions does help people get started. And those people might turn into awesome podcasters. Everybody starts somewhere. I just don’t want to see every show do that because it’s just a little too much.

I think one of the things is we’ve got to remember that we’re doing the show for the listeners. We’re not doing it for ourselves, we’re not doing it for the advertisers, we’re doing it for the audience. The audience is the customer. If you are true to that, really in your heart of hearts, then I think your show’s just going to come off better, it’s going to be better. One of the things that means to me is stop being buddy buddy with all your guests. Ask your guests some frickin’ hard questions!
Look at all the great journalists and reporters of days gone past. They would ask tough questions and pull it out of the guest. They wouldn’t just say ‘Oh yeah, it was good seeing you at the PodMove Conference and it was good hanging out with you’. We’ve got to think of ourselves as reporters, journalists. I think that’s really where the juice is in this. Be willing to be controversial and take risks.
Can you give any examples of getting out of your comfort zone? You mentioned that a couple of minutes ago. You know, risks that you took.

Demian:
Personal examples?

Jason:
Well, relating to podcasting.

Demien:
Okay, well I would say that probably with regards to podcasting, we did sort of a hot-seat with our CEO, Jared Morris and I – he’s the host, I’m the co-host of our podcast. We put our CEO on the hot-seat and basically kind of drilled him some questions.

Jason:
Did he fire anybody?

Demien:
[Laughs] No, it was funny though because we did a few rehearsal ones of these and we decided to do it for just 16 minutes. We decided not to go further than that and we were going to shut them off and cut them off when they’re talking and things like that. We set up all these ground rules, but it ended up being like a 46 minute podcast because we weren’t that brave with it!

We asked some of those questions. He had some pretty firm beliefs about things like Google+ a while back, and lots of things have changed with Google+ and I was like ‘So where do you stand with that? How can you still firm that? Why would you still believe that or commit to that if this is what Google is doing?’ That was, I would say, a wee bit risky, but Jared and I both felt that we’d like to still pursue this idea of doing that. It’s about getting people on air and asking them the questions that people aren’t typically asking them. It’s about getting them a little hot under the collar.

Jason:
That’s a good idea. We do that in a couple of different Mastermind groups I’m involved in; we do hot-seats. Thank you, by the way, because you just made me think of that for my show. I never do hot-seats on my show, so we should do that! Someone should put me on the hot-seat and I should put some guests on the hot-seat; that’s a good show format idea. Thanks!

Demien:
I think too – like you said, challenging the status quo is what happens on great shows too where you have the host, but then he brings on one person supporting one idea and then another person supporting the antithesis of that idea. It’s then having that show and saying ‘Okay, well here’s where we are, this is what you believe’ and then you have the two different challenging views. Hopefully, people can walk away from something like that fuller and with more knowledge.

Jason:
Absolutely. Good stuff. Well, let’s move on from podcasting, unless you have any more comments – throw them in! I want to talk to you about some of the technology that you’ve created that can help content marketers. You’ve got some really cool stuff, I’ve got to say. It looks good.

Demien:
Thank you. One of the things that we’re most proud of and that we’ve been sort of focusing on in the last years is what we call the Rainmaker Platform. The Rainmaker Platform is the culmination of years of what Copyblogger Media has been striving to do since Brian Clark started the company, which was nothing more than a blog that he published two times a week. He’s since turned it into a $10 million a year software company, but from the very beginning, he wanted to create tools that would make his job easier. Of course, that would naturally make the job of the people that he attracted easier too. He created lots of education, but he also created a tool called Scribe which helped your SEO copywriting, there was Premise, which was a landing page and membership generator. All of these tools that he created – he eventually added on hosting through the Synthesis platform and merged it into one product called Rainmaker.

It’s a WordPress-specific, so if you use WordPress, it’s perfect for you. It’s like we say – it’s like everything that you love about WordPress, without the things that you hate. WordPress is a love-hate sort of relationship, but it’s a great tool for someone like me, and I’m our ideal customer because I’m a writer and I like to write. I know a little bit of HTML code, but I’m not good at it by any stretch of the imagination and I don’t really want to be good at it. All I want is to be able to go in there and to create something. In the past, you would have your hosting in one place, then you’d go grab a third party plug-in to create your membership sites, and then another third-party plug-in to do your SEO analysis. All of these tools are in one, and it’s basically that if you want to create a landing page or a membership site, it’s almost as easy as just the push of a button. Then you have it and it’s created there for you. You can have content, private content, content behind a password-protected wall, you can sell digital products from it, and this is all on one product. You can even host podcasting files and audio storage on it, so it’s really meant for the online media publisher who’s a business, who wants to make a living off of his media assets.

Jason:
Isn’t any WordPress site a media asset? That’s what every website does, right? What are the real distinctions as you drill down under this?

Demian:
As far as Rainmaker platform?

Jason:
Yeah. Or talk about the different functionalities, if you would.

Demian:
For example, the biggest part about it from a business standpoint is the ability to create membership sites. A membership site is like the one we have which is called Authority with Copyblogger Media and it’s where we charge – there’s a fee to charge to get behind this wall to go and access all kinds of webinars, all kinds of audio teaching, a ton of ebooks and training courses; there’s a form in there where people can have a community. All this can be created through Rainmaker platform with a push of a button. Or if you have a digital product, say you took a series of your podcasts, you lumped them all together as, say, a training course, and then you were going to sell that – well you could create the landing page and the e-commerce portion of that to actually sell them. We talk about media assets. A media asset is like your blog; that’s the blog that you create, the podcast that you create, those pieces that are out there that people can consume without having to exchange cash for.

What Rainmaker does is not only are you blogging, but, like I said, you also have the tools that you need to create those landing pages, the membership sites, you have the SEO copywriting portions behind it. It’s all in one piece. Otherwise, you’d have to go out and piecemeal all of those pieces together and it would be an itemized list of third parties and product that you would have to buy. This is all in-house, underneath that one thing.

It’s pure web hosting, it’s website creation, it’s landing page creation, it’s podcast hosting and it also has the response of an HTML compatible theme, it’s got the surging optimization software, the A/B testing software, the shopping cart software, affiliate software – so if you wanted to create an affiliate program, there’s the membership site software and the form site software all in one place.
For example – and this is sort of the beauty of it – our synthesis like hosting alone; the professional plan is $97/month. All this for the Rainmaker platform, at the time being, is $95/month. It’s at an early bird rate at this moment, so just the hosting alone would cost you more money.

Jason:
Demian, a lot of people have multiple websites, of course. Does it work with multiple websites or do you pay that price for each site?

Demian:
That’s a good question.

Jason:
See, folks? You’ve got to stump the guest, that’s how to make the podcast interesting!

Demian:
I know that your first website is included in the initial price, and each additional site is $75/month or $750/year.

Jason:
Okay, cool. The instant thing that everyone probably thinks is – there are different tools out there, of course, for all of these different functionalities that the Rainmaker Platform offers. The instant thing you have to be thinking is when you combine all this stuff under one roof, is it just a mediocre version of each thing, rather than going to the specialist platform where all they do is affiliate sites, or all they do is A/B testing platforms?

Demian:
That’s a great question and a legitimate concern. I don’t have great experience in knowing all that, but this is what I do know – we’ve brought in a lot of developers who have worked in those special areas to focus on these particular portions of it so you have the best of those particular products underneath the one roof.

Jason:
Good. Okay, so what else do you want people to know about content marketing in general? Just any great tips that you have, and if you can help execute on that with Rainmaker, talk about that too.

Demian:
The big thing about Rainmaker, to finish with this, is that it’s the easy thing. It’s easy. It’s meant for, like I said, the person like me who doesn’t have the time or the desire to do the coding, but just wants to be able to build that business and have the professional products in place.

As far as content marketing goes, you create that media asset – the blog, the content that’s worth things – like Brian talks about all the time. He’s been offered 7 figures for Copyblogger, the name and the content alone, not including the product line or anything like that. That’s how valuable that content is because of the traffic that comes to it. Don’t be discouraged with the number of people that we talked about earlier – this is a crowded market. Everybody starts at the bottom and everybody starts in just as crowded a market; it’s the person who is persistent and keeps trying and keeps tweaking and keeps experimenting and pushing and never gives up. It probably took me 6 or 7 years to get my stride and probably another 5 years before I broke through and made any kind of mark on the market and got any kind of attention that was worthwhile.

Some people have severely reduced that time and made it a lot faster, but it’s one of my favorite sayings – “It took him 20 years to be an overnight sensation”. It’s hard work and it takes a healthy amount of obsession and persistence and just striving and experimenting. I think that’s the part that I try to emphasize is that you can’t rest upon what’s already been done. You need to figure out something that hasn’t been done and how to do that. Take some risks. You should be afraid to push the ‘Publish’ button.
Jason:

That’s good. I had James on the show before, and I had his wife on too – they’re good. It’s interesting what you say. One of the big mistakes that I think infomarketers, and maybe especially podcasters, engage in, unfortunately, is that they focus on numbers. As you were talking about how it takes persistence and so forth, I think there’s this overly big focus on numbers – are you in New and Noteworthy? What’s your ranking on iTunes? etc. This is when we’re talking about podcasting, obviously, but it could be anything, it could be any field, it doesn’t matter.

In the world of today, we live in the world of the long-tail. Chris Anderson was so good at pointing that out and explaining that concept to us, and all you really need is a small tribe of passionate people that are interested in whatever you have to say. You don’t need to get 100,000 downloads a month, or 500,000 for that matter. Just going deep into a group is more powerful, I think, that going broad and wide. The days of the broad, wide media are largely over. The Today’s Show’s ratings are in the tank, but that used to be the big deal, right? It used to be the nightly news on CBS or ABC. Now it’s all this really fragmented, segmented media where you go deep into a certain group that wants to know about a certain thing and BOOM! You are their leader. ‘Take me to your leader!’ I think that’s a really important thing for infomarketers to understand. Do you agree?

Demian:
Oh yeah, I thoroughly agree. ‘Fame flows to the few’ and it’s basically saying that because of the democratization, we all tend to migrate to the same person. It’s kind of about what’s the most popular song, and so we then kind of all migrate towards that. Our chances of you and I being the next Seth Godin, or any of us really, are slim to none but like you said, the alternative is not as bad as you might think. It’s not like being in second place. We all really want to make a living at doing what we love to do.

There was an article on the 13th called ‘Do you know you can make a living from 1,000 true fans?’ Ben Thompson is proof of that. Where is he out of?

Jason:
I do not know him, so don’t ask me!

Demian:
He’s not out in this country, but he basically has like a membership. He just started a membership where he talks technology and he gives analysts advice on technology. His initial goal was to get 500 people to pay $10/month or $100/year for access to his daily update. He quickly exceeded that, and he’s actually at that 1000+ members mark. He’s easily making a living, doing what he’s doing and researching what he loves to research. He’s bringing in close to $100,000 from that, and he’s only got 1000 people. That’s good enough for him.

Jason:
That is exactly the point. That’s all you need – 1000 people. If you have 1000 downloads a month, you can make a great living with that. Stop obsessing over numbers; you’re driving yourself crazy, podcasters! It’s unhealthy.

Demian:
Yeah, we have this thing inside our company where we talk about how fame will only get you so far, but how can you monetize that fame? That’s what’s really important. Because attention is not a fixed resource, it can come really cheap but you could have a flash in a pan success today, be seen by 1 million people and be completely in the dark the next day. People could have completely forgotten. The question is were you able to monetize that traffic? That’s the important part.

Jason:
Yeah, no question about it. Okay, so any tech tips? Oh, you know what I want to ask you about? Infographics. Infographics are pretty cool, but they’re pretty hard to make. There are some different websites and so forth out there that I’ve seen, and about a year and a half ago, I really wanted to get in the world of churning out infographics but never quite got there myself. What are your thoughts on infographics?

Demian:
I think infographics are great tools. There’s a lot of data out there that suggests that infographics get attention; because they’re visual, they get seen a lot better, they’re more likely to be consumed than just straight text. Like you said, they can be done badly. This is one of those things where until the tools get way better, I would not recommend going to one of these infographic generators and doing it yourself that way. There’s a lot of value in having a designer actually create something from scratch that’s in the way you envisioned it.

Each infographic that we do inside Copyblogger – if I’m in charge of it, I give the designer a detailed list and I would say ‘Excuse me, because I’m about to become anal’ and I give them a detailed list of what I want out of a graphic. It’s sort of like being an art director and saying ‘Hey, this is what I want out of it’, and then letting them take that. It’s beautiful when the designer gets it and they just execute it on your plan, when you’re like ‘Oh my gosh, that’s unbelievable’. You can’t get that from any of those generators, so I think it’s worth paying a good graphic designer the money to have that. Again, it’s an asset that you’re going to have that’s going to be the hub out of which drives a lot of traffic. You want to do it well, and that’s something that you want to share and get known and seen. You want it to be good because a bad infographic will damage your reputation versus just being neutral.

Jason:
The great thing about infographics, though, is obviously the virality of them. They really speak to the short attention-span, info-hungry world in which we live, and so there’s a lot of good benefits to them. Any sources or design ideas for infographics, or ways to streamline the process? I don’t know, the places to get the data to use on your infographic if you can’t use one of those sites?

Demian:
As far as the data to use, I’m just used to doing it inside a company. We have three in-house designers and so I just know to go to those, but you can go to places like Dribble, which is a graphic design platform where artists share their work. You can flip through there and find an artist that you like and you could follow up on them. 99U has a great illustrator who does a lot of their original artwork and I have put a note to the side to follow up with him to work on a side project.

Jason:
Who was that again?

Demian:
99U.

Jason:
99U, not 99 Designs?

Demian:
No, 99U. It’s owned by Behance, which is owned by Adobe. Behance is another place too, to look for designers.

Jason:
Can you spell that?

Demian:
Behance. I may be pronouncing it wrong, I know there’s a little mark above one of the letters. I’m not very good at pronunciation, I just write.

Jason:
It’s okay.

Demian:
Yeah, if you look at some of those, find an illustrator or graphic designer that you like and just follow up with them. Another thing too, as far as finding the sources, of course, Google is up there. There’s a place called DeepDyve, which is an academic portal for all these research papers that are out there that you can’t have access to unless you pay them to have access to it.

Jason:
Is that www.DeepDyve.com?

Demian:
Yeah. You pay a monthly fee, I think it’s $40 per person, but it gives you access. You can go there and you can do research. Say you’re doing a project on LinkedIn or something like that, or a podcast and say you want to do an infographic on podcasting, you can go on there and you just pull up all these papers on podcasting and pull out the resources, pull out the data that you need for that in order to build it. Those are some resources that you can use in order to build that out.

The other thing too and what we do in-house a lot of times with infographics is we will pull together 6-7 articles that we’ve done. For example, there was one of our best and most famous infographics, which is called “Fifteen Grammar Goofs”. We took two or three different posts that we’d done about grammar goofs and just put them all into one infographic. It’s unbelievable the amount of shares – it’s goofy the amount of shares it has on Pinterest right now.

Jason:
I think I’ve seen that one, or I’ve seen one like it, at least. It is so disgusting the way people are butchering the English language. I don’t think people really know the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ anymore. Maybe the Oxford dictionary needs to be updated because the population’s so fricking dumb?! OKay, not that I have an opinion about that..

Demian:
Yeah, there’s over 170,000 shares on Pinterest right now for that ‘Fifteen Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly’. That’s what we’ve done with the infographics. Take another very popular infographic we did called ‘The 11 Essential Ingredients Every Blog Post Needs’ – each one points to a separate blog post, but we summarized in each piece. You don’t necessarily need original research to do an infographic each time – it can be what we call ‘uncited’, like an asset pillar in a sense that that infographic becomes kind of the hub to a lot of your other content.

Jason:
That’s an interesting word you just used, and I know we’ve got to wrap up, but what’s an asset pillar?

Demian:
The way we talk about an asset pillar is just a piece of content that you have that draws a lot of attention to it, like this “Fifteen Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly” would be a great example of an asset pillar because it brings traffic into that site, but then it is pointing out to different pieces. A lot of the time, we’ll take the infographic from there – this is what we did with “The 11 Essential Ingredients of a Blog Post”. We created the infographic and then from there, we did a podcast with each of those essential ingredients. We had an article supporting each one of those ingredients, we then had a podcast that sort of expanded on each one of those ingredients and then at the hub of all that, at the pillar of all that, we had this infographic which brought people to it. It was a piece which then served to map out for where we wanted to go next – other directions and other media.

That’s a thing too about content marketing that people don’t get – you don’t have to re-invent the wheel every time. If you have a great piece of content that’s working, then find other ways to get it into other media formats like podcasting, like infographics, on the visual side of things maybe do a video, maybe do a Google+ hangout, you can do a white book on it. There are so many avenues.

Jason:
What’s a white book versus. white paper?

Demian:
I’m sorry, white paper. I was thinking ‘ebook’ and ‘white paper’.

Jason:
Well, you merged them. OKay.

Demian:
An ebook, or white paper, which I kind of feel are the same thing. You can take that asset pillar and that core content that you have created, and then radiate it out into different formats like I just mentioned.

Jason:
Cool. Good stuff. Give out your website, and if you want to give a deep link too, feel free to do that.

Demian:
Sure. The company website is www.Copyblogger.com. I think if you do it as /DemianFarnworth, you can find all the articles that I’ve written. Otherwise, just go to the site and search my name and you can find it. On there, when you hit that site www.Copyblogger.com, you’ll be able to explore the Synthesis program and if you’re interested in Rainmaker, you can follow that and explore more of that information too. Or you can come to my personal website, which is www.TheCopyBot.com. That’s my personal and professional website.

Jason:
Good stuff. Demian Farnworth, thank you for joining us.

Demian:
Thank you so much for having me, it was great to be here.

Outro
This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company, all rights reserved. For distribution or publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.HartmanMedia.com, or email [email protected]
Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate tax, legal, real estate or business professional for individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own, and the host is acting on behalf of Platinum Properties Investor Network Inc. exclusively.