As YouTube creators, we're always looking for new forms of content marketing to help promote our channels. And in this episode, we look at whether a blog can help grow your channel and how to get started if that's something you're interested in pursuing.
These are the perfect topics for my guest, Amanda Hand, a content marketing expert working with Regex SEO - a Houston-based SEO company specializing in developing custom digital marketing strategies.
The episode covers the connection between blogging and business strategy, the process for developing successful content (including the right way of leveraging AI tools), how to promote your blog content, and how to build a lasting relationship with your audience. I also conclude with a few thoughts about selecting your "lane" as a content creator, from the strategic alignment perspective within your content business.
About My Guest
Amanda Hand is an accomplished Content Strategist specializing in Digital Marketing and SEO across diverse industries, including Travel Insurance, HVAC, Architecture, and Home Services. Her expertise is in creating high-performing content that drives business growth, managing international teams, and converting audiences through compelling ad copy and long-form content.
Beyond her corporate role, Amanda is passionate about helping individuals unlock their potential in digital marketing. With a unique blend of practical experience, leadership skills, and mentorship, she's a must-listen voice for anyone interested in the dynamic field of content strategy and SEO. You can find the company is working with now at: https://www.regexseo.com/
Thanks for listening! Have a comment or question about a topic or episode? I'd love to hear that. Feel free to connect with me via Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Also, check out the store link on my website for resources and merch for content creators.
[00:00:00] Tim: Over the course of the last summer, I became really excited about the prospects for using blogging as a vehicle for growing my YouTube channel. As more and more new AI tools were coming onto the market, I was starting to think about just how easier it could be to turn a YouTube video into a blog post or vice versa.
[00:00:17] And then, as someone who had practiced the craft of writing for 30 years, I would have the ability to be super-efficient in editing that regenerated AI text into something that would sound a lot like it was written in my own voice. This regenerated content could then be distributed on my podcast website through platforms such as Medium, or on social media sites such as Instagram and the X app.
[00:00:41] On sites like Medium, you can even embed your YouTube video right into your blog post to get extra views. Not only that, blog posts offer the opportunity to embed affiliate links, which would then take people over to your digital products or other offers. It was like the perfect setup for organic content marketing.
[00:00:58] And just right then, I had the opportunity to speak with Amanda Hand, who is an expert in content marketing, and my guest for today's episode. We talked about the whole process of how to get started with blogging, including the right way to use artificial intelligence, the process for developing successful content, how to promote your content, and building a relationship with your audience.
[00:01:20] I think there's a lot there that will be helpful not just for bloggers and YouTubers, but for content creators of all types. I believe this is a strategy that has a lot of potential, but there are a couple of important caveats that come with it that I want to share with you at the end. So stick around for that, and let's get into it.
[00:01:35] Hi Amanda, welcome to the show.
[00:01:41] Amanda: Hi, thank you for having me.
[00:01:42] Tim: Yeah, thanks so much for joining. I know a lot of content creators, if they have a website, they often attach a blog to it. But it's one thing to start uploading blog posts, and it's another thing to create a successful blog.
[00:01:57] So as a content marketing expert and content creator, I'm really interested in gaining some of your insights.
[00:02:03] Amanda: Yeah, absolutely. I'm excited to talk about them. I think that the most important part of getting started when you're a new blogger is really digging deep into what you love to talk about the most and what you're an expert at. And then from there, think about what do people want to know or how can I add value to people's lives on this topic? And that's where everything begins. That's, that's where you've got to start, I think, to drive any success to a blog.
[00:02:37] Tim: Yeah, that kind of leads into my first question, which is, is about ideas and you know, there's, there's so many artificial intelligence tools and other things that have come out recently that help generate ideas. I used to think when I started that the challenge would be, like, how would I keep coming up with ideas for content? In some ways it's gotten easier because of these tools, but it's also challenging because you need to think about, well, which ideas am I going to pursue? And so, how do you recommend people think about that in terms of you know, they've got this whole list of ideas around their niche, or around what they're interested in, which are the ones that we should produce, given limited time and knowing you can't pursue all of them.
[00:03:26] Amanda: That's a really good question. I think that it is all going to come back to who your audience is and what it is that they need. And you have to really be thinking about, okay, this is my audience. These people are coming to my blog, or to me, for something that's going to add value.
[00:03:44] What topics do I need to be discussing and what value does my perspective add? And if you're, you know, talking about something that's been discussed tens of thousands of times by other bloggers, you really have to be able to think, okay, should I be talking about this still? And if the answer is yes, or I really feel like I need to be talking about this, how can I do so in a way that's going to help pivot from what's already out there so that there's some uniqueness to it? But I think it really is always going to come down to the user. What's good for them?
[00:04:22] And I think that AI is great at helping assist you in coming up with ideas, right. But you are always going to have to self-edit those ideas. You're always going to have to go a little bit deeper than the AI does to make sure that you are really adding the value to the readership. Because if somebody is asking the AI for topic ideas around your niche, chances are that is being spit out to somebody else and you've really got to be able to make it your own to differentiate yourself.
[00:04:51] Tim: For sure. And maybe that's one of the reasons we see like a lot of commonality around topics you know, may be partly a function of all these keyword research tools and AI, and also just because there is kind of a list of standard topics.
[00:05:07] But I think you're right. It's about how, how do you approach it? What's your unique experience in dealing with that challenge? Or do you have a solution that's a little different than everybody else's? That, that can help, as you say, differentiate yourself. So, having come to the ideas and, and you've, maybe we've narrowed it down a bit kind of based on what our experience is and what the audience is looking for, what are some of the other key things that we can do to turn that nugget of an idea and do a successful piece of content?
[00:05:38] Amanda: The biggest thing I think that a lot of content writers overlook is the opportunity for focus group-type marketing. Ask your audience what they want. Really, really talk to them and don't be afraid to get detailed with them.
[00:05:54] Or if let's say it's not reasonable for you and maybe you don't have a really big email list yet. You're just getting started. You, you know, your list is really, really small. Ask people who are also interested in this topic. What's some things about this? What are some confusing things or some things that they're not totally sure of or maybe haven't thought about? Ask them what those are and then create content that is for that user.
[00:06:22] I think that that's really helped, especially in places like the travel industry, which is where I've spent most of my time. Because thousands of destination bloggers talk about the Bahamas, but then you go deeper into that niche and you realize that there's even like sub-niches of that niche where people are asking questions or talking about things like shark diving and shark conservation. And, you can really get into those types of details and start to ask readers and people who are interested in shark conservation and want to go to the Bahamas, what are some things that they've always wanted to know? And how can you bring that to the context so that they're interested in it, but they're also finding it helpful.
[00:07:03] Tim: Yeah, absolutely. You can keep narrowing down the topics to come to those points that are actually, like you say, differentiated from what's out there. And that's also a good search engine strategy, because those topics will be less competitive. And that's definitely a challenge I've run into, in YouTube, in some cases where you try to do a very general topic. This may be important for your audience, but it's so competitive, you just can't get a lot of views on your video because, you know, there, there's thousands of other videos out there on that very same topic.
[00:07:37] Amanda: Yeah, yeah. And I think that that's where building that email list comes in too. Because I know maybe 10 different people are talking about the same thing, but they're not using the same tone of voice. They're not writing from the same lived experience. And the person who I'm going to read is the person who most aligns with what my inner voice sounds like or what, you know, I enjoy reading that I find entertaining and that makes me smile or makes me laugh.
[00:08:02] So I think sometimes, these more general topics, you do want to talk about them because you have these niche pieces that you're covering, but it's really important to make sure to talk about it at a high level from your perspective so that you're posturing yourself as an expert.
[00:08:15] For example, sending out to your email list and getting them to view this content is going to be a lot easier. It's going to start to get that viewership up and then you'll start to get traction in other places as a result. So, yeah.
[00:08:28] Tim: Yeah, definitely. I did a show earlier about creating a lead magnet to start building an email list. And I do think it's so important for creators. You have that channel of communication. And then you mentioned about, you know, other ways to try and understand what your audience is interested in. And one of the ways I heard that can be effective with that is also just looking at comments on not just your own content, other people's content, and really kind of mining those for additional insights and what opportunities there are to connect with a specific audience.
[00:09:03] Amanda: Yeah, I completely agree. I think that comments are a great place to do some mining. People Also Ask and Google is a great resource to help. You can go down the rabbit hole for hours within the surfs with those things. There's times where I'm like, wait, how did I get here?
[00:09:20] And it will come from the People Also Ask section at Google. Like, Oh my gosh, that's so funny. But that's another, that's another really great opportunity. And then you have tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs, and things like that that can help lead you to think of content pieces and topics that you can write all kind of related to the same thing.
[00:09:39] Tim: I think that's so important to try and cluster it around, you know, some kind of specific topic or niche, as you said. Although it is kind of, tempting, I think, for creators to go more wide. And what's your thought about that in terms of, like, how narrow or wide your niche should be? Because you know, in some ways there's an argument for a broad niche that would have potentially broad appeal. And then, on the other hand, though, sometimes you lose the clarity of what you're actually about. So how do you strike that balance?
[00:10:14] Amanda: I guess it's all about your goals. Really, at the end of the day, what are your goals? As a, as someone who has worked in content creation for mainly for profit, for businesses within both the travel space and home service industries, my goal is to always get the phones ringing, right? So that's the metric that I have to follow.
[00:10:36] But somebody who's a content creator that's, you know, looking to get brand partnerships and other kinds of things, your goals are going to look a little bit different. Right. So, if you're a lifestyle blogger, for example, you might need to cast a wider net, but I guess clarity is really going to come around how you tie everything together in that case. Making sure that you have consistent tone, consistent voice, that there's a personality that no one else is bringing to the table that's unique to you or as unique as it can get.
[00:11:05] Yeah, I believe that we're both. You know, we're both always one of a kind and also very similar to one another. So it's always that balance to strike as well. But, yeah. I think that if you're thinking about casting a really wide net because you're looking to get a diverse portfolio of brand partnerships, then you really need to think about how to make sure that your tone and your messaging is consistent. That when someone sees a video, they know who you are, even if they don't know your name, they recognize your face. Or if they're reading a blog, they can almost kind of tell that where this blog is coming from. That that's I guess my biggest suggestion for anyone who's looking to cast a wide net.
[00:11:48] Now, on the flip side. I'm a proponent of focusing on niche. Because, I keep going back to the travel space because I think it's always the most clear example. And I think for a lot of content creators, travel is very appealing.
[00:12:02] It's a very appealing industry to create content within, but for travel, time and time again, the travel advisors that I've worked with over the years that are the most successful provide really niche experiences. The content that they create around those experiences is tailored to those experiences, to helping spread awareness about what those experiences bring at those specific destinations.
[00:12:28] And it's, and, and having that niche trying to think of a successful, one successful travel advisor that really does a really good job of creating, a lot of content in the luxury travel space specifically focuses on telling stories wherever you go. So she's not sending people to the same destination over and over and over again, but the way that she's packaging her tours is based around storytelling and bringing that into its own niche opens up, you know, literary tours, historical tours. But all through the lens of a storyteller, where your itinerary is a part of your story. And people really love that. They love the opportunity to be their own content creator on vacation. You know, even though they've got to go back to a nine-to-five. So that niche is really kind of growing now because people are like, Oh my gosh, like, I love that this person is setting me up to tell my story as I'm traveling, to document it, and to kind of be a content creator, even though that's not what I do or how I typically travel. So big proponent of the niche in that way and I think that with writing, it should be just as focused
[00:13:39] Tim: Yeah, absolutely. And then do you think there is a step that people tend to rush over when they're creating content?
[00:13:48] Amanda: You hear it all the time, but like, you've got to be able to kill your babies. I think that not a lot of content creators are willing to strike down their own ideas. So the amount of content that I'll look at and I'll say, like, you did not self-edit that. And if you did, you're not being honest with yourself, and I'll send it back.
[00:14:03] So, for me, I think the one that I see the most is that people aren't willing to detach themselves from their original ideas early enough, and I think people do not self-edit harshly enough. I think they go quickly over that process, because it is really exciting to write and to create. And it's also really vulnerable. So I think when you do get into that flow, and you're really hyped, and you're like, yes, I'm so excited about this, I've been working on it for three weeks. It's going to be a great success. You're in the moment and you almost overlook the editing process, because it took you so long to get it where it is that you sometimes are like not self-editing as strictly as you should be, or as harshly as you should be.
[00:14:47] Tim: I know exactly what you mean. I think we've all had those sections where we think they're very clever, but you know, you show them to other people and it's like, well, it's such an inside joke I don't get it. Or, I don't see what that has to do with the rest of the blog. But cutting those can be hard because, like you say, you get personally attached to them.
[00:15:08] Amanda: Yeah. And I think that the biggest key is just self-awareness. What are the things that people tend to really value in you? And then what are, what are the things that sometimes people may be don't fully appreciate that you might have more appreciation for. Having self-awareness around that, and being able to see that in your content creation process, I think is really helpful.
[00:15:31] Tim: Yeah, that's a good point. Like being thinking about what, what resonates with the audience. What are you good at? And, and sure branch out occasionally, but understand that when you're branching out you're, you're experimenting and you can't get too attached to what the results of that are.
[00:15:48] Amanda: Yeah, 100%.
[00:15:51] Tim: So, let's say we've got our post done. We, we've written it out and tailored it to the audience. And then we hit publish and it's crickets at first, because it's a new blog site or you've got a relatively new social profile. What do we do next? How do we get people and traffic to our site?
[00:16:14] Amanda: So the first thing that I can suggest is just making sure that it's indexed. That is very technical, very basic, but a lot of people maybe don't know about it or, or overlook it. So start there you know, make sure that your technical SEO is good. So, you know, make sure that you know how to properly write the alt text for the images, make sure that your meta description and your title tags are good.
[00:16:41] Technical SEO out of the way. Okay, great. Now you really should have an email list at this point. If you're getting ready to write a blog, you should already be starting to collect emails. I think, honestly, you can start before you even publish your first blog. There's ways to do it. And then self promote, like, shamelessly, but also realistically self promote. No one wants you to, you know, jam content down their throat 24 hours a day, but sometimes people do need to be reminded that you did this and they say to themselves, I can't tell you how many times I've saved a podcast, or saved a blog, and have gone back to it days or weeks later to read it. Give people that opportunity.
[00:17:22] Make sure you're presenting it on the different social media platforms. Make sure you're emailing it. You know, there's great emails. I've seen some really clever ones from content creators where their email headline will say like in case you missed it or these are the blogs that I wrote in the last six months. Then it's just a little tile of all the different blogs that they can click on.
[00:17:41] So, you know, don't allow yourself to lose that steam. Keep going and self promoting, and then don't be afraid to repurpose what's already been in existence. As you start to increase readership on other areas, you know, lead people back to some of that original content.
[00:17:58] But, I would say definitely make sure your technical SEO is good, that it's indexed, self promote across social media, but more importantly, your email list is going to be your biggest one.
[00:18:10] Tim: Yeah, that's that's a great point. And it's something I have thought about a lot too, because you run into that question of, like, I want to send this article to my email list, but I've already published it out there, and maybe they've seen it, and so am I just inundating them with the same stuff?
[00:18:28] But I like that point you made about how you could say, in case you missed it, or there's probably ways you can integrate it into an email about something else, or about a related topic, or even if you have an ongoing newsletter where you're kind of sharing different kind of tidbits, you can put it in there so that it seems natural and it's kind of within the flow of what you normally share with people.
[00:18:49] And like you say, it's not overdoing the self-promotion, because those are some of the email lists I sometimes unsubscribe from, if it's just somebody kind of pummeling you with their sales message over and over again, or resharing content that you've already seen on their other channels. Then it kind of becomes a question of like, okay, why am I subscribed to this email list?
[00:19:11] Amanda: Yeah, I think there is like a fine balance to strike and you'll, you'll figure it out with data. If you notice you got a lot of unsubscribes when you changed one thing on your emails, and maybe that was not the right choice for you, and you can make some changes moving forward. But everything needs a little bit of time to gain traction.
[00:19:34] So if you're not getting traction within, I would say the first couple of months, just, you check your technical SEO, make sure that you've done some self promotion. Six months, 8 months, 12 months, that's where you start to say, yeah, did I actually write something worth writing? And if not, do I need to revisit this piece and edit it and change the perspective? Or do I let this go and move on to my next topic? Those are all the questions that again, the answers are going to be rooted in what your goals are. I know that if I'm writing about something highly technical and there's no traction for 8 to 12 months, I'm going to go back to that and I'm going to say, okay, I need to maybe decrease my use of technical language. Maybe I need to, you know, bring down, bring this down a little bit more. Maybe it's not for creative, tailored right for the right audience. So I'm talking about this as an expert at the expert level for other experts. And maybe what I really need to be doing is talking about it for, you know, the layman who wants to know more about this, who wants this knowledge and wants to be informed, but they're just not there yet. So those are the adjustments that I would make after, you know, all the technical SEO and the self-promotion is good.
[00:20:49] Tim: Yeah, yeah, definitely. And sometimes you can do like a cross-promotion. You can kind of keep the old article as it was, but write some sort of update and then say, like, if you want more details, you know, click this link and hopefully get, get the click through to the, to the other article for the people that are really interested in it.
[00:21:10] Amanda: Yeah, yeah. That's a great idea too. I actually didn't think I didn't think about that. But you're right. Like, there is that way to sort of cater to both audiences.
[00:21:18] I did forget to mention was not being afraid to use your resources. Like going out and signing up for, you know, Haro and other press forums. Release organizations where, you know, they might be looking for someone who is within your niche, or within the focus that you have, and you get yourself some quotes, right? Like if you're in lifestyle and they're asking questions about things that are related to lifestyle, that's a great opportunity for you to get your name somewhere. And now you've built a relationship with that journalist. And now you can start to say like, Hey, check out this article that I read, and then maybe this journalist will share it, and maybe start to get some traction just from that relationship.
[00:22:02] You know, I've had a lot of success in that in that area where I've built relationships with journalists and they've been more than willing to share content. And then it's ended up getting more traction. And that was at no cost, just because I've helped them out in the past and because that relationship was there.
[00:22:17] But then also looking for opportunities. Like, don't be too proud to find, you know, smaller local news sites that are looking for an interesting blog or topic to interleave into their content. There's a lot of those out there that can get you backlinks. And that's a great way to get more traffic. And a lot of people don't want to go to small locally owned news places to get their content shouted out, but it builds up over time and it works.
[00:22:44] Tim: Yeah, that's a great strategy. I have not tried those before. When you look at those sites for getting quoted by journalists, is there usually a cost associated with joining those? Or can you join those for free? Or is there like a certain Level you need to be at as a creator to get into them?
[00:23:02] Amanda: Nope, not at all. So a lot of them like Haro, H A R O is free. You can sign up and what you'll do is every day you'll get a list. And it's all of the journalists across several different industries asking questions. Like, I need somebody who can talk about this topic. Obviously, if you're answering, you want to make sure that you're talking about something that you are an expert in that's related to the business that you're trying to promote.
[00:23:26] But, you know, they really oftentimes need sources for their story and they want to talk to you and they want to know, like your insight, your perspective. It might not always get added to the story, but I would say I probably, when I was doing more on the content writing side, I think the data was like 45, 50 percent success if I pitched a journalist to be in a story. Like, I know how they want to be spoken to and I know that they want to make sure that they can fact-check it, they can back it up. They want their answers clear and direct. They don't want to waste their time. And sometimes they want a phone interview, and that's where you can see a lot of success in that.
[00:24:11] Tim: That's great, I'm going to have to check that out.
[00:24:13] And so when it comes to social media shares and we're trying to get traffic, we talk about doing call to actions to get the click. Do you have any tips for bloggers to help improve success of their click-through rate, because you see a lot of people sharing links on Twitter, Instagram to try and bring people to their podcast or their YouTube channel. What would you say is the key for success and, and actually getting the click though?
[00:24:41] Amanda: It's always going to be value add for me. How are you adding value? I think that the biggest mistake it's, it's really hard because it really also is, again, it goes back to your goals because I think that if your goal is to be like, I don't know, a YouTuber like Logan Paul, that's just kind of like silly. And, you know, I, I know he's got some really professional qualities too, but when he got started and was pretty silly. If your goal is to be recognized for just being a big personality and being silly, well then maybe clickbait headlines are for you.
[00:25:17] But if you're somebody who wants to be, you know, taken pretty seriously and, and there's no shade in that, by the way, the niche that you're in, there's no shade because people are consuming it.
[00:25:31] Tim: There's probably actually a bigger market than the serious experts.
[00:25:37] Amanda: Right, right. So it's kind of like if, you know, if you really want to be that big personality that gets a lot of attention for having that personality, then maybe those click baity social media promotions are really going to be for you.
[00:25:51] But if you're somebody who is really trying to be taken seriously within an industry, you know, your safety and risk mitigation expert, for example you know, it's, it's going to be a little bit different. You're going to really have to use data, you're going to have to use testing. And when I say use data, I mean, use data in your headlines and your subtitles to grab their attention.
[00:26:13] You know, like a new study reveals 98 percent of XYZ happens every time, things like that, that are actually correct. That when the person goes from the social media posts to the story that you're providing, it's cohesive. And, you know, they didn't feel like they were, they were led astray or they were led on.
[00:26:37] And I think making sure that you have quality images that fit the different frames and that your text is not getting cut off. So making sure to test everything before you publish it, which can take a little bit more time than you might want.
[00:26:49] But it's gotta think about how automatic social media is for everybody now. And when you're scrolling, think about what you're paying attention to and what you're not paying attention to. I know that if something does, does not look a certain way for me, I'm not really interested because I'm an aesthetic person. So for me, as a part of the audience that I'm in, if the post doesn't have a certain aesthetic to it, I'm not probably not I'm not clicking through. They couldn't pay attention to have the quality of their images on their social media posts. I'm not quite sure that this is worth reading for me. And, and you know, I'm sure that I lose out on a lot of really great content, but it's just the way that it is for my particular case.
[00:27:31] So make sure you're creating the posts so that it fits for the medium, whether it's TikTok, make sure that it follows within some sort of like principal, but then find your way to differentiate yourself from the feed. You know, make sure that as you're scrolling, there's some sort of attention-grabbing thing happening at the same time.
[00:27:52] Tim: I love that point because I think sometimes there's a disconnect with creators that will, like you say, they'll have more of an expertise type focus, but they think, oh, the way to get the click is to use all of those devices from, you know, the clickbait type headlines. Like, you won't believe this or, you know, you know mm-hmm. amazing facts about whatever. And for that type of audience, that type of clickbait headline might not resonate. So you really have to, as you, as you've been saying, like, think back to like, what's the audience and what will they value.
[00:28:26] Amanda: Yeah, where are their watering holes? Yeah. Right. Like where are they spending their time? What are they reading?
[00:28:33] Because if you understand where their watering holes are, like where they're sourcing their information, where they spend their time, then you can start to speak to them in that same tone. You can start to bring them the same thing that's with your own twist. Not the same thing, but you know what I mean, like something that's congruent with their nature.
[00:28:54] So it's kind of like just in like, it's something that would be on their radar, but they're like, Oh, that's interesting. Like, I want to read that. But that's only going to happen if you know what things normally grab your audience's attention and how you can tell your content to that.
[00:29:10] Tim: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:29:11] And so, let's say we start to do those things and we get to have people come to our site. What, what's the keys to really building a relationship with the audience now that, now that they're visiting?
[00:29:27] Amanda: Don't have an end, I would say. Make sure that you don't have any invasive pop ups for right slide in call-to-action or email subscriptions. The drop-off rate for when there is a pop up like sign up for emails or log in to this or anything like that, the drop off is huge slide in CTAs and slide in subscriptions are great. But be creative too, I think some of the best subscription sliding call to action I've seen is like, want more of this, right? And then it's just a space for their email. Like, don't not wasting a whole lot of time with too much text, like just asking, Hey, you want more? Yeah, I'll give you more. Let me know.
[00:30:08] And then you can see like, okay. I had like 30 people sign up on this blog post. What did I do in this particular blog post that grabbed that much attention, whereas on all of my others, I only had eight, right? What did I do different? That's how you can start to think. You can start to really pay attention to that data. Like, why was that blog post different? And it could be so many reasons that's going to take you another six to 12 months to figure out. This is a long haul. Content is a long game. Yeah. But it's just paying attention there.
[00:30:38] So I would say build a relationship by getting email subscriptions, giving them more of what they want, what they're interested in. So if you're seeing success in one niche, really put more of your energy into that niche versus trying to force something that isn't working on your site.
[00:30:52] And then I think, Ooh, I really do think it has so much to do with quality. What are you providing as a quality? Are you proud of it? Are you paying attention? You know, when people do unsubscribe, are you paying attention to where they're unsubscribing?
[00:31:10] You know, like we've seen email lists, Have 8% open rates and we've gone in and paid attention to, okay, why are these open rates so bad? And we start to realize like, okay, well let's maybe tone back how often we're sending, maybe let's look at these headlines.
[00:31:26] Okay, the ones with the lower open rates have this type of headline. It's just like an announcement of new blog posts. But these ones that asked a question and engaged the user, they have an open rate of 11%. Let's give them more of that. And then by the end of, you know, six to eight months, now all of a sudden we've got a 20 percent open rate average on our email list because we've paid attention to these really tiny minute details that just almost kind of like subtly or subconsciously let your, your audience know that you're paying attention. You're listening to them. You value their time because you should. Because if they're spending 10 minutes reading something that you wrote, that is 10 minutes that they could be spending doing anything else. So value that time and give them more of that. And I think that's how you'll build a relationship.
[00:32:19] Tim: Yeah, it, it really it comes down to trust, like you have to build that trust with your audience that they're going to get content about that thing that you're known for, or becoming known for, and then at a certain level of quality. I can think of a lot of Creators that I follow, that's why I follow them, right? It's because I know if I go to their posts or their, their blogs I'm gonna get value from it and it's gonna be relevant to me.
[00:32:47] Amanda: So, yeah. Trust online is like a really fickle thing. That's hard to figure out, right? You don't have somebody you're not in a room with someone saying like "What feedback can I have on the 15 minute presentation that I just gave you?" Are there anything that you wish I would have given you more of? Do you wish I would have talked about less about these things? You're not getting that. You don't have that opportunity.
[00:33:13] It's that crickets that you were kind of talking about, and that can be really hard to work with. So you really have to be willing to, to get nitty gritty with those little details of, okay, I sent out 10 emails in the last three months. Which ones have the highest open rate and study that and ask yourself why you think that is, why did your audience care about that email more than they cared about the others nine that you sent, and start to dissect your own work that way. And make sure to take breaks from doing that too. It can be thankless work to try to please an audience or a room over and over and over again, like don't lose yourself, pay attention to the data.
[00:33:54] Tim: Yeah, definitely. And I can see like how that momentum can build as going over my YouTube data recently and seeing, okay, people like the videos about photography and social media strategy. And then there's some videos out there that haven't performed as well, so by focusing more on the stuff that has done well, you kind of you can see how that can snowball over time with a blog or with your YouTube channel, podcast, any kind of content, right? But I, then, I do think sometimes about that balance between doing what's working and then continuing to experiment because, as a creator, you have an interest in, in doing different things. You also want to keep things fresh.
[00:34:39] I think sometimes about the danger of doing the same thing too much, even if it's working for a time, will there be that point where people get bored of it or it's like, okay, that's, that's another post about that and I've kind of heard that from that person.
[00:34:55] Do you think about a percentage, like in, in terms of like okay, we're going to do 80 percent of what works and with 20 percent of the content, we'll experiment. Like how do you approach it when, when you think about that?
[00:35:08] Amanda: It's a great question. I love 80, 20 rules. Honestly, I think that 80, 20 is how I live pretty much in general. So I do tend to like lean towards, you know, 80, you know, eat healthy 80 percent of the time, 20 percent of the time have fun, right? Like those kinds of things, you know, make sure that you're hitting 80 percent of your workouts and 20 percent of taking a break. Same thing with, yeah, with content creation, but you might have to divide it a little more based on, again, on your audience, your goals, your data.
[00:35:46] You know how much can you afford to experiment as a creator. How much time do you have to experiment? And just 20%. Is that enough? Is it enough to keep you interested in what you're doing? Is it enough to generate the traffic that you need to continue doing it? Because I think that, as we're having this conversation, I'm sitting here and I'm thinking about it from like, okay, I do actually remember, you know, being not in more of like a management space with content creation, but being an actual creator and almost kind of at times feeling dehumanized, because I was always trying to just give the people what they wanted. Right. Right.
[00:36:26] And sometimes that, that doesn't speak to you. So I think you have to find that balance of like, what do I need for myself to continue doing this and to continue enjoying doing this? What are my goals? How much can I afford to be doing this in terms of time, because time costs, you know. However, you want to think about it, right? Investment. So 80-20 would be where I would lean towards.
[00:36:50] But I think that it's always going to depend on your business goals and your data. So if you're looking to if, like, you have, let's say, 100. You have 100 subscribers on your email list or your blog, and they're consistent readers every month. These 100 people show up you know, maybe. 80 percent of them are here for the largest generator of traffic for your website, the largest general, the revenue generator.
[00:37:23] You want to make sure that they don't go anywhere. So make sure you're giving them, you know, all right, what do they want? What do they need to keep coming back? And then these other 20 people to our other 20 percent are not just reading that content, but they're also actually really into this experimental content that you're talking about. Yeah. Well, maybe you can find more people like that and you can start to change, shift your percentages. So now maybe when you've doubled to having 200 subscribers now, maybe, you know, 140 of them are only there for what was originally 80%. And now you've shifted your numbers and you're allowed to have more of that room for experimentation because you've diversified your audience, found people who, who want you to talk about a few different things because they're here for your tone of voice. They're here for the way that you write and how you talk about topics. So they're kind of giving you that room now to speak about it the way that you want to versus having to, to be within the strict constraints of what that initial 80 percent was giving you when you, when you were just getting traction.
[00:38:21] Tim: It comes down to that balance again, I guess, between like like you say, like the, the business goals and the creative side, and like, where, where do you land? And what what's the purpose of your content?
[00:38:33] And, so how do we measure our success then are, are there benchmarks that we can use to, to tell if we're if we're winning or not in the content game?
[00:38:44] Amanda: Man, that is so highly specific. Like, so it really varies by client for us. So, you know, we are, I'm at an agency now I'm overseeing, you know, content production for 20 different clients across different industries. And what success means to each of them is different. At the end of the day, I mean, you'd be amazed at how much content is written that is successful by like our metrics and is driving the results but the only reason why the clients really care about that content is because it got them the phone calls. Right. They don't really care what the content says. Right.
[00:39:24] They haven't read it themselves. To me, I'm like, if the client isn't reading it, that's a little bit of a failure to me. I want them to be reading it. Right. And to be proud of it. Mm-hmm. So yeah, the phone's ringing and it's having success in the numbers portion of it, and they love it for that reason. Right. But they didn't read it. They weren't interested in reading it. And I'm like, dang. Like, okay. Yeah.
[00:39:44] So, I have to go client by client and I focus on, okay, what is your main metric? What is your main goal? What do you want this to do for you as I'm content writing? Are you looking for brand awareness? You're trying to change the tone and the voice of your brand so that you can be perceived a different way?
[00:40:00] Tim: Right.
[00:40:00] Amanda: A lot of home services companies are, you know, older family owned companies who haven't really had to ever think about branding before, because they were, you know, the mom and pop from the block. But now with the internet, they have to have. They have to pivot a little bit and make some changes. So maybe a lot of their content focus and their rebranding is being done through that perspective.
[00:40:22] So what they want is they want people within their community to recognize their new brands. And that's what we focus the content on. Then we have clients who have never used a SEO company before. And they've been one of the biggest players in the game and their territory for a really long time. But now for some reason, this brand new company is coming in and kicking them off the first page at every turn. And they're, they've noticed like, Oh my God, we used to have 249 average phone calls per month. And now we're only getting 129. Like we have got to do something. And that's the goal and the metric for that client.
[00:41:01] Tim: Right.
[00:41:02] Amanda: It's, are the phones ringing? Are we getting that number back up through content creation? So it really is just going to be so highly specific. And then the goals that I set for myself are, you know, a little different even than the client goals. Like I want every piece of content that goes out, I I want to say, like, yeah, like our team did this. And to me, when a client isn't reading it, I'm like, all right, that's not a way to read it. That's not a way. Like, you know, I'm on a client call and I'm like, Hey, so we published this piece. We got you mentioned in Forbes last month. Did you read it? And they're like, no, I'm too busy. All right.
[00:41:37] Tim: Yeah.
[00:41:37] Amanda: Okay. I'm like, all right, I guess, you know, it's different with someone building a personal brand. Right. And they they're so closely tied to what they're producing. And then that that's their measure is, you know, how many people did it get out to? But sometimes it's to the detriment of the creator, because then they focus on like, okay, how many impressions did that last post get? And they're not even thinking enough about, okay, did I get email signups? Am I, you know, really building the brand? Or did I just, you know, follow a trend that happened to get seen a lot? But that's not, that's not really success in the larger sense, in terms of what their long term goals are.
[00:42:20] It can be, you know, not that this is turning into a content creator therapy session, but I will say that it can feel like thankless work because you're working for a silent audience and that is really challenging. And you have to, you really have to know who you are to be a content creator and you're going to do it well. You have to know who you are and you have to be proud of yourself separate from all of the content that you create, because if you rue all of your self-worth and your value in your viewership, your readership, your shares, your clout, it's going to be hard for you. Success is going to be hard for you.
[00:43:00] Especially you see it, especially in the travel industry, because the travel industry, where creators can just get really, really down on themselves over time because they're in such a saturated space where they feel like they're not getting the traction. And it takes a while for them to figure out what works for them. But you often see like the, the ego take a big hit and the confidence kind of just start to go down and, and they start to lose the reason why behind why they wanted to start doing this in the first place. And I hate seeing that. So make sure you're paying attention to that.
[00:43:31] I'm very numbers. Like, I'm very in the numbers right now, but it's really easy to think about that number. Right. And last month you had 180 people came to this blog post and this next blog post this month, only 151 people. And sure, it was only a 28 day month. And you know, I only promoted it in three out of five places so far, but I just felt like I should have this number and focus on this number. And it starts to detract you away from what your original goal was. It starts to take you out of you know, doing what you love for the right reasons of creating content for the right reasons. So you have to be careful.
[00:44:07] Did you watch the free diving documentary on Netflix?
[00:44:11] Tim: I haven't seen that.
[00:44:13] Amanda: Okay. So I'm a free diver. So I'm like, love, love, love the sport. I can kind of draw a parallel based on this. If you ever do get the opportunity to watch it, a lot of people in the freediving community get really focused on numbers because you are following a linear progression as you are diving. So if you know that yesterday you dove a hundred meters, which I never do, by the way, I'm not that type of freediver. It's like yesterday you dove a hundred meters, right? And then tomorrow you get so caught up on maybe 101 and a half, and then you put yourself at risk. Yeah. And because you're not actually stopping to think about you're safety divers. Can they hit 101 today or not thinking about, you know, can you, are you physically capable and prepared to doing this because you're still focused on the numbers, you're putting everything else aside. And I think content creators can fall into that same thing where you're so focused on the data and you're so focused on the numbers that you maybe forget about the audience a little bit.
[00:45:14] Yeah. You forget about the people and what's bringing you there. You're forgetting about your passions and reasons why you're invested in writing about these topics anyway. And once you start to lose those things and you start to only focus on the numbers. You know, you can really start to define success in ways that will affect you know, how well a post does, or an episode, or anything, right?
[00:45:41] Tim: You can't control it. And so you can't put too much stock into, to what happens. And, and that's a great point about like thinking back about, well, you know, what's your why? And then I try to think sometimes too about like, you're saying, was I proud of the piece? Like, regardless of how it did, was I happy with what I put together? And think about what you learned through the process of doing it too, and how that'll help in the future.
[00:46:07] Amanda: Yeah, absolutely. Always. And, and just be a student and, you know, and, and just stay engaged and care about what you do. I really do think I'm a believer that there's enough for everyone, but even though everything is really saturated, I think that if you really do stay focused on things for the right reasons and you're invested in figuring out what works in healthy ways and also in gaining self-awareness, then you will be successful as a person, regardless of your field, but especially in content creation.
[00:46:40] Tim: And then thinking about impact too because even if you know, even if you're your post, or what have you, if it impacts three people or five people in a way, that's kind of a great thing.
[00:46:51] Amanda: Yeah. You know? Exactly. Like, I think that's another huge one. Again, I saw a lot in travel where you had a lot of people talking about destiny, parts of destinations, major destinations, but parts that people have maybe never heard of or never seen or never knew they had the opportunity to visit before. And now you've opened the world up. Right. To, you know, a handful of people. And maybe it's not as many people as you wanted, but you still have an impact on a small group and you've still got them to see a new part of the world in a new way, experience a new culture, maybe make friends depending on, you know, what it is that you're talking about and selling. And, and I just think that's one of the best things about content creation. So I don't think any number is too small of that.
[00:47:39] Tim: That's great. And then you know, speaking of all that, how do you how do you avoid burnout as, as a creator? I'm like, what's with all that comes with it?
[00:47:48] Amanda: That's so funny. So yeah it was really hard for me for a long time and I'm not a personal brand creator, as much as I I've like worked with them. I work with people who are developing personal influencer marketing campaigns, worked with a lot of influencers, worked with a lot of different people across different industries.
[00:48:11] But I have been an in-house creator, and I have both made demands of in house creators that led to burnout and I have both experienced demands that have led to burnout. So working in partnership with influencers, I would say that if you are looking to grow a personal brand and you are looking into influencer marketing, be extremely protective of your time and demand value for what you are asking for.
[00:48:46] If they are not willing to meet your pricing and your pricing is reasonable, like you understand, again, we talk about self-awareness. You have to have some self-awareness if you are getting new to the game and you know, you're still figuring things out, and you don't have the experience. Well, you need to kind of figure out what are your competitors who are in your same experience level of charging. Maybe you can charge a little bit more than that for your own reasons. Maybe you charge a little bit less, but have the self-awareness. Don't save it. One, three TikTok series is $25, 000 and you've never had a client before.
[00:49:18] Tim: Like, it's going to be a great brand someday.
[00:49:24] Amanda: Yes, exactly. It's like you have to strike that balance, but I do think you should always demand to be paid for your time because you need to protect your time. You are giving away your TikTok videos, or your blogs, or guest blogs and things like that for, you know, a hundred dollars, and it took you eight hours to write it. Like, no, no, don't do that. You got to protect your time or else you're going to have to do 16 more of those blogs to be able to, you know, keep your lights on this month. And like, you're just, you're asking to burn out at that point. So boundaries. Know your worth, demand to be paid for that. I would say before going into partnership with any brands before accepting any marketing dollars, painstakingly look through that contract that if you don't, you know, I don't know what, at what point you might be, but some, you know, creators have managers.
[00:50:15] If you're at a point where, you know, you have a lot of brand deals coming in. Get a manager, get somebody who knows how to negotiate contracts, who knows how to look at the details of the contract so that they can help protect your time. And make sure that you are generating enough revenue and also having enough rest time.
[00:50:31] Because if you're a writer, you cannot write if you do not rest. You have to play, you have to do nothing. You have to have time to just be sitting. All writers do that. We're just in our heads. We're just. Right. And we just translate it onto paper if you don't have time to stop and let. Yourself, kind of speak to yourself, and, you know, enjoy the world around you and all of those things. You're not going to be able to write. Yeah. At least not well.
[00:50:59] Tim: Yeah, absolutely. You see that happening with creators sometimes because they're in a way you know, self-motivated and self-managed. And sometimes for the particularly ambitious ones, it leads them in a, in into that direction of they're just doing too much. Right. And it can't mm-hmm, you know, how do you, how do you keep sustaining it? And often the best work does come from that period where there's a, there's a little bit of pressure, but not so much that it's getting in the way of what you need to do.
[00:51:32] Amanda: I completely agree. I think there's a lot of people operate that way where little bit of pressure is really, really necessary for them to be able to perform. Mm-hmm. But if you sign up for too many, you know, you've taken on too much and your deadlines are all, you know Yeah. Scattered throughout the quarter and you've taken on too much and you've gotten behind in one area you know, maybe there was a misunderstanding, there was a misalignment.
[00:51:57] Right. There wasn't enough conversation with the brand or the, or whoever it is that you're writing for. And now you think to yourself, or even if you're just writing for yourself and you've set up interviews and you've set up, you know, needing to talk to other people, there might be a point where you get a little bit behind in one area and now all of a sudden you're so far behind that you have to push through it at for an unbelievable rate, working too many hours in a day.
[00:52:26] So you got to schedule, you have to schedule things effectively. Make sure you're charging, enough and being realistic and all of those things that we can expect. If you're a manager and you are a editorial, you know, you're doing editorial work or content management, you also need to be realistic. Like, you need to understand that oftentimes if you're working for an agency, or for a magazine, or anyone you're running a publication of any sort with strict deadlines, you need to both be realistic around your deadlines and how much people can actually take on and you need to know when to hire new people.
[00:53:03] Way too many writers are expected to write too much, especially now that we have AI assisted technology AI assisted writing, like a lot of writers are being expected to crank out so much. And. I, when I've had some consulting experiences where I've like, they've asked me, you know, we can't keep writers and I'm like, what's the tenure. And they're like, you know, 12 to 24 months, but we can't get a writer to stay past two years. And I'm like, well, what's their schedule look like? Yeah. And you look at their schedule and it is just day after day assignment, do just nonstop assignments. There's not a single week in the calendar year that the writers aren't scheduled for nothing.
[00:53:49] You need to give them time. Like, even though they're on the clock and they're providing value, writers need time to think. Yes, absolutely. They can't just be writing all of the time. So, you know, if you have an editorial calendar that is consistent, then you need to make sure you have enough people. You need to have freelancers on, you know, on the, on call in case. Life happens and writers are sick or, you know, they have a family emergency, you know, don't, but don't move the deadline and expect them to cover it, outsource it because they've got to come back now and they've got to get back to the deadlines that are preset for that following week. So I think from the management perspective, it's being realistic and having self awareness around when you're overworking people, which is common especially with creatives. Like creatives are just. Man, they're just, we just grind them. But as a creator, I think it's, it's a lot of it is just charging and self-awareness and experience
[00:54:48] Tim: And bring in and help when you need it too. And I think your organization you know, helps creators. Could you talk a little bit about how, how you do that?
[00:54:58] Amanda: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So we have guest blogging opportunities. We are in the process of a rebrand, so we are looking for guest bloggers to come in and talk about, and really anything related to SEO writing. 2024. Looking to make this launch. We want to make sure that we are talking about things at a high level that we're not talking about things that have been exhausted by people in the industry who have maybe bigger names or more experience than we have. What we really want is people who can come in and talk about things with their unique perspective.
[00:55:34] So we offer both paid and internship blog opportunities. We're going to be launching an internship program this year for SEO writing. Okay. So hopefully that will come in the middle of 2024 is what we're slated for by. We're looking to work with creators who are interested in learning to have good writing technique, have a good process in place, know how to write really well, but are interested in learning a little bit more about the SEO side of things. So we're looking into paid internships for that. So hopefully that will be in the latter of 2024.
[00:56:09] Tim: Is it like an industry kind of industry information website?
[00:56:14] Amanda: So, we focus on home services and we focus on providing people in home services with knowledge about SEO. So we want to be able to really help people contextualize how content writing and marketing can really help their brands. Because, especially in-home services, you have a lot of people who, the reason they became a master plumber is because they never wanted to sit at a desk. So when they, you know, are in upper management and now they realize they have to hire a marketing company, they're so upset about it.
[00:56:46] Tim: Yeah.
[00:56:48] Amanda: Like they never wanted to do this part of it. So, and we have to connect them and help them see the value in it. And give them their freedom back to like it, let you go. You want to be in the field, go be in the field. We'll do this part for you. So, so that's what we do a lot on our, on with our content.
[00:57:04] Tim: I'm sure they're glad to have you help take that off their plate.
[00:57:10] Amanda: Yeah. A lot of them are, a lot of them are like, this is exactly why we hire you. Like, as soon as we, as we have people who have to like go in and fix things with Google, my business, or, you know, really highly technical tasks. So it's not that it's necessarily really that you have to have an insane amount of knowledge, but sometimes it's just the fact that you can take the time that sitting at a computer and facing a problem doesn't make you wanna like flip your desk. Yeah. Whereas there's people who are like, I absolutely cannot. But let me tell you something, if I had a leaky pipe and I had to mess with that with a wrench for an hour and a half, I'd be flipping my sinks. It's no, it's no different. It's just, I think a way for to kinda come together with other.
[00:57:49] Tim: Excellent. Well, thank you very much. I really appreciate you spending some time with me today and sharing your experience.
[00:57:57] Amanda: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for having me. It was a great chat.
[00:58:00] Tim: So I've been thinking a lot about the question of strategic alignment, and what does strategic alignment look like in terms of efficiency and interest.
[00:58:09] Let's talk about efficiency first, because we really need that as creators, especially if you're doing this part time. But first I want to give a shout out to Jay Clouse who helped me to recognize the two main pathways for growing a social media brand, writing and video.
[00:58:24] So first up we've got blogging, which as a writing format can be easily redistributed on sites such as X as threads, on Instagram as carousels, and on other blogging sites such as Medium. Next up we've got long-form video content, which can be easily carved up and repurposed as Instagram Reels, TikToks, or as YouTube Shorts.
[00:58:47] So from a format perspective, you can really start to see the efficiency gains there by sticking with the same type of format consistently. And yes, there are some tools out there that can make it a little easier to repurpose across platforms and formats. But as someone who's done this a lot over the last year, trust me when I say it's still less efficient.
[00:59:08] Because in addition to the format differences, on the one hand you've got tools, resources, and best practices that go with blogging. And then you've got a whole other set of tools, resources, and best practices that goes with video content production. And it's actually really hard to stay current in all of those areas at the same time, in addition to which we haven't even talked about the challenge of managing engagement across multiple platforms.
[00:59:33] Because if you're just posting on all those platforms and then leaving, you're not going to grow those platforms. So, as Jay says, as a small creator, unless you've got a big team supporting you, the best thing we can do is pick a lane. Pick a lane in terms of a format, and then pick a lane in terms of a main growth platform.
[00:59:50] And then I want to emphasize that point that both Jay and Amanda have made about using that main growth platform to cement your relationship with your audience via relationship platforms such as email lists. Podcast or private community and then what that's going to do is going to help to deepen your relationship with your existing audience It's going to enhance your monetization potential and it's going to build an independence from those third party Platforms where as we know things can change very quickly and an advantage that we have There at one point can suddenly dissipate and as creators we need some kind of insurance against that.
[01:00:30] And that brings us to the second element of strategic alignment, which is your interests. What type of content are you most interested in creating? Because success as a creator for most of us is going to be a long-term game. And if you can't get excited about what you're doing and stay excited about it over a long period of time, I don't know how you can be successful at this.
[01:00:50] And so, for me, you may have noticed that I've been leaning a lot more into video content lately. And that's partly because I've been having a lot more success in generating reach via video. Also, personally, I just enjoy making video content a little more rather than writing, perhaps because I've done so much writing. And with video content, you know, you're actually out there and you're doing stuff.
[01:01:14] The other thing I realized about blogging was that there's a lot more to it than just the creation of the original post. There's the technical CEO aspect that Amanda talked about. There's the fact that links get broken and you have to go back and update them, or that things change and the information goes outta date so you gotta update the post to keep it relevant.
[01:01:34] From what I've seen, this doesn't happen as much with video content. For one thing, you're gonna have fewer links to look after in general as compared to a blog. And even in cases where those links might get broken, there doesn't seem to be the same kind of CEO penalty as you would have with a blog if it has a bunch of broken links in it.
[01:01:53] Plus, with video content, the audience doesn't really have the same expectation that the content is being continually refreshed. It was recorded on a particular date, and that's it. Pretty much one and done.
[01:02:06] Now, I don't mean to imply that blogging isn't a viable strategy. It still has all of that potential that we talked about at the beginning of this episode, and if you can develop your skill as a writer, there's a lot of places where good writing is in demand.
[01:02:21] This is more a question of picking that lane because as we've said before on this show there are lots of different pathways that you can take to be successful as a creator. It's just that you can't take all of them at the same time. You've got to pick a strategy and stick with it for a while. And then once you've got the resources, you can always build a team that can help you do more.
[01:02:43] And you can bring in help from an outside company like RegExCEO, the one that Amanda works with, and they can help you with all those things like CEO, social media marketing, email marketing, all those multiple channels that we've talked about. But you've got to be in the position to do that resource-wise.
[01:03:01] So, what do you think? Which lane are you going to pick as a creator? Let me know in the comments and let me know why you picked that lane. I'll be interested to see what the discussion is there. If you found this helpful, hit that subscribe button. Maybe check out one of these other episodes right here.
[01:03:17] And thanks for watching. Until next time, we'll see you in the next episode.