FYB 049 | Authority Website Power

Google will find you if you do a great job indexing yourself and if you show up and deliver the service or product that you are marketing. Getting 50,000 searches isn’t impressive to Sean Kavanaugh. It means you’re popular and that’s all. What he says you need to ask yourself is are you there for those people that find you valuable? Sean explains how authority website power has been misunderstood. The common misconception has been that if someone types their name on Google, they need to come up first. Content marketing goes beyond that and helps you capture people who don’t know about you, but need your service or product.

We have a good friend on the show now. Sean Kavanaugh technically is an employee of Income Store which also has another name now which is Growth Consultants. He is an entrepreneur within the company. He’s an expert in content marketing and content creation for your website. He started on his own independently from Income Store, and while he still has his own site and his own content creation, he eventually became assimilated by Income Store to become an employee, which he is, a hyper employee. I can’t say enough great things about him. Sean touches hundreds of thousands of blog posts. It’s just crazy the amount of content he either produces himself or is in touch with from the clients and the work that he does with Income Store.

He and the company he works for, Income Store, are one of our real serious go-to resources for anything new that comes up with how Google is ranking things or seeing things or what’s working in content marketing and digital marketing in general. They have over 1,000 websites that they manage and monetize. These guys know from long, hard experience what works and what doesn’t. Sean is a big believer in the content and it being good content. This is not putting words out to put words out. This is about making it valid and valuable to those who read it. He’s such a great advocate for that. That’s why we wanted to invite him on the show because if there’s anyone who understands what it means to create an authentic post, to create authentic relationships through content, it’s Sean. I would like to add to that not only authentic content but I would call it organic, valuable content. It’s not gaming any systems, it’s just creating not only people value but Google values also to produce a good result for you, for your site, for your business, for your marketing.

Listen to the podcast here:

Authority Website Power, The Reality of Organic SEO, with Sean Kavanaugh of Income Store

Sean, we’re so glad to see you. It’s very exciting to have you on because you are my go-to blog question, everything, Google ranking, all of those things expert.

Thank you very much. I’m super excited to be here with you. I’m so interested about your growth and what you’re doing with your podcast and stuff. It’s really neat to see.

You’re a big part of that. We wanted to bring you out and let our audience listen to the advice that you’ve given us over the years and things that we’ve really taken to heart. Let’s start about setting up. How’d you get started blogging?

That story is long and weird. It’s been a long strange trip, the famous words of the Grateful Dead. I started about nine years ago and a friend of mine came into my office. I was a plumbing contractor for a long time and he told me about authority websites. What they did was building your brand through authority websites, building leads. I was an English major in college so I was like, “Let me look at some plumbing.” He told me about the process, and I’m not quite sure if he was trying to sell me or tell me. I still to this day don’t know if that was Ken’s intention.

You’re talking about Ken Courtright who we’ve spoken about on the show multiple times.

We were friends for a long time. I don’t know to this day, I’ve never asked him. I went and looked at what was online when it came to plumbing advice and reviews. To be quite honest with you, it was junk. I thought I was an English major, I could do this better than they can. I called Ken and I said, “Have you ever thought of doing a plumbing site?” He goes, “No, I haven’t.” We did some little bit of research and The Plumbing Info was born. That was my authority site that I started and it might be even close to ten years ago now. It grew from there and that’s how I started. Again, the story is long and the lessons are long.

We’re going to get into some of the lessons because these are things you learned early on. What I’m curious about is this was your dad’s business originally, the plumbing business.

My dad started in 1997 and we became partners in 2003. I was a rather young business owner and I tell everyone that asks, “If you can make it in the contracting business, I have to give you an ‘attaboy,’ because it’s an awfully tough business to be in.”

When you started doing the blog for The Plumbing Info, how did that shift the business? Did it help his business grow?

It was always my intention to keep those two separate, and I’m certainly glad I did because in 2012, we closed. It was a completely separate thing. When I started, I was most interested in making money on the business without doing the actual business, without doing the actual work. That was my main focus. At first, it was a thumb my nose at the business because I was rather angry after the big crash of 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 in Chicago. It was a long time. That shifted as I got out of the actual business. I’ve learned to love it again, for lack of a better way of putting it. I really have. Now, it’s a more altruistic goal.

Sean, I know there’s a very long story involved in this and I don’t want to have you go through all that necessarily, but there’s one part that would be interesting for our audience to hear. You started this website to be an authoritative or what some people might regard as a resource website that they would go to if they had any questions or interest in plumbing, questions about plumbing, all sorts of things and an alternative revenue stream. You were looking at it being its own business entity. At some point, there was this great story of you had done a review on a valve and all of a sudden, didn’t some company from another country show up to your door to say, “Are you the guy that wrote this?” Can you tell that little bit of the story? That illustrates the power of a really authentic, valuable blog posts.

It’s what catapulted the site. That was one of the catalysts to giving it its punch. I always wanted to blog or write about things that I loved. My main focus was to give weight behind things that I loved in the plumbing business. Hansgrohe came out with something called the iBox valve. It was rather unique. Basically, if you want it to do a high rise building and you want it to give people more features in your shower or in a residential bath, instead of changing out the whole entire valve and putting in better equipment, it was literally plug and play. The box was in the wall and then you choose the features by the trim instead of by the whole entire piece. It’s still innovative to this day. There’s nothing like it out there. I wrote a lengthy piece about it. Two months later, two gentlemen wearing business suits walked into my office who I’d never seen before. At the time that made me pretty nervous because I didn’t know who they were. It could’ve been the bank, who knows who they were?

They’re like, “Did you write something about Hansgrohe’s iBox valve?” I said, “I think.” They’re like, “Here’s the thing. You’re the only one that we could think of that would do it after talking to other people in the business.” I’m like, “Yes, I did write it. How did you find out?” They’re like, “You had a weather widget.” Back when weather widgets were trying to snatch up websites, we put a weather widget and it said, “Frankfurt, Illinois,” and that’s where we were. That’s how they found me. The funny story is that they said that Nick Grohe, one of the founder’s sons of the Hansgrohe company said, “Why is a plumber in Frankfurt writing better content than our content writers that we pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to?” They put me on their advisory board for Hansgrohe which I sat on for six years or so. They flew me to Atlanta. They’ve flown me around the country. That ended up being a catalyst for doing the plumbing in Bill Rancic’s house. We’ve done a lot of contributions there. I’ve been on their show a couple times. Again, that single article catapulted me to doing TV shows.

For the younger generation who may not remember, Bill Rancic was Donald Trump’s first The Apprentice winner, and he’s from the Chicago area so that makes a lot of sense. That blog post was doing something not only for your authority site, but it was doing something for the Hansgrohe company too. Weren’t they getting a lot of benefit from it?

For sure. For a long time, it was ranked number one in Google search for iBox valve. That put it on the map. Then we tied a celebrity back into that valve. He used all those valves in his house. In fact, he’s done it on a couple of houses. It hasn’t been the only one. That has done quite a bit for their company as well. From that, I’ve done some print work for them. I’ve written more things for them because of that article. We drove traffic to that product and they certainly helped me as well.

That’s the residual value that we don’t always see in what happens with both our podcasts and our blog posts is we see this residual value of community growth that benefits all.

There is no question and this is something I’m just going to throw out there. Very early on in my blogging or my writing, I don’t know if you guys remember this, but Google didn’t know what it wanted to do with tweets and short burstable content; it’s what we called it back then. Were they going to get unique content credit for 350 words? Is it going to be 500? After about twenty pieces, I basically said, “There is no way that Google is going to give credit for a piece of content that says nothing.” I don’t know about you, but I cannot get a thought across at 500 words. You don’t say anything interesting in 500 words.

What I basically said is, “I’m going to write until I’m finished.” I’m going to write on a subject until I’m done. I’m going to do keyword research and I’m going to do all that stuff, but I’m just going to write until I’m finished.” It was no stroke of genius. I was not that. I just did it because it felt right. There are things that I wrote seven years ago at 4,000 words. In fact, my plumbing estimating guide is still number one to this day. If you type in plumbing estimate, plumbing estimating, it is still number one. I wrote it seven years ago. You talked about residual, how residual can you get?

That’s the thing that we find the most that people underestimate it. We’re so eager for new content but we forget how valuable our back catalog is. That’s what we call it here in podcast land. Our back blogs, we know that from our 3D print site that some of the reviews and the things that we’ve done back in the early days and many of our educational episodes that we had done that turned into blogs, those are our most valuable. They are still our most listened to. Three of our top 25 blogs come from our very first 100 episodes. That’s the value and people underestimate that.

Another thing, if people aren’t aware out there, Google is updating content more and more heavily in the last six months than they ever have. If you’ve got stuff that ranked four or five years ago, you can freshen it up. There are a couple of tools that you can use to do that. That is absolutely an algorithm change that is worth doing. If you have things in your back catalog, you can freshen that stuff up. I absolutely recommend you do it for sure.

What you said about the content, what you do about writing until you’re finished, that’s what we recommend to podcasters, especially new podcasters. They always ask me, “How long should a podcast episode be?” I take them through what I feel that there’s no right or wrong answer to that. What I tell them is, “Speak on a subject until you feel it’s complete. Don’t make it artificially short just because you think a podcast should be 20minutes or 25 minutes, and don’t stretch it and make it longer than it needs to be either, and say, ‘I’m going to podcast for 45 minutes no matter what.’” Then you run out of things to say. Your audience will know you’re not being real about it. That translates to the written content that comes from a podcast too. The days of a summary show notes, blog posts that’s 300 or 400 words, that has any value are over. I wonder what your thoughts on that are.

I’m in total agreement with that just as I am in agreement with a 350-word blog post that is super powerful. It’s happened. Google doesn’t want to give you credit for blog posts that are under 500 words. If it’s shared four million times, you’re going to get credit for it. They’re smart enough to know that a blog summary of a podcast is not worth the same as the written word is. I’m a big fan of the written word or a transcription of the spoken word. It’s very powerful and when accompanied with audio or video, it’s a super powerful piece of content.

FYB 049 | Authority Website Power

Authority Website Power: Written word or a transcription of the spoken word is very powerful, and when accompanied with audio or video, it’s a super powerful piece of content.

One of the things you were saying about updating, I want to touch on. We talked about this. We did it in our client call and maybe we didn’t do it on a Feed Your Brand episode, so I want to mention that, just in case. We were talking to people because I do some of these things where I do like color trends of 2017 and then the color trends of 2018 and I do one every year. If you’re not going to do one every year, it doesn’t make sense. What happened in 2017 was great, but maybe there were just one or two new things that you added. You can put “updated 2018” and still keep the power of the original posts like you were saying. I’m curious as to what some of the other tools you recommend are.

The most useful tool that I have seen other than SEMrush and Ahrefs which are pretty common, Majestic SEO is very good. The one that we’re using right now that is one of the most powerful tools that I’ve seen is called MarketMuse. That is probably one of the best SEO tools for updating content that I’ve ever seen. It will do research for you on new content ideas as well. It makes updating content super easy. What you would do and again, it’s a subscription-based service, is you’d put your URL in and your focus keyword and it would basically spit out a score in a couple different areas, length, readability, and that thing, and also the related keywords that you have in your article as it compares to the top 25 rated posts for that key word across the internet.

You’re saying that maybe someone who’s ranked higher than you has one more keyword that’s really important, you could just update your article with a little section on that.

Say there are 30 related keywords and you can see visually that you don’t mention fifteen of those in your piece, you can click on them. As you add them, you can see what your score will do compared to the others in the system. We do a lot of outlining for our piece of content that we have written for us and it’s the most innovative. There are other things that do something similar. This is probably the easiest to consume.

It’s like having a crystal ball in your hand. Not only is it researching what it knows from actual content that exists out there and how it’s ranked, but it’ll tell you if you do this, the result will be that. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of a tool that does that before.

Here’s another cool thing. It will give you ideas on internal and external links. It digs a little deeper than that. If that’s my tip for this show, it would be please get on it.

That actually may inform and change some of our standard operating procedures for the blogs we create for customers that we do. I want to set everyone up to make sure that we’re accurate because I might have some old information. In conjunction with Income Store in Today’s Growth Consultant, do you have many sites now?

We have over 1,000. I work on between 600 and 800 a month myself.

You probably have some statistics. I’m sure it’s growing all the time, like millions of blog posts that you have done.

I don’t know how many blog posts we’ve done total, but I can tell you that it grows about 2,800 a month every month. I’m at producing three million words. I’ll be at five million words a month by the end of June. Again, I’m not one that wants to hang my hat on numbers. I want results from those numbers. I’m not anywhere close to it being perfect. I want to make sure that each and every piece is done the right way.

I just want to give some of that context. It’s like when you go through brute force testing. You’re testing your theories on these things. When you test it on that many sites or we test on this many podcasts, you get a better sense of what’s working and what’s not quickly. You can also try some things and finesse it. Where someone who’s doing it all on their own and doing it on that slower path of maybe only adding eight posts a month on their site, they’re not necessarily seeing the results and they are maybe giving up too quickly. That actually happens more often than doing something right.

We kissed a ton of frogs along the way. My number one reason for people abandoning blogging is that the results are not fast enough. I strongly suggest that they don’t do that because it’s also residual value for your business. If you write something truly special, it can last a lifetime.

We’re advocating podcasting your way to blog posts obviously as a means to create more content faster. We see it working on a monthly basis, depending on how many posts are created from podcasts, meaning how many podcasts are recording or how much content you’re making for your site? We’re seeing our clients sites increase on a monthly basis, anywhere between 400 to even over 1,000 Google keyword rankings in a month. It depends on how much content they’re making. How do you see that falling in terms of is that pretty typical? Is that good? Are you guys achieving a lot more than that?

I would say that the big clients I have going with you are achieving a much higher rate of acquisition of keywords. Just the system that you guys have is why I was so eager after we started to onboard more. I’ve got a couple of time constraints that don’t allow me to give it to you as fast as I’d like, but those keyword acquisitions are off the charts. Our best sites acquire keywords like that. There is no place where I can say, “If I do this, if I podcast and we create our content and linkbait, this way I can almost guarantee a 400 to 1,000 keyword decline.” There is nowhere I can say that.

We don’t guarantee it. I’m just telling you the results we are seeing.

None of us can. That’s an incredible stat.

One of the things that happens is that we all are experts in our industry. We’re experts in what we do and you are an expert in plumbing and you really knew that industry well. When you look at that that way, we have better gut instincts when we’re analyzing what’s going on in the marketplace, when we’re trying out tools like you were just suggesting. We have better gut instincts that say, “This one and this.” Part of the process of podcasting for us is that you naturally navigate to those things. You naturally say them. You do them without the lengthy research around them. If you’re unable to or don’t have a team who can help you produce, as you guys do, suggest, provide good keywords, provide all of these great services in terms of planning out that growth, a natural way to do it is through your spoken word because you will head there.

I call it the experience factor. The more bricks you lay, the better you are at building a brick wall. That stuff comes to you because you do it so often. I don’t think that we found MarketMuse by accident. We’ve got our feelers out and so that tends to come to you. I don’t want to get metaphysical because sometimes I don’t believe that stuff. I do think that if you’re tuned to it, you’re guided to the right spot.

That’s sometimes some of our clients agonize over like, “Should I talk about this? Should I talk about that? Should I do these keywords? Should I blog this?” My gut is like, “Just do it,” because you’re likely to be more right about it. You’re going to know it’s wrong if it doesn’t feel right when you’re doing it.

Your coverage is better. Your likelihood that you’re going to pick up a long tail along the way is much greater if you do it. That’s the funny thing that you said because I’ve done some research on it for a client recently. I’ve looked at all of the competitors that they have in their space and I cannot find one competitor that is high-end or that has a ton of searches. It doesn’t look like they have any content plan whatsoever. It’s all completely random. Some of them have 50,000 searches a month on. What I will say though is that most of them have 50,000 searches for their own name. They’ve done a great job of branding themselves, but they don’t have a content strategy behind what they do or have any focused on what they do. They’re celebrities in their own space.

One of the most misunderstood opportunities of content marketing is that all too many people, companies, individuals, big and small think that when somebody types in our name into Google, we need to come up first. There’s something to be said for that, but don’t you want to capture more people who don’t know about you? Isn’t that a big part of marketing too to capture people that do need whatever it is that you do but don’t know you exist. To me, that’s what content marketing casts a really wide net for.

They’re searched for their own name because they’ve done a great job of traditional marketing. They’ve done a great job of branding themselves. Google is going to find you because you are who you are. Especially if you have a site that is specific to your name, they’re going to find you. You’re right, to cast a much wider net, you have to find out what people are searching around you. What are you there for? Are you a speaker? Are you coach? Are you plumber? Are you an electrician? Are you a marketing expert? I agree. It doesn’t impress me to see that you have 50,000 searches for your name. I’m like, “You’re popular.”

FYB 049 | Authority Website Power

Authority Website Power: Google is going to find you because you are who you are.

What you were saying is the real opportunity is that these high-end, bigger brands, these celebrities and other things, they are missing the mark almost because they also have an organizational problem which us flexible entrepreneurs can take an advantage of. We were just at a conference at South by Southwest and there was a content strategist talking about what these big brands are doing and that you have to think about it this way. They want to put out a podcast or they want to put out a blog post, it has to go through five people to approve it. It’s already missed its mark. It’s not on time. Someone says, “Don’t say that and don’t say this and that’s an unknown brand,” and the next thing you know, it has no heart and no soul and no interest to anyone anymore. It’s no wonder that content strategy’s not working for a big brand because they can’t do it authentically.

It’s why I believe that small entrepreneurs will always have an advantage in the space of internet marketing. It’s because we’re completely flexible. We are completely nimble. There are no restrictions to how we test. It’s why I love working here at Income Store is because we are literally testing every day. We’re constantly throwing a handful of darts at the dartboard and watching now again, educated ones, but we complete. We’re very nimble in what we do. I agree with you that code freezes. You can’t build the site any different way. By the time the code freeze is lifted, you’ve missed your opportunity.

I’ve always believed that Google doesn’t discriminate nor does it favor a big Fortune 500 company over a little individual website. If you’re creating content on a certain subject that has key words contained within it, if you’re creating more content on a regular basis, more timely, you’re going to be able to steer web traffic away or actually Google will steer web traffic away from a big guy to a little guy if they’re creating good content. Would you agree?

There’s countless history of that. Why isn’t Ridgid ranked higher than me in sewer rodding? They make sewer rods. They’re the biggest sewer rod company in the world. Why? They didn’t create it better than I did. There are constant reminders of that in the space. The little guy is bound by his budget and to write about soft drinks, over Coca-Cola or Pepsi, is a daunting task. The little guy is always limited by the budget that he had asked, but creativity? I don’t know. I’ve seen some real creative people. Gary Vaynerchuk was one of the most creative guys. VaynerMedia is a huge company now, but boy was he creative in his wine styles videos that he did. He was a little guy at the time. It’s why internet marketing remains so exciting. It’s changing all the time, but we have opportunities for sure.

The other thing that I wanted to tap into while you’re here is that the written word still isn’t going away altogether. We do a combination of voice and written all the time. I’d write a ton of articles out there and seed them all over. You know that and I know that you guys do that as well. What do you see though as like, if you don’t have a lot of time to write and many of our listeners don’t have a lot of time to write, what is the more effective way? Is it better to do outside and put the articles outside or combine them in with your podcast?

It’s best to combine the podcast with the blog post. Let’s say this. Doing a video and being able to break out video to a podcast, to audio and then written is the most effective piece of content you could possibly fill. It’s a triple bang for your buck on. You can go YouTube, podcasts, blog posts. It’s the best of all worlds. Again, I like to combine them but you don’t have to. If you combine your podcast and embed code with your piece of content, that’s ideal.

One of the next steps that I’ve been doing lately is I’ve been taking those from that point, writing like the 600 to 800-word LinkedIn Pulse article and putting it out maybe on media or sending it out and putting it in my Inc. column because it’s relevant, if it’s relevant. I just did that with two articles on 3D printing. They were in demand and relevant because South by Southwest just happened and then there’s been big announcements about metal 3D printing. It’s appropriate time-wise to put out a summary because no one wants to read 6,000 to 10,000 words. They don’t even like it that I put 800 words. Inc. is always saying I write too long.

Isn’t that funny though that you’re writing for a big company and we know statistically that people read and share longer articles. That is completely contrary to anything that we already know. They can’t prove to me that it’s any different than that.

I’m sure you’ll be interested and I was going to talk about this at some point in the future on an episode so I might as well talk about it now. Because they give us guidelines and they give us things all the time, I received from them the Top 100 headlines for the past ten years and they are the same year after year after year. They have the same formula and the same clickbait-ness to them. I was sharing it with someone else who’s a writer and we both looked at this and said, “I almost don’t want to be associated with these headlines anymore. They’re just awful.” Elon Musk says that this is the number one thing you should do to grow your business.

Still now, anything that says Steve Jobs said “this,” it is technically now. Other than that, I was like, “Those people did interview them. They don’t know them. They don’t have any direct new information. It’s always going to be a regurgitation. The seven ways you can do that. The five bullet points on this. I was just like, “That’s crazy that that still plays,” and it’s just the same thing again and again year after year and it’s so obvious when you see it that way.

I’m guilty of that because we look at trends and again, not all of it. Some of it we do because we know it’s going to be powerful. I can’t say that that’s not relevant, but I’m not saying that it’s right.

Consumers are starting to get wise. I use consumers because that’s my language, but it’s basically anyone who’s consuming content is a consumer to me. We’re getting wise in saying, “That is a click bait article. That is an article that doesn’t have a lot of meat to it.” When you go and you look at it and you’ll say, “There are 6,000 words there. I’m totally clicking on that,” that’s why the longer ones play. There has to be more information than something that’s 300, 400 words.

We don’t write any piece of content that’s under 1,000 right now. Not one. I’d like them to be longer. We’re getting there.

I appreciate you sharing those details with us, Sean, and from your experience. It’s going to be very helpful to everyone to have experienced a voice of authority like yours that you’re in the trenches every single day doing this. This is what you do for a living. It’s very well-informed. I thank you for sharing that with us.

I respect what you’re doing and I love the growth. I’m excited for you. Thanks for having me.

Our pleasure.

Authority Website Power, The Reality of Organic SEO – Final Thoughts

I love talking to Sean. From the day I met him, he’s just excited about what he does every day. It’s been three years that we’ve known him or something like that. He’s just as excited about it every day. That’s amazing to me because you’d think, “I’m sick of blogging or I’m sick of podcasting or I’m sick of these things,” I hear people like that all the time, but not Sean and not us either. We’re all passionate about it and that’s what makes it so much fun. At the same time, it’s interesting. It was great to hear a little bit of his origin story and if you want to hear more of it, I would recommend to any of you out there who want to hear more from Sean or from his company. Income Store puts on a conference. I would call it a digital marketing conference more than anything, called the Digital Footprint. They used to have two a year. I know this year because the company moved headquarters. They’re only having one in 2018 and I believe it’s in September or October in Los Angeles. We will have more information on that at some point. It’s already published. We will have information in the blog post for this episode at FeedYourBrand.co. Go there to find out about that. I highly recommend you attend. We will be attending as well.

FYB 049 | Authority Website Power

Authority Website Power: If you combine your podcast and embed code with your piece of content, that’s ideal.

Whenever I get together with Sean at the Digital Footprint Conference, we talk for hours and hours and have long meals discussing these things because we’re also passionate about it. A little bit of back-story I want to give you is one three years ago, we were introduced to Sean by other people at Income Store that we had met through business networking. Sean didn’t know us from anybody. When we came to Sean and said, “We’re using our podcast to create written content for our site,” he was skeptical at first. He didn’t necessarily buy into it. We showed him over time and by example. He was saying through long hard experience that you heard him saying how much he believes going from video to podcast or podcast to video or a podcast to blog post, that trifecta, just creating written content from either video or audio, is so tremendously valuable. He didn’t always believe that, but he does now. I appreciate that. You can tell Sean is a very intelligent guy. He has a lot of experience, but he’s also always trying new things because they need to keep experimenting. They don’t just sit back and run a playbook that’s worked because things are always evolving.

Some of the things that Sean is experiencing is across all categories of business and all categories of types of sites. In 1,000 sites, they have investment sites and health and wellness sites and technology sites like ours or they have sports-related sites, plumbing sites. I know they have a pest control site. There are just so many different things that they have. They even have a few political sites and other things like that. You’re talking about such a broad brush and when something works, it works across all of those categories. That’s saying something. Sometimes you get into a digital marketing trend or something, but it only works in one place for one type of business for coaches or something like that and it doesn’t work for everyone. To me, I might consider something you stumble upon that becomes a trick or a fad over a period of time or a hack that works for a period of time. Eventually, an algorithm closes the loophole and changes things. When you see it work across quite a cross-section of different kinds of sites, of different kinds of content, that’s when you know it’s not a trend, a hack, a fad. That it’s actually a more valuable indicator of a best practice.

That’s the story that I tell a lot of times from stage usually at the Digital Footprint Conference when I speak there. I tell the story of how Ken Courtright who is one of the owners of Income Store and Today’s Growth Growing Business Today is the name of it and it’s a great podcast. They’re short episodes though, but he has over 300 of them so there’s plenty to listen to. I tell this story that we were at a conference together. We were both speaking at the conference. We’re having drinks in the bar and we’re telling him about how we started this podcast and how we’ve been powering the site that we were working on with this company with our podcast and we hadn’t done any written blog posts at that point. The old school thinking and typing, we haven’t been doing that. We’d been speaking our way through the blog posts.

I had spoken to a COO and I had talked to him and said, “I’m sorry we haven’t done it.” He said, “You mean you haven’t written a single word for us and your site is growing at this pace?” I said, “We’ve only been blog posting from the podcast because I didn’t have enough time to write like I thought I would because the podcast was consuming my time.” He said, “Don’t do anything different. Let’s see where this continues to go.” It was continuing to grow month after month and this was like three months later after I had had that initial call. Ken was saying, “Maybe it’s just because 3D printing is a hot topic.”

He’s like, “I’m going to challenge my team and we’ll go back and maybe we’ll try a couple of podcasts following our model on sites that are stagnant, on sites that are flat-lined and topics, so old style sites.” Sean was the one who was tasked with that, unfortunately. He was like, “Thanks guys.” He got tasked with that and started half a dozen different podcasts including Ken’s at that time in different areas to test it cross-sectionally in the categories. That’s really how we learned early, early on that it worked in multiple industries. It worked for multiple sites, it worked for different types of categories and businesses and we didn’t have that validation at that point.

It had been working for us and we’d recommended it to other people and other people had asked us to help their production side of it, but at that time we had not tested it in multiple market areas. I think we should be completely transparent here. When we started podcasting, it was all an experiment. We knew there were best practices and proven formulas for podcasting in and of itself and podcasting is a wonderful thing in and of itself. We didn’t know the power that it was going to bring to our website and to others websites that we learned through experience.

What has surprised me, especially after we visited Traffic &Conversion, is that the people who came out of the blogging sphere, like passive income bloggers like Pat Flynn and John Lee Dumas, that’s where those guys came from. They came from having done blog sites first, then went into podcasting when they saw this tipping point in this hot idea of being new and into podcasting, but they never combined them. They would do these old school PDFs and timelines and bullet points and they’ve done that for years that way, and not dive back into combining the podcasting and blogging. It’s like they move to podcasting, found out it was easier, and abandoned blogging. To be fair, those guys’ websites are very powerful sites. They’re incredibly well-monetized and they’re doing very well with them.

It’s just they’re doing something a little different. It’s a passive income model and there’s probably about two dozen different ways they’ve monetized each of those websites. They haven’t approached it quite the same way we do and there’s a different end game. There’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing. It’s a different purpose and it’s harder quite honestly for anybody new to model them to go to school on them and achieve the same thing. There are some examples of some that they may highlight as their breakout students or whatever, but it’s very hard to duplicate what they’re doing because so much what they’re doing is about podcasting itself and how many of those can you have out there.

It’s also about you’ve got to have sponsors and you’ve got to have like people who put ads on your site and when you do that you have to stay on top of those keywords trends and you don’t get to dive deep into the area of your expertise. That’s where the difference is. It’s a whole lot easier to stay passionate, and excited and be able to talk about things that you’re already interested in. That’s where we feel strongly at Brandcasting. What we do here is powering a brand, powering something you’re already an authority and an expert in, just giving them a lot more strength and weight and digital marketing power that we’ve learned from people like Sean.

That’s why we wanted to have him on the show. I’m so grateful that he came on because he’s so busy. He’s managing all of these sites and these blog posts and all this data and all this content. It’s hard to get his time. It was valuable that he came on and I can’t thank him enough for that. It was great to have Sean and I want to thank him again. I just want to make a throw to Income Store, if you are interested in their model of business, which is to own a passive income site so you don’t have to blog. They take care of that for you. That’s what Sean is in-charge of. If you’re interested in having an authority site, if you’d like more information on them and information on Sean, that’s in our blog posts at FeedYourBrand.co.

I would like to add one little thing to that is that you say authority site. I want to add and say revenue-generating website. They do just straight investment sites. If you just want to invest money like owning digital real estate and making money off of it, that’s something they do. A lot of them are authoritative websites, but there are different kinds. Just to add to that, but you’re absolutely right. Check them out and I would recommend if you’re interested in this field at all, go to the Digital Footprint Conference later this year. That information will also be at the blog post. I hope you got something valuable out of that. I had a lot of fun, but there were a lot of good nuggets there. Thanks so much everyone. We’ll be back next time with another great episode. This has been Tom and Tracy on Feed Your Brand.

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About Sean Kavanaugh

FYB 049 | Authority Website PowerIncomestore.com is managed by a team of over 30 people from the company Today’s Growth Consultant. TGC, as it is sometimes referred to, buys and builds websites that are creating revenue. While managing the website the team can write content, design web pages and even market the website. TGC now currently serves over 400 websites. To read a great review on them check out how Today’s Growth Consultant made the Inc 500/5000 list.  Here is another great source for Today’s Growth Consultant at Glassdoor.com. For a personal testimony of how TGC operates check out this Today’s Growth Consultant review on Daveconklin.org.

Ray and Maria specialize in positioning authors, business owners, coaches, consultants, hosts, podcasters, producers, and speakers as leading authorities and credible experts in their industries through the power of new media.

The dynamic duo will help you step into your star power and celebritize your brand with on-camera coaching, online media interview training, and interview segment productions.