In today’s episode of Feed Your Brand, Tom and Tracy Hazzard talk about one of the things that they started and have found to be very effective: ego bait. They explain what ego bait is and the process of how you can do it and implement this strategy to your business. They also provide some great examples of times when they have used this and how it worked out for them.
Listen to the podcast here:
Today, we’re going to talk about one of my favorite things that we’ve ever done in our business. It’s such a cool idea and such a cool tool. It’s been so effective for us. It’s been tremendously effective. We call it ego bait, which is a nod to our good friend Ken Courtright. I got to give him credit for the name, but the tool is all ours. He had a different reference to ego bait for something else, but what we’re talking about is ego bait for guests that you might interview for your platform, whether that’s on video or audio in a podcast. Or if you’re a blogger or an article writer like I am. That’s how I developed this. It’s like you feed your somebody in your article and you want to follow up with them and you want them to share it.
Part of it is a little planning ahead of time, that’s how you do it. You’re thinking about what you’re going to say about that person or about that company. Then part of it is the way that you follow up with it. That’s the tool side of it. We’re going to talk about it and the two pieces of it. Let’s talk about what ego bait in broad concept is. Ego bait is us saying something so flattering to the person’s ego that they can’t help but share it, or saying something so wonderful about them that they will absolutely share it and embed it in their website. That’s the key part there. Or it also might be something really brilliant that they said as they were interviewed, how they answered a question, a quote from them.
But the problem with doing that is that it doesn’t always work as well with view as it does when you say something about them that is flattering. You don’t always want to post up your brilliant quote on your Facebook page. You don’t always want to add to your website your own brilliant quote that you said when you’re quoted somewhere. But when you do it in context of, “So and so said this in Inc Magazine,” then it becomes a little bit better. You got to try it both ways, it depends on your audience, it depends on the ego level of the people that you’re talking about.
But if you want them to share it with their audience, it’s way better for it to sound like a testimonial that came from you or something flattering that came from you. Because you have authority as the podcast host, article writer, the video host or the TV show host, whatever. It’s way better when you say something like, “Inc Magazine calls you the best things since sliced bread.” It’s way better to say that than it is to say it about yourself.
What guests isn’t going to want to let the world know what you said about them? That’s the whole point here. Whether you’re interviewing them in your articles or interviewing them on your podcast or your videocast, you’re interviewing them for a reason, because they have an audience that may match who you want to broadcast, who you want to get your message out to. They have an audience that matches it. Them not sharing it doesn’t help you, especially when you’re in a stage of not charging people to be on their show. There’s a difference because we do have some clients and stuff that make you pay to be on their show. You’re paying for their endorsement essentially. But in this case, we’re talking about free. It’s free so then if they don’t share it, it didn’t help you enough.
What we found over the years of doing this for ourselves, and we have three different podcasts that we host, but one of them has been for several years and over 500 episodes, is that when we would provide a guest the link to the blog post, the link to the show on iTunes or where to subscribe and all these, and ask them to share it with their followers, with their audience or their list, they wouldn’t always do it. It’s not that they didn’t like us or didn’t want to, it’s just they get very busy. What we found is that creating this ego bait, and we’ll explain how we do this and what we give them, it’s a motivator for them. It’s just a little something extra that they go, “I want to put that out there. I want to post that. That’s too cool. It looks great.”
This really started because I was writing these articles and I really wasn’t getting enough shares on them and enough use on them. I was very frustrated by that because to be honest with you, an article in Inc Magazine is a gift to your business. Not saying that I’m the best writer on earth, but the fact that I feature you and you don’t pay me to do that because I’m not allowed to accept money for that, it’s a gift. For you not to share it, which helps me get more views on my articles, is not very reciprocal.
I found there was a worse problem with PR firms than there was with individuals, which was really a big a-ha and frustrating to me. I stopped taking pitches from PR firms. Basically, they would do an immediate share and that would be it. It would just stop there. They wouldn’t go further. They wouldn’t put a link to it on their website. They wouldn’t go and do those things. Another thing is most people don’t follow up and check. You don’t check to see your guest shared it. You don’t check to see the person you wrote the article about that shared it. They don’t always tag you so you don’t always know that they shared it. We also had a follow up process in which our assistant would go and look for that a week to two weeks after and then send them a reminder. We already had this reminder system built in, but we were still having trouble getting them to do it.
Enter the concept of ego bait. It started out with I wrote an article about the ten best innovation podcasts, because I write in the innovation section of Inc Magazine. It was the ten best innovative podcasts that I found out there. What I did was, I created for each one of those podcast hosts, I created a comment that I made and I purposely planned it when I wrote the article that I would be able to take this quote and soundbite out of there. When I wrote what the podcast was about, I was writing my opinion about them. You would see that I would say that, “This is one of the best podcasts to find this out or to learn this,” or whatever it was.
It was my viewpoint on that. I was calling it the best podcast, the most useful podcast. I had all these different words so they never sounded like I said the same thing twice of course across the ten podcasts. Of course, I believe that. I listen to them. This is something true that I was saying. It’s not blowing smoke. Anyway, when I did that afterwards, I not only said, “You were featured in my article,” because they didn’t know they were featured. This was an unsolicited thing. “You were featured in my article that I wrote. I thought that you might like to share this with your audience. Here’s a graphic.” I put out a square and a rectangular image that had my quote of what I said about them in it. It had my image, my photo and the Inc logo. It looked like a bubble, like a quote, like a speech bubble on the top of my head. That’s what it looked.
I would share that with them. I think it had a little icon of their podcast so that they would see some ingredient of their brand in it and/or it was matched to the colors of their brand. I did one or the other. I played with it a little bit. I got 90% of them to share it. There was one or two who obviously were a little unsophisticated that they didn’t have their website in order, social profiles in order. You could tell. They started sharing it and it was doing really well and it was getting reshared. It was getting retweeted a lot and other things like that.
I was getting a lot more views on that article. It was really serving my article well. That’s what you want. You are drawing people in. I was getting now more readers, that’s what I want. You might want more listeners or more viewers. That’s the reason for doing it. Or just more social shares. Then what I also did was I would post it out of course in mine and tag them. They would then reshare that within there. I would spread them out and I would have them so that they would go out over the course of a couple of weeks and they would be spread out and then it would repeat again. I actually do repeat fairly often, like once every three weeks or so, I repeat some of those in my evergreen social feed. Because it’s visually impactful.
But since we experimented with this and we learned from it, now we’ve adopted this as a standard practice for our Brandcasting You business. You immediately get a link, “Your blog post went live, your podcast went live, your videocast went live. Here are the links.” We always send them only to one link, keep that in mind, this is extremely important. The link that you provide to them should only be the blog post at the end of the day, on your website. It shouldn’t be on iTunes, you shouldn’t be sending them to YouTube. You should only be sending them all to the same link. You provide one link that they share and it should be the blog post itself.
But then we also provide them an ego bait graphic. Understand this, every single episode that we produce for our clients and for ourselves of a podcast, videocast, whatever, has an ego bait graphic with this quote, with this statement about them and reference to the show that they were on and information on where they can find it so that they want to share that on social media. It looks nice. It’s words but it’s not very long.
That’s another thing, a sentence is probably too long. It might be a phrase. I would say you probably want like seven words or less or something if you can, ten maybe. You don’t want it to be too small, you don’t want it too be much to read. Think about those inspirational quotes that are out there on the internet or whatever, the shorter, just better, they share better. Thinking about it from that standpoint as well.
Our friend John Livesay, and I called him the pitch whisperer. I wrote that in my article and he shared that so many times over the thing. Then eventually, over the time since I wrote the article, which is almost a year ago probably now, he also included that quote on his book, on the cover of his book. It profoundly impacts people seeing who I am and my brand as well. It gives him a high value testimonial.
But there’s still more. What we found in following up with people is that was great, they were sharing it on social media and they were doing all of that, but you have an article in Inc Magazine, that’s what this was starting with. I was like, “There’s an article written about you. You were featured in Inc Magazine.” How many of them put it on their website, on their press page or on their about us page or whatever? How to link back to the article? How many reference that?
It wasn’t too many. It was like less than 10%. I was like, “That’s ridiculous. Out of all the articles I’ve written,” and I write six a month, less than 10%. All the social media shares I got out of it. Still getting less than 10% and putting it in their website with what should be a high value backlink, if you’ve ever heard that term before. That’s an important term to understand because it is one of the key measures of a good website, is how many backlinks you have. Websites are ranked and Google really ranks them, but there are other companies that have tools you can use to see the rank of your website.
Out of those 1.2 to 1.4 billion websites out there, where do you rank? You want to be ranking as low, meaning website number one would be the best rank. Out of 1.2 billion websites on Google, you’re number one? That would be awesome. I don’t even know who number one is. Google is probably number one. You want to be as low as possible. You want to be in the single digit millions, like seven figure or less ideally. Even the lower you are, closer to a million, the better you are. But one of the key statistics that is used to rank websites is how many backlinks do you have, valuable backlinks, or what they say is, “What is your backlink profile?”
This is something else to understand about backlinks is that it’s like if they just said, “I was featured in Inc Magazine,” and they had their logo and it click to Inc.com, it’s actually not serving them well as their website and it’s not serving you well because for me, in my case, they’d completely miss my column and the article. It’s not helping me at all, it might be helping Inc, but it’s not helping me. You want to get them specifically to go to one of your pages within your site, not just your main domain name. You want them to go, in our case, it’ll be like BrandcastingYou.com/EgoBaitPodcast or EgoBaitEpisode. You’d want them to link to that particular episode that they were featured in or to that particular post that they were featured in.
How do you get them to do that? Because maybe they’re not the most tech people and they’re maybe not communicating well to their tech person to do it so they’re not providing the proper link to them. How do you make it easier for them to give you the most valuable benefit, the backlink? How do you make it easy for them to do this? Because if we make it easy for them, they’re a lot more likely to do it. We created embed codes. It’s coding language that you just send over to your web developer. Or if you do create your own posts on your website or ever adjust things on the press page of your site in WordPress, a lot of people do that, that’s not super techy. A lot of people do their own stuff. It’s a string of HTML code.
If you’re on WordPress, you have the visual tab or the text tab. You basically would click on the text tab and copy and paste this in there. Then immediately, it would work and it would give you the graphical image of the testimonial or the ego bait graphic. It would already automatically be linked and have everything. When somebody clicked on that graphic, it’s backlinking to the exact right spot on your site. It’s actually sending the people that click on it to your site. Then if they want to go out from that, like if there was still something on iTunes or something on YouTube or like on Inc Magazine, you could go out to it from there, but they’re coming to your site first.
That kind of link is very valuable. You want as many of them as you can get. You want them on all those subpages. The more they hit into the blog areas and into the other pages in your website and not just your main domain, the more powerful it is and the more powerful and valuable those backlinks are in the eyes of Google.
You provide the graphic, the ego bait graphic to your guest and they share it on social media. That’s a great thing. You provide them the link to the article or to the blog post and they hopefully share that on social media, which is going to bring them back to your website from social media. That also is a link of sorts that’s out there on social media. You don’t want to have failed to provide them the link that you want them to use and then to just find you on iTunes, find that article and then just share it that way. You want to give them exactly where you want them to go.
Then you provide them this embed code that they can use on their website. Some people will put it on their press page, some people will put it in a blog post that they’re writing about something relevant to what you interviewed them about and some might put it on other pages on their site, like the about us page or something. It really doesn’t matter. It’d be great if they put it in multiple places, but at least if they put it one place on their website, any place, it will link back to your site. Not only is that just more free exposure and marketing for your brand and your website from anybody that traffics their website, but in the eyes of Google it has value and it will raise your ranking, lower that number, closer to number one in terms of where you rank amongst all those other websites.
This is not self serving. I just want to be really clear about that, that this is not self serving to just you when you’re pushing this out. It’s not like they’re making advertising messages for you, it’s giving them the same associative power because as you rank higher, so do they in that backlink value. It goes both ways. By doing that, you’re getting the association to them being featured and then you’re writing a great testimonial for them and their backlink power, their link up power is valuable as well. It goes both ways there, there’s no reason to think that this is self serving. It is not. It’s just getting them to do it right.
It is beneficial to you, but it’s mutually beneficial is really what it is. You’re just getting them to do it properly for both of you to benefit from. You’re helping them get out of their own way and making it easier for them rather than saying, “Could you give this link to your web developer and could you have them put it on your website and link back to us? Here’s the graphic, can they load it into the media library and also put that right near the link or above the link?” You don’t have to worry about all that. The embed code does it all in one thing and it’s really, in the world of website building and revising, adjusting, it’s really easy.
There’s an example of it that we’ve done for Speaking Empire. We’ve done it both ways where you can see when you brand it for Speaking Empire, it doesn’t look quite as much like a testimonial as it does when you brand it like you. You start thinking about the differences between whether or not they’d be willing to share that, it looks like they wrote it and they posted it about themselves, which isn’t always as valuable or as third party endorsement as you would like.
I wrote an article about Dustin Matthews. This is the ego bait that comes from that particular article that I wrote. You’ll be able to see it. Then we’ll share with you how that works so you can click through and you can see where it goes, you’ll see where the embed code is working. That’s a legitimate embed code from our site to their site. It’s actually the embed code that will go straight to the article on Inc. This is the case in which this was a high value for them and they really loved it when we shared it with them.
Also, you can find it on social media because we will be pushing it out in this episode and we’re on social media, primarily on Facebook @FeedYourBrand. Thanks for listening, everybody. We’ll be back next time with another piece of this great, big platform puzzle and content puzzle. This has been Tom and Tracy on Feed Your Brand.