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Everyone has a bag full tips and tricks that they assure you will help you reach the top!
The problem is, not all of them have reached the top themselves. So they are not really talking from experience.
So on today’s podcast I invited an extremely successful blogger and entrepreneur on the show so we could find out some of his secrets.
He is making a living online through blogging, coaching and products, and he got there through hard work (of course) and by using a number of ideas he shares with us today on the podcast.
Enter John Paul Aguiar…
So what better a guest to have on the show, than someone who has made it the hard way.
In this episode we discuss a lot of great ideas about being successful blogging:
If you prefer to read the transcript, you can
Or read it below…
Ashley: Thanks for joining me today, John Paul. I appreciate your time.
John: No problem. Happy to be here.
Ashley: You’re in Massachusetts, right? If I remember correctly?
John: Yeah, a little south of Boston.
Ashley: I’m in Switzerland, as many people know. It’s actually sunny here for a change. We have quite mixed weather, I guess, like you guys, and summer’s hit us pretty early.
John: Your summer’s usually around the same time as ours?
Ashley: Yeah, yeah, sure. We have good Julys and Augusts, but the rest is kind of… I mean, when you live close to a massive mountain range, you can’t really predict what kind of weather you get. We’re actually on the wrong side of the Alps. If you’re in Italy, you get good weather. If you’re in Switzerland, you mostly get crap weather. Anyway.
John: You never know what you’re going to get. It could be 40 tomorrow, and then two days later it will be 70 degrees. It’s silly.
Ashley: Yeah, exactly. Like now, it’s awesome. It’s – I don’t know what you guys that, probably 70s or something. It’s quite nice. And then on the weekend, it’s going to just drop by sort of close to zero. So go figure. We’ve had a good winter, hasn’t snowed much, so I can’t really complain.
But anyway, let’s dig in first into your background. That’s quite an interesting one, and you’ve – I wouldn’t say shot up, but you certainly grew your following and your blog very quickly. What’s the story there? How did you start out?
John: I started out online, making money online, years ago. Probably – shoot, probably 12 years ago now. Mainly with using eBay. I was in a couple multilevel marketing companies back then. The blog idea just came from the way I was making money. I wanted a place where I could talk about it and share with people how I was making money.
That’s really where the blog first started; I was just going to talk about the stuff I was doing, like the stuff I was doing on eBay and multilevel marketing and how I was using online marketing – and back in the day, even though it wasn’t social media, but how I was using social media sites like MySpace to grab leads and traffic to the website.
And then as I blogged more over the 6 months, the blog started doing well, and then it turned into more talking about blogging and how to use the blog to do these things. So it wasn’t just how to use the stuff online, but also how to use the blog. So it turned more into a blogging about blogging and making money site.
Ashley: Was there anything specific you did back then to get yourself going? I mean, we all have our tips and tricks these days, but it’s always good to hear from someone who’s done it well.
John: In the beginning, when I first started the blog and started my stuff online, I didn’t have a lot of money, so I just mainly grabbed every free eBook I could get when I first started out online, and read everything. I read pretty much anything that I could get my hands on. And then one of the biggest things I did was the MySpace was really big for me. That drove a lot of traffic and attention to my website. And blog comments. I commented on a lot of blogs, like true, real comments.
Ashley: Not just one line.
John: Yeah, exactly. “Hey, great post.” No, I took time and energy into it, because I wanted that comment to, #1, get seen by the owner of the blog; #2, I wanted people to see it and be like, “Hey, John’s a smart kid. I want to go follow him. I’m going to go check out his blog.” So the comment didn’t have to be 30 lines, but it had to be something decent, to get people’s attention and for them to be like, “Hey, I like that. I’m going to go check John’s website out.”
Commenting was probably the biggest thing I did in the beginning that drove a lot of traffic and attention to my site. Like I said, I took a lot of time in the beginning. But in the beginning, when you’re starting the blog, I had plenty of time, so commenting was probably the biggest tool, that with MySpace, that helped the blog get seen.
And then using Twitter. When I finally actually got into Twitter and started focusing on Twitter – after using it for like 6 months, I never liked it. But then once I started learning it, Twitter, MySpace, and blog commenting were the three things that really got my blog started pretty well.
Ashley: So did you have to replace MySpace with something at a certain point? I mean, when did that die out for you?
John: Basically Twitter. In the beginning, before all this social media stuff, and even when Twitter just started – because I didn’t touch Twitter I think until it was out for over a year – I was using MySpace. On MySpace, I had like 20 accounts. It was crazy. Back then, MySpace – there were some other smaller sites that were similar to MySpace I was using that drove a lot of traffic to me.
And then as MySpace started changing, I put more focus into Twitter, and Twitter is where, pretty much once MySpace, the traffic stopped, the attention stopped, MySpace started changing, I dumped MySpace and I pretty much focused on Twitter. And then Twitter brought more traffic and attention than MySpace ever did. Within the first year.
Ashley: Yeah, from what I’ve seen when I first came across you last year, to me, you were a Twitter guy. Do you still see yourself that way, that’s your #1 place to be?
John: Yeah, man. It’s funny; in the beginning, I started writing stuff. I came out with a Twitter Dummy book 2, 3 years ago; I was writing Twitter posts. The posts did really well. I knew Twitter, and the things I knew were working really well.
When I wrote about it, it did really well, and at some point I stopped and I’m like, every time people mentioned me or talked about me, they never mentioned that John was an entrepreneur or John was a blogger. All they said is “John’s the Twitter guy.” I’m like, “Do I really want to be the Twitter guy?” Do you know what I mean?
It’s stupid; I should’ve just left it alone, because right now I’d be a god, you know what I mean? So I purposely stopped writing Twitter posts because I wanted to be the Twitter guy, but at the same time I wanted them to know, I’m a blogger, too, and I’m an entrepreneur and all these things. People weren’t seeing that. All they saw was my Twitter posts would do well, and they’d be like, “Damn, John’s the Twitter guy.” But they never mentioned, “Hey, John’s a blogger.” So I purposely stopped the Twitter stuff for a little while and wrote more blogging stuff so people can see, hey, John’s a blogger. He’s also a consultant. He’s doing other things. He’s not just this Twitter dude.
It kind of bothered me, which I don’t really know why now, because like I said, if I let it go, I would be awesome right now. But it was great, because Twitter was my #1 traffic source. Until I started getting Google traffic and the blog started getting picked up for SEO really well, Twitter was my #1 traffic source almost every month.
Ashley: What I see now – and it’s quite interesting; I have a problem with it myself. I don’t have so much time to be on Twitter. But you consistently, whenever I see you on there, you’re always responding to everything. You’re extremely consistent on that. You don’t let that go.
John: Yeah, man. I think – not saying I’ll never let it go. I think if I get to the point where I’m so busy, I’m going to have to let it go. At some point. I’m not saying it’s a thing to do forever. But I can still fit it into my day. I’m not as good as I used to be. Like before, I could literally – within a minute or two, I would write back and reply to people. Now, sometimes it takes me 30 minutes because I’ve got so much going on.
But I think if there was one thing on Twitter that I did that people copied, a lot of people have copied that never did it before, and also has probably been one of the reasons I did so well with Twitter, is acknowledging people. I can’t tweet every person. You can’t tweet back every person that tweets you. It’s just not possible. I’m not even going to try to. I can’t.
I try to pick and choose the people, people like you or people I have relationships with or friendships with. But also even some newbie people that if they consistently tweet at me, then yeah, I’m going to tweet them back. But I can’t do tit for tat. You tweet me five times, I’m going to tweet you five – I can’t do that.
But what I can do is say thank you or acknowledge that you tweeted me, because #1, people like it, they enjoy it; #2, it puts your name in front of my followers, so it might get you a little attention, because now you’re in front of my followers. So it helps both of us. It gives you some recognition, it shows you that I saw what you did, I appreciate you tweeting me, and it puts your name in front of people and it starts dialogue. You write back, and then we end up having conversation. It’s a beautiful thing.
Ashley: That’s what social media is all about, right?
John: Exactly. So is it the right thing for everybody to do? I don’t know. I know that a lot more people do it today. Since I’ve been doing it for 3 years, a lot of people do it, and it’s the right thing to do because – like I said, unless you get to the point where you’re a Chris Brogan or even you’re bigger than that, you may not have the time to thank everybody. And maybe one day I won’t have the time. But if I have the time, I’m going to keep doing it, because it works. Whether people know or not, it works. And it works really well.
Ashley: Yeah, I spoke to another guy – I don’t know, last month, I think it was. Robert Ryan. I don’t know if you know him. He’s been trying to get big in Google+ and done quite well, and he said the #1 thing he did, which he found a lot of people were not doing, was when he connects with people, or just before he connects with them, he actually writes something to them. Sounds amazing, but no one was doing it. People just connecting and not really talking necessarily.
And that’s, again, what you’re doing. You’re basically making people human and making them realize they’re there, and I think it’s a key thing we often forget in the beginning because we’re sitting behind a computer.
John: Yeah, you don’t understand – like we had talked about earlier, but when somebody’s new, when they come on Twitter, numbers to me don’t mean anything on Twitter. To most people that know anything, the numbers are not that important. But when you’re new and you have 1,000 followers and somebody with 50,000 followers or 100,000 followers or whatever replies to you, acknowledges you, and talks to you – listen, that follower is never leaving you.
They’re going to be so blown away in the fact that you replied to them, #1, that you even acknowledged them at all, because they only have 500 followers or 1,000 followers – that follower is going to pay attention to everything you write. That person will share your stuff, probably for life, unless you do something you shouldn’t do. But just the fact you acknowledged them that one time or a couple times, that person’s never going anywhere.
It’s all about the relationships. People want to know why they don’t do well on Twitter or any social platform, it’s because they don’t put the time in. To really do well on social media, it takes time. That’s why not a lot of people do well with social media. Because it takes time, and they don’t want to put the time in.
Ashley: I’m seeing a recurring theme here. I’ve heard a few other people talk about it, like Adrienne Smith [sp] with her commenting. And you did the same thing. It’s very easy to just push, push, push, get numbers, get traffic – and I’ve made the same mistakes too, focusing on the wrong things.
And again and again, I see it’s the people I know, the people who I’ve developed a relationship, even whether it’s just a small one, just a few tweets or whatever, it’s these people who will help you, who will support you, who will retweet you or whatever you want to do. I mean, these people are always there for you, and it’s an amazing thing.
John: Yeah, I tell people, even when I started commenting on blogs in the beginning, one of the biggest benefits of that is when I came out with my Twitter book – and this was like 6 months, 8 months after the fact – but when I came out with the Twitter book, I reached out to a lot of the big blogs that I would comment on and be like, “I don’t know if you know me; this is John Aguiar from JohnPaulAguiar.com. I just came out with a Twitter book. Would you mind taking a look at it? If you like it, would you do a review or at least give me some feedback on it? Any advice would be great.” Because these were big, big blogs.
And every one of them were like, “Yeah, I remember you. I know who you are. I see your comments on my blog all the time, blah blah blah.” So because of the comments, and they knew – whether they replied to my comments or not, they had seen me commenting on a regular basis with quality comments. They reviewed the book, they gave me feedback. Some of them did reviews on their blog. Some of them became affiliates. And the only reason they did that is because they had remembered that I had commented on their blog on a regular basis.
So that’s the side benefit of putting the time in, not just on comments, but with social media. People will remember you. Whether they acknowledge you with replying to your comment or acknowledge a tweet, if you have done it on a consistent basis, if you’ve supported whatever they’re doing, at some point, if you need some help, pretty much 9, 10 out of 10, they’re going to say no problem. They’re going to say, “John, I’ll tweet that for you if you need help.”
Whether they’ve ever acknowledged your tweet or whatever, they’ve seen you put the time in to support them. They will give back to that, because most people online, most of your bloggers and all that, they’re great people. Don’t come out of nowhere, tweet them once and then ask for a favor. That’s not going to work.
But if you’ve consistently been there, months at a time where you’ve been supporting them and whatever they’re doing, whether it’s a tweet, a share, a comment, whatever it is, when it comes time that you’re going to need something – you come out with a new website, a new product, or you come out with a really important blog post that you want a little extra help getting out there, if you reach out to people – if you reach out to me and I’ve seen you tweeting me, I’m going to tweet your post for you, no problem. No problem at all.
Because I’ve seen you in my network, I’ve seen you tweet my stuff, I’ve seen you support what I’m doing, I’m going to get back to you. And that’s the benefit of building these relationships, because when you need them for something big, they’ll be there to help you.
Ashley: That’s the funny thing. You hear about this stuff, and sometimes, even as a newbie, I was a little bit dubious or didn’t really fully understand what all this meant. I mean, yeah, develop relationships; that’s the most important thing. But right now, you’re giving an awesome, concrete example of “I had this thing. I knew these people. I just asked, in a nice way, for a favor, a little bit of help,” whether it’s just a comment or a review or whatever they’ve got time for or whatever they care to give you, and they will do it if they know you.
And the more they know you, the more they’ll do for you. It’s just like real life, right? I mean, if you go up to someone on the street and they have no idea who you are, and you ask for $50 bucks… what’s going to happen? Not much. Whereas if you’ve spoken to this person before or helped them or whatever, they’re more likely to be encouraged.
Actually, a boss of mine once did that. We had some guys come over from Spanish office, and he wanted them to do something he knew they didn’t want to do. So he bought them all chocolates when they arrived. And then later on, a few days later in the week, he had to ask them to stay longer, and he knew that that was going to happen, but they didn’t realize. Then because he’d been so nice to them, they kind of felt obliged to be nice to him.
Now, I don’t like the idea of being obliged, but it’s this give-and-take and relationship stuff, and I think it’s the key to everything we do. It’s really cool to hear that what you did in the beginning. You got to know people, you commented. I think commenting is awesome. You get links, too, quite often, which is really cool as well, of course.
John: Exactly. But it’s one of those things, it’s a fine line. You have to be there, because if you tweet me once or you comment once, and then 3 months later, out of nowhere, you reach out to me, then chances are I’m going to ignore you. There’s a fine line. You don’t want it to come off where you only were supporting me because you were planning to do something. You don’t want to do that, because that’s a bad look, and most big bloggers will ignore you.
So it’s a fine line. You don’t want to only comment because, “Hey, I know in 2 months I’ve got a book coming out.” Don’t do that. There’s no exact number where you need to support me where then you can come up to me and ask for a favor. There’s no number, there’s no set thing. But it’s definitely not one or two.
I have people who reach out to me and I’ve never seen these people before; they follow me, “Hey, thanks for following,” and then the next day they’re asking me for help and I’m like, “I don’t even know you.” It’s not just that I don’t know you; I have other people that support me all the time. I haven’t even helped them. So if I’m going to help anybody, I’m going to say yes to the people who’ve been there for months or years, even, if they need a favor. I’m there to help them out.
Not so much for somebody who I don’t even know that tweeted me one time and now already wants a favor tomorrow. It just doesn’t work that way. So there’s no set number, but make sure you’re there for awhile before you reach out to them, because most people will ignore you if they feel – first of all, if you ask way too soon. In the beginning, I like to tell people it’s all about giving. You have to give, give, give before you get.
But if you give, give, trust me, at some point, when it comes time that you need to get a little help, the people will be there. Now, don’t ask all the time; again, you don’t want to do that all the time, either. But when you need something big, something important, you reach out to the people you’ve been supporting – trust me, every one of them will say yes. Every one of them will say yes.
Ashley: Yeah, I usually do the opposite. I rarely ask for anything, and if it is, it’s usually professional that helps both sides. But maybe I should occasionally actually ask for something that I worked for and didn’t even realize. But anyway, I’m usually the opposite, as I say.
Because I have people writing to me, asking me for stuff or asking me to review a plug-in or whatever, and sometimes they don’t even know my name, and I’m thinking, “What? Are you insane?” I mean, really. “Dear Sir.” Really?
John: Oh, the “sir” and “ma’am.” The other day somebody called me – what did they call me? Oh, “I love your blog. I read it all the time,” and then they call me some random – oh, they thought it was two people that owned – my name is John Paul. They thought it was two people. They said “I’m glad you guys are doing great, John and Paul.” I’m like, “Are you serious?”
Seriously. If you read the very first line of my blog, since you read my blog so much, the very first paragraph is “Who is John Paul?” It’s one person. Like, seriously, if you’re going to reach out to people, then make sure you know what you’re talking about.
People who write me and they’re too polite, too overly nice, I don’t like it because it’s fake. You read the blog, great. You want to tell me you like the blog, that’s great. Get to the point. Tell me what you want or what you need. Pretty much don’t kiss my ass too much, because then it comes off where you’re probably lying, and it bothers me. I don’t like it.
You want to be nice, obviously, you want to be polite, you want to make sure you know who you’re talking to, but please, get the name right. Get the name. Most people’s blogs, their name is right in the beginning of the blog, so if you haven’t even taken the time to go get their name from their blog, then you shouldn’t be emailing them.
Ashley: It’s usually spammy stuff anyway. But occasionally it looks good, and I still think, “Well, this actually looks like something that I would read and may respond to.” But it would’ve taken you 2 seconds – on the top of every single post, almost; I’ve hardly had any guest posts – almost every single post, on the bottom of the footer, in the sidebar, on the author page…
John: Anywhere. Most blogs have an About Me box. They have information. Literally, if you take 10 seconds, you go on somebody’s blog, in 10 seconds you’ll get their name. If you didn’t take the 10 seconds, don’t sit here – it’s one thing to not do that, but then sitting and telling me you read my blog all the time, yet you don’t know my name. It just sounds so silly. You’re going to get ignored.
Pretty much every blogger is going to do that. That’s not just me. Pretty much anybody you reach out to in that way, you’re going to get ignored. So make sure you know what you’re doing, make sure you know what you’re asking for and you know the person you’re reaching out to. Make sure you have read their blog, because I’m telling you, they will remember you.
Trust me, people will remember you. If you comment on their blog, you tweet their stuff, whether they reply to you or not, they will remember your name or your face. They will remember you. Because even back in my example, when I did the book, these authors never replied to my comments. Most of them never replied, because their blogs are huge and they pretty much never reply to anybody’s comments except one or two, or they pick and choose.
But they never replied to any of mine, so I didn’t even know if these people would know me. That’s why I was like, “Hey, I don’t know if you know me. My name’s John. I’m from this site,” thinking they didn’t even know who I was, and they all knew who I was. Even though, like I said, they never replied back.
So trust me, bloggers will remember. Whether you act like you’re their biggest cheerleader, they’ll know you’re lying, because trust me, every blogger knows. I’m sure you, Ashley, you know the people that comment on your blog on a regular basis. You know them by name or face.
So when somebody just comes out of nowhere and says, “Hey, I love your blog. I’m always there,” you’re going to know they’re lying because you’re going to be like, “I’ve never seen you there. I’ve never seen you comment, I’ve never seen you on Facebook, Twitter, nowhere.” So don’t lie, because these people, they know.
Ashley: One other thing I was going to touch on as well, which is a few months ago now – I don’t know if you remember this comment where I said I really liked the design of your blog, because I see so many bad blogs or generic designs. You did a really nice thing. Yours has got a very specific color scheme. It’s yours. I really like that. What was your thinking behind that? That’s a really good thing to do.
John: I don’t know. When I first started the blog, I liked the black. Everybody has a white blog, and everybody had the same exact look. Back in the day, pretty much every blog that came out was white and blue. So I wanted to go darker. I didn’t want the content area to be dark, but I wanted the blog to be dark. Because whether you love it or hate it, you’re going to remember it.
There’s a lot of black blogs now, but mostly they’re not really in blogging; they’re in other niches. So when you see a black blog, there’s not a lot of them out there, so #1, it’s going to stand out. #2, it helps me grab a popular color, like with my lime green. That stands out against the black. So things that I want you to see, like my opt-in box and stuff, it pops against the black because it’s so bright. If I had a white site with that lime green, it would get washed out. It wouldn’t be as noticeable.
It was just to be different, really. And like I said, some people love it; some people don’t like the black. But anything you do, people are going to love it and hate it.
Ashley: Yeah. Black typically, yeah, it’s like music or various entertainment kind of things. It’s not something normally in blogs. But what just got me was it was really consistently done, and it was really striking.
It was nicely designed, too. I notice that a lot of this stuff is either generic, where no one’s actually put any touches anywhere, or it doesn’t stand out, as you say, or it’s just a standard blue or whatever. But yeah, it was really cool.
I think that’s really key. A few discussions I’ve had on this topic with people before, even regarding Pinterest and stuff, is if you don’t have branding consistency – and I’ve only come across this myself in the last 6 months. I was always using various colors and colors that didn’t fit my color scheme on my blog posts, pins, or whatever.
Now I’ve realized, hang on a second; when you have a brand and you have a color scheme, and even fonts, you’ve got to keep them the same all the time. Then people know who you are everywhere you go.
John: It’s the branding. It’s taking the branding and matching it. If you look at my Twitter account, my Facebook, and my YouTube – well, YouTube, they just changed it for whatever reason.
Ashley: Yeah, they keep changing it.
John: The colors are the same. The design is exactly the same, the color is exactly the same. And #1, when somebody lands on your Facebook page, you want them to know that they have the right blog, they have the right John Paul. You want them to know they’re at the right site.
If you’ve got the same colors, the same theme, the same font, the same message, 100% they know that’s your Facebook page. Same with Twitter. If they land on that Twitter account, they want to know that you’re the same person. It makes it easier for people to see. It expands your brand. People get used to seeing the black and the lime green for me. They’ll see the black and lime green all the time. They’ll see the same font. They’ll see the same type of design where it’s possible. They’re going to see the same look and feel.
You want to do that just to make it easier for people to find you, and to brand your stuff so when somebody sees – when I do a PowerPoint on SlideShare, the design is exactly the same as my blog. So when you see that PowerPoint, you don’t even have to read the name; you know that’s John’s website, that’s something John did, because it matches the colors, it matches the information.
Ashley: I think people don’t realize or they don’t think about doing it. Because we are so used to seeing it. You know Coke, you know Nike. The colors, the fonts, the style, it’s always the same. It’s always consistent. But we don’t actually think about it.
When you see someone doing it, it’s great because it has so much value. I mean, having your brand, having consistency, being recognizable – as much as we’re not Coke or Ford or whoever, I think it’s a great thing to do. So yeah, I think that’s a really good tip you’ve got there.
John: Well, you see the companies will buy advertising, like the big guys, they buy advertising on these big websites. They’re not looking for clicks. They’re just doing it for brand awareness. They’ll pay all that money, thousands of dollars to put a banner ad on one of these big time sites that get 200,000, 300,000 page views a month. They’re not looking for clicks to their website; they’re just doing that just for brand awareness, just so people constantly see their brand. Just like with commercials.
So that’s how important branding is and getting people to see your colors, see your brand. You have these big companies that’ll pay thousands, even millions of dollars sometimes, just to put their ad somewhere just so you see it.
Just like when you see billboards on the highway. There’s usually not an address to go to; there’s not a phone number. It’s just the logo, whatever little message they want to say that day. It’s just getting their brand in your face. That’s worth a lot of money.
So if they’re willing to pay that amount of money just to get their brand seen by people, that should tell you how important it is to keep your brand in front of people across your social platforms, on your blog, on any marketing material you do, anything. At least put your colors on there, at the very least, your logo and your colors.
Ashley: Yeah, it’s a great idea. Also even on images and stuff that I share on Pinterest, I at least put my web address on the bottom corner, and I try and remember to do that all the time. Yeah, it’s really easy for people then just to see it.
It has that effect. All this psychological stuff, it’s very hard to pin it down and say “this has this effect and this has this effect,” but it works. I mean, people have been selling for decades, and it works, so everybody should do it.
John: You can’t pinpoint it and say, “Hey, somebody saw my brand on Twitter and that’s why they’re following” – you don’t really know. It’s not like you can get an ROI on it. But you know that putting that in front of people over time, it works.
Like you said, companies have been doing this for a long time, and there’s a reason why they do that. There’s a reason why Coca-Cola wants you to see their logo, why Nike shows you their swoosh all the time. There’s a reason for that.
And if there’s a reason and they’re doing it and they’re willing to spend that kind of money with all their R&D department and all that research they do, there’s a reason they do that, you should know why you should do it. On a smaller scale, but you should do the same thing, because they spend a lot of money to tell them to do that, and they’re not going to do it just for the fun of it, because advertising is not cheap. So you should copy that.
Same with images. I use the same image of myself – I tell people, use the same image everywhere. If you change it, make sure you change it everywhere. So when people are on your blog, they see your face, you want to make sure it’s the same face they see on Twitter, on Facebook, because some people out there, some of their face pictures, it looks like two different people.
That’s part of your branding too. You want people to remember your face, so when they get to your blog, they say, “Hey, there’s Ashley.” When they go to Twitter, they’ll be like, “I know this is Ashley’s page because that’s Ashley’s face.” It’s the same image. So it works the same for images.
Ashley: Yeah, I just wish that Google+ would let me add my new photo. I got a new photo and I put it on all my different sites, because again, I wanted to be consistent. I still have not – I don’t know why Google is rejecting. So my G+ is not updated, and I think maybe one other platform. But pretty much I’ve done the lot. But yeah, it’s just rejecting me.
John: That’s another thing that people should do, and I see a lot of people not doing that. And it’s such a simple thing, but again, it matters, whether it’s to make it easy for people to find – if somebody wants to find you on Twitter, if your branding is not there, that’s one mistake. But if your picture is there, then at least they’ll see, “Hey, that’s Ashley. I remember his face from his blog.” They know they have the right person.
So at the very least, make sure your picture matches. Anywhere that you can, make sure it matches. If you change it on your blog, you decide “I’m going to update it to a nicer picture,” then make sure you update everything.
That way it’s consistent, they know they have the right Ashley, the right John, they know it’s the right person. It makes it so much easier for people to find you, follow you, whatever they need to do. They know they have the right person.
Ashley: Yeah, I think it’s great to have consistency everywhere, and that’s certainly something I’ve gradually started to realize. And the picture is really key as well. I know what’s really funny, I find, is sometimes I do these podcasts and sometimes with image, sometimes without, and you meet the people and you’re like “Oh my God. They don’t look like their picture.”
John: And it’s a mistake, right? Some people don’t even – they have a horrible front picture. I know everybody wants to get creative, and creativity goes so far. You don’t want a face picture that’s so creative that I don’t know what I’m looking at. You don’t want to do that.
My picture sucks. It’s all I had at that time, and what happened is now that I used it, I haven’t updated pictures recently, so I’m stuck with the same picture. At some point, I have to update it. It’s not something you want to update all the time either, but when you do update it, make sure it’s clear, people can see you, you have a nice picture. It’s clear, I can see you.
You want to make things personal on social media and on your blog. Best way to do it is have a good quality picture. If you like taking pictures, great, but you don’t need to change your headshot every week. I’m visual, so I follow people on Twitter and I see their picture, I know it’s them.
Soon as they change their picture, the other day I was looking, I’m like “I lost this guy.” And in reality, he just changed his image. Because I’m so visual, I see pictures and I remember faces, I didn’t even know the guy. We’ve been talking, we’ve been friends online for 2 years, but because he changed his picture to something completely different, I completely lost him. Just because he changed his picture. And this is a guy I talk to and we shared each other’s stuff for a good 2 years.
A lot of people are like that. A lot of people are visual. So once you change your picture, you don’t want to do it all the time because there’s no need to. Do you know what I mean?
Ashley: Yeah, it takes ages to get used to it again. It almost has like a pattern, a visual recognition pattern. I see that in Twitter too, because it’s quite small. It’s not like you’re really looking at it; you just kind of catch it in the corner of your eye, and if someone suddenly changes the whole look of it – say like yours is black and white, and if you then change it to complete other color, complete other profile, look of your face or whatever, then it’ll take a few looks for me to get used to that.
John: You notice that. That’s how I am; I’m visual. If I ask for directions, I don’t want stress addresses. Give me the blue building, the big rock on the corner. I used to be a bus driver. That’s how I would remember the bus stops. When you have a school bus driver, I had to stop at 30 bus stops. You don’t remember that because of street signs. I used visual signs.
So I’m visual, and a lot of people are like that. When you change your picture – like you said, I don’t focus on the pictures because they’re so small, but when they’re different, you notice it. And sometimes if you don’t pay attention – because some people don’t use their name on Twitter; their handle won’t say Ashley. It’ll say something else. So if you remove your picture and that’s how I normally connect with you, I’m lost. A lot of people are like that.
Again, you want to change it once in awhile, you want to update, obviously, because as you get into this more, you get better at things, you take better pictures. Obviously update. But it’s not something you need to do every month. There’s no reason for you to change your photo, your headshot, every month. There’s no need to.
But when you do change and you decide it’s time for an upgrade, make sure it’s clear, make sure it shows your face, and make sure you change it everywhere. That way it stays consistent. Like you said, it takes time for people to get used to it again. Give them that time. Don’t change it before people are used to it again, because then you’re just messing with your brand.
Coke doesn’t change their logo anytime. Nike swoosh is the same swoosh all the time. You may see it in different colors; it’s the same design. You just want to keep that and stay consistent. If you’re not doing the branding, at least have your headshot, clean, professional, and matches.
Ashley: One other thing you do, which we were discussing before we started recording, was your start on blogging is, as well, quite unique compared to what a lot of people do. You blog when you have something to say.
We were discussing this as well before, how not just blogging for the sake of blogging and regurgitating the same stuff that absolutely everybody is doing. You write something when you have something to say and you feel you have some value to give. Is this how you’ve done it from the beginning?
John: No, I think as a new blogger, when I started in the beginning, the first year of blogging I was kind of lazy. But after about a year, I really got into it and I was consistent with between two and three posts every week. In the beginning, you have to do that because you have to build that momentum. You’ve got to get enough content out there for people to see you.
Once they see you and they consistently see you, then you can fall back to one good post a week. I would still stay at two. I do one post a week just because I’m busy. If I had the time, I would stay at two posts. I think two posts is like the perfect amount of attention where you keep Alexa happy, you keep a nice flood of traffic coming in every day.
Because for me, my blog posts usually have a lifespan of about 3 days. I notice shares and attention coming in for about 3 days. So if I give myself 3 days, then by the fourth day it’s kind of quiet. If I hit myself by the fifth, sixth day, that’s two posts in a week; that gives, for me personally, enough time for each blog post to do its job for about 3 or 4 days.
On a perfect week, I can get two posts out. If I don’t, then I try to do one good post. I think for most bloggers, I would say do at least two posts a week. If you’re new, maybe even three, just to get the content out there, get people to see you. The more stuff you have out there, the better chance they’ll see you.
Once you start building a nice following, then you can cut it back to two quality posts. Depending on your blog and your goals, you can write about whatever you want; it just depends on your goals. But I think two quality posts a week, that’s a perfect amount of content that doesn’t overwhelm most bloggers and still keeps a nice steady flow of traffic coming in and nice shares and keeps your readers happy and learning, and not too much.
Because you know, if you have a blog and you’re teaching something, then you don’t want to go too crazy with content either, because people don’t want to learn three new things in that week. One or two, give them time to make it work, and then teach them something next week.
They don’t need to learn five new tips or five new techniques in one week. Honestly, they don’t want to learn that much. They may tell you they do, but I don’t believe people want to learn that much information in one week, because if they multiply “five tips Ashley taught me, five tips John taught me this week, five tips ProBlogger or Chris Brogan taught me,” they are now – again, what we talked about off the call – information overload. It’s just too much.
I’d rather you do two great posts, which is what I did in the beginning, and that built my blog up pretty well. Just doing two consistent posts. On a good week, I would do three. But two quality posts a week is mostly what I did, and what I try to do now. I just don’t have the time.
Ashley: Yeah, that’s a different situation. But I was just thinking more what you were doing in the beginning, and I’ve also done the same. I’ve done two from the beginning, and I also space them out based on the reactions I see and also the statistics I see in analytics. In the first day, it builds up; the second day, it gets big; the third day, it drops. So by the third, fourth day, I’m looking to post something else.
John: You notice the second day is bigger than the first too?
Ashley: Usually. It depends. Monday to Friday for our niche, for blogging and stuff, because people do it as work, or at least while they’re working; that’s not for fun. Typically I don’t get a lot on the weekends. So I do stuff on Monday and Wednesday or Monday and Thursday.
John: Yeah, I like Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursdays are my best days. Once in awhile I’ll do like an infograph on a Saturday. It does pretty well, but that’s kind of a filler post. If I didn’t have time to do a pos during the week, then I’ll throw an infograph. Like tomorrow, I may do one tomorrow.
I like infographs. I don’t want to do too many, because I don’t want to be just about that, but every once in awhile – like I did one a couple weeks ago.
But I notice the same thing: when I do a blog post, the first day it does well; the second day is where it kills it. Which is really weird, but the second day of the post, no matter what day of the week it is, the second day for me is always bigger than the actual day I published it.
I thought that was just me, so the fact that you say that, it’s probably the case for most people then.
Ashley: It gathers some kind of – I don’t know if it’s whether people see other people have shared it. I use things like Triberr as well, and I have a feeling on the first day that it doesn’t get pushed to the top at first in certain areas, where I get promotions, whatever.
But yeah, it’s an interesting thing. But I certainly recommend people follow that and really pay attention to – even using things on Twitter like follow along to see what days or what times your audience is active. The same thing with your blog, always watching when people are reading and not posting.
Like on the weekend, if they’re not reading on the weekend. And if you’re doing entertainment stuff or whatever, I imagine that Friday, Saturday, Sunday is a better time to post. So people need to pay attention to that.
John: Yeah, and like I said, they’ve got to give their posts long enough. To write a blog post nowadays, it takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of time and energy. No matter what type of post you’re writing, it takes work. So if I’m going to put that work into that blog post, I want that blog post to work as hard as it can for me.
Putting a post out on Monday and then doing another one on Tuesday makes no sense, because the one on Monday’s not going to have time to work. If you’re putting too many posts back to back, none of them are going to work as well as they would for you if you’d give them a 3 to 4 day window. Even more.
Because like I said, for me, my posts last and bring in traffic and attention for shares for 3 solid days. The fourth day, it starts to slow down. By the fifth day, I notice it’s a little quiet. Unless it’s a monster post, which happens every once in awhile. But on a normal post that gets the normal attention, I do well for 3 days; fourth day, it’s about half. The fifth day, it’s already starting to get quiet. So by the sixth day, it’s pretty much dead. I can hit it with a new post.
And everybody’s different. Some people may kill it for 7 days. Some people, their posts may do well for 2 days. Like you said, pay attention to that, and then give it time to do its thing. If it’s still getting a lot of traffic on the third day, then don’t do another post, because that post is still doing well. Let it do well.
It took you a lot of time and energy to write that post; don’t piggyback it too quickly because if you do two posts too close together, once of them is going to suffer. One of them is going to do worse than the other because maybe your second one is better than your first, or maybe the second one’s topic is more engaging than the first.
So that first post is going to get lost because the second one is going to kill it, but yet you did the same amount of work. You write the first post, you put in the time and research or whatever you did for it. Give it time to do its thing. Give it at least 3 days, at the very least.
Ashley: Yeah, sure. I totally agree, because what people don’t realize is there used to be – I think it’s dying these days, but there used to be a lot of posts saying “more often, every day, blah blah blah.” It’s just rubbish, because apart from getting maybe more attention from Google – and I think two to three still gets that. Quality, targeted, good keywords nicely filtered in, not just spammy, I think is far better.
As you say, giving it time to live its life, because if you start spamming your audience with a post a day – firstly, what sort of stuff are you generating?
John: Exactly, that’s what it comes down to.
Ashley: And who’s going to be reading it? Because I see stuff that’s sometimes only 400 or 500 words long, and I’m thinking, “Okay, I’m just getting started into a topic and it’s finished. I didn’t learn anything. Okay, why am I going to come back here? It’s not worth my time.”
John: Yeah, I think everybody – I try to get to the point quickly. I notice I write longer posts now than I used to, and back in the day I think my shorter posts did better than the long ones. I take as many words as I need to say what I need to say. If that takes 500 words, so be it. Get to the point and get out. That’s my motto.
If it takes me 2,000 words, then that’s what it’s going to take. I write it, then I edit it down, and if I’m left with 500 words but you learn something, I’m good with that. And that’s what I want. Like you said, if you’re going to read something, I want to learn something. If I read 500 words and the post is done but it hasn’t done anything, then that’s a mistake.
But if you learn something in that 500, then great. Should all your posts be 500 words? No. But if you’re going to do a short post, make sure you get to the point, get in, teach somebody something or whatever you’re trying to do, then get out.
And then that depends on your niche. If your niche is technology or news, then yeah, you’ve got to post five times a day. It just depends on what type of blog you want. If you’re an AdSense blogger, then you have to have a different technique than a blogger who’s trying to build his brand and be an expert and seen as a brand and an expert in the field. Then you have to blog a different way.
You have to blog a way that fits you. If you’re an AdSense blogger, then one post a week is not going to do much for you. You’re pretty much wasting your time, right? Because you need that traffic to come in consistently, so you need to post every day.
If you’re a brand blogger, then you can get away with one monster post a week because you’re building a brand, and people want that. If you’re trying to be a brand and you’re trying to be an expert, then don’t take on too many guest posts, because then you take the focus off of your blog and you, and you’re giving it to other people.
Which is okay once in awhile, but to have a guest post every week, or numerous guest posts every week, is a mistake, because that’s not your thing. That’s not what you should be doing. ProBlogger does because he doesn’t care anymore. He’s an expert, he’s awesome. His blog is filled with guest posts because he doesn’t care anymore. He’s already built it.
Chris Brogan, 90% of his blog posts are him. Why? Because he’s a brand. He’ll do a guest post or he’ll do a blog post about somebody else, but most of his blog posts, from what I see, are him. It’s about him. It’s him writing it. Not a lot of guest posts going on.
If you want to build a brand, then it has to be about you. So the advice we’re giving you is it just depends on what type of blog you are and what your goals are. What works for one won’t work for others.
Ashley: There’s a lot of variety out there. I think our niche and the kind of stuff that we try and teach people is building your brand, whether it’s your business or your personal brand, and writing content that’s recognizable as yours.
I take on occasional guest posts, too, and it also gives you some relief, because you have other stuff to do. But I wouldn’t want to do it often, and I’m really, really picky. Actually, I don’t get many applications because I put a really heavy door on saying “If you want to apply, fill this out, because I am not going to take rubbish.”
Because it makes me look bad. I mean, why would I want to do that? I’ve built up this blog, I’ve spent a year doing it, and then all of a sudden I let someone write a crappy, spam-filled post with lots of links and no decent content. I think I’ve only had five people on, and they’ve all written really fantastic stuff.
John: See, blogging is just like anything else. It’s like being a pro athlete. It’s not about what you did last year; it’s what you’ve done for me lately. You could build up a beautiful blog, Ashley. You let out one or two guest posts that are crap, your blog is now crap.
People are not going to remember how great your content was, “Ooh, Ashley, last month he had great stuff.” They’re going to remember what you did recently, and if your most recent stuff is consistently letting these really bad guest posts on your blog, people are going to walk away from your blog because they look at you – and I’ve told people this: it doesn’t matter if it’s your content. It doesn’t matter if it’s somebody else’s content. It’s your blog.
If you need to edit it within reason, talk to the person. If it’s not quality, do not put it on your blog, because what’s going to happen is – and this happens all the time. In maybe 3 or 4 years, I think I’ve let four or five guest posts on my blog. Only.
#1, that’s great because now Google isn’t big on guest blogging, so I actually did something that Google loves, completely by accident. And same with you, because you’ve been really tight, which is great, because now everybody’s trying to be more tight. So we did something that we didn’t expect it to be a good thing for Google, so it’s one thing for Google I can say I did well without even knowing it.
But the thing is, when people read those guest posts, say a few days later, when they reply on Twitter, they don’t say “Hey, Ashley, great post on John’s blog”; they’ll say “John, great content.” They either don’t realize it’s a guest post or they don’t care. They tell me “great post, “and then I’ll tell them, “Yeah, Ashley did a great job” or something.
But they’ll come back to me, and if they didn’t like it or if they have a question, they bring it to me. So they end up assuming it’s my post, even though obviously it’s a guest post. It’s told there’s a guest writer on there, it said it’s a guest post. They’ll assume it’s yours.
So if you let that content go on your blog, most people are going to assume it’s yours, and they’re going to come at you, even though you know it’s a guest post, you said it’s a guest. They’ll come to you, even though you didn’t write it.
Anything that goes on your blog has to be quality, whether you wrote it or not, because at the end of the day it’s going to affect you. People are going to question you and be like, “Hey John, that post was crap” or “That post, I’ve read that 50 times somewhere else.” They’re going to look bad at you, even though they know you didn’t write it. You don’t want to do that.
Like you said, guest posting once in awhile is a great way to get some free time, and it helps you when you need it, but you have to make sure that content is 100%. And if you’re trying to be a blogger that’s trying to build a brand – like when I do a guest post, if I let somebody guest post on my blog, I don’t let them talk about Twitter because I want to be the guy teaching Twitter. I don’t need anybody coming in to teach Twitter.
I want people to come in that write about stuff that I don’t normally write about, so that way it’s a benefit to me because I may learn something, but then my readers will learn something because it’s not – like I’ll let you do a post about Instagram. I don’t talk about Instagram, but I know it’s something people should know.
So I’ll have somebody come in and talk about Instagram because I don’t talk about it, it fits my blog readers because it’s social media blogging, and it teaches them something, and it’s not affecting me and my brand because I’m not trying to teach Instagram.
If you do guest blogs, if you do it in that way, it’s a win all across the board, because it doesn’t affect you, helps your readers learn something new, and maybe you, because you’ll get some tips.
Ashley: That’s exactly what I’ve done before too. I actually had a girl on about 6 months ago, and it took me awhile to let her on because she was an absolutely nobody. In fact, the blog that she did have was something about crocheting or something like that. She was writing to me saying, “I want to do a guest post on Google.” I’m like, “What? Who are you?”
I said, “First of all, send me some posts.” “Oh, I don’t really have any. I just do this crocheting blog with my friend.” I’m like, “Uh huh, and what are you going to write?” She’s like, “Okay, I work for a social media company in the UK. I do this professionally, and I want to start to get a name for myself.” I was like, “Okay, well, I’m still a bit dubious, but send me the post.”
And she did, and it was absolutely awesome. It was fantastic. I mean, by giving her the chance – it took me awhile, but I gave her the chance, and it was a fantastic post on how to use Business pages on Google+, and it’s actually one of the most shared things I’ve ever had. It was mainly because of the Google +s that it got.
Yeah, she wrote a really killer post on how to use Google Business pages, which not a lot of people write about, and she really knew her stuff because she does it as a job. But yeah, she had no brand.
John: The problem is, when you get people like these – if you’re going to write for me and you want to request to write for me, make sure you have a blog. Because people come to me and they’re just freelance writers or they’re writers for other companies; I’m not going to let you on my blog.
Because if I’m going to help anyone, I’m going to help other bloggers. Legitimate bloggers. People that actually have a blog that’s about something, that’s been here for awhile. So if I’m going to help anybody, #1, it’s going to be people that, like we talked earlier, has been in my community supporting me.
Especially if I’m going to give them the prime real estate on my blog, which I don’t give to anybody, really, then it has to be somebody I really care about, that I know has been there helping me, I know knows their stuff, and they’re a blogger and they’re trying to build up their blog. I’m going to help them.
I have a lot of people that reach out and they don’t even have a blog. They don’t even have a website. Or I have the other people that say, “Can I write for you, and do you mind if I put my client’s links in the bio?”
I’m like, are you insane? Who’s going to say yes to that? Why would I let you write on my blog? You don’t even have a blog; you’re just a freelance writer, and you’re going to put links to a random company in the bio just because you wrote the post? That’s insane to me. Why would you even ask that? I don’t know many bloggers that would say yes to that that care about their blog. I just don’t get it.
Ashley: That’s how guest posting has gotten a bad name, I guess. We don’t realize it, but it’s from exactly that, putting posts that link to irrelevant companies just to get links built through some kind of semi-trusting method of guest posting. I guess that’s why guest posting has…
John: Listen, I read a big social media blog probably 4 or 5 months ago, like good quality, guy’s really nice, has a great social media blog. He had one of these posts on his blog, and I was kind of blown away that he let it on his blog, because I like him, I respect him. He knows his stuff. We’ve talked before, talked on Skype.
And he had one of these posts, and the post – I forgot what it was about. It was something about social media. But in the bio, there were two links. One was a keyword to mittens, something mittens, and the other one was something else. But it was so random, and I’m like “This is probably the same girl that wrote me months ago.”
I can’t believe that he allowed that, and now the link is going to some mittens site. I’m like, seriously. And he’s quality. He’s got an awesome blog, and he’s a smart dude. I’m like, why would you allow that? Unless he missed it, but how do you miss that? It’s your blog, man. You’re the one that’s got to publish it.
Ashley: You’ve got to check all the links.
John: Yeah. It had the full keyword, because it was keyword tagged. It was like something mittens. I went to the link, just because I was blown away that he would even allow it, and it was to some site selling gloves or mittens for kids. I’m like, why would you do that?
Like you said, that’s what’s ruined guest posting, guest blogging, is those type of things. But then when big blogs like his allow that, it blows me away that he allowed it. It just blows me away.
Ashley: Yeah, so I think the big message that’s coming across from our discussion is keep your branding tight, keep your content tight, consistent, your branding consistent, your name consistent, your picture consistent, and your standards high, and your blog is your home. It is your home base. Your social media can die overnight; your blog is always there. Your name on the web is always there.
You’ve gone and done that, and now that you’ve done that, this is the last thing I wanted to talk to you about: you’ve created your brand, you’ve actually made a living from it, and you have now gone and expanded that, and now you’ve got a second blog with high quality bloggers and high quality content.
Do you want to just give us a quick rundown of what’s going on with your new website?
John: Yeah, the new website is called BrainyMarketer.com. It’s basically like 13 authors, one “expert” author per category. So I’m the Twitter guy, I’m the blogging guy. We have one person for Instagram, we have one author for Google+, one author for Facebook, small business, we have branding, Pinterest, everything.
So you’re learning from one person per category, so that way it makes it easy to learn from. You’re only getting content and techniques from one author. And it’s trusted authors. These are people that I’ve followed for years. I know they know what they’re doing; I’ve seen them do what they say they do. And if I can trust them and I’m learning from them, then I know other people will too.
It’s just real people. It’s a place where you can come get trusted content, because nowadays in the social media, and even the blogging niche, it’s really hard to find people that really, really do what they say and actually getting results.
It’s easy to say you’re a Twitter expert, but you’ve got to back that up with proof of that. It’s easy to say that you’re killing it on Facebook, but you’ve got to have proof of that. If you don’t have that proof, then it’s really hard to find people that have proof to follow what they’re saying.
That’s kind of the reason for the website and why I started it, because it’s getting harder and harder for people to find quality people that they can learn from and honestly learn from, and take that information and act on it and see results by building their blog, or if it’s an online business, or even an offline small business.
So that’s basically the process for the site, the thought process, the idea of it.
Ashley: That’s a great idea in this day and age, because there is an absolute explosion of blogs, and in our niche as well, blogging and social media and small business. I’ve seen all the names you’ve mentioned, and I think I know 90% of them at least, and they all do completely focus on that niche that you’ve got them for, and they do know what they’re talking about and they are successful.
Because yeah, there’s tons of people out there who just wave a flag, saying, “I’m a YouTube guy” or “I’m a whatever guy,” but then there’s people who’ve been doing it for 5 or 10 years and actually have…
John: Can prove it. Somebody says “I’m a YouTube guy,” then you’d better have a lot of subscribers, #1; #2, your videos better get a lot of views and comments. That’s just the basic basics you should have if you want to call yourself an expert.
If you’re a Twitter expert, then you should get – one of the main things is your posts should get shared on Twitter. If you can’t get 10 tweets on a post in this day and age, as a blogger, then you have no business calling yourself an expert.
It’s just the little basics. If you can’t back it up with proof of your own stuff – I don’t care what you do for other people; if you can’t get tweets on your own blog, then your advice isn’t going to help anybody else, because if it was that good of advice, obviously your stuff would be doing the best, because it’s your stuff.
Ashley: Yeah, that’s why it’s funny to see people who do stuff as a job, but yet their social media profiles are – I mean, it doesn’t have to be 50,000 followers, but at least significant. I mean, you would expect…
John: The numbers matter. At some point, the numbers matter. It’s not all about the numbers, but at some point, if you’re going to tell me you’re a social media expert, then you’d better have more than 1,000 Twitter followers. That’s just the reality.
I’m not a numbers guy. I have 136,000 Twitter followers. Does that mean anything at the end of the day? Yeah, kinda. It means at least I’m doing something right, because you don’t get 136,000 real followers – not fake, not paid-for followers – if you don’t know what you’re doing.
But at the end of the day, does that 136,000 make me better than somebody with 50,000? Not really. But it does make me better than the person with 1,000, because at some point the numbers do come into play.
If you don’t call yourself an expert, then that’s fine. But if you’re going to walk around saying you’re – the new one, the social media strategist, or some fancy name, then you need to have decent numbers as far as following to fit that. And at the end of the day, your blog should fit that also. Your blog should match that. It should match what you’re saying, and the results should match that.
If it doesn’t… and that’s the problem with social media nowadays. Social media is becoming as bad as the “make money online” niche was 10 years ago. You couldn’t trust anybody back then, and social media is becoming just as dirty because it’s so hard to find – there’s a lot of quality people on social media, awesome people that know their stuff, but there’s also a lot of people who have no idea what they’re doing.
It’s just the new buzzword, it’s the new thing that people easily can do. Come online, open a Twitter account, say “I’m a Twitter expert” or “I’m a social media expert,” and then try and get hired and get jobs for that. It’s easy to do that, so that’s why everybody and their mother – if you go on Twitter and spend an hour on Twitter, I guarantee you’ll find 100 accounts that say they’re a Twitter expert or Twitter whatever fancy word they want to say, but yet they have 50 followers or 100 followers or 1,000 followers.
Or they just opened a Twitter account 6 months ago, but yet all of a sudden they’re an expert. It’s insane. So you have to be careful, and that’s kind of the point of the website. These are not the best people in their niche; these are not the #1 top people in the niche.
But these are people that I respect and I learn from. I know they know what they’re talking about. I’ve learned from them, and I know a decent amount of stuff. So if I’m still learning from them, a newbie blogger or entrepreneur coming up is going to learn a ton of stuff from them, because I’ve been here for awhile and I’m still learning.
It’s just people you can trust. You don’t have to second guess it. And if you read the content from them – example, we have Aaron Lee. He’s our Facebook guy. Aaron is awesome. Aaron knows everything about Facebook. If Aaron tells you something or gives you some advice, then you should act on that advice. You don’t need to go read 10 other blog posts about Facebook. You really don’t. You read Aaron’s advice, act on that advice, and you will get success with his advice.
Same with if I give you Twitter tips or if I give you blogging tips. Am I the best Twitter guy or the best blogger out there? No, but what I know is going to explode your Twitter success and your blog success, so take that and go act on it. You don’t need to go spend another 3 days reading Twitter posts or another 3 days reading blogging tips.
Take the information we share on the new site, and you can act on it, and you can trust what you’re hearing, because these people, they’re all awesome bloggers. They’re all quality people that have been here for years. Not a month or 2 months. These are people that have been doing this day in and day out for years.
Ashley: Yeah, sure. I try and do the same on the podcast as well. I bring on people who aren’t necessarily known, some mixture of different names, and I just try and get people on there I know who’ve achieved something, doing something, and they have proof of it and they can share something valuable with people.
It really helps these days to not only have that, real people doing real things, but also to not run around just reading hundreds of posts. Because we’ve only got so much time in the day. It’s nice to have a go-to place you can look for information without having to wonder whether you can trust it or not. You know you can trust it.
John: Yeah, there’s other sites that do the same thing. There’s other multi-author sites that do really well. But one of them has 60 authors, the other one has 80 authors. It’s insane. I don’t need to read – you don’t need five authors on the same topic on one website. It’s just insane. They’re just going to pretty much say the same thing. It’s too much. All the other sites that do something similar to the idea I had, but it’s too much.
Like I said, when I came up, I had two or three bloggers I learned everything from, and I was lucky that I found Chris Brogan, people like ProBlogger and a couple other people that I learned from and I stuck to and just learned from them. I didn’t jump around to too many places. I learned from a few really big people. So I was lucky.
But most people are not like that. Most people would just grab information from a million people, and nothing ever happens. Then you wonder why a year later, your blog is still not seeing the success, or even a little bit of the success you want. It’s because you’re taking in too much information, and then you’re taking in the wrong information.
Just because Ashley tells you how to do podcasting – I would come to Ashley for advice on podcasting. But Ashley’s advice on podcasting works for Ashley. It may not work for me. I’m not Ashley. I don’t do things the way Ashley does. So a lot of people will take information, they’ll try to do it exactly the way somebody said.
I’ll tell you how to do something on Twitter – there’s stuff I can do on Twitter today and get away with it that you can’t, because I’ve been there long enough. I’ve built a brand that I can get away with certain things that somebody who just came on tomorrow can’t get away with.
So you take my advice, and I tell people in posts, you take my advice and then tweak it to you, the way you do things. Because if it works for me, yes, potentially it’s going to work for you. Most likely it will. But it may take some tweaking. A lot of people don’t bother doing the tweaking.
And that’s what you have to do when you take advice; you have to make sure it fits to you and what you’re doing with your blog and what your goals are.
Ashley: Yeah, exactly. I mean, everything that you read is always very much down to the environment that it was written in, to the person following, the history they have, the knowledge they have, the information they’ve read and the people they know.
But I think from a good blogger, and a lot of the guys you’ve assembled, they’re sharing really good information that’s quite general. I was just reading a few earlier today, actually, and it’s really key stuff. It’s stuff that you can use, and they’re not just writing stuff that only works for them. But of course, you’ve got to take everything you read with a little grain of salt rather than trying to…
John: And tweak it, test it. Take the advice, act on it. If it works, keep doing it. If it doesn’t work, tweak it a little bit to fit you a little better. If it works, keep doing it. If it doesn’t work, then go find some advice somewhere else. Maybe it’s not the right advice for you.
Just because I tell you something or Ashley tells you something, don’t stick to it even if it’s not working. “But John told me I should do this.” John told you, but John comes from a different place. John has different readers, has different followers than you do.
So yes, potentially it’s content and advice that you can use and works for everybody, and potentially it will. But there’s going to be some people that you may have to tweak it to fit what you’re doing differently, because everybody has a different type of blog. If you’re in the blogging, social media, small business niche, then pretty much anyone in that niche, the advice, yes, it’s going to work for you within reason.
But again, you take information, try it, make sure you do it, try it. If it works, great, keep doing it. Some people, they don’t do it. They’ll take it and they’ll just keep doing it, just assuming it’s going to work, and at some point, if it doesn’t, you’ve got to stop it. Because maybe it’s just not right for your readers.
Ashley: Awesome. So basically, we’ve got the last tip there, which is try and find some really trusted areas to get some good information, such as John’s new site, Brainy Marketer. And I’ll put that in the show notes as well.
Yeah, was there anything else you quickly wanted to mention, or best places to find you online?
John: Yeah, best place is just the website, JohnPaulAguiar.com, and mainly on Twitter, @JohnAguiar. That’s probably the two best places for you to find me.
Ashley: Okay, I’ll grab all the stuff off your website and all the related links and so forth.
John: Yeah, Google+ and everything like that.
Ashley: Sure. But Twitter is like – I think you’re like me; that’s the #1 place I send people to. And don’t send direct messages.
John: You can send it, but chances are it may take me days to find them.
Ashley: I appreciate your time today, John. It’s been a great chat, and we’ll chat again soon. Thanks very much.
John: No problem. I had a good time.
Ashley: All right, have a good day.
John: You too.
If you enjoyed learning from John Paul, then take a minute and send him a thank you Tweet…
John Paul Aguiar (His Blog)
Brainy Marketer (John’s new Multi-Author Blog)
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photo credit: Holtsman
Ashley is obsessed with SEO and WordPress. He is also the founder of Mad Lemmings. When he is not busy helping clients get higher on Google he can be found doing crazy sports in the Swiss Alps (or eating too much chocolate - a habit he is trying to break).