B2B businesses only need 10 true fans

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Tuesday teardown – In summary: 

  • How many readers do you need to get a great return from a business blog? The answer is a surprisingly small amount.
  • If you can build just ten people who love your content, that’s a strong foundation for success over the long term.
  • Focusing on a small number of highly engaged readers means you’ll produce better content, build the processes to attract more, and earn better returns.

Websites referenced in this teardown:

Transcript of this teardown:

Hi, I’m Steve Pell. I’m here to do another one of our Tuesday Teardowns where we look at practical ideas that can improve your returns on digital and content marketing.

Today I’m going to start off with a simple question: How many readers do you need to get a great return from a business blog? The answer that we’ll work through is a surprisingly small amount.

As I’m going to talk about, you can get great returns in a B2B blog with ten engaged readers. You can see much, much better returns with ten engaged readers than with one thousand moderately engaged or one million disengaged browsers.

Let’s talk about why that is. We’ll start with this idea that comes from Kevin Kelly which is an article he wrote a few years ago called 1,000 True Fans. This has been really influential across all creative industries.

You may have seen this before so I’ll just talk about the high level concept. If you’re a musician, you can earn a lot more money by building a fan base of 1,000 true fans or advocates, than you can from a million Spotify listeners who never buy your album. These 1,000 advocates are the platform for building a living in a creative industry.

In B2B CEO blogging, I say that number is much, much smaller, that it’s down to about ten. If you can build just ten people who love your content, that’s a strong foundation for success over the long term. There are three reasons for doing this.

Reason one: You’ll produce better content

The first is that if you can build just ten people who love what it is you’re producing; you’ll always have them in mind when you sit down to write an article or produce content.

Like when I sit down to record one of these videos, I know who my ten most engaged followers are. They are the people who’ll read everything we produce, they’ll talk about our content to their colleagues and on social media. Chances are I’m producing this content for one of them, or with one of them in mind. Now, that makes really personal content that engages with a need or problem that those people have. It’s a great way to produce really good content by having those ten people in mind.

(For more on this topic see: Why you should blog for your existing clients first and How to build customer advocacy in B2B)

Reason two: With 10 passionate fans, you’ve built the processes to attract more

Reason number two is if you can build ten passionate followers, ten advocates, you’ve almost certainly put in place the processes, just by default, that will lead you to build more. You’ve found good topics, the right tone of voice,  you’ve found a great publication schedule, you’ve done all of the things that will lead you to much greater success, by building those advocates as your starting platform.

Reason three: 10 passionate B2B customers can be worth substantial $$$

Number three, and probably the most important here, is that just ten advocates in a b2b space can translate to fantastic returns. If I told you that you could have a blog that only would ever have ten ASX100 CEOs reading it, I’m sure you’d take that opportunity any day of the week. You don’t need a huge number of readers in a B2B space to get great returns if they’re passionately engaged and if they’re the right people. So definitely focus on quality over quantity to start with.

(If you’re just getting started with CEO blogging, you might find this valuable: 3 detailed steps to get started with a CEO blog)

That’s the key takeaway for today that you can get fantastic returns, see fantastic results, and build yourself a really strong platform from focusing your efforts on getting those first ten passionately engaged fans or brand advocates. That’s all for today. I’m Steve Pell and that’s been another one of our TLP Tuesday Teardowns. Thanks a lot.

More internal links = more engaged prospects (and lower bounce rate)

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Tuesday teardown – In summary: 

  • The goal of internal links is to achieve immersion. You want a visitor to be deeply immersed into your content and want to find out more about all of the services value that you can offer.
  • If you have a bounce rate issue on your blog, that’s often a symptom of too few internal links.

Websites referenced in this teardown:

Transcript of this teardown:

Hi, I’m Steve Pell. I’m here to do another one of our Tuesday marketing teardowns where we look at B2B websites to give you some practical takeaways to improve your digital and content marketing.

Today we’re going to talk about internal links. When I say internal links, I’m talking about the links on your blog, that link people back through to other pieces of your website. These are really important for search engine rankings and for keeping people immersed in your content on your website.

This is something that a lot of websites do really badly. I’m going to pick one example today but there are a lot of examples out there. For a quick example, let’s look at Hudson who are a recruitment company.

Hudson links

The article from Hudson RPO – “The Creative Sourcing Myth”

You’ve come from Google, you’re looking for solutions to your creative sourcing problems (the page is called the “Creative Sourcing Myth”).

You need new talent. You need better recruitment processes. You’ve arrived here. You read this great article about creative sourcing and you move through it and you keep reading. You read about the solutions, improving candidate experience.

You read the whole thing and it’s been fascinating but you’ve got to the end of it and there hasn’t been a link in the entire thing that takes you deeper into the content that Hudson has on this topic. If you look on their website, there are hundreds of pages that are very deeply relevant to what they’re talking about here.

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 9.45.02 PM

At the bottom of the article, and still no links

There’s SO many opportunities to get you deeper, to immerse you into their website, that they’ve just missed because there’s no internal links as you move through this content to really immerse yourself and take you deeper into all of the thought leadership that Hudson has relevant to this topic.

If you have a bounce rate issue on your blog, that’s often really a problem with internal links. If you look on your blog on Google Analytics and your bounce rates are sitting at 70%-80% (really quite high) it’s likely it’s an internal link problem.

You have a bounce rate problem because you’re not giving people the ability to really immerse themselves into your content. You’re not linking through to all of the relevant things that someone who is arriving at this page cold would find interesting. The majority of visitors are starting here on this page, without coming from your home page. They are arriving on this content from Google, without ANY context, so have a think about how you can use links to bring them deeper into your website.

Let me show you an example where this is done really well which is the Buffer site. Buffer is a social media company. Let’s work through this article on their blog on how to create a social media calendar.

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 9.46.37 PM

The article from Buffer – full of highly relevant links

If I’ve arrived here from social media or from Google search, again, I’ve landed on this page looking for more information about how to get a recurring social media calendar. What I’m going to see, as I move down the page here, is the first link about how “social media is hard”. Second link goes to Buffer’s “social media sharing schedule”.

Screen_Shot_2016-02-05_at_9_47_12_PM NOTES

Three links highlighted, all visible before you have to scroll

What you’ll see as we scroll down this page is about every hundred words there is a new link to something that’s relevant. These links are both on their site and off,  there are huge amounts of really relevant content. The aim is to immerse you into their site, into their application, really start to build that relationship and make sure that I don’t just read article and exit, which is that ‘bounce’ problem that we’re talking about.

We’ve talked a lot on this series about avoiding distraction (See Sliders = distraction, and Your blog is a sales tool, make sure it sells).

Today we’re talking about the opposite end of the spectrum to distraction. The goal of internal links is to achieve immersion. You want a visitor to be deeply immersed into your content and want to find out more about all of the services value that you can offer.

So really work on providing that opportunity for a visitor to immerse themselves. When you do that, you’ll see great returns. You’ll build relationships and you’ll really get those subscription requests after you’ve demonstrated value.

That’s all for this Tuesday teardown. There are plenty more links down below where you can see some really great resources, including these pages, on how to build internal links.

That’s all for me today. I’m Steve Pell. That’s been another Tuesday teardown (click here to see more Tuesday teardowns).

One trick for better blog images

By | CEO blogging, Content marketing, Tuesday teardown | One Comment

Tuesday teardown – In summary: 

  • Almost any image you can take on your mobile phone will be a better image than anything you can download from Google or a stock image website.
  • I use Naomi Simson (founder of Red Balloon and judge on Shark Tank Australia) to highlight how effective mobile phone blog images are when done well.

Websites referenced in this teardown:

Transcript of this teardown:

Hi, I’m Steve Pell. I’m here to do another one of our TLP Tuesday Teardowns where we look at the science of digital marketing, with a real focus on b2b and complex sales. Today we’re going to talk about business blogging and specifically using images on your business blog. Now, we talk about this a lot on these Tuesday teardowns but that is because it is so important when we talk about engagement and when we talk about social sharing. Images play a really huge role in getting both of those things to happen.

We’ve talked about before in this series why your images need to be contextually integrated. So you’re not going for images that are just decoration. We’re going for images that are so contextually integrated to what it is you’re talking about in your articles, the stories that you’re telling, that you can’t skip over them, that they can’t just be scrolled over down the page, that the reader must stop, look and engage at the image as part of the whole story. When you achieve that, you’re well on the way to getting really good results around engagement, around social sharing.

Now, today, the example I’m going to use to highlight this done well and also a key tip in doing this really well, is Naomi Simson, who you might know as a founder of Red Balloon and also as one of the judges on Shark Tank Australia. You can see here, a very image centric blog. This is her personal blog: NaomiSimson.com if you want to follow along.

The reason I’m going to use Naomi to highlight this is one of the key questions that I get from clients when we talk about images in blogs is, “But how do we do this well? How do we actually, without doing what we saw Platinum Asset Management do and go and commission an illustrator to come in and illustrate blogs for us, how do we generate these images in a time effective way while still being contextually integrated and not spending half a week on this? How do we actually go and do this?”

The key rule, and this is something that Naomi does really well, is that almost any image you can take on your mobile phone will be a better image than anything you can download from Google or a stock image website. As you can see here, and we’ll see when we scroll down this page, all of these images are taken by Naomi or a colleague on her iPhone, and they’re just part of the day-to-day at Red Balloon or whatever else she’s doing. Now, you’ll see here, they match in. Because they’re taken as part of her day-to-day, they match in really well to the articles that she’s talking about. They’re completed contextually integrated and they’re fantastically engaging.

Let’s scroll down and I’ll show you. You can see here the importance of peers networks and ideas for 2016. You’ve got Naomi at the Christmas party.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 5.13.07 PM

The power of crowds versus the power of many. I think this is one of her Shark Tank investments here that she’s posing with coming through.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 5.13.44 PM

In this post, she’s trying to sell you her book but instead of just a photo from Amazon, she’s actually taken a photo of it with her breakfast or whatever it may be here.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 5.13.59 PM

Again, great contextual integration into bringing you into her life so you really feel like you’re a part of the story. It works very well.

You can scroll down here. I think there’s 900 blog posts or something like that on this site. We won’t go through all of them. It’s all done very well, and it’s not expensive. This is just her with the phone, taking photos as she goes through her day-to-day.

That’s the key recommendation for you as we talk about getting great images for your business blog. Anything you can take on your phone, wandering around, inside your business will be a better photo than anything you can download from Google, or get from a stock website. It will drive better engagement. You’ll get better sharing. It’s personal. It’s contextual and it does make you want to read these articles.

That’s all for me today in this Tuesday teardown. If you’ve got questions, please jump into the comments below. Otherwise, we’ll see you next week for another Tuesday teardown. I’m Steve Pell. Thanks a lot.