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TJ31 – Outreach Episode – Effective Content Marketing with Infographics and Social Media – Neil Patel

Neil Patel Header

 

Neil Patel, the man behind the Quick Sprout blog, Kiss Metrics and Crazy Egg helps some of the biggest companies on the planet drive traffic and revenue. Amazon, NBC, General Motors and Hewlett Packard all have him on speed dial for when they need a bump in sales.

The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 online marketers, US President Barak Obama has recognised him as one of the top entrepreneurs under the age of 30, yes 30! In Neil Patel’s own words he is “kind of a big deal.”

In this episode I tap Neil’s broad experience and uncover his tips to getting more eyeballs using traffic channels like Facebook , Twitter, Infographics, SEO and Out Reach, plus a whole lot more. Listen in now.

EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Neil’s best eyeball grabbing strategy
  • SEO Essentials aka “The Shortcut”
  • Content Marketing Strategies
  • Winning in Facebook
  • Stealing Your Competition’s Twitter Followers
  • Increasing Engagement on Your Site
  • Infographics and GIF-o-graphics
  • The Outreach Strategy

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Hey, what’s up listeners? This is show#31 of the Traffic Jam podcast, I am James Reynolds, your host, and the companion in your ear buds for the next 30 minutes or so and you are going to enjoy it because I have got an incredible, incredible – that’s double incredible guest lined up for you today. It is Mr. Neil Patel. If you have not heard of Neil before, he can be best described as a serial internet entrepreneur. He’s the co-founder of several internet companies in the marketing space I am sure you have heard of already. Companies like Crazy Egg, Kissmetrics, and more recently, Hello Bar. Neil is not just a software guy, he consults with many large corporations I know you would have heard of already, and they are massive companies, companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom. Neil helps those guys with traffic and conversions really helping them build a profitable audience online, Neil does what we talk about here on Traffic Jam each and every week in the trenches so to speak, with the world’s major corporations.

In the press, Neil has been called by the Wall Street Journal a top influencer on the web, Forbes say he’s one of the top 10 online marketers you should follow, and get this, Entrepreneur Magazine say he’s created on of the 100 most brilliant companies in the world. That’s a pretty darn impressive CV to say the least, but what’s way more impressive than the CV itself is the fact that Neil Patel is not even 30 years old.  That’s right, he was born April 24th,1985, which I should mention just in case you want to send him a birthday card of course which give or take a day means that Neil is almost 5 years to the day younger than me.

This guy is good! I mean, seriously, what this guy has been able to achieve a few years out of high school is real, real impressive and it’s absolutely no surprise therefore that President Obama himself honored Neil as one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 30 and I got to say just deserved. I myself have been following Neil at least quite a few years online now and I think his quality of content, the regularity at which he puts his stuff out with the consistency that he puts it out with the brand values that he has makes him one of my real, to follow guys and I know you’re going to want to follow the content that he’s going to share today on this interview, it’s going to be highly impressive stuff, I know so perhaps get a pen ready, get yourself a little bit more comfy than you are right now, grab a drink and get ready to take some notes because you are going to take  away a lot from this interview.

But don’t think that Neil is going to be the only the only spectacle today, he’s not. We have of course the regular segments, they are all coming up, and as they do each and every week, the One Minute Traffic tip which is a bite sized traffic nugget that you can easily implement in your own business, that’s coming up along with this week’s news in traffic, and of course, I don’t mean the congestion that’s happening on your local highway, no! I am talking about all of the latest news, all of the updates out of all of the major traffic platforms – places like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, your ad networks, whatever is happening in the world of traffic in the past seven days, you’ll get to hear about it, that’s all coming up. But, right here, and right now, it’s the feature interview and it’s with of course, Neil Patel.

James: So what’s up listeners? This is Traffic Jam interview #31 and joining me is Neil Patel from QuickSprout.com, CrazyEgg.com, Kiss Metrics, and a bunch of other places I am sure you have all heard of, Neil, welcome to Traffic Jam!

Neil: Thanks for having me!

James: Well, it is awesome to have you on-board. Of course I have been doing my research which I always do before these interviews and I had a read of your bio on your website and one of the things that you state there which I am going to open up with is that you are born with a gift and that is being able to help websites get a ton of eyeballs on web. I wouldn’t normally open up with this question but I am going to because I think it is appropriate, what is your #1, your very best traffic getting, eyeball grabbing strategy?

Neil: Content marketing. It works very well, create good content that people want to read and they’ll love and they’ll come to your site and eventually some of those people will end up converting.

James: Fab! Well, that is good, I think we’ll run with this theme across the interview but let me start by diving in to SEO because that is a topic that is very close to your heart and you’ve got great success with it for yourself and for others. On the side of that, as you have just said, a big advocate of content marketing and you are a prolific creator of content yourself but I also get the feel that you enjoy exploiting a few hacks that can leverage a few quick wins. What shortcuts are there, if there are any in this sort of semantic era that can boost search results without putting the hundreds or thousands of hours required in to content marketing?

Neil: There’s a lot of things that can be done right? If you are just trying to boost your rankings, one simple thing is look at the on-page SEO elements. A lot of people make mistakes with titles, headings, making sure their code is clean, a lot of people are messy codes and not cross-linking between your pages. Mashable does a good job of this which is why they rank so low. So these are some of the basic things that a lot of the companies are still messing up on. They may seem obvious but it’s usually the obvious things that we need to work on a bit more.

James: Yeah, I mean even with the rankings as they are, if you can increase click through rate as you said just by optimizing your page title is better which I guess is even more topical right now because of the way Google has just changed the search results layout right? I mean the bigger fonts, there’s probably lesser fonts so I am sure that is a pretty quick and easy win.

Neil: That is correct, you got it right.

James: Cool! You have gotten pretty good results in SEO for people like Tech Crunch – I believe I read in your blog that for your own site, QuickSprout.com, you’ve managed to increase your visits by, well I am going to get this right, 173,336 to be precise per month, how do you manage to do that?

Neil: Yeah, sure. I am going to go with you on that number –

James: We will cross check.

Neil: To be clear, it’s just content marketing. Writing good content, writing it on topics that people want to read, share, focusing on what’s working on the social space like on Twitter and Facebook. A combination of all of those stuff is what is causing the real boost. One thing that we have done that’s really helped increase traffic is long tailed SEO. So what we’ll end up doing is we’ll see what posts are ranking and we’ll use Google suggest to type in the keyword and then we’ll see other similar keywords because Google suggests other popular phrases and we’ll start integrating those keywords in to our existing content when it is natural, we won’t just keyword stuff and that has also been helping us get a lot more search traffic.

James: Yeah, I read this post and I think the example that you used was you were ranking quite well for motivational quotes was it, and you just literally used –

Neil: I guess that was motivational and inspirational quotes or something in that terrain as well.

James: Yeah, it is kind of funny, right? Google actually does give us all the clues if we are ready to go and look for them, I mean they’ll tell you what other variations might make good keywords to target and it is all there in the plain search platform, you don’t have to look to far, right?

Neil: That’s correct.

James: Awesome! A couple of posts that I’ve seen that you’ve published relatively recently was how to steal your competitor’s Twitter followers and how to steal your competition’s fans. First of all, I have got to say, very cool headlines – simple but certainly eyeball grabbing and secondly very cool strategies that I am sure Traffic Jam listeners would love to hear. Tell us about those two.

Neil: Yeah, there is a lot of things that you can end up doing right? In the basic sense, with Facebook, you can actually just create an ad campaign and target fans of, let’s say if I want to target fans of Hub Spot, I can target Hub Spot and all their fans and advertise just to them and try to see if I can get them to come over and like my page, right? Twitter: there’s a lot of free tools out there depending on what you end up doing but you can actually see who’s engaging with your competitors, who’s on your competitor’s list, and then from there you can actually go and target a few of those guys on the list and see if you can actually get on those lists because if you are able to get on those lists, what you’ll end up noticing is you’ll instantly get a lot of traction because those lists already have followers it’s just more on how you can get on there and it actually works quite well. For Twitter if you are trying to do this, one of the tools that I recommend using is Twitonomy and that should help you quite a bit with finding out who is active in your competitor’s profiles and stuff like that.

James: Okay cool. So that’s Twitonomy, we’ll make sure that’s linked to within the show notes for this episode. So once we’ve established what those lists are, what strategies are there to actually get ourselves on those lists, if any?

Neil: I try go see who the list owner is, I try to interact with them, tweet out to them and then I’ll direct message them after a week or two seeing if they can add me.

James: Okay, cool. Perfect! I love the simple answers, they’re always the best.

Neil: Yup, and then for Facebook you can always use fan page comments to see who’s active on your competitor profiles also.

James: Got it! Nice! Well again, I think for a little bit of further explanation we’ll make sure that those 2 posts are linked off to the show notes. Now, one thing that I have got to say Neil, is that you’ve got, from what I can see at Quick Sprout especially is that you’ve got an extremely engaged audience, I mean if we look at those two posts that we were just talking about, both of them have got a 150+ comments, at least at the time of recording anyway but for our listener out there who’s got a dormant website which feels like a ghost town which I am sure many have, what advise have you got to increase audience engagement to kind of somewhere near what you have been able to do?

Neil: The biggest thing to increase engagement is to just ask a question at the end of your blog post and respond to every single person that leaves a comment. Those two things help out quite a bit.

James: Okay, so what sort of examples might you have of good questions that you can end a post with?

Neil: If your post is on stealing your competitor’s Facebook fans, you can end up with – so how else can you grow your Facebook fan page? Just something related to the title.

James: Got and then would you add in some sort of a call to action, would you post your comments below?

Neil: Not really call to action, just ask them a question and the comments are right below so if they want they can leave a comment right?

James: Yeah, got it. Okay, so there certainly is no sort of pushy tactics involved there, you just leave them with a kind of open loop that is hopefully going to encourage people to interact on their own accord.

Neil: That’s correct.

James: Got it. Okay, good! Another thing I want to ask you a little bit about is infographics. I know Traffic Jam listeners will certainly be familiar with them because we talk about them a lot on the show and I think in terms of content they’re fantastically share-worthy content that is of course very easily spreadable. But Infographics 1.0 version, a little bit of old hat now right, Neal? You’ve got something different that you’re doing with infographics right? Tell us a little bit about that.

Neil: I’m doing something quite a bit with infographics which I am just trying to explain complex data in visual format and they seem to be getting good traffic so I like it. I don’t try to make it too complex or anything like that.

James: What’s your process for getting topics and data for your infographics? Because I am sure there is a fair amount of research to put one of those things together right?

Neil: Yeah, I just have someone who focuses on that and then they just work on continually improving the data so I have a full time person who goes out there and find data for me.

James: Yeah, well that would make sense. Who’s actually producing them? I am sure you are not doing the artwork and the infographics yourself right?

Neil: We have a full time designer, she just cranks them out so –

James: Yeah, good. And she really just crank them out, I mean, you are putting out a lot of those things right?

Neil: Yeah, one a week.

James: Yeah, good work.

Neil: Every Friday.

James: Good stuff. I’d like to ask you a little bit about who else is creating content for your site? You’ve mentioned that you’ve got this infographic creator and a researcher in-house. Are you doing everything else? Because you’ve got a lot of blogs right? It’s not just QuickSprout.com, you’ve got active blogs on your other sites as well, and who’s putting all that stuff together?

Neil: Quick Sprout’s the only one that I manage myself, other people do the Crazy Egg and Kissmetrics for me.

James: Yeah okay. So what size of team have you got? I mean that’s got to be a big power engine behind all of these right, powering this thing along?

Neil: A lot. I don’t know all their names and I don’t know everyone on the team but just in general, in a company we have tons of employees, right? We have tons of job openings, probably 15-20 so

James: Wow! What advice would you have for someone who’s got a smaller business getting started with this stuff that would probably be the authority in their business and there for the sort of person that should be driving the content. What advice would you have for them? What should they get started with and where should they get started?

Neil: Yeah, the best place to get started is look at your competitors, look at their blogs, see what’s working in their space and go from there. Don’t just start by saying here’s what we’re going to do it’s more so first analyze the space industry and see what gaps and voids you can fill and what’s working for other people.

James: Got it.  Now strategy I see that you do a lot of but many others shy away from because I guess it takes a lot of time and energy and that’s outreach. I guess you do a lot of it from what I can see, would you recommend that our listener start to conduct outreach programs themselves and if so what advice have you got for them for doing it effectively?

Neil: If they are going to do outreach and they are going to do it themselves, the best thing I can end up saying is make sure with all the outreach the overall goal is just being friendly and trying to help people. Most people who do outreach continually pitch and that is all they do and sure that is awesome but outreach does not work that well when you’re pitching. You actually need to help people and provide them with advice and try to help them out.

James: I’d like to dig a little bit here Neil, if I can. What examples can you give to us in terms of suitable ways to identify places to and also what sort of lead in might be effective that’s not kind of pitching your wares?

Neil: It’s more sort of finding out what people need help with then going from there so the best strategy for outreach is look to see who in your space is not competitive but see who is open about posting other people’s content and are linking out and tweeting out as well as engaging with them, it’s usually the friendly ones, don’t look for direct competitors.

James: Yeah! So would you actually look for sites for instance that have regular guest posting and regular contributors? Would that be a good place to start?

Neil: Yes, I would. So I look for blogs who accept guest posters, even people from the industry. I would not go and be at my competitor and say, hey, could I blog in your blog?

James: Yeah, I think that would be received with the most amount of warmth right?

Neil: Yeah, you could get someone to tell you to buzz off so –

James: Yeah and that’s the polite response. That’s the censored version. Where else are you syndicating content other than the outreach that you’re doing, which you are clearly doing quite a bit of? Where else are you creating content for or syndicating your content to?

Neil: With me, like we’ll work out deals like with entrepreneur magazine and they syndicate for us so what we end up doing is find out who needs more content, publish it, and we try to get more information that can benefit their readers.

James: Okay, so Entrepreneur is one –

Neil: Yeah the way we get these deals is we do manual outreach like hey we noticed that you guys publish a lot of content, are you guys looking for more? We don’t have time to write any content for you but are you open in syndicating our existing content?

James: So they just pick it up and plug it in? Any adaptation or do they just take an off-shelf version putting it straight in there?

Neil: They take the off the shelf version.

James: Nice! That I think is certainly in terms of what we look back to at the start of the interview in terms of quick wins for content marketing that would certainly be one right? You can leverage what you’ve already got and get that in to that hands of more places it is certainly a way that you can leverage it a bit quicker.

 Neil: that is correct!

James: Cool! I have been following you for a little while now and of course reading your content but more importantly watching what you do, one thing that I have observed is you’re extremely innovative and you seem to be ahead of the bell curve on many things, inforgraphics is one, and perhaps we can comment a little but about that.  The pop up I see you are using as well, this kind of choose your own journey 2-step pop up, the first time I saw that was certainly on your site. As somebody who’s seem hot on new innovations, what do you think is coming up next? What are the emerging channels if you like, that our listeners should be looking out for?

Neil: I really still think it’s Facebook and Twitter. Not enough companies are leveraging them and the ads on those channels are dirt cheap.

James: Yeah! Are you doing a lot of stuff on Twitter?

Neil: I am- Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. A lot of people looking for different channels that no one’s tapped but at the end of the day it’s about the channels that you know but no one’s using right?

James: Yeah, so what are you doing differently with these two if anything or are you just working them harder than others?

Neil: Just working them harder, being smart on the ads, we’re testing them a lot versus just setting them up and letting them sit. We’re also testing quite a bit of the video ads in YouTube so we’re doing quite a bit of everything.

James: Nice! Okay. Cool stuff, just before we kind of get towards the close, I’d like to ask you a little bit about these gif-ographics because when I saw you at traffic and conversion event, you were leaving quite a few little hints about what you’ve been doing with them and the results that you’ve been getting. Let’s talk specifically about these animated gif-ographics you’ve been getting a hold of.

Neil: Yeah, so I have been creating – I believe that sometimes with complicated things it is easier to explain them through stories and making it animated and visual so it is taking inforgraphics to the next level and it seems to be taking quite well which, just showing the data in the visual format that is animated and that animation helps explain the story seems to be converting quite well, right? People sharing it, embedding it on their site, it’s doing quite well.

James: Yeah, well I guess it’s new, it’s different. I guess when people stumble upon your gif-ographics in your site, perhaps they have not encountered something similar before so it has certainly got that appeal that would be more interesting and worthy of sharing, I think they look stunning! The one I saw with, was it a leopard running? It was very cool, it was certainly eye-catching and presented the information very well.

Neil: Exactly! I think they are great and more people could end up doing them like they do, I think in the long run they’ll do exceptionally well.

James: I am sure as we link of to these in the show notes of the episode, some of the Traffic Jam listeners start to get a hold of it I am sure you’ll start to see a few more pop there in the interwebs, just keep your eyes peeled for those. So Neil, we’ve gone through very quick, we’ve covered a lot of what I wanted to with you and you have been extremely generous with your expertise but before we wrap up, what sort of parting advice that you’ve got for our listeners that you really think is relevant to anyone wanting to build traffic to their own website?

Neil: Don’t look for the quick and easy route. A lot of people just think how they can get more traffic tomorrow. Look for the tactics that are long term, provide a lot of value and are very educational.

James: Yeah, okay. Good! That is certainly in line with what we teach here each and every week in Traffic Jam so I am glad that was the answer that you Neil. Just as we wrap up, where should our listeners connect with you further?

Neil: Just QuickSprout.com.

James: Fantastic! So Traffic Jam listeners, head on over to QuickSprout.com for more of what Neil has got to talk about in the blog that I follow and I certainly recommend that you do the same so please head on over, so Neal, thanks again for coming on Traffic Jam I certainly enjoyed it today and I appreciate your time.

Neil: No problem, thanks for having me.

This Week’s News in Traffic

Right, so I am starting this week with a story out of Facebook originally reported on MarketingLand.com so thank you to the good people over at Marketing Land and they reported on a test that Facebook has been running for a business manager which is certainly a tool for agencies and large businesses to manage multiple Facebook advertising accounts within one fascia. So I guess this a little bit like the MCC that Google have that my client sent us that agencies like myself use to manage multiple Google Adwords accounts from within one place. So this fascia, this dashboard, it has all of the things that you expect to find in a product like this. You can manage campaigns, reporting, billing, account permissions and of course assign account permissions to people within your business from manager level to admin level and give people different rights to do different things within the accounts so all the things you’d expect there. I think the nice thing especially from the usability standpoint is that it allows you to add access to people who you’re not necessarily friends with in Facebook so those disgruntled employees who don’t want to make friends with their team members at work, this will allow you to do that. So always an upside, I think it will be well received by agencies. If you want to go check this out because you are an agency, there’ll be a link off to further about this within the episode notes of this episode of Traffic Jam.

In my second story, well, it has been proven that Tweets that have a photo or a video URL tend to lead to the biggest increase in retweets from verified accounts on Twitter. Now that’s the key take away from a study out this week that analyzed more than 2 million tweets sent out to about a space of one month from verified accounts related to TV, news, radio, government or sports. That’s what Twitter is telling us and the study analyzed in depth all this as the real hard attributes of a tweet, those being like a photo post, hash tags, links, videos, and also tweets containing either a number or a digit – that would be something like a sports score or an official stat and overall, Twitter study found that tweets, photos and videos produce the biggest jumps in retweets – 35% of photos and 28% for videos. So the take away here is and honestly there is no real big surprise – is that visual content outperforms text in almost every scenario. It’s why so many Traffic Jam episodes have been focused around the topic of visually prominent marketing be it the discussions we’ve had around Pinterest, video, be it the discussion I had today with Neil all about infographics, you absolutely need to be using engaging imagery in your marketing.

In my final story for today we go to Tech Crunch and Tech Crunch have reported on a story that Yahoo have partnered up with Yelp to bring local data from Yelp in to Yahoo’s search tools. Now the deal was to seal additional Yelp information that you’d be familiar with such as things like ratings and user photos piped right in to Yahoo’s search. Really, put another way, Yahoo’s search is being increasingly flavored with third party data and not just their own. Really, Yahoo is no longer a company that is well known for its search products. It’s long ago seated its search technology to Microsoft but the company still does have a reasonably large command of the search query markets. It’s probably just an effort to regain some of that or at least consolidate the level of market that they currently have. Is this type of deal anything new? Well, no. The company that they sold their search technology to- that’s Microsoft – announced a very similar deal with Yelp about 2 years ago which seems reminiscent of that type of deal. Anything that we need to do to adapt as marketers? Well, no not really. This is very much a case of business as usual.

One Minute Traffic Tip

This tip is going to be for you if you’ve got a Facebook page which I am guessing there’s quite a few of you, if you are freaking frustrated because less than 10% are ever getting your update anymore. I can assure you, when you apply this tip not only will you get super high visibility but you’ll also not need to spend 20, 50 or even 100 bucks or more, Facebook recommend to boost your post. So here’s how it works, inside the power editor to continually run from this day forward, always promoting your most recent post as a promoted post in the news feed, select the campaign you want to target and then select the campaign to only show to people who have already liked your page. Each time then that you create a new post on your page, Facebook will automatically submit it for review and then if it is approved, it will replaced the prior post that appeared as an add and will show the post as an ad in people’s newsfeed. Doing it this way, your entire budget and I recommend, wait for it – as little as $2 – $5 per day, it will all be spent in getting your ad in front of your fans. This is a ridiculously cheap strategy and an extremely effective way of sidestepping Facebook’s horrible edge rank and boosting your engagement.

That almost draws Episode #31 of Traffic Jam to a close but just before we close out I want to say thank you to you out there the listener for taking the time that you do out of your day to listen in to Traffic Jam, I really, really do hope that in return I am managing to deliver some value that you can apply to your own business to increase your traffic and grow a profitable audience online. That’s the aim of Traffic Jam.

Now, remember, you can head on over to Veravo.com and find all of the episode and show notes for this episode and all the others of Traffic Jam along with a host of other traffic tips and training so head on over to veravo.com and as always, we’re going to close out this episode with another musical jam so here it is. The track is called Skaramoosh, which is in fact, our intro track for Traffic Jam, so at last, you get to hear the full length version and big shout out to Paul Thomas, he’s the wonderfully talented DJ and producer who produced this piece of music and other tracks that we use here in Traffic Jam so big shout out to Paul, a very good friend of mine. If you want to check out what he is doing, go to DJPaulThomas.com. Anyway, that’s it for Traffic Jam and I’ll see you back here in about seven days from now. See you then!

 

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