Guest: Corbett Barr
I'm so excited for the segment because I have two super awesome guests who both have really successful blog's and they've used their blog's to establish themselves as an expert and as a result of that, a lot of great opportunities have come along so my first guest is corbett bar he runs think traffic that night so I'd love to welcome them up here and ask him a couple of questions about how to use your blawg to become an expert. So so thank you so much for being here today I know you have a lot of successful blog's and you teach other people how to run a block so I'd love for you to introduce herself tell people a little bit about what it is that you do and then we'll go ahead and dive right into the question yeah, it sounds good I have been self employed online for about eight years now and I started blogging while I was on a trip actually, my wife and I took a sabbatical to mexico for a half years ago and we're on a trip and I thought it was going to start traditional start up, you kn...
ow, this sort of thing where you raise venture capital and do that which I had done before, but this time around while we're on the trip we kept meeting people who weren't wealthier, retired but somehow would fared outweighs toe make their careers work around their lives and it kind of started this whole thought process in my mind like, why couldn't I do that? I thought that you had to be an entrepreneur who, like, slept under your desk, you know, and put in eighty hours a week, and I was meaning all of these people and we're having a great time. So I started a blawg basically on a whim to tell our story and also to talk about the people that we were meeting along the way and to start asking myself questions about the nature of work and life and how the to integrate together. So long story short, I run a business now a small business, there are three of us, and it has grown out of that first blawg post that I wrote back in march of two thousand nine and now we have a couple hundred thousand people a month who come to our sites and check out what we have to say and along the way, I because blogging had been so great to me, I started looking into what made other blog's successful, and I started working with people one on one to sort of help them achieve some of the things that I had done and I created a course called started blogged that matters, and we've had a around thirty, five hundred students go through that course so I've had the chance to work with a lot of people I've had a lot of high profile clients and a few high profile friends that run really big blocks some of the biggest blog's in the world, so I've had a good chance toe look at what blogging khun do for you great! So in that case, what do you think are some of the tips you can share with everyone here about what blogging can actually do for you? Yeah, um, I guess it depends on what you're after, but when you start writing publicly on a sight, you don't necessarily have to have all that much expertise for people to start perceiving you in a leadership position within whatever topic it is that you're writing about, which is a really cool thing and there's this process that people go through of refining their voice over time. But I really encourage people to do that in public because the greatest that the fastest way to liberate and to learn and to refine your voice and to become more of an expert in the field that you're in is to have those conversations publicly and to get feedback directly from your audience the people that tune into your block, the people that leave comments and write you e mails and things like that great, great so along the same lines water some things that you would I think maybe that's a mistake to do or something that someone who's just starting up logging something that they shouldn't do or something that couldn't be considered all kinds of things but it's ok it's ok to make mistakes I mean, we all do and that's a good way to learn one of the things that I see very often is that people think a lot about themselves when they're creating their blogged and not so much about the audience and how they're going to be valuable too those people. So in the early days of blogging, I think that a lot of people thought of it just as an online diary, the kind of place that you go and write things about what you did for the day that's a hard way to grow an audience unless you're one of the most interesting people on the planet. Most of us are probably in some sort of a topic that we're trying to teach other people things. So when you start a blogger around that topic just really think about who's on the other end of this where are they at in their journey? Whatever journey you're trying to help them with and really try to imagine how you can give them information that's going to help them make a transformation so it's much more about them than it is about you and that's how it should be with barking great, great, yeah, that's such great advice, and I'm wondering, with all the thirty, five hundred clients and more that you've worked with, have you worked with anyone who just started a blawg? Tio maybe expressed themselves, and then it turned into I mean, I know you have, but what may be another one or two stories from some of your client that you could share, where now they started here, and now they're here and have made a whole career out of this. Yeah, I've seen it both ways. I've seen where people start blogged very intentionally, because they want to use it as a business and publicity tool, but also you hear stories all the time. One of the biggest single author blog's in the world is called zen habits by a gentleman named leo about a who I happen to be lucky to be friends with, and he has millions of people coming by his site every day or every month. Excuse me, and he started basically simply tryingto share stories about how he was changing his life. He learned how to stop smoking. He lost a bunch of weight, he ran a marathon and just was really excited about the idea that he could make a lot of changes in his life started sharing that on a site and just became really enamored with the process of blogging and sharing those insights and it grew from there another friend of mine barren quadra who also lives here in san francisco he runs a site called effortless gent and it's a men's fashion site and he actually started that site just because of his love for fashion. So a lot of times you know, you start something because you're really interested in it and you start sharing what you're learning throughout that process and over time you gain a little bit of a following and then you start to serve those people more and then you see that oh, there might be a business opportunity here and then you can figure out what it is you might be able to sell them I know in your case andre you actually blogged more like as an extension of your business it sort of came after the business idea I think right, which is cool as well yeah, so right it is but I'm wondering what do you think they did differently that someone who might have been blogging for a few years and they're still at just a few thousand visitors a month but what do you think said them apart in terms of what they did differently? Was it the content that they were sharing or things that they were doing outside of their blogged? What would you think contributed question success? So the biggest thing the biggest differentiator to me is differentiation itself, meaning when someone comes to your site, they're going to be asking themselves, why should I spend any time here when I already know of hundreds or thousands of other blocks? In fact, there are hundreds of millions of logs and existence and it's a miracle that any of us can have one that's, you know, popular that stands out from the crowd. But the whole point is that when you think about your topic, you have to be honest with yourself about what's already out there and about how you're going to make the way that you approach that topic more valuable and more interesting and more unique to your potential audience than the other things that they already know about. So for example, you might just start a site on fitness, and there are millions of fitness blog's out there, right? So if instead of just going into fitness broadly, you have to think, how can I make this stand out? How can I serve a group of people who feels like they aren't being served by the existing choices? Or how can I look at fitness from a unique perspective? Another great example is a site called nerd fitness by steve cam, and steve basically knew that there were a group of people out there. Because he was one of them who sort of self identified as nerds people that were into video games and scifi and that sort of stuff and those people wanted to be fit but they didn't feel like the big muscly guys on the cover of the magazines the fitness magazines were really speaking to them so he started this little site called nerd fitness about three maybe four years ago and he has over a million people a month coming to that blawg now as well on it just grew out of trying to really serve people who were being underserved wow that's that's pretty amazing and I think we've talked a lot about the last over the last two days about providing value and narrowing in on who we want to serve so it seems like with blogging it's exactly the same way as you would approach the media you want to provide value you want to focus in on who exactly this is for and that's how you couldn't you couldn't really grow big so it sounds like that's exactly what you are saying attributed to their successes is yeah I was watching like what you were talking about when you're pitching the media and really you have to make it about what's in it for them and it's the same thing with blogging the best way to achieve your goals with blogging is to try to help some other people achieve their goals great great so that brings me to my next point because a lot of times there's so many things that we have to talk about and do in our business so taking on a blog's sometimes seems really don thing where you feel like you might have to write every day and up the people insurance social media so what would you say are maybe three three or four tips about if you want to start a blawg here's what you should do, how often should you block and how can you use social media to sort of get more more traffic on our block? I encourage people if they want tio if they want to start a blood because they think it could be beneficial to them and their business basically to think about this as a project, a separate project just as if you were going to launch a product or something and to put that sort of focus into it because it will pay off over the long term. But I see a lot of people that sort of they get excited about it, they start dabbling in it and then they realized how much work is involved and it just sort of dies over time and they don't get the results that they want a lot of people asked me like what have I done to grow the audience that I've grown and looking back on it? I think a huge part of it is simply the fact that I published six hundred plus log post over the past four and a half years and it's hard not to grow an audience if you publish that much and if while you're publishing you're trying to improve every time how do I get a little bit better every time? So with regards to the work involved, there isn't a right answer in terms of how often should I blawg there are examples on both sides of the spectrum seth godin runs a very popular site he has for ten plus years he it tends to block every day but they are you know maybe two hundred words they're very short post just about longer than you would right on facebook to be honest other people scott dinsmore is a good example he runs a site called live your legend he blog's just about once a week and his blood post tend to be longer I think in aggregate there might be something there if you add up the amount of content you're putting out in a week whether it's weekly or daily it's really hard to put out good quality stuff every day if it's really long and so I think that's what seth focuses on shorter post so put out is much as you can without putting out stuff that is going to bore your audience or turn them off you know make sure that you're trying to show up and do a good job every day on whether that's, whether you're style fits better with weekly or even once every two weeks you can still pull that off. I think as long as you're really trying to deliver over the top value, I talk about epic content a lot because there's a lot of mediocre content out there and so if you think you can show up and just deliver, you know ah boring tidbits about what you did for the day it's not going to rise above and stand out so really try to focus on something that is going to have the ability to check and someone's life in some way that's significant and if you keep aiming for that, you'll hit a couple of home runs and then you'll kind of get a feel for what it takes to you know really have an impact on people. I see it you know, you said something interesting about what we used to work before, where people were just blogging about what's going on in their day doesn't work anymore and you have to provide value where do you see blogging going in terms of how is it different from when you first started? Where is it now and where do you see it going? As to how would relates to an entrepreneur that's using it to become an experts to get out there the cool thing is when we talk about blogging, I think people think about writing a lot and I guess that's it really what it is at its most basic level but beyond that it's also just a platform I look at it as a plan form for expressing your ideas and for trying to find other people who feel the same way or would like to learn from you and that doesn't mean that it always has to be writing you can do live events on a blogger you can do podcasting audio, you can do videos and really what I see the most successful entrepreneurs doing is really a combination of those things and if you find that writing isn't your style for some reason which it isn't for everyone, you know, you might try doing audio instead and find that there's a lot of success with that and all of that for us on my blog's basically all of that content that we create everywhere else ends up coming back to applaud post so really it's the activity stream of everything that we're doing everything that we're you know, publishing and talking about out there on the web, I see ok um and again that's really interesting and I'm curious to know how then and I were just talking during the break about if you have a blogger and you also want to do a newsletter how do you do use the same content for both? And so you do separate things how have you found to be most effective for you? And maybe some of the other entrepreneurs have worked with I've seen it both ways again, there's a common theme here, which is there is no right answer for every person that says, you know, to it this way you can find another example of doing it another way that's successful with newsletters the way we do it is we simply let people subscribe to get our blood posts in their in box directly and we actually send the entire block post because the way we look at it, we don't care someone's on our site or if they're in their inbox as long as they're consuming our ideas and connecting with us. We're not sticklers for trying to drive more traffic door site because we force people to click on the link to read the full thing other people I know actually curate their newsletter a little bit more maybe they don't send it out with every blood post may they send it out once a week instead and they might write something that's really specific for the newsletter, which can be a great thing if you have the time to do that because email subscribers air so valuable versus twitter followers or facebook fans or something like that and any reason that you can give people to sign up for your email newsletter is is always good to drive people more to that. Ok, great! And then would you say the same thing for maybe an entrepreneur that has a product like some of the people here in the audience, they have jewelry or baby apparel? How can they use their blawg? Tio get more of that traffic and to really connect with their audience? A lot of people that I see that are making physical things have success with showing people behind the scenes of how the things were made and how they might be able to even have a little d I y flavor at home to make something similar at home so that they become fans of you in the brand and try not to be trying to just to sell all the time on your block, because again, you have to think about why are people going to tune in? Why should they care about this? And if all you're doing is basically an advertisement every week for your products it's unlikely that you're going to keep people's attention so instead show them what's going on behind that behind the scenes show them how they can do that sort of stuff themselves teach them about interesting things within your overall topic space, not just about your own products I see so that's really great advice and I think a lot of the people sitting in the audience can definitely take that and apply to their businesses, but I'm wondering as you're wrapping job if you had to give them one piece of advice, whether it's to this in studio audience or the people watching online what's the one thing you would say would be a great piece of advice for them to walk away with today. Um, I'd say the biggest thing with blogging is really going to be consistency because I see a lot of people start and stop and, you know, fitted in when they can and sort of treat it like a a second rate thing if you really want to get the full benefit from it, almost everybody that I know who has a very successful blawg has treated it as a first level priority, and that means that you don't miss the deadlines that you set for yourself. It's ok, if you set a deadline of once a week or twice a week or three times a week, but make sure that you show up because you're starting out in a base level of knowing how to write and connect with an audience and it's going to take you time to get better at that and it's very easy along that journey to give up because it is hard it's. It's hard to put content out there that's good enough for people to pay attention to. So you have to go through this transformation yourself and consistency is the way to get there, basically by showing up and making sure that we're going to put something out on schedule, learn from it and maybe nobody shows up and that's ok, learn from it and try to do better the next time and just keep doing it, you know, week after week after week and, you know, like I said, if if you published hundreds of blood posts over the years, it's going to be hard not to build on audience, right? Yeah, such a great point, and I feel like I can definitely relate to that, and I've seen that in my business and my blogging, and whenever I decide to stick to my schedule of posting every wednesday, I automatically see my newsletter subscribers go up, my social media interaction go up, and if there's time where I might not be able to get to my block post, I totally see the change in that you are not as many people interacting with me. So yeah, and of course, after your established, you have a little bit more leeway. In terms of being with the slack off but when you're on, you're getting going consistency and and, you know, look at it maybe not just as a promotional tool but also is a market research tool because those conversations that you get to have with your blawg readers in the comments and on social media, those air gold in terms of learning what they need help with how you can build better products and services toe meet your audiences needs and so it's not just a promotional tool it's really a great way to do market research as well great radio and I know I've asked you a lot of questions, but I'm wondering if anybody in the studio audience or the internet audience has some questions for you as well I run a site that deals with a lot of video and so I offer this to my clients and what I'm finding is it it takes a lot of time to produce video, so a lot of my time is, you know, done shooting and then editing and finalizing and all this stuff and I put out a lot of content that way and I haven't I really thought about doing the blawg just yet because I'm afraid that just like you said, you have to kind of treat that as a whole another project and put a lot of time and effort into that too and someone and if I if I am putting a lot of content with video, is there any sort of overlap that I could do where maybe that the videos that I post could also be put onto the bloggers sort of notifications to my readers that there's new videos available? Yeah, absolutely. In fact, if you wanted to go on extra step if your videos or longer form, you know if they're half hour an hour or something like that, you could curate and select some of the better pieces of that and break them out into individual little videos that you posted a blogger and write a little bit about why that piece of that video is important and it will not only bring in a new audience who might make because your videos might be more accessible that way, but also it, uh I lost my train of thought, you know, that only makes sense because then I could not only showcase some of those videos, but then every once in a while, you know, add more value for my exactly I mean tips and how to do that sort of thing. Yeah, it actually when I was going to say is it might draw new audience for your videos as well? Exactly ok, great, great that's such great advice, yeah, does anyone else have any other questions? Audience chris so carla cano says if you start blogging daily or weekly are you stuck with that schedule? Is there any way to sort of you know, do it sporadically or you just you have to do it every day once you start yeah it's a it is the kind of thing that you have to practice I think if you were running a marathon or something you know that there's a lot of work that you have to get done in order to reach the marathon goal in a few months or whatever and you know how easy it is once you stop to just let a week go by or two weeks go by and that sort of thing I found that consistency for me during the first six months or so it was very important but then I adjusted my schedule tio try different things that's one of the greatest things you can do for building a successful bloggers basically to try out different things to different kinds of content try out different kinds of content schedules by longer posts and shorter post try things that are more personal in nature just really run the gamut and start, you know, poking holes to see where people are going to react and when they're going to be really interested in the things that you put out yeah, great, another piece of great advice and you obviously have doing this I have been doing this for a while, so you've been getting results, and you know what you're talking about, and you're thousands of clients are getting the same results. So is there anything else you want to share as we're wrapping up here? Um, thank you for having me, and I really appreciate it, and anybody can reach me on that thing. Traffic dot net. Great. Well, thank you so much for being here and thank you for your great questions as well, and next, we're going to bring robin up here, and she also has a really successful blogged and has used it to establish herself as an expert. Has also, thank you, poor bud light.