Blogging for Growth

Featuring Noah Kagan, Chief Sumo at Sumo.com & AppSumo.com

 
 
  • - Hey, everyone. Welcome to today's HubSpot Academy Master Class. We're gonna be talking about blogging for growth. My name is Courtney Sembler. I'm an inbound professor here on the HubSpot Academy team. And HubSpot Academy, we're the number one leading resource here for learning and growing your business. We have free tools to help you grow that business and your career, and help you with those things, I'm gonna be joined here in a few minutes by Noah Kagan, and he is definitely no stranger to growing businesses. And Noah right now is the chief sumo at sumo.com and appsumo.com, and Noah helps entrepreneurs on his blog OkDork. He blogs about things like marketing, starting a business, personal improvement, and productivity tips. Previously, Noah was at Intel, he employee number 30 at Facebook and number four at Mint, so we're gonna have a lot to talk with Noah today about. Before we get started I wanted to remind you that I wanna hear from you, Noah wants to hear from you, any questions that you have for us, so please comment on the Facebook Live comment section and use the Twitter handle and hashtag #HubSpotmasterclass. So reach out to us, let us know. We'll get your questions answered, so let's get started. Hey, Noah, how's it going, thanks for joining us.

    - Thank you for having me today. Hello, all the HubSpotians. What do you call these people?

    - HubSpotters.

    - Spotters, what's up Spots? HubSpotties, I don't know.

    - Spotties, I like Spotties. Awesome, so for all those folks who might not know a ton about you, or wanna know more about you, can you just tell us a little bit about yourself?

    - Yeah, I've just gotten really lucky, I don't know, for 17 years on the internet webs, like the dub dub dub. It's just been this is fun ride. I can't believe I get paid to play on a computer. At holiday parties, people are like oh, my girlfriend's a nurse, and there's people that are you know, real jobs and somehow I get a, you know teach and help people, and make software online and get paid. The short of the career, yeah, I've always loved tech. Worked at Intel, didn't do anything there. Early person at Facebook, you guys all use it. Mint.com, you used to use it. And, sort of a few other things, but the main things I work on is Sumo Group. We have a few properties. They're all helping small businesses grow, similar to the HubSpot, very complimentary. We have AppSumo.com which is a Groupon for geeks, so we have about a million people that we promote deals to for small businesses totally free. Sumo.com, which are tools for small business owners to grow their email list, and our latest product which is pretty cool, it is a Netflix for software, it's briefcasehq.com, which is like a Netflix for software. 50 bucks, you get the software you need to run your small business.

    - That's awesome. There's a lot of stuff going on there. I feel you on that, sometimes when I talk to my friends, I'm like yeah, I get to work for HubSpot Academy. Get to like talk to people like Noah for my job, it's pretty fun.

    - I get to talk to you for, I mean, I can't believe this is a job. Sometimes I'm must amazed at like, the funny thing is I do this, like on the computer. That's all I do all day and then like money comes. And you know, if you really like came and worked me, and people are like, I'd love to work with you. You realize, I just sit at a computer like eight to 12, 14 hours a day, that's pretty much my life

    - Yeah, but it's fun.

    - No, no, it's super fun, but then one hour a day I get to hang out with you, and share the things that I've been learning over the past few years.

    - Which is pretty great. And so, to get started on that, really how did you get started blogging? I know that there is definitely a lot of things you blog about now, but where did that all start from?

    - Yeah I would say that I started in 2000. So, I bought this domain OkDork.com, and I thought I would be able to sell it for millions of dollars, and I will say in the 17 years since I bought the domain I've never had one offer, so I'm still waiting for it. I think one of the big things, especially for the audience and for myself that I've learned is that I just started writing. And so, if you ever thinking about creating content or getting known, or growing your business is that, can you commit 15 minutes a day to doing something? And so, since 2000 until now, I've written almost every single week. And originally I was like really me writing about like oh I love this girl friend, oh she broke up. Oh, I have a new one, oh she dumped me, and then I started running my business stuff, like oh here's a stupid business idea, and I think it was a great skill that I just kept like working on and practicing on, and eventually you know, I started getting some recognition around it, but also that's a function of like, I've been doing this for a very, very long time. And so now, more on OkDork and other meetings which we can talk about you know, it's led to really recognizing people are interested in me talk about, which is mostly how to start a business, grow a business, or online marketing.

    - Yeah, and I mean, that's a lot of what, you know, we talk about here on the academy team, like how do you start that business, how do you grow it, but I agree with you, it comes down to just doing it. I write a ton just personally, and it doesn't happen unless you know, you set aside that time on your calendar to just start writing.

    - Yeah, I did a, I like to 30 day challenges, 'cause I think a lot of those can get, can become habits, so for January I'm doing clean January, so no drinking, no drugs, no nothing, water, healthy living, all that kinda good stuff. And my friend and I are betting a Bitcoin, so I really don't, especially if it goes up, I'm gonna be screwed, but that was one example, or one that I started, literally I met with Scott Tousley, who works at HubSpot, yesterday, and he was like, hey, every morning, I write a gratitude thing, just one quick sentence. And I was like oh, that's cheesy. You know, I don't wanna do it. He's like okay, let's just do it 30 days. And so, I just wrote this morning. I think, I don't know if I was appreciative for hot water. I think I was probably my one from this morning, but the point being is that any habit, as long as you can commit 15 minutes. Put in your calendar, block it out, and just do it everyday. Eventually that muscle gets stronger, and you can go a lot longer, and your skills will improve.

    - Definitely, I set aside 10 minutes every morning to sit down and write. I'm trying to write a book and that's what's gonna, you know get me there to do it is that habit. And I mean I know there's so many different things that we can talk about with writing and blogging, but I know that you probably hear from a lot of different marketers, a lot of different types of people on some misconceptions about blogging. Are there any things around that? Like, what are some of the misconceptions about you know, blogging and writing, and you doing what you do?

    - Yeah, I'd say blogging over what I'm noticing is that a lot of people think if you write it they'll just come. And, I think of it like, I think a lot of business like relationships, like you don't, I've never had my wife just show up at my door. I'm like oh, if I just wait at home, eventually she'll just show at the door. The only that shows there is like pizza delivery. And so, it's generally not gonna get you what you want unless you're hungry. And so, with blogging I think a big misconception is just that you write and you just keep writing, which is a good thing, you'll get the audience, or you'll get the the right audience. And I think most people don't actually spend enough time figuring out like how do I work backwards from the customers I want. So, they're not actually doing any of the promotion or I always call it the hard work, which is like getting outside of your computer, and actually talking to people, or promoting it, or working on that versus staying behind a computer. The second thing that, you know I'm been in online marketing in businesses 17 years now. The second thing that I sucked at, and I still suck at and I'm still working on, is that I don't think we actually define target customers well enough. I know HubSpot has had a lot of success, as you guys did define your customer, and with our businesses we, we've done, I think we've done an okay job and can do better, but with your blogging, it's like how can you just write to one single person, and then how can you just be so specific that when that person finds your content or sees it, it's just like oh my god this is the greatest thing ever. So, that would be number two. And number three, I don't think people are actually doing great quality writing.

    - Hmm.

    - A lot of people do really poo poo writing, and they're like well, I don't know why no one's reading it. Well, it's because it sucks. It's shitty, it's shitty content, it's a shitty product. It's like a restaurant that has a crappy dish. You're not gonna go back and eat there if you didn't like the taste of it.

    - Right of course.

    - And so, I think that maybe two things that I would I would relate to that is that, you know the results you'll get are likely a function of your input. So, if you're input is like half an hour of writing on an article, you're not gonna get anything. You know, in the 17 years I've been writing, to give you an example, in 17 years, I've had three articles go viral. Three, three articles out of a 1,000 go viral. Meaning that they had a 100,000 people view them in one day, and those articles all took me between three and six months to write.

    - Wow.

    - Just to, and you could also say that I'm a slow writer. Ha ha ha ha. Oh wow, he doesn't know how to type, and that's not, that's not really true. but the point being is that things take a long time. That's a misconception, people think it's gonna be quick. People aren't promoting enough, and three, you have to put the work in, in making sure it's a high quality dish or blog post, and really think about that. I think that if people realized like, did I put 30 hours into this article? No, alright that's probably why it's not working that well.

    - Yeah, and I think there's a lot that you people can learn from that. I mean, you know when you think about that quality of the product, and targeting those right buyer personas, you know you can apply that to so many different things, but if you don't know who you want to be reading your blog post, or even just any piece of content you're putting out there, it's like why is anyone gonna pick it up, if you yourself didn't know who should.

    - Well, you know two of my favorite things with marketing, especially with blogging, in number one, when people say I see you everywhere. I don't know if you've ever heard that with your business, but with a lot of people, it's like man I see you everywhere. It's like you don't see me everywhere. You see me everywhere I wanna see the right person. And I think that that's a key thing when people are blogging. And then, the other thing is like I do think people are writing, and maybe they are doing a good quality content, but I think the thing that you have to also consider when you're blogging is what are you gonna be known for. Like when people say HubSpot, they're like blogging. These guys just blog a crap ton. People say Buffer they're like oh, those guys just share everything, and they're hippy dippy. You know, when people say Sumo, they probably say quirky. Right, we're kinda like quirky, like small business people. And so, you know I think different businesses have to be known for certain things, so would say for yourself as you're doing your blog post you have data that's proprietary. Do you have knowledge that just no one else can have? What is your unique advantage, your unique angle that people will recognize you for, and I think the more that people can do that in their blogging, the easier it will be for them to get more attention and traction around their work.

    - Yeah, I love that data piece. I mean I know personally from reading your blog and OkDork, I actually was reading one the other day about time management that I continue to go back to, because I love it. I'm such a time management geek, but I know that with all of that you are a huge data person, but what are the type of metrics that you personally look at on an ongoing basis first, when you really wanna do a deep dive into that data? What are the types of things you look at there?

    - Yeah, it really depends on your business. For specifically for blogging, I'll tell you just with sumo.com recently, we have a content lead named Chris, and the first three months of the year, first three months the second half of the year, I had him focusing on traffic. And it was like Chris, I don't care what you do, here's your traffic goal, and then whatever things add up to that is really up to you. And so his traffic goal, I think the first month, was 100,000 uniques, than 150,000, and then 200,000 uniques, and you know, I think what people do is that they get confused, 'cause there's so many different numbers to look at. They're like, well there's this number and this number, and I'm a data driven person. And, whenever someone says that to me, I'm like you're not, so never say you are. Whenever someone says that to me, I'm like okay, this person doesn't know anything about data, 'cause I don't even know anything, and I don't act like I do, but the thing is I think simplify to a specific North star, so maybe pick traffic. But, here's what happens. Go and look if that number actually correlates to growth in your business. So for example, we pick traffic, and he did hit 100,000, a 150,000, 250,000 in I think a three month time span.

    - Wow.

    - Our number of registered sign ups, and our number of revenue did not change whatsoever, so I think that that was a big realization where it's like, ah we grow this stuff, but it didn't actually move the needle, and I think that's one of the biggest problems with marketers today, is they get so excited to do things, especially the newest things and the shiny things, but they don't actually take a look to say, what's actually working, and then what stuff can I stop? So, as we recognized that it wasn't growing our business, it wasn't changing the amount of people signing up, we actually said well, what can we do directly to really help our business? And it's more, we change it to an MQL goal, which is kind of new marketing speak for marketing qualified lead. So now, the content team is responsible for, how do I drive qualified people that would be interested in using sumo.com? And so, what that does to them is instead of just getting as many people reading the blog post as possible, it's two things. How are we writing the right content for the right people? How are we promoting it to those people, which obvious, but how are we promoting it to the right people? And third, how are we transitioning people coming to the content, and transition that to a sign up? Like we have a pop up, do we have a scroll box? Do we have in links, you know, content upgrades, or whatever you call, to really encourage people to sign up, so they can hit their marketing qualified lead. And I think that's a better ... It's actually more, if the traffic wasn't grew business, then we would just stay with that, but it's not, it's too broad. And, this marketing qualified lead seems more direct. On my personal blog OkDork, it was more around email lists, so everything was email list. You know instead of, do I have to write a lot of articles or a little? I didn't care. It was more what helped grow the email list the most, and then doing every activity around that. So I generally, in my business, the way we've always run it with Sumo Group for eight years now is we have one company goal, and there are sub things that help line up to that goal. Like, so if revenue is your goal, you probably need a certain amount of sign ups from the blog, and you need a certain amount of sales from the sales team, and then you need a certain amount of trim reduction from the support team or experience team. All that will add up to it, but again, I just like one simple goal and focusing on that.

    - And focusing on that, yeah, and I love what you say about email lists. I'm personally the email marketing professor on the HubSpot Academy team, so I talked a lot about building your email list, and how to make those segments. Do you wanna talk a little bit more about how you build those email lists, and like why collecting those email addresses for blogging is so important? And, I focus a lot of it of course, on you know, on marketing side. You gotta have those segments, but more from the blogging side. What are your sort of thoughts around your email list, and how you build it?

    - I mean, your email list is your ATM, and I don't mean to dehumanize the people that are on. Like my mailing list or your mailing list, or any mailing list, but your email list is your ATM. It's your ability to interact for transactions, or just education with people. I'm always shocked that people don't have a mailing list. What most people do is they start a company, like I'm gonna sell soda water, or I'm gonna sell a phone or whatever it is, and then they have to go out and find customers. And for me, I've been I don't know if it's fortunate, but it's also planning. You know, it's the gardening mentality versus the hunting mentality, which is go and educate people, get them on your mailing list, have trust with them, so when you finally do have something you wanna interact, that they'll be ready for it. An example of that is my friend Shane Snow. He doesn't really grows mailing list. He's an author, and he's popular on LinkedIn. And I love his book, but he has a new book coming out in six months, and I'm like well if you had 10,000 people you were talking to once a week interacting with, then when you launch your book, you would easily be able to sell 500 copies. Instead now he's like, alright well now I should start this mailing list and start interacting with people. So, I think that the two things I would recommend, it's not the quantity of your email list, it's the quality. I think that's something I've actually changed over the years. I don't care how many, oh I have 10,000, 100,000, I don't care. It's about the people on that mailing list. Do they give a shit when you say hey please read this, or I recommend this, or go buy this. Do they actually listen to you, and engage with you, and trust you? And then secondly, you need to have a consistency in communicating with them. So, instead of just getting as many people as possible. I have pop ups freaking everywhere. Have them less so people actually have to earn getting into the mailing list, and then secondly interact with them at least, I do it every week, but at least twice a month. 'Cause think of it like again, going back to that garden analogy. If you stop watering your plants they're gonna die or decay, and people wanna hear from you. Even if it's like hey, I have nothing going on. What are you up to? Like I have, you know, my two, funny enough, my two most popular emails. The first one was literally an email about nothing. I just said hey, I'm not selling anything. I have no Instagram quotes for you. I've got no another blog post for you to read or YouTube video or nothing. That's it, I just want you have a great day. And then another one, I was just like hey, I wanna thank you for you being you, and leave a comment with your name, and I'll put you in my next podcast, the Noah Kagan Presents podcast. I was just like leave a comment, and I'll put you in the pod. And, those are my two most popular, so the ones where I'm not trying to sell, or even do anything, just like kind of fun ones have been gotten the most reactions and engagement in 17 years.

    - And, that's fantastic. I mean that's really getting at that, you know, human and helpful aspect of email that I love to talk about. And getting that consistency is, you, I can't say enough how much that consistency matters, particularly when you look at things like email deliverability and getting people to open up your emails. If you're not consistent when you send to them, and when you know, if they're not expecting you to get those emails, then that's gonna decay, so there's a lot definitely with those email lists, that I'm excited that you are seeing me as an email nerd. I love to talk about it.

    - Well I never, I don't think any girl or boy grows up, like I wanna be an email marketing person. It's not a like probably a dream. You know I think, when I think of email in general, it really relates to blogging. So, at the end of day like a lot of bloggers, like food bloggers and mommy bloggers, and these kind of people, a lot of them get their traffic from Facebook, social, and Pinterest, so they don't actually care about their email list, because the amount that it drives is so insignificant, but mostly people I noticed who are service, are info marketers, physical products, or SAS, or eCommerce businesses, the email list is like that you know, it's the truth to them, because that actually moves the needle, so for them it makes a big difference.

    - Definitely. It definitely moves those needles a lot when you can build that trust and have that value with those people on your email list. And as you're saying, when then new things do come out you already have that series of followers that you know that you can reach out to, and you're not having to scramble at that last minute to find more people.

    - One of the most common, one most common thing is Courtney, that everyone says is like oh, well how do I get them to increase my open rates, and how do I get my reply rates, or how do I get people to read my articles, and I just think you gotta make them your online boyfriend.

    - My online boyfriend.

    - Or your online wife, or online fiancee, whatever it is that you want, partner, I don't care. What do I mean by that is that, you know if people, how do I get my open rates up? I'm like, well, whose emails do you always open? You open your boyfriend's emails every single time. You reply to your mom's emails every single time, and I think there's something in that mentality, about what is it about that relationship that's different than this relationship? And so, how do you get more to that level, where like they're looking forward to your communication, and they're always excited, and you're the first that they reply to? And a lot of that is like consistency, right? I've been with my mom a long time. You know, I've known, 35 years I've been with this lady. You know she's helped me a lot, it's not always her asking. She does, she's a Jewish mother so she nags, but there is a lot of asking and helping me, oh Noah do this, Noah do that. Noah, how was the HubSpot interview? And, from time to time she needs me to do things, and I think the more that you can kind of create that parallel with your customers on an individual basis, if you can even, then you'll be more successful, and you'll have open rates and reply rates, and a successful business and blog.

    - That's fantastic. I know I love receiving emails from you. Got one this morning, it was pretty great, so I love seeing stuff coming into my inbox with your name on it, but if my boyfriend ever sent me an email, that would be very interesting day. I don't think he's ever sent me an email

    - What do you mean, your boyfriend never emails you?

    - No, there's no way he emails me. I don't even think he knows my email address.

    - Your real boyfriend?

    - Yeah, why wouldn't you email me, he like--

    - I emailed my girlfriend this morning, about there's a crazy Jim Carrey video about how he's doing art now and I think he lost it, which is really fun to watch, so if you guys just search Jim Carrey Vimeo art.

    - [Courtney] I'll have to see that.

    - But yeah, emailed that to her. Anyways, that's strange. That's another thing you gotta go to therapy and talk about.

    - Well, besides from my boyfriend not emailing me, something that our users love, and we talk a lot about with them is examples. And so, I'd love to hear from you. I know that OkDork is a great example of a fantastic blog. I love it, it's really entertaining, but what are some other blogs or places that you find inspiration? What inspires you? What are some standout blogs in your eyes?

    - Yeah, and I wanna come back after this to the metric stuff. I have a thing that I think for most bloggers has been really helpful. It's changed our business dramatically, and our blogging dramatically. You know, I think in terms of blogging, the first thing that comes to mind is priceonomics.

    - Oh, okay.

    - So, I've really, really enjoyed their writing this year. A lot more like, I don't know I think I'm lately, I just don't really read as many blogs, and I'm more into books, right? 'Cause I feel like the quality of them is a lot higher. And then, I do more of the podcasts. I feel like that plus YouTube has been, where the production values are getting higher, and the quality is getting higher, and I can consume things in a quicker amount of time. There hasn't been as many blogs for me that have stood out and been like ah, this is the craziest one that I'm liking. Let me pull up my favorites list. Do you Get Pocket at all?

    - Oh yeah, yeah.

    - Love Get Pocket.

    - Get Pocket, right.

    - I see some of the better one. There's, I mean David Skok, who is a HubSpot investor for entrepreneurs.com. I think he's, just content is just so consistent. He's really consistent writer. I've always enjoyed his material. I like our stuff, I'm selfish, 'cause that's why I write it. But those, probably those two, Priceonomics and David Skok.

    - Awesome. Yeah, I mean I think there's always different examples that you can pull for you know different reasons, whether it's on a blog, maybe it's a podcast. I know that I personally like to listen to more podcasts. I hang out on medium.com a lot, and read ton of content there, because it has an audio version, so I can listen to it while doing other things, which makes it so much easier when things are you know, busy.

    - Well, I think the thing that I realize, is that most of the content that I read is like an appetizer, where it never really fills me up. And so, that's the part where I actually read. I think over the years I've read less blogs, 'cause I don't think the actual stuff that you're gonna significantly learn, it could come from a blog post, but I'll tell you, there's so many blog posts. I've read it, and then I go do what they say, or they recommend a marketing tactic and I do it, and it doesn't work for me. And so, a lot of the times I find like books are much more researched. The YouTube is a little higher quality. So, like just search a specific topic that you wanna learn. Try that out, and then most importantly I think or, if it's about learning marketing or blogging, it's like just go do it. Just go actually make the things yourself, instead of a consume, so I think that if someone that's watching this can think about, is that how much am I consuming, versus how much am I producing? Consuming, creating, how much are you spending that time? And, I think the more that you tip the scale in creating, you'll actually get, you know, a lot more growth and traction than reading blogs consistently.

    - Yeah, that makes sense you know, If you go and do something. You know the two best ways to learn how to do something is you do it and you teach someone else how to do it.

    - Whoa.

    - So get in there, and you know do it and then teach someone else how to do it. That's how you're actually gonna learn it

    - I love that, that's a great message. I just think you know when people think about what they're reading, I think there's, you know I'm reading, 'cause I just need something to kill time. Totally fine there's nothing right or wrong about that, but I'd say for everyone listening, just reflect on what have you learned recently, and where did that come from? So, instead of worrying about it what Noah learns, 'cause you probably don't, my stuff might be boring for you. But like for instance, Ray Dalio's Principles. He put out a free PDF, plus he has his book now. That book is a century book, it's phenomenal. And for me that's like okay, something with books that's really sticking with me, so let me just keep going with that, and just reflect for yourself. Is it, maybe it's meeting with other people. Maybe it's Masterminds, maybe it's Meetups. Maybe it's forums, whatever that is.

    - Yeah, and I mean I personally I love to learn from books. I had to goal of in 2017 to read 200 books in 365 days, and I'm at just about 190 right now.

    - Wow.

    - So, 10 more books in the last little bit of December here.

    - Good for you!

    - Yeah but I mean, I focused on trying to you know, what did I wanna learn in 2017, and found as many books as possible on those type of things, and I don't think I wanna do 200 books next year, but it was a good experience for this year.

    - I think one of the other things for people out there is that if you wanna learn something, just go interview a person who's great at it. So for example, Paul English, who is the founder of kayak.com. I cold emailed him maybe four months ago, and I was like hey, I have a podcast and I have a blog, and this is one of my favorite techniques from Mint. This is one that helped us grow a lot. Shane Snow, the writer this is what he does, is just if you wanna get free content plus grow, just go interview people, and then plus you get to learn really amazing things. So, Paul English this morning, I was like well how do you structure your team? How do you do product management? How do you raise your children? And I'm like literally learning from one of the best in the world who's done the stuff. And so, that's even you know, just go directly to the source, and then promote them, so you get free content, and you get to learn. And probably you get a cool connection out of that.

    - Definitely, one of the inbound professors on the academy team, Kyle Jepson, just did an the entire certification on the Sales Enablement Course that is all interviews. He went out, interviewed a bunch of thought leaders, in sales enablement and built entire certification around it. And even though I have an email course, I have to stay the Sales Enablement Certification might be one of my favorite, just based off that idea that it's all interviews. Get out there, talk to those people, which is fantastic, but with going off some of these examples that we sort of talked about. I know that we spoke a little bit yesterday, about you know what tips might you have about what people should write about. You know, when they sit down Monday morning, what should they think about writing about? How did they start start that process?

    - Yeah, so there's definitely like an SEO. There's different approaches, right? So, there's a whole and we can talk about this later, but like what's your content strategy? How do you figure out your blogging strategy? I will say from the topics how I do it, I do basically two things now. So, writing takes time, right? Putting together like very thoughtful content and blogging, or YouTube, or podcasts is not like I can just go and spit it out, so what I've been doing lately, is I throw things out on LinkedIn or Twitter, and I literally just kinda see what topics get the most responses. And so, I'm looking for like, alright, you know like at a hospital, there's like the, I don't know what they're called, but the pulse thing.

    - Oh the, yeah, I know what you're talking about, the--

    - I don't know, I have to ask my girlfriend, but it's just like--

    - I think--

    - Sorry what's that?

    - An EKG, right?

    - Yes, yes, EKG thank you. So, I'll put things out, and it's more than what I like to do is kind of like alright, let me see what works, at a very like low risk low time commitment level, and then I can go invest in ones that are actually like, oh wow people go crazy about this. And I think that's just an overall good marketing strategy, which is just like put out some things, validate it, and then see what works, and then go harder on it. It's the same thing with the content for a single blog. Like, we've tried a bunch of different topics and articles over the years, in like three and a half years now, and it's like okay we've kind of narrowed in on what topics people really want, but that's after, you know trying lighter ones out. So, for me like I'll put out something about critic, like here's a tweet from recently. Like, criticism easy as creation is hard, and that one super popular, like people, a lot of people seem to really resonate with that. So, then that will lead me to be like, okay there's something about creating things is hard. Let's talk about creation, and you know, being maybe less critical of other things, which led to a podcast episode. And so, I think my recognition is like, try things out on smaller scales so there's less risk for you, and then you know that there's a likelihood that there's gonna be popularity around that topic.

    - That's awesome. The low risk, I think is also important for a lot of people. I know the HubSpot customers I talk to who might be listening, it's like how do we do this, but make sure that it's not you know wasting our time, or wasting the people that I work with, if you work on a small to medium sized business, you don't have time to waste. You gotta be able to crank really quickly.

    - Well, and I think the balance is that content marketing and blogging can work, for I would say every business, it's just, but recognizing what works in your business. That's really the ultimate thing that matters. So, you know for our businesses for example, so AppSumo it's grown to an eight figure company, and we don't blog all, like we've never blogged. You could argue that the deals are kind of a form of a blog, but it's not really. And you know, we'd say like sumo.com, you know, a fourth or fifth of our revenue comes from our blog.

    - Right.

    - And so it's just different businesses have different ways of growing. And so, figuring out which method it is for your own business that I'd say the ultimate thing though with content and blogging in general, even email, is it's all related to education, right? So, HubSpot does an amazing job of like an academy, and certifications, and content, so if you're educating people, there's a likelihood that they're wanna trust you, and then buy from you at some later point.

    - Right. And I know that you had said in there a little bit that we were gonna circle back to more of the content calendar blog strategy piece of once you sort of do figure out what those topics are that you're gonna write about, you know, what does that content calendar look like or that blog strategy sort of formula or tips that you have?

    - Yeah, so I'm gonna go over three things that we do and I'll just tell people exactly how we do it so there's no mysteries or anything like that. Basically, man I'm trying to figure out the easiest way to break this down. So what you have to do is first off is come up with your blogging strategy. So what is gonna help you, well, let's even take one step back. What's your goal, right? Is your goal traffic, is it revenue, is it email, is it MQLs? Whatever it is for you, I don't care, that's up to you. Is it social shares, is it ad revenue? Whatever that is. So that's the number one thing that you're gonna do. Number two, you're gonna pick our your strategy. So the strategy that we use for Sumo Content is basically, I don't know if it's like a plus strategy, but we basically have social articles so that they're not gonna probably be searched on Google, but they're articles are gonna get shared heavily, and so those we call Sumo growth studies. So we go out and literally spend around $2,500 writing an article, paying writers and editors and designers to put together this 80 page article around how a company grew. So that's kind of like one part of our strategy. And the second part is our long strategy, which is the horizontal, which is more around things that people are gonna search in Google. And so, the way I always recommend people to do it is how do you take proprietary data that only you have access to, because no one else can copy it, right? Nowadays, like I put a blog post out, someone literally, no joke, just copied it, changed the title. I was like, that, I wrote all that, what the hell? But it's easy to copy nowadays, so you have to create things that how do you have something that no one else can copy? So do you have a certain amount of information, do you have survey data? Even if you don't have software, do have survey data, do you have interviews? Is there anything that you can do that no one else can do? And that's more of our long tail approach. So we do these growth studies and then we do marketing studies. So that's number one. And it all should tie, you know, we put this in a spreadsheet and say, well here's the goal of our MQLs. Here's the things we're doing to that. Is it actually leading towards it or not? The second thing we do, I'm just, I'm actually just looking at exactly our list. So we have that consistency. So if you were gonna be doing content and blogging, I would say consistency is one of the most important things. So if you have like a TV show that you like, I don't know what people watch these days. What do, like Bachelorette? I don't know what people watch.

    - Stranger Things, everybody watches Stranger Things.

    - Stranger Things. Well nowadays, Netflix has ruined it, but most people like that every Monday night is Monday Night Football, or every Sunday is gonna be a certain show. And so, when you get into that rhythm and routine, people are already conditioned for that. So are you doing something every week consistently that people are starting to look forward to? And so every week we already have, you know, we plan out probably a month of writing ahead of time, so that content calendar. Like, so this week is increase eCommerce traffic. Next week is gonna be a case study that, one of the longer tail things. Then we have one of the vertical wonders of the growth study, and we kinda go back and forth throughout the month. One of the most important things in marketing, and I'll go over two other things that are critical with this, is that I don't think people go back and actually see what's working. So on a monthly basis, we go and track every single article, and we say which topics and content drove us towards our goal. So for instance, we have this article about best email opt-in tool. That drove a lot of qualified sign ups. Huh. Why don't we do more of articles like that? And I think most times as marketers and business owners, we just kind of just keep going and it's 'cause we're busy. And it's feels good, 'cause we're like, things are happening. So one, you have to revisit and debrief, like, how have things been going, what can I do more of, and what can I kill? And you got to be diligent about that. Two other things that we do, and I wanna highly recommend it, in every single one of our articles, I'll take like a screenshot. We have a promotion checklist in every single article. So here's an example of it. Let me just take a, I'm just taking a quick screenshot and you can post this on Facebook or something like that. So, every single article here we promote it, and I think that's something that people write these articles and they spend so much time on the 80 percent, it's like you're running a mile and you run really well the first three laps, and the last lap, you just give up. And my mom, one of my mom's favorite quotes is like, push hard in the last lap, 'cause you'll forget how hard it was once it's over.

    - Right.

    - And I'm like, oh that a great, you know, once it's over, it's over. You're done and you can rest, but at least go as hard as possible. And so, we have this, I don't know, this is like a 15 point checklist on every single article we do, and sometimes we're even going further, depending on the article, but it's like are you outbound emailing people, are you posting on Facebook, are you posting on Twitter, are you posting on Quora, are you posting on LinkedIn? Are you putting it in Get Pocket, are you putting it in Flipboard, are you posting it on Meet Edgar? Are you running ads to it? Have you tested the images, have you tested the headlines? I mean this is every single article, and I think the more that you create consistency and predictability in your promotion, the more that every one of your content is gonna keep doing better and better and keep reaching a larger audience. And then the last thing that we do related to our overall strategy is called a proactive dashboard, and this is one of my favorite things that we've added this year, is the idea of a proactive dashboard is that if you write a blog post, can you guarantee that people are gonna read it? Not really. You can't. I can't, like, unless I print it out, fly to Boston, and force Courtney to read it.

    -Which is welcome, come on over.

    - I'll come hang out with y'all. Maybe when it's less cold. But a proactive dashboard, and this is what I've loved, is that, and I've learned this from David at grasshopper.com, is what are things in your blogging and in your business that you have full control over? So things that you're not dependent on anybody else. I'm not hoping Google does something, but I can help, like, I can control how many people I email to say, hey here's an article, you may like it or share it or link to it. I can control that. I can control how many titles I test. I can control how many images I test. I can control how much ad money I spend. Or David for instance, one of the guys on our team, he does two email marketing opt-in tests, two tests every week to grow the email list on our blog, or two tests every week to get more people to listen to our podcast. And so, a proctor dashboard I highly recommend, I put a, there's a video on YouTube, proctor dashboard, that you can see exactly what we do. I think there's a template of it, so people can copy it, but this has been one of the most dramatic changes in our business because, I think so many times we're waiting for things, and we're like well I can't, and let's just see how it goes, and I think this is really helped us start thinking, alright what can we do, and then when we do it, we're like, did it at help us or not? So, we used to post all of articles on like Pinterest, and we used to do a bunch of Quora articles, like five a week and that was 'cause we could control it. And then after three months we said Pinterest is not driving any traffic. Quora is not driving any traffic. We killed it from our proactive dashboard, and we added in LinkedIn. And so, now every week we do five posts on LinkedIn. And so, I think that you know, that kinda ties everything together. It's like, instead of being reactive, like what can you do with your blogging and with your business?

    - That's fantastic. I think those are, those three that you just broke down are gonna be really helpful for everyone that's sort of listening and getting started with those, I think that you know, idea of being able to have that proactive dashboard, looking at things, and you know even when you look at emails, and sending them out you gotta test, you gotta analyze it. You can't just send it off and you know keep on chugging without you no looking back and see what performed well. We do have our first question that just popped in, so I wanna make sure that Andrea here gets out there. So, she asked how do you feel about partnering on contact? Content, not contacts. I teachmanagement, and it is like plugged into my brain all the time, but she says how do you feel about partnering on content? She says I love your blog, and I have some data that I could add. Can we team up to repost on a new version?

    - Yeah, you know I was thinking about this recently. Can you imagine going to a restaurant, and someone gives you free food, and you get a great meal? Yeah, it's awesome, right? So, I think that's the way I've been thinking about, like how do you do partnerships? Where how do you go to someone, and you just hook them up with such a great thing, that they're just excited to give it away? And that's what, I love guest posting. That's actually where I was thinking. This is what I was thinking this morning, Courtney, before we got started. I said if I had no, I have literally zero audience, no social, no Twitter, don't know nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, there'd be two things I would do to grow my business. Number one, I would go join Facebook groups, and I would just get super active, and very targeted face groups around specific topics. It could be like Austin startups. It could be around Cleveland gardeners, whatever it is, and just be the most helpful person in that group. What will happen is eventually people start reaching out to you. You'll probably if you want start blogging, and you can post in that group, 'cause you've been really active, and that's literally like the fastest way that you can get recognized in a specific vertical or area. You could also do that like on GrowthHackers, or Inbound.org. Whatever it is, the point is, go find a group that you can just go start helping people, and literally if you help people for a month in some type of group, you will get recognition, and you could start doing other things with people in that group. The second thing is guest posting. I think and I feel like people have talked about it for so long, so I'm not gonna go into it too much, but I think what happens with guest posting is that when we approach people, and we try to do partnerships, what we're actually saying is hey, I really just want this shit for myself. I don't really wanna help you at all. Can you just like send me your customers, right? That's what we're saying, but the email is like, hey I wanna help you out, and I love your stuff, and oh can we do this? And it's like, no really just send me your customers. I hate you, just die. I'm like what, what is going on? No, and so the point of being is that, if you approach people, actually put in the work. So, let me give you an example recently. I found a guy's article online, but I'll just give you two quick stories. I found an article online by this guy Chris von Wilpert, and he wrote about HubSpot, and I said this is the best articles I've ever seen. I'd love for you to write an article, and I'll promoted to all of my audience. I'll put ad dollars behind it. I'll put Twitter dollars behind it. I'll put social behind it, and he went out, and then wrote this article on Intercom that went pretty viral. And so, I got free content. I didn't have to write anything, and then he got a crap ton of exposure. And so, I think you really have to think about, how is it great for the other person? Really great, not like it's like bullshit great. Another example of that, there's a guy that works at Atlassian named Kevin Indig, and he wrote an article and I just really loved it, and I was like hey you're a great writer, let's just be friends and stay in touch, and I said hey you know what's your, what's important to you right now? What are you trying to accomplish? He's like, I'm trying to grow my brand and recognition. And I was like, eh you know, I'm really focused on the Sumo blog, so if you can write anything related to eCommerce, who's our target customer, target customer see, full circle. Came back Lion King style. I said hey, if it's ecommerce related, I'll take a look at it, otherwise I don't care. And so, I didn't ask him to do this. Two weeks later, literally two days ago, he sent me a 4500 word article on eCommerce marketing that's one of the best I've ever seen. I didn't ask for anything. I didn't make him do anything, but he basically came and gave me an a delicious meal that now I am like excited to go to tell everyone about this restaurant, and I want to go promote him. And so, I think the ultimate thing, we all know the shit. That's the part I hate, but I still, you know I still make the same mistake. We all know to go help, and go give, and make it great for someone else, so it's great for them. Subsequently it will be good for you, but I think you have the kind of remember that, and get into that mindset. So, those are kind of some of the stories recently. It's like really go and think, how is this great for the other person? And then subsequently, I'll get what I want.

    - Yeah, and I think they're, I mean that can be true with so many different things that you know we look at even just generally in life. When you ask someone about something, it's like you know how is it great for you? How am I gonna add value to you, and your business, and your life, that will in turn of course help me? I just wanna say for everyone listening as a reminder, please ask questions. Use that #HubSpotmasterclass. Comment below I'll happy to get them out there to Noah as we continue chatting here for the 20 minutes.

    - Yeah, I'm looking at this Twitter stub. It's going pretty crazy. So hey, holler at me on Twitter @NoahKagan and I'll holler back at you guys. This is pretty cool, all these other quotes and stuff. We should come up with more quotes.

    - There we go. Just like the next 20 minutes, sit here and we're quotes. I mean we're talking about like a blog wrap, before we got on here so I'm still waiting.

    - I think I may have to go down if we stay to the end, we'll have to drop some lyrics on them.

    - Ha ha, there we go. So, I wanna shift a little bit and talk more about goals. You know, on HubSpot we talk a lot about aligning vectors, and making sure that all the activities in your organization, in your business, are aligned sort of really towards that central goal whatever it might be. You know on the academy team we talk about transforming the way the world does business. That's our goal, it's our mission. You know what are some ways that you do that, with your blog or with you know Sumo? What are the ways that you know you really look at a central goal and align everything around it?

    - Yeah, I don't know how other people do goals. I'm really, I'm curious, 'cause I don't know how. I just kinda, I think as you get older, you figure out your own ways, and you kinda get set in them. For me, the way that I've learned it from market Facebook, was just basically pick one goal, and everything aligns around that. And I know people are like, well, what about this other goal, and what about this other goal? I'm like, you can do everything, but it probably won't work well. You know, when I started this year, I had I think I literally had one goal, which is to grow my podcast to 100,000 downloads an episode, and what happens is when things get challenging, we then start adding other things. Well, like this one's hard, maybe this will be easier, so then I started YouTube. Then I was like well, YouTube's hard, maybe I'll start this, and I just kept adding more and more things, and then I eventually realized like, you can't do, you can only do one thing great. You can do many things good, but if you wanna be amazing, you can only do one thing great. And I go yeah, Elon or Steve Jobs, they're not human, they're robots, okay, but if you're human, you're only gonna be able to do one thing great. And so, pick one thing to be great at. Pick if it's gonna be your content, if it's gonna be video, if it's gonna be podcast, if it's gonna be whatever type of service or business you are, pick one thing and be great at it. So, for us in our company, in the eight years we've been doing it, we each year have just one singular goal for the business. The one thing I would say that, and I'll give you some examples, and I'll tell you how it's changing my perspective, it's changing on it. First year of AppSumo, it was to get 50,000 email subscribers, and the reason that was, is that the more email we got the more money we got. The next year was 500,000, so it's like getting even better, but as we got to the 500,000 number, the revenue start going down the more emails we got, because the quality wasn't there. And so, we had to adjust. The next year we didn't choose any goal, and that was actually one of the worst years we've had in our business, just saying. You wouldn't drive. You wouldn't try to drive to a destination without knowing the destination. Right?

    - Yeah.

    - Do you know what I'm saying?

    - You could, but you're just not gonna get anywhere.

    - I mean, if you're trying to go to Mexico, you probably go south, but you might end up in Florida. Ooh, that's a good one, that's a good one. Yeah, quote that.

    - That's good, I like that.

    - So, pick a goal, and then plan your route to get there. And so, in our business, I'll tell you something that I'm challenged with now, is that with our companies we've picked revenue as a goal, and I actually think that's a crappy thing to target. Why? Because it'll make you short sighted, and it doesn't actually align the incentives with the customer. So, if you think about Facebook, and all these social media platforms, they're not aligned for you. They're aligned to waste all your time. Like, they are optimized to get your eyeballs, like this Facebook Live thing, and or whatever postings and images, they optimize it for total watch time, or total time on their site, and total repeat visits over a month, 'cause that's how they make money. So, you have to think in your business, how do I align what I'm doing with my customer that's good for them and good for me? So, what's an example of that Noah? Great question, thank you for asking. Sometimes I'm like, is he a dick, or am I annoying, or do people like him? That's third person talk. So for us the way I'm looking at it now, is how do I get a certain number of customers, which will probably help me, accomplishing a certain thing for themselves? So, if you have a business, how do I get 10 customers to get a certain revenue? Or my 10 customers get a certain amount of email lists, if you're trying to help people grow their email lists, like Sumo.com, or 10 customers get a certain amount of blog traffic, like HubSpot? Or, 100 customers get a certain amount of referrals. Maybe you're a referral business. So the point being is that, how do you create metrics that give you guidance in the right direction? Hopefully up into a right, and it's aligned between you and the customer. And so the more, that's how I'm starting to shift, where instead of saying next year let's hit a revenue goal, let's hit a success goal for our customers, which will also subsequently help us make a certain amount of money?

    - Yeah, and there's a lot of good things in there. When you look at focusing around a central goal, you know I think it's something that we talk a lot about at HubSpot, and a lot about with you know HubSpot users is that you have to have a goal. You know, regardless how you plan that goal, you know whether it's with you know making smart goals, or you know you sit down and have an M spot, which is what we use, for the year you have a mission, but you gotta have that central goal to make sure everything is aligned around it, 'cause again like you said, if you wanna get it to Mexico and you go south, you get to Florida, you're not too happy.

    - I mean, Florida is not that bad. I've heard a lot of people criticizing Tampa, but I don't care what they say.

    - I didn't really like visiting there.

    - I don't know, but people I was crap, shit talk on Tampa. You know what, the thing with, I think goals just have been always helpful with my business. I mean everyone can do different thing. I think the one thing I'd recommend with goals, besides mapping it out and trying to understand it, is do two things, one print it out. Like, I have my goals on my fridge, which is awkward when like my, when I was dating, and my girlfriend came over, before she became my girlfriend, and she's like you wanna make that much money? Or, you wanna help this many people and this is what you're trying to, I'm like, yeah, that's my goals. And, it's on my phone, and it's on my laptop. See it, print it out, put it out, let it out. Like, just go and put your goals very clear for yourself and seeing it over and over and over and over again. The second thing is that make sure that everyone in your company or your team knows what the goal is. You should be able to text them, call them anytime. Be like, hey do you know what our goal is? And if they don't, you probably need to be repeating the message over and over. One of my favorite books around that is Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, Verne Harnish, which talks about stuff like that and organizing goals, and teams and things like that.

    - Yeah, I think I you just gave Mark Kilens, the leader of the academy team, a very good idea of texting all of us, to ask us what the goal of HubSpot Academy is.

    - Oh, what is the goal?

    - Our goal is to educate and inspire people, so that we together can transform the way the world does business.

    - And do you have, so I like that, A little foo foo, a little foo foo, which okay, I'm not hating, but do you have a quantitative goal? So, how do you know when you've ended up in Mexico? Or, you've ended up at that place?

    - There is a lot with HubSpot Academy, about how we're ending up in Mexico. Our Mexico is actually the Moon. We wanna get to the Moon by 2020. We talk about it, building platforms, building places for people to connect. Lots of goals there.

    - Do you guys have like a specific quant-, so my recommendation for everyone out there is that I have a friend in Charlie and I love Charlie. He helps how your bench.com, .net, Mark Bell's business, and I love Charlie. And he said, we're accountability buddies. So, if you don't have an accountability buddy, go get one, go get one. Make sure they'll hold you accountable, and they'll actually criticize you. And every week he emails me on Monday what he's doing that week. The only thing would recommend for Charlie is like he has goals, but I'm like Charlie, how do you know when you get there? He's like, I wanted to help more customers. I was like, don't you wanna just have a number that might help you know that when you actually get to that mount? Or, people say I want more influence. I'm like okay, well how do you know when you have more influence? So, I'm more of a fan of having a quantitative thing. It's like, how much money is your bank account? I don't know, there's just some money in there, you know.

    - I mean, just how, that's how you have to live your life. You're like yeah, there's some money in there, I'll handle it.

    - I think there's a balance between goals and process. Right, the goals is the outcome, and the process is the journey of getting there, and habit is formations towards that goal. And so, there's definitely good about both of them. I think my friend James Clear said it well. It's like, plan for your goal to build with your habits. And so, you should you know built with the habits of like helping customers, but have a goal so you know when you actually get there. Just a thought.

    - Now, there's a lot of good stuff on building goals, and in the last 10 minutes here, we do have a ton of questions that just came in.

    - Yes, I love you guys.

    - Make sure to everyone gets an answer here, so I'm just gonna switch over.

    - Let's stay here. I'll stay until every single person is answered.

    - Oh wow.

    - Or, for 10 minutes, whichever comes first. Nah, I'm kidding. I'll stay for every single question 'til it gets answered.

    - Awesome, so the first one comes from Corey. They say how do you feel about directly promoting your services in your blog?

    - When I, I like analogies, 'cause I think what it makes it easier for us to process. What's the last good movie, book, or restaurant, Courtney, that you've seen?

    - I went and saw that movie Coco, the like Pixar movie.

    - Yeah.

    - It's adorable.

    - And then how, did you tell anyone else about it?

    - Oh yeah, I told Tori, I work with her. She's another inbound professor. I told my mom, I told my friends. I'm gonna drag my boyfriend to it, it's great.

    - But I don't, you're not gonna email your boyfriend about it, 'cause you guys don't email, but hopefully you guys can get in touch with each other. Point, and that's a whole 'nother topic, about how to communicate with your customers, 'cause email is getting more challenging. Anyways the point being is that, that's a really good question about how much should you promote yourself. And, I like to think about it from the perspective of what am I already recommending and promoting, right, a movie, a restaurant, a book, a TV show. Why do I promote that? I promote it because I think it's good for this other person, 'cause I think they'll enjoy this, or I think they would like to eat that, or whatever it is. And so, I think most people don't promote themselves enough, because they think oh, don't wanna bother people, but if you think it's a really good service that you're doing, you should promote yourself. Like I legitimately believe that AppSumo is the best place online to get deals for small business owners. It just is, so I have no problem all day long, telling people to go use it and check it out, and all that stuff, same with Briefcase HQ, and the same with Sumo.com. And so, I think for your own service, there is a balance of like, you know, you wanna educate people so that they wanna learn about your service, so I think that's probably where you're going with it, which is if you're teaching me something, like for example I have a disc golf coach. I even have a fantasy football coach. This is a whole 'nother episode, but my disc golf coach taught me something. And she's like, here's how you're gonna throw, and you're gonna change the directions of your disc this way. Right after that I said hey, I need new discs, which one should I buy. She's like you can go this this this this this this. So, the point being is that two things. One, go and educate people, which we all hear this stuff before, and I'm sorry it's cliche, but it's true, 'cause then I'll trust you. Then yeah, hell yeah, promote yourself. You should say like look, if you are looking to get, I'm gonna, you know someone really well recently. I really like how they approached it. They go to businesses and they say, hey let me review your Google Analytics for free. Not selling you anything, you can't give me money. So, they review their Google Analytics, and say here are the 10 things that you should do to fix your Google Analytics. Look, it's free I told you I'm not gonna sell you anything. If you want me to go make the changes for you, then I'll charge you for it, but otherwise here's the list, just go do it. And, I think that is almost like the most beautiful example of inbound content marketing, education marketing, whatever you wanna call it, because you're truly giving them the tool that they can do themselves, or if they do wanna pay, now they can be a customer of your business, and it makes sense. I think where there's a disconnect these days, is people give out poop, and they're expecting gold. And they're like giving out PDFs, that end up in the cemetery of your downloads folder. And they're like, I don't know why it's not working. I'm like, 'cause it's poop. And so, you actually have to give things that are really beneficial to someone, they trust you, like you, then they'll probably wanna make some purchases, but definitely put yourself out there if you believe what you're doing is really gonna help them.

    - That's awesome. And so, hopefully that'll be able to kick in there, 'cause I think that you're spot on. You gotta get out there, gotta give people you know what they want. That's why you know we produce that education. That's free, we wanna educate people.

    - One thing with that sorry, Courtney, I cut you off sorry.

    - No, you're fine, I, you're good. Go for it.

    - No, it was me, not you. And so, I think one thing that I would recommend, is a lot of people who are blogging, or wanna do inbound marketing, like I want a blog post and I want thousands of readers, and I would actually almost change your perspective, is that how do you just write a blog post for one person, and how do you just communicate with just one person? And, even just an email. A lot of my greatest blog posts have become from an email. You know when someone joins my mailing list, I ask them a question like hey, what's one thing I can write about? And I would just stop responding to every single person, and those are actually becomes my most popular content over the years. So, there's something mentally to think about. Instead of how do I reach so many people? Worry about the quality of people, and worry just one by one, and I know that's not the marketing scaling strategy, that everyone wants to hear, but that's actually probably most effective strategy to grow a sustainable long-term business.

    - Yeah, connecting with those people one on one. That's awesome. We have our next question, comes from Chris. I like this one a lot, so kudos to Chris. Can you describe a day in the life of how you attack each day with accomplishing what you set out for? Do you pre-plan each day the day before or the day of?

    - What's up Chris? Thanks for the question. Big shout outs to Cleveland, Ohio. I don't know where you're at, actually. I just made that up. So the way, you know, I think after you get over 25, you don't really change how you do your weeks too often. I don't think you'll fundamentally shift how you're being productive, and I'm only gonna tell you what I do. It may not work for you, it may work well, I don't know. And I've put this stuff out on OkDork.com and on YouTube. You can search Noah Kagan and see this is exactly what I do. Number one thing is every Sunday I look at my week and I see what I don't wanna do. Every Sunday night, I just go cancel most of my meetings. I just cancel, like I look, oh, this meeting, don't wanna do that. It's not about I just don't wanna do it, I think about what do I, like what gives me the most energy, or where can I create the most value, and where am I the most like in my sweet spot and what things am I looking forward to doing? Sometimes, you know, there's always gonna be shit work no matter what, but what stuff can I cancel? That's what I look for on Sundays. Second thing I do on Sundays is I have three categories, work, work out, and personal, and I write generally three to five bullet points of what I wanna do in each category. So for example, this week I need to update December marking targets and marketing budget, I need to review King Sumo marketing plan, and I need to do some contract stuff. Those are my three major things. So I take my three major things and I put them in my calendar. If it's on my calendar, it's gonna get done. And I do have the same thing for working out and personal. So like, personal, I'm going mountain biking, drinking beer on Saturday.

    - Nice.

    - That's in my calendar. I'm looking forward to it. There's two other things that I'd probably recommend in terms of output. Number one, I do 80/20 with my week. So what does that mean? It means Monday through Thursday, I don't do anything but sumo.com. I just don't, 80/20. This is my number one priority. Everything goes around that. Fridays are my mess around day, and a lot of times, my mess around day, like, interviews or podcasts or OkDork or whatever it is gives me a lot of ideas experimentation and creativity that I can then put back into my main project, that main thing, which is Sumo. And so, that's how I do the majority of the week. The other thing that I found insanely helpful, and try this out for just 30 days, and if that's too much, just try it out for a week. Just the night before, get a note card, and they're small, so you can't really get a big note card. I use either that or moleskine, and I just write out the three to five things that I wanna do the next day, because I noticed that sometimes, I come in the morning, I just have anxiety. I'm like, what am I gonna do today? I don't know! But I list them out. So like today, if I go grab my moleskine, it's like, hang out with HubSpot, and a chat with Paul English, and I need to do some like another video later in the day for the podcast and stuff like that. So that's like my major three things that I already have written out, and I'd say get it done the night before, so you wake up and you're just like fresh to get going on that. There's a bunch of other little things, but I'd say that's the majority of it. One thing, if you don't mind Courtney, I wanna just add is that a lot of people, look, I don't know if I'm the most productive person. I don't have email on my phone, I don't have Facebook on my phone, I don't have Twitter on my phone. I think the thing that I would recommend if people were trying to increase their productivity, there's actually three things that are really, really easy, you could do within this week, and it'll increase your productivity more than any other hack you're gonna read in a blog post. Number one, buy a better bed. Go buy a better bed. Why? You sleep on that. That's the foundation of your life. Get a better, I have like the best bed, best mattress, sheets, pillows, like, I've tried them all. You know, I use right now, I use an Amazon one. It's $400, it's memory foam with a topper, JCPenney sheets and my pillow of pillows, and then Tuft and Needle pillow, so I have double pillow. But the point being is like go experiment for yourself, 'cause that's the foundation of your day. Number two, get a better computer. If you're on your computer all day long, get the best one impossible. Why? If you're slow on this everything else is gonna be slow. Number three, learn how to type faster. If you're not typing 90 words a minute, you're slow. You do those three things, like everything else in the day is easy and marginal. So that's my spiel.

    - I love it. My bed is my favorite place to be 'cause--

    - It's good man. I'm gonna throw a bonus in here. Make as many things default decisions as possible. So a lot of stuff in my calendar, like every week in my calendar, it automatically puts my gym times.

    - Yeah, I do that too.

    - It's just automatic.

    - It's just there.

    - Yeah, the more you have, like I think one of the worst questions, not in the world, but one of the hardest questions in the world is what's for dinner? I'm like, oh my God, oh what you trying to do to me? You know, it's like, I'm like, oh what's for dinner? There's just so many damn options, but if it's just like, you're a vegan, and it's like, well I can only eat beans or legumes or whatever the hell they eat, it's much easier. So in general I think the more that you, you spend time focusing your energy on the things you want and make more defaults on the things you don't. There's a great book Powerful Engagement. Actually, Brian Balfour from HubSpot recommended it to me, so I recommend that book about how to get, be more productive, thinking about how you're actually using your energy. That's what I'd recommend.

    - I love it. So we have time for one last question here.

    - Oh, my god, I love you guys. Thank you guys for the questions. All these, I'm looking at the Twitter roll, Melissa Randall, so cool.

    - So we have here how do you define the price of promoted content? They run a blog and brands are willing to pay to be featured on their blog, however I find that prices setting is quite difficult. I don't wanna be, have it based off of CPM, because I believe that isn't a good indication for quality. Would you charge hourly or use metrics, and then in all caps, thanks from Ludwig.

    - Who was that?

    - Ludwig.

    - Oh, coolest name. One of my Starbucks names is Mozart.

    - Love it.

    - Just make up a Starbucks name. It's really fun to do, it's like a rap name. So I think there's two ways of approaching it. One, I'll tell you a story, and then two, I'll recommend what I would do if I were you. The story is from someone who works at HubSpot. His name is Nicholas Holland. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee. He might be in Boston right now, I don't know, but he got a nice southern accent. And Nicholas, I hired Nicholas to help me with sales, and should I stop the accent? I won't.

    - Yeah, it's like okay.

    - Yeah, it wasn't that great. My southern drawl is not that good man. But anyways, I met with Nick and he said he's a sales expert, and he came and he consulted with us at one of my older companies, and he said, I said Nick, alright yeah, I wanna pay you. He's like, alright, Noah, before you talk about how much you wanna pay me, you know, let's talk about how much I've created in money for you. And he's like, what do you think? And I was like man, some of that stuff you've helped me with, I mean, some of the stuff that I've gotten from you, man, I think we've probably made an extra million dollars this year from the things you've done. He's is like, a million dollars, Noah, that's pretty good man. Good for you I'm really happy, I'm so happy for you. And then he said, well you know what, Noah, if I asked you for $100,000, it seems like a lot, but I mean if you made a million, and I'm only getting 100, that's pretty reasonable right? And I was like, yeah, that's really good. That was a really good way of framing it. 'Cause I wanted to pay him like $10,000 or 5,000. But when he actually looked at the value being created, it was an easy thing for him to then charge $100,000 for what he was able to create for me. So coming back to your blog post, I'm gonna give you two recommendations. One, if you're trying to sell sponsored posts, or two, if you're trying to figure out the ROI from your blog, and that's what we're actually focused on, at Sumo, we're doing it right now, in terms of selling sponsored posts, it's exactly that. So what's the company, like if they have a product, what are they selling? How much is that product? So if they have $100 product, I mean, how many you think you can sell them? $10,000, $100,000, 5,000? Then you charging them 10% of that, 500 bucks, 1500 bucks, 2,000 bucks, not a bad deal. The other thing I'd probably recommend you do is put it on a monthly retainer or on as a subscription. So say hey, I need at least six months to get it right for you, so let's do a three month or six month trial to make sure I can hit your objectives. One of the things that people miss with like selling a promotion, is that they need to understand, what their customer success metric is. So, if you think okay, there's this much value, I can probably drive 10 sales, but the, your customer, the person wants the sponsored post, says you know I need 20 to make it worth it, then no matter what, you're not gonna be able to deliver for them. So one, ask for a success metric. The quick second thing I do wanna recommend, for everyone who's doing blogging out there, or uses content marketing, or inbound marketing to grow their business, is you need to understand how much you're spending on your content, and how many actual customers it's driving, right? So, you take the amount you spend, the amount of customers you've got, and divide that. That's gonna give you your customer acquisition cost. There's more sophistication in that, but basically you'll be, we did it now, and we found out we're spending almost four figures for a customer from our content marketing. That's not good, by the way, that's not good. So, the point being them now, and then we have a revenue that we get from them. We have a lifetime value of, you know, the revenue that a single customer drives each month, and it's like well this lifetime value minus this customer acquisition cost will hopefully equal profit, over some period of time. You have to understand how long that's gonna take, but the most important thing for yourself is, how much am I spending overall for this customer? What's it bringing in? And, it's costing you too much, do I, where can I actually cut, right? Do I need the editor? Do I need to spend less on the Facebook ads? Do, I need to think more about SEO? Sorry?

    - I think we may have just cut out a little bit on you Noah.

    - It's fine.

    - Oh, you're back. We are just about wrapping up here. We're just over at the 1:00 mark, but you had some great advice there on that last question, so hopefully Ludwig will be able to take that, and apply it to pricing some of his promoted content, but I just wanna thank you for hanging out with me here for the last hour, and getting some of this education out to our users.

    - Thank you guys for having me. This is fun, it's good to think about blogging.

    - Awesome, well thanks so much, Noah. Have a great rest of your day. Enjoy Canada when you're up there in a little bit, and hopefully we'll chat with you soon.

    - Namaste, everyone.

    - Bye.
  • Courtney Sembler
    Courtney Sembler
    Inbound Professor
  • Noah Kagan
    Noah Kagan
    Featuring Noah Kagan, Chief Sumo at Sumo.com & AppSumo.com

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