Owner of Career Enlightenment, VP of Member Communications for NSA Oregon and author of Job Searching with Social Media for Dummies, Joshua Waldman has +5 years experience training people to regain control of their careers in today’s economic and technology climate.
How does your job fit into the marketing process? As the owner of Career Enlightenment, I’m responsible for my own advertising of my books, my speaking engagements, and my products.
How long did it take writing before you began to see that you were beginning to move up? It took a long time! It felt like the first two years I was writing to nobody. Websites and blogging aren’t a get rich quick scheme, but it pays off in the long run. Stay committed and just write really good articles! The readers will come. Make sure you’re sharing, being social, and responding to comments. The readership will come.
But having a good system around your content distribution is important. Content marketing is king because it’s free to do. It’s better than banner ads. I haven’t had much luck with banners. Paid traffic works, but you have to have a product offer to benefit from directly.
What’s a misconception clients commonly have? I know a guy in the industry who is huge. He’s got a best-selling book out, and when you think about personal branding, his name comes up. But for years the guy lived in his mom’s basement. He couldn’t make money.
So the misconception is that fame equals money. A lot of times you have to choose between one or the other. Many well-known bloggers and tweeters aren’t the wealthiest people, whereas many lesser-known, marginal internet marketers whom nobody knows are loaded with cash. At some point you may have to choose what it is you’re actually looking for: fame or fortune. It can be very difficult to do both. From my own experience, and having talked to a lot of public relations agencies, I think they would all agree.
A second misconception is the shiny objects syndrome. An entrepreneur has a lot of excellent ideas. My advice would be to store them in your Evernote folder and come back to them later when you’ve finished what you’re currently doing.
What’s an important lesson you’ve learned from experience? Career Enlightenment was online for several years before I got the book deal, and since the book my traffic has really picked up. But that isn’t to say that the blog wasn’t anything before.
Career Enlightenment actually helped build my credibility and reputation as a writer. These are things publishers look for. So my blog helped me get the book deal. And once the book came out, it supported my blog.
Platform is key. You have to have a platform, and the platform has to be sustainable and feed itself. You have to have something from which to stand on. Focus on one thing at a time, then once that platform becomes self-sustaining revenue you can grow, branch out and branch off. Now you can return to your Evernote folder.
You don’t have advertisements on your website. Why? I’ve worked so hard getting traffic to my website. I’ve written high-quality useful articles and/or I’ve paid for the traffic either through money or through blood, sweat, and tears. Why would I want to send people off of my site – especially for a commission of a couple of pennies?
One argument is that highly-targeted advertising on a website can act as content as well, but I don’t think it’s worth it. First of all no one goes to a website for the advertisements, they go for you.
Ads can be profitable if you have millions of site hits a month. But if you have a smaller blog or website, and especially if you target a niche-market, then it’s more profitable for you to sell a product. You don’t want to send people off your site. You want them in your website for as long as possible until they buy or sign-up.
That being said, once your blog gets big enough you’ll begin getting requests to sell links. People will contact you willing to pay upwards of $500.00 just to put a specific hyperlink on a specific word on a specific article. If it’s relevant and something you’re interested in, then why not?
I’m not saying don’t get sponsorship, but once you start cluttering your website up with ads that are not branded, it dilutes the authority of your voice.
So your platform consists of speaking engagements, your book, and an affiliate program for your DVDs… I’m currently working on a campaign for an ebook to be sold on kindle. I’m using this ebook as value. I’ve got roughly 2,000 schools and universities on my list. I’m going to send them the free download to the ebook before it goes on sale. Once it goes on sale it won’t be for free anymore.
So I’m calling the schools letting them know about my free resource, and letting them know that “by the way, I’m available for speaking.” Speaking engagements can pay anywhere from $3,000-$5,000 a gig.
Speaking is where the money’s at. My books and website are just a giant business card. You could also go and speak for free and sell your product.
Either way, you should have a product with a high Return on Investment (ROI) for your customer, and to get the consulting gig afterwards, because that’s the sustainable money.
What’s your favorite ad campaign?
I have a small advertising budget, any advice? This ultimately depends on what a visiter is worth to you. What do you want the visiter to do? Buy a product, donate money, give you their email address…?
For example, assuming a 2% conversion rate, for every 100 visiters you’ll get 2 conversions (people who do what you want them to do such as buy a $10.00 ebook). $10.00 x 2 = $20.00. So 100 visiters = $20.00. So don’t spend more than $20.00 on advertising to get 100 visiters. It’s simple, but that means you have to do your research and know your variables.
If you have an advertising budget and no product, then write free content, and invest your advertising budget into creating a product to sell!
What other advice would you give? I do have a great appreciate for marketing creative, but I think that it’s always chasing it’s own tail, because you always have to be more creative than the next guy to stand out from the crowd of messages. I don’t have the resources to do that. So, I’m not going to win there.
It’s expensive to buy media, it’s expensive to generate compelling creative material. So the next best thing, maybe even a better way to do this, is to provide a lot of value for folks. And I do that through content.
I write really good content and I get that distributed as high a profile mechanism as I can: Forbes, CNN, and the Huffington Post. I submit articles that links back to my website on 30 day terms, which means they get the content exclusive for 30 days, which means I own the content still, and I can use that content after 30 days
How do you get accepted to write for the high profile sites like Forbes and CNN? You just pitch ideas. They’re on twitter so you can pitch ideas to them on twitter. Also you can pitch to the editer. Usually you send a title and a summary as well as samples of your writings so they can see that you’re not full of crap. If they’re interested they’ll get back to you; they’re always looking for content. The one thing that these online mediums are always looking for is content.
People are starving for good content, and are willing to accept unoriginal stuff just to fill their docket, just to fulfill their posting calendar and keep their website fresh.
I write and submit about 4-5 articles a month and get them distributed out on 30 days terms. Once the 30 days are up I put them on my blog for my readership and I give the articles out to smaller blogs or affiliate partners who want my content. For the results it’s really not a whole lot of work. I’d rather have a few good articles than a lot of bad articles. Your reputation is on the line, and that’s all you have in this industry. Reputation is what gets me in the door in a lot of places.
But doesn’t having multiple websites with the exact same articles penalize your search engine results? No. This is old SEO thinking. This has changed with the Panda update; there are no longer duplicate content penalties. The duplicate content is just seen as a reblog. Reblogging is so common now and it’s totally acceptable and it’s part of the culture that Google can’t really penalize you for that. What they can do though is try to find the originally published article, and that’s whats going to get the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). That’s why they want 30 days exclusive rights to your submitted articles – that’s what you’re giving to them.
What duplicate content does to is give the original article Google juice, priority, and preferential search engine results. So yes, you’re giving up your SERP when you give your articles out to the larger websites, however you’re gaining an audience that you wouldn’t have had.
Do you have any statistics as far as traffic your articles bring to your website? Once I implemented this strategy, I went from about 2,000 unique views to 10,000 unique views a month and growing. Career Enlightenment is now considered a minor blog. I’m on the radar.
Additional comments and advice? Just be patient. The only reason why you do things in your passion is because you’re going to be more patient when things don’t happen the way you want it to happen.
If you do something that’s out of your passion because it’s a better market, you’ll give up faster.
There’s an interesting article by Carl Newport, who argues that it’s more important to develop skills that make you invaluable than developing skills you’re passionate about because being irreplacable is more important than following your dreams (source).
So, the only reason why passion is an asset to your business, is because it’s going to give you more patience. If what you’re doing is lucrative, and you can be patient with it,you will be successful but give it time.