/ Content Creation

Content Distribution Mistakes We All Make

You know when you’re doing something that’s partly working and you don’t want to change it in case you lose what’s working? Andrea does a great job of explaining that fear and both Neil and Chris do a great job of explaining the problems with it. It includes advice on writing for potential buyers not just anyone, writing content people will come back to for years and how to avoid getting outranked on Google.

Interview context

This is a chat between Neil Patel, Andrea Huspeni and Chris Winfield.

Andrea is talking to Neil and Chris about growing traffic for ‘This Dog’s Life’, both Neil and Chris contribute their thoughts.

I think Andrea was very smart in how she put forward questions and got answers. She played the devil’s advocate part in reflecting the mindset of many people and that was quite generous of her.

The interview is an hour, we’ve taken out key points related to both distribution and general advice on writing content for distribution.

What’s brilliant is how experience cuts through the noise to simple thinking.

Key points to look out for

How do you figure out what to tackle so you can get good SEO?

Why it’s hard to compete against established news agencies.

People might read your articles but are they buyers?

Why you need to write evergreen content people read for years.

If your traffic is not growing, it’s not working.

Why you have to do it consistently over time to be great at it.

You don’t need to write as much in newsletters as you think.

Distributing content? Use https://search.twitter.com.

Update content continuously to stop getting outranked.

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Transcription

Andrea: My goal was always to have this robust community based on content, like half a million uniques a month. It’s just not gone that way, and I’m starting to realise why its not gone that way. I think a lot of it was me focusing on like dog news: like information on recalls and events and new dog-friendly places opening, along with heart warming stories, which are great for social media. But I don’t think that that necessarily creates a stickiness to the website.

So I’m trying to shift to more lifestyle content that isn’t necessarily timely but people can look up that information anytime. What I’ve heard and then
I think in terms of also with SEO and content that that does much better than those timely dog like newsy pieces. So I’m hoping that you can help me, but also just help other people.

How do you figure out what to tackle so you can get good SEO?

Neil: Sure, so with your website, unless you’re like an Entrepreneur.com or a CNN writing news related content won’t do well. The reason being is the big publications have priority. Everyone goes to them for news. They’re the ones that are gonna get featured in Google News because there’s two main ways to get ranked in Google.

  1. One is organically, which your site ranks there and stays there for a long period of time and you get traffic.
  2. The second way is when you write news related articles, they have a section for different terms when it show the news related articles on the first page.

It’s hard to compete against established news agencies

Andrea: Can I interrupt you for a second? — So that was one of the reasons that I really wanna focus on news because I finally got into Google News. I don’t know if it makes a difference.

Neil: So if you’re writing news on, let’s say politics, Donald Trump has a ton of traffic right now. — Yeah. — But dogs, I hate to say it, even though I love dogs but what are people gonna look up? Like. ‘Rover jumped into a building’. I didn’t save my friend from burning. –

Andrea: Which is interesting but you think about that, but I think the New York Times is covering more dog stuff. The Today Show is covering more dog stuff. –

Neil: “Cause they rank for dog-related stuff” Cause they have so much authority. I just don’t see a small website getting tons of news traffic. And just because you’re in Google News, it doesn’t mean they’re gonna place you in there. It has to be a buzz-worthy news related topic.

People might read it but are they buyers?

And also are those necessarily, somebody looking for dog news, is that necessarily gonna be a buyer? Isn’t that the other thing that you wanna be thinking about? Is that really the traffic that you ultimately want?

And it’s not just you, but it’s anyone. If you write news related content, you’re limited on time. This is your side hustle? Okay, so as your side hustle, how many articles can you release about a week.

Andrea: So I actually have a person that freelances it now and it’s about eight to 10.

Why you need to write evergreen content people read for years.

Neil: But think of it this way. If you write eight to 10 and you invest all that money and they’re news related, if you’re lucky, you’ll get a hit and you’ll get some traffic, but then it dies down and there’ll be no more traffic. If you write evergreen stuff, you can consistently get traffic. You may not see a hit in the first three to six months, but after that, it will start picking up and you’ll get consistent long tail traffic.

Chris: And also something to think about since you’re from the media world, think about like many places have one writer just assigned to dogs and they have to write eight to 12 articles a day, just for that one thing. So you’re just trying to get…

Andrea: I know. I think my concern is I always wanna stay up, be timely and be like, “Oh, this Dog’s Life, “they know what they’re talking about. “They’re staying current with everything,” but maybe it’s current. Like I said…

Neil: More people want tips like the dog whisperer. I met the cat whisperer recently in Brazil. It’s a real person? Yeah, they’re like, “I whisper to cats.” I was like, “Are you serious?” (Andrea laughing) They’re like, “Yeah.” They’re like, “We have hundreds and thousands of social media fans.” I was like, “You gotta be shitting me.” (Andrea and Chris laughing) They’re like, “Yeah.”

If your traffic is not growing, it’s not working

Andrea: Okay, so we figured out the problem. I should become a cat whisperer. No, I should shift to Evergreen content. I think it would be a slow shift. Like I still don’t wanna get rid of the dog news but I think I would do maybe half and half.

Neil: But why when it’s not working. Why would you continue to do so? That’s for everyone. If you’re doing something that’s not working, why would you keep doing it?

Andrea: Well how do you know it’s not working?

Neil: Is it? Is your traffic growing?

Andrea: No, not really. But I think my fear is, okay so it’s sustained. It’s growing a little bit but not extremely high. I wanted 500,000 uniques and it’s like I get 10% of that or less. Well that was page view so that it’s about 50,000, 40,000 page views, 20,000.

Neil: Which is great.

Andrea: No, it’s not. You’re just telling me how amazing you are doing.

Neil: I’ve been doing it for years.

You have to do it consistently over time to be great at it

Chris: He’s been doing it for, and consistently, and that’s I think is an important thing. So I wanna go back, Neil asked a good question. This is something important for everyone. When you see, because I think this is one of the biggest problems that happen is we get attached to something and even though it’s not working and think that we have it to keep doing it

Even though there is no empirical evidence to say keep doing that, keep doing it, so I think it’s such a good point, what would make you hold on to that?

You don’t need to write as much in newsletters as you think

Andrea: Okay so there is another point is I think that evergreen pieces take longer to write.

Neil: Then write less content.

But in my newsletter, I always have to have five articles.

Neil And Chris: Why?

Andrea: Because it fills the newsletter.

Neil: Then just do a newsletter with one article. That’s what I did.

Andrea: I think I’m scared that if I shift to evergreen pieces, it’s not gonna work cause the dog space is very crowded, and so other people have built a strong SEO strategy already because of that.

Neil: There’s other people who write news, and they may get traffic in the short run. But in the long run, I can beat them because all my posts will continually get traffic over four, five, 10 years.

What was relevant 10 years ago can still be relevant today

Things in the dog industry don’t change. Like basic tactics on how to train your dogs 10 years ago are probably still relevant today. Sure there may be some new stuff and you can update those pieces of content when they’re old, but why not write that evergreen stuff that helps people?

Do you wanna be known as the person who’s just writing dog news and people can go there to see if dogs pulling out someone out of a burning building? Or do you wanna be that person that’s helping other people improve their relationship with their animal or how things are going or helping them solve their problems with their dogs?

Going back to Chris’ point, he mentioned something earlier. How much money are you generating from your site? — None. And when you write news, it’s hard to monetize. And when you don’t write news, what happens, as Chris was saying, you can monetize. If you talk about here’s how to keep your dog healthy and then you link to all he types of food that they can buy to keep your dog healthy and toys or bones or whatever, you can get affiliate commissions from Amazon. Can’t write about news linked to these sites and then make money. It’s much harder.

Chris — And it’s also a lot of drive by traffic. So think about stickyness. It’s very hard in the media world to make money. And you have to constantly, so why chase something when there’s a lot easier ways? And getting back to what Neil said in terms of your thing about doing more long form or more in-depth evergreen and you said, oh it’ll take longer, but you have someone writing eight to 12 articles or whatever each week. So instead, they’re focused on one article, one amazing piece of content instead of eight to 10 quick things or something like that. Does that feel okay cause it’s scary but…

Andrea: I mean I feel better about it but I just get scared and I know we talk about this like probably every episode, my fear…

Chris: But that’s okay. That fear is at the root of everything.

Andrea: But yeah, no I do feel better. It’s scary to set it up and I get nervous ’cause I think it does take a long time. Cause my thing is with content, and with content being king, is I feel like to compete with other blogs, other websites or whatever, you have to have to have very long like 3,000 word long pieces.

Neil: Then write less of them.

Andrea: But you think you agree you should have 3,000 word pieces?

Neil: Not 3,000. It depends. If you can get the same thing done in a thousand words, a thousand words it is. If you can get it done in 5,000 or 10,000 words, then make it really long. It just depends on the topic. It’s not about length. It’s about thoroughness. So anytime you write on anything, it doesn’t matter if it’s dogs, cats, marketing, entrepreneurship, finance, doctors, it doesn’t matter, it has to be thorough.

Distributing content, use https://search.twitter.com

Andrea: What do you recommended for distribution of the content “for someone starting out “and have no audience to start with?”

Neil: I would do the stuff that we talked about earlier, which if you link out to someone in a article, email ’em. Ask them to share your content. Also look up on search.twitter.com, the competitor URLs for similar articles, and have those people tweet out your articles as well. Do those two things, you can get instant results.

Update content continuously to stop getting outranked

Will Byers asked, “I have tons of current relevant content post “that have the basic fundamentals of SEO applied to them “that are getting outranked by content “that is three to four-years old on a competitors website. “Any idea why this would be the case?”

Neil: Make sure your content is continually updated and has all the right keywords. If you’re not sure what that means is go log into Google Search Console. It’ll tell you what keywords you’re getting impressions for and traffic from. You’re probably lacking a lot of the keywords they show. They’ll give you a list, like a whole table. Take those keywords, rewrite your post, make them more detailed, and integrate those keywords.

End

Content Distribution Mistakes We All Make
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