What's the formula that Content Guppy founder Greg Digneo has used to massively increase organic website traffic for companies like Time Doctor?
This week on The Inbound Success Podcast, Content Guppy founder Greg Digneo explains how he went from creating blogs that saw short-term traffic increases but no meaningful long-term impact to seeing significant and sustained increases in organic traffic.
His big results were the product of a content creation formula based on eight specific blog post frameworks. In this interview, he breaks down each of the eight frameworks in a way that is immediately actionable.
Check out the full episode, or read the transcript below, to learn how you can apply Greg's frameworks to your own content strategy.
Kathleen (00:00): Welcome back to the Inbound Success Podcast. I'm your host Kathleen Booth. Today my guest is Greg Digneo, who is the founder of Content Guppy. Welcome to the podcast.
Greg (00:20): So glad to be here. Thank you so much for having me.
Kathleen (00:23): Yeah. We're going to talk about content creation today, but before we do that, can you tell my listeners a little bit about yourself, your story, and what Content Guppy is?
Greg (00:33): Sure. So content, well, I'll start with my story. This is actually my third company. First one, when I started in college, it was a solar panel company. Second one was a failed marketing agency, which is a story all unto itself.
And then finally after a few-year hiatus of entrepreneurship, I launched Content Guppy, which is an SEO content agency where our goal is to help people and companies turn their content marketing or their blog into their biggest lead gen channel.
Kathleen (01:11): I love it. And who does not want that? And that's pretty much what we're going to talk about today, which is how you create content that drives, you know, massive increases in traffic and lead gen, et cetera. So, one of the things I thought was interesting, 'cause we talk about content a lot on this podcast.
And so whenever I talk to prospective guests, I'm always like, we can't just talk about content, you know, in general, right. It has to be right. People who listen to this tend to be pretty savvy, especially about that topic. And so you have a specific framework you use for content creation. And that really intrigued me because I think we all know we should be creating content.
But it's more intimidating than it might seem on the surface, at least in my opinion, you know, like do people go to sit down and write and it's like, what should I talk about? What should I write about how should I structure it? And so I would love to talk about this. Can you share, share how you think about content creation and your ...
Greg (02:10): OK, so I actually don't think about content, first of all, I don't think about content creation in terms of how much traffic this is going to drive. I think about it in terms of how much, how many leads or sales, or whatever your metric is. [sneezes] Excuse me, I'm so sorry.
Kathleen (02:30): Yeah.
Greg (02:31): I, I have bad allergies. So, so I think about content in terms of how many leads or email subscribers or signups, whatever your, your key metric is to move somebody down the funnel and to become an eventual customer.
So, and I'll give you a quick, for instance, like just on my very own personal blog, I have a thing called blog names. It's like something like 10 ways to do a creative blog name or something like that. And, and then I have another, and then that gets about 2,500 searches per month.
So it has the potential to drive like five to 10,000 visitors a month. I also have another site another post on there, like called B2B content marketing agencies, right. That gets 200 searches a month. Maybe the 200 searches a month, way more valuable to me as a person who's running a B2B content marketing agency or a content marketing agency than the blog view that's going to get five to 10,000 visitors a month.
So think about the way I think about traffic is how valuable is it going to be for me? I'd rather have less traffic that's actually relevant than more traffic that has no relevance at all. Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. So I will write posts that get a hundred visitors a month, all day long, one, they're usually easier to rank and two, they are especially if they're relevant traffic, man. It's just, you're just going to convert every day, all day, every day. So definitely.
Kathleen (04:05): Interesting. You say that because I'll share an experience I've had you know, I've, I've been head of marketing at a couple of different companies and I, and I always call myself like a content first marketer. I really believe in content. Yeah.
And so that's one of the first things I always do when I go anywhere, which is like, what's the content we're going to create and how can we do a lot of it? Right. Right. So the last company that I was at was in cybersecurity and they made a very like niche product.
And it was interesting because when most people teach you how to do a content strategy, they talk about finding keywords that have certain search volume. Right? Yep. And that aren't super competitive. Hopefully, like that's the Holy grail high search volume, low competitive. Well, when we looked at our product, we realized that we, that qualified leads are searching this very, very, very, very specific term.
Kathleen (04:59): And when you go to do your research on it, there's basically like no traffic that shows up in Google. I mean, people are searching for it, but not enough that Google even picks up on the numbers. And we decided to go after it because we were like, nobody's targeting this. Right.
The, in fact, I think the only, the only result for it was like Wikipedia. And so we optimized for this particular search phrase. We were, we did a pillar content topic, cluster strategy, which people listening, probably know what that is. We immediately owned all of the search results for it. I think we even beat Wikipedia.
We beat that one of the US government results for it. And it was because nobody else was going after it. Right. But literally, every single person who searches that term is an amazing lead for that company. And it's funny because it did like really produce business for them, but it flew in the face of the logic that everybody teaches you and they teach you how to do content strategy.
So I love that you talked about like a hundred is better than a thousand all day long if it's the right topic.
Greg (06:04): So there's actually, so most people teach two key ingredients to that. The two things you were talking about, keyword difficulty and search volume, right. More searches, less flow.
But the one that we actually found that we, when we score content in terms of our prioritization, we actually factor in a third term and we call it business relevance. So how relevant is this to your business? And then on a, you know, on a scale of like one to 10 and 10 being the highest score, obviously.
And so that if you actually factor in that third ingredient and you're gonna, you're gonna see just such a change in the prioritization where you're going to downplay the difficulty and the search volume and see, okay. Like, okay, this, this is really important for us. We should go after it.
Kathleen (06:52): And so is business relevance, essentially a proxy for search intent, meaning like this shows hot or purchase intent rather, I would say like high possibility for purchase intent.
Greg (07:05): Not necessarily. So because there are some instances where you're gonna like, so some people are like, the buyer intent is, is usually a metric that people get from like how much are people spending on this?
And sometimes that's not always a good indicator of, of is this relevant to my business. And I'll give you another example. I'm sorry. At a, at a company that I worked with, it's called Time Doctor. And we built one of the features inside of the app was timesheet, timesheets software.
Okay. So what we did was we said, we're going to create a blog post with a template called free timesheets free timesheet templates. It gets a lot of traffic, but if you were to look at free timesheet templates at the time that we were doing it, I don't know what it is now.
Greg (08:00): The cost per click for that was very low, because nobody wants a free, like, people are selling free timesheet templates, right. Nobody wants to buy that traffic. But what happens is, is when people go to that page they get the free timesheet template, and then they say, I don't want to do this manually anymore.
Let me try, let me buy the software. Right. So that business relevance was very high, even though the cost per click, which would have been the buyer intent that which is kind of what's synonymous with buyer intent was pretty low. Yeah. That makes sense. Yeah.
So it's not always, it's, it is a good indicator at a lot of instances, but it, you know, you have to look at like, it's more internal to you than external to what Google is saying. So is there a direct relationship between this post and then leading somebody down your funnel versus, you know, just that traffic makes sense.
Kathleen (08:57): All right. So let's talk about your frameworks.
Greg (09:00): Okay. So we can talk about all of them or a couple of them. It doesn't matter. So we'll see what we can talk about.
Kathleen (09:06): All of them.
Greg (09:09): Let's do it.
Kathleen (09:10): Let's not leave anything off the list.
Greg (09:12): Yeah, absolutely. Then let's do that. So first one I have is a tools posts, and I'm going to explain why I like each of these frameworks when I go through them. So a tools post is literally a list of tools that you are, that your customers use that your ideal customer uses.
So the thing I love about this framework is there's three things, actually, one there it's really easy to promote. Two, it actually gets to your ideal buyer to your site. And three, it generally drives leads, right? And so what do I mean by your ideal buyer? Let me just it's people who have money and need your product and service.
So for instance, if you're like an if you're in the content marketing, if our content marketing agency like myself, you know, even though I don't sell a tool, like, you know, I want to do blogging tools or content, marketing tools, SEO tools, things like that, right.
Greg (10:11): Because those are people who need my service, right? If you're in, let's say productivity software, then you could do things like best online collaboration tools, right? Best tools for productivity, obviously things along those lines and get people to your site.
Now, the beauty of this kind of a post is that if you have a huge list of tools like this, you have a huge list of people who within incentive to promote it for you. So what you could do is literally go and find the social media manager or the, or the email marketer, whoever of each of those tools, shoot them an email and say, Hey, I've written about your tool here, or even better.
Hey, would you like to add your tool here to this huge list that I have? And then if they say, yes, they're going to promote it for you. Right. So you can get an instant surge of traffic, you know, straight away.
Kathleen (11:09): I like that. And so, and it sounds like that type of post it's equally as important, how you write the post as how you then like, do outreach and promotion for it.
Greg (11:21): Correct. So you want to, so you're going to structure it in a list post and as a list, but it's not going to be like you know, let's say we're doing like email marketing software, right.
I'm not going to just say, you know, MailChimp and then get response and so on and so forth, but it's going to be, you know, a couple hundred words per you want to list the features, the benefits, why somebody is going to want to use that tool, you know, who it's made for that kind of thing. Even throw in some pricing in there as well.
And then what I always love to do is put in some customer testimonials and things like that from the website or something like that, throw them in there as well. And each post in each little blurb is probably about 300 or so words long, and it makes people want to share it.
And that's kinda like the idea, right? Like why would somebody want to share this? It's because you're talking, you're, you're making a really great post about them. And you're kind of really talking to them up
Kathleen (12:26): A question for you. So you're obviously highlighting other tools in these posts, which makes complete sense. How do you build in a way to, to drive people down funnel towards your product? So is it placing CTAs in the post?
Greg (12:43): CTAs. And we could get more into that in a couple other posts as well, but yeah, you're going to put a CTA. We'll have pop-ups and things like that throughout the blog and stuff. And, you know, so we will do that.
Depending on your strategy, are you driving people to a guide or are you driving them straight to a trial or are you driving them to a phone call? You know, you're going to want to put a, some sort of inline popup or a sorry, line, a CTA or a pop-up or something along those lines. Yeah.
Kathleen (13:12): All right. That's framework No. 1, let's go to framework No. 2.
Greg (13:16): So best product like category type of post. Nobody writes this. So what happens is, is your, your homepage is usually optimized for your for, for your product category or your service category, right? So your homepage, a lot of times companies will be like, whatever it is, you know, world's best productivity software or something on like that content marketing agency whatever it is.
But if you write a blog post around your product category, so something like 21 best productivity apps or 21 best employee monitoring apps, whatever it is you're going to be, it's easier to rank those posts than it is to rank your homepage in a, in Google, especially if you're just getting started. And you're not like the big player in the space. So what you would do here is you would literally list you and your competitors.
Greg (14:18): And don't worry about this because you're going to put yours first, and nobody's going to read past the first two. Anyway, we've put all kinds of like apps on to monitor how far people read down, nobody reads past the first two or three, and if they do, then God bless those people, but you put yours first put, make yours like really comprehensive, like your, you know, sell your, sell your app, your business, your whatever it is.
And that as your first thing, you know, put a call in inline, call to action, try us out or whatever you want to do. And you could rank for, and you could create a ton of these types of posts around because most people are fit in the multiple categories. So you can create a ton of these types of posts, right? So, so you know, if you're an accounting software, best small business, accounting software, best P&L software, you know what I mean?
All these kinds of best enterprise accounting software find all of these keywords around the accounting software because everybody fits in the multiple categories and you can start build literally building tens of pages around these types of category posts of like really low hanging fruit content.
Kathleen (15:31): Now I've seen the same thing that, that, that those best keywords really get a lot of search volume, but I will say I am very skeptical of one thing you said, and I want to, I want to debate that a little bit, which is that, which is that you should rank yourself first, because I feel like people reading that will see right through it, because they see it on your site.
They see you listing yourself first, and then they like don't trust it. So the way I've always, I've always approached it is you have like an opening call. It set of paragraphs where you say, as a leading provider of like call it small business accounting software, you know we get approached a lot by people asking who are the other players in the space or something.
And like, so then you list maybe the top 10, you're not in the list, but you're starting out by kind of establishing yourself as a leader. That's how I've always approached it. I'm curious. I'm curious though, like how you've seen it work because I, we, I don't usually swear on this podcast, but I'm going to say, I think a lot of people would call if you list yourself first,
Greg (16:34): I'm sure they do, but I have no doubt that they do. But I also think that while I also know that a lot of people that, that post converts a lot of people. So no doubt that a lot of people are like. Like, yeah, of course, this has manipulated.
This has manipulated, but, but I think, but I think people are, I think people, in general, are coming around to the fact that yes, there is this multi-trillion dollar industry of people like me manipulating Google to get there.
Kathleen (17:04): Well, and I think it's interesting because so like one of the people who evangelizes the approach I talked about is Marcus Sheridan. And he's always like, you don't list yourself.
Now, the only thing I will say, which I'm going to counter my own argument on this is because I love playing devil's advocate against myself apparently is that since he espoused that approach, Google has introduced featured snippets and the danger that I could see in not listing yourself in the list is if you get picked up as a featured snippet and the snippets will just list usually like the title and then they'll list your, your, your header tags.
And so if your header tags are the names of your top category providers, and you're not in that, then all of a sudden, if somebody is doing a no-click search and they see the list in the featured snippet and they don't see you on it, I could see where that would really hurt you. And so I guess I'm intrigued, and maybe I'll have to test this now that I'm thinking about it, because
Greg (18:06): I was going to say two things. One is absolutely test. And second, don't like, when we write these posts, it's not like, Oh, we're the greatest. And everybody else's crap. Right?
Like everybody gets a really good review in our, like, if you read every, you know, every, all the entire list, everybody gets a glowing review. It's not like we're, we're trashing anybody and whatever.
Kathleen (18:33): It's supposed to be easy to write, because the information is usually all out there and like, Oh my gosh,
Greg (18:37): That's why I love them. You can write, you could write 10 to 20 of them, and you could outsource almost all of them and not have to worry about, like, you know, somebody could do the research and everything like that for you. And then you kind of come back edited and all that good stuff. Yeah.
Kathleen (18:52): So that's interesting. You're now causing me to rethink, now that I thought about this featured snippet angle, I'm rethinking my own advice. I'm not sure where I land yet, but I will have to test it.
Greg (19:02): It's a pretty easy test.
Kathleen (19:04): Yeah, for sure.
Greg (19:06): But you're right. People will say and this yep, absolutely.
Kathleen (19:10): Okay. Framework next up.
Greg (19:13): Alternatives post. The thing I love about alternative posts is if you have like a gorilla, like an 800-pound gorilla in your space, you could use that momentum to your advantage.
So if you're an email marketing software, like 21 best MailChimp alternatives or something like that, and every single product or service category has an 800-pound gorilla in their space with a very recognizable brand with people looking for their competitors. So two things are gonna happen here. You're going to get two types of people to this post.
One is people who are using that product or service and are looking for somebody else or the other per the other type of person is I'm I know a very little bit about the product category, and I know that this is the big player in it, but I want to see who else is in there. Yeah. So you're going to get very great, a lot of buyer intent.
Kathleen (20:11): I like that. And I assume that works kind of like the, the prior framework where you're doing your writing relatively unbiased summaries of all of the different players.
Greg (20:23): Yes, absolutely. Always, always unbiased. And if you don't think you can be unbiased, like if you don't think you can be unbiased about it. Honestly, even if you can be unbiased, can be unbiased, just hire somebody to write it for you. And then they will give you an honest, it'll be an honest-to-goodness post. Right?
Kathleen (20:40): Well, one of the tricks I always find that's helpful for those kinds of posts is go, if there is a software review site that has information about who you're writing about, you just like literally pull quotes from the reviews.
Greg (20:51): Yep. Absolutely love it. Yeah, we do that all the time. The other thing that you could do is in your post again, if you want to be like re and we do this too, if you like to be like, totally upfront, just to tell people, this is who my content is, this is who my business is for.
This is who my app is for. Like, we service small businesses doing 1 million to 5 billion in revenue have 2010 plus remote employees, whatever it is. Right. Like just be super-specific. And you know, you're going to be, you're going to have a filter right there and just get people to do that.
Kathleen (21:29): That makes sense. All right. So that's the first, how many did we do? Three.
Greg (21:34): Three. Yeah. I'm trying to check these off now. So you have the tools posts. We had the category, post alternatives. All right. So next one is one that is meant to wow people. And it's a 101 list post. You're going to put, they're going to make a huge list of, of a type of thing.
So it could be any one of these things like email marketing software could be tips. It could be whatever it is, but you're going to put 101 items in the list. Why 101 I've tested a hundred and they don't work quite as well as 101, that's the only thing I could tell you, Hey, whatever works, right? Yes.
That's the only, I don't know. I don't know if that's an empirical test. I don't know if that was like, there was nothing. I wrote like three posts. Two of them were one Oh one, one was a hundred, and the two that were 101 words.
Kathleen (22:34): There is actually data. That odd number listicles work better, even. So even if it's like a lower number, 13 is better than 12. Nine is better than eight. It's like the most bizarre thing. I don't know why it's must be something psychological, everywhere.
Greg (22:51): Okay. So but each, so each one just write like maybe, you know, 20 to 50 words like this is, this post is a bear to write. I will give you that, like, like these things could take weeks to write.
So if you could hire a researcher to do this, this research for you, put everything together, an Excel spreadsheet and a spreadsheet, whatever it is. But you know, because you're going to write 101 times let's say 50 words is, you know, 5,000 words right there, plus an intro and outro and, and all that good stuff. So, okay.
Kathleen (23:25): I suppose you could also crowdsource that, like, I've seen people send out Google forms to, you know, everybody they know and be like, share your top tip with me. And then they just basically like copy and paste what other people have said and plop it in. And then it's less work, I suppose.
Greg (23:39): I, you know what, that's actually, I like that a lot better because then again, they have a built-in excuse to share for you. Like, not that the other folks don't, but if you've already got them engaged on the, on the creation, they're either, they're much more likely to share it on the promotion side versus just listing people.
But again, it's one of those things where after you have, now you have 101 accounts to reach out to, and just, was it after hitting publish? Yeah, exactly. So we have 101 accounts to say, Hey, so-and-so, I've mentioned you here in my big post. What do you think about it? And you know, that 10% of the people are going to share it.
Kathleen (24:19): Yeah. So, all right. Yeah. That's another good one. Yep.
Greg (24:23): All right. So the next one is what I call a tips post.
Greg (24:29): And basically these are going to be 17 to 22 tips. And when I say tips, we're talking step by step by step tips. So each quote-unquote tip is going to be five to 700 words. There are many blog posts in between each tip.
So let's say it's going to be I don't know, 17, 17 ways to build high-quality links. So tip one is going to be resource page link building say right then under resource, page link building, and it's going to be step one, find resource pages.
Here's how to find resource pages. Right? Step two. Here's reach out to these people. Here's the email templates or reach out to them. Step three, negotiating the link. Here's how to negotiate the link. Right? So each one of these is, is a mini-blog posts. It would it like each one of these, think about this.
Greg (25:24): If you were around in like 2006 to 2008, each one of these would have been a blog post back in 2006 to 2008 when people were writing, you know, 600-word posts.
Kathleen (25:35): Yeah. That's cool. Yeah. So next one.
Greg (25:40): All right. So next one is like, we kind of touched on it and it's like the jobs to be done type of framework. So what is something that you do that can be done manually that your business automates for the person?
So for instance, we did timesheet templates, free timesheet templates got a lot of people to that post. And then people were like, I don't want to do this manually anymore. Yeah. Another good one is there's a PR outreach tool. Oh gosh, I forgot the name of it. Outreach Ninja. I believe it's called, they'll kind of run the scene to me, but what they did was like they said how to get pressed through, Hey RO helpareporterout.com.
And then they went through this super manual way to go and get pressed through helpareporterout.com. And then at the end, like throughout the blog post, they have like several calls to action that are basically like, you know, do you want to automate your PR your outreach? You know what I mean? So just hire, just use our service or our tool or whatever it was. So whatever.
Kathleen (26:48): It's not so much, because there are like, there are a ton of people out there that are going to search that stuff, but very few people are going to want to take the time to do it themselves.
And the ones who truly are going to do it themselves are not your, usually your ideal customer in my experience, like usually those are the people who are not, not to be crass, but they're cheap. They don't want to spend the money. And so like sometimes I think people are like, I don't want to tell people how to do it manually because I'm gonna lose customers.
You're not going to lose customers. You're going to lose poor fit prospects. And you're going to save yourself time because they then will not call you because you've told them how to go out and DIY it. And they're not going to waste your time asking you for pricing information when they can't afford you.
Greg (27:30): Exactly. So it's kind of like one of those things where 90% of the people who come to your site and search that kind of term are going to be looking for something for free. Right. Right.
So they, they're not going to buy, they're not going to want to hire you anyway. So you're going to get, it's kind of like the thing with like a lot of traffic, a little buyers. So you're going to get a lot of traffic to these posts and not a lot of buyers. Got it. But the ones who do, like you said, super qualified. Yeah.
Kathleen (27:59): Okay. What else you got?
Greg (28:01): All right. Ultimate guide. This is kind of like a there's like the, how to post, like the tips or like the how-tos, like the mini, how-tos the ultimate guide is to take something super specific and right. You know, it's going to be like a 5,000 word. Here's everything that you, sorry, I hit the table. Everything that you need to do to accomplish this task.
Kathleen (28:29): Okay. So sometimes like we might call that pillar content, like the most authoritative source of information on this topic, on the internet.
Greg (28:38): Exactly. I want to leave absolutely nothing out. And then even from there, you're going to link out to your own pages and all that good stuff. So a lot of people are even going to, you know, create beautiful designs or infographics things around those things like that to make this, like, like you said, that single most authoritative thing on the web,
Kathleen (29:00): Now, these consume really intimidating for people. Like, I feel like a lot of people know they should do them, but they're like, Oh God, it's like writing a term paper or a thesis, or what have you. It is. So how do you break it down and make it less intimidating?
Greg (29:13): OK. So here's what you do. You create a very detailed outline. I mean, super detailed. So it's going to be, you know, A, B, C, D all the way down through, right. And then what you do.
And so that's going to automatically break it up. You fill in your headlines, your sub-headlines, your H3 tags, or whatever, and that's just going to break it up into much, much, much smaller pieces. And then what I do is I'll write, you know, one each, you know, one or two pieces each day or whatever it is, you know, until it's done.
And again, this is, this is one of those that is going to take, like, you're not going to probably finish this in a day or two, right. Like this is going to take, you know, two weeks to kind of, especially if you're doing it by yourself two weeks to put together because you want to get all the images and stuff like that together.
But yeah, it's it, it is, it is a little bit of a bear to write. So, you know, I recommend five to 700 words a day on it and then put it down for tomorrow. And just, if you kind of get into that habit, eventually you're going to get it done.
Kathleen (30:18): Yeah. All right. So we've got our massive guides and then, how many do we have left? Two?
Greg (30:25): One. So we're going to do two because I have a bonus one. The first one is going to be a case study. And again, I don't mean like, you know, the little thing on like, the little blurb case studies. I mean, like, you know, you're going to want to tell a full-on story of, of, you know, beginning, middle-end hero, problem, problem solved what it looked like when the problem was that has ended. Right.
So, and how they accomplished it as well. This is very similar to a guide or the most authoritative piece kind of thing, but it's a little bit more powerful again, in that you're telling a story, you're not just saying how to do this. Like you're saying, you know, Kathleen started here and then she did this and this, and this used our tool or our business to do this, this and this.
Greg (31:15): And, you know, now she has a full working solution to the problem. That makes sense. So, yeah, again, it's, it's going to be another 3000 word kind of piece, very in-depth. Okay. And then the bonus that works really, really well. And they're kind of hard to pull off.
So I've only written like three of them or four of them in my entire career. And that is a pattern interrupt case study. So what, I'm going to give you a very specific example, if you Google something like if you Google, like how to use an employee monitoring software, right.
You're going to get all of these case studies into like, you know, here's all these articles like how to use employee monitoring software and, you know, step by step by step. Just like we talked about, I know how to find how, how to find like people who aren't working and things like that.
Greg (32:15): I don't want to get into the morality of an employee monitoring software, but just go with me for a second. I'm sorry. So what we did was we've wrote why employee monitoring software doesn't work, which is a very big pattern interrupt.
When you're looking in Google, like, wait a minute, I was looking for an employee monitoring software. What do you mean it doesn't work? And then what we did was we started and we listed all the flaws of an employee monitoring software and how we, as an employee as, as also an employee monitoring software solved all those flaws.
So one of them might've been like, you know, automated mouse movements, like most employee monitoring software can't detect automated mouse movements, but ours could that kind of thing.
Kathleen (32:59): That's interesting because I, so it reminds me of like two other formats that I've used. Sometimes one's called the problems post, which is like, here are the problems with the thing that you're searching for. Right. Calling it out and being super honest about it.
But it also reminds me of like the concepts behind the challenger sale, which is basically like you ever, when somebody is looking to buy something, everybody's going to try to say, yes, I have that thing you want to buy.
And so, therefore, everyone selling, it sounds the same because they're all using that same narrative of, I have the best of those things. Whereas if you come to the table and you say, you don't really want that thing, because there are all kinds of problems with that thing, but here's what you want instead.
Like that's, I'm way oversimplifying it. But when I think of the challenger sale, that's what I think of. And, and it is I like that you called it a pattern interrupter because that's exactly why it works.
If you're one of five competitors trying to get somebody's business and all the other four saying, yes, I know you want that. And I have the best one. And you're the only one who says there are a lot of problems with that. That is a pattern interrupter. And that makes you stand out.
Greg (34:06): Absolutely. Absolutely. It's like, kind of, and I'll kind of get back into a little bit more into that in a second, but it's kind of like, you go to the grocery store and you see milk, milk, milk, milk, silk, and you're like, huh, what is this? Right. Especially when people weren't, didn't understand what soy milk was. Right.
So it was kind of one of those things that, you know, it was not that soy milk, I don't even think needs to be refrigerated, but it was in the refrigerated section of my supermarket because it was the pattern interrupt. Right.
But going back to the problem thing now, if you actually put a face to the name of that, of the of that pattern interrupt case study, or a face to the problem of that pattern interrupt case study, and you're saying, you know Kathleen used a timesheet software.
Greg (34:51): That's actually software a, an employee monitoring software to try at, because she had a bad feeling that this person wasn't working or whatever, and, you know, but the mouse was still moving. And then she tried our pro our, our employee monitoring software and realized that, you know, that we were able to detect somebody was using an autumn, a movement software, that kind of thing.
Like now all of a sudden you're like, Oh, wow, this is a real, this is a real person with a real problem that I have. And, you know, so, so yes, you don't want a regular time. You don't want irregular software. You want, you know, this specialist.
Kathleen (35:25): Yeah. Yeah. I like that. Yeah. So we have now nine frameworks, not just eight by cause we got a bonus and I want to talk for a minute about conversion. So you've mentioned CTAs.
Obviously, you're going to create all this content and if you do it well, and if you play your cards, right, you're going to get traffic and some of it's going to be qualified traffic. So how do you approach turning that traffic into leads?
Greg (35:54): So there's a couple ways. One is if you, if you create the structure of the content, right, it's just going to naturally convert people into leads. So, you know, any one of these tools, alternatives, whatever it is, like, you're getting pretty qualified buyers to your site.
And you're going to be talking about your product or service within the context of the content anyway. So that's one way to do it, right? Like just so structure the content that features your business. Atrust is so good at this. I don't know if you've atrust.com/blog. Check out any one of their articles.
They are amazing at it. Second one is, the second way is you, you create lead magnets or like popups to lead magnets, things like that. And we, I am not one who likes to gate a whole lot of content.
Greg (36:46): So what I do is I will, I personally just create a very long case study to give to people when they sign up. And again, the case study, once they sign up for my quote-unquote lead magnet is designed to sell using basically one of these frameworks that the case study framework.
So those are the ways that I like to do it again. I'm not really one to create like white paper guides. And like, I ungate as much content as I possibly can. I'd rather get the traffic, the qualified traffic via search or SEO or referral versus gated content. And, you know, have people kind of opt into there.
Kathleen (37:30): I'm the same way. And I found that that honestly, if you give the content away and then you say, Hey, do you want a PDF version that you could print? Like, and you just say, all you have to do is say, give me your email address and I'll send it to you. A lot of people convert because yeah, because what it does is allows them to see that the content is good and therefore they are more willing to give you their email address than they might otherwise be
Greg (37:53): Like me in that I've become a super jaded. Like, I, I am so judicious with who I give my email address. So like, it's free, but it's like, yes, but I don't want to go into your sales funnel. Right.
Kathleen (38:11): I'll be honest. I have a throwaway email that I use for this purpose. It's like, that's what drives me nuts about gating is you're going to get so much crap because there's so many people who don't want to talk to you, but if you just give the content away people that are like, that's actually really good content.
And so I don't mind giving them my email address because they're going to send me more, really good content. That's exactly right. Yeah.
Greg (38:40): Yeah. So lesson. Gate as little content as you possibly can.
Kathleen (38:48): When people get their case studies.
Greg (38:51): I guess. Yeah. I don't get a fit either.
Kathleen (38:55): Practice ever for a marketer because case studies basically are what people want when they're trying to decide whether to buy from you, they've already realized they want to buy something and they're like, should I buy it from them? Or that other company,
Kathleen (39:09): You get your case study and you're making it harder for them to pick you. Like why?
Greg (39:13): I don't get that either. I don't get like, like my, I do get my one case study, but it's literally, but I will, you don't actually have to go. But like, but that case study is published everywhere else on my blog. So you don't have to like, actually sign up to my email address if you go there. Like you're going to read that story a hundred times on my site. But yeah, I don't get it either. I just don't understand the marketers.
Kathleen (39:36): We, I always say when we put on our marketing hat, we lose our people brain.
Greg (39:41): Right.
Kathleen (39:44): Anyway, I could go on and on about that. So, so give it, ungate everything. How do you use CTAs? Like, do you people have different theories on where CTA should appear in blogs?
Greg (39:56): So I do inline CTAs. I don't know how many paragraphs down. I usually just kind of guess it's usually like five, six paragraphs down. Let me just note though, my paragraphs are typically one to two sentences long, so I have a lot of white space okay.
Kathleen (40:14): Tested and it's like, it totally flies in the face of what you're taught in English class growing up, but I've tested it. And the short paragraphs always perform better. Yeah.
Greg (40:23): I never have a paragraph. My paragraphs aren't so much as like breaks in thought process as they are breaks in text, blocks of texts.
Kathleen (40:33): Yeah, because content, when you're content marketing, writing. Yup. Completely different and expository writing.
Greg (40:40): Yep. Absolutely. So five, so five or six paragraphs down. So basically five or six sentences down. I put an in-line call to action, just like, you know, a little blue, you know, my brand is blue. So a little blue box that says, you know, sign up here. And then I also do an exit intent pop up and that's it.
That's all I do. So my eat, my like blog is like most of I always again, because I want to focus on creating content that converts, like I'm not going to have multiple columns with multiple CTAs on a side column or anything like that. My, my blog is always one column. It's just, there's nothing on the sides. It's white background, black text, that kind of thing. Very simple. So yeah.
Kathleen (41:29): So let's switch gears now and talk about results because you've used this a variety of times. What have you seen in terms of results? And you said you measured results based on leads or by revenue. So talk to me.
Greg (41:42): So I measure results based on trials and I could get into a couple specifics trials basically are pre, like, lemme, let me define trial in the context I'm talking about is basically no credit card added trial.
Okay. so you don't need it. You could just sign up and give her your email address and give it a shot and set it up and all that stuff. So if you write a tool, an alternatives post, like, so we, so if you're one of the, one of the posts that we wrote is toggle alternatives.
And again, it's one of those posts where it gets so little search. I think it gets maybe 10 to 10 to 50 kind of things, you know, in your keyword research tool, but it brings in like four to 500 visitors a month kind of deal, but that that'll convert 2% of the people into trials.
Greg (42:35): So that's you know, the cool part about these is, like we said before, super easy to write really easy to rank. So you could do you know, you can write 10 to 20 of these and they're all going to get anywhere between 50 you know, up to the higher end 500 searches, 500 visitors a month.
And they're all going to convert in that one to 2% range. So yes, it doesn't sound like, you know, those four or five customers per month, that you're at four or five trials per month that you're adding sounds like a lot. But then when you multiply that by 10 to 20 start, start to pile up the trials.
Kathleen (43:11): I mean, honestly, like when you consider the fact that it's a one and done, you write it once and then it's like a dividend, it just keeps paying you.
Greg (43:19): Absolutely. Think about thinking about your content in a term. I don't want to say exactly the same as, as an ad because in an ad it's like, literally today you're going to put in a dollar and today you're also going to get $3. But think about it like this, let's say it costs you, I dunno, $500 to write the article and then $500 to promote it. We'll make it easy math.
So it's a thousand dollars to create and promote a piece of content. The question you have to ask yourself is, and I like to ask this. When in six to nine months, however long, I think it's going to take the rank. Will I get 3X the, will I get 3X the ARR per month? So what is the lifetime value of a customer? Will I 3X that every month?
So at a thousand dollars, I need, I want to try to get $3,000 in additional ARR every single month. And that's how I think about it.
Kathleen (44:16): Why 3X?
Greg (44:16): I don't know. It just seemed like a good number at the time and I've just stuck with it and it works for me. So, yeah.
Kathleen (44:24): All right, cool. So, so I love this. It's a super easy framework to follow. And you know, as you said, you can either use your in-house team to write this stuff, or you can outsource it if you feel like it's too overwhelming. I'm going to shift gears now because I have a couple of questions I want to ask you that I ask all my guests.
The first one is, you know, you've worked with a lot of different companies and you're, you're squarely in the field of inbound marketing. Is there a particular company or a particular individual that you think is really setting the bar for what it means to be a great inbound marketer these days?
Greg (45:04): Yeah, there's a couple of them. I'm going to go with, I'm going to actually go with so-so for, from what I see too. So company, I'm going to say trust. I absolutely outside of Time Doctor, cause I, I know we talked about them, the inner workings of what they do, but Ahrefs is a keyword research, is a SEO tool, SEO suite of tools.
And I love what they do from an inbound marketing standpoint. They are able to combine their, they have three things that I really love. One is their content converts. It's very heavily focused within like these frameworks and I'm biased to these frameworks. Second, they have a really cool YouTube channel.
That drives a lot of SEOs. It's almost my squash in the SEO industry. And then the third thing that I really love and I think is so underrated, they have a personalized face to the brand.
Greg (46:00): When you think of Ahrefs and in the SEO space, if you're not familiar, you think of a guy named Tim Soulo or however you pronounce his name. And yeah. And I think having that face, that brand is super important a lot, you know, because they're, that's what I think like inbound is it's about connecting to a person.
I actually don't even know who the founder of Ahrefs is, but that's unimportant. It's I know who Tim is. I've talked with Tim, you know, Twitter, email, whatever, and he's just out there all the time. And I think that's, that's really critical.
Kathleen (46:34): I feel like that's how Rand Fishkin was at Moz when he was.
Greg (46:37): Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. You want to, like, there's, there's a guy there, you knew you weren't just buying from a company. You were buying from a PR, a set of people who, you know, you believed in their work.
And I think that's paramount to the success. The other, the other guy is a guy named Noah Kagan. And this guy, he's, he, he's the founder of a company called AppSumo, and they in and of themselves are OK. Inbound, like, but they built a big company.
What I love about Noah is, again, he's just creating so much content, the videos that he, that he creates, if you're an entrepreneur, you're just getting started. There, that's a much watch video series. So I, I really, and again, he's super personable. He's just always out there, you know, who he is, you like, you're friends with him. And so I really like what he's doing with, with inbound in that sense.
Kathleen (47:36): All right. Those are two good ones. And I'll link off to those in the show notes. Before we wrap up, I'm sure there are going to be people who listen to this and have questions or want to connect with you online. What's the best way for them to do that.
Greg (47:51): Twitter @gregdigneo is the best way. And then if you want the frameworks kind of just give you a link to this. Yeah, of course. Content Guppy.com/frameworks. Awesome. And you could, they're not going to be gated. So as we've discussed yeah. Not gated. And yeah. So that's where you could grab those and yeah, that's, that's basically it.
Kathleen (48:19): All right. Well, head to the show notes, I'll put those links in there. If you want to get the frameworks or connect directly with Greg, thank you so much for sharing all this with us today. This was great. You made it really simple and actionable, which is what I always love.
Greg (48:32): Oh. So much. I hope, I hope everybody gets some value out of it.
Kathleen (48:35): Yeah. I'm already planning my first pattern interrupter posts. So I'm excited about that. I'll let you know how it goes.
Greg (48:41): Absolutely. That sounds great.
Kathleen (48:44): All right. Well, if you're listening and you enjoyed this episode, please head to Apple Podcasts or the platform of your choice. And I would love it if you would leave the podcast a review. That's how we find new listeners.
And if you know somebody else who's doing amazing inbound marketing work, tweet me at @workmommywork. Yes, that is my Twitter handle. That's a whole nother story and we can make them our next guest. Thanks so much for joining me this week, Greg.
Greg (49:09): This was great. Thank you. Take care.
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