John McDougall: Hi, I’m John McDougall, and welcome to the Authority Marketing Roadmap. Today, my guest is John Jantsch, the author of “Duct Tape Marketing” and a true thought leader on building authority. Welcome, John.
John Jantsch: Hey, thanks for having me, John. I was kind of playing along with that music, too. That was very cool.
McDougall: Nice, had a little air guitar.
Jantsch: A lot of people drop their music in afterwards. I don’t always get to hear that intro music, so that’s awesome.
McDougall: Today, we’re going to a little bit about building authority and some mistakes to avoid. First, tell us a little bit about your journey and building your company and personal brand.
Building Your Brand
Jantsch: I’ll try to keep this short, but the fact of the matter is I’ve been doing this a long time, so the story keeps getting longer. I actually founded my own small business marketing consulting agency coming up on 28 years ago.
Like a lot people, decided I didn’t want to work for anybody else. Didn’t have any real plan, but just jumped in and figured I could sell something and figure out how to do it. After doing that a while, I ended up deciding that I loved working with small business owners, but they were sometimes a challenge because they didn’t have the same budgets or attention spans as much larger organizations.
It was rather difficult to serve them in the traditional way that I had learned. About 10 or 12 years ago, I decided what I needed in order to serve that market was to build a system where I could work in almost a product based sell.
Instead of [asking] “What do you need,” it was “Here’s what I’m going to do, here’s what you’re going to do. Here’s the results we hope to get, and by the way, here’s what it costs.” While I was trying to solve my [own] frustration, I learned pretty quickly that it actually was addressing one of the greatest frustrations most small businesses have.
It’s difficult to buy marketing services in a comprehensive way. They’re getting SEO here, and they’re getting social here, and they’re getting copyrighting there. The idea of a marketing system resonated.
That has been the basis of my work, just that big idea that marketing is, in fact, a system and there are certain elements that you need to operate as a process. I turned that into writing about it to get attention.
That turned into a book which turned into other independent marketing consultants around the world saying, “Hey, we like this idea of a system as well. Can we license that? Can we be part of your team?”
Now, in addition to the marketing consulting that we do and the speaking and writing that I do for small business around the world, we now have about 100 Duct Tape Marketing consultants around the world who also use our system and our methodology.
I think what ultimately we’ve created, whether it was intentional or by accident, is probably the closest thing there is to a global small business marketing brand, which I can say was done intentionally, but obviously there was a lot of luck and a lot of perseverance that went into that.
Marketing for Agencies & Individuals
McDougall: From listening to you talk at the Inbound Marketing Conference, the Hubspot conference, I was very impressed. Some of the worksheets and things you have could be beneficial. My agency has some of that.
It sounds like you’ve refined those templates and worksheets and things to help both companies and agencies get that system tighter. Is that right, and is that something both an agency like mine and an individual would use, or is it more towards agencies?
Jantsch: We’ve served both because of how we’ve grown. Originally, I just started documenting what I was doing and wanted to create some tools to make it easier for me to do that. That ultimately grew into the Duct Tape Marketing system.
That’s actually available for $39 a month as a self‑paced course where all those forms and examples and templates you talk about are available in addition to video lessons and monthly coaching from me.
We then, that same system is actually what our consultants use in working with the clients that want a little more hands‑on, maybe even done for you approach. They use those same tools to deliver that result.
We can have both. We have a number of agencies that are part of the network, certainly, and then we obviously have thousands of actual small and mid-size business owners who go through our self‑paced program.
McDougall: Just give us one or two examples of maybe a worksheet. Is there a persona development worksheet, things like that?
Jantsch: A lot of the things that you would maybe expect. As one you just mentioned, the persona worksheet [or] core message worksheet. The things to help develop a content editorial calendar, something that we use called the marketing hourglass, which is our customer journey.
Then we even get into things like checklists. For a client, what do you need to be doing every day, every week, every month in social media? How do you optimize all of your profiles in the key social networks?
In addition to sheets that a consultant might use or a small business owner might use to maybe help flesh out an idea or a strategy, we also have some just handy tip sheets and checklists that you might use to train somebody inside your organization.
The Biggest Mistakes When Building Authority
McDougall: That’s based on, as you said, 28 years of running your business. What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people making when specifically building authority and thought leadership as you’re doing your marketing?
Jantsch: I suppose this could come under the heading of a mistake. I think probably the biggest thing is that now that everybody’s decided that’s what they need to be doing, people want to appoint themselves as authorities. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way.
McDougall: Just wave a magic wand.
Jantsch: Yeah, you become an authority because somebody else said so. That somebody else can be a very small niche market or a community, but it’s something you work towards and you strive by maybe doing certain things over and over and over again. But there is no magic, I’m an authority now.
Now, having said that, there certainly are some things that people do and say and posture themselves to actually gain some authority. There certainly are things that you need to focus on if building authority is something that makes sense for you, and quite frankly, any service professional or any business, I think, can be seen as the leader, authority and expert.
I would take that even down to a sales person. I don’t mean down to, but I mean, you don’t have to think big company or somebody who’s on the speaking circuit for conferences like Inbound. A sales person who can build some authority, and by that I mean, maybe just content that they’ve written explaining a problem that a client might have is turning up.
That sales person’s probably going to have a leg up on somebody else who’s just dropping off product sheets.
Adding Value as an Authority
McDougall: What are some other mistakes? Do you see people focusing too much on either technical SEO or overly the shiny object of social media, just gravitating to Facebook and maybe not getting results? Are there certain things that are pretty common, pet things?
Jantsch: To me, the first thing if you’re going to be seen as an expert, you don’t just say, “I’m a social media expert.” Well, get in line with the 6 billion other people that are maybe making that claim.
I think the first thing, if you’re going to build some sort of authority, is you have to have a point of view that is unique. I use the example of Duct Tape Marketing. The biggest thing that we did is the way that we packaged marketing as a service and the way that we talk about marketing as a system.
That’s something that I’ve probably written [about] 250 times that expresses our point of view of how marketing is different. That doesn’t have to resonate with everyone. It has to resonate with people that feel like they’re not being served by some other type of marketing.
That is, again, a mistake I see a lot of people make, is that they want to be seen as an authority in their industry, but they’re not doing anything that necessarily stands out or adds value.
McDougall: You have to pick a niche, define your focus, have a unique point of view and then have a system.
Jantsch: I don’t even know if it’s a niche. I certainly wouldn’t call small business, which I focus on, a niche per se. If it is, it’s a very large one. But it’s this idea that marketing is simple, marketing is a system. A lot of what marketing is about is just organizing various processes. That’s the consistent point of view that we’ve stuck with.
Even in early days, when everybody was jumping up and down about social media, my point of view was, wait a minute, let’s make this practical. How could you use this to serve your clients? Would this make sense to actually allow you to do something today better than you were doing yesterday?
That kind of practical point of view that we bring to marketing is our big core difference and is what people look to as a point of view. They know that I’m not going to jump on some new tool just because it’s the new thing of the week. That if I’m going to talk about it, they can trust that I’ve used it in my business or that I’ve broken down a way that my market could actually benefit from.
McDougall: Another way to maybe phrase part of that is, don’t just get caught up in the shiny latest thing. Be practical about it, figure out what works.
Jantsch: I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that’s what people look to, that’s my point of view. That’s what people look to me for, whereas, maybe there are people out there that want somebody who always finds the new shiny thing and can tell them how to use it. That can be a point of view.
Jantsch: Exactly, and so that’s my real point, is that you have to have something where you stick your flag in the sand and say, “This is who we are, this is why we’re different.” Hey, if that means something to you, then we’re going to be great for you, if not, move on.
Important Tactics for Building Authority
McDougall: Assuming someone finds their unique either value proposition or their unique point of view and now they’re starting to get into various tactics, what are some of the tactics that you think are some of the most important for building authority from SEO, social media, PR, writing a book, public speaking?
Jantsch: I think before I kind of dive into those, because those are all obviously things people have done, I’ll start with a point of view.
The point of view that I have been preaching for a number of years now, and I think this applies particularly today, regardless of the type of business that you have, is that, number one, you have to think in terms of “How am I going to build a community of people who start to like what I do and trust what I do enough to actually be the ones that are going to start telling people I’m an authority?”
Because me standing up and saying, “Hey, listen to me, I’m an expert, I’m an authority,” is only going to go so far. I’ve got to have other people saying that as well.
Focusing on building a community, and I think there are some great examples of people who actually didn’t even have anything to sell necessarily to that community that built a community. Then the next step, of course, is once you do that, it becomes very easy to monetize that community by, again, listening to what they want, filling the need that they have.
Then once you do that, the next logical step is you can then leverage that community to help you grow an even bigger community or an even bigger business. I’ll use an example of somebody that I think has done this brilliantly, and that’s Brian Clark at Copyblogger.
McDougall: Definitely, yeah.
Jantsch: They started writing content with nothing to sell. Built a huge following and then turned that into, the first product was a course, basically, telling other people kind of how to do what they’re doing. Then from that, turned it into several softwares that were used for helping people that were in content marketing. Next thing you know, they’ve got a $10 million business and a couple hundred thousand people that show up and read their blog every month.
I think that that’s a lesson for a lot of people. Quite frankly, people sit there and they look at that and go, “That’s great, but I don’t have two years to build a community. I’ve got cash flow issues.”
I think what you have to do is start having that community mindset. Sure, you can continue doing the business you’re doing, you can continue doing whatever generates cash flow. But you have to start thinking “OK, how can I build community around those clients?”
“How can I provide better service around those clients? How can I actually give them more than they expected so that they start telling other people and they start actually helping me build my community?”
I think that’s why lot of people say when I use the Copyblogger example, “Well, that’s great. That worked for them. But what about me?” I think anybody can take this community building mindset.
To me, if you’re a retail business out there, that’s actually how you stop the Amazons and the Walmarts of the world from robbing or taking all of your customers, is that you do something that the Walmarts and the Amazons of the world can’t.
Building a Community
McDougall: Yeah, absolutely. To some degree, maybe about picking the spot that you are in your level of business goals and needs.
You said some people just need immediate cash flow. Maybe pay-per-click is a good intermediary tactic then, while you’re building a community. As opposed to thinking you’re going to just sprinkle some SEO keywords on your site and then magically everyone’s going to flock to you. Like the old days, SEO was easier before, now you have to have that community mindset or you probably won’t build that authority for SEO or social.
Jantsch: And, I think also, you have to realize what people expect today. It’s even if you’re running pay-per-click, which, by the way, I think can be a tremendous authority builder if in fact what you’re doing is driving people to your amazing content or into your webinars or to download an e‑book of some type. That’s a great example of how to use advertising to build authority, not necessarily to just sell a $29 product.
Now, ultimately, you don’t have a business unless you are eventually turning those community members in some way, shape, or form, into customers. Obviously, that’s part of the journey that you want to work out as well.
But I think that building that know I can trust, regardless of how you do it, whether it’s through referrals, whether it’s through the fact that they’re able to read a book, whether it’s through somebody else sharing your content or you getting up and speaking. Or the pay-per-click advertising, you have to have that community building mindset.
McDougall: Is that more for a company or for a brand? Can you build a community based on, “Here’s the logo of our company, come and get it”? Or is it, you’ve got to dig down into the actual individual’s, like you said, the sales people, all the different layers of people? How does that work between building a brand for a company versus also bringing in the experts?
Jantsch: There’s a lot of talk these days about this idea of personal brand authority, as well as organizational or company brand authority. I think the word “brand” has now crossed over into a much broader meaning. Every business has a brand, probably every individual has a brand of some fashion.
It would just be, if you got the last 10 people together in a room that they interacted with, it would be their impression of that person, for example, would be the definition of that person’s brand.
If you acknowledge that that is something that everybody has, then I think what you have to do is you have to intentionally build that. When I started as Duct Tape Marketing, it was John Jantsch. I was building John Jantsch’s personal brand as somebody who gets marketing for small business, is very focused on small business, talked about very practical things, does a lot of “here’s how to do these things if you’re going to do them yourself.”
But ultimately, I have spent the last couple years actually transitioning that in a way. When I made the conscious decision to create Duct Tape Marketing or give the name of the business Duct Tape Marketing, it was a conscious decision to make a brand that was about more than just John Jantsch. That now has a whole different set of the way in which I talk about marketing and the way in which we do things and the decisions I make in terms of the content we produce.
But ultimately, whether it’s an individual or it’s a company, these things just have to be done intentionally.
How Often to Blog
McDougall: I’ve been reading your blog a bit and you have a number of writers in addition to yourself and you’ve built up a bit of a community there. How often do you blog versus other people blogging on your site, just roughly?
Jantsch: I do, I call it two and a half times a week. I’ll share if you’re interested, kind of our blogging routine.
McDougall: That would be great.
Jantsch: I have a small staff and on Mondays, so about once a month I rotate them through, because I want them to be creating content. I want them to be seen out there as credible experts, at least in the Duct Tape Marketing world.
I write what is kind of my heavy piece on Tuesday, it might run 1,000 to 1500 words and it’s something that I’ve spent a significant amount of time on.
Wednesday, we do a podcast, and for that, while I still do the interviews, we have somebody transcribe it and do a lot of the show notes, so that’s my half post. Because I do the interview, but I don’t do a lot in terms of the preparation of the material.
Thursday and Friday, we reserve them for guest posts that we curate around an editorial calendar. Then on Saturdays, I do something I call my weekly faves, and during the week I’m always on the lookout for new things, new tools, new services, new software and new apps. I typically share three of those every Saturday.
That post doesn’t take me that much to write. I don’t do a lot of detail, but I probably get more feedback from that post each week than pretty much anything else I write, just because there are all those tool junkies out there that just want to know the new thing.
McDougall: How long would you say it takes you, roughly, to write your Tuesday post versus your Saturday post?
Jantsch: The Saturday post is a 30‑minute deal, because I’ve kind of curated that content all week, so that doesn’t take that much, but the Tuesday post, given that I think about it ahead of time, I may do some research. I may find some things.
I actually may write that in preparation for a talk I’m going to give, because somebody’s asked me to talk about some subject, and a lot of times, that’s another little tip for you, is repurposing that. If I have to go to the extent of doing the research to do a talk, I sure had better get a blog post out of it.
So the short answer on that one is I probably spend 90 minutes or so, all told, on that post, but when I first started, I was writing six blog posts a week. I started blogging in 2003, and I’ll bet I did that for at least three or four years. I’ve got about 4,000 blog posts if anybody out there wants some of them.
McDougall: Nice. 4,000, yeah, that’s a good chunk, John. I think you said Monday your team is writing.
Jantsch: Yeah. They just rotate through, and somebody on our staff actually produces a post, and it’s been great. It gives them a chance to give their take on our point of view. Again, one of the things we live by is an editorial calendar, and so the topics are not just, “Here’s the thing I want to write about.” They are definitely related to themes that are in our keyword phrases that we want to own, so we return to those topics on a monthly basis.
How to Use SEO When Building Authority
McDougall: How much effort do you put into, let’s say, “SEO” and picking keywords versus socially sharing and promoting the content?
Jantsch: One of the advantages I have from an SEO standpoint is I told you I have 4,000 blog posts. I also have 175,000 backlinks, because I’ve been doing this forever, so we don’t have to pay that much attention to heavy, typical SEO activities.
A lot of those backlinks come from lofty sites, so that, in a sense, we’re kind of spoiled. What we do pay a lot of attention to is we develop an annual calendar, where we pick twelve themes that we’re going to focus on for the year, and those themes are very driven by keyword phrases that we want to show up [for].
I want to be seen. If somebody types in “marketing system,” I want to be on page one, and so we make sure that we do a lot to support that. We obviously use some of the best practices for on‑page SEO. For our blog posts, we use the Yoast SEO Plugin, and so everything’s calculated in terms of some of those best practices.
We don’t practice SEO. It’s just content today is SEO, as far as I’m concerned, and it’s certainly for us, because we have a lot of the foundational SEO stuff pretty much tackled.
McDougall: Systems these days, like WordPress in general, maybe Genesis, the Copyblogger platforms and things like that get some of the SEO covered for you just by nature of having a good platform.
Jantsch: Yeah, no question.
McDougall: What about blog post promotion? Do you guys spend a lot of time? Obviously, you’re sharing that content every day that it’s going out on your blog, but do you have workflows for how often you’re going to promote each post and getting other influencers involved in sharing your content?
Jantsch: We have a very set amplification routine. I wouldn’t say we spend a lot of time trying to get other influencers to promote our content. It happens quite naturally, because for years we have promoted theirs. That’s the approach we take, so rather than asking somebody to promote, we share 12 or 15 pieces of content every day from those influencers, and magically, some of them turn around and promote our content.
McDougall: That’s a great approach, is to focus on helping others, and then when you’re sharing your content, hopefully, they’re picking you up.
Jantsch: And the beauty of that, too, is it’s not just, “Hey, we want this person to promote us, so let’s promote their crappy content.
Like you see on Tumblr. We are curating that, because my belief is that some of the main reasons that people follow me on Twitter, or Facebook, or some of those places is because they know I’m going to share pretty high quality, relevant stuff.
McDougall: Yeah. No, you can’t do it just to do it.
What about B2B versus B2C? Certainly one area we’ve worked with is professional services, law firms, financial services. That’s great, to build up your authority marketing company, is accountants, architects, things like that.
What about building authority for B2B versus B2C? Do you see it just as important for someone selling golf clubs online, as opposed to a lawyer?
Jantsch: Yeah, I think it’s actually more important for B2B, quite frankly, because in many cases, the purchase decision is much larger, and therefore, I think the bar for trust is much higher. Can you imagine hiring an accountant or a lawyer based on a Google AdWords ad?
But you might buy a set of golf clubs based on that, and so I think that some of the same elements are in play for B2C. There have to be other people that are talking about your great clubs, so that I can read the reviews, and I can read some of the social proof, but I might not care as much about who’s writing that.
If a complete stranger writes a review about a restaurant, I don’t care. They seem to have an intelligent review, and that’s going to be enough for me to make a decision, but hiring that attorney or that accountant, who’s endorsing them? Who is talking about them is going to play a much larger role, and so that’s where the authority building, I think comes into play.
Favorite Authority Bloggers
McDougall: What about some of your favorite authority bloggers, those people you mentioned that you’re sharing their content. Who are a few of your favorites?
Jantsch: I mentioned Copyblogger already, and so I’ll throw that in there, because that’s certainly high on my list. There are some, probably a little more technical blogs that I read, quite frankly, that help me out on a lot of the things that I want to break down and make simple.
Kissmetrics puts out tremendous digital marketing content. Unbounce, which has a great landing page service, also puts out tremendous content of all types in digital marketing.
Buffer, which is a social media tool that I’m a big fan of, and I always have to disclose that one of my daughters works for them, but is not only a great tool, they [also] put out incredible information [on their blog]. What’s nice about theirs is they don’t just talk about social media, they talk about entrepreneurs and what it’s like in their startup, so that’s one that I turn to a lot.
Neil Patel’s Quick Sprout. Quick Sprout is Neil Patel’s blog that, again, the quality of stuff that he puts out, in terms of explaining SEO or explaining some function of digital marketing, is better than what a lot of people sell in courses.
So those are a couple that I would definitely recommend, and I just put them all in. I must read or subscribe to at least a hundred blogs, and I just put them into a feed reader called Feedly, and fire that up either on my iPhone or on my computer. That’s part of our sharing routine, is to find that content.
McDougall: So you use Buffer for that, or Hootsuite?
Jantsch: We use a combination of things. I use Hootsuite as the tool that I post from. It’s also the tool where I might monitor mentions of my brand, my books, or things of that nature.
I like to use Buffer in conjunction with Feedly, because it just makes it very easy for me to go through, there are 8, or 10, or 12 articles that I might read at eight o’clock in the morning, and I can buffer them out through the course of the day. I could make Hootsuite do that same thing as well. I just happen to use both of those tools because it works better in my workflow.
McDougall: I hear you there. I’m a huge fan of Buffer lately, and I’ve made a mini Feedly out of their feeds tab. Of course, it’s limited. I think it’s 10, so you certainly can’t put your 100 [that] you can put into Feedly, but I put in Quick Sprout and Copyblogger, Search Engine Land, Social Media Examiner, etc. in the feeds in Buffer.
Favorite Tools for Tracking and Building Authority
McDougall: What are some of your favorite tools for building and tracking authority?
Jantsch: We mentioned Feedly and Buffer, those certainly go in there. Probably one of my favorites, or at least currently, is a tool called BuzzSumo.
McDougall: Oh, yeah. Absolutely.
Jantsch: The reason I love that is it’s essentially a search engine for the most shared content, so I could go in, and let’s say I want to see what’s been the most shared content around a topic like referral marketing, which may be an important topic for my theme.
What it does is it turns up the most shared content. Some of that’s on big sites, so it gets naturally shared a lot, but a lot of times, you’ll just find these golden nuggets of content that people are clearly saying, “Hey, that headline or that topic drove a lot of shares, and so we use that to help inform our calendar,” and certainly we do that on behalf of our clients.
You can also put in there, “Just show me the stuff that was a guest blog post,” so all the sudden, now you can create a list of potential places where you might, or you might for your clients, find a guest post opportunities. You can put in there, let’s say I have a client that’s in commercial real estate. “Who are the influencers in commercial real estate?”, and it will show me a list of the publications or the individuals that maybe are influential in that industry.
McDougall: How do you put that into BuzzSumo? I usually put in the keyword and “thought leadership,” etc.
Jantsch: There’s actually an influencer’s tab. I don’t know if you have a free account or the paid account, but on some of the paid accounts, there’s actually a tab called “Influencers,” so you put in your term, and then you click on that tab, and it will actually show you the individuals.
It’s nice, because you can follow them immediately, but you can also see who else follows them. You can see who shares their content routinely. You can dig in and do a tremendous amount of research. You can put competitors in there. We’ll sometimes do that, and then it will show you who is sharing our competitor’s content. That can be a great way to build potential places where you might go and get a link.
It also has an Alerts function. For years we used Google Alerts to keep up on when we were mentioned or a client was mentioned in somebody’s blog or in the news somewhere, and to me, this has completely replaced any of the other alert services that we’ve used as well, so currently, it’s my Swiss Army knife for that whole idea of content marketing and influence building.
Getting People to Share Your Content
McDougall: Would you go so far as, and you may not need to do this now with your level that you’re at, but would you go and look at the people that have shared the content of either a competitor, or a cool piece of content that you found on BuzzSumo and make a list of 200, 300 people, find their emails, and then email them and ask them to share your content? [Is it] too spammy?
Jantsch: You could verge on being too spammy. First off, I think you’re right on the money. It’s a great way that we can start building that list.
What we typically try to do is start sharing their content. We might suggest that we write comments. If they take guest posts, we might actually say, “Hey, here’s a guest post we’d love to run.” You start building this relationship, and then naturally, whether it’s an ask or it just happens, [like] “Hey, would you share some of our stuff?”
I think if you’re first contact out of the gate is, “Hey, do something for us.”
McDougall: Yeah, that’s true, definitely.
Jantsch: It doesn’t meet quite as well, but if your first contact out of the gate is, “Hey, we’re going to do something for you,” or, “We want to share something for you,” or, “We see a way to offer some help or service, or promotion,” we’ll do that first.
McDougall: Certainly times have changed, though, since in the ’90s, we’d just [say] “OK, let’s pick these 25 pages on your site and optimize them.” When we could, we’d add content.
I have a few examples getting to number one in Google for saxophones, where I was able to get content from a magazine that didn’t post the content on their website. They gave me all the content for my client, so certainly if you did things like that in the ’90s, you just skyrocketed.
How do you see digital marketing having changed, even in my view to some degree specifically because of Penguin and Panda, and Google getting smarter? Overall, how do you see marketing having changed in the last few years, and where do you see it headed in the next few years?
Jantsch: What I tell people all the time is marketing has changed and selling has changed, but it’s changed to the degree that buying has changed, and I think that that’s the part a lot of people miss. A lot of people still want to focus on the new tools that we have, or the new networks that are out there.
I think what you have to focus on is, “How do people want to buy today? How do people find companies that they do business with? How do they research them? How do they make decisions? How do they build trust? How do they talk about those companies online?”
I think that whole journey piece that a lot of people miss today because the statistics I suppose depend upon the industry that you’re in, but somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 to 90% of the decisions are made before a company even knows they’re being looked at, in many cases.
A lot of times, somebody will either narrow down exactly who they’re going to buy from, or a very short list of who they might want to buy from before looking at any kind of advertising, certainly before talking to a sales person. So as marketers, we have to understand that that buying pattern. They’re not waiting around for us to educate them anymore.
They’re going out there and doing a lot of the research on their own, so they need to be finding us. They need to be finding our solutions. They need to be seeing us as a resource before we ever start trying to sell them something.
I think that that’s probably one of the key parts that’s very hard, particularly for old school sales [or] smile‑and‑dial organizations to understand, that by the time somebody is raising their hand and saying, “You know, I think I want to buy XYZ product,” that at that point in many cases, they have made their decision already, whether it’s the right decision or not, and all they’re looking for the sales person to do is give them a better price.
McDougall: Those are all good points. You’ve probably seen Google has this site, “Think with Google.”
Jantsch: I’ve seen that.
McDougall: They have the buyer’s journey, and then they have this concept of micro‑moments which we’ve been checking out lately. Even down to the level of somebody now is at a bus stop looking on their mobile phone or their tablet, and Google is saying, “You need to win even in that moment.”
That’s very different from, my father had an ad agency, McDougall Associates Advertising, from about 1970 to the ’90s, and that “Mad Men” zone has shifted so much. They didn’t have that issue. People will have maybe 90 seconds at a bus stop, or 4 minutes at a bus stop, and if you can reach them with the questions they have in that time, you can win, but you need to get along the buyer’s journey and in those little moments.
Do you see that? We’ve been talking about that for the last few years, and certainly longer, just in general, of content marketing, but with HubSpot and all of the intensity around being helpful and answering customers’ questions, but now everyone is doing that.
Is there a point of content saturation, which maybe we’re well beyond? There’s so many people creating content. Do you see some kind of shift to interactive content, or who know what’s next?
Jantsch: Yeah, I think there’s no question. As you said, when I first started blogging, I’d write about anything that would get on page one, because the blogging technology and the XML site map and everything was pushing it to Google before anybody knew I’d written it.
You’re right. Now what are we? I’ll just throw out a number. This, probably since we’ve been talking there’ve been 2 million blog posts submitted, so it’s gotten much harder. You can’t just simply say, “Oh, OK, I have a blog. I’m going to put up some average content, keyword‑rich and optimized, and people will flock to it.”
Now I think that content promotion, content amplification, content strategy that allows you to take, say, one piece of content and put it into eight different formats in eight different places and eight different networks, all that, are serving the intention of guiding people along this customer journey [and it] is part of content marketing.
It’s not simply a matter of writing it. You’ve got to personalize it. You’ve got to break it up. You’ve got to deliver it in numerous ways. If your market is under 30, they need content in a certain way. If your market’s over 50, they need content in a certain way, and you have to understand how to deliver it as well as how to write it.
Developing Your Unique Position
McDougall: That brings us full circle a bit to your talk about big mistakes, just following down the shiny object, or not having a unique position that you’re coming from. What is your marketing system called again?
Jantsch: Well it’s quite cleverly named. It’s called the Duct Tape Marketing System.
McDougall: But you have also an agency. Is there a name for the agency version of that?
Jantsch: Yeah, there’s not an agency version, per se. It’s called the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network. As part of being a part of that network, you gain access to the behind‑the‑scenes playbook for using and installing the Duct Tape Marketing System.
McDougall: How much is that for an individual? Maybe it’s the same for an agency? What’s the pricing there?
Jantsch: It’s actually an individual license, and again, it’s more than just the system. You get to lease our entire course and put it on your site if you want. We do bi‑monthly training. We have three in‑person events a year where we’ll bring in people like Perry Marshall.
McDougall: Oh, yeah, he’s great.
Jantsch: [They’ll] do day‑long trainings, so it’s a very active and thorough network, and the reason I build that up is because it’s priced as such. The first year license fee is $7,500, and that’s for an agency in one person, so if somebody wants to, as we have had people join, and they want to have three people join, then it’s $7,500 for that first person and $2,500 for the additional consultants that they would want to enroll.
That includes all the things I mentioned as well as we have a complete online certification for Duct Tape Marketing as part of that. Then there’s an annual renewal of $2,500 a year to continue to use our tools and system.
Part of what we put together is packages of managed marketing services, so it’s not just this system that teaches you how to build strategy. That’s a big part of it, but then we also have packages that the consultants sell that we’ve put together, the website built for you, and the directory marketing done for you, and the review marketing for you, and the SEO done for you.
The consultant is managing all of those tools in the package, but it gives them a pretty powerful thing to sell, because they don’t have to then figure out what tools, what services, and what processes to use.
McDougall: That could help build the authority of an agency that can leverage your built‑up system, and very quickly step up their game.
Jantsch: Yeah, we have sole‑preneurs join us, and the connection for them is quite obvious. We give them the support of an entire team now behind them, but we also are increasingly attracting 3 to 10 person agencies that are getting a little bit tired of being seen as “the vendor” for SEO or for building a website or something. They want to come in more as the marketing consultant.
Having our approach and our system, and to some extent the brand behind it, is allowing them to do that.
McDougall: In this day and age, as we’ve said, it’s so much more advanced than the old, simpler days of the ’90s with digital marketing that you need to corral it into a system, and it sounds like you’ve done that.
Jantsch: We’ve been doing this a while, and when all this digital stuff started coming up, look how many social media experts were born over the fact that Twitter didn’t have a user guide.
They simply figured out how to use Twitter, and voila, they were a social media expert. There’s been a lot of that that has gone by the wayside now, and people are looking for real, integrated, connected ideas and results.
McDougall: A big change that I see a lot now is the amount of people coming to our agency saying, “Oh my God, we were paying $800 a month for this company, and we were going backwards.” It was guaranteed, but it was snake oil. There are a lot of mistakes to be avoided.
Jantsch: One of the things I always point to with people is every time Google redoes their algorithm, we get more traffic, and the reason I say that is because everybody always wrings their hands about, “Oh, Panda, and Penguins, and Pigeons,” because they’re eliminating all the things people did to game the system.
So consequently, those secret behind‑closed‑doors tricks weren’t working any more, but writing good content that people want to read, and doing it consistently, I don’t think there’s ever going to be an algorithm that penalizes you for that.
McDougall: Absolutely, that’s a good closing thought, John. I really appreciate your tips today. How can people get hold of you?
Jantsch: The easiest way is just ducttapemarketing.com. We’ve got a newsletter there, and my podcast, a bunch of free e‑books, and everything there to check out. Like all good marketers, we’re about 10 days away from a total site redesign, so if you listen to this, and you go there, make sure you come back, because it’ll look completely different.
McDougall: Yeah, that’s always fun, right? A lot of steps to a redesign, but we’re due ourselves.
Jantsch: The longer you’re doing this, too. Of course, every redesign gets harder because there are more assets that you want to protect, so it’s not simply a matter of saying, “Ah, I think I’ll start over again.”
McDougall: Yeah, with 4,000 blog posts and a lot of content, definitely.
Jantsch: And all those blog posts that show up high in Google rankings, you don’t want to lose all that.
McDougall: No, you’ve built up a great platform, and 175,000 backlinks. You don’t want to miss out the 301‑ing those pages and backlinks and all that.
Jantsch: Fun stuff.
McDougall: All right, good stuff, John, and check out authoritymarketing.com for more interviews and information on authority marketing, and subscribe to this podcast on iTunes. I’m John McDougall. See you next time on Authority Marketing Roadmap.