Authority Rainmaker came and went two weeks ago, but its impact is still being felt. In this episode, Demian and Jerod go back and forth delivering quick-hit takeaways from the conference that stuck with them once they left Denver.
Among the speakers who Jerod and Demian discuss:
- Dan Pink
- Scott Brinker
- Pamela Wilson
- Sonia Simone
- Ann Handley
- Bernadette Jiwa
- Chris Brogan
- Sally Hogshead
- Danny Sullivan
- Michael King
- Joe Pulizzi
- Sean D’Souza
- Joanna Lord
- Scott Stratten and Ryan Deiss
And, of course, Henry Rollins — though we save the majority of the Rollins talk for next week’s follow-up episode.
Rapid-Fire Takeaways from Authority Rainmaker
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Demian Farnworth: She was talking about koozies — is that my beeper?
Jerod Morris: That is your beeper. That is the buzzer.
Demian Farnworth: That’s someone calling you. Is that Ann Handley calling?
Jerod Morris: I wish it was Ann Handley calling.
Demian Farnworth: Hello, Ann.
Jerod Morris: Yeah, I wish.
Welcome back to The Lede, a podcast about content marketing by Copyblogger Media that is hosted by me, Jerod Morris, one of the VPs of Rainmaker.FM for Copyblogger Media, as well as Rainmaker.FM’s daily podcaster extraordinaire, Demian Farnworth.
A couple of weeks ago, Demian and I had a chance to hang out at Authority Rainmaker, and we got a chance to meet many of the people who listen to the show, many people in the Copyblogger audience. We also got to see a whole host of wonderful, intelligent, compelling speakers. So in this episode of The Lede, we basically just wanted to give you some bite-sized takeaways, some quick-hit takeaways, from Authority Rainmaker so that for those of you were there, they can serve as reminders, and for those of you who couldn’t go, you can still get a little taste of what the people who were in attendance got while they were there.
Before we get to that, real quick, I do want to relay one story to you. That is, as I look back at my experience at Authority Rainmaker, absolutely one of the most memorable individual experiences that I’ve had. And that is the Showrunner huddle that I had with a group of folks who are in the Showrunner Podcasting Course.
So I also run The Showrunner podcast. We launched a course with that late in April, early in May, and there were a number of people who were in the course who were at Authority Rainmaker. We got together and had a nice lunch. It was wonderful to be able to take these online relationships offline and get to meet people and shake hands and have face-to-face conversations as they shared stories about their podcasts and why they’re podcasting and what their goals are and ask questions. We got to have this wonderful exchange of ideas.
Something like that would not have been possible without the course that we created. And the course that we created would not have been possible without the Rainmaker Platform, because I’d never created a course before. I didn’t know the first thing the first thing about the technical side of creating a course.
And yet, once I got into Rainmaker and used the new learning management system that is part of the pro features in Rainmaker, it was surprisingly simple. I’m not going to say it’s easy, because obviously creating a course takes time, and there’s planning involved. You have to not only create the materials, but put them together. So it’s not easy, but it’s simple using a platform like the Rainmaker Platform, which has a great knowledge base. Even for someone like me who’d never done it before, never created a course and never used the tool, to be able to have a knowledge base there to walk me through it was invaluable.
So Jon Nastor and I created the course. It was very successful, and it culminated — at least for the time being — with that Showrunner huddle, which was so much fun, such a great experience.
I just wanted to share that with you, because if you’ve been thinking about creating a course or if you’ve been thinking about a new platform for your site and you want to be able to use some next-level tools, what is happening with the Rainmaker Platform with the pro features, both the learning management system and the marketing automation tools, is really wonderful. So I believe the pro features will be available at RainmakerPlatform.com May 29 or thereabouts. The beautiful thing is you can take it for a test drive, so you get a 14-day free trial before your credit card is even charged so go to RainmakerPlatform.com. Check it out, and see if the new tools are for you.
With that said, now, let’s hop into our quick-hit takeaways from Authority Rainmaker. So we decided to have a little fun with it. Demian gets a minute to talk. I get a minute to talk. And then we abrasively shut the other person up with a buzzer. So we tried to have a little bit of fun with it. Hopefully you get a lot out of this, and here we are — me, Demian Farnworth discussing our quick-hit takeaways from Authority Rainmaker.
Demian Farnworth: I don’t know about you man, but I love Authority conference. My kids were like “How was the conference?” You know, I talked to them after I got back to the room in the evening. I was like, “Imagine if you sat in a room, and you listened to eight different teachers within eight hours. That’s what my days are like.” And of course they’re like “Ugh!”
That’s not how I feel about the event at all, though, because every single one of those speakers is the smartest person on the planet when it comes to content marketing. I mean, I read Dan Pink’s book, but after hearing his talk, I want to go back and read that again because it’s such good stuff.
I don’t know about you, but on our lanyards that we had, we had the conference guide attached to it, Jerod. You couldn’t keep all the notes in there. So it’s like, “Can I just get to the point?” Of course this is where we encourage everybody: “Hey, go grab the slides when you get the chance because that’s the only way that you can absorb it.”
So all that to say, do you feel overwhelmed and saturated when you leave an event like that?
Jerod Morris: I do. Especially an event like Authority Rainmaker because you’re right, the information of the presenters was tremendous. But even more than that is everything else: the networking and meeting everybody. Not only is your head filled with names and stories and these people that you’ve met, but you’re also trying to remember all the information. It can be overwhelming, but overwhelming in a good way, because there are so many contacts, so much information. There’s no way you’re ever going to remember everything, but hopefully you come away from it with a few takeaways.
For our events, we don’t do virtual tickets, so I know that people who couldn’t come aren’t really privy to the information that is presented there. But that’s why we have a podcast like The Lede, Demian, because you and I can leak out some secrets from Authority Rainmaker, some of the takeaways that we had, and let our wonderful loyal listeners on The Lede at least get an appetizer. If Authority Rainmaker was the whole meal, at least we can present some little morsels for folks about what we took away from the conference.
Demian Farnworth: So speaking of takeaways, we’re going to try something new on the show. We’re going to try to talk about every single speaker in a sense, at least the sessions, and we’re going to give each other a minute. We’re just going to go back and forth. When our minute’s over, the next person has to talk.
Jerod Morris: We have prepared some very abrasive timers and bells to assist us.
Demian Farnworth: So prepare yourself.
Jerod Morris: Do we have to stop talking as soon as the bell happens?
Demian Farnworth: Well, then you’re cutting into the other person’s time, so that’s bad etiquette. You don’t want to do that, all right?
Jerod Morris: That’s true. Okay.
Demian Farnworth: Okay, so let’s just go ahead and start. You can start the timer, and I’ll open up and talk about the stage and where it was at. So if you want to start my time, go ahead. Tell me when now.
Jerod Morris: Your time’s started. You wasted nine seconds.
Demian Farnworth: I’m going to work through my Twitter stream because I pretty much tried to Tweet a summary of each session. But the very thing I Tweeted that morning was the stage, at Authority 2015 where Joanna Wiebe would have been speaking at if she hadn’t been busy at a U2 concert. So thanks, Joanna. So did you see Daniel Pink talk?
Jerod Morris: Of course. I would not have missed that.
Demian Farnworth: We saw Daniel Pink talk, and he was phenomenal. Like I said, I loved his book. I think he really spoke about the first four chapters of his book, but it was eye-opening stuff. Of course you did a podcast about that.
Jerod Morris: I believe that’s your time, Demian. However, I will conveniently pick up right where you left off and talk about Dan Pink. I read his book, obviously, did the interview with him on The Lede, and I got so much more out of the presentation. He’s presenting essentially the same material, but the way that he highlighted it with stories and his presentation skills were great.
The big takeaway of course is the importance of attunement, buoyancy, and clarity. Attunement — really empathy. If you’re going to sell, understand the person that you’re talking to, that you’re trying to sell your idea or your product to. Buoyancy — being able to bounce back. He talked about why that’s so important in any type of sales that you’re doing. You’re going to face an ocean of ‘no.’
Something that I learned long ago in another career when I did door-to-door sales temporarily — which, frankly, was one of the most educational experiences I’ve ever had, because you do face that ocean of ‘no’ — is that you do start to develop that buoyancy muscle, which really helps you to bounce back and keep your attitude. And then of course, clarity.
Demian Farnworth: Your time is over. I’m glad you got ‘clarity’ in, though, because it was funny: Dan Pink, during his session, he believed in repetition. Do you remember what he repeated over and over? “One, three, five. One, three, five.” And I thought it was funny because after that, every single speaker used that in some sense. They would repeat something. But the funny thing is though, when I got back and I was talking to my kids and telling them about the event and was telling them about Dan Pink’s session, I couldn’t think of the clarity point. So clearly, repetition didn’t work all that great.
So let’s move on to — after Dan Pink, was it Pamela who came up next? No. Robert Bruce was emceeing, and Robert Bruce came out, and he was introducing Scott Brinker or somebody, but he said that he was quoting a lot of philosophers during his emceeing.
Emcee Robert Bruce
Jerod Morris: I’m sorry, Demian, your time is up. Robert was the emcee, and he started almost each one of his transition sessions with a quote, and he used a lot of philosopher quotes. I feel like I got the shaft or the short end of the stick, because I didn’t get a fun quote from Robert. We joked that he was going to go find one from Bob Knight, but he didn’t.
But I thought Robert did a great job of transitioning, setting the stage for each presentation, and finding quotes that were especially relevant. And there was something about the gravitas of Robert using the quotes and the words of these philosophers in a venue like the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, which is not the kind of venue that you would expect to have deep, meaningful conversations about content marketing, and yet that’s what we did. So I thought it was a perfect match there between the venue and between the performance of Mr. Bruce doing the transitions.
Demian Farnworth: Okay, no, you’re cutting into my time, bro.
Jerod Morris: Sorry.
Demian Farnworth: He said Wittgenstein, which is an Austrian philosopher, but I thought he said ‘Australian,’ and I knew I wasn’t the only one in there because I saw a few other people look at me that way.
Demian Farnworth: Pamela Wilson got up there, and I Tweeted that she looked so country, or she was so country, because do you remember the phrase that she was using? She was teaching people — this was about design — about the “Come on in homepage,” or to design a homepage that made people feel welcome, as if this is your country home. So you wanted to invite people in.
The other cool thing about Pamela Wilson was that Daniel Pink actually quoted her “Introvert’s Guide to Going to Conferences” in his speech. I got a picture of his slide with that article on it on my Twitter stream.
Jerod Morris: One of my favorite moments about Pamela’s presentation was that she did — she had the “Come on in.” Was it “Come in y’all homepage?” It was about having an inviting homepage and making sure that the visitors to your website are oriented properly so they know what to expect. They know what your homepage is about. Because you’re hosting people when they come over.
You mentioned that you Tweeted something about how she’s a little bit country, I believe. Then of course I Tweeted back to you that Pamela’s also a little bit rock-and-roll. It’s something not a lot of people know about Pamela Wilson, but she’s got some rock and roll. Get to know Pamela. There’s many layers to Pamela Wilson that make her a very interesting and intriguing person.
Demian Farnworth: Her nickname in the editorial team is ‘Battle Axe.’ Sorry.
Jerod Morris: But after Pamela was Sonia Simone, so it was just one incredible powerhouse woman after another. What I loved about Sonia’s presentation is the irony of Sonia, who is the most genuine, kind marketer talking about Dr. Evil’s Guide to Landing Page Design.
Demian Farnworth: Yeah, right, and Dr. Death. Not Dr. Death …
Jerod Morris: Dr. Evil.
Demian Farnworth: Yeah, Dr. Evil. This is all tongue-in-cheek, but do you remember when she was threatening us with death if we told the world about her super evil marketing tricks? Of course, she had a great slide about Dorothy. But again, she was teaching us that marketing is not evil.
It was wonderful — there was a moment when she was talking about, “What you want to do is position yourself to where you’re shooting fish in a barrel. So you invite them in. You get them in the barrel. You get them to dance. You get them to party a little,” and I’m like at the edge of my seat. Like, “When do I get to shoot them?” But she never actually said that, so I was kind of disappointed. She didn’t say that.
Demian Farnworth: So after that came Ann Handley, and I laugh at everything Ann Handley says. She was talking about koozies — is that my beeper?
Jerod Morris: That is your beeper. That is the buzzer.
Demian Farnworth: That’s somebody calling you. Is that Ann Handley calling?
Jerod Morris: I wish it was Ann Handley calling.
Demian Farnworth: Hello, Ann?
Jerod Morris: Yeah, I wish. So this is about the point during the day when I realized that it was Pamela, Sonia, then Ann, then me scheduled, and then Bernadette Jiwa. So it was this incredible powerhouse line-up of brilliant, smart women and then this awkward vested individual that got tossed in the middle of them.
One thing I’m working on is on presentation days, not being quite so neurotic and in my own head so that I can focus on other presentations and not just think about my own. But it is very hard. So I was backstage during Ann’s, and I sadly have to admit that my head was filled with going over my intro and that kind thing, and I didn’t pay as much attention to Ann as I wanted to. So I’ll cede the rest of my time to you so you can speak about Ann’s presentation, because I know it was very good. I was just a little distracted. I’m not good enough at focusing.
Demian Farnworth: How much time have did you have here? I wanted you to hear the new one. That’s the twinkle.
Jerod Morris: Oh that’s beautiful.
Demian Farnworth: So, Ann Handley. Yeah, you know what, it’s interesting that you say that.
Demian Critiques Jerod’s Presentation
Demian Farnworth: You came up next after Ann Handley — you know, a lot of great quotable things from hers — but you came up, and this was probably the worst one.
I think every man in that audience wanted to kill you, because Jerod tells the story of how he proposed to his fiancée, which was the most romantic thing that you could ever possibly hear, and I’m like, “Dude. You’re making every single man feel like a romantic invalid out here.” I told him to watch his back when he left the stage because I was positive he was probably going to get jumped. But Jerod did a great job otherwise.
It’s funny, too, because running up to the conference, I kept saying this conference is just beautiful content from beautiful people in a beautiful venue, so that was my slogan for the entire event. Because you had all these beautiful people saying beautiful things.
Jerod Morris: That’s a good slogan. I like that.
Demian Farnworth: You like that?
Demian Farnworth: So after that it was Ms. Jiwa. My favorite stat from her presentation was, “You are more likely to summit Everest than click on a banner ad.” She had a great little slide on that. We always talk about improving our marketing, but what we should actually be after is improving the relationship with our customer and focusing on the customer.
Jerod Morris: Absolutely. I do think, however, that there was a missed opportunity when Bernadette was introduced, because each person had introduction music. For some reason, the song “Bernadette” was not used for Bernadette Jiwa, which I thought would have been a perfect fit. But I can’t quibble too much with the music, because frankly, the walk-up music for the presenters was typically pretty good.
Jerod Morris: The walk-up moment for the next presenter, Thursday closing keynote speaker Chris Brogan, was certainly one of the most intense moment of the day on the stage. Chris basically came and kicked over the table that had been sitting there holding the water. You know, little water bottles for people. And Chris just kicked it out of the way and got his presentation off to quite a shocking start.
Of course, if you’ve ever seen Chris speak, he is a very active. ‘Hyper’ is probably a word we could use to describe Chris, and this presentation would actually fit in with that. It was great information, great energy, great enthusiasm, and it all started with kicking over that table. There were a lot of takeaways from Chris’s. The one that I liked the best was when he talked about how sometimes, you want to leave the mistakes in, right? Not all the time, because if your work is riddled with mistakes you’ll lose respect from people. But sometimes, to get on the level with your audience and to relate with them …
Demian Farnworth: You actually got a little extra time there because I didn’t do it right away.
Jerod Morris: Well, thank you.
Demian Farnworth: I’ll take over. My brief of Chris Brogan’s talk was, “Use email. Take gym selfies. Sell a course. Don’t be a jerk,” and “I don’t want to talk about that.” Because remember, he would go through the slides, and he would come to a slide, and he would look at it and say, “Hmm, I don’t want to talk about that.” And then he’d move on.
Jerod Morris: And that’s part of Chris’s — sorry, this is your time — but that’s part of Chris’s charm.
Demian Farnworth: It really is, because you’re right. He came out, and it was funny — he kicked the stool, but the stool got stuck on his leg, and he almost fell on his butt. The other thing, too, is he said, “Don’t be a d***,” a lot too.
Jerod Morris: He did say that a lot. That’s true.
Demian Farnworth: A lot. It was funny, you constantly giggle throughout.
Oh, the other thing I should mention about Jerod’s is when Jerod was speaking about how he proposed, every single woman in that building was Tweeting, “He’s a keeper,” “What a sweetie.” So again, it only added to that drama.
Jerod Morris: Unfortunately for me, Heather’s not on Twitter, so she didn’t get to see any of that.
Demian Farnworth: She didn’t, so she’ll have to go see that.
Jerod Morris: Hopefully she thinks it anyway.
Demian Farnworth: Yeah, that was the end of the day.
Jerod Morris: That’s the end of the day, and that’s the end of your time in this section. But now we move on to Sally Hogshead, who opened up Friday with quite the shock. Sally Hogshead, this tall, beautiful woman, took a shot of Jägermeister.
Demian Farnworth: She wasn’t the only one.
Jerod Morris: No, no she wasn’t. She had someone from the audience also take a shot of Jägermeister, and she took a shot of Jägermeister to end her presentation. There’s a whole story wrapped up in there about why, but you can sum Sally’s presentation up with two quotes, I think.
The first one is that, “Different is better than better,” the importance of differentiation and having something unique about you that makes you different from others. Because in this world of abundant choice, we’ve got to have a reason why people pick us and give us a try, and oftentimes that is what makes us fascinating.
The second quote is, “Don’t try to change who you are, become more of who you are.” Sally shared the story of how her sibling is an Olympian. Her other sibling went to Harvard. She struggled early on to find her place. Even with her name, the last name Hogshead. But she learned that those differences are what made her different and made her better.
Demian Farnworth: That’s your time up. I used crystals that time because I know you are into New-Age stuff.
Jerod Morris: I am, very.
Demian Farnworth: I wonder if she got sick after those two shots of Jägermeister. The thing, too, about Jägermeister I was wondering — because she’s talking about as the most popular brand that people hate to drink — and that’s sort of the mystique behind it. But I thought the mystique behind Jägermeister is the fact that it’s made out of deer’s blood.
Jerod Morris: Is that true?
Demian Farnworth: Exactly, right?
Jerod Morris: It might be.
Demian Farnworth: After her, Danny Sullivan came up. I was a little worried about Danny, because all those pretty charismatic people came up to speak and owned the stage, and Danny’s not — I don’t consider him to be a charismatic guy. He’s pretty straight-laced, straightforward, but he definitely owned the stage in his own way. My favorite slide from his — besides the one where he kept on repeating “SEO is dead” but then said, “Don’t repeat I said that because I’m not saying that. Here’s why” — he had this slide that said, “If you searched Google for ‘king of America,’ it returns ‘all hail Barack Obama.’”
Jerod Morris: Yeah, and you mentioned that Danny kept saying, tongue-in-cheek, “SEO is dead, SEO is dead.” Obviously, SEO is not dead. There are certain fundamentals that you want to have in place that allow your site to communicate better with a search engine, but the main idea of his presentation is that search engines have gotten better and better at understanding semantic search.
So when you search, “Who is the president of the United States?” it would come back with ‘Barack Obama.’ And then you say, “How tall is he?” It knows that the he you’re referencing is the person from the previous search. Then you can say, “Who is his wife?” and it understands all of that and delivers the exact information that you want, which is why the idea that Copyblogger has always espoused about creating content first for people and then for search engines is as relevant today and more relevant today than it’s ever been.
Not that it’s ever been irrelevant, but it shows that the search engines are catching up to users. It’s not the other way around. It’s not like people adapt it to search engines. Search engines adapt to the people, which is why you should create content for the people. Go.
Demian Farnworth: Okay, crystals mean you’ve got to stop.
Jerod Morris: I know. Sorry.
Demian Farnworth: So after Danny Sullivan, iPullRank, better known as Michael King. Best moment of the conference, I think was when Michael King said “Poppycock,” or when he slid across the stage and fell on his butt because he said, “You’ve got this big, nice opera stage, so why aren’t people sliding?” I thought he was going to say, “Why aren’t people singing on it?” But he didn’t. He said, “Why aren’t people sliding on it?” An opera stage, I don’t think about people sliding on it, but he did. He came sliding out, and he fell big time.
But actually, the best moment of Authority was when he dedicated his talk to his grandfather, who had passed away like the day before. He put the slide in there. For me, that was a bravo moment for Mike. His talk on content audit — his presentation slides are the presentation slides I want the most. Because I thought his talk was great, and he took a subject that’s difficult and that’s hard to sell, and he made it like, “This is easy to do. I can do this, and here are the tools that I can do it with.” So that was a fabulous, fabulous time.
After that was the Ambassador of Orange, Joe Pulizzi, right?
Jerod Morris: Yeah, Joe Pulizzi.
Demian Farnworth: So he was up, and great stuff there. He was wearing this orange shirt.
It seems that I’ve got longer than a minute.
Jerod Morris: I was just going to see how long you’d go.
Joe’s presentation was great, and he walked people through a six-part overall content strategy. The part of it that I thought was the most compelling and surely was a theme that went throughout the presentation and some of what we talked about with Sally, was the idea of content tilt. It’s this idea of, “Okay, you have a topic. Now what’s your tilt on it? How are you going to be a little bit different about your topic so that your take and your format and the way that you’re attacking this topic isn’t just like this person over here and isn’t just like this person over here?”
So it’s not like it has to be a brand-new topic. You’ve just got to tilt it a little bit so that it’s different, so that it’s unique, so that you’ve got your little spin on it.
Demian Farnworth: I love that, yeah.
Jerod Morris: I thought that was brilliant from Joe, and again, it’s a theme that we saw come back again and again, which is “What makes you different? Because it’s what makes you better. What’s your unique selling proposition? What’s your content tilt?”
All these different ideas ran through a lot of the presentations, and what I hope people got from that was this feeling of empowerment to be themselves and to celebrate their differences, both in terms of personality and opinion.
Demian Farnworth: The thing about the content tilt that I think Joe Pulizzi — because like you said, there was this theme, “Don’t just be better, be different” — is that the content tilt was to take your passion and then your knowledge, right? And normally that’s what people do, and they settle on that. So where those two places intersect — like on a Venn diagram — that’s your sweet spot.
But you’ve got to find what makes it totally you, totally unique. So his example was that gal who started those YouTube videos on cooking. And you’d think, “On cooking? Everybody and their mom is cooking.” But what she did, her content tilt was really difficult recipes. She created the Instagram cake, and she created some other top-notch things that skyrocketed because she wasn’t satisfied with the knowledge and the passion that she found.
Jerod Morris: You can finish your thought.
Demian Farnworth: No, I’m fine. That’s all I wanted to say.
Jerod Morris: So next up, after lunch, was Sean D’Souza. Clearly, Friday was the day for inspiring onstage performances, because Sean had not been feeling well. He was ill. He’d been resting his voice the previous two days. He was sniffly while he was up there.
But he put so much energy into his presentation to make sure that the audience got something out of it. What Sean talked about was pricing. If you ever want to feel empowered to raise your prices and then also have the tools for how to do it and to do it effectively, listen to Sean D’Souza. Check out the book that he has coming out, because he has a book coming out about pricing.
But I especially loved when he did the example of how you give people — instead of a yes-no choice — a yes-yes choice, and you incorporate the power of a bonus. And you make the bonus something that people want so much that they focus more on the bonus than they even do on the two underlying products. The product is the same thing, and you add this little bonus to it, and now instead of people thinking ‘yes’ or ‘no’ they’re thinking ‘yes-yes,’ and they often choose the bonus.
Demian Farnworth: Right. His note page on my thing — I went nuts when he was talking. It was great. One of my favorite quotes from his talk was, “Customers want someone who is damn smart,” and he was saying that in the sense that you can raise your price if you’re smart. He has this geography — he lives in New Zealand. Beautiful place. He’s kind of isolated, so he has to have this very DIY ethic.
Then it was philosophical. They wanted to go on a three-month vacation I think every three months. That’s how they’re building their business, which means, he’s got to raise his prices. Because his tendency is to do volume. He’s saying “No, just do something way better. Be the smartest person in the room. Have that content tilt so that you can command those high prices. And don’t be afraid of that because as you raise the value in what you do, you can own that.”
Jerod Morris: The day ended — and we’re going to get to this in a second — but the day ended with a back-and-forth between Scott Stratten and Ryan Deiss, and it was good.
Jerod Morris: But an even better, perhaps more combative, mano a mano debate battle would have been Sean D’Souza going against Henry Rollins on pricing. Because Henry Rollins told stories about how he so adamantly wanted the price to be lower for his audience.
He told a story — and we’re going to do a whole episode on Henry Rollins, so this is only a little snippet — of how there was error with the ticket pricing one time and people got overcharged by $10. And of course, it’s Henry Rollins. People who love him will pay a lot to see him. But they went out and they gave every single person in the audience when they showed up a $10 bill back because his integrity and his commitment to the audience is so great that he wasn’t about to overcharge his audience $10. He wants to do everything to charge his audience less, and Sean D’Souza teaches you how to charge your audience more.
Yet what underlies them is not that different, because Sean still has a great commitment to his audience and has some of the most loyal customers of anybody in content marketing, just like Henry Rollins does in entertainment. So it’s interesting to hear these two brilliant, successful guys talk about their two different ideas for pricing and how it’s allowed them to reach a similar status.
Demian Farnworth: There was a lot of that going on, where someone would say something, and I don’t want to say it’s contradicted by another speaker, but there was always another angle at it. I don’t know who made the comment to me, but this is really about art, not science. And it emphasizes another thing that Joanna Lord was, during her presentation, emphasizing over and over: test. Test everything. Create a culture of testing so that you’re not banking upon and you’re not arguing with opinions, but you’re arguing with data.
So I’ll end like this. Like you said, we’ll talk about Henry Rollins in the next episode, because he deserves an episode to himself.
So Chris Garrett came with his lovely wife, Clare, and they brought their daughter, too. And the funny thing about that, Jerod, was that their daughter looked just like Stefanie Flaxman, our Editor-in-Chief. So everybody was like, “There’s Stefanie. There’s Stefanie,” but it was Chris’s daughter. I got the two to hug, and I took a picture of it and shared it on Twitter because this is one of those Inception moments that you’ve got to capture.
Jerod Morris: Did I tell you my experience with that?
Demian Farnworth: No, what happened?
Jerod Morris: So when I walked up, because everybody was stuffing the swag bags and I was going to help out, and I saw — what’s his daughter’s name, again?
Demian Farnworth: I don’t remember. I feel very bad.
Jerod Morris: I do too. Okay, so Chris and Clare’s daughter, she’s standing there, and I saw her from the back, and I thought it was Stefanie. So I was just going to come up behind her and give her a big hug, like “Hey, Stefanie.”
I don’t know what it was, like something told me, “I don’t know. Don’t do that. Just you know, walk around the side, make sure it’s her,” and it wasn’t. I can’t imagine how much she would have freaked out if there’s this random guy just came up behind her and hugged her and called her “Stefanie.” That would have been a very jarring introduction to the Copyblogger team.
Scott Stratten and Ryan Deiss
Demian Farnworth: You kind of mentioned that. I thought you were just blazing over it.
Jerod Morris: No, because I thought it was good. I thought it was very interesting. Obviously, Scott Stratten was taking the customer experience angle, and Ryan Deiss was taking the conversion angle.
Demian Farnworth: So let me ask you a question: before they got out there, who did you have your money on?
Jerod Morris: Well, I had my money on Ryan Deiss, just because I figured from a presentation perspective, his would be backed up a little bit more quantitatively than Scott’s qualitative. I just figured that the presentation would be a little bit more powerful.
But as they even said, it was kind of like the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight. It was almost like two guys who agreed to fight, but they’re not really fighting. They both made really good points, and obviously they both understand that you have to create content for both optimization and customer experience. It was interesting to hear Ryan talk about what they do with email and how often they email people and their strategy, because as he says, you’re not always emailing people offers. It’s not always, “Hey, buy this stuff,” but it’s, “Hey, if we have a good blog that goes up that way, and they opted into the content, we want to email them about it. Here it is.”
The other great tip I got from them –I think that they both agreed on this and said that they do it. You know a lot of times, your best content may have been two years ago, three years ago. And when someone signs up from your site, it’s a great time to give them your best stuff. Maybe you don’t inundate them with like, “Here’s 15 straight days of the best of such and such,” but maybe you do a short little auto-responder series with, “Here are three great posts from our archive that you may have missed.” Something like that.
But when people sign up, when the impulse is high, is a really great time to give them your best stuff. Because again, if it happened two years ago, they may never see that. So that’s just one more takeaway from them.
Demian Farnworth: That was a good one. I thought we were going to have to pull Stratten off of Deiss at one point. He was pretty aggressive, I thought.
Jerod Morris: Did you?
Demian Farnworth: Oh yeah, Stratten wouldn’t shut up. I mean that in a good way. He was pretty adamant, pretty fierce, about what he was talking about. And again, that was a good example of that. Stratten would never think about emailing someone daily, but Deiss is like, “Well, the data shows that it’s okay.” Once they clarified their terms, too, it made sense. Like Deiss is saying, “I’m not sending them offers every day. I’m sending them good content every day.” It’s the same way we email people every day with a Copyblogger blog post.
Jerod Morris: We should talk about Henry, but we’ll do it on the next episode — an entire episode on Henry Rollins.
Demian Farnworth: We just wanted to give everybody a view, a very rapid sort of New Yorker view, of Authority 2015. The three parties were great. It was great to run into people. The presentations were, like I said, overwhelming. But great information. A graduate course. Beautiful content from beautiful people in a beautiful building.
Jerod Morris: We took a 35,000-foot view. There was so much information, we just wanted to give you a few takeaways. But check the show notes, and there will be some additional materials there if you want to get a more full flavor of what happened at Authority Rainmaker.
Demian Farnworth: Someone said this to me — Ed Feng, the guy at The Power Rank — he said, “I go to conferences to network, but here, it’s really about the content,” and that’s the way I felt about it. It’s not just about those hallway conversations or that business partnership that you create over dinner or a drink, but it’s really about the content that you get. It’s single-track, it’s focused, and it’s heavy-duty stuff.
So all right folks, thank you so much. We hope to see you. If you weren’t there, we missed you. If you were there, so great to see you and talk to you. I know I talked to a lot of people there who I had just spoken to through email or Twitter. So it was great to meet people, hang out.
So the next episode, like Jerod said … Henry Rollins had 40 minutes to speak, and he spoke for about 60 minutes, I think?
Jerod Morris: I think so. And as I found out on Saturday night, he could have spoken for two and a half hours if we had let him.
Demian Farnworth: That’s what I don’t get about Henry, because in his Writer Files that I did with him, he likes to be alone, likes to be left alone. When I asked the question, “So who would you like to have dinner with, living or dead, what author?” He said, “I try to avoid situations where I’m sitting across the table from somebody.” The thing you have to remember is I was completely riveted by everything that he said. It was, quotable, quotable good stuff, powerful stuff. So there’s a lot to talk about in the next episode.
Jerod Morris: Yup.
Demian Farnworth: Anything else to add to that?
Jerod Morris: No, that is it. Join us next week for a full dose of Henry Rollins.
Demian Farnworth: The Rollins episode. All right gang, it’s so nice talking to you, and nice talking to you, Jerod.
Jerod Morris: Nice talking to you too, Demian.
Demian Farnworth: Take care, buddy.
Jerod Morris: Bye.
Thank you very much for joining us for another episode of The Lede. We always appreciate your attention when you are here. I’ll tell you what. How about send Demian and I, or I, whichever one if you only want to send it to one of us. Send us a Tweet @jerodmorris or @demianfarnworth. Send us a Tweet. Let us know, if you were at Authority Rainmaker, what your most memorable takeaway was. If you only listened to this episode, then tell us what takeaway from this episode you thought was the most compelling, or send us a Tweet and make fun of us because that would be entertaining too.
So either way, shoot us a Tweet. Let us know that you listened. We always appreciate it. We will be back next week to talk about Henry Rollins. You won’t want to miss that episode. Talk to you soon.