Last fall, Robert and I did an episode of the podcast where we laid out how content curation could be used to build an audience and even a business. It was one of the most popular episodes of 2014.
We did that episode based on a personal project I was already planning to do. I quietly launched that project last month, and it’s called Further. It’s a curated email newsletter dedicated to living your best life, with features and news items related to health, wealth, and wisdom.
Here are a few sample issues:
- Three Real Ways to Protect and Enhance Your Brain Power
- The Epic Food Fight: Plants Versus Paleo
- Meditate to Dominate in 2015
Given the initial high interest (and several requests), I’ve decided to do a “behind the scenes” case study on myself, revealing what I’m doing and why, plus what’s working and what’s not. This episode and the next two will be the first leg of that case study.
If you’re interested in the possibilities at the intersection of curation and email marketing, I think you’ll get a lot out of these episodes. Even if you’re not sure about that, there are a lot of fundamental content, copywriting, and entrepreneurial insights throughout. At minimum, you can watch a new project develop in real time, with commentary.
Enough said … let’s get started.
In this 36-minute episode Robert Bruce and I discuss:
- The two primary keys to building an audience with curation
- The element that makes curation a financially viable approach
- How to make your content curation project unique
- The design philosophy that works like a charm
- My explosive new image strategy
- The kind of copy to use and how to test it
- How I’m positioning Further in a sea of sameness
Listen to The Digital Entrepreneur below ...
The Show Notes
- Image by Jonas Lavoie-Levesque
- Authority Rainmaker 2015
- Behind the Scenes: 2014 in Review and the Road Ahead
- 7 Ways to Find a Topical Market that Will Fuel Your Digital Commerce Business
- How to Use Content Curation to Create a Recurring Revenue Business
- Brian Gardner’s No Sidebar
- Dan Pink’s Drive
- Copywriting is Interface Design
Position Your Content Curation for Success With These 5 Essential Elements
Rainmaker.FM is brought to you by the Rainmaker Platform, the complete website solution for building your online marketing and sales platform. Find out more and take a free 14-day test drive at RainmakerPlatform.com.
Robert Bruce: Brian, what’s going on?
Brian Clark: Busy, busy, man. This year is off with a bang.
Robert Bruce: Yeah, what’s the quick list of what we have going on right now? Some of which we can not talk about.
Brian Clark: Don’t make me do that. I’ll get stressed out and this whole episode will go down hill.
Robert Bruce: No, it will make you feel better to get it all out.
Brian Clark: Oh, really. Okay.
Robert Bruce: Yeah, isn’t that how psychology works?
Brian Clark: Thank you, Dr Freud.
Robert Bruce: Any time.
We’ve got Authority Rainmaker, our live event coming up in May, and we’ve got our super stealth secret project coming up shortly, that we can’t talk about but we will be talking about, and actually, we are talking about it, without talking about it. Does that make sense?
Brian Clark: Yeah, as far as I’m concerned, we gave it away last episode but let’s not say anything now. They’ll have to go listen.
Robert Bruce: Good point, good point. What else?
Brian Clark: We’ve got some virtual summits that we are working on, and we have got the Rainmaker Reseller Program that’s about to launch. It’s crazy.
Robert Bruce: And with all this going on, and all the normal stuff going on, you decide to start a new project on top of it. I don’t know why you do these things, but that’s what we are going to talk about today. Specifically how you are doing this project, which we have been talking about in the last few episodes, the curated email newsletter.
So we are going to start today with this series of episodes. We’ll see how many they become, about Further, your curated email newsletter. And this all begins around one of your favorite topics, which is positioning.
Brian Clark: Yeah. So as to your point, I do have a pretty full plate and I did add something else to it. I’ve got to tell you, I love doing this. I do it in my spare time. It doesn’t feel like work. Maybe just because it is new but really it’s because the subject matter is stuff that I am really into. I write the feature on Friday nights, I do the link sections on Saturday’s and I proofread it on Sunday and publish on Monday. It’s really not that bad.
Now the cool thing will be if you can do this kind of one time per week curation thing and have it actually drive your business model, then that’s a really cool thing. So that’s the idea. The premise that we are operating from.
So when you are thinking about, “Okay, how would I start a curation project?” a while back we talked about how to pick a topic, right? You have to pick something that is in demand, a lot of people want and then you have to come at it in a unique way. And that’s another way to say positioning. You know, from a sales perspective the old concept was a USP. We’ve evolved pretty far from that.
Seth Godin talks about the purple cow. The thing that just stands out in a sea of saneness. Well, that’s what we are trying to accomplish at the ground level. If we have chosen a topic and it’s got a lot of competition, how do we stand out and have it be unique to us?
Basically, that’s what we are going to be talking about today. The five things that you have to cover, that are kind of unique to a curation project and even some of the stuff applies to any kind of marketing.
The Two Keys to Building an Audience With Curation
Robert Bruce: Okay. So five elements to successfully position a content curation project like you have with Further. What is the first of the five elements?
Brian Clark: Well let me talk about the first two because they are closely related, but they are still distinct.
The first thing, as you might guess with any content, is value, usefulness. It’s got to be something that your intended audience values and wants to consume but otherwise may not be able to find on their own, or whatever.
That brings us to the second element which is closely related, specifically with curation, is convenience. So if you are following original content, you have to subscribe to 50, 100 sources to really understand what’s going on out there. That’s not going to happen. So most content discovery is really just kind of ad hoc. If it’s popular enough, it might bubble up to you, but you know, popular is not always the only criteria here. I think that’s why we really have this growing need for smart, human curators who by their own editorial taste and selection, bring attention to content that needs to be seen by people. Going back to that value thing.
So value and convenience are the two Cornerstone elements of any curation project. If you don’t have those two, you are not really going to succeed.
Robert Bruce: I get that, a convenience as well.
How to Make Your Content Curation Project Unique
Robert Bruce: The next item on the list here is uniqueness.
Brian Clark: The best way that I can sum this up is the theme of the publication. It’s the editorial positioning if you were starting a magazine. It’s kind of what do you stand for? Who are you? It’s the human element. It’s the voice of the publication.
Let me give you an example. So let’s say you’ve got two real estate brokers and they are both going to start content marketing, whether original content or curation. One goes the straight up utility authority route. “Here’s what I know. Here, let me share it with you. I’m the trusted advisor and I am going to prove it to you with my content before you hire me.”
Then, a different positioning. Same goal. Same perspective audience theoretically, is the “Here’s what they won’t tell you” guy. So he positions himself as, “Here are all the dirty little secrets in the brokerage industry. I don’t do any of this stuff and I am going to pull the curtain back for you.” Right?
Two ostensively same topics, completely different positioning and each will attract a different type of customer. Not either worse than the other, just different. And that’s really what we are talking about when we talk about theme. What do you stand for and how do you express that with what you reveal to the audience.
Robert Bruce: This has a lot to do with your own personality.
Brian Clark: I think it does because a manufactured thematic approach to your editorial curation is not going to fly. You are not going to feel comfortable with it. It’s not going to become natural. Your writing is going to be stilted.
I think the project has to be a passion of yours, as it is in my case, and then you have to bring yourself to the table and the way that you view the world. Then you end up finding an audience or building a tribe that you are already a member of. How many times have we talked about the advantages of that? And I always say, of course it’s possible to fake it, but why would you want to though?
Robert Bruce: Yeah, I think this is where a lot of people get screwed up with the idea of how can I become unique, and they really struggle with it. When sometimes the answer really is as simple and as difficult as just begin yourself as much as possible. Injecting yourself, your personality into the topic.
Brian Clark: Oh, absolutely. Everyone is already unique. Sally Hogshead who will be keynoting on day 2 of Authority Rainmaker. That’s her whole thing. She has got the data to back it up. It’s really kind of amazing.
The Design Philosophy That Works Like a Charm
Robert Bruce: Okay, let’s talk about the next item which is design, and you have strong opinions on this when it comes to a project like this. What do you think about when you think about design in a content curation project?
Brian Clark: Simplicity. We did talk about it in the introductory curation episode and I made some statement, you know, no sidebar, no distractions, no clutter.
Brian Gardner, our partner here at Copyblogger Media, listened to that episode and has just started a project called No Sidebar. Both metaphorically and literally, which I think is pretty cool to see happen.
But it also relates to language. You want a very clean, single purpose. Your goal here is singular and we’ll talk about that when we talk about the fifth element, but you are trying to accomplish one thing. You are not trying to have a multitude of options and flashing widgets and all sorts of distractions. You need a very clean, simple site.
If you look at some of the other curation projects from around the web you will see they have a singular focus. They are simple, not trying to distract you too much, but also in your language. They have an elevator pitch. What it is, succinctly and directly, then a call to action.
Robert Bruce: I saw you link to Dave Pell’s new redesign yesterday over at NextDraft.com. Very simple.
Brian Clark: Very simple. It’s a little more than he had before but I think he added all the right things.
Robert Bruce: Yep.
Brian Clark: Look at all the media sources he has as testimonials. Now that’s the kind of stuff you add to your page once you have them.
Further is brand new. It’s nothing like that. We will talk about that in a second but yeah, it’s simplicity, because you have to nail how you communicate that value and convenience, and you do it in your own voice, which is the uniqueness. All these fundamentals are tied together.
So even though I am presenting them to you in five different parts, you have to be able to see them as a unified whole, which is kind of our theme. It’s all one thing. We always talk about that, even when it comes to things like SEO and content marketing, they are all part of one thing.
Robert Bruce: One of my favorite things about Dave’s new design at NextDraft.com is when you scroll to the bottom of the page. He has got a sub-head there. It’s the greatest thing I have seen in a while. In context to what he does, he says “I am the algorithm.”
So there he is speaking to uniqueness. I think he says directly, “I plucked the top ten most fascinating items of the day, which I deliver with fast pithy wit that will make your computer device vibrate with delight. No bots. No computer algorithms.” So he is fighting the man. He’s fighting the computer algorithm that we are used to, generating these interesting lists for ourselves. He says, “I am the algorithm.” I love it.
Brian Clark: Yeah, and we’ll take a closer look at language on Further in a bit, but I stole my favorite hipster phrase “handcrafted.” It means the same thing.
Robert Bruce: Nice. Yeah. What’s the fifth element?
Brian Clark: The fifth element is really simple. What’s our goal here? We are building a business asset, an audience, and it takes the form of an email list. Anyone who has struggled with, “I don’t understand how you can make money with curation, instead of original content” doesn’t understand that the goal in both cases is to build an email list, because whatever business model you end up in, that’s the medium by which people are going to transact with you. So the list is the thing.
Robert Bruce: And that ties in perfectly with the idea of simplicity because where is that simplicity leading us to in design?
Brian Clark: Yeah, absolutely. They are just basically one thing that we want people to do on this site and it’s as clear as day, and it’s even almost somewhat repetitive in some cases but not in a bad way. So singular focus.
Robert Bruce: This episode of Rainmaker.FM is brought to you by the Rainmaker Platform, and today, instead of me talking about it, I thought I would let our customers do the talking.
I’ve just got a few quotes here from Rainmaker customers that I want to read to you.
Mike Davenport said, “With Rainmaker I have stopped worrying about my website, now I spend time working on my business.”
Another one. “It’s literally plug and play. I just wish I could get all those wasted hours back trying to do this stuff myself.” Ahmad Munawar.
Tessa Shepperson says, “I love the idea that I won’t have to do anymore updating or hunting around for plugins and then worrying if they work or not.”
And finally we will end this little section with Jane Boyd. “Oh Rainmaker, I love you. That is all.”
Find out if you’ll love the Rainmaker Platform with a free 14-day test drive. Start it up right now at RainmakerPlatform.com.
The Five Elements of Successful Positioning
Robert Bruce: All right Brian, let’s now move into a section where we talk about these five elements of successful positioning. And let’s bring them to your project, Further.net, so that people can see how you are actually implementing this stuff and deciding to play it out in real time.
Let’s start with talking about the title itself, Further.
Brian Clark: Yeah, so your goal with the brand you are trying to build is to create that instant mental engagement upon first interaction with the person you are trying to reach. You want them to look at the title or the logo, as the case may be. Maybe you have got a tagline in there as well, and they are like, “Hey, this is something for me.”
Now whether they sign up or not of course, has a lot to do with a lot of other things as well. But without that kind of instant engagement, you are kind of fighting an uphill battle.
So the idea with Further is, it has a lot of significance for me in a lot of ways. It relates to my own journey in a lot of ways, both as an entrepreneur, as a spiritual person, and in the last year, battling back from middle age, just getting healthy. You know, getting back in shape. I lost 30 lbs between my 46th birthday and my 47th, and a lot of this stuff I am writing about in Further is stuff that I actually explored and tried myself, but I am not really coming at it that way, as we will talk about in a second.
But is has a few overtones to it, that I think communicated pretty well just through the title and the tagline. It’s about motivation, longevity. Living a long, happy life. And if you want to get technical about it, in the Maslow sense, it’s about self-actualization. Being the highest and best you, you can be and continuing that pursuit throughout life.
It’s not necessarily about the young, it’s about ageing well and continuing to accomplish. I really decided to do this project when I was really concerned something was wrong with me because we had a few people talking about trying to acquire the company. We ended up turning them all down. This was a year and half ago. And instead of thinking about the millions of dollars I would get, all I thought about was “What am I going to do next?” And my wife is like, “Are you ever going to be satisfied?” And I’m like, “I guess not. I guess I’m just cursed.”
I started looking into the science and motivation. Dan Pink’s book, Drive is really good on this. And I realized, “No, this is just what it is.” If you stop trying to go further, if you don’t keep going, this is why people who retire, die early. This is why people who lose a spouse end up passing away soon after. They lose the will. They are not going further anymore.
So that’s what it signifies. From the feedback that I have been getting, people are like “Yeah, I got it.” And that’s good because it would suck if it didn’t.
Robert Bruce: That I would rather retire to a bar stool in Long Beach, is beside the point. This is really interesting.
Brian Clark: Well you are going further with your sclerosis.
Robert Bruce: Yeah. Correct.
Brian Clark: In the very first issue I did touch on that drinking is actually good for you and that people who don’t drink die younger than those who do. Weird as hell. Isn’t it?
Robert Bruce: That is some science I can get behind.
This title thing is interesting because on one hand you have got like the Google, Yahoo, nonsense name thing but I think you’ve found something really interesting here with Further. It’s difficult because domains are gone. As we move further and further into the future, it’s tougher to find a good domain, even if you find a name that you like. And last week you hinted a little bit that you did spend a couple of bucks on Further.net but what’s your opinion on the importance of naming?
We know it’s important but can you also come at it if you can’t get to what you are really looking for, or say a name that you want? There are a lot of ways you can infuse your domain name with meaning, right?
Brian Clark: Well look at Copyblogger. At the time it was a contrast to ProBlogger and advertising based commercial blogging that meant you apply copywriting techniques to content, and you also sell stuff. And it had meaning. I don’t know if people get that meaning anymore but after 9 years, it’s a brand. It just stands for what it stands for. And that’s what you are trying to get to.
There were other variations of Further that I was able to pick up at normal price, but this is me being in this position and wanting to do this project, so I paid someone for Further.net. Honestly I would have paid for Further.com if they would have sold it to me and that would have been expensive. I’m just happy with an old school, original extension, one word domain. And it’s one word that has the most meaning to me seriously in my life.
Robert Bruce: And even if you have trouble getting to that one word, like Brian has done, I would suggest too that a lot of great work can be done in the tagline, in the rest of the copy, which we will talk about a little bit later.
How Brian is Positioning Further in a Sea of Sameness
Robert Bruce: But let’s move on to the next idea here, which is theme. When we think about theme. When we are developing the theme. What do you mean?
Brian Clark: Well as we touched in the first section, that’s kind of your unique voice and perspective, that you don’t try to whitewash down. You want to display it in every issue, or curated piece of content that you create.
So for me, Further when you think about it, it’s got that tagline of “Health, wealth and wisdom.” It’s essentially personal development. I have always had a love/hate relationship with these guru types. I had this one line in one of the early issues that got tweeted quite a bit, which was “Why do some people call themselves gurus? It’s because charlatan is too hard to spell.” And that was in reference to Dr Oz, who it turns out, 50% of what he says is either wrong, or just baseless. And yet people follow this guy’s every word. He’s got a magazine. He’s got a television show. Oprah is ringing his bell. I hate that. That’s me. Okay.
So Further is not about a guru, a cult, or personality. It’s not even about me. I am on this journey with the audience. I am learning as I go.
Now I have been reading in these areas for well over a year now, so I have kind of got that head start but that’s how you get enough of a start to get going. But every week in my spare time, the books I am reading, the magazines I read, podcasts I listen to, the videos I watch, are all potential material for Further and I’m discovering as I go along.
The theme is very much an emphasis on science and research. Not new age woo woo stuff and certainly not any sort of guru. Because when you think about it, and nothing against Tony Robbins, that man has certainly come a long way from infomercials, to the CEO whisperer. Good for him. I just don’t want to be Tony Robbins. But the topic, health, wealth and wisdom, go look at Tony Robbin’s product catalogue, it’s the same thing, except I’m trying to deliver the newest information, for free, and make sure I am emphasizing that it’s peer reviewed, scientific research.
How to Write and Test Your Site’s Copy
Robert Bruce: How are you messing around with language and copy over there at Further?
Brian Clark: I don’t know how many words there are on the homepage but it’s just a few sentences. And there’s an about page, which is a short article length and then there’s the actual content. That’s it. You know that I dwelled on every word, edited and massaged, and re-edited, and thought, and all of that stuff because when you go back to the themes of useful, and convenient and simple, you’ve got to be succinct. You don’t have a lot of time, and yet you are persuading someone to give up their email address, which is not necessarily an easy task.
In future episodes we are going to talk about how you up your odds there, but for now, it’s just the newsletter and the copy. So a lot of that is just based on how I feel about the project, the things I have read, the things I have observed. All the things we talk about watching social media. Picking up on desires and problems and complaints and dreams. And that’s hopefully expressed in the sparse language that I do have.
The second thing though that I am doing, which is really cool, and Rainmaker makes so easy is that I have been split testing. And I am really proud of our guys in development for this. I just really kind of got into it because there is enough traffic coming into the site to actually test something and I am just doing a test of the headline on the homepage. It’s a very simple variation but the headline at this point is “Live your best life.” And then I asked you, before we recorded this, “Hey, Robert, if I put “How to” in front of that, what do you think will win?” And your answer was …
Robert Bruce: Got to be “How to.”
Brian Clark: I bet every copywriter on the planet would say, “How to will win” but, do we have to take that on faith? Even though it’s been true for hundreds of years?
Robert Bruce: Yeah.
Brian Clark: No, we don’t. We can actually test it. I’m still running the experiment because I want to get to a statistically significant result, but “How to” is winning fairly easily.
So if you go by the site, a week or so from now, and it’s “How to” you’ll know why.
Robert Bruce: The other interesting thing with copy and in particular on the homepage, is the length of copy. This is something that comes up all the time. People ask a lot, “Should we go long copy or should we go short copy?” And like you said, you’ve got the about page, you’ve got the actual articles but they are not prominently available. I think they are in the nav.
Brian Clark: It’s a great point, but what do you think I can test next? What I can do, is take the about page copy, put it below the email form on the homepage, make about go to that section of the homepage, and test that against what I have now. And again, I’ll know.
Robert Bruce: Yep.
Brian Clark: It’s really amazing. I’ve got to just say how happy I am because basically with split testing you have got an existing page, you basically dupe that into a new page and change the parts you want to change. Then you just check a box, hit a button and Rainmaker does it for you.
The only thing I would advise is, it’s like a horse race and you’ll waste valuable productivity time checking to see who’s winning, which is a lot of fun. Don’t do that. I’m really forcing myself not to do that but it is fun. I mean if you are a word person and kind of a data nerd at the same time, there is nothing more fun than split testing. But you are not doing it for fun. You are doing it to find out what the audience prefers from language. It’s the same thing with keyword research. The language that they use is always going to be more effective than something you come up with in the alternative.
Same thing with “What do they actually take action on, on the page?”
Brian’s New Newsletter Image Strategy
Robert Bruce: All right. As Jason Fried has written, “Copywriting is interface design” but let’s talk about some other design elements here. You’ve got a few things listed and let’s just go through each one, one by one.
Brian Clark: Yeah, so really as you know, a lot of tweaking and evolution in design despite how simple it is, I think almost the more minimal your design, the more important every little thing is. And of course with you working with me over almost 5 years now, you know that I am really into details and I think they make the difference. You never know which detail is going to make the difference but I think in the aggregate the details matter.
So even from the last podcast that we did, where we revealed the site, you’re a happy man now that I changed the images that I use in issues of Further. Why don’t you tell them what you told me, and I’ll cop to it?
Robert Bruce: I can’t remember the exact words I used but we got on the phone last week and I said, “You know, it looks great, I love the design but I think there is something about these images that are holding it back.”
Brian Clark: What kind of images, Robert?
Robert Bruce: These were stock images that you were finding. But anyway, through this conversation, you lit upon an idea that you switched up this very week and started rolling with it. I think it’s been a pretty good response.
Brian Clark: This has been the biggest revelation I have had so far.
Okay, let’s face it, you hated the stock images. You thought they were crap and you always have. Okay, let’s not mince words.
I agree with you, but I know I need an image and I don’t really know what else to do but to try and pick something good. But, you were right. So what I have been doing is, I would lead with the Further logo, the template for the page and the newsletter itself are the same. Further logo at the top, headline, image and then a quote. I would lead with a quote that was relevant to the issue. Sometimes it’s kind of funny, sometimes it’s profound but obviously it’s always thematically relevant to what I am writing about.
So we were on the phone together and I am trying to figure out what to do, and I just said, “I need to incorporate the quote into the image, instead of having it as text.” And you are like, “Yep, that would be better.”
You know, we have all these great tools. I mean you can use simple photo editing software. You can use something like Canva. And I suppose it does take some skill and some taste but people love quotes, and people love visual imagery. I kind of downplayed that because I’m a word guy. And that’s just my bias. But what I learned by doing this was amazing.
So the first post that I really went public with to see how people responded was on meditation. A lot of good feedback on that issue. People are into it. It’s a hot topic right now.
The original time I tweeted from my personal Twitter account, I got 5 retweets, which I was like, “Hey, at least people don’t hate it. That’s pretty good.” But it had this pretty crappy, blue stock image of a head and some mystical looking stuff around it, which may have not been the best choice.
So it was out there for 4 or 5 days, and then I decided to change the approach and I went to black and white. The photo in the background with a black box that contains the quote. This particular quote is kind of humorous because it’s a zen proverb that says, “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes every day, unless you are too busy, then sit for an hour” which is a very zen thing to say. And I totally get it.
So I put the post up with a new image and tweeted it. It was like off hours and it was the second time I had tweeted it, so it wasn’t new but it got 50 retweets. The image. The visual impact.
Robert Bruce: Not to mention, you’ve now also created, as you create each issue, another piece of micro content that can stand alone. An advertisement for the entire site.
Brian Clark: You are way ahead of me. I’ve all of a sudden got an Instagram account. I rediscovered Pinterest. We will talk about the results of my attempts at visual marketing but it’s interesting because you know, you almost have to do it separately because just on basic social networks, like Facebook, and on Twitter the right image makes all the difference. And I think I’ve hit along on something. I mean it’s not double as good, it was 10 times as good.
It really comes down to the topic and the image you choose and the quote you use. Of course, there is all these different variables. But every single issue I went back and changed the image and reintroduced it to an audience. Most and a lot of people had already seen the content and it always does exponentially better. So we will talk more about images later, but that is a big part of your overall visual style and I think one of the main things is that the black and white approach is more congruent with the sparseness of the site as it is.
You notice that on the homepage, you’ve got logo, copy, a little bit of nav and the subscription box, and the only splash of color is the “Join Us” button, which has been tested quite a bit in the world of conversion optimization. It definitely helps.
The Importance of Congruence
Robert Bruce: Okay, so let’s go to the final element in this little list, as it relates to Further, and that is content.
Brian Clark: The important thing here is, remember, we may have talked about it on the show in the past, if not, this is something that Brian Eisenberg talked about at the last Authority Intensive show in 2014, the scent test, right?
Effectively what that means, and this goes back to research done in Palo Alto many years ago, that people on the web will follow and expect a congruent scent from page to page. So if you have an advertisement that is of a certain style, flavor, or theme, and then they arrive at a landing page that is completely, jarringly different, that will kill your conversion rates. You need congruence.
I wrote about that topic in conjunction with native advertising. Basically saying, if you are going to do native advertising in publication you are working with, you not only have to make your content fit in editorially, but it should fit in with you, right? Don’t advertise on BuzzFeed if you are advertising a stuffy law firm. That would make complete lack of sense but people do it all the time.
So when you are creating this visual style and you are creating your elevator pitch and you are creating an about page that tells the longer story of what you are trying to do, it’s all got to be matched up fairly well with your content. Same kind of voice, same kind of style, a congruent scent and promise, and then delivery of that promise.
That’s all I want to say about content right now. I think we will probably have some questions relating to process and stuff like that. To me that’s individual but I will be happy to talk about it.
Remember when I interviewed Seth Godin a couple of years ago, when I asked him what his writing process was and he refused to tell me? Because he’s like, “We are all crazy in our own way. If I tell you what I do, number one you are going to think I am crazy and number two, someone will try to mimic me and that’s completely wrong.” And I get him. So we will talk about collecting links and stuff like that, but of course, Rainmaker’s built in curation features, which are coming very soon, are going to make a lot of this really easy.
Robert Bruce: Yeah, let’s leave it at that. We will have further episodes on this topic. The idea of content curation and specifically case studies as it applies to what Brian is doing.
Thanks for opening things up over there man. This is interesting.
If you like what we are doing here at Rainmaker.FM, please let us know by heading over to iTunes and giving us a comment or a rating. It’s much appreciated. And if you want to get everything, head over to Rainmaker.FM and you’ll see right under the header, the headline and the tagline, a green button. Click that and sign up by email. You’ll get all of our episodes as soon as they are published and you’ll also get access to our free 10-part marketing course that will likely change the way you think about online marketing.
Thanks for listening everybody, and Brian, thanks man. I will see you next week.
Brian Clark: See ya.
Well, I was glad I listened to this podcast this morning while exercising. Your fifth point truly answered my question about how to do business with curation content. As a health professional, thinking in terms of business or internet business requires quite a bit of concentration! I just couldn’t figure it out. So thanks a lot.
Hence, I’m going to redesign completely my website.
As you said, 2015 starts with a bang 🙂
Brian Clark says
Glad it’s helping, Valerie!
Brian Hayes says
Brian and Robert,
Excellent show. As someone drawn to maximum impact, with minimal fluff and flash: this behind the scenes look at further.net.
Your new approach with placing the quote on the image should make it more likely to be pinned on Pinterest.
I’ve seen crazy things happen with one pin. Pinners can keep a story alive and take your message further. (Pun intended.)
Thanks again guys. Keep singing in the rain- we’ll keep listening.
Merlijn Smeele says
Hi Brian and Robert!
Great show! I can totally relate to everything you covered, including the question “What’s next?” that I asked myself some years ago.
I changed direction after my father suddenly died of cancer and my business and personal life had become a mess.
I moved from selling wine gifts via personal wine packaging to Running Your Life. Ran 3 marathons and an ultra and live life much more conscious, happy and healthy now.
As a visual person I love pictures and graphics so I was glad when I discovered Pinterest! I’m connecting with my new audience mostly via Pins now. Much more fun and effective then other platforms!
Coming from nowhere and having many website problems in the past Rainmaker Platform is the best choice I could make! Just launched my new site. 2015 I’ll focus on all 5 elements you mentioned, to build and grow my list.
I enjoy your choice for Further as a lifestyle and a business case study.
I’m sure New Rainmaker will help me, my audience and many other people/entrepeneurs to get to the next level! Thanks for all the support!
Happy & Healthy life!
Abhijeet Mukherjee says
Hey Brian and Robert, great podcast! Just signed up for Further. Brian, a bit surprised to see you using Aweber and double opt-in. Your other newsletters (Studiopress and Rainmaker) are single opt-ins I think, if I recall correctly. Why the shift?
I have been researching too on content curation and viability of email newsletters as business for the past month or so. Intend to get started with such a newsletter myself soon. Here are some links from my Evernote, that I’ve come across during my research. Putting them here for the benefit of the audience and anyone who wants to learn more about this space. Should complement the great content you’ve been putting out so far on this topic. 🙂
1. Thrillist’s $100 million business started as a newsletter – http://www.wired.com/2014/08/hype-commerce-thrillist/
2. NYTimes said last year that the death of email newsletters is ‘greatly exaggerated’ – http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/30/business/media/for-email-a-death-greatly-exaggerated.html?_r=0
3. I know you would most likely be the last person to tell a small business to raise money from VCs but it’s interesting to know that Jason from REDEF (about whom you talked about in the last podcast) and more recently, The Skimm raised a significant amount: http://recode.net/2014/05/01/read-this-jason-hirschhorns-newsletter-business-just-raised-a-seed-round/ and http://money.cnn.com/2014/12/17/smallbusiness/the-skimm/. Both their products are, of course, a free newsletter. Proves the fact that email newsletters are back in vogue.
4. Elizabeth from Launchbit shares her take on whether The Skimm can actually make money and throws light on how email advertising works – http://www.quora.com/What-is-the-expected-business-monetization-model-for-the-The-Skimm-newsletter
That’s about it. Thanks again Brian for the podcasts. Look forward to reading Further issues.
Diane Krause says
I loved this episode, and loved the previous one as well — so thank you for these great sessions!
I have a follow-up question.
Does a curated content project need its own separate website, or can this approach be integrated to an existing site?
The site I’m currently building on Rainmaker is all about my editorial and self-publishing partnership services. Can I incorporate a curated content strategy into this website, or does the CC part need a site of its own?
Peter Axtell says
Like I’ve said before, you both have created the Steely Dan of Podcasts. (it doesn’t get any better than Steely Dan…)
Congratulations and thank you.
Peter & Nicola
Why is this episode unavailable on iTunes podcast app yet the next two in this series are?
Brian Clark says
It’s there. The newest one wasn’t for a small time, because email is faster than Apple.
I know this is an old episde but there are so many great ones on rainmker ‘m having trouble getting up to date (without missing something amazing).
I’m really excited by the idea of content curation mixed with original content and I wondered if there are any issues regarding copyright?
When you’re big I can’t imagine people mind their content being puyt in front of another audience but what about when you’re just starting?
Thanks again guys for the BEST ideas on the internet.